Sunday, May 28, 2017

Week 48 - Yopping along

A quick update today.

I have finished eight Iona squares. Two of each colourway for the blanket.

I finished the back of the Dizzy sweater and have about two inches started on the front.

It is going more quickly now that I have memorized the vertical slip stitch pattern. I really like how the wrong side of the pattern looks and I think in the future I will knit a sweater where the wrong side is the right side!

I finally got to my knitting group this past week. With one thing or another I missed about five weeks and I have missed the ladies like crazy. It was an enjoyable, chatty evening as it always is.

On the anxiety front, I have been a) meditating every day, and b) I think the moderate increase in my medication is helping.

I finished my bout of anti-virals for shingles, and I think I caught it early enough that I was over it by the time the anti-virals were done. Whew.

It has been gloriously sunny here the last few days so knitting has taken a bit of a backseat to lying on the deck reading. I just finished a Maeve Binchy novel and I have a John Irving on the docket for today.

Ahhhh. Summer may finally be here.

On the downside, there is a new cat in the neighbourhood and dear Otis is licking his wounds today. I always know when he is feeling poorly because he curls up on the floor in the corner of the living room. This was the place he convalesced last year after fracturing his hip and he only lies there now when something is off. He did eat breakfast, and I don't see anyone cuts, but he is walking stiffly so I will keep an eye on him today - and chase away that darn tawny tom cat if I see him anywhere near our property. He had the audacity to actually walk into our kitchen a couple of days ago. Jeez.

Doesn't Otis look pathetic?

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yop Yop Yop - Week 47

Wow we are getting close to the end.

I have knit all the things on my list, plus many more, and I have mostly spun all the yarn I had as of last July. I haven't made any more Izzy dolls, but I have made two teddy bears. Does that count? No. But I still have five weeks to go.

Lately I have been tied up in anxiety attacks and oddly enough spinning doesn't help, so the cowichan-style sweater knit out of my fleeces will wait until I am more at ease.

Having said that I did finish the slouchy hat and I have enough yarn left over to make another child sized one.

I have finished three and a half Iona squares. I can knit half of one a day before I get tired of all the cabling.

When that happens I switch to my Dizzy sweater. It is slow going, but I am liking the results so far. My pinks are not quite a match in colour or thickness so I am alternating them.

Hubby's socks didn't get any attention this week, but I did give him the rat pot-holder for his birthday last Wednesday and he loved it.

I did buy a new pattern on Ravelry that has a funny story attached to it. You can read about that adventure here.
And on the baking front I learned to make Brazilian cheese buns which are gluten free because they are made with Tapioca flour.

And, my hoya bloomed for Mother's Day

which was a lovely surprise to compliment the apple blossom my dh put beside the bed for me to see as soon as I awoke last sunday.

To visit other Ravelers who are Yopping you can read about their progress here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Well of course it was

Sometimes we get caught up in a rebate deal when shopping. My husband arrived home a couple of months ago with two packages of batteries. (ok it was December and we needed batteries for the snoring Santa - don't ask).

The deal was if you sent in the receipt showing the purchase of the two packages you would get a five dollar rebate.

Five dollars people! What's not to like? I can get a latte at my local coffee place for five dollars.

So, I followed all the instructions and what we got was a pre-loaded, on-line only, Visa card with five dollars on it.

Did I mention it was an on-line Visa that we could only use for purchases on-line?

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I can't think of a time I bought anything on-line for five dollars. And we are talking five dollars Canadian!

So, it languished on my messy desk until yesterday.

Ah-ha, I thought. I will spend it on Ravelry. There are many patterns for sale for five dollars.

But, alas, although this is true, they are almost always five dollars American, and with our dollar being the way it is right now, that priced me out of the market.

Unfortunately you can't search Ravelry for 'patterns that cost five dollars Canadian'.

So I spent a good part of yesterday searching Ravelry patterns. I looked at mitts, hats, baby things and I did find some two dollar patterns, but I am so miserly I wanted to use up as much of the five dollars without leaving, you know, $1.61, or something on the card.

Finally I started to look at illusion-knit cloths, pot-holders, and then finally (why it took me so long, I don't know) I started to check out double-knit pot-holders.

One of the very first ones I found was this

but it couldn't be purchased on Ravelry, only on the designers website.

By then I had figured out that with the exchange I needed to find a pattern that cost $3.50 USD.

I went to the website and the first few on her page were $3.25, $3.75, $4.25, and one was $2.50. All US Dollars.

I clicked on the one I wanted.

$3.50 USD which converts to $4.90 CAD!

The design?

The Tree of Life.

Of course it was.

I have a Tree of Life felted fireplace screen that my Grade Four class made for me many years ago. I look at it every day from where I sit and knit and write. The Yggdrasil Tree from the Norse Myths.

So ya, of course it was.

(And now my husband is trying to figure out how to get that last ten cents off the card)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Yopping 46 - Yarn chicken ftw!

This week was all about the edging of the baby blanket. Having only 77 gms left I kept weighing what was left, and how far I had to go and my math skills came into play big time.

I finished with less than 1 gm of yarn leftover. Yarn chicken? I WON!

101 pattern repeats - 1212 rows of knitting.

AND I even got it on the blocking mat on Saturday afternoon.

I started a slouchy hat for myself with some beautiful alpaca yarn I got as a present from my eldest sister this week.

This is my second start because my first start was going to be much too big so I frogged it and cast on 18 fewer stitches.

I finally started spinning the 50 gms of hemp I bought over a year ago. It spins like butter - so smooth - which surprised me as I thought it would be like spinning butcher's twine (which is why I think I put off spinning it for so long)

Now I can start to re-focus on my Iona squares. It has been too long.

And my Dizzy sweater is feeling left out too. I won't forget her either.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who mother. May the force be with you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hodgepodge Wednesday

I haven't played for a while and I thought I would jump in today.

1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.

A favourite memory of my Mum is going to the A and W drive-in for a Teen burger. We would bring our German Shepherd and Mum always ordered an extra beef patty for her. One of my favourite memories as a mother was being in a tent at the edge of the Okanagan Lake in between my then six and three year old children while they were sleeping and I was listening to them breathe and the lap of the water on the shore.
As for how we differed as mothers? She was a stay at home mother, and I went back to work part-time when my children were small. She had six children, compared to my two. That is a huge difference!

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.

My eldest sister was an Elementary school teacher and she has the most beautiful singing voice. My second eldest sister taught at the University level and always, always was looking out for the marginalised students. I was a teacher too. I guess it runs in the family.

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

This could have been my answer to a favourite memory of my Mum. She made the best egg salad sandwiches, on white bread. I try and try to make them like she did, but hers are still a fond memory.

4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?

Yes I have a desk, but I never sit at it - it just holds stuff like my printer, knitting patterns, bills, and odds and end. When I had a desk as a teacher it was always a terrible mess. I would clean it up periodically to be a good role model for my students but within a day it was a mess again. Every class I had always had one student who would finally reach the breaking point with my mess and come and organize it for me!
I pay bills and blog (and knit) on the couch.

5. When I was nine years old....

I was in Grade Four with the same teacher I had in Grade Three. She seemed ancient but was very kind. It was a new school for me and they were using rods to do math and I never could figure out how they worked. Ironically I am now a math tutor!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I have missed HodgePodge. I like the new five question format, and I will try to be more regular in my participation. I didn't know May was the month for celebrating teachers, but I will be thinking of all the mothers and mothering people I know come this Sunday which is Mother's Day in Canada.

Here is my favourite picture of me and my Mum. I think this was her 70th birthday so I was 37:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

And not be sad

"But I want to be clear, I’m not trying to be anyone’s savior. I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad."
"Elon Musk, Ted Talks, 2017

Those words of Elon Musk have been going around and around in my brain this past week since I heard his interview last Friday. Especially the four words 'and not be sad'.

That is what I want. I want to wake up in the morning and not be sad. I want to go to bed at night and not be sad. I want to go through my day and not be sad.

"Oh easy for Leonardo"


I am awaiting an appointment at Hope Centre. I am looking at trying some different medications. I am looking to talk to someone. I have a couple of groups I might try.

Today my anxious stomach was in full throttle so I decided rather than taking the orange pill I would go for a walk in the rain - return a book to the library - maybe vote.

I did.
I walked.
I voted.
I returned the book.

The thought of walking home was overwhelming. I thought of calling my husband to come get me.

Then I thought I could just start walking and get him to pick me up somewhere along the route.

Then I thought I could just walk to the bottom of the big hill and get him to pick me up there.

I couldn't imagine how I would get up that hill feeling the way I did.

But then?

Then I started to walk home one foot in front of the other.

I got to the bottom of the hill.

And one foot in front of the other I made it to the top.

I made it home.

One foot in front of the other.

And not be sad?

I am still sad.

But I am home. I did make it to the top of the hill.

One day I will not be sad.

One foot in front of the other.

This post was written May 5, 2017 - Today is a better day. Not the best, but better. One foot in front of the other.

**line from A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Yopping Week 45 - sewing things together


The Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater is done - ends sewn in, buttons on and shoulder seams sewn. I am very very happy with the fit and reminding myself that trusting the pattern indeed works.

and no, it isn't blocked yet, because, well, I am avoiding that at the moment.

I was planning to lengthen the sleeves but I finished all the stash yarn I had for this project. At one point last Sunday I had decided to go to my local yarn store and buy five different colours of worsted to add to the sleeves, but as I walked there calmer heads prevailed (as my uncle would say), and I realized how silly it was to buy yarn for a stash sweater. If I want to add longer sleeves in the future with some leftover yarn from other projects that is always an option. I have worn the sweater out on two occasions and received nice compliments and I am liking the sleeves just the way they are.

I did get the baby blanket seamed with nice flat seems after relying on YouTube tutorials to help me out. I ended up seaming loop to loop and not loop to knot because I like the way it lies better.

I started the edging and got about 1/3 of the way done (30 twelve row repeats) and realized it was pulling funny because I was attaching every row to the main blanket rather that every other row. So I ripped out 355 rows of edging and began again and I am much happier with my progress.

Blocking this baby blanket will be a trial but I am loving how it is turning out and it will be so worth it. (And probably once I start blocking it the EZ sweater will follow suit. I like to block en masse because I think misery does love company).

I am using pins to mark the stitches that have to be picked up and to keep myself on track with the twelve repeat pattern. So far so good.

I am a bit nervous that I am seriously playing yarn chicken with this border because I figure I need 77 gms and 77 gms is what I have....sooooooo.....fingers crossed (and toes too). I am also a bit at a loss about the corners - the tutorials say to short row the pattern to add ease around the corners but that seems very vague at this point. Hopefully I will intuit something by the time I get to the first corner.

I did start the Dizzy sweater by Holli Yeoh because I serendipitously found another ball of yarn at my local yarn store that is pretty close to a perfect match. It has a interesting rolled hem after the ribbing. Cute, eh?

And, I started another pair of socks for hubby, because I went to a candidate meeting and needed something mindless to knit. Here I am ready for the heel but waiting till I knit the 2nd sock this far.

So that is my update - I won't be tackling anything this week except the baby blanket border.

And then I want to get back to my Iona. It is calling to me, and feeling very left out these days.

Happy Yopping everyone. My goodness the time is flying by - July will be here before we know it!