Sunday, September 19, 2021

Yopping Update #12 - Why can't I do things the easy way?

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Well, Advent apparently has come and gone.

These were a quick and enjoyable knit and except for the cuff/heel/toe it was all stash busting. 

So, of course for my next project I had to decide to do something not quick, and for the past 48 hours not enjoyable. 

Yes I started another gansey.  This time a cardigan.  I picked a pattern, but of course I decided to modify it so I could knit it with bigger needles.  I spent two days figuring out the math so that my gauge and the motifs of the pattern would work out.  

You'd think I would learn to work in pencil!

Last night I started the Channel Island cast-on, and then today got as far as the first button hole.  I clearly am out of my mind - but hey, in for a penny, in for a pound.  I also realized I like the wrong side of the Channel Island cast-on better than the right side so I had to sort that out and throw in an extra row. 

More math to figure out the button hole spacing as the pattern has the buttons grouped in twos with a larger space between each pair.  Sigh.  Really.  What was I thinking?

Oh, and did I mention I may be playing yarn chicken with this cardigan?  Oh well, if I lose I will just 'have' to make another order of Frangipani yarn from The Net Loft.  Don't cry for is all good as there is another colour I want to order for another gansey down the line.  I think I may need a 12 step program...

My gnome-a-long starts on Tuesday and I have picked out the yarn for it.  I think....stay tuned. 

That's it for me this week.  I wasn't even going to blog today because I had another migraine last Thursday and all the medication I took has upset my stomach.  Grrrrrr.  I can't talk to the doctor until this coming Wednesday so I am just laying low (and knitting - did I mention I am re-designing the gansey I am knitting so I have to alter the pattern?)  

Also, we have had so much rain in the past two days I am thinking of looking up plans to start building an ark.  Or maybe I will just get my raincoat and rubber boots out of the closet and embrace the Autumn storms. I have been checking out a new 11km trail near my house that I think I will tackle next week - and yes, I will carry bear spray. 

 I have been a mother for thirty-six years as of today.  My husband, daughter, grand-daughter, son-in-law and I all video called the birthday boy and sang to him a capella.  It was great to have my whole family on the call.  No pictures, but a lovely moment to remember. 

Sunday, September 12, 2021

Yopping Update #11 - She's done...onto Advent

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The gansey is done and even on the blocking mat!

planaria (one of four on front of gansey)

sleeve planaria and a better picture of the true colour of the gansey

close up of pattern including initials on bottom

Took me a while yesterday to figure out what to knit next.  I have plans for another gansey, but the Advent socks were calling my name so I spent a while picking out colours last night

I am glad the designer gave me sheets to colour in:

looks like I will use up some stash!

humble beginnings

Today it is very cold and drizzling rain.  I will go for a short walk and then curl up on the couch to read this book I got from the library (thanks to Self-Sufficient Sam's post last week).

now maybe some of my homespun will get dyed

On other news I am about 2/3 of the way through yet another round of edits of my novel.  I am amazed at how many times I can look at it and still find typos, spacing issues, and other mistakes.  However, I am persevering.  I have my Kindle Direct Account all set up and ready to push the Publish button as soon as I am happy with the edits and layout. 

I finally seem to have the headaches under control by stopping the estrogen cream I was prescribed.  I will talk to my doctor this coming week to review next steps. 

Tomorrow I have another CTScan to see how things are with my lungs.  I am hoping everything is stable so I won't have to do this for another year or so.  

I did get to the pool once this week for a long swim.  I don't have to pre-book anymore, so I hope this week I can get there a few more times. As of tomorrow our government has put into place a vaccine passport to be allowed entrance into non-essential businesses and events such as rec centres, arenas for music or sporting events, casinos, restaurants, and nightclubs.  The only thing that I will need it for is to go to the pool so I got that all set up earlier this week.  

In Canada we are in the middle of an election.  Voting day is September 20, but my dh and I voted yesterday in the advance polls.  The polling station was not very well organized and social distancing was not well managed.  I have sent in a complaint to Elections Canada but I am sure it will come to nothing.  I am glad I have voted and won't have to think about it anymore.  It seems for this election I am more voting against someone, rather than for someone.  Not a good situation, but it is what it is. 

Ok, that's it for me.  It has stopped raining - so I had better get out for that walk now.  

I will leave you with this picture of a cool plant my neighbour has growing in her front yard.  I looked it up and I think it is called lamb's ear, or Mullein.  Looks quite exotic.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Yopping Update #10 - Zooming along

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Hello dear Readers, 

It is Labour Day weekend here in Canada and it is raining.  I am glad for that.  We need the rain and perhaps the less-than-stellar weather will keep the crowds down at the holiday spots and therefore keep the Covid numbers from spiking as they seem to do after a long weekend.  

I am making very good progress on my gansey - I started the first sleeve yesterday...

I received my prize from Tour de Fleece.  I have wanted a spinning gauge for some time now - to measure wraps per inch and twist angle. 

I have been swimming this week and got out for a few walks.  It seems the crows were having quite the conversations on my last visit to the sea wall. 

Fall seems to be determined to arrive early and the leaves are starting to turn.  I saw this as I headed out for my swim early this morning.

On the novel front I have received an ISBN and I have finished the last round (I hope) of edits.  I also started designing the book cover.  Slow learning curve using the technology for sure, but I am persevering.

And the title of today's blog post? I have attended at least twelve Zoom meetings this past week.  Zoom, despite its frustrations, has been my lifeline over the past eighteen months and I don't think this will change anytime zoom.  I do manage to get a lot of knitting done during most of the meetings which is always a bonus. 

I did have another migraine this week, which I am convinced is connected to a new medication the doctor wanted me to try for a month.  I will call her this week to report my concerns.  I haven't had a migraine for months, so two within ten days of each other are two too many!

I hope you all are doing well.  Zooming along in whatever way suits you. 

the bear hasn't been back, but the squirrels are everywhere!

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Yopping Update #9 - Monogamous Knitting

 This week started out a bit rough - two days in bed with a migraine, but by Wednesday I was on the mend. 

We had quite a bit of excitement here on Tuesday evening.  I had finally gotten out of bed and was sitting on the couch when I noticed the apple tree outside my front window was waving in what I thought was a heavy wind.  It was 7:30 in the evening and when I went to the window I was surprised to see one very big bear in our apple tree!  Oh my goodness.  I video taped his antics for 10 minutes while we tried from inside the house to shoo him away.  My husband tried banging pots and pans, and turning on the alarm on both our cars - to no avail.  I was sure the tree wouldn't hold the bear's weight as it climbed higher and went out further on the branches.  He finally came down, and then lay down under the tree.  At this point I went out on the porch, and shooed him away.  Even though the apples are not yet fully ripe the next day my husband and I went out and picked about forty pounds of apples.  This is on top of the forty pounds we had picked when my son was here.  There are still some left too high up for us to reach, but I check every day to pick up any fallen apples.  

On the knitting front it has been all about the gansey.  I am determined to have this finished before the recipient gets home at the end of September.  I am almost at the point to start the underarm gusset and to split for the sleeves. 

I did manage to get for a swim on Thursday and this morning as well.  Despite masks being made mandatory again in indoor spaces the pool will be opening up without need for pre-booking on September 7th.  I will see how safe I feel.  It is also a day to day decision here with our Covid-19 numbers on the rise once again.  Our government is requiring a vaccine passport starting September 13 to attend any non-essential service such as theatres, indoor gyms/pools, restaurants, music venues, etc.  I have to admit I am glad for this and I hope this will get out daily numbers reducing once again.  

I have once again resurrected my novel.  I have applied for an ISBN number, and I am doing final edits (again) so I can upload it to Kindle as an ebook.  I have been working on a cover page this week - although I am in a steep learning curve with the picture editor to try and get the text correct.  My son-in-law has offered to help which is great.  I am also in a steep learning curve between Word and Google Docs and then I have to convert the finished manuscript into the format that Kindle wants.  My son has offered to help with that.  I am so fortunate to have people in my life to help me get over the hurdles that can often impede my progress.  So stay tuned.  Maybe by next month there will be a link to my self-published ebook. 

I will leave you today with a lovely photo of my daughter and grand-daughter inside a very cool cave near to where they live. 

Have a good week dear readers.  If there are bears, may they be gentle.  

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Yopping Update #8 - Wait, what? A finish and one wip?


A short post today.  I am a wee bit sad as my son left last night, but it was a wonderful visit.  I so wish I lived closer to both of my children which is hard since they live on different continents. 

However, I did finish my Sunday Best socks yesterday:

finally a picture that is true to the colour

This week I also started the gansey for my friend who is graduating next month with a degree in Marine Biology.  I got the welt done and the plain stocking stitch section with her initials.  Today I will start the patterning.  I will be very monogamous with this project as I want it done before she flies home at the end of September.  There is another Imagined Landscapes KAL gnome in September but I can manage that at the same time for sure!  It seems there can never be too many gnomes in my life.

I got in some swims this week - the only time available was 6:30 in the morning - a sleepy start but a great way to begin my day.  I swim quite well while half asleep it seems. Today I swam at 7am.  A bit more reasonable, and this coming week I scored the 7:30am time which is very reasonable indeed. 

The only down side to my week was on Wednesday I started to develop an eye infection which quickly spread to the second eye. I tried to manage it at home but by Friday morning it was much too serious and I had had a very poor sleep.  I managed to get into the drop-in medical clinic by 10:30am and by 11am I had some antibiotics and steroid drops.  By yesterday things were much more comfortable although I do need to keep taking them for a week.  

I blame my swim goggles and they have since been thoroughly cleaned. 

That's it for me - doing laundry today, and, of course, knitting.  

colour should show as navy, not grey

Who knew we had hibiscus trees in our district?

also my marigold finally bloomed!

Sunday, August 15, 2021

Yopping Update #7 - Home again, home again Jiggety Jig

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 I'm bacckkk!

It is late Sunday afternoon and I have a window of time to write this post.  Last Sunday we left at noon to go camping, and it was an amazing five days.  The campground was quiet, the lake was gorgeous for swimming and we had excellent meals.  The weather was warm during the days, but cooled nicely in the evening.  Our campground was on the shady side so we could relax there if the beach was too hot. 

master chef at work

master relaxer

Our daughter and her family were never far from our thoughts as our beach towels can attest.
selfie in front of smokey lake

The first day my son and I did a 4km hike that involved scrabbling over big rocks in some places.  It was tiring, but I felt so good knowing I could manage the distance and difficulty. The next day I swam a mile in the glacier cold lake.  It took me just over an hour and I was glad the sun was nice and hot when I got out so I could warm up!  Where is the hot tub when you need it?

On Thursday my son went for a 15km hike and I stayed in the campsite and swam a half mile later in the afternoon.  

My husband got his solar panels working so we could recharge our batteries a couple of times during the week since the campground did not have electricity.  

We woke up Friday morning, the day we were leaving, and the sky was very smokey.  We headed home hoping that there was not a forest fire between home and the campsite.  There wasn't, but as we got closer and closer to home the smokey skies got worse and the heat was intense.  So, yes, we arrived home just as our hometown was in an extreme heatwave, with smokey skies from the fires to the south and east of us. 

Thankfully today is a bit cooler and the skies not as smokey. 

I already swam at the pool this morning for forty-five minutes, and then my son and I went birding for two hours.  After a yummy Thai lunch he is napping, and I am relaxing on the back porch.  Hubby is reading blogs on his computer.  It is a nice quiet afternoon, and we bought some fresh salmon to bbq for supper. 

Can you tell we are having a wonderful visit with our son?  Oh, yes we are!

I did manage to do a wee bit of knitting in the campsite and turned one heel successfully, totally messed up the second heel, tinked back the second heel as the campground was getting darker and darker, and then last night re-knit the second heel as I sat on the back porch racing to finish before it was too dark to see.  

So, I actually knit three fish lip kiss heels for one pair of socks!

If it cools down enough I should get to start the foot of the socks tonight.  It is hard to knit when my hands are sweaty holding the needles and then the wool doesn't slide easily.  I know, I know - first world problem.

The weather app is predicting rain tomorrow.  That will be a nice change for sure.  

I bought a new plant for my back porch today, 


and my son bought me an air plant which will be sitting on my kitchen window sill after it posed for the picture below.

The big deal about these plants is that this is the first time I have gone into a garden store since the pandemic began.  Baby steps to re-integrate into the world now I have my two vaccines.  I take it as a huge win, as was going into a grocery store for a big shop in person to get all the supplies for our camping trip.  I felt so brave and proud of myself. 

I will leave you with a picture that came up on my fb memories.  This is my aunt on her 100th birthday five years ago posing with one of my cousins.  My aunt is wearing the shawl I knit for her.  She was a grand, grand lady, and I miss her so much.  

Until next week - hope you are all well and finding your own reasons to be proud of yourself. 

Sunday, August 8, 2021

Yopping Update #6 - Sunday Best

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One progress pic:

This is as far as I got this week on my Sunday Best socks as this week my son has been in town and we have been getting ready to go camping today!

I did manage to get to the pool three times this week and with all the pre-camping errands I have averaged 10,000 steps a day!!

Next week I am sure that although there will be very little progress on the knitting front, there will be lots to share about our camping trip.  We haven't been out in our camper since October 2019!  This probably explains why it has taken us all week to get ready to leave.  

I checked the campground information yesterday, and they do note that it is bear country (but we have lots of bear spray), and also that there is a momma cougar with two cubs who has been seen frequently on one of the trails (not one I plan to go on!)

Mostly I plan to sleep, and swim and play crib with my son.  I hope also to sing along to my dh's guitar playing and maybe, just maybe I will knit a wee bit more on the socks.  

I have started the planning for my friend's gansey.  I have asked her mom to sneak me a sweater that fits her well so I can get the dimensions from it without having to let her know I am knitting for her.  Hopefully she will have found a sweater by the time I get home from camping. 

We had to get the truck starter fixed this week too, and while waiting for the repair my dh and I walked around and saw this lovely mosaic on the sidewalk near the river.  

Sunday, August 1, 2021

Yopping Update #5 - It was a spinney kind of week

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Good Morning!  We had some rain in the wee hours of the morning for an hour or so.  Yay!  I think it has been over forty days since the last bit of precipitation.  I am sure the plant world is very happy. 

I did finish my toque to match my gansey and my fingerless mitts.

Lovely free pattern Rainbow Indigo Fisherman's Beanie

I then started my gansey style socks called Sunday Best 

Colour is more purple than this picture shows

I didn't get much done on them because I was busy spinning the 250 gms of fleece (unknown breed). I spun directly from the fleece using the long draw method.  It was easy to spin from the fleece and the locks seemed to easily get spun into the drafting area.  Using the long draw method made it easy to pick out the grasses and such as I came upon them and this particular fleece must have been washed because there wasn't much lanolin in it, but after each bobbin spun (I ended up with four) my lap was full of dust and fine dirt that I would have to shake off.  I ended up with 346 metres of aran weight yarn.  Now I have to decide what to knit with it.  I want to knit something fairisle using it with the 250 gms of white I spun during Tour de Fleece. 

Speaking of Tour de Fleece I found out yesterday that I won a $25 Etsy gift certificate.  I already found something to buy - a hand tooled birch wood darning disk.  They are made in the UK but it does say they ship to Canada.  Stay tuned. 

Also this week my key fob cover was looking tatty so I double knit a new one out of some rainbow hemp I have lying around. I forgot to take a picture of the one I replaced, but trust me this one looks much nicer. 

My navy Frangipani yarn arrived on Thursday so I hope to cast on my next gansey sometime this week.  I just have to verify the recipient's measurements.  

The best news of the week is that on Friday (our 44th Anniversary) our son arrived!!  We haven't seen him since October 2019.  We have three weeks with him!! (Yes, all those exclamation marks are necessary)

Last night's sunset walk

There were quite a few errands run this week getting ready for his visit, and for a short camping trip we hope to take  with him later in August.  Bear spray, camping chairs, and a propane fire pit (because wood fires are banned in our province because the dry weather has sparked many, many wild fires).  I even reorganized the camper and bought a three drawer unit for one of the cupboards so my husband's clothes can be better organized than just one big messy pile to sort through.  It feels good to be getting things done in the house and in the camper.  Between my husband and I it seems like we have deliveries coming to our door almost daily! You are welcome Amazon. 

Okay - that's it for this week.  Despite this morning's rain it is supposed to get hot and humid again later today so I had better get some chores done before the heat starts to build.  I already had my swim this morning (my son came too), so after chores I will get my knitting out for certain. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Swimming for my life

Can you see me?  June 2021

I am back in the pool.  Since July 13th I have been back in the pool.  I am now doubly vaccinated so I am back in the pool! I hadn't been in the pool since the first week of March 2020 when all hell broke loose and everything was shut down.  Remember March 2020?  Things were going to shut down for two weeks.  Two weeks!  And we all know how that turned out.

I managed 46 lengths my first day back.  That is 1150 metres.  (There was a swim suit malfunction, but I remedied this by changing suits the second time around.) The pool lets you book 45 minute sessions.  It took me a while to figure out the system of booking, and until I figured it out there were many times not available.  The pool allows thirty swimmers to book - up to a maximum of five swimmers per lane.  I have put my name on the waitlist a few times, and twice I have been successful taking a spot that someone else couldn't make. 

Most days there are only two to three of us in the 'medium' speed lane.  I feel very safe there.  I arrive ready to swim, and after 45 minutes I wrap myself in a big towel and drive home for my shower.  I have managed three swims a week since July 13th, and I am booked up until August 7th.  My son is coming to visit and I have booked him to swim with me too.  That will be awesome!

The last two times I have made 54 lengths in the 45 minutes.  It feels so good to practice my 'Total Immersion' swimming techniques and to feel strong in my strokes.  My arm is feeling good too.  No problem with the rotator cuff injury that plagued me through 2019 and 2020. 

I did manage to get in the ocean a few times since March 2020.  I went in on my birthday in October 2020 to celebrate turning 65, I plunged in on January 1, 2021 to celebrate the new year, and I swam twice in June - really swimming - not just running in and out as I did in October and January!

Anyone who reads this blog know that swimming is my life line.  Quite literally I swim for my life.  Swimming brings me peace and a momentary break from anxiety. For the 45 minutes I swim it is just me and the water and my strokes. Stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.  Stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, stroke, breathe.  And as I repeat the three strokes breathe, five strokes breathe rhythm I also say the 'Total Immersion' mantra to myself: Head down, Wide Tracks, Low Target, Patient Hand.  This mantra won't mean anything to anyone who isn't familiar with Total Immersion swimming, but it means a lot to me.  I have missed my long swims so much, and I feel with each session in the pool I am gaining some equilibrium with my mental health. 

We are going camping in a few weeks.  There will be a lake.  I have my swim buddy so I can safely go for some long swims and my dh will be able to spot me from shore.  I can't wait. 

I just read a post I wrote about my swimming from 2014.  You can check it out here, too. 

Oh, and by the way - I am still swimming upstream and sailing into the wind.