Sunday, January 30, 2022

Yopping Update #31 - Fighting dragons - literally and figuratively

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Well it has been a week.  

I started Tahesha the Dragon on my gansey, and although it is slow going, and there has been some tinking back, and some math complications, I am happy to have got to row 25.  Only 73 more to go!

my first ever icord cables with provisional cast-on

My gansey is taking all my knitting time these days. 

I have done a wee bit of spinning, but nothing much to show for it, however my beekeeping combs are working well for combing out the locks before spinning.  

Speaking of these days, I had quite a sharp dip in my mental health earlier in the week, but by Friday I was slowly pulling up and out.  Depression and anxiety are the two dragons I battle almost daily.  Today I feel like I might be winning.  Yesterday was a good day from start to finish which is stupendous for me. 

I did a fair bit of retail therapy again this week.  I did order a knitting belt and some long dpns.  I am looking forward to trying them.  Knitting my gansey on two circs (2.25mm) does cramp up my hands a bit and knitting belts are suppose to help alleviate such things.  We shall see.  It is always fun to try new things (I keep telling myself). 

I ordered a new scale for weighing my projects.  The one I have is very old and sometimes turns on, and sometimes doesn't, and sometimes turns on and then promptly turns off.  I am relegating it to the kitchen as hubby often wants to borrow my scale when he is cooking so he can deal with the on/off issues and I won't be worrying the scale I am using is covered with flour, or something sticky. 

I also order four skeins of hemp to make some more doubleknitted kitchen pot-holders.  I am going to make another KnitPicks order as soon as white Brava Sport is back in stock.  I decided my tree skirt will be red and white so I need more of each colour, and also I will throw in more sock yarn just because (and to get the free shipping).

On Friday an antique popped up on facebook marketplace and, well, to make a long story short - look what I brought home yesterday. 




top - opened

It is a sewing machine case for a treadle Singer sewing machine.  It is over 100 years old and, well, it was love at first sight.  I have my Mum's Singer and I think it will fit in there, but for now I am using it to store spinning supplies.

I reorganized my knitting magazines the other day, and culled a few to give away.  I also donated some sock needles and sock pattern books to a one room school north of here.  My friend teaches there and her students want to learn to knit socks. 

So despite all my buying, I am also trying to keep decluttering too and anyways now I have new furniture in my craft room I have to make sure things all have a place!

I did get out on Tuesday for a very long bird walk.  I manage 9 km, which meant that the next day with a short 2.5 km walk I finally finished this:


Now any kilometers I log go towards my next challenge of walking the distance of the Kruger Safari Park in Africa.  These Conqueror Challenges keep me motivated and the medals you receive are pretty awesome.  I will post a picture when the Ring Road medal arrives. 

It is rainy here today - the first in a while, and we are expecting snow later tonight or tomorrow.  We have all our groceries in as of yesterday, and there is firewood in the carport so I suspect today I will be nestled on the couch, watching 'The Good Place', and wrestling with a dragon or too. 

I hope, dear readers, you will tame whatever dragons you are wrestling with these days. 

These days are not easy, but they are the days we have and I am working hard at being grateful for all I do have.

Like this:

spring daffodils
And these:

six wooden bird buttons that came with my knitting magazine

And of course, this:

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Yopping Update #30 - Beekeeping and knitting - What?

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Well I hope my title got your attention.  As I mentioned last week I have been participating in a challenge on Ravelry that revolves around the themes of the Harry Potter series.  I challenged myself to spin 100gm of locks I have in my fibre stash and to do this I wanted to source out some combs to tease out the locks before spinning and then to learn how to use the diz I won in Tour de Fleece two summers ago. 

Sourcing combs was a) frustrating because almost everywhere I looked they were out of stock, and b) they are very expensive (around $175 for a set of mini combs).  While searching aimlessly I came across a blog that talks about an inexpensive alternative.  Beekeeping uncapping combs.  What?  I know, right.  So I went online to Princess Auto and ordered two, that with shipping included, was under $20.  Who doesn't love a bargain. 

The challenge started yesterday so I go out my new 'combs' and after watching this video to explain how to use wool combs I set to work. 

First comb loaded

first little bird nest ready to spin

and she's off

Otherwise this week I have been working on my gansey.  I started the motifs and bsides the first row having the wrong stitch count (because apparently I can't add and then multiple x2) and having to tink back and fix it - the following 41 rows have been smooth (albeit slow) sailing.  I average about 10 rows a day and because the motifs repeat I can watch tv and only rarely have to reverse a knit or purl stitch that I have misplaced. 

I am looking for some long dpns (12 - 16 inches) in 2.25mm and I want to try using a knitting belt for these ganseys.  I think my hand wouldn't cramp up as it seems too lately with the circular needles I am using.  Knitting Belts and long dpns are the traditional way to knit ganseys.  I can't seem to find a source in Canada, and I hate paying the exchange and the shipping and the duty costs from the USA.  I'll keep looking, but so far no luck.  

I am almost at the point where I can start the underarm gussets

Since I was on a Harry Potter theme via Ravelry my dh and I watched all the HP movies over the past couple of weeks.  Now the new season of Ozark is up, and we have also been watching YellowJackets so I am lined up this week for more tv knitting, or Knitflixing as my friend Fitznstarts calls it.  Oh, and also the new season of Billions starts tonight!

I got quite a bit of walking in this week, and lo and behold Spring really is coming because a) 

the ducks are back in the pond

and b)

I just re-read last week's blog post and I did manage to vacuum and dust, however the windows still need washing and it is more noticeable at the moment because the sun is shining and apparently will continue to do so for a week or so.  I better get to it. 

One of my walks took me to the local garden store to look for a new pot for my jade tree that needs a new home.  I couldn't find one I liked (in my price range).  When did plant pots get sooooo expensive?  But I did buy myself a new addition for my front porch. 

Lenten Rose

So there is my week.  A lot of walking, some retail therapy, some knitting and Knitflixing, and even some fibre prep and spinning.  

Is January over yet?  I want January to be over.  Pandemic fatigue is real for me these days, but I am hoping that the arrival of the spring birds and plants will get me over the hump and into February.  

At least February is only 28 days long.


Sunday, January 16, 2022

Yopping Update #29 - Knit knit knit and a book sale too

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Good Day, dear Reader,

I have spent the last week  - 

a) mostly in my jammies because I had some kind of virus (not CoVid), 

b) reading and learning the ins and outs of the Harry Potter House Cup challenges,

c) knitting endlessly on the plain section of my latest gansey,

d) binge watching pretty much everything (see a and c above), oh and this:

My novel will be on sale on (not sure about the other Amazon platforms) for $1.99 for 48 hours starting January 17th, 2022 at 8am PST.  With the Amazon self publishing platform I am allowed to run a promotion once every three months.  If you want to help spread the word to others please feel free.  I got my first cheque from Amazon at the end of December.  Drum roll please........$48.93 Canadian!  Hoo-hoo - I am trying not to spend it all in one place. 


Still, it does mean I am now not just a published author, but also one who has been paid!

On the knitting front I finished two wee gnomes for my December 2022 Advent calendar, and each gnome was submitted to the Harry Potter House Cup challenges - one for the Potions class, and one for Defense of the Dark Arts.

qualified for potions class because duplicate stitch is irritating!

qualified for Defense of the Dark Arts because it evokes a happy memory

NB: Duplicate stitch still irritating

The socks from last week I submitted to the Care of Magical Creatures class  because I read that if you find a frozen hummingbird you should bring it inside and but it in a sock to wam it up so that when it can fly again it doesn't fly all around your house.  When you see the sock start to move you can release the wee little bird back outside.  Good to know if our temperatures drop into the minus degrees again like they did for that ten days in December. 

I have taken up another challenge to get my dear old spinning wheel spinning again.  This is another Harry Potter House Cup challenge to craft something with vintage (older than ten years) tools, yarn or pattern.  Since my wheel was made in 1971 it definitely qualifies. 

I have some lovely blonde locks to spin (not sure of the breed), and it will be a nice break from the knit, knit, knitting I am doing to get my gansey up to the definition ridge so I can begin the patterning. 

the two markers indicate how much I can do each day

I have knit about 8 1/2 inches so far and want to have 12 inches to add the extra length.  I can knit about 1 1/2 to 2 inches a day.  286 stitches on 2.25mm needkes in stocking stitch.  I have to wear a thimble on my right index finger to protect it from the pokey needle.

I have been out for a few walks despite not feeling so great some days.  Last Sunday we went for a walk and I saw a Kingfisher catch a fish, and then take it into a nearby tree to savour it.  I got a video but it is pretty blurry, still you can see it flicking the fish around in its beak.  

All the Christmas decorations are put away, except for the window lights which come down today.  My craft room is once again tidy without all the extra furniture and plants stashed in there to make room for the tree and a keyboard my husband and I set up.  I reorganized all my plants, and planted the Amaryllis bulb Santa brought me for Christmas.  My kitchen nook has become my little greenhouse/solarium it seems. 

I am feeling better today.  My fever has finally broken, my head isn't as congested, and I am feeling more energetic.  I had to line up (in our car) for forty-five minutes on Tuesday to get a CoVid rapid test kit as my doctor wanted me to be tested.  The test was negative, but I still self-isolated all week so not to spread whatever it is to anyone else.  

Today?  Well besides knitting, I HAVE to dust some surfaces and vacuum.  I might even wash a window or two so that when the sun comes out (IF the sun comes out) I won't be horrified at how grimy the view is.  

So that is it for me this week.  Other yoppers updates can be found on the top right hand side of my blog.  

I wish you all a good week, a safe week, a healthy week, and a week where there is some joy and maybe even a happy surprise or two. 

Saturday, January 15, 2022


 Happy Birthday dear girl,

Thirty-three today, and not a snowstorm in sight neither here nor where you are.  I hope today you are being spoiled by your dear husband and daughter and all who love you.  You deserve to be spoiled. 

It has been far too long since I hugged you - three years to be exact.  A lovely fajita dinner surrounded by family with a wee newborn daughter upstairs too. The time flies.

If you are thirty-three then I must be sixty-six!  And so it is.

I know for certain in my heart that I will be with you in person this year.  We both owe it to ourselves to make that happen.  

The Christmas lights are still twinkling in the window as they do every year.  We always left them up for your birthday and even though you are not here with us, the lights remind me of you with every wink and blink and colour.  

I will take them down tomorrow and that will make me a little sad. 

Today also, my Dad, your grandfather, would have been ninety-eight years old.  Oh, how I wish you could have known him.  How I wish I could have known him for more than seventeen years. But, life unfolds as it unfolds and it seems I have little control over that as I am learning. 

Today is your day.  Today is the day I tell you what a great mother you are and how I marvel at the relationship you and your daughter have.  I hope when she is thirty-three her sixty-three year old mother will remember these years and all the special moments they shared.  I hope that your ninety-six year old mother will be there to witness it.  I plan to.  Shall we make it a date?

Happiest of days, dear one, and all the rest to come. 

I miss you. 

Tu me manques.

NedostajeŇ° mi.

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Yopping Update #28 - A frog, A finish, and one wee little gnome

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I was almost finished my second gansey wrister and then realized I really wasn't liking the fit so....FROG!

I may try to re-knit in a smaller size, but I really started these because I had nothing on my needles and wasn't inspired to start anything else.   But now I have lots of ideas so the wristers may or may not get back in the queue.  Life is too short to knit anything but things that give me joy. 

I did finish another pair of socks - which I LOVE.  General Hogbuffer patterns are always a delight to knit - and these ones honoured Gladys Thompson who knit a book on Guernseys, so it was a win-win.  As a side note I have requested her book from my local library so I hope to read it soon. 

Gladys in Dandelion colourway of Knitpicks Stroll

I then started to swatch for my next gansey.  I am still creating the final pattern, but swatching is a good idea when going rogue on a pattern.  I want to make this gansey longer so wear over leggings - more like a tunic than a sweater, and I am still finalizing the motifs I want to use but a dragon will be the main focus on the front and back. 

Ah yes, there will be math involved

Last night I started my first advent gnome - well, started and finished! One done, 23 to go.


duplicate stitch is not my favourite pasttime

Otis does not like sharing the Havana blanket with Gnaomi

I have entered both the socks and the gnome in the Harry Potter Cup Challenge.  It is a group that my dear friend Fitznstarts got me into.  I love the Harry Potter books, and it is a fun way to get credit for projects I have on the go each month.  If you are on Ravelry and want to check it out you can find the group here. 

I did get my gansey scarf blocked this week.  It blocked out to 8 inches wide and 58 inches long. 

It is hard to get a photo of such a long scarf

The weather has warmed up above freezing so my little hummingbirds are doing well.  If fact today the sun is shining and the roads seem clear of snow so I am off for a walk.  My exercise for much of last week was shovelling snow!

My daughter requested a snowman  (she misses the snow) so on Thursday I made her and my granddaughter this:

Her Dad's toque, my mitts, my grandfather's scarf, a carrot nose (of course), pomegranite mouth, and the eyes are chocolate bells from the chocolate shop!

I sent her the photo and received this delightful one in return. 

walking softly and carrying a big rock!

We had some nighttime visitors on Wednesday night.  

little raccoon feet in the snow
the two dollar coin gives a reference to size

Okay, okay, the sun is shining and I must get out for a walk before more snow comes.  I think I will wear my new gansey scarf!

Sunday, January 2, 2022

Yopping Update #27 - Introducing Gnombleberries and Gnewts

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Happy New Year dear Readers!   

I did make the goal of 21 pairs of socks in 2021.  I finished these on December 30th.

and all ends sewn in too!

I was a full 24 hours with nothing on my needles!  I started a pair of gansey wrist warmers with left over Frangipani - one almost done.

leftovers from my three 2021 ganseys

I plan to start planning my newest gansey today or tomorrow or sometime this month.  And of course because it is January I do have to start my two January gnomes.  My goal is to knit 24 little gnomes over the year with numbers from 1 - 24 on their tummies for another advent calendar.

Speaking of Gnomes I present my two Advent Gnome knits.  There are actually four gnomes because each Gnombleberry has a Gnewt in its backpack. 

Pack to pack....back to back 

Yes, we had a very white Christmas

visiting the baby Jesus

It was unseasonably cold here Christmas week - getting down to -12 during the day so we had to rig up some heat for our resident Anna's hummingbirds. 

The icicles are amazing this year on our eaves. 

And for the first time I can remember in 40 years the duck pond froze over solid enough for ice skaters and hockey players to skate on it. 

We went down to the beach one day and watched the ducks, and then my son noticed all these herons sitting in the trees. 

Here is one of the seven we saw in three different trees

Of course there were lots of video chats with our daughter and her family.  

Christmas Eve "Visions of sugarplums danced in her head"

Someone's 3rd birthday!

It is warmer today - actually above freezing and all the icicles have melted. 2022 begins.  May it bring us all peace and health and please, please, please an end to this virus.  

Stay safe, stay calm and Knit On is my motto for this coming year. Maybe some crochet too.  And some watercolour paintings.

Oh, and (my husband adds for me) to stop being so stubborn).

Who me?