Friday, September 19, 2014

Falling for the Ranch

 I finally got the time to get away to my sister's ranch, 3 hours east on the Coquihalla highway. I miss the rolling hills and the blue sky, but I forget how much I miss just talking with her about anything. We are only a year apart, and though we have different interests, we are interested in each other. We went riding for a few hours to look for stray cattle. I was there between hard days of gathering them up.
She let me ride Vinnie, one of her older foals. He is a real gentleman. Several of her horses are named for John Travolta.
 Their summer has been cool and wet. Strange, as they are usually semi-arid. Ours was hot and dry, there was a mix up at the check out. This was only their third fire. I brought smores which tipped them over. That's her husband who can fix anything. Their whole ranch is free from broken equipment and buildings and fences. It's not normal.
 The tomatoes in the greenhouse look like they're posing for a magazine. The zucchinis are huge because they are destined for cake. This greenhouse is twice the size of the one she had on the farm down here. See the little yellow box? Her son is an electrician and he just hooked up a heater because they had frost a few nights before. It was mild while I was there.
 One of the things we have to do is go to her daughter-in-law's wedding shop, First Comes Love. My nephew has remodelled the shop to include stunning racks of dresses and fancy dressing rooms. He was working on a sparkly display for glittery shoes while we were there, and it cracked me up because he has no idea how splendid it is.
 Fall is coming. We had real rain. D made french toast for breakfast on Sunday. Which is good because, between choir and Sunday school, I need to keep up my strength.
 I replanted my white baskets with purple fountain grass. Really had to have it this year. Not sure why, but I like it. Hopefully it will last until Christmas.
 We had BBQ beef on a bun and salad from my Paw's garden. It has been a bountiful year.
There was some knitting at the ranch, which made up for the long drive, listening to Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I read the books when they first came out in the early 1990's and I met the author at the Seattle Highland Games. But with the hype over the TV show,  I jumped on the band wagon. We watched on of the episodes at the ranch.
Just finished the pieces to Scott's Xmas sweater, Slade. They are blocking and I'm finishing up the October sock. I hope to wear the Starry Starry Night sock to the MOMA next month when I'm visiting the picture.
Also cast on the Newborn Vetebrae for the KAL on the Fat Squirrel Speaks. Loving the back episodes!  I tried to watch last year and didn't get the humour, but now I'm all over it. I have fallen for her, too.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

And Carry a Big Stick

It's starting to feel like autumn. The BC Teachers are striking and the government is not coming to the bargaining table, so the kids are not in school yet. It's very strange.
This past weekend was my first parade (Hope Brigade Days) with the bass drum. I have drummed tenor in parades, before, but I only played bass drum in the competition circle. It was great fun and we had a BBQ at our home for the band after.
This weekend is the Agassiz Fall Fair, another short parade and performance. DH makes a good Pipe Major and we are gathering pipers and drummers to the band who just want to play good music with good people. No competitions.
Yesterday was a rest day after a hectic weekend and I felt restless and a bit pointless going through my paper work and emails.
But this morning I am refreshed and queueing patterns, preparing Christmas ideas and getting ready for 3 big meetings to do with the children in the church. If I get all this started, I can go to my sister's ranch next week! I haven't been there since January! The picking away of every day.
I did finish the tubular ribbing on the back of Scott's Christmas sweater, Slade. It's a good thing I'm knitting it now because the navy is second only to black in difficulty to see.
In 3 weeks I head out to New York to go on a cruise with my best friend, but she leaves tomorrow on a pre-trip trip.
Will I have my September knitting finished? What will I take to knit on the cruise? Will I meet my Christmas knitting goals? Stay tuned.

Friday, August 29, 2014

A Stitch In Time

 My roses have come back after the big pruning. I get about 3 wheel barrows full when I trim the first blooms. These Queen Elizabeth roses are original to the house, so probably about the same age as me (50) and grow 8 feet tall. We had one at the farm that I always loved, and we walked through giant hedges of them in Sydney when we visited Australia in 1990. The other hedge was Peace roses, but mine has been slow to take.
 The dahlia bed is growing with gusto. These were originally given to Emily by one of the men at church because she always admired the bouquets on the communion table.
 A quick knit, the Rathtrevor had in beautiful yarn, Two Junipers, from the Canmore shop I visited last fall. It was a great success, but not the kind of hat I would wear. I love Tin Can Knits designs. Thankfully Emily was home to claim it. She is back to UVic and starting 3rd year Music Education next week.
 I've picked up an old needlepoint project and it is going really quickly. Right now all the leaves are done and I'm just filling in the back with "tapestry blue". Because I'm doing it free form, I struggled a bit with making all the decisions. But I had all the yarns and couldn't spend several hundred dollars on a kit for a pillow.
 Globe thistle brought into the house. It will dry a bit, but won't be everlasting.
 At knit night, we are finding it darkening before 9 pm and many flocks of geese are moving from their day time grazing in Sardis Park to fields in the west.
 Another Tin Can Knits. Can't say enough about their patterns. The False Creek cowl knit up so quickly and only used half the yarn I bought (on sale years ago) that I made another one. Two more Xmas present: check.
 I am borrowing D's kilt and just had to move the hip buckles. My bass drum is so different from the one I used to play that I am having to work hard! Teaching the adult tenor drummers is a delight and with their music and dance background, they are really learning well.
 Our first parade together was one of our young piper's wedding. Such a great day.


More stitching, I turned this into a pin cushion.


 Two sets of pecan pies have left the kitchen for BBQ's.
 I visited our local quilt store, Hamel's, and was so pleased with the great welcome.
 The light is changing and the grass is being cut for hay.
 When you walk without the dog, you find different companions.
 My nephew and his girlfriend are having a baby in December. Did I say I love Tin Can Knits? This waffles blanket knit up within a week and I have enough yarn left over to make another one!
 Loving The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcast. Amy Beth loves apples. I appreciate that she is maintaining her recording schedule through the summer. So many of my favourites have dropped off. And I like the company when I'm downloading audio books from the library, baking pies, knitting and doing ten other things.
 My Lintilla is finished. This is my favourite yarn ever!! Emily dyed it and it is such a great mix of colours and so soft. I'm so glad I didn't ruin it with the wrong pattern, but I don't think you can go wrong with Martina Behm.
Speaking of designers, Emily's pattern, The Nesting Shawlette has made it into the "Hot Right Now" board on Ravelry!
 This has been a big week with Vacation Bible School and I am the games maestro. There were water balloons and soccer balls and hula hoops.
And a pinata. Great fun! But exhausting.


 Carly thinks so too. It is finally cool enough to enjoy our shade chair again. Right now it is even raining a wee little bit.
 The basil has been exquisite this year.

 And, never one to rest a sore wrist from over crocheting, I am embarking on ripple pattern dishcloths.
 September's sock is finished and I have already started October's. I like the OMG heel, but I have a nasty gap in the first one. I'll try again. Once the toe is on, I can knit mindlessly to 9 1/2 inches. Yes, I do not have small feet.
Last night, after dinner, I enjoyed a quiet walk on the trail with the big black dog. I can't say I'm impatient for autumn to begin, but I am worn out from very hot days that are unusual here. It has been a good summer of friends and family. Technically we still have till September 21. But all we have is the time we are given, and we can be thankful for that.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Fair Share

 We had a great time at the fair, but it is always exhausting, helping my mom set up the needleworks and organizing our volunteers for the knitting table. Luckily for me, we have the most awesome people in our group.
 The sign maker in our group states it's time for a new sign. I will agree.
We had 15 baby layettes for our Fair Share class that are all donated to the Chilliwack General Hospital Auxiliary. They sell them in the gift shop and the money goes to the maternity ward for improvements. It's just one of the ways we try to connect with our community.
 We yarn bombed the "other knitted item" class with tea cozies and it was great fun! My Kate Davies sheep carousel won a second. The judge was my niece, and she didn't know it was mine, nor that it was knit of her mom's hand spun.
 Karen brought her matryoshka shawl that Emily designed. It's almost ready to go live on Ravelry.
 Mom was given pink deely-boppers and a big wand because she was in charge of the building. It was good to add humour to some of the more precious fair goers. Paw helped set everything up and then take it all down again.
 Priscilla and her piglets were a great hit.
 The barn next door to the home arts building was full of friendly critters.
 Not all were dignified.
 Some were shy.
 Emily came home after her summer courses finished and made friends with the friendly ones.
These two were so relaxed after their class had finished and seemed genuinely interested in hearing all about their breed mixes and their life stories.
This year I have to thank my knitters for manning the table and making it what they wished. I had an anniversary dinner on the Friday night and an in-law BBQ on the Sunday, just when things were wrapping up.
We are already scheming about next year's fair.
This September we are going to try a Baby Surprise Jacket knit a long, some entrelac classes and setting up a knitters' life list. If we're going to have a big circle of knitting friends, we may as well share our mistakes and successes.

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Wool and Flowers and Books, Oh My

It's the heat of the summer. The first roses have withered, the planters are thirsty and the grass is going brown. I'm trying out mojito recipes with my mint. Still need to balance the lime and the ice.

 For those of you who are playing #metricrevolution with the Knitmore Girls, here is my Paw's thermometer. It has been getting over 30 degrees which is pretty hot in this temperate rain forest. We switched to metric with much fuss and fever when I was in grade 5. I was lucky to discover the simplicity of measuring by tens. I can't tell you how many feet in a mile. In the hospital, and hospice, we mostly follow SI, System Internationale, to avoid misunderstandings. Some doctors haven't given up their archaic gtts and ungts. And we are supposed to mark the date: Year, month, day; but we do day, month year (increasing increments) which I still prefer over the random month, day, year.


 But I don't work there anymore. I had my last shift, which was not without its challenges and complications. My dear co-workers gave me flowers! Add that to the wool and the books I got for my birthday and there may be a correlation to pigs in sh*t.

 This is the yarn my daughter dyed for me for my birthday. Can't say enough about it. Her first attempt!
 This is what it wants to be, a Lintilla. Yes, Martina Behm, you are my esteemed leader. I will knit anything you sneeze at. I know the Nuvem was a crazy, koolaid drinking slog at the end, but the Sweet Georgia CashSilk lace was devine to the end. I have even worn it once at our knit night outside. The evenings are already perceptibly shorter, and with a breeze, there is a delicious chill in the evenings.
 Yarn bombing in the wild outside a store in Abbostsford, the next city west of us on the Trans Canada Highway. My BFF took me to lunch for my birthday and we did a bit of poking around in the shops.
 After the epic that was the Nuvem, I picked up my needlepoint again. This pattern could use a smaller grid to get more detail, but it is my favourite William Morris pattern, The Strawberry Thief, and I would love to have the cushion in my living room. I saw the original at the V&A in 1996.
 Scott was home, so there was grand grilled cheese events.
He and his friends hiked some of the local mountains and didn't get lost, but took 12 hours.
 I took him to our Local Harvest farmers market and the cheese shop. We picked up corn and had a great evening of movies in the cool, cool basement.
 If you get up early, you can make supper, hang the laundry and walk the dog before 10 am when it's too hot to do anything. I am a wimp.
 I picked 2 litres of blackberries. There had been someone in the patch before me, but I was taller and still got some nice, soft, warm ones. They are terrific on vanilla icecream!
The Christmas presents continue. I saw the Hidden Gusset pattern on knitty.com and immediately cast on a pair for my nephew. In the largest size, I used just over half the yarn expected. Scott tried them on before I finished the thumb. I like how they turned out except for the right leaning increase. It pulls too much on the given yarn (does anyone remember this in the Colour Affection?) I would do a different increase if I knit them again, but I had to make them match.
All the piggies are done (6 pair). Thanks to the Knit Girllls for keeping me company while I knit the last two.
And this is going to be a False Creek cowl for my niece. The first one knit up so quickly and only took one ball of chunky superwash wool, that I've already cast on and half finished another one. Then I get to hunt for buttons!
This weekend I am at the fair. Emily came home, we had a grand anniversary party last night up on Ryder Lake mountain, and have a family BBQ on Sunday. I think I like the fair more when I don't have to be there so much.