Thursday, December 18, 2014

Count Down

I was casting on a sock (again and again) and I realized that I do better with counting down than counting up. I always do the last 10 stitches like a shuttle launch.
 The trumpeter swans are resting in the empty corn fields on their migration south. Many of our friends and neighbours go to Mexico and California. We call them Snowbirds.
 I managed to get a shot of me wearing my Bluets Sauvage Kid Mohair and meriono Prairie Ridge shawl. I am trying to get better at selfies, but that means I have to take more. I bought this wool from the goat herder in Saguenay, Quebec on our cruise in October. It matches my Namaste knitting bag.
 This crazy yarn was so very extra. But I had to grab it. I think it's a one of a kind from Fleece Artist's other line. It was dyed in Nova Scotia, but I bought it in PEI. Really want to go back there.
It quickly turned into a Y Not cowl. I never did block it.
Just threw it on and took a selfie. I wear it lots. Love the colours and the squish of the merino. It's pretty cold here. I may have to cast on another pair of mittens for myself. now that all the Christmas mittens are done.
 That's right. Paw's ginormous thrummed mittens are finally finished. The yarn is Cottage Craft from Nova Scotia (another souvenir skein). I gave up the idea of felting for him because they would have to start out so big! These are each the size of a baby sweater as it is. I hope he wears them when he's up at my sister's ranch.
 Tis the season for butter tarts. Check. This morning I am making my favourite from my Grandmother, Anna Sarah Friesen's recipes: Oatmeal cookies with date filling. She baked and cooked for 9 kids and I learned a lot about simple foods and generous helpings when I spent my after school time practicing piano at her farm just a few doors down.
 Scott was home for a Christmas party last weekend and we took a trip to Harrison Hot Springs, about 40 minutes north toward the Fraser River. It's a huge lake. I was reminded of it when we visited the Lake District in England. My sister has a cabin there, but I haven't been for years. We bought some treats at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory for gifts.

 This poor sock. The November sock is finished, but I had to take out the fancy hemmed top and put in a loose rib because I should not forget how muscular my calves are. I also did the toe twice. Hmmm.

The second one is on the needles but not getting a lot of love. I have the Matchmaker cowl now underway with my cherished skein of Wollmeise, a crochet scarf of tiny stitches (and tiny progress) and I took my needlepoint to the knit party to celebrate the end of Christmas knitting.

 We swapped skeins. I was gifted another skein of Nirvana that will help me make my crochet scarf big enough and still have yarn for a picot edge.
 Our dear sweet Carly is not walking very well. Her hips are letting her down. We hope we can keep her comfortable and give her lots of love while the family is home this Christmas.
 And still we work toward hope. The Amaryllis is finally peeking up. I'll bet the one I gave to Hospice is a lot further along.
 Here's me getting ready to go to choir. The Women's Chorus is singing with the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra this weekend. Total Christmas fun. These are the things I am counting on for our traditions. The Pageant was a huge success with lots of little angels and shepherds. The youth group were great Magi and everyone was super. Some of the moms cried- bonus points.

And Emily is home, which means super baking and crafts. She has no fear. We will be doing lots of clean up in this count down to Christmas.
We hope for you a warm Christmas of many blessings.

Monday, December 08, 2014

Cheery Ho Ho Ho

 After being hauled to the carpet by a chest cold, I have been able to start catching up on fun things.
 We  had D's favourite beef roll ups, in which I just use a basic biscuit recipe with butter, roast beef leftovers and salt and pepper,
 And make some pretty awesome comfort food.
 There was a craft crawl in Greendale, the next farming neighbourhood. I love the hand made soaps, my favourite potter and this year, the vinegar and herb farm.
My big sister invited me to Hycroft House in Vancouver for another, fancier craft fair, and I was so happy to be able to go for the first time.
 The heritage house is maintained by the University Women's Club. They gave me a bursary when I graduated from Sardis Secondary School.

 After quite a bit of fussing, the Monster mitts are finished for my daughter's boyfriend. I ended up cutting the colours to make them short enough. Not as advertised. I don't knit a lot of stripes. But the Must Stash yarn is beautiful and I think he'll like them.
 I made ginger snaps for an information evening at our church about our town's first youth shelter. There were enough left over for the ladies to serve them at coffee time after church. D really likes them and I hid some in the freezer for when the kids come home.
 Walking around the neighbourhood, I am noticing changes. Most of the leaves have gone. There has been some standing water because of heavy rains (even for us) and the Christmas lights are coming out to cheer up the grey skies.
 My last Christmas knit is mittens for my Paw. You can see why I am futzing a little. His had is so large.
 Buttons finally were placed on the Slade sweater. I hope he likes it. There are no details or colour or anything that would make it fun to knit.
 I made mini banana breads for the Country Kitchen and Santa Breakfast, but I was busy with the Youth Group, serving at the soup kitchen down town. They were super and we were treated well.
 I made a bracelet with the leftovers from Emily's first yarn dying. Just some glue and a bangle.
 Of course there was shortbread. Only six batches this year, but I am ready to make more if we run out.
 One of our traditions is a sisters' lunch. We have been going 90 minutes to Merritt over the Coquihalla Highway. My oldest sister drives, so I get to knit. The Lenore socks are actually coming along. Just another inch or so before the first toe. That would be the November sock. But when the Christmas knitting is done, I will still have more year.
 One of my sister's brings her friend, who got kicked by a horse and broke her leg in two places. I was fascinated by the corks on the end of her crutches. We never had that when I worked ortho.
 The Brambles Bakery was awesome and the decorations were delightful.
 D produced a big Celtic Connection concert for the pipe bands. It sold out and was exhausting. I drummed for my band and the C&D that I used to drum with. Also did a guitar/voice solo that was very well received. After that we went to the city for a few days break.
 A few of the treats we got at the big book store. I was also able to pick up some make up and hand creams, etc that I can't get at home.
 From the 29th floor, we can see St. Andrew's United Church and the North Shore mountains.
 I have never been to Dressew before, a Vancouver icon. There were 3 walls of zippers! Lots of fabric and stuff to make costumes. I bought some notions at crazy good prices.
 We had coffee with my eldest nephew. He fixes computers and his shop has a great assortment of old technology.
 Friday was Food Bank and Open House at CBC. We are Radio One geeks, so we really enjoyed it.
 A great treat is the sausage and egg biscuit at Tim Horton's. D was tickled by the knitting on my coffee cup (half hot chocolate).
 Then I pulled out my coffee cozy, for real knitting on my coffee cup.
 On the Saturday, it was pelting rain. I was lucky to stop at Three Bags Full on the way home. It is a small and carefully curated shop with very friendly people.
 I missed the Knitty City event while I was travelling. It was really big this year. So I was catching up a little.
 Bought some eye searing yellow yarn for a hat. Don't run over me while I'm walking the dog.
And now we have some mulling spices for cozy afternoons when, like today, there is a storm warning. The tree is up and lit and waiting for ornaments. I have more baking to do, but I am happy to be on track and practicing the Pageant with the kiddies and Christmas music with my church choir as well as the Chilliwack Women's Chorus. Looking forward to singing with the Chilliwack Metropolitan Orchestra.
Now for some tea and knitting. Hope you get some too.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Revving Up

 We had a chilly and very windy Remembrance Day. It was exciting to play the bass drum for the first time in this parade. Because we are supported by the Agassiz Legion, that's where we march.
Later we joined the other bits of our band at the Legions in Chilliwack and Vedder and then on to the Anafvets. I remember doing medical support for the big parade in downtown Vancouver when I was in the Reserve Forces Medical Corps in the early 1980's. I never paid for a beer when I was in uniform, and once, a whole table of Royal Canadian Mounted Police were leaving, and they each put a glass of beer in front of me on their way out.
 The Magpie bakery has moved from Agassiz to just west of here. They have a brick oven and make (awsome!!!) croissants on Friday and Saturday. Maybe this winter won't be so cold.
But if it is, I made my Mom some thrummed mittens from a Fleece Artist kit I bought in Charlottetown. Casbah! Nothing too good for Xmas gifts.

Scott's Slade sweater is still languishing and waiting for buttons. It was acres of navy stockinette and I am not sure of the fit. Hopefully he will like it and wear it and we can get pictures.
 Charity knitting for our hand made hats collection. I raided my chunky bucket in the stash. This Fleece Artist Tosca just sang to me in the skein. But I hated it knitted up, even in a cowl. Lala to the rescue. Her Starving Artist hat pattern works for hand spun, so I thought I could squeak it through. Hopefully some teenage mom will appreciate the styling.
 I also whipped up a Janis hat and would make more, except I don't think the recipients want to look like a catalogue page. I may make another Starving Artist with a plainer yarn. These two hats count for the Stash and Burn Podcast's 15 Hats in 2015. I hope to make my hats before the fall fair so I can display them there.
 Toasty Cozy. Awesome pattern. This is made of chunky baby alpaca for my sister who does not believe in microwaves (no magic bag) but has to believe in sore joints.
 And one for her husband. I actually bought this merino chunky yarn because I didn't have anything as fine as the alpaca in the stash, and I didn't want to gip my BIL. He stayed here for a few days while he was working on his son's new house and was a delightful house guest.
 Too many things on the needles! I am still plugging away at the Baby Surprise Jacket. It is a lovely pattern that I have knit too many times to count, but it's unusual. I wanted to do a KAL with my knitting circle so I could support them through the disbelief. It's easy if you can follow directions, but it's amazing how hard that can be sometimes. This is for a December baby that I may never see, so the pressure is not on. I want to work on my Christmas list first.
 This is the November socks. I could easily finish it, but that would entail working on it, and I have Christmas presents to knit. I think I talked myself into finishing the sixth and last pair for Project Sock Drawer when I have done my gifts.
I am still working on a big something for my knitterly daughter who may read this if she is bored in her studies. I will post after Christmas. But can I say it will never end if I don't stop ripping back. Plus the yarn had a bad attack of moths (how did they get in to my stash!!!!) and I am having to piece and curse simultaneously.
 What do you do when you are overwhelmed by a to do list, sick at home with a cold and caught up on all your podcasts? You cast on a frivolous scarf for yourself. This is the Alpine Frost Scarf from an Interweave Crochet that I don't have. I dug around for some soft lace weight merino and downloaded the pattern. It is stupid simple, but that is a charm in itself. I have had a hankering for crochet and last year I had an irresistible urge to make a scarf that Rory wore in Gilmore Girls. Now I can sate both those impulses. But not right now. I'm practicing for our Pipe Band concert at the end of the month, preparing the Christmas Pageant and setting up the Christmas Cards. When I'm not knitting gifts.
Last night at practice, Big Al pulled out a scarf he is working on for his Grandma. You gotta love knitters and drummers.