Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Soggy Saturday

When I got home earlier this week the weather was quite nice. Traffic, meaning the two cars ahead of me and the one behind, got stopped for a few minutes on the road while an accident was dealt with. It wasn't a spot I normally stop, so I decided to take a picture while I had the chance.

I wish it was like that today. We have our first garden committee meeting this morning, followed by our fund raiser, which is delivering truckloads of bark mulch to various cottages. This involves standing in the back of the truck shovelling the mulch into waiting wheelbarrows. I'm not sure which job is the hardest, the shovelling or the wheelbarrow pushing. What I do know is they are both going to be equally wet. It's pouring outside, with no sign of letting up in the near future. To give you an idea of just how wet it is out there, I just took this picture from my back door.

On a different note I have been meaning to show you the yarn I won in a giveaway over at the Knitionary blog. It's five skeins of luscious Rowan yarn! Sorry for the horrible picture. It's so dark and stormy the light in our cottage is not the best for taking photos.

I've got several knitting projects on the go right now, including this secret project. Miles and miles of garter stitch. I'm not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing.

Finally, before I head off to my meeting and subsequent drenching, if you want a good laugh go read this post of Mel's at Coal Valley View. It's her letter to Mr. Zuckerberg. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Back and Forth

This is a quick hello. I've just returned from visiting my mom, and in a few hours Alexandra will be here. I've got a Guinness stew in the oven, and some blackberry fool in the fridge to have for dessert when she arrives. Tomorrow we have to be in Vancouver by 10:00 for an appointment, then we are planning a shopping trip to IKEA. All of this means I won't be able to catch my breath until Thursday, but I'm not complaining. It will be nice to have Alexandra here for a couple of days.

I had a very nice visit with my mom, and she seems to be doing well. She's still telling me how to drive, and trying to get me to eat the low fat yogurt she has in her fridge. I followed her driving instructions, except for the time they would have had us on the freeway heading to Seattle instead of her apartment on the east side of Spokane. But I put my foot down about the low fat yogurt. We even took in a movie. Well, I took in the movie. My mom slept through the whole thing.

The drive to my mom's takes about seven and a half hours as long as there isn't any snow and I don't get stuck in rush hour as I go through Seattle. Much of the drive is through central Washington, which is rather stark. However, there are some things that are interesting on that section of the trip. I love this wind farm. They certainly found the perfect spot. The wind never stops blowing there, and there are signs warning drivers to take care.

My years in Kamloops taught me there's beauty to be found in the desert. There are also rattlesnakes, so it pays to watch where one is walking.

This is the Columbia River Gorge. I always like to think of Lewis and Clarke making their way along this river as they explored the West.

Heading back home the desert gives way to the mountains. If you look closely, in the distance you can see Mt. Rainier. I wish I had been able to get a better picture, but there was no place to pull off the road where it was the most visible. I had to settle for this view from a rest area.

I'll be back again once I have time to catch my breath.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

In March!

It was fun reading through all your comments regarding kitchen hygiene. Opinions ranged from preferring that hands are washed at the kitchen sink so as to save the good bathroom towels from getting dirty, to people like me who think the bathroom is the only place dirty hands should be washed. One topic that was brought up that I hadn't mentioned was the "hand shakers." Those are the people who wash their hands at the sink, then proceed to shake them, coating everything nearby in drops of water. Yes, this is also very annoying. Several of you have two towels in your kitchen, one for hands and one for dishes. This is a brilliant idea, and I might try it next time we have a houseful of people.

Thank you also for identifying the Japanese quince. I suspect it's blooming a bit earlier than usual. Our weather has been more like the middle of May than March. To give you an idea of just how warm it has been, here is a picture of Lucy that Karsten texted me Sunday. Barefoot at the beach. In March!

My crocus are already past their prime, and now the narcissus are starting to bloom. At least I think they are narcissus and not daffodils. Or are they the same thing? Anyway, I planted the bulbs last fall and now I can't remember what I put in. I seem to use the phrase "I can't remember" a lot lately.

This week I planted some broccoli. In March! I have no idea if it will survive. A friend gave me some of her extra plants, so the only investment I have in them is the time it took to plant them. You can see my garlic in the background. It's at least six inches high already, and the garlic patch down at the community garden is even taller.

Today we have dark skies and rain for the first time in a couple of weeks. It's been a welcome change. Things were so dried out here I actually had to hand water some of my plants over the weekend. In March!

I've managed to finish a pair of socks. This yarn is from Fibernymph Dye Works, and is one of their Inversible Sets colourways. I'm saving them for next fall. Given our warm spring, I think wool sock wearing weather is almost finished. Plus, I always like to have a few new pair to pull out come the beginning of October.

I'm off to Spokane to visit my mom in the morning, and will return Monday. Have a great week!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

The Sunday Edition

I have two projects that I've been meaning to show you, but I can only take credit for having made one of them. This is the No Guts Boxie Pouch, a free pattern available on Craftsy.

I'm happy with the way it turned out except for one thing. It's actually a fairly major thing, and I'm feeling sort of annoyed about it. Being a novice seamstress (or maybe I should say a novel seamstress?), I depend on the expertise of the people at the fabric shop. I asked for fusible interfacing but was clearly sold something other than that.

This fact didn't become apparent until I was halfway through the project and whatever it was they sold me started to melt when ironed, and disintegrate when sewn. As a consequence, the bag doesn't have the body it should have. But still, it works, and it holds my sock knitting. Best of all, now that I know how to make my own project bags I'll never have to buy another one.

The second project is a special gift Alexandra made me for my birthday last month. She magically turned a mason jar into a candle holder. It makes me happy every time I look at it.

I was both shocked and pleased when Kate Davies asked if she could include my Bluebells sweater in one of her recent blog posts.

Karsten and Diana have this gorgeous plant blooming at the side of their house. None of us have been able to identify it. If you happen to know, or even have a guess, please leave a comment.

Finally, there's been a somewhat lively discussion amongst family and friends this week regarding kitchen hygiene. I won't go into how the discussion got started, because to do so would identify the guilty culprit. But then again, maybe not, because after talking this over with others it turns out we all have a guilty culprit, or two, or three in our lives. So here's my question for you. Does it bother you when someone uses your kitchen sink to wash their dirty hands, then dries their hands on your kitchen dish towel? It makes me crazy. I always point out that the guilty party wouldn't be too happy if the kitchen staff at a restaurant started using the bathroom hand towel to dry the dishes. If what is being done in the kitchen is something you wouldn't want done in a restaurant, then don't do it. Besides, I consider the kitchen sink to be for washing dishes, prepping food, and cleaning hands that are dirty from things like cutting an onion or mincing a garlic. Not from taking out the garbage, changing the baby's diaper, etc. I would love to hear your opinions!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

A Picture Post

Sorry for the blog silence. I was in Victoria for a few days visiting Lucy, and there wasn't a spare moment for blogging while I was there. She is a very busy toddler! Diana and Lucy picked me up at the ferry terminal Thursday afternoon. On our way to their house we stopped at a park so Lucy could play. She's wearing the green sweater I knit for her last fall. I was happy to see it still fits.

Lucy loves stories, and like most toddlers wants to hear the same one over and over again. She liked the Mitten book, and the fingerless mitts I made her fit. As predicted though, she didn't keep them on her hands for very long. She kept peeling them off, then holding them up for me to put back on.

Friday afternoon I watched Lucy while Karsten and Diana worked. We read more stories, coloured, played peekaboo, and played with her favourite toys.

When she got up from her nap one of her pigtails had come out, so I took out the remaining pigtail and gave her a triceratops hairdo.

Saturday we went to a different playground. Lucy liked the slide, but I think her favourite thing to do was to roll in the mud. It was a bit like walking Fergus.

As you can see from some of the pictures, Lucy's hair has a way of escaping the elastic bands, so Sunday morning before I left I decided to try braids instead. The report that evening was that they had managed to stay in all day.

Now I'm back home again and have a long "to do" list. Taxes need to be filed, clothes need to be washed, groceries need to be purchased. This week the weather forecast is for sunny skies and warm days. Well, warm for the beginning of March. I need to get some pruning done in the yard, and, unbelievably, there are already a few weeds that need to be pulled. I'm tempted to plant some kale seeds, just to see if they would make it. I also have a couple of finished objects to show you, but that will have to wait until my next post. Happy Tuesday!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Bluebells vs. Dumbbells

It's such a great feeling to finish a major knitting project. The minute I saw Kate's blog post about Bluebells, one of the sweaters featured in her new book Yokes, I knew I would be knitting it. I loved everything about it. The colours were perfect for me, which basically means there wasn't a hint of yellow in it. Plus I loved Kate's representation of the wild bluebells found in her native Scotland in the springtime.

I enthusiastically cast on January 1st, and in no time at all finished the ribbing and was ready to start the bottom band of colourwork. I was a little surprised when I looked at the chart and saw it was calling for a shade of blue other than the main colour. I didn't recall seeing another shade of blue in my bag of yarn from Jamieson & Smith. I went upstairs to my craft closet, hoping I hadn't made a mistake when I ordered.

As soon as I saw the bag I realized what had happened. I had indeed ordered the correct yarn. What I hadn't done was look at what I was grabbing when I pulled a ball of blue yarn out of the package and cast on. I had just knit 8 rounds of twisted rib in the contrast colour meant to be the bluebells. Fergus sits next to me when I knit. I'm afraid he heard a few bad words.

The rest of the knitting went well until I got to the end of the colourwork in the yoke. Then, unbelievably, I made the same mistake. Instead of switching to the main colour of blue I kept knitting in the contrast colour. As you can see in this picture, the two shades of blue are fairly similar, and I knit in low light in the evening. Which hopefully means I'm not a complete moron.

Fergus heard a few more bad words and I decided that the sweater should be renamed Dumbbells.

Ravelry details here

In spite of all the self-induced trauma, I have to say I love this sweater.

I changed the shaping and length a bit, and it ended up being the perfect fit.

There's a small part of me that is actually hoping for a return of winter so I can wear it. Which no doubt really does make me a dumbbell.

*Edited to say that I did rip back my knitting and fix my mistakes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mitts and Mountains

First off, I want to share some pictures from our drive home on Sunday. It was a spectacular day. The sky was blue, the roads were bare, and best of all, Kellen and Anita did all the driving which meant I could sit in the backseat and enjoy the view.

The one feature that dominates the drive across the southern portion of our province is mountains. I took this picture just outside Osoyoos.

Osoyoos has the highest average daily maximum temperature in all of Canada, which is why the mountains look so different than in our damp corner of BC. You see the same type of terrain in the next picture, taken near Keremeos. I always worry about these rocks deciding to slide on down the hill whenever I drive by them.

A herd of mountain sheep crossed the road in front of us, then stood next to it long enough for us to take some pictures.

You might have noticed the lack of snow in these photos. The southern part of British Columbia has had an unusually mild winter. It looks and feels more like the beginning of spring, which makes the timing on my latest completed knitting project a little bit off.

Lucy doesn't like wearing mittens. In fact, she refuses to wear them. So I decided to knit her a pair of fingerless mitts, thinking that maybe if she has her fingers free she might keep them on. To help things out a bit more I got her Jan Brett's beautiful book The Mitten to give to her along with the mittens.

Tartan & Tweed Mitts, Ravelry details here

To give you a better idea of just how tiny these mitts are I put a pair of my fingerless mitts next to Lucy's.

I am hopeful they will still fit next winter, but if not at least she can wear them now when she listens to the story being read. How is winter progressing where you live? Are you buried in snow, or do you have crocus blooming in your gardens? I'll show you what's blooming here in my next post.