Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Airing My Dirty Laundry

Whoever came up with the phrase saying you shouldn't air your dirty laundry in public clearly didn't have any handknit items. Even though I wash my handknits during the fall and winter when needed, I still make a point of going through the process of washing everything during the summer months.

If you are a non-knitter reading this you must think I'm crazy to be taking all that time to wash things that aren't even dirty. I would be if it wasn't for the existence of one very small creature - the dreaded moth. Letting handknits sit and hibernate all summer is like issuing an open invitation to any moth within a hundred miles to come visit your favourite sweater and see if they can, in a very short amount of time, ruin what took you months to make.

If you have never washed a sweater or other non-washable item by hand here are some quick tips. (There is probably a better way to do it, but I have been doing it this way for years and have never yet ruined an item.) I start with a no rinse wool wash. Soak is my current favourite. I run some lukewarm water into the bathtub, pour a small amount of Soak under the faucet, then swish it around to make sure it is nice and bubbly. Then I gently take my handknit and push it under the water, making sure it is completely submerged.

Next I set the timer for fifteen minutes and make a cup of tea. (The tea is not crucial, but I recommend it anyway.) When the timer rings, and when your tea is finished, let the water out of the tub. Now comes the tricky bit. I very gently push down on the sweater before I lift it up, getting out some of the excess water. Then I carefully pick it up and very gently squish - note, squish, don't squeeze or wring, and yes, there is a difference - more of the water out.

Now that the tricky bit is over the fun part comes next. Have a large towel - a beach towel works well - flat on the floor. Put your handknit on the towel, roll it up, then walk on the towel. Yes, walk. If it is a bulkier item like a heavily cabled sweater you might want to have a second towel and repeat that last part. Then you just need to find a flat place out of harm's way where the item can dry.

It was always that last step that caused me so much grief when we lived in Kamloops. Although it gets so hot there you could fry an egg on the sidewalk, there was no way I could put something out on our back deck to dry. The wind was constantly blowing, and I'm not talking about a slight breeze. Twice while living there we had the wind lift up our patio table, and we once had it move our BBQ. This meant I had to dry my things inside the house, and the only place safe from animals was on a rack over the bathtub. The problem was it took me the whole month of July to work my way through all my things since I could only do them one at a time.

Not any more! I was so happy to discover that it is perfectly safe to put things out to dry on our new back deck.

Well, they are safe if you don't count the threat of squirrel damage or bird droppings. It's a risk I'm willing to take. It has been like a wool washing assembly line around here. Not only can I put things on a clean sheet on the deck, I have also been able to use the hammock as a make-shift clothes dryer.

It has taken me just a few days to do what used to be a month long process. All my sweaters, scarves, and shawls are ready for another winter, even if I'm not.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Mossy Green Way

Thank you so much to everyone who has left comments on my blog posts about our move and the birth of our first grandchild. It has been an amazing two weeks, and I still haven't really had time to sit down and catch my breath.

I have two goals for next week. The first is to take some time to enjoy what our new area has to offer, namely the lake. I have a plan, but I will save that for another post. The second, and way more important goal, is to go over to Victoria to see baby Lucy. That is happening next Friday, and I think I can safely promise there will be a blog post about that trip as well. Complete with hundreds a reasonable amount of pictures.

Here is our new home. This first picture was taken on a very grey, rainy day back in June when we were down for the home inspection.

This is more or less the same view taken yesterday, which was a bright, sunny day. The colour on the first picture is more accurate. We have been told the weather in the first picture is more accurate for our new location as well - supposedly it rains here a lot, but so far we have had nothing but blue skies and very warm days.

One of my favourite features of our cottage is the wrap-around front porch.

Here's a glimpse of the view from my porch. No matter which way you look there are mountains.

I haven't had very much time to knit, but have managed to make a cup of tea, grab my needles and enjoy the view a few times over the past week. I anticipate much more of this activity once I get settled in!

Welcome to my new home, located at the intersection of Cotton Tail Crossing and Mossy Green Way. And no, I'm not making that up.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Meet Lucy!

There is so much excitement around here it is hard to know what to blog about next! Today's post was going to include pictures of our new home, but that will have to wait. I have something much more important and exciting to share. Yesterday a new Hammond entered the world. Introducing Lucy, my absolutely adorable granddaughter.

7 pounds 9 ounces

Lucy was born around 8:00 yesterday morning. You can already tell how bright she is by the fact she managed to beat Will and Kate's baby.

Both Diana and baby Lucy are doing fine. Unfortunately the same can't be said about Karsten. Two days before Lucy's arrival he managed to slice his thumb open while cutting back some grape vines and had to get eight stitches. That huge bandage should make changing diapers a challenge!

Karsten, Diana, Lucy and Diana's mom Jin Ping

Friday, July 19, 2013

We're Here!

I have so much to blog about, and so many things to share but all I have the energy for right now is a quick touch-in post. In the final days leading up to our move the conversation in our house pretty much went like this.

Jay would hold up something and ask what we should do with it. Without even casting a glance in the direction of what he was holding up I would say "throw it out." Or I would hold up something and ask what we were doing with it and without casting a glance Jay would say "we're keeping that."

Now that we have moved into our new home the conversation has changed. Our most used phrase now is "have you seen ____?" You can fill in the blank with any number of things. Use your imagination. The more urgently an item is needed the better hidden it seems to be.

The move itself went off without a hitch. The day was beautiful, so we didn't have to worry about our stuff getting wet as it was packed into the house. I was the first to arrive. I pulled up to the gate at The Cottages at 10:30.

Kellen, Rebekah and Anton were all here to help, and we couldn't have done it without them. It was a long, exhausting day but by the end of it we had all the boxes where they should be. (Please note I am not saying they were all unpacked; they were just in the rooms they needed to be in to be unpacked.) The biggest job was getting the things meant for storage down into the crawl space. We had people above handing things down to the ones in the hole. We kept trading jobs so the people down below could get a break from being hunched over. It was back breaking work.

The only things the movers broke were two floor lamps. I didn't like them anyway, and now they have to replace them, so I think that worked out quite nicely. I am guessing that when the movers unloaded the box labelled "Kitchen cooking pans and fibre" they were thinking more along the lines of All Bran than spinning fibre.

The past few days have gone by in a cardboard induced haze, but I am happy to say that as of today we are pretty much unpacked.

Our house is surrounded by some lovely flowers and bushes, some of which I am not familiar with. I thought I would start a mini plant identification project on my blog. I'll post pictures of the ones I'm not sure about, and hopefully some of you will be able to tell me what they are. I want to start with this plant. It is beautiful, and is in full bloom right now. The hummingbirds love it - every time I am outside I see them hovering around the bright red flowers.

Any ideas?

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Vintage Sun Bonnets

This is just a quick post to let you know I'm still breathing. Barely. This is Thursday, the moving van comes early Saturday morning, there are still things to pack, papers to be signed, and on and on.

I decided to get rid of my old cedar chest, and when I was sorting through the things in it I came across something I had completely forgotten about. Something rather special. It is a handmade quilt, made for me when I was a baby by my Grandma Vera and some of her neighbours. Once I got over the depressing fact that my baby quilt qualifies as being vintage, meaning I must also qualify as being vintage, I was so happy to have stumbled across it.

I washed it and hung it out on the line. There was a gentle breeze blowing, and it dried in no time at all.

Rebekah and Alexandra both used this when they were babies, and now there is a new generation coming along to hand it down to. This quilt doesn't have the polished, perfected look of more modern quilts, but there is something special about knowing so much love and care went into its production.

There's also something special about seeing how handmade items get lovingly handed down from generation to generation.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

The Lasts

Our time in Kamloops is rapidly coming to an end. As excited as I am to be moving to Cultus Lake, saying goodbye is not going to be easy. There have been so many "lasts" over the past week, moments when it has suddenly dawned on me that I won't be going to a particular place or doing a particular thing again - at least not as a resident of this city I have called home for the past seven years.

Some of these lasts are met with a huge sigh of relief. I am really hoping the huge wind storm we had this past Tuesday will be the last one I have to endure. I never again want to live in a place where the wind blows so hard it can rearrange your patio furniture and BBQ for you. And if I never again have to do a workout at the gym with the Squirrel Lady flitting about nearby it will be too soon. Just saying.

However, and it is a big however, there are many things about Kamloops I am going to miss. Last week I returned the one remaining library book I had checked out, and it wasn't until the moment I pushed it through the return slot that I realized that was it. My time using the library here was finished. It might sound silly, but I got a bit choked up.

Today was my last trip to the Kamloops Farmer's Market. Over the past seven years I have gotten to know many of the vendors, and it was quite sad to be going from stall to stall today not just to buy fresh fruits and vegetables, but also to say goodbye. When I went by the bannock stall I decided I better take some pictures for my blog. The stuff they gave out at the bank last week for Aboriginal Awareness Day didn't look too authentic, but this is the Real Deal.

Note: This is not my bannock. Sadly, they don't make a gluten-free version. 

Another last that took me by surprise happened last weekend. Rebekah and Anton had come up for the weekend to help us pack, and to move out some stuff they had stored here. Kellen and Anita came up for dinner, and it was one of those rare perfect nights here in the 'Loops. (By perfect I mean the wind wasn't blowing, so we could sit out on the back deck and eat without the burgers being blown out of our hands.) All of a sudden it hit me. This was the last family dinner we would be having at this house. This wasn't a sad thought, as there will be other family dinners at our new home. It was just that sudden realization that next time everything will be different.

Then I was hit by an even stranger thought. I looked around and it suddenly occurred to me that every person there was going to be moving within the next two months. David was moving out to his own place in a few days, we would be moving in a couple weeks, Kellen and Anita are moving to Vancouver at the beginning of August, and Rebekah and Anton are moving to San Francisco at the beginning of September. (Alexandra had to work, so wasn't able to have dinner with us. She is not moving, at least not that I am aware of!)

By the way, the San Francisco thing is Hammond family breaking news. Anton has been offered a job with a tech company, doing something I don't understand and can't explain. So Rebekah got her year in Korea, and now Anton gets his year in the US. It seems like a good trade-off, and there is some hope of a transfer back to Vancouver in a year or so. It also means Rebekah, who got to experience her Korean roots last year, will get to explore her American side this year.

Tomorrow is the beginning of our last full week in Kamloops. Before we know it the "lasts" are going to be replaced by the "firsts." It will be a welcome change.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

In the Nick of Time

Kamloops is in the midst of a heat wave. Yesterday it got up to 37.4°C (99.4°F), and it looks like it might go even higher today. This is not the kind of weather you want to be knitting a super bulky weight sweater in, so I was very happy to cast this off the day before the hot weather arrived. The problem was the sweater needed to be washed and blocked before I could get pictures, which meant modelling it after the heat wave got here.

On Sunday morning, before things heated up too much, Rebekah and I went outside to get these shots.

It seemed a bit strange to be wearing such a heavy sweater along with shorts and my Crocs, but the thought of putting on jeans for the picture made me feel faint.

I knit this with Spud & Chloe Outer. After knitting a couple of hats with the Spud & Chloe I was hooked. I searched Ravelry for a pattern and found Polly Pullover, which is written specifically for this yarn. I love its simplicity! I think it will be perfect for the milder climate we are moving to. Yes, it is a super bulky yarn, but the short sleeves should keep it from being too warm. One thing I can say for certain - it won't keep me as warm as it did the day this picture was taken!

Fergus doesn't seem to mind the heat, which might have something to do with the fact he spends most of the day inside our air conditioned house.

Ravelry details here. Enough procrastinating...I need to go do some more packing.