Sunday, June 28, 2015

About the Blanket

When I put up my new blog header last week I suddenly realized I had never posted about the blanket that's in the middle of the collage. To be honest, I'm not much of a blanket knitter. There are dozens of socks and sweaters and vests to be found in my home, but not a single handknit blanket. Still, a new baby needs a new blanket, so with the upcoming birth of Rebekah and Anton's first child I cast on.

It can be a bit overwhelming trying to pick out a baby blanket pattern. I wanted one that wasn't too fussy. It needed to look like it would stand up to not just babyhood, but could also be used down the road to build blanket forts, snuggle up with while watching a movie, or simply using on a bed without having it look babyish.

That took the Ravelry search down from over 13,000 to a more manageable number in the low hundreds, but that was still a lot of patterns to choose from. It wasn't until I started thinking about this baby, and how she will be the first one in their family to be born in Canada, that I knew which blanket I needed to knit. Here's my version of the Hudson Bay Inspired Crib Blanket.

I used Rowan's Pure Wool Worsted yarn to knit the blanket. It has become my "go to" yarn when I want to knit with superwash yarn. In general I'm not a fan of superwash, but let's face it. What new mom wants to hand wash a baby blanket? And even if she did, I could see disaster in the making the first time Anton did a load of baby clothes.

I was surprised at how big it was once I cast off and spread it out on the floor. Definitely big enough for a blanket fort at some future date!

I have to confess that I was more than a little bit tired of garter stitch by the time I finished. And the bigger the blanket grew, the hotter and more unwieldy it became to work with. But I'm really happy with the finished project, and hope the parents to be are as well. I told myself I couldn't cast on any baby sweaters until I got this off the needles, so the minute this was finished a baby kimono was cast on. More on that next time...

Saturday, June 20, 2015


Joining in with Annie to share some of my own Happenings.

Looking at the jars of pickled garlic scapes and jalapeƱo raspberry jam (trust me, it tastes great!) sitting on my counter.

Smelling the fresh morning air, with hints of forest and garden and flowers and a recent rain all mixed together.

Waiting impatiently for my raspberry shrub to be ready to drink.

Anticipating a weekend with nothing on the calendar.

Knitting a wee baby kimono.

Reading Black House by Peter May and The Shepherd's Life by James Rebanks.

Making a batch of kale and pistachio pesto.

Eating the first raspberries and cherries of the season.

Watching ITV's Home Fires series on my Slingplayer.

Missing this little girl after a short trip over to Victoria to see her earlier this week.

How about you? Do you have any Happenings you would like to share?

Friday, June 12, 2015

Family Gathering

The past week has flown by in a wonderful mix of family, hiking, kayaking, card games, food and laughter. My brother John and niece Corinne flew out to Spokane from Chicago, picked up my mom, then made the long drive up to Canada for a visit.

We hiked to Lindeman Lake, one of my all-time favourite places.

Of course, I had to take them up Teapot Hill! There was a bumper crop of teapots. We spotted 30 by the time we finished our hike.

The weather was hot and dry while they were here, which was perfect for kayaking.

It was nice for Corinne and my kids to have some cousin time together. She has just graduated from university and is interviewing for jobs, so it was great she was able to make the trip out while she had the chance. I think the best thing of all was my mom getting to spend time with so many of her grandchildren at once. And after they left our place they went over to Victoria for to see Lucy, so there was some great grandchild time for her as well.

It's a rare thing, well, at least in the life of the Hammond family, for things to go exactly as planned. We had perfect weather, there were no disasters, nobody got sick, there was enough food, and we all had a great time. It just doesn't get any better than that. Now it's back to reality. There's laundry to be done, groceries to be purchased, blog reading to catch up on, and some rather important knitting to finish. A close look at some of the pictures should give you a clue as to what that knitting is for!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Dear Mrs. Hutchinson's Class

Dear Mrs. Hutchinson's Class,

I had the nicest surprise waiting for me in my mailbox yesterday. It was a big envelope stuffed with letters from all of you! I hurried back to my house, made a cup of tea, and settled in to read each one of the wonderful notes you had sent me.

When I wrote Ting Ting I wasn't quite sure who would end up reading it. But I knew who I hoped would read it. I wanted it to be children just like you. Some of you came to Canada from other countries, just like Ting Ting. Some of you have parents who came to Canada from other countries. And some of you have friends who immigrated here, so you're like Ting Ting's friend Hannah.

You asked me some questions, so I will try to answer them as best I can.

Q: Can I please write more books?

A: I have written one more book since I wrote Ting Ting. It's called The Moment, and one of you mentioned in your letter to me that you are reading it.

Q: How did the grandfather get sick? Did he get a disease?

A: Ting Ting's grandfather was very old. He didn't have a disease, just a tired heart.

Q: Why did Ting Ting's family go to Canada?

A: Ting Ting's father was studying in Canada. Canada offered him the chance to live here permanently, and so her parents decided it would be a good place for Ting Ting to grow up. It was a very hard decision for them to make.

Q: Has this happened to me before?

A: I'm an immigrant myself. It was much easier for me than it was for Ting Ting though. I came here as an adult, and from a country where English is spoken, so I didn't have to learn a new language.

Q: Where did I get the idea?

A: The story idea came from someone I know who immigrated here from China when she was Ting Ting's age. Like Ting Ting, she stayed with an aunt for many months while waiting to join her parents, who were already in Canada. She had to learn English, just like Ting Ting. And there were many people who were kind to her, just like in the story.

Q: Did Ting Ting go back to China?

A: The real Ting Ting stayed in Canada. But she has gone back to China many times to visit her family. Here's a picture of her taken several years ago when we were visiting China. She's eating the stick candy you read about in the book.

Q: How did the story end?

A: The real life Ting Ting grew up and became a doctor. She also married my oldest son, and is now a mom to her own little girl, my granddaughter Lucy. If you look on the side bar of my blog you can see a picture of them under the names "Karsten and Diana."

That you so much for your wonderful letters. I loved each and every one of them. I could tell you put so much hard work into writing them. Mrs. Hutchinson must be very proud of all of you!

Best wishes,

Kristie Hammond