Saturday, May 30, 2015

In Real Life

One of my favourite things about the blogging community is when I get to meet a blogger In Real Life. This past Wednesday I was so happy to be able to spend the day with blogger Patricia from Red Cardinal. She and her husband Gary were headed back home to Australia after visiting their daughter in Ottawa, and had a day's layover in Vancouver.

I picked them up at their hotel and we headed to the place at the top of their "must see" list for Vancouver. Stanley Park is at the top of most people's list of things to see and do when in the city, and the great thing about it is those of us who live nearby never get tired of going there either.

We saw the Totem Poles.




Patricia is an art major and volunteers at an art gallery in Brisbane, so she was very interested in the designs carved on the poles.




She's also an admirer of Emily Carr's paintings, and as we drove through Stanley Park she could see how Emily Carr was inspired by the deep, dark, dense coastal forests. We stopped at Prospect Point, where we were treated to a classical musician playing the erhu.  Here's a link if you would like to hear him play. By this time we were famished, so decided to have lunch at the restaurant there. Not only was the view terrific, the food was amazing. I had a salmon burger on the best gluten-free bun I've ever eaten. I was positive they had made a mistake and given me a wheat bun, and even double checked with the server. I need to get ahold of that recipe!




We had a tough decision to make after we finished our lunch. We only had time to see one more attraction before they needed to be back to their hotel. In the end we decided to go to the Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, and save Granville Island for our next meet-up. It turned out to be a good choice. I had never been before, and the garden was very pretty. I felt like I was back in China, minus the crowds of people.




I especially loved the rock mosaics. The designs looked like they could be incorporated into some knitting. 




All too soon it was time to say goodbye. We never stopped talking the whole time we were together, and both Patricia and Gary were very patient with all of my questions about life in Australia. Most of them were about snakes. I am petrified of them, and can't imagine living in a place that has an abundance of them, especially since they have the kind that can kill you. Of course, Patricia had the same concerns about life in Canada with our bears. I pointed out that while we might have bears, at least they aren't poisonous. And on that note, here is what I purchased at the gift shop in Stanley Park to remember what turned out to be a very special day.





Thursday, May 21, 2015

A Short Long Weekend

I had an awesome time this past weekend in Victoria. The weather was amazing, we got to see and do lots of neat things, and best of all, I got to spend three days with this munchkin.




When I arrived we drove straight from the ferry terminal to the annual Highland Games. Here's Lucy watching the sheep shearing demonstration. I'm always happy to encourage her about anything to do with the world of fibre.




Sunday we went to the Shaw Ocean Discovery Centre in Sydney. Lucy loved it there! Here she is looking at an overhead display.




It took her awhile to gather up the courage to put her hand in this touching pool.




After a picnic lunch we headed to one of Lucy's favourite beaches. She splashed, and giggled and ran around the whole time we were there.




She was a little sad when we had to leave, but was too exhausted to put up much of a fuss.




Monday we went for a long walk along the waterfront. I love being by the ocean - the smells and sounds and sights are so different than they are inland.




Of course, there was lots of time spent playing at home too. Lucy loves her Mr. Potato Head, and thought it was hilarious to wear his glasses.




I caught the 3:00 ferry home on Monday, and, unbelievably for the middle of May, it was warm enough to sit out on the deck all the way home. The scenery for the first half of the ride is stunning.




That was definitely the shortest long weekend ever!

video

Friday, May 15, 2015

A Long Weekend and a Lopi Vest

I need to keep this one short. I brought my computer out on the front porch to compose this post over an hour ago, and due to numerous interruptions am just now getting started. It's the Victoria Day long weekend here in Canada. I had never heard of Victoria Day until Jay and I sat down to pick a wedding date, and it was suggested as a possibility since his Canadian family would have the extra day to make the trip down. That was thirty-six years ago, which seems hard to believe.

I have another finished project off the needles. I actually started this way back in February, and then it got shoved aside while I worked on more exciting things. I promised myself that I couldn't cast on anything new until I finished this, which was all the motivation I needed. Here is my Lett-Lopi sweater, hot off the needles.




It was a bit lumpy before it was washed and blocked, but it all evened out as it dried.




I'm not that keen on pictures of myself. It wasn't until this blog and Ravelry that I would even allow pictures of me to be taken. At least now I have a kindred spirit for a photographer instead of a reluctant husband. I'll give him credit for trying, but let's face it. He's a Muggle. I've also noticed it's much easier to smile when one's not feeling annoyed.



I'm off to Victoria tomorrow to visit this sweet pea, so should have lots of pictures to share next week.




Happy Victoria Day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hap-py

Last month I joined a hap knitalong on the Knit British forum on Ravelry. A knitalong is just what its name implies. A group of knitters, sometimes in person but more often through a forum on Ravelry, all start knitting something at the same time. It can be anything from socks to mittens to a sweater. Sometimes it isn't an object but a goal, like knitting something from your yarn stash, or something for charity.

Ella from Jamieson & Smith has done a lovely job of explaining what a hap is in a recent blog post which can be found here. It's a lovely write-up, and she has included lots of great pictures. (The very short, and not completely correct definition is a hap is a kind of shawl originally made and worn in Shetland.)

I knew I wanted my hap to reflect the colours of Shetland in some way, and I also knew I wanted to knit the hap from my stash yarn. When I was in Shetland I had purchased a kit to knit a sweater by Kate Davies, but two years later the balls of yarn were still sitting untouched, so I decided the yarn should be a hap instead. Kate had already done the hard work of choosing colours that reflected the natural beauty of Shetland, so all I had to do was narrow down which of the colours in the kit to use. To begin with, I went back to my trip photos and picked several from Burrastow House, the amazing B&B where Kath and Jean and I stayed.







Then I used this neat trick I learned on the Knit British forum for choosing your colours. You simply try combinations by wrapping the yarn around a piece of cardboard until you find one you like.




There was also the dilemma of which hap pattern to choose. In the end I decided on the Half Hansel Hap by Gudrun Johnston. It was being knit by many others in the Knit British Hapalong, and I really liked the look of it. But better yet, Gudrun has a Craftsy class where she takes you step by step through the process of knitting it. Between the encouragement on Ravelry and the excellent teaching by Gudrun, I actually managed to successfully knit the hap. Introducing Burrastow, the latest project off my needles.




Thanks to my knitting neighbour Lynda who kindly volunteered to take pictures, here's one of me with my new hap.




I loved everything about this project from start to finish, and was actually sad when I cast off. Usually by the time I finish something I'm ready to move on, but not this time. I'll definitely be making another one at some point.

*If you're interested in joining the hapalong there's still lots of time. It's open until July 12.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Reality Check

Earlier in the week I was heading out on a walk, and as I took a look around me the thought I've had so many times before ran through my head. I love where I live. The mountains, the trees, the lake, my little cottage, my front porch (back in use again now that the weather has improved). I am surrounded by so many good things in my life, and those are the things I tend to blog about.

Then I had another thought. Because I like to share the good bits of my life with you, you might get the impression that everything is always wonderful, that there isn't anything unsightly nearby, that all my knitting projects turn out, and that our cottage is immaculate. I think it's time to set the record straight.

Our cat Emily is shedding. It looks like she exploded on top of the couch.


Fergus is shedding too, although his hair tends to collect on the floor.


Yes, my daily walk is lovely, but at the junction of the highway with the road down to Lindell Beach I pass by this, possibly the world's ugliest sign.


Which, when I think about it, is perfect since it directs unfortunate campers at the nearby provincial campground to this, possibly the world's ugliest storefront.


Then there's my knitting. Every time I walk into my little craft closet I try to avert my eyes from this lump of disaster. It was meant to be a sweater for a newborn, but about halfway through my knitting I had to admit it was a complete failure. Unless I could find a kindergarten age child who didn't mind wearing a baby kimono.


Then there is this sock.


I actually quite like this sock, but I fear it is never going to have a "sole mate." You know the expression "it's what's on the inside that counts?"


That single sock has been languishing in my sock basket for over three years now. I don't have the heart to throw it out. I don't have the courage to weave in all those ends. And I certainly don't have any plans to knit the second one.

Now if you'll excuse me I think I better go find the vacuum. Have a great weekend!



Saturday, May 2, 2015

Saturday Six

Fergus and Jenny


This week when Rebekah and I had the dogs on the off leash trail by our cottage another dog owner showed up with her two dogs. When he saw the other dogs he ran straight to the gate to go back home. The lady laughed and asked if this was Fergus the Fearful, and said she knew him. So apparently my poor dog has a reputation for being cowardly. Looking on the bright side, that's way better than having one for being aggressive. In the meantime, Jay was in Victoria last weekend visiting Lucy, and Jenny pouted the whole time he was gone. She spent most of the weekend burrowed under these sheets.


Boleros

There has been a lot of knitting happening, especially on the flights to and from Chicago. I had ordered some yarn from Knit Picks that was waiting for me in Spokane, and by the time I drove back home a week later I had knit two little Entrechat boleros for Lucy. Here are pictures of the blue bolero. My apologies for not having a picture of Lucy wearing one of them. Jay took them over to her last weekend, but she was sick and in no mood to model her nana's knitting.



Hummingbirds

The hummingbirds have returned!


Mother's Day

I received my Mother's Day gift from Jay early this year. I have been wanting a bench for our front porch, and IKEA had one that looked perfect. Rebekah kindly volunteered to pick it up for us when she went into Vancouver this week for an appointment. When I took out my current sock to knit I realized its colours perfectly match the cushions.


So do the colours of the Half Hansel Hap I'm knitting. It would appear I'm in a colour rut.


Scratch and Dent

This week has not been kind to our cottage. When Rebekah and I built the bench we were very careful to have cardboard spread out over the hardwood floor to protect it. This was a good plan, except for when one of the pieces went flying and landed corner down, just beyond the cardboard.

That same day Jay, who is 6'4" tall, bumped into a picture hanging in our main bathroom. (At 5'4'' this is not something that would even be possible for me to do.) The picture fell, and as it did so put a big black mark on the wall. He said he would just use some Vim, a cream scrub meant for the bathtub and sink, to try and remove it. Gasp! I told him it wouldn't just remove the mark. The paint would also be gone. Some time later I saw him heading to the bathroom with the scrubbing pad we use on dishes and also quickly nixed that plan. I got out a Mr. Clean sponge and all is well.

I wish I could say the same about our dining room table. For many years, actually all of them right up until we moved here, we have had old beater tables. The kind that are kid friendly and it doesn't matter if accidents with crayons, markers, scissors and/or knives happen. The kind that are already so ugly and scarred you wouldn't even notice if a new wound was inflicted on it. So it was a big deal to me to finally get a table that didn't look like it had come from the recycling depot. I was careful to pick out one that would still be user-friendly, but one that would also be pleasing to look at.

It became apparent within a month or so of owning this new table that it was defective. The finish on the table top wasn't done properly, and little chips were forming all over it. I contacted the store owner and after looking at the pictures I sent him he agreed there was something wrong and he would replace it. That was over a year ago and I am still trying to get him to deliver on his promise. At the end of November he did call and say they could bring the table out the next day, but the thing was we were in the midst of one of the torrential downpours we get here, and after talking to him we agreed the table would be ruined by the time they got it moved in. He said he thought they could reschedule and get it here before Christmas.

Well, here we are at the beginning of May and I still don't have the table. I have emailed multiple times and can't even get him to respond. I'm not sure what to do. I hate confrontation. But every time I look at my table I feel sort of cheated. I know in light of some of the awful things happening around the world that this is truly a first world problem. Still, it bothers me. Have you ever made a major investment in something, only to find it was defective? And if so, how did you resolve the problem? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Travel

A destination has finally been chosen, and tickets have been purchased. We've gone back and forth between Ireland and Scotland/Shetland, but in the end Ireland is the winner. In September Kath, Melissa and I will be doing this walk on the Kerry Way. I've purchased new rain gear, as somehow I doubt the weather will be quite as lovely as in the picture on the Hillwalk Tours site. I'll also be spending a few days with John and Gill, my friends from England. If you know of any "must see" spots in Ireland, and especially any "must see" yarn stores please let me know in the comment section.

Have a great weekend!