Sunday, May 31, 2009

be careful what you whine for

It was so very hot at the LYS yesterday and there was no fan. I was literally melting behind the counter especially with the hot computer air blowing at me. Blech! But there are plans to install some air conditioning. Hopefully, it'll be in and working before my next hot day!

Other than the heat, the work day was nice. I got to fondle some sample yarns that will show up on the shelves this upcoming fall/winter. And Jayne came in for a little visit. She had her latest and greatest yarn to show off. OMG!!! The pictures don't do the yarn justice. It was so much more awesome in person. She is a great dyer (and spinner and knitter ;).

Looks like my beginners crochet class is a go for next weekend so I'm busy making some revisions to my notes. No one has signed up for my Kids Krochet Kamp so I'm not sure whether I should be prep'ing for that or wait until a few kids sign up. So I'm going to get ready for my Sock Boot Camp class - basically a one day "learn to knit socks". I picked up some yarn for that yesterday and I'm starting to make notes. I was trying to draw a sock shape in MS Word using the draw tools but that wasn't working out so I whined to hubby that a tablet & pen would be really handy right about now. He leaned over, opened a storage box, and pulled out a brand new, unused tablet/pen still in the box. Even the invoice (dated Mar 08) was on top. He's had this thing over a year and (a) he hasn't installed it and (b) he hasn't told me about it. Yeesh! But now it's mine, all mine!

While I was out photographing my garden, I spotted a flat patch in my catmint (a close cousin to catnip). Looks like somekitty has been enjoying it. I often find flat spots and broken branches but the catmint is so vigorous that it recovers almost instantly.

The weather's been lovely here! I hope everyone had a good weekend in the sun!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

egyptian plum

Hakuro Nishiki Willow - shrimp pink new growth changing to white and eventually turning green. One of the neatest shrubs that I own.

Still no knitting mojo. I am so bleh about all my knitting projects. I have new yarn and I see new patterns that I like but I'm just not inspired to pick up the needles. I really must be suffering from something. My mojo better come back before I go to Sock Summit.

I was bored Tues night so I decided to do a little something with my hair. My hair is black so there's not much you can do with it unless you bleach it first. But now that a lot of it is grey/white, I thought it would be fun to try a little colour. I present egyptian plum over black:

Can you see the reddish bits despite the glare? I think it turned out rather well. Not too red that it looks freakish but just enough to make everyone think that I've got style ;)

Ricky sez, "Where's da birdie?"

The kitties had their annual vaccinations on Tues and they were totally out of it for 24 hours. Both of them barely moved. We're going to try Ricky on a super hypo-allergenic kibble as the venison/green pea isn't working out. If the new kibble fails, Ricky will need medication because there is nothing else we can feed him. And both of them need their teeth cleaned. I should try brushing their teeth. Has anybody ever tried that (and survived)?

Monday, May 25, 2009

so lost...

Assorted columbines from my garden this morning: Black Barlow (top row, 2 rightmost), Nora Barlow (bottom left corner), McKana's Giant (bottom row center), all others are unknown.

I'm referring to my knitting mojo. Nothing interests me - not socks, not lace, nothing. This is bad because my stash isn't getting smaller by itself.

I'll distract you with some quilting. Here is another group project:

Almost 3 years ago, our quilting group did a block swap. The theme was houses. Some of us took that literally and others (like myself) were a little more liberal with the idea. I told myself last month that if I had to move the stack of house blocks again, I really needed to sit down and put the quilt together. So that's what I did Sat & Sun. It still needs quilting but at least, I don't have to move the stack of blocks again. BTW, the border/sashing fabric are little white ducks on a blue background cuz we call ourselves QHuackers.

The lovely weather has me wanting to spruce up the joint. We installed the bookcase in the living room last week and then I decided to retire my almost 20 yo dishes. I knew that I didn't want the full sets - just dinner plates, side plates, and bowls. We eventually settled on something from Ikea (love that place!). Of course, I need all new dining table linens to match and I'm going to make them myself (any excuse to go fabric shopping ;). You really need to click on the image to see the subtle print on some of the fabrics.

I hope that's enough fabric for 10 placemats and two table runners (one short and one long). I can't decide which fabric to use for the borders - the batik on the far left or the small print on the far right.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

calorie free chocolate and busy bees

I drove several members of my quilting group to a quilt show on Friday. We had a big surprise for a former member who retired to the island last year. After she moved, we snuck around (i.e we couldn't blog about it) and made her a wallhanging. She loves crows so we knew it had to have crows. One of our members is a very talented designer and she orchestrated the whole thing. Each of us contributed to the top and we all helped to finish it off. Once it was done, we brainstormed over how to present it to her. It seemed anti-climatic to just stick it in mail. And it's very hard to track her down when she's in town for guild meetings then someone had an idea - we could present the quilt to her when she's in town for the 3 day quilt show. And we had the brilliant idea to display it as part of the show so that when she read the tag, she'd know it was made for her. The surprise worked! And she cried and was very surprised and touched. So I present to you "A Place to Caw Home" (please click on the image to see the details):

There were lots of great quilts at the show. This one made me chuckle:

I have some of that chocolate border fabric in my stash. Even the quilting design is chocolate themed:

I did buy a little fabric. Nothing exciting - just some batik for making new placemats. We bought new dishes and they don't match the old placemats so I have to make new ones.

While I was taking pictures of my alliums, I could hear the buzz of bees nearby. My rhodos were covered with them. It makes me happy to see bees in my garden.

I was not happy to find a live wasp in my sewing room. I had to yell at hubby to bring the bug catcher. He caught it and took it outside. Phew!

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Who knew that a simple bookcase would turn the living room inside out? When we bought the new TV stand, we also purchased a matching bookcase to go with it. Hubby had this week off so we dismantled the old bookcase and while the furniture was out, I had the brilliant idea to rearrange a few things. After 2 days, the only thing that hasn't moved is the TV/stand & the big sofa. Everything else in the living room is switched around. Not totally sure that I'm done but I think it's an improvement.

I am still working on Vicki's socks. I've made a few mods to the original pattern that I hope are improvements. I've just finished the heel turn. I hate p2togtbl's.

I finished the first Lorna's Laces sock.

I don't know why but I'm completely enchanted with the solid heel & toe.

I've also been working on the Lace Ribbon Scarf.

I started this ages ago and put it down but when I don't feel like working on a sock, this is getting some attention.

Ricky sez, "Look into my eyes... I want to go for walkies NOW!!!"

He has been such a pest. It was raining Tues & Wed and he wanted to go outside so badly. Ricky would walk up to the back door, roll around, and paw at the edge. I finally gave in and put the harness on him. We walked out onto the back stoop, he hopped down to the lower step, got his paws wet, and stopped. He finally clued in that it was raining. We stayed outside for 5 mins while he tried to find somewhere dry to walk then I picked him up and took him inside. After I unclipped him from his harness, he wandered off to snooze - content that I'd done his bidding.

Monday, May 18, 2009

random Monday

It's a long weekend in Canada so a lot of people have gone camping. My sister called at the crack of dawn to tell me that they broke camp at 7:30am. They woke up to snow on the ground and it was still snowing so they high-tailed it out of there. I stayed home and slept. I'm mostly over this weird cold which I now think was the flu judging by how ache-y I felt.

I've been up to my elbows in weeds the last few days (before it rains, again). That's what I get when I leave it too long. But everything looks good and I shouldn't need to do much weeding for at least a few weeks. I found two wasp nests (one under our patio table and one in our picnic bench) so I had to spray them. We've lived here 9 years and they've only been a problem during the last 2. I wonder why... My tulips have finished blooming but my columbines are putting on a great show. My white bleeding heart is huge and has lots of 'hearts'.

My prize from the Ride2Survive raffle arrived on Fri (Bugga! in Cow Killer) and inside the envelope were some catnip mousies. Phyl was so nice to send them along. Ricky wanted one right away but the last time I gave him one, I had to throw it out because he drowned it in his water bowl.

Vicki's socks are coming along. It's patterned so I'm finding it a slooooow knit. But I think it's all in my head because I'm already 2" from the heel flap. Off to find some lunch since it doesn't look like hubby's going to be home soon. He's gone off on his fancy schmancy mountain bike and he's throwing himself down Burnaby Mountain a coupla times.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

mmmm chocolate

Yay! I finished my sister's socks.

Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100 Stile; 1 skein of col 8004
Needles: 2.25mm
Pattern: my usual 60 st toe-up, sr heel/toe sock
Notes: Made the leg extra long to keep the cold wind out. Royally screwed up the second sock. Had to unpick the short row toe and reknit. My 41st pair of socks.

My next pair of socks will be knit for Vicki - the winner of the Ride2Survive sock raffle. I've got the yarn, needles, and pattern. She's asked that this be a surprise so I can't post progress here or on Ravelry. I will have to distract you with more Ricky pictures.

When I got home from knit nite yesterday, there were two packages waiting for me! The first one had yarn that I swapped chocolate for but the other one was my Pushing Daisies swap package.

Thanks, Maria! She sent me some lovely alpaca/silk lace, iced tea, lip balm, stitch markers, and a little pouch of Eucalan. And Maria's a baker (currently taking baking/pastry classes at culinary school) so she sent me 7 ginormous chocolate chunk/chip cookies. One was immediately inhaled and I might have eaten one for breakfast this morning. They're really good.

Phoebe insists that I give her equal time on this blog so I present "Tortie and her toys":

Monday, May 11, 2009

beam me up, Scotty

Whoa! Hubby and I saw the new Star Trek movie yesterday night (sorry T&G - we couldn't wait). Love it, love it, love it! I wanna see it again! I am a big fan of the classic series and this was the perfect movie.

It was a lovely weekend weather-wise so I was out in the garden. I dug up my dead variegated lavender and dead hebe. In their place, I planted a sedum and a purple leaf cranesbill geranium. I dead headed a bunch of tulips and weeded out several flower beds. I bought some wrought iron planters last week so I planted begonia corms in them and put them out on the front porch.

I've finished knitting the second sock and I'm halfway through the sock surgery. I am slowing taking apart the short row toe. Once I get it unravelled, I can reknit it and graft it shut. No one will ever know that I boo-boo'd.

My next project is going to be a sewing one. The installer came and put up the custom drapery track for our bay window. Now, I get to sew the black out drapes. I'm going to start with the smaller panels and work my way up to the bigger ones. There's going to be a lot of fabric flying around.

As you can see, I took Ricky out for walkies on the weekend. Sometimes, we just walk around the patio. Other times, we go down the driveway, along the sidewalk, and up our front walkway. He sniffs at everything and wants to chew on all the green stuff. When I pull on the leash, the harness cuts off air and he has to cough so I need a better one for him. I think it's too short between the neck and chest loops.

All that walking makes Ricky very sleepy...

Friday, May 8, 2009

Ride2Survive Update

Ever have one of those experiences with your computer that goes something like this:

I'll just install this software update and have this back up and running in a jiffy.... insert "blue screen of death" or "Sad Mac" depending on your chosen computer religion.

Just that sort of thing happened to the Canadian Cancer Society donation server (kintera) over the weekend.  It took them until Tuesday to get it back up and running properly...sort of.  One side effect of their re-build/patch work (I guess I'd call it "darning" here?) was the websites for all the riders changed.  The link in the top-left of this site has been corrected, but if you've bookmarked the old one ( it doesn't work any more, and likely won't. The new address is far less memorable.  Sorry for any troubles this may have caused, and yes, that picutre of me smiling in front of my snow-filled mountain bike is still up there.

I want to thank all of you for your time and tolerance in allowing me to take this blog somewhat off-topic and a special thank you to all those who donated their hard-earned money to this cause.

I held the raffle draw on this very computer from which I'm now typing, and the winners have all been notified.  We mailed off the Canadian packages early this week, and on Wednesday I went across the border to mail the US-destined packages from the USPS office in Point Roberts, WA.  And yes, I did ride my bike across the border with all the packages in my trailer (minus the kids of course), and made quite the scene with the border guards.

I must say there is still a bit of humour at the border these days..."yarn you say?  Is it your wife's?"  Not that I'd laid claim to the yarn being "mine"...she just assumed it was my wife's.  Anyway, it's generally accepted that cyclists are "harmless" at the border and have nothing to hide.  Plus, I was feeling particularly "green" that day and the bike seemed a fitting delivery method.

So, the packages should be at their destinations by this time next week, and congratulations to all the winners.  Within the cycling community, and quite frankly, the Canadian Cancer Society offices here, you are legendary.  I can walk in and simply identify myself as "the yarn guy doing Ride2Survive" and they all know who I am.  Having been previously only associated with the knitting community by marriage, literally, I find this new recognition quite amusing, and I owe it all to you.

Thanks, and I'll see you on the road, and I promise to keep you updated on the Ride.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

I am such a doofus

I am working on a pair of socks for my sister. The first sock is knit and I'm about 3/4 of the way up the leg on the second sock (knitting toe-up). There's been something about the second sock that's been bugging me. I finally took 3 seconds to look at it properly today and... get this, the toe and heel don't line up. I have knit 40 pairs of socks - that's 80 socks not including the WIPs that are suffering from SSS. And not once did I make this dumb mistake. I must've been asleep at the needles when I turned the heel. Doh! Someone get me a drink and please pass the scissors...

Monday, May 4, 2009


There's been a lot of TV watching the last week because I figured out how to program the digital tuner on our new plasma TV (yeah, it only took me 5 months to get around to it). We don't have cable/satellite so we rely on rabbit ears. Since the airwaves are going digital, our other two TVs will need to be replaced or we will need to purchase digital tuner boxes for them. I needed to check things out before we decide what to do. Well, I must say that the digital channels are excellent both for picture quality and sound. We watched Spectacle on Friday night (Elton John hosted & Diana Krall was the featured guest) and the experience was amazing. I am completely hooked. The only downside... The rabbit ears need to sit high off the ground and it blocks one of the doors into the living room.

All this TV watching means lots of sock knitting. I cast on a new sock using some Lorna's Laces (in Franklin's Panopticon) that I received in a Ravelry swap. It's my first experience with LL and I love this yarn. Yes, it's thin compared to STR or Koigu but it's so smooth and soft. Just for fun, I'm doing contrasting heels & toes.

Hubby and I were out in the garden yesterday digging out some dead stuff. The butterfly bush died the previous year and my special maple tree was also removed. I planted a Japanese snowball bush and a Red Spider Japanese maple as replacements. The snowball bush survived last winter in a pot so it should be fine and the Japanese maple is hardy to -30F.

Ricky has decided that he no longer likes the chicken food that he was so enthusiastically eating last week. I went back to the vet and picked up a few cans of the venison & a small sample of some duck & pea kibble. He gobbled up the venison (it was the same food he walked away from the previous week) and the kibble disappeared so quickly that he was choking a little. Now that he knows there's kibble in the house, he won't eat the canned food. Twice, we've fed him canned food and both times, he's walked away. And twice, we've had to sprinkle a little kibble on the wet food so that he'll eat it. Sigh, we are so well trained...

Ricky sez, "Kibble keeps this cute belleh soft & fluffy".