Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Life is settling down.

July 29, 2015

I did finish the lovely Flying Geese baby blanket by Purl Bee of Purl Soho.  I made it in organic cotton.  It will be cozy for our new baby.  You can check out the pattern here

How much do carports cost I wonder.  I want one for the car and for us.  The car gets so hot out in the Okanagan sun.   The car is filthy right now and really needs some TLC

Here come the quail down the driveway.  They really are cute with their little top knots.  They are on their way down the side of the house, looking for a snack I suspect.  Good friends suggested  a birdfeeder to draw them in but I don’t really want to do that.  Birds are wild.  I don’t want them to become tamed by a birdfeeder.   There is a little green hummingbird who jets in too – likes the red geranium flowers and the orange zinnias in the back garden.  That’s what I want to do, plant more plants – perennials – to draw them in.  I don’t want them to become addicted to sugar water.

There are two big collapsing jet trails off to the east over Mount Baldy.  And the wasps are becoming annoying!  There is a nest in the eves I think.  It will have to be removed before it becomes a real problem  Wasps are big here.  Very intelligent creatures I'm told and their nests are works of art, but still...

 There is a rainbow nearly every evening.  How cool is that.


Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Order out of Chaos

.....or vice versa.  I am moving.  And that is my excuse for being absent for so long.  It is hard to think about anything else but what goes in the next box and do I have enough boxes. 

The house is filled with boxes, mostly filled and taped shut.  Some still waiting for the last minute to close.  The mover has been hired and away I go on the 17th of this month.

It has been a whirlwind.  We put the house up for sale mid April and before the sign had even been hammered into the front lawn, we had an offer.  Then we had another offer topping up the first offer and as my intrepid real estate agent said - grab it.  So, the sold sign went up as the sign went up.   I've never sold a house quite so fast indeed that I hadn't fully made up my mind where to go next.  Oh, I had ideas, a hankering to go back to the South Okanagan where I have family and friends...but no firm plan.

A plan had to be put in place ASAP.  The search was on.  And isn't the internet wonderful?  I settled on a budget which, as everybody knows gets blown right out the window...but at least it gave me a ball park amount that I felt I could spend to find a place for Libby and me.
And in the meantime, packing commenced.  We have two households in here and we are splitting them up - Number one Son is going his way and I am going mine after we divide up the proceeds from this successful sale.   So boxes must be labeled carefully.

First go go into the boxes were books - we have lots.  We raided the liqueur stores for their lovely small stout boxes.   Scott counted 42 when he was done...I have about 25...give or take.  Books are important.  After the books, I packed china, leaving enough plates and cups so at least we have something to eat off. 

Once most of the packing was complete...wonderful Libby and I made a fast trip out to the Okanagan to meet cousins and look at properties.  New Real Estate Agent was slightly gob smacked when I informed her I had 3 days to make a decision, put in an offer on something and then get back to Calgary to finish up here.  She rose grandly to the occasion and we found me a lovely mobile home in an sweet little park where Libby is also welcome. 

As it turns out there are a couple of fixing up issues to be dealt with when I take possession, but for the most lovely antiques and "stuff" is going to fit in there and we will be happy.  There is a little garden to potter in and for Libby to roll on the grass.  We are close to the river and the wonderful hiking trails.  This is going to be good.  I'm ready for a smaller place in a smaller place if you get my drift...oh...and no stairs - bonus! glitch - of course there has to be one doesn't there.  We are out of here and rolling on the 18th - but can't move into our new place until the first week of July.  So, we will be homeless for a couple of weeks.  

Ah well.  There is always knitting isn't there.  And with a new baby coming in the family there are baby things to concentrate on.
I'm working right now on  The flying Geese Knit Baby Blanket.  You can check it out here  I'm working it up in worsted weight cotton from Blue Sky in cream, light blue and light green.  It is garter stitch so good for TV knitting, but you have to keep your wits about you on the decreases.  Great fun to knit. Pictures to follow when it is complete and when I catch my breath next. it goes.

Tuesday, 31 March 2015 saw what the kitchen looked like before.

Here it is - now!

looks like a different room altogether doesn't it?
The doors and drawers were taken off, hardware put into a box, and doors carted downstairs to be spray painted, first grey, then white.
Then, the kitchen was masked off, and the cupboards themselves got their undercoat of grey, before the white topcoat. 
The blue tape and paper was in place to prevent everything that was not going to be painted, from being painted.
It was worth it - worth every bit of the fuss and mess, and many thanks to my son Scott, proprieter of Aethical Painters - for doing all the work. 
Once the painting was done, the doors and hardware re-installed and the new counter top put in, it was my turn to get out my tiling tools and put in the back splash with the wonderful clay tiles we got at "Restore". 
We are almost finished with the renovations on this house.  Just about time to call in the Realter.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Under Construction

I'm sitting here, well, hiding here if you must know - while from the kitchen come the sounds or drills and saws as the new counter top is being installed.  Outside it is snowing.  Libby is hiding downstairs as far away from the hub bub as she can get. 
It's interesting, being in a construction zone.  But actually this isn't bad.  Scott has done a superb job painting the kitchen cabinets a lovely clean white and installing the new copper door pulls.
 The biggest problem this morning was getting the sink out - actually the sink wasn't bad - it was the kitchen tap that gave us the most grief. 
And, the water is shut off in the entire house because for some unexplained reason, when this house was constructed, no under sink shut offs were put in place.

So...I'm knitting socks.

Not just any old socks either.  I have this bin, where I toss all the sock weight left overs when I have finished a pair of Socks.  I keep meaning to make something small - baby socks which are very cute work with this stuff of course - but I got the bin out the other day and spread yarn all over the floor - mixing and matching, and putting colour families together. 
Here is the first sock coming along from the blue family.

And look what is waiting in the wings!  This is going to be fun.  I'm calling it "Sock Therapy".
 The idea came from Terry Morris - who was featured in the latest issue of Uppercase Magazine.  Terry calls her socks Potluck socks.  This makes a totally unique pair of socks that may or may not match exactly - But that's part of the fun.

Counter tops are almost in - on we go.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Planning a renovation

Walking into my kitchen is like walking into a 1970's time warp. 

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home.  So why then, do we leave the renovations in the kitchen to the last, I ask you?  Four years ago we just sort of moved in, unpacked, tried to make things fit, and got on with it.  Mind you, four years ago when we moved in here- in the middle of winter...two days before Christmas...things seems complicated enough and with one thing and another, the kitchen was sort of forgotten.  After all, it worked, more or less.  Alley kitchens usually do.  The triangle of stove, sink and frig are in place.  We didn't like the overhead lights, and couldn't understand the choice of stainless steel door handles on the cupboard, but after a while we looked past all that...and got on with it.

We knocked down a ridiculous and useless wall to make more room for a dining room.  We pulled the upstairs bathroom apart and made a new one.  We painted walls.  We renovated the forgotten garden.

And then...I broke my back, other things happened, and for the last  year we have done nothing but maintain the status quo.

 Now it's time...and.ready or not, we are finally going to try to make a silk purse our of this sow's ear of a kitchen.

The new counter tops are ordered - Mystic Gemstone #2830K=35.  The cupboards will be painted white inside and out,  and the back splash up the counter wall and behind the stove is this lovely stone tile.  We found blackened copper door handles and drawer pulls which will match the hardware and the walls will be Sisal - third chip from the top here.  The accents will be red.  I found a lovely red hanging light for over the table.  And a curved directional ceiling light to aim at the sink and the stove.  If we pull this off the effect will be warm and welcoming...and clean looking. 

That rickety wooden shelving unit will be firewood and good riddance to it! - and the long narrow cupboard beside the frig, with the help of some nifty wire shelving, will finally become a proper pantry cupboard.
 So...the plan is in place and the work is starting.  I can hardly wait to unveil it. 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Knitting Lace

There is something quite comforting about tackling the precise construction of lacing knitting.  It is about mathematics really - simple counting, adding and subtracting.  As long as you don't let your guard down and lose track of the pattern repeats, you're fine, but you have to stick with the schematic so the holes show up in the right places.

And when it is done and blocked and ready to show off, well, there is the reward.  The Shawl shows up nicely against the winter garden doesn't it.  Fortunately a Chinook had warmed things up enough to make taking the outside shots possible.
This shawl, as I mentioned in my last post, is actually a sample chosen for the Knitted Lace class I will be teaching at Stash Needleart Lounge in February.  It is called the Arrowhead Shawl and you can find it as a free pattern on Ravelry.

  This Pattern was chosen  because the design by Pam Allen for Interweave Press,  is well written - has  good graphs, and is easy to follow once you unlock the mystery of the graph. I would enjoy making it again, but I would make it bigger I think.

 The thing about printed patterns is that they love to save paper so explanations can be cryptic at times.  Teaching patterns, on the other hand, need more explanation, so we have enlarged the Interweave instructions a bit to make it easy for first time lace knitters.

Reading graphs has to be the first order of business . It's another language
The class is full I'm pleased to say - a good showing for a first offering.

The yarn is Rios by the Malebrigo company - in "Ivy".  I thought I needed 2 skeins, but actually used a skein and a half, which means the shawl could be made bigger by a couple of pattern repeats quite easily.  I made the shawl to the recommended size and stitch count.  I wanted to make sure everyone could actually finish it in the 3 week class time (with knitting homework between classes of course).

Here is what it looked like before I blocked it.
 And here it is pinned out on the improvised blocking boards on the floor.
It stretched out nicely didn't it?   The colour really hasn't changed here - it is in shadow on the floor pinned out with lots and lots of T-pins.

I've turned to a crochet hook for the next lacy project.  I'll be able to show you more about that later.

We are still having unseasonably warm weather around here and sunny skies to go with it. It's gorgeous!  The problem is though that the melting snow is freezing at night, so all the melting becomes sheer ice polished by the Chinook winds and  is incredibly treacherous to navigate.  Libby and I have been sticking to the walking paths along the river but even there I can feel my toes curling up in my boots.  This isn't Libby's favourite snow - she prefers the light, fluffy kind she can roll in and make snow angels.
Ah well, winter isn't over by a long shot.  We still have February to look forward to.  Lots of knitting weather yet!

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Fun in the Snow

It's January. 

We have lots of snow around here.
And we love to play in it

I actually dreamed last night that I was in my green garden rejoicing at the new plants coming back after winter.  Obviously we have a long way to go as the 4x4 beds are buried in the white stuff at the moment.  Libby is really the only one who truly, truly enjoys having shovel fulls of snow in her face. 

Today we are having a Chinook, the snow is melting and temperatures are above zero.  January can be like that sometimes.

I must need green because the lace shawl I'm working on is very green.
It looks like a crumpled lump of nothing right now, but I'm having fun working it up, and when it is blocked I think it will look quite spectacular.  This one is called the Arrowhead Shawl, designed by Pam Allen and originally published by Interweave press in 2006 - Ravelry has it if you're motivated to have a look.  Ravelry has just about everything.  I think, if this one actually works out - it will be the teaching shawl for our new lace class at Stash.  That's all I have to show you today. 
Have a good week.