Wednesday, 23 November 2016

When in Doubt....


We appear to be living in troubled times, to quote a recent Nobel Prize winner.  And there is a feeling of helplessness in the world as we watch the news.  Having something to do with your hands while you are bombarded with the latest news is a comfort.  And then you are further comforted when you get to wear or give as a gift whatever you make.  At least I think so.

I have this theory...that if we taught all the leaders in the world to knit, we wouldn't have war.  

The sweater is coming along nicely in spite of a few setbacks along the way. 
Setback Number one occurred when I discovered I had twisted the stitches during the process of joining the stitches into a circle.  Ripping.
Setback Numbe rtwo occurred when I realized well into the second ball of wool that the sweater - which is for me by the way - is too small.  More ripping.
Setback Number three occurred when the sleeves were joined to the body and I took a look at things, made a judgement call and decided it wouldn't work - sloppy - looked homemade, not handmade.  Sigh - ripping.again. 
But now, I think things are at last the way they should be and we are moving on with confidence.

 Of course, none of this is earth shaking.  But I'm going on record here to say that I believe in Inclusion, not Exclusion.  I believe in diversity.  I don't care what colour you are or what religion you practice. I believe in kindness to all. 
And freedom and joy to be who you are.
 Cheers for now.  Patricia

Friday, 23 September 2016

Harvest Time

I had an absolutely amazing tomato harvest this year.  I made pickles -green tomato relish actually - But the tomatoes were ripening so fast I gave bags of them away to neighbours, quartered and froze more for winter soups and stews and spagetti sauce, even threw some away that were less than perfect.  It was a tomato glut.  

Of course I picked one of the hottest days for my first attempt at pickles, but I got 9 jars of the stuff which actually tastes pretty good .

I'm enjoying watching the fields of squash being harvested, and grape picking is underway all around the valley.  Hopefully we'll get some good wines from the estate wineries this year.
 The apples are hanging on the trees - some of them are being picked, others are waiting patiently for their turn.
And would you just look at this Hibiscus?   The flowers were as big as dinner plates and a gorgeous red colour.

The praying mantis took up residence on the side of the house and then worked his silly way behind the screen.  He had to be rescued and transfered to a tree branch but before that operation, I just had to take his green picture.  He was pretty impressive.

Summer knitting stayed simple as was keeping with the weather and my mood, but I did start my winter sweater - actually started it three times but I think I'm on a roll now and almost up to the yoke.  pictures will follow.

And company - lots of it - rolled in and out, which was nice and spurred me on to try out a few Oliver restaurants.  The valley is under rain today but still mild. 
And that's the story from here

Thursday, 14 July 2016

Apropo of nothing much

Its Mid July and summer is in full bloom.  I brought the Lavatera seeds from Calgary and when I moved, chucked them in the back of the frig and sort of forgot about them.  This past spring, before the accident, I hauled them out and along with the tomato seeds, put them in peat pots in the sunroom.  This is the reward.  Pink seems to have dominated here, but the white came through.  I'll gather the seeds when it is time.  They put on quite a show don't they.
The small pink flowers are Oxalis, or as we say in our family "Grandma Landry's clover"  Most of us have a plant that we baby and nurture and split up and repot and then share. 
I strung lights over the door in the spring and this moth fell in love with them.  He hung around for days clinging to the screen.

I  might have mentioned that after the accident - creativity flew south and knitting and crochet were complete non starters.  And that remained the case until last week when I decided to dig into my yarn stash and reacquaint myself with my supplies.   Digging through stuff I came on a square that I had started a few years ago when I was still hip deep running Patricia's Yarn Cabin on Vancouver Island.  I  read an article showcasing Valentina Devine's"Creative knitting technique" and the bottom square is the result.  The pile of yarn at the top was tucked into the bag with the square - Obviously I had planned to continue. happens doesn't it.  

 In any case, this period of my life now - recouperating and healing-, seem like the absolute right time to dig back into this project so here I am.

 The deal is this is garter stitch - I can handle that- garter stitch for short straight rows and then casting off, turning the piece and picking up stitches and not caring that the ends are there.  The ends get to be the embellishment afterward and you an do anything you want with them  I chose to crochet the ends and then tack them down randomly.  Some of the ends will reach over into the next square when they are joined.   I have no idea at the moment what this is going to turn out to be -  a throw?  A wall hanging?  I think it is enough right now that I'm doing it and it is getting the juices going again.
And that's it for now.
Have a good week.

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Happy Birthday Canada!

I’m sitting on my deck, enjoying a delightful glass of wine in the late afternoon.  It is July 1st, Canada’s birthday and the temperature here sits atbalmy 26 degrees.  One year ago today I was deep into the chaos of Moving into this new house – boxes everywhere, two intrepid moving men manhandling furniture out of the van and into the house in pretty intense heat, a phone that packed it up, an emergency visit to Telus to buy a new phone, and a mouse who somehow snuck into the house either during the former owner’s move out, or my move in.  Jury is out on that.  Somehow we made it all work – “where do you want this Lady?”  making snap decisions about where furniture was to be placed.  Three moves in the space of 5 years – too many. I swear this is the last move!  I like it here.

I just went into the garden to pick a fresh onion and some snap peas to make a stir fry for supper.  There is a nice breeze blowing through here keeping it comfortable.

The onion is quite spectacular and the result of a great experiment.  In early spring I cut the root heads off some green onions I bought, soaked them for a while until the roots grew a bit, and them put them into the raised garden.  I have been handsomely rewarded I’m pleased to say and am now eating fresh onions in the stir fries.  Not too shabby   The beans are all in flower and the snap peas are ready for the picking …some of them at any rate.   There were some potatoes going to seed in the frig too that I just planted a couple of weeks ago – not sure if they will make it or not – no loss if they don’t but it would be fun to have some.  Lettuce should be coming but it is slow which is surprising.  Well...I was late getting the seeds into the ground.

A monarch butterfly flutters by and two hummingbirds just put the run on a robin for some reason.  Bird world is not without its danger I guess.

Actually the world is full of danger - I had a terrible fall 10 weeks ago today.  Rushed to emergency, then into Surgery and the result is I have a new stainless Steel ball inserted into my hip.  I have been relearning all sorts of things - how to walk, how to shower, how to drive.  But things are coming along and I'm getting better.  It's been a journey.

Knitting has been on hold but I do have a wonderful pair of socks to show off because what would life be without socks to knit.
 I'm spending the summer recuperating and heeling.  Libby gets me out for walks to build up my muscles again.  
So here are some pretty flowers for you to enjoy this Canada Day weekend.  

Cheers for now.   Patricia

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Garden De-Construction!

 The last time we encountered the garden apprentice was in Calgary, happily building 4x4 raised beds and making grids with cotton twine for plantings.  It was fun and the garden and I got along very well.  Thanks to the very knowledgeable gardeners who took me under their wing at the Silver Springs Botanical Garden in the North West part of the city, I learned so much and was the recipient of some great booty in the form of plants and seeds. house, new garden and endless possibilities but construction.  I have to say that no loving care was given to this plot of land after the first initial plantings in the 1990's.   Juniper was allowed to run wild behind a hedge of bushes that had no business being a hedge.  Creeping Jenny was choking  the rose and covering up struggling lillies.
Landscape cloth - rotten under  a layer or gravel had weeds and quack grass growing up through it.
Oh...and landscaping wood borders were rotten and full of icky bugs.
So...first things first this late winter/ early spring.  Some of the hedging bushes had to be removed and the juniper tamed.

then the layer of rocks had to be...shall we say...relocated.and as much of the rotten landscape cloth as we could, torn up, along with the quack grass roots.   This is high desert country and there are lots of rocks here, big ones, small ones and some in between.
The space is starting to take shape.  Some early planting carefully put in - and edging started with some of those rocks I told you about.
So, the next task was to tackle the insidious Creeping Jenny.
I was feeling quite kindly toward this stuff until I started trying to dig it up.  I even put some on the bank close to the juniper.
but after fighting with it today I have to say most of it went into the green garbage for pickup.
It was doing a fine job of choking out this pretty white bush rose.  
Here we are - finally - took me over an hour to dig up the horrible creeper and I'll have to keep an eye out for errant roots I guess but I feel like I won that battle for now.  Still lots to do ...and we haven't even started on the back yet - well...Libby has - she is having a lovely time digging out there. That's the thing about gardens isn't it.
And on we go.  It's raining now, time to cozy up to the fire and knit I think.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Hope in the year of Fire and Smoke

Last summer was tension making - as I may have mentioned here before.  I slogged through a big move, packing and unpacking in a lovely new space taking a breath....and then.....the valley caught on fire.  There is an irony here, spending time and money to move a complete house to a new location only to have the location go up in smoke.  We were evacuated - half the town was and lived on tender hooks for quite a while while the intrepid firefighters battled spot fires and tried to save us.  I was so lucky.  My new dear little house dodged the fire bullet.  Lots of families weren't so lucky farther south.
But we lived through it.  And we lived through the smoke filled valley when the winds changed.  And we got on.
Which brings me to the challenge.
I belong to a wonderful guild here.  The desert Sage Spinners and Weavers guild.  They tolerate all fibre arts with joy and generosity.  So, weekly, I haul my latest sock down to the community centre and sit among like minded artists chatting, nurturing, and exchanging help and ideas.
Last fall, after we all took a breath when the fires were at last out and the fire camps closed down, we were presented with a challenge.
Create something using the colours of summer - the red of the fires, the greys of the smoke, the brown of the rocks, the green of the evergreens.  It was called the summer of fire and smoke. is what I did.
I call it HOPE.  Hope for a new beginning here in this lovely part of the Okanagan.  Hope for a peaceful, creative life here.  And hope that the winter rains and snow put enough moisture in the ground so we won't repeat last summer.
 I started out wet felting some lovely Mohair dyed by Cattails Farm Fibre - I bought 3 colours from her at the craft fair.
I then turned to needle felting and cutting out my shapes.  
Once I sort of had that under control, I got out the beads.

And here is the result.  Hope in the year of Fire and Smoke. 

Monday, 23 November 2015

Some days are just like that

I have been working on this crochet sweater for what seems like an eternity now - starting in Calgary and bit by bit getting all the pieces ready to put together through the big move, and the even bigger wall repair and painting.  Finally, finally it looked like it was ready to put together.  Probably I shouldn't have had that glass of wine but at the time.....
Anyway, the idea of this thing is that it is all one piece, except for the sleeves which are crocheted separately.  So far, so good.  The big attraction is that the front looks like a mobius loop as you twist the right front 180 degrees across, matching up the arm holes. 
Except they didn't - match - that is.   I inadvertently created the right armhole on the top of the piece, rather than the bottom. My mistake.

No problem I said - I can take out 6 rows, fix the mistake and we would be good to go - insert the sleeves and get it ready for it's close up, and do the edging.
Except the right armhole and the left armhole didn't match in size.  One armhole was going to be way too small. was the armhole in the middle of the entire piece.  This wasn't not good!
All that work - 29 inches of crocheting across the front which was joined at one side to the back and the armhole in question was in the middle of the join.   I re-read the pattern - I hadn't made a mistake - I had 16 offset V stitches and one shell, and an armhole no one but a small child could get their arm through. 
So..I thought - can I get the back and front separated without tearing out the entire 29 inches, the way, took me most of the summer off and on to complete?  I've done crochet repairs before.  I once backed myself into a corner and took on the repair of a gorgeous Greek bedspread - the repair was right in the middle of the piece.  I though if I can do that...I can do this.
So.  Yesterday afternoon I made a strong pot of tea and laid the entire thing out on the dining room table, figured out where the first sideways row was, took a breath and cut.  Then proceeded to unravel the first row backwards - which, I might add is not quick, or for the faint of heart, but it can be done if you're desperate enough.  And I was.
The live stitches have been captured now on a circular knitting needle, but I don't think they are going anywhere.  Now I have to measure the two armholes, match them up and rejoin the side and back. 
The sweater is called the Lotus and I'm using a delicious pale mint colour from Manos Del Uruguay - Fina colour #408 - it is a mix of 30% silk/70% extra fine merino and I love working with it. and I love love love the colour.

This is an interweave crochet pattern from Spring 2014 - a couple of things about this - The first armhole shaping is wrong which is incredibly inconvenient if you don't catch it (see above)  I think Row 1 should be 14 V Stitches not 16..   I don't know if an errata was ever published.  They are also a bit off on the quantities of yarn needed - Mind you I made a substitution but - don't we all?  So I have 3 full skeins left over of this lovely stuff.  It will go into the stash and no doubt turn into something else sometime else.  Extra doesn't worry me over much.
I'm not moving this thing off the table until I have it joined up again.