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Archive for May, 2008

Field Trip

No, not Andy. The camping trip is in danger of being changed to a road trip to Edmonton or Calgary. Apparently the fact that the camping gear won’t fit into one vehicle, and the cost of gas, plus an extra park pass, plus a lack of enthusiasm for camping in general are all combining to make an urban escape seem much more appealing. He is definitely his father’s son. As long as he leaves. I hate it when he hangs around for his days off, sleeping ’til noon, ordering pizza because he doesn’t care for my cooking, leaving a mess, staying up late and then complaining when he has to go back to work. He can do all that in another city and it won’t bother me as much. I just hope the people at Greenwater Park appreciate the change of plans.

For my excitement this afternoon, I headed out to my friend’s acreage where he keeps the U of S llama and alpaca herd. (Are they herds of camelids? Gaggles of alpacas? Spittoons of llamas?) The veterinary medicine students get the job of shearing the girls, so I went out to watch and snap a few pictures.

***Warning: heavy picture content, none of which is knitting or dogs.***

the gang:

The un-cooperative alpaca:

The alpaca will not win any beauty contests, not without a new stylist. To give Drew and Shiney credit, the clippers were malfunctioning, and the alpaca wanted to be elsewhere. Next victim, please!

This llama was more placid, and the job was done much quicker. I’m not sure how much of the fibre will be usable, as the girls (the males are kept elsewhere; I got quite a lesson in camelid reproduction!) aren’t blanketed so are quite dirty, and the bad clippers coupled with inexperienced shearing made for a bit of a mess. Apparently the llama that was used to demo for the students had actually been sedated, so it stood quite willingly while it was shorn. Hardly seems fair. (to either the other animals or the students.)

Now, to finish up with a few fun shots:

Number 42 was quite interested in the camera.  Nice teeth.

It was a pleasant diversion, and Attie and Wallace were quite interested in how I smelled when I got home.  Maybe I’ll shower and do some knitting.

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Divergence

It’s spring in Saskatchewan. I know because there are mosquitoes and ticks. Also, a rite of passage is being enacted in my house as it has for generations (well, 2 generations anyways). I speak of that ritual called the Camping Trip.

Andrew and 3 friends are leaving at 6 tonight for the weekend. None of them have camped independant of parents, Andy has not camped even with me for many many years, and at least one of the group has never camped. I asked what they would be doing for excitement, and Andy divulged that they would be golfing and fishing. I suspect that there are other activities planned. Witness the supplies:

Four people, 24 beer, 3 bottles of hard liquor. I’m not sure when they’ll fit in the camping part, especially since it will be dark when they arrive at the park, and our tent is a bugger to put up. Campout under the stars, anyone?

I don’t know about you, but when I go camping, the three most important things I take are:

the screen tent (see note about bugs above),

a really good air mattress, and

a good supply of knitting.

Sigh.  To each his own.

I’m off on a bit of a fibre adventure this morning.  I hope to have some pictures posted later this afternoon.  Stay tuned!

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I haven’t got the “I have just had a baby” excuse for not writing, or the “I’m almost going to have a baby” excuse for not writing. I saw a baby last week (actually had one in my house!) but that wasn’t much of a timesucker. Can’t blame it on housework, or yardwork (even though I dropped $300.00 at the plant nursery yesterday. Nothing useful or edible, just shrubs and flowers. I don’t even think I can make tea out of any of them.).  What did I see on a t-shirt? Oh, yeah. “Life is what happens while you’re making other plans.” (Not to be confused with my brother-in-law the minister’s t-shirt “Paddle faster. I hear banjo music”. He is by far and away the coolest Anglican priest I have ever met.) (Colleen, if you’re reading this, don’t tell him I said so. We can’t have him getting a swelled head or anything. Dick, if you’re reading this, I’m not talking about you. It’s my other brother-in-law the priest.)

Anyways. The house is devoid of persons other than myself, the laundry is started, the dishwasher is running and in about three minutes I am going to go and make coffee. I like Sunday mornings.

My friend Ruth in Calgary sent me home a few weeks ago with a project. She had found a hat pattern she liked but couldn’t figure out (Amazing to me, since Ruth can knit a silk hat out a sow’s ear, and does some beautiful work!) so I said I would give it a try. ***coffee break*** So after purchasing a substitute fibre (because the one specified has, of course, been discontinued (Rowan Polar)) I raced back to Saskatoon sure that I could bring this pattern to its knees. After a while I thought “there’s something wrong with this pattern”.

Well, no, it turns out that the Wrap and Turn wasn’t supposed to be at the end of the rows; it’s for (trumpets please) Short Row Shaping. You know, decrease the bulk at the top of the hat and so forth. Now altogether: rip and frog and rip and frog…and from the beginning: read and knit and read and knit…

Much better. So it actually turns out to be:

which is a pretty cute hat. Now, before I discovered that Christine Bagwell actually knew what she is talking about when she designed the hat (and sent me a couple of very nice emails in response to my brain-dead queries), I decided that I was going to run out of wool. so, I phoned Gina Brown’s in Calgary and had them send me a third ball of Garn Eskimo. Since the shippng cost would be be the same, I had them throw in a ball of this:

Should I ever get off my ass and get back to socks, these will be nice and bright. Of course, once I figured out that the hat pattern was basically correct, it turned out that I didn’t need the extra ball of wool. Ms. Bagwell, my apologies.

Long story short, (right. As if.) the hat is done, it’s going back to Ruth, and I am going to get back to Knitting Other Stuff.

I started knitting a tree skirt for next Christmas last weekend, but it was airport knitting and not much got done. I have a few more trips planned between now and Christmas, so hopefully the thing will practically knit itself. No pictures yet.

Speaking of airports (nice subtle segue, eh?) Mike and I took a little trip this past weekend. Guess where? (Kyle, your guess doesn’t count.)

It was a business trip. Really!!! Las Vegas is an amazing place. Like Disneyland, only with more alcohol and gambling and if you can believe it, more expensive souvenirs. Mike was actually at a conference, so my challenge was to pump money into the local economy without gambling.  Mission accomplished, and I didn’t even have to lie coming back through customs. I just had to re-allocate the purchases.  (Of course, Mike got credit for two trips to Victoria’s Secret…) The trip was not without incident, as my first excitement was leaving my carryon in the taxi we took from the airport to the hotel. The driver actually returned it on his own, which appealed to my Canadian small-cityish Pollyanna belief that everyone does the right thing.  I had never been to Vegas before, and Mike hadn’t been for 15 years, so he found that it was a whole different experience. When he was there before, he told me that the Strip was littered with flyers advertising ladies who would entertain you on an hourly basis, and apparently the powers that be didn’t like the mess. The compromise is what we referred to as “Hooker Trading Cards”, which are handed out by young male assistants (okay, pimps’ helpers) on the street. (but not in front of the nice hotels. Only in front of construction zones.). The friend we were with collected as many cards as she could to pass out at the office back home. Such a thoughtful keepsake, don’t you think? I’m really looking forward to going back in October with my high school friends.

Going back in the time machine, I did get my vest back from Custom Woollen Mills, where they kindly redyed it. Sadly, the colour it turned out was somewhat brighter than I would have liked, and I could still see the lines where the original wool changed colour. To lessen the blow, they included a couple of knickknacks:

A couple of cones, so hopefully the colour is the same at the end as at the beginning. I have no idea what is lurking in this wool waiting to come out. Time will tell. I also received:

4 sock stretchers! They are too big for socks for me, but they look cool on the shelf in my studio. They used them for many years at the mill, but the volume of socks they produce eliminates the practicality of stretching each pair. I thought it was a nice touch since the vest re-dye was somewhat less than successful. The vest fits my friend Hilda perfectly, and she loves the colour and is not disturbed by the ever-so-faint lines. It’s just one of those things; when I make an eensy teensy goof in something, it’s the only thing I see when I put it on. In this case, everyone is happy with the outcome.

Turns out I’m not the only one who finds Sunday mornings relaxing.

We don’t often find Wallace on his back, but sometimes it’s just too hard to stay upright…

Have a great Sunday!

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I was browsing old photos from a trip to the Maritimes a few years back and came up with this.

So I’m thinking, be alert and watch what you put in your mouth? Or should you wait until the rocks have come to a complete standstill before you ingest them?

Have a good Thursday!

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100…

posts, that is. That was the last one; this one is 101. That’s a lot of posts to say not much! (just like this one will prove out…) To those of you who have been around for all 100, thank you. Thank you very much. I hope you’re here for the next hundred. I hope you’re here when I actually say something brilliant and noteworthy. (May take more than the next hundred. Stay tuned.)

I must correct myself. Yesterday I was all worked up into a lather about a spelling mistake I have made forever. Today I did additional checking (and no, you can’t believe everything you read on the internet) and I am vindicated. According to the 1982 edition of the Canadian edition of the Funk and Wagnall’s Standard College Dictionary (1st anniversary present for Mike and me- paper. My mother is such a traditionalist), the past tense of learn can be either learned or learnt. I don’t know which is British and which is American, but I’m willing just to go with the flow. (Thank you, Marjorie. You are always a source of no nonsense.)

I don’t know if you remember, but awhile back I listed off a whole lot of knitting techniques that I had either tried and rejected, or had no interest in learning. I can’t rightly remember whether Cat Bordhi’s Moebius stuff was included, but it should have been. Today at Prairie Lily the group started on a Moebius scarf (Thanks a whole lot, Lynn. She gets it organized and then buggers off to South Carolina or some other mythical land.) and I wisely chose to knit a sock instead.

There was mirth and merriment all around; opposable thumbs are great in pairs, but ten of them? Not so much.

Counting to 128 proved a challenge. Frogging ensued. Did you know that frogging is actually a team sport?

I don’t know how much longer I can go without casting on the Noro socks, but I have a baby hat to knit for Ruth in Calgary, along with an adult version of the same before I can do it with a clear conscience. I have already rationalized the current socks as a Christmas present, and the top-down T as a long-term project, so maybe if I do the baby hat first, I can knit a sock before I do the adult hat. Now that I think about it, I can knit anything I want whenever I want. Self-discipline is overrated. I am the boss of me.

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Quite well, thank you.

I have run out of chocolate, so I guess I am fully recovered. It’s been a laugh-a-minute experience, but I’m quite happy to be back to my regular routine. That is to say, I’m doing my usual stuff, it takes all my time, and at the end of the day, I have no idea what I’ve done all day.

I don’t know about you, but I have assembled more than a little Swedish furniture, and I think I’m pretty good at it. One thing I have learnt*** is that when you unpack something, you follow the directions and sort everything right away. Then you get rid of the packing material. Then you follow the step-by-step directions. They hardly ever make a mistake. You might think that this is a no-brainer, but apparently it’s a “Judy is anal-retentive and real men don’t follow directions at all” situation.

Beer helps.

I knit all the way to Calgary on this:

I really want it to be done, so it’s taking all my self-discipline to keep knitting so it turns out long enough. I think I’m almost there. I can taste it. Then all I have to do is a bottom border, short sleeves, and edge around the neck. I thought I was going to love it. I must be working my way up to love, ’cause it ain’t there yet. While we were in Calgary, I dropped off a late Christmas present for Richard, who may or may not even remember my face or the conversation that eventually drove me back into the black cloud that is sock knitting. I hope they fit.

I dropped in to Gina Brown’s and bought-gasp- sock yarn.

I may do a pair for Mike out of this; this yarn is supposed to bloom nicely when it’s washed. It’s a little hard now so I hope it softens up.

Changing directions for a moment: I present a pissed off, wet dog.

It would be funnier if he didn’t smell like he looks.

Does anyone have any recommendations (good or bad) for hotels in Las Vegas? There are 6 of us “girls” going down in October for our 50th birthday party, and the task of booking the hotel has fallen to me. Help!

***I am humbled. I realized while writing this that the past tense of “learn” is not “learned”, but “learnt”. Even after almost fifty years of making this faux pas, I am able to admit my mistake. This is why I can sleep soundly.

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