Archive for the ‘family’ Category

So Mike and I decided to take a little trip, and after 4 days of driving, are hunkered down in our palace in Buckeye because it’s too freakin’ hot to do anything outside.

What did way learn on the way from Saskatchewan to Arizona?  We learned that Williston North Dakota is hopping’.  I mean, lined up for half an hour  late Friday evening  to eat at freaking Applebees. Also, if  you don’t wear  a ball cap in Applebee’s, you are in a very small minority.

We learned that  Team America does not actually have a secret lair at Mount Rushmore (at least not in evidence.  I guess that’s what would make it secret.  Duh.).  We learned that the Crazy Horse Memorial will likely not be finished in my lifetime, but what a cool story.  We figured out that Ziolkowski the sculptor had a method to his madness of fathering ten children (seven of whom are still involved with the Memorial).  All I could think of was “his poor sainted wife”.

We learned that not all Pronghorn Antelope are smart enough to avoid traffic on the interstate.  (No, we didn’t hit it.  It was already sleeping the Big Sleep when we drove by).  I have seen a lot of road kill in my life, but never a Pronghorn.  Sad.

We learned that Cheyenne, Wyoming is largely not visible from the interstate, and that there is a lot of railroad traffic fairly close to the Holiday Inn Express.

We learned that  Mexican Hat, Utah, really did warrant a photo stop at the side of the road, but we were kind of in a hurry. Ditto at Monument Valley.   Almost like we were afraid we’d miss all the hot weather here.

Another gem of wisdom I would like to pass along is that yes, you can get a sunburn even hiking the south rim of the Grand Canyon.   Perhaps by the time I am seventy five or eighty I will realize that sunscreen is a good idea.

We are parked in Buckeye for a week or so, and then will drive home, maybe through Calgary to visit the wee one.  While we’re here I hope to finish this:

# 244 Neck Down Hooded Tunic for Women

It’s from Knitting Pure and Simple, with the prosaic name of #244 Neck Down Hooded tunic for Women.  ***The picture is from the designer’s website.  My progress so far is not really fit for photography.  I am knitting it in Lion Brand Nature’s Choice Organic Cotton, in Blueberry, which is a lovely light blue.  I learned that gauge matters.  I swatched.  !  Since the construction is flat, then circular, then flat again, then circular for the sleeves, I have been monkeying around with needle size (I purl looser than I knit) (and I thought I was perfect), so I really hope there aren’t noticeable lines where I changed needle sizes.

I learned that it’s not great car knitting, since it is unmercerized cotton and sheds like an Attie.   Nothing bugs me more  than when Mike tries to dust the dashboard when the speedometer is registering 75 mph, and he’s the one doing the driving.

I would like to leave you today with a  picture of the exact moment I decided that a grandchild might just be interesting.

Life is no longer sleep-cry-eat-poop. Sometimes the punchline is actually funny.

and my favourite picture to date:

…and sometimes we smile because we know we are just that cute.

Have a great week!


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While I’ve been quiet blog-wise this fall, knitting has happened.

I love this sweater.  The pattern is from here, and the yarn is Knitpicks Stroll sock yarn.  I can’t remember the colourway, (maybe Forest?) but the yarn aged in my stash nicely enough that it’s been discontinued.  I really like this yarn- it’s lovely to knit with, and the colour changes are “Goldilocks”; not too big, not too small, just right.  The back of the cardigan is seed stitch, and it’s just so darned cute!  All that’s needed is a little pair of pants, and in spite of the whole pinkness of the situation (the first tutu has been purchased.), I think at least one outfit in earth tones is a good idea.  (Especially if the little one has red hair like Dad.)

What else?

This little Pixie hood is also from the book noted above, and for the first time ever in my life is knit from the same yarn as the sample!  Knitpicks Imagination sock yarn, also a discontinued colourway, but I did have enough in my stash for the hood and this:

Also from the same book, this is a beaded shawl that went to my daughter-in-law for Christmas.  It blocked beautifully, and I was so overwhelmed by how nice it looked that I wrapped it up and sent it off without taking a picture.  Geoff has been instructed to get me a picture of it being modelled, so once I receive that I will post it.  I told Geoff that the picture can include pregnancy evidence or face, or not if they’re feeling shy.  (How shy can they be?  We got a framed copy of their first ultrasound picture.)

Other stuff:

I wove this wrap for Mike’s Auntie Peggy.  It’s Chunky Marble for warp and weft, and the colours turned out beautifully.  I was concerned that there might be some muddying or pooling but the Crafty Christmas Gods seemed to smile on me.

What else?

Glasses sock from the same book.  I lined them with cotton, but I wouldn’t recommend them for keeping your glasses safe at the bottom of your purse.  It was interesting to see how the colours behaved differently just changing the needle size by 1.

Uck- what a crappy picture.  Good thing I don’t take money from people to take their portraits.

What does one do with 65 grams of leftovers from 2 sunglasses socks?  One cranks out nearly 200 feet of icord (at least I think that’s how much it was), then one knits a trivet in seed stitch using fat needles, the size of which I cannot remember.

From the same book (can you spot the emerging theme?) is this scarf.  While I like the wool (Knitpicks stroll hand-paint) and I like the pattern, together they are both sort of lost.  Ah well, the subtleties won’t matter as much when it’s tucked around someone’s neck.

I actually broke down and knit something with my Koigu KPPPM (is that enough P’s?  I never know.)   While I now have no Koigu left in my stash (sad face), I do have this cute little ruffle.  It’s just right for inside my jean jacket.

Do you ever run into a ball of wool that has a mind of its own?  Of course you have.  I have a couple of balls that I thought would make a really cute little dress,  but after 7 tries on the hem, I realized that the wool has no intention of becoming that dress.  I have repurposed it as a sweater, and until I was hit by my own version of Christmas Madness, the wool seemed to be cooperating.  Sadly, the arrival of 120 balls of Palette seem to have pushed the little sweater to the back burner.  I intend to take it with me when I decamp to Buckeye in a couple of weeks, as well as my small loom,  there to give the old fibre mojo a much-needed shot in the arm.  The only thing left to do is to arrange for all the cold weather to happen here at home during February.  Oh yeah.  I guess I should take down the Christmas tree, too.

This being December 31st, I wish you all a Joyful and Prosperous New Year, with fibre, inspiration and time all in compatible measure.  Even though most of us have never met, I value each of you as a friend and co-conspirator.  Have a good one.  See you next year.

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There’s been action on the yard every single day this week.  I hope I’m not jinxing anything by writing about it, but just maybe we’ll be having cement poured by the end of next week, weather gods cooperating.

But that’s not why I’m here.

Since it’s been a long while since I have devoted any space to the hounds of heck, here you go:

Since we switched Attie’s dog food to salmon instead of chicken, her fur is nicer, she’s quit scratching the heck out of her face, she’s not limping as much, and she has resumed layin’ the smackdown on Wallace.  She has rediscovered her squeaky toys, and in general is not acting her age (11).

False Advertising

He looks so cute and harmless.

The Face of Wisdom

Almost wise.  Almost like there’s something going on between his ears other than “If you throw it I will retrieve it”, or “Wanna know what I found in the garbage can?”

With no gates on the backyard, and Wallace being the sneak that he is, I have had to retrieve him from the park (a block and a half away and across a fairly busy street) a few times.  He used to just walk up to the corner and look; now he’s running to the corner, and running across the street, and running through the schoolyard all the way to the soccer pitch on the far side, because, you know, there might be someone there with a soccer ball that would like to play with him.  He has selective hearing (he’s such a teenager) and doesn’t come when he’s called; he’s even taken to pretending that his name isn’t Wallace.  Talk about your blank stare.

Two years ago, my older son got married the day before Mother’s Day.  The kids gave the bride’s mother and me each a nice ceramic mug with flowers in it.

Since then, I have cleared several extraneous mugs out of the cupboard, but this one remains.  I have other mugs I like to use, but this one has been used a lot lately.  I think of my son and daughter-in-law every time I drink from it (and I drink way too many cups of coffee a day), and I remember the challenges Mike and I faced as newlyweds.  By the time we’d been married 2 years, we had a son, and job worries, and money worries, and concerns about my cooking (well, that hasn’t really changed), and I hope that whatever challenges my kids face over the years, that they’ll be able to rely on each other and their families to get through.  The journey is the whole point, and I’m so happy they’ve got each other, and that we’ve got them.

Today’s to-do list:

1)  Watch the guys patch the last foundation crack, and not let them up out of the hole until it’s done.

2)  Go to the flooring store and see what our options are for replacing the new/damaged carpet in the basement.

3)  Try to find a bat house locally, and if that can’t be done, order one online.  Then try to arrange non- Canada Post delivery of same.  Mail strike- pure silliness.

4)  Buy hook-and-eye closures and finish the dratted Balkan Booties.

5)   Reflect on my busy busy life.  Have another cup of coffee.  And maybe a nap.

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1:  Cram four adults (two happy, two grumbling) into what passes for a mid-sized cab and go to Walmart.


2:  Walk up and down the beach until Mike’s feet are a lovely shade of tomato red and my own ankles are kind of rashy from the sand.


3:  Try to buy knitting needles.  Find some in a fabric store and try to communicate that you don’t want 3mm needles, you want 5.5mm needles.  Forget about asking for circulars.  Wonder how knitting needles can smell so rancid and leave them out overnight to air.  Pat yourself on the back that you only paid $1.75 for them so if they continue to smell you won’t feel bad abandoning them here.


4:  Wash out your undermentionables in the kitchen sink because a) it’s really expensive to do laundry here, and b) the bathroom sink, while very decorative and modern, doesn’t actually have a plug.  Bleach the kitchen sink after because apparently some people are squeamish.


5:  Tour (repeatedly) the model suites on the beach of the all the different timeshare options you could buy if only you thought timeshare wasn’t the world’s biggest stupid real estate idea.  Envy the guy who thought of it in the first place.


6:  Decide the world really doesn’t care if you appear in public in a bikini.  You are not the thinnest person at the pool not are you the largest person on the beach.  In the long run, no-one cares.


7:  Email  and text your son back north and panic when he doesn’t reply.  Call him on the phone and listen to his sad story about throwing a shirt in the dryer with a pen in the pocket.  Give telephone support for ink removal from the inside of the dryer.


8:  Knit a big thick cowl on the beach.  Imagine wearing it in a snowstorm.  Have another margarita and slap on some more sunscreen.  Contemplate surrealism.





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Domestic Goddess

Did you ever have one of those days?  You know the kind; you’re expecting your friend for dinner even though you’ve never met her before except over the internet,  and your family thinks that you may be hallucinating the whole thing and that she’s really just an imaginary friend and they don’t believe she’s real until she actually appears on the doorstep, complete with children, husband and a really nice hank of Manos del Uruguay?  And then your husband drops the weiners on his way in from the barbeque, and the dogs grab them and snarf them down before you can say Bob’s your uncle, and then while you’re all seated at the table your friend’s husband forgets he’s sitting at the edge of the kitchen and falls backwards on his chair down into the family room, and then just when you’ve apologized for seating him in the danger zone, and you think that Charity might buy your little act and think you’ve really got it together on the domestic front  your sweet little dog yappy little Sheltie barfs up purloined weiner all over her husband’s feet?   Well, have you ever had one of those days?

There is only one thing I can think of to say to Charity, and that’s I’m really sorry and welcome to the family.

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Hola from down south!  I haven’t disappeared-far from it- but I’ve been busy doing, oh, I don’t really know what.  Since the big cactus-planting adventure (and they’re all thriving, as far as I can tell.  Even the Monty Python cactus has had the decency to stay alive.) I’ve seen a Chuckwalla

(and can die happy) (at least the lizard-spotting part of me can die happy),  I entertained my BFF for five days (and only tried to poison her once),  played around with my waterproof camera

(and isn’t that an attractive look) and even did a little knitting.  I finished the beaded lace

but I’m not going to block it until I get home to all my high-tech blocking equipment.  I’ve started a little something for the house down here, and if it’s not done before I leave, I shall leave it here and finish it when I come back in the fall.

I’m almost half done; just yer basic couch potato afghan in yer basic feather and fan with yer basic Lion Brand Homespun.   Uncharacteristically, the colours in the picture are pretty accurate, and they match what’s going on in the room pretty well.  I never would have associated that green with the desert, but to my surprise (and delight) there are many many shades of green happening here right now.  Here’s one we saw at the Botanical Gardens:

and we oohed and aahhed until we got up close and read the sign about the glass artist that had created them.  Still a lovely green, though.

The UPS guy just left.  This is what he brought:

I wonder what’s in the box?

Packing paper?  Hmmm.  Let’s look a little closer.

Hey- could that be a cone of cotton warp thread?

An a-frame stand for a tapestry loom?  Really?

Yes!  A Schacht Tapestry Loom!  I ordered it on Saturday from Marsha at the Village Spinning and Weaving Shop after meeting her other half John at Fibres Through Time last Friday.   I am showing remarkable restraint here, people.  I really want to set it up and get going, but Mike’s flight comes in in a couple of hours, and I know I’m not going to have time to spend on selfish pursuits for the rest of my time down here (Mike’s been feeling a little abandoned; I have no idea why), so I have decided to wait until I get back to Saskatoon before unpacking and assembling it.  Oh, the agony…I did break it to Mike yesterday that I am going to S&B on Saturday and that he’ll have to amuse himself for a couple of hours before he picks me up to go to the baseball game.

It has occurred to me that rarely do I have a punchline at the end of my blog posts.  I just sort of wander off.

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Well, thank you all very much.  I still have not located the pattern I was looking for, but in an uncharacteristic fit of “get over it”, I have moved on.  I browsed at my LYS on Wednesday, and came up with a perfectly good alternative.  I present the Tanaya Fu Fen** dress, from here.

This is a cute little dress, although I’m not sure about the embroidery.   (Not the design, but my ability to reproduce it or come up with something similar.)

I’ve done the back and just cast on for the front.  Not a challenging knit by any stretch, but nifty faux pleats in the skirt.  I’m using Kon Tiki in Hydrangea, which feels like cotton but has some acrylic.  I’m thinking the acrylic will help prevent baggy-butt when the dress is sat in, as well as simplifying the laundry process.

It’s really a pretty blue, but my pitsher-takin’ ain’t so good.  Since we don’t know how tall Tanaya actually is, and her date of birth, while given officially as December 25th, 2008, is subject to some speculation, I have chosen to knit the dress in a 3-year size.  If it’s way too big for her, she can wear a shirt underneath it, or perhaps put it away for a few months.  This all makes me think that knitting little clothes could be kind of fun, although hopefully not for grandchildren for at least a few years!

Aaaaannnnyyyyway, long story short, I’ve found a great dress pattern, and I am not obsessing with finding one that I may or may not have imagined.  Thanks for all the suggestions!

**Tanaya Fu Fen is my dear friends’ chosen child who is joining their family from China later this spring.  We are so happy for them we can barely stand it.  Six years of waiting, and three months to get ready!

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