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Archive for the ‘the Big Picture’ Category

Winding down.

I have been writing this blog with strict irregularity for over five years.  I have made some great “imaginary” (aka Internet) friends, a few of which have become real live “I can prove to my husband that you exist” friends.  I have followed some other blogs (which is how I got here in the first place, thanks to Ruth in Whistler)  and stopped following others.

It turns out that writing, however brief and sporadic, is not where my heart lies.  By its nature, a blog is a soapbox, a place where a person can take a stand and write whatever one wants.  There may or may not be feedback, and therein lies my problem.  I want conversation.  I want interaction. Even if I don’t feel like taking part, I want to be able to lurk around other conversations.   Like the Little Mermaid, “I want to be where the people are”.

As you may have suspected, my creative life is centred on fibre.  I knit, I weave, I dream about fibre, and when I can’t sleep at night, I get up and reorganize my fibre stash or wind skeins of yarn, or plan my next project.  I don’t get up and write a blog post.  As I said, this is not where my heart lies.

I suspect that I am not the only one.  I have noticed over the past year that many of the blogs I follow have become inactive.  Some have petered out and some have just stopped cold.  The latter ones have caused me some worry, and not all my follow-up “I hope everything’s okay” emails have been answered.  I just hope that everything’s okay.

Where is all this leading?  Under Sask Skies (blog edition) is saying so long.  Five years is a long time to hold my attention even sporadically, and I think I have given it a good run.  I am not slamming the door, only leaving it ajar.  Thanks for dropping in over the years, and hopefully we can touch base every now and then.  In the words of James T. Kirk, “it’s been…fun.”

Judi

Come back when you’re ready to throw the ball. We’ll be waiting. Or taking a nap. Or barking. Or whatever.

p.s.   If you want to look me up on Ravelry, I am UnderSaskSkies.  I am there nearly every day when I should be doing housework. Drop by if you’re in the neighbourhood.

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Well, the water finally got cold and my fingers and toes got wrinkly, so I’m out of the tub.  I have laid to rest Mike’s skepticism about whether I would use the tub, and in the words of the immortal Harry Chapin “I never been so clean”.  Actually, I have been out long enough to feed the new obsession, and am nurturing my weaving mojo (to the detriment of a clean house).

A sampling of the last few weeks:

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Adriafil Fruttamix and Mirasol Tupa- nice bright colours!

 

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Regia Hand-dye effect sock yarn- warp and weft. Really soft!

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Noro sock yarn- a little crunchy, but might soften with wearing and washing

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More Regia Hand-dye effect, but I ran the warp ends back in for a tidier finish

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Finished today- Misti Alpaca worsted. LONG- 88" (I was seeing how long I could go, and this is the max with worsted)

So, as you can see, I’ve been pretty busy.  My son complained today that I haven’t been blogging much, and suggested that perhaps I should start another renovation.  Maybe with my next husband, because the current one would be less than enthusiastic.

Once again, Andy got into the Hallowe’en spirit:

gumby

Amazingly, he wasn’t the only Gumby at the bar.  Or maybe he was seeing double (although he said that there wasn’t really a “beer opening”, and he didn’t want to drink much because he didn’t want to have to take Jordan with him to the bathroom for undressing and dressing.).   Son the elder just sat on his apartment balcony with his wife and watched the parade go by (and ate little chocolate bars).  It was ucky here- snowy, cold, wet; only 30 kids braved the elements.  So here Mike and I sit, eating little chocolate bars.

Here’s a little something to which I may have alluded, but haven’t written about in any depth:

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It was raining- the photographers were prepared.

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Crazy in love...

It’s almost six months ago and I feel like I’ve had a daughter forever.  In a good way.   In the best way.

 

 

 

 

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Back in time

On a happier note, here’s what we were doing 365 days ago:

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This is the Kelvingrove in Glasgow.  What an amazing place!  There was an exhibit on St. Kilda in the Outer Hebrides (way Outer!) that really grabbed me.  Dunvegan Castle on Skye also had some interesting photgraphs and exhibits about St. Kilda, and when I got home, I found this website that caught my interest as well.  The life these people led challenges my comprehension.   And here I’m fussing about a little renovation inconvenience.  What a wuss.

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for many reasons.  At the top of the list today is an issue which doesn’t affect me personally in my life, but it does affect many people I have met through the internet and the fibre community.

The supreme court of California was not able to overturn Proposition 8– you know the one, where GLTB couples cannot be legally married in the state.  Since I have never been involved in this particular kind of discrimination, I will leave it to Amy to sound the Call to Arms.  Please read this, and don’t be afraid.  I promise you that no lightning bolt will reach down and zap you.

Sometimes I just sit here in my insulated cocoon and assume that every one in the world is as lucky as I am.  I have a good life, I am contented, and I sometimes need a kick in the ass to remind me that there are still people out there who can’t have what I take for granted.  Perhaps it’s not enough that I sit and quietly agree with Amy;  maybe a little discussion is in order.  Whether I progress to carrying a sign at a protest remains to be seen, but in the meantime, I’ll do my bit and ask you please to read Amy’s writing, and consider seriously where you stand on the issue.   We’re all just people, after all.

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At some point in grade 4, I was identified as a “gifted learner”.  So, for grades five through eight I attended King Edward School with 49 other students.

class photo grade 6

We were split into 2 classes, and spent the next 4 years as part of a grand social experiment.  (No one will actually ‘fess up that it was an experiment, since the “ac-tal”, or academically talented program had been running for several years, and continues in some form or another to this day.)  I think they refer to it as “enrichment” now, but I always swore that I would never pull my children from the neighborhood school to attend a “special” class across the city.  (Their invitations must be lost in the mail- neither of them were invited.  I can only imagine that it was a gross oversight, or that some Canada Post employee is sitting on a couple of bags of mail.)  I don’t remember much joy at King Edward, and carried a lot of baggage around for many, many years.  Needless to say, I was not one of the In Crowd.

Long story short (as if…), a movement started last summer that gee,  wouldn’t it be cool to have a reunion.  After all, we had been out of grade eight for 36 years, and most of us had weathered one or more high school reunions.  And, being special, we thought that 37 years was a good milestone.  Then, to reinforce that we are special, we decided to have the reunion not in our hometown where we had gone to school all those years ago,  but in the nation’s capital of Ottawa.  Why, you ask?  Well, the guy who suggested that he had a really great house for a party lives in Ottawa, and when he offered to host, he never dreamed that we would show up.  So, there we were last weekend, 21 out of a possible 42 middle-aged people, and a few spouses and offspring, catching up and having a lovely time.  My friend Carole (we go back to grade 2) came up from Mississauga, Barb came all the way from Victoria on the west coast, Rod drove from Nova Scotia on the east coast, and everyone else from points in between.  You know what?  Lots of us had a crappy time in elementary school.  I was able to expunge some adolescent demons (I love that word- expunge.  It has a ring of finality to it.) and I finally feel like I’m all grown up.  Only took fifty years, but who’s counting?

One bit of sightseeing that I did was to track down a couple of fibre purveyors.  The first was Knit Knackers , which at first seemed unremarkable, taking up just one room in an old house.  It was like an onion, though (Shrek reference there), and once I nosed around a bit, I found some interesting things that I can’t get at my LYS.  Probably the best was the bargain bin, from which I scored:

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Yup, Yuzen, and for a ridiculously low price.  It’s so low I can’t even tell you because you’ll be very sad.

Also, I got one skein of this:

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which I think is destined to become a Swallowtail, and is going to be gifted to an anonymous person.  It was also ridiculously cheap (like me) and once again, I can’t tell you how cheap because your brain would explode.  I picked up a couple of other balls of sock yarn, including a ball of Tofutsies because I’d like to try wearing shellfish on my feet.  I cannot say enough about the selection in the store, and if you go nowhere else in Ottawa, go to this store.

Because it’s not a holiday unless I walk several miles more than I should, I boogied on down to Yarn Forward, and snagged some more sock yarn.

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(I beg forgiveness if I’m mixing up what I got from where.)

I found this kind of interesting:

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It’s probably run-of-the-mill for those of you with a handy supply of Lang fibres, but sadly, I must leave my cocoon to marvel at the insightfulness of the brains at Lang who have the genius to include  matching reinforcing fibre for the toes and heels.  What a great idea!  (Yes, I am easily amused.  Why do you ask?)

Our hotel in Ottawa was in the Byward Market area, which has all sorts of historical significance with which I shall not distract you.  The day I came home I was on my own after Carole left for home, so I spent a fun afternoon wandering around the market (except for the fish part) and behaving in what I thought was a very continental way.  (translation:  I had wine with lunch, even though I was alone.)  In a little souvenir shop which specialized in everything, I actually found this:

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Recycled Sari Silk.  I have used this before, with dubious results, but when I saw the price I just had to have it.  I kindly left a skein for the next knitter, but I think that after an appropriate rest in the stash, it will become something beautiful.  I just love the colours.

The weekend wasn’t all shopping for wool and drinking alone.  I also finished Mike’s stupid never-ending socks.

Mike's stupid socks

They are knit from Knitpicks Imagination, which is a lovely wool, but a wee bit splitty.  Halfway through these socks I decided the colour was less Woodsman and more camouflage, for which I don’t care.   I gave them to Mike and told him that they were now his responsibility (apart from laundry, all of his which I do anyways).  I will not darn holes, I will not replace missing socks, I will not shed a tear if they itch or felt.  The only way I forsee knitting him another pair is if his feet suddenly get three sizes smaller.

I also took along another project.  I seem to be delusional when it comes to road knitting.  Thank heavens I am somewhat enthused about socks; they really are great portable projects.  From the “what the hell was she thinking?” files I present:

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fluff 2

fluff 3

I had some Douceur et Soie in the stash from, oh, ten years ago, so when I saw this pattern from Knitty, I decided to triple the width and knit until I ran out of wool.  I’m not sure how it will block out, but I may have just enough to do it all in one colour without putting in a panel of blue Kidsilk Haze in the middle.  It’s fluffier than in the picture, and this morning I decided that I will never again work on it past midnight.  It’s a real bugger to tink.

So that’s where I’m at.   I have not done an entry about my son’s wedding, because it affected me in a deeply profound way that I did not expect.  I am still digesting the whole thing, and may post a picture when I get one.   In the meantime, one knits because one must.

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A small water-related “incident” at our business caused me to be on the business end of a shop vac until about 4 am Wednesday morning, so for the fourth consecutive Wednesday, the Prairie Lily Gang (sounds like ineffective cowboys, doesn’t it?  Kinder and gentler and so forth) was without my company.  I hope they remember me…The next night I had trouble going to sleep (something about the nap in the afternoon, no doubt) so I stayed up and watched Star Trek, knit a bit

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and perused some new books:

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Sleep followed.  If this is how my body reacts to one late night, travelling to Scotland in June (!) should be interesting.  (I’ll be the one sleeping through the castle tour.)

I have followed the Yarn Harlot’s escapades with Mr. Washie with some interest.  Laundry is the one household chore that I actually enjoy doing (because you can work really hard putting in a load, and then sit down and knit until it’s done), and I’ve had a recurring problem over the years with mysterious spots on Mike’s t-shirts.  It wasn’t personal until they started appearing on my clothes, so after the usual maintenance checks, changing of detergent, fabric softenenr, etcetera and so forth, on Tuesday I emptied out my “fun money” account and bought a new washer and dryer.  Went with top load (for felting purposes) but 4.5 cubic foot capacity (king-sized bedding- friendly!).  I shopped without Mike, and actually got the features I wanted.  Now, my husband is a darling, but if it was left to him, all laundry would be done on the heavy duty cycle, warm wash cold rinse, and dried until crispy.  The subtle nuances of different cycles are lost on him.  (“What is this “gentle” cycle?  Why would we use that?”)  I have known for years that he is the embodiment of Not Reading Labels,  Directions, or Instructions.  I had purchased a pair of classic wool pants, lined, far more expensive than the budget could stand (but I was going to wear them for years), ****dry clean only***.  I came home one day, and Mike (who I didn’t think even knew where the laundry room was) had done some laundry.  On top of the dryer was a green sodden lump.  I held up by the waistband what used to be my pants and shook them gently.  The lining fell gracefully to my ankles, and the pant legs fell damply to my knees.  I walked into the living room and asked “What happened to my pants?”  Mike replied in a “gee I’m clever” kind of voice “I took those out of the washer and thought “I bet these don’t go in the dryer!””.  Silence.  Disappointment.  Tired resignation that at least he tried.  Then recently, as the laundry spots became an issue on his t-shirts, I started to do the math of how many t-shirts (which can still be worn under a sweatshirt, after all)  it takes to make up for one pair of totally ruined pants.  I think we’re approaching even. 

You may have noticed that the mitts I am knitting don’t have thumbs.  I hate knitting thumbs, and hope to rely on the kindness of others for that little detail.  The third mitten has two cuffs, because it’s a “holding hands” mitten, part of a wedding present for the upcoming nuptials of my son’t buddy.  (I can’t believe Patrick’s old enough to get married.  I’m barely old enough to get married.)   It’s a Lion Brand pattern, and there is a weird hole between the cuffs.  I will have to get a second opinion on that.  It can’t possibly be anything I did…

The hat is from Canadian Living Magazine (January), using Patons Rumor.  It should be appearing on the website soon.  It was a fun knit, although my gauge was a little tight (maybe because I was stressed when I was knitting it?) so it’s gone to the church with my mother to decorate the “woolly tree”.  

And now, just in case anyone is feeling overwhelmed with his or her life, and all the complications which seem to consume us every day, I ask that you check out Kody May Knits.  Whether or not you get involved in social and justice-related causes, or just say a few quiet words to whomever you say quiet words to, please remember Kody May and Randy.  What they are going through right now makes my complaints and concerns seem petty and unimportant.  When people say “Don’t sweat the small stuff”, that’s okay, but then when they follow it up with “It’s all small stuff”, well, that sticks in my craw.  Kody May and Randy are not sweating small stuff; this could be the fight of their lives.  Literally.

I believe that the contemplative side of knitting need not result in the gifting of the object being knit to the person you think about or pray for while you are knitting.  Please use at least a little of your knitting time this weekend to send good vibes to people who really really need them.  And don’t sweat the small stuff.

Have a good weekend!

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