Sunday, December 28, 2008


I'm hoping you're all having peaceful and warm holidays; I sure am. The heat wave we're experiencing right now sure beats the Siberian nightmare we've been in the last couple of weeks. Although there's something to be said for surviving -38 with a wind chill of -1,000,000,000. We Albertans are a tough breed if nothing else.

My husband decided on the 23rd that we should forget about time and just relax and get things done in as leisurely a fashion as they could be. This is an entirely new stance for him and it shows his growth this year. Me and my ADD brain rejoiced in this idea. We got done what had to get done and had a great time doing it. On Christmas Eve, we got a visit in with a special knitterly friend of mine. That was awesome and I hope we can make it an annual tradition.

I've made great head-way with the shawl; I got through the edge of the first side, through the point (with a great deal of phone advice from the aforementioned knitterly friend), and am now almost done the second and last edge. I'm a little nervous about whether my edge lace will end where it should when the shawl edge ends. I'm letting the plan for that percolate for a bit.

I've also been moving forward with the Mrs. Beeton's Wrist Warmers. I've got the two bells for the first one almost complete. This is my first beaded project, and I really like how the beads look with the yarn. Perhaps a future shawl will include beads.

(Click to embiggen to see the beads.)

I'm going to visit my alpacas today. I didn't bother when it was so bitter out; I know their fleece is keeping them toasty warm. I hope to do some spinning today. I've been wanting to get at the wheel, but the busy-ness of the last couple of weeks prevented it. I'm spinning some corriedale that is dyed a hunter green (purchased at Pam's Woolly Shop). I'm trying to spin my rovings in the order I purchased them which means it'll be a while before I can get to the lovelies that I bought at Celeigh Woolen Mill. But then again, this wheel spinning is so fast compared to spindle spinning. It may not be so long after all.

Next up are the Snowbird Mitts using this yarn.

When my shawl is done I'm going to start my Agatha. Can't wait for that. The Mission Falls is calling her name.

More about my New Year plans soon.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dec. 14, 2008

My knitting of late: I'm putting the edge on my red Snowdrop Shawl. It's lovely, and easy, but soul-suckingly s-l--o---w. When I need a break from it I work on Mrs. Beeton's Victorian wristwarmers. They're going well, but looking humongous right now. I'm hoping they'll be right in the end; could that be the sound of knitter's denial? I'm too deep in it to pull my head out of the sand just yet. Knitterly denial truly runs deep, eh?

I hoped to debut the shawl at Mo's party last night, but I didn't get it finished. Her party was awesome. We had a great time, met lovely people, and enjoyed watching kids, who were ramped to the max with Christmas excitement. We look forward to next year's party. And Mo and Rick did a dance demo; they glid (my new past-tense version of glide) around the floor as if on air. I took ThatLoganChick's advice and used my triangular shawl swatch as a boobage shawl and tucked it in my bra so it would show under a green blouse. Worked great!

Then I hoped to have the shawl finished to wear to Anne's party tonight, but that's not going to happen either, sigh... (Anne is the woman who drove us to Medicine Hat and trailered Mac home. She rocks.) Now I'm hoping to wear it Christmas day. I think I can manage that goal. There it is again...the distinct sound of denial...did 'ya hear it?

I did a stash dive and came up with 100 gms of Welsh-made Prism worsted from Colinette yarns to make the purl arrows hat. It's calling me constantly. And I love it when I can shop in my own stash instead of spending more yarn dollars elsewhere. It's not like I don't support my LYS's. Hell, I should have partial ownership in them by now. I do love my LYS's.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Back to Knitting

Ok. Enough about horses already. On to more knitterly business.


My first handspun yarn on my wheel! This is 134 gms of lovely and natural corriedale, spun from roving bought from Marg at Celeigh Woolen Mill near Millet, Alberta. I spun it on my wheel and plied it on ThatLoganChick's Spinolution. Wow, her wheel can ply a load of singles. I'm waiting for this yarn to tell me what it'll be; I think mittens, but I'm not sure yet.

I'm moving forward with the Mrs. Beeton's wrist warmers. Pics to come soon.

I finished the Yellow Harvest Mitts (Vogue Knitting Fall 2008). My daughter is modeling them "Jennipoo" style. Thanks for the help Jennifer (of Nennie Knits). Jennifer gave me some assistance with the chart 1 for this pattern, as she had completed a pair already. We sat together at the Make One Knitting Retreat Pajama Party, where a good time was had by all.

Why are the cuffs so long you ask? Because I mistakenly knit 3 repeats of the cuff instead of 2. All the warmer I say. I'm loving making mittens. Jennifer introduced me to the Snowbird mittens, also in Vogue Knitting Fall 2008, so those are the latest mittens I'm gaga over. Really Jennifer, I'll stop copying everything you knit...really...

Miranda played in her high school band's Christmas concert this evening. This concert band and the jazz and stage bands at this school are absolutely amazing. They win top honours in every competition they participate in. In September the stage and jazz bands were invited to compete in an international music festival in Grimma, Germany. They were the only high school bands competing with adult bands from many countries around the world. They kicked butt as they always do. Miranda is in the concert band. I videoed one of their numbers tonight, but Blogger is not cooperating with me trying to add it to this post, and I'm not geeky enough to have it do my bidding. Yet. Stay tuned...

Friday, December 5, 2008

More Mac and Cheese

Mac is settling in to his new home nicely. He's learning where his place is in the pecking order, but I figure eventually, since he's the biggest guy out there, he'll do allright. I thought I'd post this first picture to show how he's taller at the shoulder than my daughter is at her full height. And he's only 2...he could grow for a while yet. I call him my Steady Eddie, because he's so relaxed and easy going. And he's got a sharp and willing mind.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Bringing Mac Home

Miranda and I spent the last two days in a truck traveling to Medicine Hat and back to fetch our big boy Mac. We were driven there by our friend Ann, and Miranda's coach, Diane. Ann kindly offered her truck and trailer to go get him. It was so kind of her and we had a great time with them both. Mac really didn't want to get in the trailer, but eventually he got over himself and walked in. He traveled fairly well for a two-year-old. He's been in trailers before, but not this trailer which had all new scents.

He's so laid back; when we got to our barn, he strolled out like an old pro and took to the new place easily. We're off to check on him this morning. We had such horrible winds yesterday, and we were worried about leaving him outside in the dark in such gales, but he's got a thick winter coat and where he's from he experienced lots of wind.

I got some good knitting done on the trip. I was able to get past the first chart on the yellow harvest mittens.
They're turning out quite narrow so they'll probably go to Mary up in Inuvik.
The pattern is lovely, so I may try to make a bigger pair for me when these are done.

Mary is leaving today, which makes us all really sad. She'll be in a semi-truck with her dad for the five-day trip back to Inuvik, which includes traversing the Dempster highway and its ice road. It sounds scary, but he's a seasoned truck driver and they've traveled this road many times.

We got the chance this visit for me to teach her how to knit. She's a bright girl and she learned quite quickly. She's taking home some needles and some practice yarn in a few colours. What better hobby than knitting in Inuvik in the winter. I hope it will get her through the truly dark days of winter.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Fantastic Mojo

Finally, Mary's lovely scarf is finished. (Click on either photo to embiggen.) I did a major dance of joy last night when I bound off that last stitch. My family thought I'd really lost it for a moment or two. Now Mary can take it home with her when she leaves next week, and I can move on to other lovely things that have been calling me for so long now... like my new SPINNING WHEEL!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Casting Off Bad Mojo

More and more in my life, I see things in terms of their energy value. When I say energy I mean emotional energy. Things contain energy; some good and some bad. Today, I decided this theory must apply to all things, including all things knitterly.

I've been struggling to finish a scarf that was chosen by a special friend, Mary, for whom I'm knitting it. Last July, I took her to the LYS so she could pick out the yarn herself that I would wrangle into this beautiful scarf from Victorian Lace Today. If you haven't seen this book, check it out. I bought it on first sight. Anyway, the scarf has a border at one end that is knit vertically, then a long middle that is knit horizontally, and then a knit-on border on the other end that is knit vertically and incorporated into the main scarf stitches. Somehow, the knit-on border was eluding me. I ripped it back at least eight times, with lots of time outs in between. I wanted to have the scarf complete for September as Mary lives in Inuvik, and the school she attends there is not heated well; the students have to wear their jackets all day to keep warm. Now it's November, the scarf's still not done, and Mary's back for another visit.

My frustration with the knit-on border has gotten out of hand. It seemed like each time I tried to move forward was just another exercise in angst. So today, I ripped it back again, but this time I cut out the yarn that had been knit eight times. It's full of bad energy that makes my stomach hurt just thinking about it. And guess what? I've gone further with the knit-on border today than in all the eight attempts.

I cut that yarn out because I want only Good Mojo in this scarf. I want Mary to take it home and benefit from the positive energy and thoughts that went into making it, not the frustration and desperation that inhabited those few inches of repeated struggle.

I have to say, the trouble wasn't with the pattern at all; rather, it was in my tired brain trying to work a complicated chart too late in the day or on a day when my mind was frazzled with the pace and stress of life. I'm devoting the next few days to completing the scarf and blocking it so it's ready to go home with Mary. And I'll continue contemplating and enjoying the peace that comes when you get rid of bad mojo.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


This is Mac. His show name is My Secret Smoker. We love that name. Soon to be our 2-yr-old gelding thoroughbred/quarter horse appendix, as long as he passes the vet check. Did I tell you he's huge! And he could grow until he's 5! But he's extremely laid back.

He's very pretty and we all fell in love with his gentle giant spirit.

It was a long trip. We left Edmonton at 1:30 yesterday afternoon and didn't arrive at the stable where Mac was waiting until 7:30. Then it was a long trek back home, which wasn't too bad until we were about 30 minutes south of Leduc and it started raining...freezing rain. We got home at 3:30 am, tired, but happy.

I got to start the second Alpaca Cashmere Tweed mitten on the drive down, but I realized about 2 inches up the hand from the cuff that I was knitting a SECOND right hand mitt. sigh... And then the sun went down, so there wasn't any more travel knitting happening. So, tonight I'll be ripping that back and proceeding for a LEFT mitten. We live. We learn.

Friday, November 14, 2008

16. 2

That's the height of the horse we're going to look at today. At the withers. That's 5'5" at the shoulder. And he's only 2; he could grow some yet. My daughter wants to use this big sod buster to jump. She's not 5'5" yet. She'll need a big step to get on him. I'll need a big tranquilizer to watch.

The good news is he's in Medicine Hat, so I'll have 4 hours each way to knit. I'm working on a second pair of mittens with the Estelle Alpaca Cashmere Tweed.

I'm following the suggestion of wiser women (Cynthia from RCY and the Yarn Harlot) and wrapping my working yarn around a third finger to tighten up my tension. It's working beautifully, but perhaps a bit too well; it seems so much more difficult to move the stitches. Could be that I just need to get used to it. Tight knitting is so foreign. I'm a little worried about some of the UFOs that linger around me. To shamelessly plageurize the Yarn Harlot for a moment, I'll have to revert back to my "drunk howler monkey on smack" knitting method to complete those. (She so gets us, doesn't she?)

I'll also bring the Yellow Harvest mittens that I've been battling. They appeared in the Fall 08 issue of Vogue Knitting. The first chart for this mitten contains challenging elements that have so far gotten the best of me. But I soldier on! And I'll probably bring the front of the Juliaca sweater. If I can get the cabled rib at the bottom completed then I can blindly knit miles and miles of 2x2 rib. Since there'll be 4 of us in 1 vehicle, anything too complicated would be folly.

More pictures soon...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Wow...Four amazing days of learning, laughing, and knitterly love. The setting was incredible, the weather balmy, the people enthusiastic and friendly. As I knit Miranda's green mittens, knitter after knitter stopped by to compliment them. On Saturday I wore my Kilcar sweater and a number of knitters asked me if it was from the latest magazine (not sure which one). They all fondled the fibre of it and said they loved it. A knitter just can't get enough of that kind of encouragement. And we all knit anytime we weren't otherwise occupied. So cool to be part of a knitterly invasion. There were knitters knitting everywhere. Maureen, my good friend and room-mate, was working on her Frankenscarf, and everyone was rightly impressed. Mo, send me a pic of that scarf so I can post it here.

Also on Saturday, I succumbed to the yarn fumes which were unusually thick, and bought Amy Swenson's book Sensual Crochet, and five skeins of lusciousness. There should be a law against that kind of enabling. Also modeled with the yarn is the zen garden I bought.

The instructors for the retreat were awe-inspiring: the Yarn Harlot, Cookie A, Nancy Bush, Stefanie Japel, and Amy Singer. We all wished we could squeeze in a workshop with all of them. As it was, we got one all-day workshop on Friday and two half-day workshops on Saturday. I was in Cookie A.'s sock design workshop on Friday. When I complete my sock that I designed, I'll post pics. Hopefully, that won't be in 2020. Saturday morning I was with the Yarn Harlot where she answered our knitting questions with great wit and wisdom. I love her philosophies and the way she plies them with feminism. In the afternoon I was in Stefanie Japel's "Converting Flat Patterns to Circular" workshop. This was a class I was highly interested in because I LOVE knitting in the round. Stefanie was an awesome and encouraging instructor and I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for a good flat sweater pattern to convert. I wish all patterns were in the round. I thoroughly enjoyed all my classes and learned sooooo much. You really leave these classes with information overload.

Saturday night we had a pajama party in a large room at the back of a fairly posh, and extremely busy restaurant. It was a little intimidating walking through there in flannel pajama pants. I got some random shots of the instructors. In the first picture is Amy Singer of and No Sheep for You. Beside her is Amy Swenson in the pink tiger-striped pjs, owner of Make 1 Yarns in Calgary and the woman who put on the whole shin-dig. Stephanie Pearl McPhee is next chatting with a knitter in pink pj's. The next pic is of Stefanie Japel. She brought her little baby daughter, who smiled almost continuously.

In this next shot, Nancy Bush is sitting with Cookie A.

I completed Miranda's green mitts at the pajama party, and then I got some advice and assistance from the lovely and talented Jennifer, who finished her pair of Vogue Knitting Yellow Harvest mittens. I've been trying to knit the same mittens, but was stymied by the first chart. The girl to her right was her room-mate Alysa, who besides being an accomplished knitter, had some really cool tatoos and piercings. Miranda will be soooo jealous. Not until you're 18 young lady!

Miranda's mitts are made with a novelty yarn for the cuffs and then the rest of the mitt is Estelle Alpaca Cashmere Tweed. Dreamy soft, and since I double stranded the mitten part, they should be super warm. Miranda has asked for an idiot string, so I'll crochet that for her today. Like her mother, if her head wasn't screwed on, she'd lose it.

Jennifer made her mitts with leftover Cascade from her Tilted Duster sweater which was so pretty.

On Sunday morning, a few of us were chatting with Nancy Bush and she mentioned she'd like to go for a walk. Mo was sleeping in, and we had planned on doing this walk sometime that morning, so I asked Nancy if she'd wait while I ran upstairs to my room to fetch my coat. She was happy to have a hiking partner so I bolted up to our room, praying all the way that Mo was up. I burst through the door and into the room where, thank God, Mo was awake and dressed. Mo was in Nancy's Estonian Lace workshop and really enjoyed it.

"OMG! Thank God you're awake! I'm going for a walk with Nancy Bush---Get your coat on, quick!"

So, we both went for a hike with Nancy Bush. Soooo cool. Here's a few shots from our walk. First, there's Nancy admiring the majesty of it all.

And there was lots to admire. It was such a lovely day!

The only down side to this trip was that our other ya-ya sisters weren't there sharing it with us. Start saving Sistas! We're not doing this without you next year.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Alpaca Show

I showed Harley, my 2-yr-old alpaca on Friday. It was my first time in any show ring and his first time being shown. He didn't plant all four feet and refuse to move like I was afraid he would...well, he did once, but the judge shooshed him along. What he did do, however, was fidget like a whirling dervish the whole time. The judge commented that he had a lovely handle but his confirmation wasn't so strong. I don't have a clue how he could tell that because Harley didn't stand still long enough for him to notice confirmation. We came in third in a class of three but look who we were competing against:

The first is a rose grey, who looks like he should be in the brown class, don't you think? Actually underneath that lovely brown colour is an even lovelier grey colour--a very sought-after combination. And the second is a white with a slight fawn spot on his shoulder. How can they judge Harley against these opposite colours? I think they should have had their own categories. It would be nice to see how Harley does against a group of actual fancy greys. Perhaps next time...

The big news of the day was that Doug was Shanghai'd into showing one of Carolyne's boys, and he and the boy, Canon, took first place! Carolyne and her boy took second. All of Carolyne's animals placed, so she was pleased.

The show ran for two days. Friday night they had the banquet and auction sale. We stayed for both and had a great time. I had fallen in love with an alpaca mom and baby that were for sale but they went for almost $8000.00. My pockets just aren't that deep. The baby was black with white socks and little black feet. Adorable!

This baby's mom was showing some signs of distress, but it didn't stop her from being sold for quite a sum. It was my first auction, and the auctioneer and his men were interesting to listen to and watch. I don't know how he doesn't just spit his tongue right out when the bids are flying out of his mouth so fast. What a talent.

A few animals were pulled from the sale because they didn't raise enough bids. Apparently the alpaca market was not safe from the unstable financial markets of late. One of these pulled animals was Kalamara, who is a bay black with her two front feet having socks and black shoes like the baby pictured above. We've been looking for a dark coloured girl to breed with Harley. We both fell in love with her and on Saturday we bought her. She's pregnant and due at the end of July next year. SO exciting! She was bred to Tucker, a lovely fawn male who has super dense and fine fleece. Combined with her fine fleece, the cria should be stunning. And because his lines were full of greys and colours, who knows what colour the baby will be?

I bought some yarn while I was there.
The solid beige is for the Cookie A workshop I'm in at the knitting retreat, and the dyed skein was just so gorgeous I had to take it home. It was hand dyed by Alice. (Can't think of her last name or alpaca farm name, but she sure knows how to dye. I have her card somewhere but right now it eludes me.) These are both 60% alpaca, 20% merino, and 20% nylon. Should make lovely, sturdy socks.

Doug and I met many wonderful new friends at the show, and we look forward to the next alpaca show where we can see them all again.

Now that the show is over, and Kalamara is settled in her new home at Saumer Time Alpaca Ranch where Harley lives, I can move my focus to the knitting retreat I'm leaving for on Thursday. I haven't had a second to get excited yet, so I think I'll take a moment right now and do that...........................................................................................Ok. Now I'm stoked!

Wow, I have so much to do: packing, deciding on what materials to bring, shopping for new jammies and yoga pants, deciding what knitting I should take with me, etc., etc., etc. Stay tuned for retreat details and pictures next week.

As per usual, click all pictures to enbiggen!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Banff was glorious. Those mountains are so compelling, so strong, so awe-inspiring. I believe they are strong spirits that uplift us.

When we got there on Friday, we each had a 60-minute massage. I'd never had a massage before nor had my husband. We both floated out of there with I-can-hardly-walk-I'm-so-relaxed demeanors. Great way to start a weekend getaway.

We dined at Murrieta's Bar and Grill in Canmore. GREAT food, GREAT service. I had trout that was to die for and hubby had seafood risotto. I followed it up with warm chocolate cake...mmm...mere words can't describe the level of delicious...

Saturday we shopped in Banff till we dropped. Lunch was another culinary delight at the Elk & Oarsman Pub and Grill. I had a salmon burger and himself had an elk burger. Mine came with a side of sweet potato fries...need I say more...

I visited the new LYS in Banff, Jen-by-the-Fjord, and met its proprietor Judy. This store is small but fluent in all things knitterly. Judy is a lovely woman who I hope I've convinced to join Ravelry. If you're travelling to Banff, don't miss it. It's in the Charles Reid Mall on main street.

Sunday we drove home through Lake Louise.

Breathtaking. And there was snow on the ground up there. I was glad to have my new Juniper scarf around my neck. The air was brisk but the sun on the lake and the surrounding mountains cast a celestial hue. People come a long way to view this spectacular lake. Some don't get the perfect conditions that we had. A cousin from Ontario wanted to see this lake all her life, and when she finally got there, to her dismay, it was frozen.

Yes, the water is really that blue.

As we were heading back to the parking lot, a couple of Whiskey Jacks cavorted in the pine trees for our entertainment. (Click all to embiggen.)

It was all lovely...can't wait to do it again. Oh yeah...I'm going to Kananaskis to Make 1 Yarn's Fall Fibre Retreat in a couple weeks. Life's good...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Hat for Jackson

This is a hat for our great-nephew Jackson who was born in July. Yep, it's still a bit big, but apparently he's got a big head, and eventually he'll grow into it if it doesn't fit him now. And it's stretched over a large snow globe. The pattern is "Sprout" by Cheryl Niamath. We love her. The wool is Naturally Sensation- 70% Merino, 30% Angora, 10 ply. It's dreamy soft.

Hope his Mommy likes it...