Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I've Been Memed!

My friend Deb-Va memed me (not sure if "meme" is a verb, but what the hell), so I'm going to play the game:

"The rules of the game get posted at the beginning. Each player answers the questions about themselves. At the end of the post, the player then tags 5 people and posts their names, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer."

1) What was I doing 10 years ago? Working part time at a Roger's Video store in Calgary, and operating a sewing company where I made lovely coats for dogs. Also riding herd on my 9-yr-old son and 5-yr-old daughter.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today? Sit and knit group meeting, check out LYS Wool Revival, spin, spin, and spin.

3) Snacks I enjoy: chips, chocolates, cake, ice cream.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire: Share it out with family and friends, donate to women's charities, travel.

5) Places I have lived: Cochin, Saskatchewan; St. Albert, Edmonton, Elk Point, Fort Kent, and Calgary, Alberta; Fort Erie, Ontario.

6) Jobs I have had: secretary; video store clerk, technical writer, instructional designer, editor, writer, tech editor.

7) Bloggers I am tagging who you will enjoy getting to know better:


Sunday, May 18, 2008


Last weekend I REEEEEALY fell down the rabbit hole, and bought an alpaca. His name is Harley, and he's a magnificent specimen.

Why'd I buy an alpaca, you ask? Well, I'll get five pounds of beautiful alpaca fibre off him every year, he's an intact male just coming into breeding age so I can make some money with his stud services, and he's really cheap to keep. His board is $45.00 a month, and that covers food, shots, worming, and feet care. And if those reasons weren't enough, he's freakin adorable!

When I say I fell down the rabbit hole, I should really clarify...I was pushed...by my husband...He was almost more excited about the deal than I was. He wanted to buy two so we could start producing baby alpacas right away. Once I convinced him we should slow down a tad, he stepped back and let me pick my alpaca. There was no picking involved. I lost my heart (my head's been gone for years) as soon as I saw Harley. He was the first one I saw up close where I could touch and pet him. And when Carolyne, the ranch owner, said those magic words "he's for sale" I was gone, man, gone.

So, Sunday afternoons will be devoted to Harley visits. I can't wait to see him today. Tomorrow my knitting group is taking a road trip out to meet him too. That's gonna be so much fun ladies!

So, I've got to step up the learning curve on the spinning. I've been prepping my second bag of Shetland roving. Lord, there's a lot of veg matter in this stuff. Veg matter is straw, sticks, dirt, and we-don't-want-to-know-what-else in the fibre that you want to remove or it'll make the yarn really scratchy. Yesterday afternoon was spent pulling straw out of this roving. Today, I'll actually get to draft and spin it up. I think I may have discovered a clue as to the drafting. I'm pretty sure I was over-pre-drafting before. Now I'm not pre-drafting as much so I have some room to draft as I spin.

I want to hurry up and finish the Shetland roving so I can start spinning the blue and green roving I bought a few weeks ago. And I'll be receiving Harley's first shearing soon. I'm told though, by my fibre Goddess friends, that I'll have to really get the hang of spinning wool before I try spinning alpaca fibre. Alpaca lacks the barbs that wool fibres have, so it has a slippery factor that makes spinning a whole new experience. This lack of barbs, as well as the lack of lanolin, makes alpaca fibre non-allergenic. That's really good news for my friend Anne, who will no doubt be one of my early victims...I mean recipients of something made from Harley's fleece.

I've also been working on sewing up the Kilcar sweater. I have the shoulder, side seams, and collar sewn up. I'm trying to have it done to wear to a baby shower tomorrow night. I should have final pictures ready in a day or two.

I'm also working on the Juliaca sweater. This baby llama wool (Mirasol Miski) is so dreamy and soft, I could knit with it all day long. It's knitting up fairly fast and easy, although I have miles and miles of 2x2 rib to do.

"Hurry up and finish" seems to be the story of my life lately, at least as far as knitting goes. I have soooo many projects waiting. Gorgeous projects that demand all my powers of control not to jump into right now. Can you say "startitis"??? sigh...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shepherd's Pie

I've had some interest in the shepherd's pie recipe. I found it in All Recipes.com. Note that this version serves 12. There is a drop down menu where you can change the number of servings. We usually use the 12 serving version because (a) it's sooo good you won't be able to stop at one serving, and (b) we're feeding 2 teenagers. If you use the 12 serving one, you'll need two baking dishes to bake it in. I've never put 4 onions in mine; usually I use 1 or 2 onions. I use ground beef rather than ground sirloin, although the sirloin would be yummy too. Anyway, try this out. We usually have it on St. Patrick's Day, which is the anniversary of the day my husband and I met.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day, and I had a wonderful time. Doug, Jesse, Jalessa, Miranda, and my Dad and I went to visit an alpaca ranch near Onoway, Alberta. It was a beautiful day and we got to pet, walk, and fondle all the alpacas we wanted. These small camelids are so funny looking they're cute and you just fall in love with them all. They also had yarn and knitted items for sale in the sale barn. It was great to share the day with my kids, Jesse's girlfriend, Doug, and my Dad.

And fun being around these gentle creatures, and meeting other alpaca lovers. Afterward, my husband made our world famous shepherd's pie (cream cheese...cheddar cheese...mashed potatoes....mmmmm!). A girl can't ask for a better day than that.

But, Mother's Day is always bittersweet for me because I lost my mom 23 years ago. We had our usual distant years that come with any mother/teen daughter relationship, and were just starting to be friends again when she passed away. Her last two years were hellish thanks to cancer, so our time together then was tainted with her pain.

So yesterday, it was nice having my dad with me. With Herculean effort, he's managed to stand in for her on many occasions...helping me untangle wool, being a model for garments I was sewing, canning fish with me, counseling me when my kids were sick or when life was hairy, and more, much more. Lately he's gone through a tough time ending a relationship that wasn't healthy for him, so I keep him close in my thoughts and literally close to minimize his aloneness. Thank goodness he lives in St. Albert and I'm able to see him often.

I have been gifted again with a book edit contract that I hope to start this week or next. It's very exciting. Over the weekend I was able to finish the secret project and get a few rows knitted on my Juliaca sweater.

Saturday, a friend and I drove down to Olds, Alberta, to attend the Hand Weavers, Spinners, Dyers of Alberta conference and merchant market. She drove and I rode shotgun. I should have knitted, but we were too busy yacking our faces off and enjoying the scenery as it went by. It was great to finally meet Barb, the woman I've been editing patterns for, and to see more of her lovely products. And, she introduced us to Marg from Celeigh Woolen Mill in Millet, and Fenn from Custom Woolen Mill in Carstairs: two incredible women in Alberta's fibre industry. I bought some lovely wool from Barb and 4, count 'em 4, knitting books by Elizabeth Zimmerman. I've been wanting them for a looooong time, so it's great to have them in my hot little hands. Rebecca and I had a blast on the trip and are planning another trip to Olds for Fibre Week in July. We'll bring more enablers with us this time. We may need to rent a bus!

Books, haul from Barb at Olds (gorgeous!), baby sized thrummed mitts that I bought at the alpaca ranch.

Friday, May 2, 2008


It's been a while since I got close to this blog thing... Been busy... I was gifted with a bunch of patterns to format for a brilliant designer in Cold Lake, Alberta. And I'm having a blast. Feeds the detail-obsessed side of me. And it's the direction I want to take my editing career.

I've squeezed in some knitting too.

These are the last pieces of the Kilcar sweater, all blocked and ready to sew up. Not sure if you can see the button bands (click the picture to embiggen) (Yay! I got to say "embiggen"), but they were a new challenge. I did the first buttonhole band, and wound up with a lovely buttonhole band that was about 1/3 too short, and the holes were at the bottom instead of the top. Brilliant. So, after frogging that, I spoke to one of my sit-and-knit friends and she advised a better way to do button bands. The redo's turned out gorgeous!

And since I'm almost ready to sew up the Kilcar, I've gotta have another sweater going. So this is the start of the Juliaca sweater from Mirasol Book One. It's made from Mirasol's lovely and ever-so-soft baby llama wool. It's sheer joy to have in my hands. I had to frog this ribbed band once, and I didn't mind one little bit. Notice the cables. They end in the band, but appear again at the cuffs and on the collar.

This is the start of the Leafling sock from STR Sock Club. Since my next kit should be showing up any day, I thought maybe I should get this one started. If only there were more hours in a day...

This is a secret project I can't talk about yet. Details later... But I like how it looks like raspberries in a row. Very tricky to achieve...Not sure if I want to commit to the ornery stitch pattern. Maybe I need to do a few more rows to be sure...

And this is the Crystal Palace Maizy yarn that came in the mail for me today. It's made from corn silk and it's lovely. Some day they'll be a couple pairs of socks.

Anyway, the editing continues. I'm off to Olds next weekend to attend the HWSDA (Hand Weavers, Spinners, and Dyers of Alberta) conference.

Hopefully I'll blog at least once more before then... :)