Sunday, September 14, 2014

Ticking things off

Now I realize the title could be taken two ways. I am sure I am always ticking someone off but this post is about finishing things.

Remember those sad socks that I blogged about in May? The ones that felt unloved, and forgotten.

Well all it took to finish them was getting away from my sock yarn blanket (three ferries away) and deciding that the cables could be done while I watched tv.

So, here they are:

Of course they did have to wait while I finished the math geek socks I started in July.

And here they are:

I did have to frog four of the triangles on the second sock because I had inadvertently rotated the sock 180 degrees, but fortunately they were quick to frog and quick to re-knit and get back on track.

The cool thing about these socks is they look equally fabulous inside out!

So now, as my endless island summer comes to an end (one more week), I only have one pair of socks on the needles, and they are hardly nagging me at all.

I am nagging me, but they are blissfully unaware of how much time I spend on one row. That is the problem with double-knitting. I am really knitting two pairs of socks, two at a time. That is FOUR socks! (I told you earlier this summer that I am a math geek!)

And when I get home my blanket will be waiting for me.

And that sweater that is asking to be knit.

And then my spinning and dyeing course begins.

Oh my.

It is going to be a busy fall.

Friday, September 12, 2014


September 8, 2014

I have lost a knitting needle.

It is part of a six piece set, which is part of a 36 piece set. I don't need the needle I lost, but the fact I have lost it - somewhere between the house and the beach annoys me.

It was tucked behind my ear as I put down my knitting to take the dogs for a walk. I put a jacket on. I put a hood up. I put a hood down. I ran with the dogs. When I got home I realized that it was gone.

The hunt was on. Under the porch, in the gravel, all around the grassy field. I even thought that I could get a line of people to help me do a grid search like they do on CSI when they are looking for evidence.

Sometimes I fret about the silliest things.

As I said I don't need it. Most double points come in sets of four, and sometimes five. This set of six gives me an extra anyway. Still hope springs eternal and I keep looking
Actually I become obsessive about things like this. It is a quirk of mine that I first noticed when my children were very very small.

At night as I cleaned up all their toys I had to find all the pieces to their puzzles, blocks, tupperware toys and put them all back where they belonged.

If a piece was missing I would scour the house high and low. I remember once finding the third of the three little bears in the bottom drawer in the kitchen where my son had clearly stashed it. I think he was barely two. I search for a couple of hours that night before going to bed.

I want sets to stay together.

Maybe I am part bordie collie trying to keep the herd together.

Maybe this is the reason I wish for the hallmark movie ending where my family of origin all comes back together.

The set is broken, and missing pieces, and sometimes it drives me crazy.

So, in the meantime as I walk from the house to the car, from the car to the beach, from the long grass to the pebbles, my head is down looking for the missing needle.

I even dreamt that I found it last night and enjoyed the feeling of the smooth wood in my hand, the feeling of happiness and relief that the set would now be complete.

It is like looking for a needle in a haystack.


But there is a metaphor here as well.

I don't have to look hard to find it.

My island friend

I have been staying on a little gulf island for a month. I have the use of a little car to go here and there.

The first day I journeyed out I noticed a hitchhiker on the side=view mirror.

Oh my, I thought. She is going to get blown off as I drive.

But no. Her amazing web held her in place and when it got too windy she retreated behind the mirror.

I parked and spent a lovely evening with friends thinking she would find herself in a new place to spin her web.
But no, she had rebuilt her web and was proudly wrapping up a fly for dinner.

The next day she was still there.

And the next.

Ok, I had to name her.
Charlotte. Of course.

And so she has remained spinning and re-spinning her glorious webs. Catching flys. Hiding behind the mirror. Sunning herself. Remaining steadfast.

I know it can't last.

But she is good company.

And I will miss her when the time comes for her to leave.

I have often had an uneasy truce with spiders.

This one though?

She is a keeper.

The Rock

There is an apple orchard where locals and tourists gather in the summer to listen to music and eat pizza.
It hasn't changed in the thirty years I have been coming here.

There is a large rock that protrudes from the ground just in front of the bandstand.

Children are drawn to it - to climb up on it - to dance on it - to fall of off it.

This summer as I watched a new generation of children on the rock I thought of my children, and my sister's children and grandchildren.

I could see each and every one of them on that rock.

My daughter in her pink island hat. My son in his crazy yellow pants. My nephew as he was learning to walk. My great-nephews dancing to the Marimba band with my then twenty-year old daughter.

That rock has held the weight of generations, has felt the warm brown feet of island babies, has been a stage to the lucky audience of parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters, friends and lovers.

The rock has been a moment in time where someone stands on it proclaiming in their uprightness - I am here.

And I am so lucky to have been a witness to some of it.

The rock has been a witness to it all.

Untangling our lives

It was a scenario that every knitter knows too well. The skein that needs to be wound and the thought that I can do it myself.

My sister found herself in that predicament a few weeks back.

"I think I am going to need your help", she calmly said.
And so it began.

At first we attempted the tried and true method. I put my arms through either end of the already tangled skein while she continued to wind the ball.

It was clear in only a few minutes that this was not going to work.

We started winding from the other end.
This too proved futile.

So silently, without any words we just began the task of untangling the yarn. She starting from one end, I from the other.

Sometimes the yarn would easily unwind for a few turns, and then suddenly it wanted to go in the other direction.

Wordlessly we worked - passing the yarn between us - sometimes we traded the balls we were working on. Sometimes my sister picked up and shook a clump of knots to avoid a tighter entanglement. Sometimes one of us would take the whole mess and work through a particularly tricky bit.

This was all done silently. There was no feelings of "I can do this myself". We intuitively knew we had to work together in our separateness.

It was so zen.

Finally we realized it was done. I was holding the bigger ball and handed it to her to wind her smaller one onto it.

It was done.

There is a metaphor here. Untangling our lives. We can't do it alone. We can't do it by talking about it. We can't give up.

We just breathe.
And pass the yarn back and forth.

In and out of the knots that we cannot fathom how they came to be.

But knots they are.

And if we persevere we can conquer them.

And then.

Then make something beautiful.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Yes, I AM a math geek

I started these socks a week ago.

I started them despite the fact I have two other pairs of socks currently on the needles, AND, I was planning on finishing those for the 'finish your socks in August' challenge.

Oh well.

Back to my new best friends on the needles. They are called Euclid and are made by knitting triangles one at a time (each triangle contains three other triangles) and joining them as you go and VOILA! A sock will magically appear.

For those that don't know me very well, I have a slight problem with my left and right.

I mean I have a left and right, but I don't always know where they are in relation to me.

And visualising three dimensional ideas without having to sketch it out, or just see the darn pictures, is, well, impossible.

This is why I don't call my left/right issue dyslexia because dyslexics are really really good at that 3-D visualisation stuff.

Anyways, I digress.

Making these socks just seemed like something I was drawn to as soon as I heard about the triangle thing.

I wasn't a math whizz in high school (quite the opposite), but suddenly in university I was. And then once I started to teach math, even grade 7 and 8 math, even Euclidian geometry, I realized:

"I have got this".

So, yea, these socks had my name written all over it.

So, for WIP Wednesday, here are my Euclidian socks.

Both pairs done up to the heel tier. The pattern is actually very easy as long as you trust the pattern and don't try to visualise what the heck is going on.


Next week I will update you on how a heel shows up when you are only knitting triangles.

If I post a frustrated blog next week. Just remind me:


Tuesday, August 12, 2014


I was sitting in the apple orchard, drinking a latte,eating a cookie, listening to music, sitting with good friends.

A toddler had been eyeing me for a while, and finally came up to me. He had the most beautiful crystal blue eyes, startling almond shaped. He approached me and reached out his chubby tanned little hand and started to rub my upper arm, ever so gently.

"What's that?" he asked.

"Those are freckles", I replied, filled with wonder at the feel of his soft little hand rubbing my arm.

As he rubbed my freckles, I felt so peaceful, and looked at my upper arm with such appreciation and satisfaction with how pretty those freckles looked. My freckles.

"Perfect" he said.

His mother looked at me and repeated, "Perfect". "He said you were perfect".

Out of the mouths of babes.

And in that moment.

I was.