Sunday, May 21, 2017

Yop Yop Yop - Week 47

Wow we are getting close to the end.

I have knit all the things on my list, plus many more, and I have mostly spun all the yarn I had as of last July. I haven't made any more Izzy dolls, but I have made two teddy bears. Does that count? No. But I still have five weeks to go.

Lately I have been tied up in anxiety attacks and oddly enough spinning doesn't help, so the cowichan-style sweater knit out of my fleeces will wait until I am more at ease.

Having said that I did finish the slouchy hat and I have enough yarn left over to make another child sized one.

I have finished three and a half Iona squares. I can knit half of one a day before I get tired of all the cabling.

When that happens I switch to my Dizzy sweater. It is slow going, but I am liking the results so far. My pinks are not quite a match in colour or thickness so I am alternating them.

Hubby's socks didn't get any attention this week, but I did give him the rat pot-holder for his birthday last Wednesday and he loved it.

I did buy a new pattern on Ravelry that has a funny story attached to it. You can read about that adventure here.
And on the baking front I learned to make Brazilian cheese buns which are gluten free because they are made with Tapioca flour.

And, my hoya bloomed for Mother's Day

which was a lovely surprise to compliment the apple blossom my dh put beside the bed for me to see as soon as I awoke last sunday.

To visit other Ravelers who are Yopping you can read about their progress here.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Well of course it was

Sometimes we get caught up in a rebate deal when shopping. My husband arrived home a couple of months ago with two packages of batteries. (ok it was December and we needed batteries for the snoring Santa - don't ask).

The deal was if you sent in the receipt showing the purchase of the two packages you would get a five dollar rebate.

Five dollars people! What's not to like? I can get a latte at my local coffee place for five dollars.

So, I followed all the instructions and what we got was a pre-loaded, on-line only, Visa card with five dollars on it.

Did I mention it was an on-line Visa that we could only use for purchases on-line?

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I can't think of a time I bought anything on-line for five dollars. And we are talking five dollars Canadian!

So, it languished on my messy desk until yesterday.

Ah-ha, I thought. I will spend it on Ravelry. There are many patterns for sale for five dollars.

But, alas, although this is true, they are almost always five dollars American, and with our dollar being the way it is right now, that priced me out of the market.

Unfortunately you can't search Ravelry for 'patterns that cost five dollars Canadian'.

So I spent a good part of yesterday searching Ravelry patterns. I looked at mitts, hats, baby things and I did find some two dollar patterns, but I am so miserly I wanted to use up as much of the five dollars without leaving, you know, $1.61, or something on the card.

Finally I started to look at illusion-knit cloths, pot-holders, and then finally (why it took me so long, I don't know) I started to check out double-knit pot-holders.

One of the very first ones I found was this

but it couldn't be purchased on Ravelry, only on the designers website.

By then I had figured out that with the exchange I needed to find a pattern that cost $3.50 USD.

I went to the website and the first few on her page were $3.25, $3.75, $4.25, and one was $2.50. All US Dollars.

I clicked on the one I wanted.

$3.50 USD which converts to $4.90 CAD!

The design?

The Tree of Life.

Of course it was.

I have a Tree of Life felted fireplace screen that my Grade Four class made for me many years ago. I look at it every day from where I sit and knit and write. The Yggdrasil Tree from the Norse Myths.

So ya, of course it was.

(And now my husband is trying to figure out how to get that last ten cents off the card)

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Yopping 46 - Yarn chicken ftw!

This week was all about the edging of the baby blanket. Having only 77 gms left I kept weighing what was left, and how far I had to go and my math skills came into play big time.

I finished with less than 1 gm of yarn leftover. Yarn chicken? I WON!

101 pattern repeats - 1212 rows of knitting.

AND I even got it on the blocking mat on Saturday afternoon.

I started a slouchy hat for myself with some beautiful alpaca yarn I got as a present from my eldest sister this week.

This is my second start because my first start was going to be much too big so I frogged it and cast on 18 fewer stitches.

I finally started spinning the 50 gms of hemp I bought over a year ago. It spins like butter - so smooth - which surprised me as I thought it would be like spinning butcher's twine (which is why I think I put off spinning it for so long)

Now I can start to re-focus on my Iona squares. It has been too long.

And my Dizzy sweater is feeling left out too. I won't forget her either.

Happy Mother's Day to all of you who mother. May the force be with you.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hodgepodge Wednesday

I haven't played for a while and I thought I would jump in today.

1. Share a favorite memory of your mother or share a favorite something from your own life as a mother. If you're a mother (or stepmom) tell us how your experience as a mom differs from your own mother's experience.

A favourite memory of my Mum is going to the A and W drive-in for a Teen burger. We would bring our German Shepherd and Mum always ordered an extra beef patty for her. One of my favourite memories as a mother was being in a tent at the edge of the Okanagan Lake in between my then six and three year old children while they were sleeping and I was listening to them breathe and the lap of the water on the shore.
As for how we differed as mothers? She was a stay at home mother, and I went back to work part-time when my children were small. She had six children, compared to my two. That is a huge difference!

2. In May we celebrate teachers (May 9) and nurses (May 6) both. Most every family has at least one in their midst, so tell us something (or a few things) you appreciate about the teacher or nurse on your family tree.

My eldest sister was an Elementary school teacher and she has the most beautiful singing voice. My second eldest sister taught at the University level and always, always was looking out for the marginalised students. I was a teacher too. I guess it runs in the family.

3. Chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad...which would you go for if all three were on the menu? On bread or a bed of lettuce? If you answered bread, what kind of bread would make it the perfect sandwich?

This could have been my answer to a favourite memory of my Mum. She made the best egg salad sandwiches, on white bread. I try and try to make them like she did, but hers are still a fond memory.

4. Do you have a desk? Is it organized? If so, share your secret to keeping it that way. If you don't have a desk, where in your home do you take care of family paperwork and business? Where do you normally sit to blog?

Yes I have a desk, but I never sit at it - it just holds stuff like my printer, knitting patterns, bills, and odds and end. When I had a desk as a teacher it was always a terrible mess. I would clean it up periodically to be a good role model for my students but within a day it was a mess again. Every class I had always had one student who would finally reach the breaking point with my mess and come and organize it for me!
I pay bills and blog (and knit) on the couch.

5. When I was nine years old....

I was in Grade Four with the same teacher I had in Grade Three. She seemed ancient but was very kind. It was a new school for me and they were using rods to do math and I never could figure out how they worked. Ironically I am now a math tutor!

6. Insert your own random thought here.

I have missed HodgePodge. I like the new five question format, and I will try to be more regular in my participation. I didn't know May was the month for celebrating teachers, but I will be thinking of all the mothers and mothering people I know come this Sunday which is Mother's Day in Canada.

Here is my favourite picture of me and my Mum. I think this was her 70th birthday so I was 37:

Sunday, May 7, 2017

And not be sad

"But I want to be clear, I’m not trying to be anyone’s savior. I’m just trying to think about the future and not be sad."
"Elon Musk, Ted Talks, 2017

Those words of Elon Musk have been going around and around in my brain this past week since I heard his interview last Friday. Especially the four words 'and not be sad'.

That is what I want. I want to wake up in the morning and not be sad. I want to go to bed at night and not be sad. I want to go through my day and not be sad.

"Oh easy for Leonardo"


I am awaiting an appointment at Hope Centre. I am looking at trying some different medications. I am looking to talk to someone. I have a couple of groups I might try.

Today my anxious stomach was in full throttle so I decided rather than taking the orange pill I would go for a walk in the rain - return a book to the library - maybe vote.

I did.
I walked.
I voted.
I returned the book.

The thought of walking home was overwhelming. I thought of calling my husband to come get me.

Then I thought I could just start walking and get him to pick me up somewhere along the route.

Then I thought I could just walk to the bottom of the big hill and get him to pick me up there.

I couldn't imagine how I would get up that hill feeling the way I did.

But then?

Then I started to walk home one foot in front of the other.

I got to the bottom of the hill.

And one foot in front of the other I made it to the top.

I made it home.

One foot in front of the other.

And not be sad?

I am still sad.

But I am home. I did make it to the top of the hill.

One day I will not be sad.

One foot in front of the other.

This post was written May 5, 2017 - Today is a better day. Not the best, but better. One foot in front of the other.

**line from A Child's Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas

Yopping Week 45 - sewing things together


The Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater is done - ends sewn in, buttons on and shoulder seams sewn. I am very very happy with the fit and reminding myself that trusting the pattern indeed works.

and no, it isn't blocked yet, because, well, I am avoiding that at the moment.

I was planning to lengthen the sleeves but I finished all the stash yarn I had for this project. At one point last Sunday I had decided to go to my local yarn store and buy five different colours of worsted to add to the sleeves, but as I walked there calmer heads prevailed (as my uncle would say), and I realized how silly it was to buy yarn for a stash sweater. If I want to add longer sleeves in the future with some leftover yarn from other projects that is always an option. I have worn the sweater out on two occasions and received nice compliments and I am liking the sleeves just the way they are.

I did get the baby blanket seamed with nice flat seems after relying on YouTube tutorials to help me out. I ended up seaming loop to loop and not loop to knot because I like the way it lies better.

I started the edging and got about 1/3 of the way done (30 twelve row repeats) and realized it was pulling funny because I was attaching every row to the main blanket rather that every other row. So I ripped out 355 rows of edging and began again and I am much happier with my progress.

Blocking this baby blanket will be a trial but I am loving how it is turning out and it will be so worth it. (And probably once I start blocking it the EZ sweater will follow suit. I like to block en masse because I think misery does love company).

I am using pins to mark the stitches that have to be picked up and to keep myself on track with the twelve repeat pattern. So far so good.

I am a bit nervous that I am seriously playing yarn chicken with this border because I figure I need 77 gms and 77 gms is what I have....sooooooo.....fingers crossed (and toes too). I am also a bit at a loss about the corners - the tutorials say to short row the pattern to add ease around the corners but that seems very vague at this point. Hopefully I will intuit something by the time I get to the first corner.

I did start the Dizzy sweater by Holli Yeoh because I serendipitously found another ball of yarn at my local yarn store that is pretty close to a perfect match. It has a interesting rolled hem after the ribbing. Cute, eh?

And, I started another pair of socks for hubby, because I went to a candidate meeting and needed something mindless to knit. Here I am ready for the heel but waiting till I knit the 2nd sock this far.

So that is my update - I won't be tackling anything this week except the baby blanket border.

And then I want to get back to my Iona. It is calling to me, and feeling very left out these days.

Happy Yopping everyone. My goodness the time is flying by - July will be here before we know it!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

I won't give up - damn it!

If you have been following me on facebook you will know that my writers' group told me that they no longer wanted to read and/or critique my novel because my protagonist was too introspective, she was nameless, there wasn't enough dialogue and it was too safe.


My novel (which I wrote during the 2015 NaNaWriMo) is about a depressed woman who has decided, once and for all, that at the end of the month she will end her life.

It has been something she has been putting off for months, and this month, the Month of November she is determined.

However, even though the decision has been made she still goes on with her life, her routine, and this month her routine gives her some insights into the eventual decision she makes.

I included snippets of the Novel through the Month of November 2015 if you are interested. The first entry is featured in my sidebar to the right.

Anyways, to make a long story short, or maybe a short story longer, I wrote something yesterday to add to one of my chapters.

Trigger Warning if you have ever contemplated suicide or know someone that has this may be a difficult read. It was a difficult write.

The thoughts would cross her mind from time to time.

Driving on the highway, going one hundred and twenty kilometers per hour, the thought would flit across her conscious mind that she could just turn the wheel and head into a tree, or an oncoming car or off a cliff.

Or sitting on a ferry, quietly reading and eating a muffin, the thought would come. I could just stand up, walk outside to the railing, and step over.

Or walking on the side of the road, it would be so simple to take one step to the right into the oncoming traffic.

Or in the mornings while she shook out the pills she seemed to so desperately need, sometimes she would shake out the whole bottle and imagine how easy it would be to swallow them all.

Or swimming, even swimming, she would imagine not coming up for the air her lungs so desparately craved. Instead she could just breath in a tablespoon of water. Just one tablespoon.

The thoughts would be fleeting enough, and she never turned the wheel, never got up from the cafeteria chair, never stepped to the right, never inhaled the water, never swallowed the handful of pills.

But still, and all, the thoughts had found their way front and center and for a few hours they would haunt her.

She had been there before - staring out the window at the cedars and the rain, the birds and the clouds, thinking that finally she understood why one would take their own life.

It isn't about it being simpler. It isn't about others being better off without you. It was simply about wanting the pain to stop that much. Like tearing off a bandage. Certainly the fall, the drowning, the crash, the overdose would be unpleasant for a split moment.
But then?
Then it would be over.

She knew these thoughts would eventually take her back to the doctor's office, back to therapy, back to perhaps a change in medication.

She knew these thoughts if they persisted should lead her to tell someone.

But what if this month they didn't.

What if this month she let nature, or fate, or flaw just take its course.

But then she would think of her son's blue eyes, her husband's touch, her sisters' voices, her brothers' humour, her friends's concerns, even the annoying cat and she would make the call.

She always had put others before herself and in this case it was perhaps a good trait to have.


Yopping 44 - Chinese Rats and Pigs

Here are the two doubleknit hemp potholders I completed this week.

The red and blue one (the chinese character for pig) I had to create the chart myself because the chart included in the pattern was wrong. Here is what I knit from:

And although I haven't done any more on the EZ Surprise sweater here is a video of how it goes together.


I have pinned my baby blanket together so I can start joining the seams - hopefully I won't lose heart and will have something to show you next week.

Happy Yopping All....we are counting down only eight more weeks to go!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Yopping 43 - EZ as Pi

The sweater is done. I need to block and weave in ends and put on buttons but as it is it is finished and all my worsted stash is used up. I did lose at yarn chicken while I was binding off, but luckily I had a close enough match in my basket of odds and ends left over from my sock yarn blanket.

I want to make the sleeves longer, but I need to wait until I get some more yarn.

I trusted the pattern and it is going to fit beautifully. Good old Elizabeth Zimmerman.

She must have been a math genius to figure out that this:

with one quick fold turns into this:

which is why the reference to Pi in the title.

I am now diligently working on my double knit - pictures next week.

Happy yopping.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yop Update 42 - EZ! Not!

This week has been all about the Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater. I know it is going to be fantastic when it is finished, but it is also a good example of me having to 'trust the pattern', because it is hard to imagine it is going to work.

However, having faith I continue on.

This has become a memory sweater because it is made up of stash wool I have from sweaters knit for my brother, my son, and myself.

How Elizabeth Zimmerman imagined this garment is mind boggling. It really is a trick of origami and faith. And as I head back towards the 333 stitches I only get a few rows completed in an evening. Once I get to the magic number of stitches I have to keep going to add more length and then after finishing the neckline I will pick-up the stitches to finish the sleeves. I think I will I-cord the edges at the end if I have enough wool. It is going to be a very cozy sweater and will have used up a lot of stash.

I also started another hemp zodiac double-knit potholder for the husband of the birthday girl from last week. But I only have four rows so it is not picture worthy. It will have the chinese character for Rat on it, and I will have a picture to show you of my progress next week.

Happy Easter everyone...

Chocolate time!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Not too old to snuggle (and an ask)

When she was younger she would come to my house weekly after school and we would knit. And have tea. And chat.

Once she turned twelve it seemed like all bets were off. When her family came to visit or we went to visit them she was noticeably absent - sleepovers, skiing, hanging with friends.

I missed her.

Last Saturday she plopped herself down beside me and asked me if I could rub her neck. She was sore from a day of skiing.

I rubbed. She cuddled in. We chatted about this and that.

She was back.

I am not sure when the opportunity will arise again, but it is okay. I will take what I can get.

One of my three honourary grand-daughters, and not totally lost to me after-all.

Speaking of grand-daughters I am going to put out a request to my readers.

My blogging friend, Michelle, has set up a gofundme page for her grand-daughter. McKinlee has a heart defect and has already had soooo many surgeries, and her parents are doing all they can. They need some help, besides all the prayers you can send their way, but financially they need help. Every little bit can help.

You can read McKinlee's story here, and if you are so moved you can donate to the GoFundMe here.

I don't have many readers, but if each one gave a dollar it would be a couple of hundred dollars to make their month a little less stressful. Something is everything.

Thank you for considering.

Here is to grand-children everywhere. May they live a life of good health and god-willing, peace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waking up from a dream

It was one of those awful early morning dreams: conflict, misunderstanding, loss, sadness.....

and then a knock on our camper door.

Two little girls, four and seven, scampered in, chattering away, shaking off winter boots, crawling up onto the bed with me.

My eyes opened to their smiling faces, their questions, their simplicity, their innocence.

The dream tried to linger with me.

The seven year old said I had tears in my eyes.

"Just morning tears", I assured her as I tussled her hair.

The dream tried once more.

But there, on that bed, that morning, there was only love, and happiness, and innocence, and questions.

Lots of questions.

And playing with the fan and the lights.

And coffee (for me).

And cookies (for them).

It is my favourite way to be woken up.

I look forward to more mornings just like them.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Yop Update 41

Finally we had a day without rain so I could start the soak of two of my fleeces.

This is a Babydoll black fleece - only about 1/12 of the raw fleece I have, but I want to see how it spins up before proceeding to wash more of it.

This fleece was so filthy it took at least five soaks before the water ran clear. It is full of straw and grass and I picked out as much as I had patience for - the rest will be dealt with when I card it.

Here it is after drying:

While I was doing the first 24 hour soak I started to hand card a Shetland fleece I had washed a couple of years ago. I am new at hand carding and the whole right/left confusion got in my way while I was learning via Youtube but I persevered and ended up with a whole bag of rolags. (which is only 15 gms)

Below is a Friesian fleece from my son. It was much cleaner but FULL of lanolin. I want to keep the lanolin because I am going to spin this for a Cowichan sweater so I soaked it overnight in cold water and it only took one rinse the next day before the water ran clear.

Luckily the sun came out on Tuesday so it could dry in the sun. (Unlike the babydoll that took so long to wash I had to dry it inside.

Here is the raw fleece:

and here it is drying in the sun:

and here are my first three rolags off the hand carders:

Needless to say with all the wool washing my hands are soooooo soft.

As far as knitting goes I started a new colour combination for my Iona:

but, that is as far as that got because I decided on Tuesday to make this doubleknit hemp potholder for a friend's birthday (which was yesterday).

She was born in the year of the Snake, so this is the Chinese character for Snake.

When my hands were complaining form knitting with the hemp I decided to use up some stash by starting two sweaters:

An Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Sweater for me using these colours:

and a Dizzy sweater for a little girl (tba) by Holly Yeoh with these:

I don't have enough pink, but I have some white which I will dye to match as closely as I can.

I haven't actually cast on the Dizzy yet. Well, technically I did, and knit about an inch before realizing the first wool I chose wasn't going to work. It was alpaca and too fluffy so the stitch definition wasn't showing through.

I have cast on the Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater after swatching and futzing about with her numbers to figure out how many stitches to cast on. The answer is:


Oh my, each row seems to last f o r e v e r!

Let's see.....what else?

Nothing. That was my Yopping week. I hope to have some spinning to show you next time.