Thursday, November 20, 2008

It Has Snowed, It Has Been Snowing, It's Here!

Now that winter is officially here - first real snow is much more significant than mere dates on the calendar - I'm all about knitting - or, as I knit all the time anyway, I'm all about finishing old projects and starting new ones. Today I spent a lot of time looking at cowl patterns on Ravelry, and I think everyone should get one from me for Christmas. However, they all seem to be made of very, very soft luxury fibres, so I am going to go through my stash, with particular reference to that bag of stuff from Belfast Mini Mills, and get at casting something on! They all look so lovely and easy and quick.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

...and now it's gone....

And it did fly away. Fast. Last weekend I planted 18 different kinds of bulbs for spring. There were two kinds of crocus, and a few pink tulips, and the rest were far more rare and interesting types: many kinds of alliums including "drumstick", Atropurpureum, and Sicilian Honey Garlic! All very tall and spectacular-looking.

Then there were many Fritillaries, including the checkered lilies I saw at the Province House flower beds with Anne in the spring. She said they're the Charles Rennie McIntosh flower, and sure enough they are - the little checkered patterns look just like his. Amazing to see in a flower! There were Dutch Iris - in burgundy and purple and called "Eye of the Tiger". There were others I can't remember - although all are carefully noted in my garden diary along with locations. Come on Spring!

We also moved some rugosa roses to the roadside - there were two David Thompsons and two Snowy Pavement. We watered for a couple of days and then it rained for two -I put the hose away because it's growing colder, but I may have to get it out again if they're droopy this weekend. And they should have some winter protection too, as they are just where the snowplough will pile up the snow mountains, come January (and February and March!). I hope the usual branches of the Christmas tree will be enough.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


There's knitting, gardening, and music to report, though very little dancing lately. I think my knees are enjoying the rest - I can hear them creaking when I walk up and down stairs. That can not be good.
I did quite a bit of knitting on our trip to and from CIAW...made a pair of baby socks for a woman at work who's having a boy - or actually has HAD a boy by now - and finished a pair of purple Bridgits - one on the way down and one during the week, using down time during the dancing and at concerts, etc. There was only one time when my hands were too hot to knit - the yarn was sticking to them. Yesterday I finished another pair of baby socks, they're very fast and cute, too. Unfortunately I don't know too many folks who are having babies at the moment! Now I'm making a pair of slate grey men's socks, and they're rather dull so it's hard to get enthused.
The garden suffered quite a bit while we were away, so I've been weeding and discovering lots of surprises. There's quite a job of deadheading to come, as the feverfew is almost finished and is looking quite bad now, though it was still fine in the photo, with that (spit) yellow lily. Phlox and daylilies are coming out everywhere, though, in compensation!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Where Have I Been?

Returned from the Irish Arts Week in the Catskills on Monday, and have been working flat out ever since, that's where. The week was jam-packed, with two dance classes every day (morning and afternoon), plus dances every night, concerts, sessions, listening rooms, CD launches, lectures on Irish music and was exhausting! But wonderful.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Birthday Present!

Our Pentax Optio (about 6 years old) has been giving us trouble - or rather, not giving us pictures.  The shutter fires once for every 20 times it's pressed. So yesterday I was given a new Canon A720. Haven't had time to do anything with it yet, and it's blowing and about to rain outdoors, not optimal photographing-the-flowers weather. But my other present was a new garden journal (my last was filled up) so it's time to take stock of the garden, and start trying to remember what things are so I can record their locations. With lovely photos for the facing pages. But it's not fit to be out, and the rest of the day looks to be worse.
Maybe I'll have to stay in and sharpen knives.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Garden News

I planted tomatoes yesterday after dinner - in the rain. I hope that's optimal growing conditions and that they will flourish.
I hope someone sees my flower bed today and thinks I'm a brilliant gardener for matching the foxgloves with the sweet rocket, though if it's a gardener he or she will suspect that the sweet rocket is a volunteer from another bed and just blew in to the one with the foxgloves, The peonies are about to burst, so I hope the rain today doesn't knock them down.  The rain makes for great colours, however.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Summer's here

I've been busy! Some knitting, a bit of dancing, and now that the weather has cleared up, a bit of gardening too. Yesterday I did some deadheading on the lilac hedge (a monumental task, as they are now 'way over my head) and some planting of annuals. Taking away, giving.  

Roses are starting to come out - nothing of particular note, just Blanc de Coubert, Philemon Cochet, and the rugosas - including Hansa. I have planted a few new ones this year, but not on the rose mound - in the flower beds and along the edge of the lawn by the road.  I did buy a new Explorer - a red climber called Henry Kelsey. Robert Osborne (of Cornhill Nursery) speaks highly of Henry in his book. I planted him behind the rose trellis (with Dublin Bay in front), so I hope that 1. Both survive, bloom, and confound onlookers with two sorts of red blooms, apparently from one plant; or 2. One or the other survives and fills in the trellis. My money's on Henry. While I was planting Henry I managed to break a bloom off an iris, which I brought in and put in water. I wanted to see what colour it was because I bought it at a church yard sale last year and had never seen the bloom. It's warped because the slugs had got at it. Next year I'll keep an eye on it. 

In knitting I'm scundered with socks (toe up is doing my head in!) so I'm looking for other options, including fingerless gloves, entrelac and a lace shawl project that requires more concentration than I have, apparently. I've had to start it again.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

More on the iMac (wonder of the age)

There were a few teething pains after I last posted, but 2 hours on the telephone with the very nice Steve from Mac Tech Support on Monday night seems to have sorted it.

The problem? We have a 2.4 GHz cordless phone (on which I was speaking with him) and that's the frequency of the AirPort, (which is the cordless router). There were other problems too, but that was the one that kept the AirPort from working. I'm shopping for a new telephone (5.8 or 6 GHz this time) at once!

Helen is exactly right - there's barely time for knitting, now that this Macbaby has entered our lives. I have one Blueberry sock finished, and am working on the other - and have one Monkey at the heel flap and have started the mate, because I think I'm going to run out of yarn, and I MAY have to make heels and toes is a different colour.

I am definitely going to make my VERY NEXT pair of socks toe-up, two at a time, so I can be sure of the yarn supply.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New Computer and High Speed!!

I am typing on a new iMac that is so gorgeous that I cannot stand it. And the new high speed provider has just left my house so I am on t'internet full time, full speed. 

I'm so happy I can hardly breathe.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Vishten Concert

We went to a concert/live CD-making with the Acadien-Celtic group Vishten on Saturday. It was a great time, and afterwards Pierre Chartrand did a couple of figures of a Quebec dance he'd taught earlier in the year at the BIS.

In the knitting-related part, Emmanuelle Leblanc was introducing a song (Mariez moi, the first track on their first CD, Vishten) and explained that the protagonist says in the song that, if she's not married by the time she's 20, she is going to give up knitting. Emmanuelle then asked if anyone in the audience is a knitter, and I waved my sock! She asked if I was actually knitting during the concert (I was, of course) and she seemed surprised - perhaps she thought I would be too busy to applaud!

Anyway we bought their CDs and pre-ordered the new one. They are pretty fabulous.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April Fool!

This morning we woke to about 10 cm. of fresh snow, with more accumulating every minute. This has to be a winter for the record books. That's the kindest thing I can think of to say.

Yesterday I mailed off a tiny sock to Washington state in the Wee Tiny Sock Swap. This was so much fun to do, and the sock was amazingly tiny and cute. I seem to specialize in green sock yarns so this one was green as well. It was a tiny sample of a skein from Perfect Day Yarns, which came with a regular-size skein of sock yarn. I won them both in the January Sockdown! on Ravelry, and believe me, there's nothing more thrilling than getting a skein of mystery yarn in the mail. Thanks to Sarah for donating the prize.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some dancing, some knitting

Just back from the Easter Weekend in Halifax, organized by the Halifax Irish Set Dancers led by Elizabeth MacDonald. And taught, of course, by the incomparable Pat Murphy. What a great teacher he is.

We learned three dances, and danced quite a few more, on Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday afternoon in the Old Triangle Pub.

I brought some socks to knit on in the odd moments of not dancing, and met Colleen, another dancing knitter (or knitting dancer, I don't know which). She was making a sort of bobby-sox with a turn-down cuff out of Opal 6-ply on 3.25 bamboos. They were very cute, and coming along much faster than mine, which were on 2.25 needles in Kroy sock. However they will all get finished in more or less time.

Now, to try to remember the new dances, come class on Wednesday!

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patrick's Day!

Here we are in the middle of the Day and so far I've played my whistle for an hour (rehearsal) and then in public for about two hours. Now I'm dry but it's a bit early for drinking.

More music and then dancing later at the BIS Hall. It's too bad that the Day has to fall on a Monday, as it will have to be an early night.

Next week is Set Dancing with Pat Murphy in Halifax, an annual Easter treat which is coming up very fast due to the early Easter this year. Winter is still here in force (it must be wind chill in the minus teens today, I almost think I'd prefer a Paddy's Day storm! No, wait, on second thought we've had enough of that!) but the prospect of Easter is cheering.

Happy Day, All!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My yarn has arrived!

I have received the alpaca-and-nylon yarn I ordered at Belfast Mini Mills. It's beautiful to look at, but even more beautiful to touch. I have been having camera woes so no photos yet. Anyway I'll put the photos on Ravelry, I expect. It's a lovely warm beige colour, and who knew (certainly not *me*) - the Thomson tartan is a camel colour. This should work out well. Now to swatch and locate my Folk Socks book.

Yet more winter, although the most recent dose of snow-and-then-rain has been much less destructive than the last. We've been so busy with the various heritage-related activities (Awards last night, public meeting last Thursday and another tonight) that we've no time for music or dance, even when the weather allows.

Today, however, I went for a walk at lunchtime because it is a simply beautiful bright day - wind a bit brisk from the west but lovely when on the return journey. And the days are drawing out quite noticeably. Spring is on the way!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Out of the dark, into the light

PEI is recuperating from a long spell of lack of electricity, although we were very lucky and didn't lose power for more than a few hours, just when almost all of the Island was out. I may be on the receiving end of a large lightning bolt for saying this, but we seldom do lose power. I think it is compensation for having no cell phone service and no access to high speed internet in our little corner of the Island universe.

However, friends did suffer during this latest blackout. 85 hours without power means everything in the freezer is unfit for human consumption. Hmmm. Should we buy a generator? Or should Maritime Electric / Fortis get their fingers out and start putting the wires underground? In the twenty-odd years I've been saying this, they could have had a goodly portion of the Island changed over to underground, and just think of the mess of unsightly wires which would be gone. C'mon, Maritime Electric / Fortis! PEI is a small place. The soil is sandy. Easy to dig. You could start today! There would be no more power outages, no more expensive cleanups in dangerous weather conditions, no more throwing out spoiled food, no more broken water pipes.

On the knitting front, I visited Belfast Mini Mills recently, and what a time it was! First, they have all kinds of interesting fibres and products (Qiviut! Camel! Samoyed!) and lovely yarns made from them. They make glorious felt and sell needle-felting kits (I bought one!). They will make you yarn, to your own specifications! They have a sock-knitting machine and sell socks at the shop!

Sorry about the excited exclamations. It was wonderful. You should GO!

Monday, January 21, 2008

New Year's Res: Blog More

If I was on high speed at home it would make life so much easier. And the computer needs an upgrade as well - however the former has to happen before the latter.

Knitting is going on apace - I have socks to finish (one slightly-more-than half for Emily and one whole one for her bf Jeremy), and I've made one of several Ice Queens from Knitty Winter 2007. What a gorgeous pattern. And I have started a Durrow sweater for Fred ( that pattern is from Mag Knits). I have to finish up the socks so I can move on to other things. Ravelry is terrific for helping plan new projects - just looking at what others have done is SO inspiring.

On the dancing front we went out to a great dance at the BIS on Saturday - it was a bilingual event with a dance teacher from Montreal - never introduced - who had us dancing Quebec-style square sets. They're quite a bit longer and QUITE repetitive compared to the Irish ones. And they're called too, so no need to remember anything for too long.

In any event it was a great time, with many participants, and quite a few musicians - in fact, each grouping played for only one set. They were all 15-20 minutes long, though, which must have been exhausting.