Monday, December 20, 2010

The weather isn't at all seasonal!

The Tree is in its new corner, complete with lights but not yet decorated. The house smells wonderfully of balsam fir (and a bit of white pine in a vase. I must remember to buy some fresh flowers to add some colour to that vase). It is quite a wonderful tree, shaped and pruned and quite thick. As we have never had one of these before, I am sure it will be a challenge to decorate.
We are expecting a nor'easter, apparently - complete with 40 mm of rain, wind up to 80 kph and storm surges related to the full moon and the solstice, which is coming with a lunar eclipse this year - although I expect that we won't actually see much of it, as it's already overcast. Portentous weather indeed. If I were Snoopy I would have the setting for a novel.
Em is on the train as I write. She has wifi just to Montreal, so I've emailed her. We pick her up in Moncton tomorrow, and Kt in Halifax on Wednesday...and then we are all home for Christmas! So even though the weather isn't cooperating, we shall have Christmas anyway.
It's snowing a bit at the moment, but the wind is picking up, and it is up to 2 degrees, with more to follow. We have been remarkably lucky throughout this wet, stormy and windy fall - unlike our sister Atlantic provinces. Knock on wood that the storm surge isn't too high and wild!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough...

I've got to say, that carol is not one of my faves, but I do like this phrase...there's a picture in it, even though I don't think of the growing tip of the trunk as a bough. Too much a gardener, I suppose.
Weather and woes at work have conspired to make this not the most organized of holidays for me - however, I did look out the drawer full of stashed knitting and I was pleasantly surprised at what I found there. There will be knitted items for some!
One of my failures was a bad felting experience recently - I had made three of those short-row socks - huge ones - of Soy Wool stripes and solids, and then felted them, along with a pair of clogs and a bag (I was going great guns at that time).
So, what went wrong: I checked the clogs and the bag several times during the cycle, thinking that the other slippers would be felting at the same rate, but no! They felted much faster, and as a result they have come out too tiny for anyone on *my* Christmas list. The clogs were knit double, so they took longer to felt, I suppose, and the bag was made of white yarn, which is notoriously hard to get to felt. So, anyone know people with size 4 and size 6 feet? I don't!
Our weather has been unseasonably warm for the past week or so - with rather a lot of rain and wind - so I actually harvested the last of the carrots just two days ago. It's a great crop. I fully expect to make carrots for Christmas dinner, carrot Christmas pudding, and carrot soup for Boxing Day! There should be plenty for general eating as well. As we don't have any reliable root storage, we have to get most of them gone by the new year, as they will freeze in the unheated garage, where they are now (covered with a discarded down comforter. What luxury!).
Our local Co-op store had many, many bags of spring bulbs at the end of the season, and was selling them for $1 a bag! So I got some for forcing (crocus, hyacinths) and some for planting (alliums and daffodils). Got them all potted up at last. I have several of the hyacinths in glass because I rather ran out of pots. They are in the living room, trying their best. I let them cool off in the garage for a couple of weeks - it probably wasn't enough. Oh well. Some of the real potted ones are starting to sprout out there in the garage now. Don't think they'll bloom for Christmas, but they should cheer up those winter days to come.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Officially Fall

It was quite an exciting transition to fall this year, with a full Harvest moon on the very day (or the day after, depending on whose calendar you were following). And then, the night before last, we had frost! Quite a coating of ice on the roof of the car at cat-letting-out time. However we had taken old sheets and some fleece and covered the tomatoes, and when I took them off the next day they were fine - and oddly so was everything else. I KNOW that I saw - and even scraped with a fingernail, to no avail - that ice!
I've become a real convert to the Scotland's Gardens podcast (and the TV equivalent, Beechgrove Garden) as they seem to have such sensible advice, and the climate seems a lot like what we have - at least until we get to the sub-zeroes anyway. So they talk about covering with fleece, and I wonder if it's a special gardener's fleece or just the regular stuff? I could have sworn that I had miles of the stuff, but I couldn't find more than a couple of pieces when I went looking on Sunday. I shall have to institute a more thorough search.
It was the 70-mile Yard Sale last weekend and, while I didn't find any wonderful yarn bargains this year, I did get a home-made tortilla press (for $3) that I'll take to Toronto for Emily in mid-October. I also bought a Fru Dagmar Hartrup rose at the greenhouse in Wood Islands (25% off). I think it's going to go to that sluggardly eastern end of the rose mound. The tag promises plenty of suckering (hurrah!).
The Room has most of a floor now, and we're struggling with trimming off the doors - the floor is higher so the doors are too tall - or is that too long? We cut the vertical members of the bathroom door last night on the table saw, and were trying to hand-plane away the bit in the middle. They are 2-panel Douglas fir doors. It's hard to get a proper angle on doors for planing. I plane best on a horizontal surface - floors, for instance. Maybe I have to get the door outside and go up on the roof or something?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fallish weather at last

I'm not complaining, but we had rather a lot of hot muggy weather, including another spate of it at the end of August. I find it quite enervating, and don't get much done at all, including blogging of course. We had a brush with a hurricane (Earl) a couple of weekends ago, though, and things are more like normal now.

On the garden side, we are awash in tomatoes, especially the cherry ones, although, because I grew "Sweet Million" some of them make for - quite - large - cherries. I've been taking them in to work for people to eat, as well as serving them with everything at home, and even roasting them.

I made a kind of bruschetta topping (recipe at Canadian Living) with halved cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, breadcrumbs and feta, roasted in the oven for 45 minutes, then scooped over French bread toast slices. We had the rest with dinner last night. This was more elaborate than the usual roasting - just halved, drizzled with olive oil and in the oven for 15 minutes, then cooled, bagged and into the freezer. I think these will be really easy and tasty, added to pasta sauce or whatever. I have always found them annoying to peel for salsa, as they're so small, so this takes care of that too.

I made a couple of batches of salsa from last year's tomatoes (blush!) which were discovered at the bottom when I cleaned out the freezer to make room for this year's bounty. I'm sure they will be fine.

Everyone agrees that this was a year unlike any other for garden growth, and I have yet to try to harvest all the onions and carrots, although I think all the beans are done and frozen. Potatoes we are eating, and while each plant has only a few, they are huge, knobby yellow ones. Not Yukon Gold, but I can't remember what they are. I made Irish-style roasted potatoes with them yesterday and they were great.

We have been working on an in-the-house project too - we took out a wall and filled in a door, the net result being that, when completed, we will have more space for arranging furniture in the living room (as we don't have to allow a passageway to that former door) and a TV- or guest-room which feels quite a bit more private. It now has its own short passageway and closet, rather than being just off the living room. This has been in the works since we re-did the downstairs bathroom, so as a guest room it will have its own private bath. Now, when we get the dollars together we want to give it its own separate entrance, off a deck and possibly a little sun-room...a granny suite!

Anyway, with the heat and all, it's taken almost all summer to get to the stage where we should be able to paint - and then the floating floor, purchased YEARS ago, will go down - and then I have to decide on the colour to paint the woodwork - and paint and install it - and then it's done! The demolition and the plastering and seam filling are just killers when you don't know what you're doing - which we do not. However, two new things have helped - an inside corner trowel - magic! And I watched Eileen's brother-in-law, a professional painter, fill in little cracks with painters' caulk (it's called ALEX because it's acrylic and latex). I wish I had met him years ago. As a result. the cove moulding in The Room looks super - no dark lines, cracks, or gaps anywhere, and Alex washes off your hands with soap and water. I LOVE Alex!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sure is close these days!

We went to the Victoria Playhouse Monday night to see Papillio, a trio of people we know - Jennifer Publicover, flautist, Colin Jeffrey, violinist, and Phil Schappert, guitar-and-vocalist who is also a PhD in insects (I don't know what that would be!) . He named the group, which is butterfly in Latin. It was a great show.
Anyway, it's barely a couple of weeks since we saw Rose Cousins in the same venue (although she had a bigger crowd) and she mentioned it's being CLOSE - as in the weather: close means humid, or muggy, in PEI-speak.
I'm glad she said it, because I hadn't heard the word used in that way for years. I'm trying to use it myself now, and the weather is cooperating by being "close" almost all of the time. It was quite 9 o'clock last night before it cooled off in the house, although it was nice outdoors by that time. The humidity has been high, and last evening the wind died, so the nice breeze that makes this kind of weather bearable was missing! However, we have a fan in the east-facing window of the room across the hall from our bedroom, and if you set it to "suck" there's a lovely westerly breeze in our room all night. Heaven!
I haven't had to consider using the A/C unit yet. Of course, if anyone was sleeping upstairs that would be's much hotter up there as there's so much roof. When the girls come to visit in August I'll have to get it out and hook it up, if the weather continues as it is.
It's all great news for growing things, however! We have phlox paniculata out all over, as well as monarda (above), hemerocallis and lilies, the later roses (The Fairy and Alba Meidiland mainly), and the grass! It's growing like weeds, mainly because that's mainly what it is!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Old and wild, or nearly

And speaking of roses, my "Ring around the Rosie" Plan is working, although not EXACTLY as I had anticipated. Last year I planted several rugosas around the old poplar stump, more to cover it up until it rots than for any other reason. I stuck in a couple of the "wild" roses that grow along the back road in the middle. They grow quite long and rambling canes, and have quite sweet white blooms in clusters. My Botanica's Pocket Roses has an extensive wild rose section, but nothing really matches these ones. I suppose they could be a garden escape. I have noted with surprise this year that there are plenty of them in the landscape - they are the only things blooming at the present time (in the wild) and so are quite noticeable. They are in ditches and side yards all over the area. They sort of look like rosa helenae, but no thorns - however they look to be great ones for scrambling up trees, etc. I'm thinking of setting up a trellis or obelisk on the stump for next year. It doesn't have to be very attractive - it will be covered in short order.
The site was also colonized by feverfew and malva moschata, which makes a nice show. I'm not too terribly pleased with the progress of the rugosas, however - not much growth, and nary a bloom. One looks to be too far out into the fairway, but I'll leave it till the spring to move it. I did put the white ones in THIS spring...I suppose I shouldn't be expecting too much. I added a rugosa from Henry's as well - there are now three in fairly close proximity. I'll keep an eye on them as well, for possible redistribution in spring. I had tried to seed foxgloves there too, but there isn't a sign of them yet. However, they ARE biennials.

It's time for roses.

I am just so impressed with this rose - I put it in spring 2008, and in spring 2009 I discovered that it had been gnawed by mice - but the plucky thing just grew up from the roots, and this spring it grew plenty of canes and buds. The flowers are semi-double (about 25 petals) but the buds are quite pointy... and the most attractive thing, I think, is when the buds start to open. They make a lovely little whorl which gets bigger and bigger, over a day or more. And then they LAST, both on the bush and cut, for many many days. Now, if only I could remember what its NAME is? Or, failing that, if it would just sucker me some babies so I could plant them everywhere. That would be almost as good.

Speaking of suckers, the Bourbon rose, Tuscany Superb, on the rose mound, is making more all over the place. I have put one in the bed by the (new) lilac hedge, which had a poor start but is taking off quite well now. The main one is blooming, but, because it is behind a Therese Bugnet, doesn't show up that well. I must do more pruning. Heavens knows I have plenty of Therese Bugnet! The Snow Pavement is also suckering along well. I wish the eastern end of the mound was filling in as well as the western one, but I fear the nearby trees are at fault for cutting down on the light. Also the varieties there may be at fault? But surely Hansa is one that should sucker out like a good one - it certainly suckers all over old dooryards.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Back to the Garden

My frustration with - I suppose - MY inability to use Blogger continues - can't get more than one photo in a post without them mixing up, getting out of order, or lining up, side by side, at the top, rather than where I want to use them to illustrate my very important words. Aah well. This photo at least illustrates TWO things, the snowballs planted three years ago in the former driveway which circumnavigated the house - until we decided that we needed wind protection on the North more than we needed to be able to get from the upper to the lower driveway (or vice-versa) through the yard. This is the first year that there have been any amount of blooms on them, and, because they're in the shade (on the North side of the house) they bloomed later, and stayed longer, than their bigger parents on the South. We planted several things there at that time, including alders to improve the soil, a lilac, and a Rosa Glauca. There were blooms on the lilac as well, and they were double ones - I can not recall buying a hybrid lilac but I MUST have, because while it is the same colour as the common ones, the bloom was hybrid - huge, double, and later than the commons.
The shawl is Haruni, in Malabrigo laceweight (it's a single-ply 100% merino wool from South America and is very popular on Ravelry). It has a very simple allover lace pattern in the body, and a very fancy edge with big doubled leaves which cause the shawl to curve a bit (meaning it's bigger than a simple triangle, I suppose). It's quite a tiny shawl, a shawlette really, and quite warm because of the wool. I got the yarn at Romni Wools in Toronto.

Monday, April 26, 2010

We're Back! And it was wonderful.

We were staying in Glengarriff in County Cork the second week, and one day we did some of the walks in the neighbourhood. There are many of these, and they are well-utilized. The above photo is of the waterfall walk in the local forest reserve. There was a high school group on a field trip there as well.

This is the view out our bedroom window in Glengarriff. The island you can see isn't Ilnacullen (the one with the public gardens - it's off to the right) - but it was a lovely, lovely way to start the day, looking at this. (Ilnacullen was wonderful too.)

One day two of our happy band decided to do a walk on the Beara Way, from Ardgroom to Eyeries. We dropped them off at Ardgroom, and went to Kenmare to shop. The yarn shop I was seeking had closed, unfortunately, though we were able to indulge in bread-and-butter pudding and cappuccino at jam, a very nice cafe there.
When we got back to Eyeries to pick them up, there was no sign of them. Our plan was to meet in one of the two pubs in town, and we visited both of them. Everyone we asked agreed that they should have returned - we had given them three hours, and most thought that was plenty - we were envisioning sprained ankles at the very least - when they showed up, an hour late. Apparently neither of them had a watch!
We waited in the pub with this view out the back window. Glorious! Apparently Eyeries was a film location a few years ago for a film called "Falling for a Dancer" and there were stills on the walls - believe me, Eyeries is a lot more colourful now.

Bantry was our local big town, where we went for groceries and other supplies. I even found a tiny yarn shop there, and bought some Happy sock yarn and a celtic cross cross-stitch kit for 'way too much money. We also were able to find free wifi on the street, as the wifi at our cottage wasn't very reliable. One day, we visited Bantry House and Gardens. This is the view from the front rooms.

More to come!

Monday, March 29, 2010

One more sleep and I'm off!

I am so excited I can hardly sit still and type. I have most of my packing done, so I am wearing things that won't be travelling. I am up to 9 kg in my suitcase, but that's OK until we get to Glasgow, and I can leave some of the things there, to lighten the load. I'm actually grateful to Ryanair for the restrictions, because they're forcing us to pack light - very light.
I have been trying to finish off the Swallowtail shawl, mainly so that I can use the needles on my 'travelling' shawl, which will be Icarus. However, Swallowtail has been giving me grief! I ran out of yarn in the second-last chart, and, because people on Ravelry mentioned that the *nupps* take up so much yarn, I frogged back the two nupp charts and knit them again, subbing beads for the nupps. And now, I'm in the first row of the edge chart and I'm going to run out of yarn AND beads, and I just discovered that I've lined up the two patterns wrongly - I was going up when I should have been going down. Grrr. I have a skein of Elann Kydd silk in ALMOST the same colour, and so this Swallowtail is going to have a slightly fuzzy edge - and possibly no beads.
Because we have the whole day in Toronto on Wednesday, I'm planning a trip down Queen St. West to Romni Wools and Arton beads. Luckily sock and laceweight yarns don't take up much room, and neither do beads. And they can be left in Glasgow too. I am glad for the 30% expansion zip on my carefully measured and weighed "carry-on" bag, which will come in handy on the way back.
Luckily for us, Glasgow is open on "Good" Friday, so I have a few yarn shops to see on my list - one that carries Knit Pro needles, which is the European equivalent of Knit Picks, or so I am reliably informed. I have a little list!
We have some local guides laid on for the Cork portion of the trip - we'll meet Bert and Annie in Cork City on Sunday the 11th and then they have a tour planned to Mizen Head on Tuesday, and a music session afterwards. And then dance class on Wednesday night in Skibbereen. They will be sick of the very sight of us.
Off I go!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In just over a week!

Passport: Check.
Euros: Check.
GBP: Check.
Tickets: Check.

Almost ready to go! I have some work to do this week to prepare for the annual audit, and other tidying up at the office. Then off we go!

The house could use a tidy as well - we have a lovely niece who's agreed to house - or rather cat-sit, and I want her to be comfortable. However, there are outside family commitments that are taking some time.

Knitting: I'm into a new shawl - Swallowtail, with Elann baby lace merino. I have finished the budding lace (19 repeats) and now I'm about to embark on the lily-of-the-valley lace, which in TOUGH. I've already frogged a bit. However, I got out stitch markers and I'm trying again. Hope to have it finished before we leave.

Monday, March 8, 2010

It's hard to think of anything else.

I've been doing some natural dyeing, following recipes and hints offered on the 'Plants to Dye For' group on Ravelry. I dyed a mohair - and - nylon shawl that I had knitted some time ago - it was originally a pale baby-ish yellow, so I tried it in some butternut liquour I'd had soaking since the fall. I wet it, but didn't mordant - put it in a pot with the cool dye, brought it up to just under boiling, and then let it cool in the broth. It's a beige now, a touch on the greenish side. Better than yellow, anyway. They I tried a couple of skeins of my Belfast Mini Mills sock yarn (80% alpaca, 20% nylon) in black bean liquor. This was mordanted with alum and cream of tartar overnight, and then just put in the water from soaking 2 kg of black beans. Some people are getting a nice blue, but I just have this silvery grey. The cowl underneath is the undyed alpaca.

This is my nice Multnomah - I have gotten several compliments about how nice it looks when I wear it - usually with brown, though I have tried it with blue (jeans) and that's fine too. I keep planning to take a photo of it on me, but I haven't managed that yet.
Planning the trip is taking a bit of time - usually weekends! I bought a Ryanair-approved suitcase and am starting to make lists about what to take. On the flight to Glasgow we can take 5 kg as carry-on and check 20 kg, but of course Ryanair is 10 kg and no checking, so I have 15 kg for stuff for Emily - which so far has amounted to 2 tubes of deodorant for Jeremy. And slippers. Felted slippers.
Still no sign of the passports - they should come this week, I hope. Getting excited!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

March comes in like a Lion

We've had a nasty bout of weather - not cold at all, just wet and windy. I do hope that March will go "out like a lamb" - as we'll be flying to Glasgow on the last day of the month.

I do feel sorry for the cats, who are all enthusiasm to go out in the morning - and then we open the door, and the north-east wind howls in, spitting snow or rain or a mixture of both in their poor fuzzy faces and they shrink back and finally turn away. Only to give it a go later on, of course.

Two shawls were completed in February! The "Little Arrowhead" one actually turned out more shawl-like than I was anticipating. I blocked it quite hard, having bought some TIG wires at the welders, and some T-pins as well. The wires bend quite a bit but straighten out fine after they're released from the pins. So far this is the only shawl I've blocked with the wires. I'm determined to make the next one a straight-line lace-weight one, so I can use them to block even points, etc. I'm almost tempted to re-block some of my shawls!

I finished Multnomah as well, and wore it with my brown skirt & top - it went quite well & felt comfortable! I bought a Celtic-design shawl pin to hold it on, but I'm not completely happy with it - for one thing it's a bright silver (although it's made of pewter) and it's a bit big. I'd like a hammered wire one, and I may have to make my own. Perhaps in the interim I could tone this one down a bit. I think I could use acrylic paint for the purpose.

I've been going a bit crazy with felting - Katie asked for some red felted slippers, and I have all of this very cheap Patons SWS, so I tried a Garnstudio pattern, put it in the wash and forgot it! Naturally it felted into a bootie for a leprechaun. Tried again, with another pattern - basically a gigantic toe-up sock with a short-row heel - put it in the washer and stayed with it this time. I checked it three times, taking it out the third time. I felted a SWS handbag also, and it looks fine - now I just have to line it and make or find a handle. With success at the felting stage, I made the second slipper for Katie, and now I'm working on the second one of another pair - this time in a striped red and gold SWS. With my stash of SWS, I can outfit the whole family!! The pattern allows for needle-felting an insole of roving in the slipper - and I'm tempted to do some decoration on the toe as well.

I must say that making gigantic sock feet is a great antidote for knitting fine lace shawls. I really feel like I'm productive when I can knit a whole slipper in an evening. As opposed to two weeks per shawl. I'll have to start another sometime this month - if only to have something to knit on the plane(s). I think it will be socks in Ireland - if they disallow my bamboo needles on Ryanair, I'll just buy new ones in Dublin. I am taking my Knit Picks Harmonies in a pencil-case in my carry-on luggage - this is suggested as a successful tactic by many travellers. I don't have enough - or the right sort - of hair to use them as hairsticks.

I'm finding it fun to make knitting travel plans!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Ireland and Scotland, here we come

We booked two places to stay on the weekend, so we are now in Galway from Easter for a week, and then, after a day or two in Dublin, in Glengariff, Co. Cork, from the 11th to the 17th, or thereabouts. Another couple of days in Dublin, then back to Glasgow for a day or so before flying home.

Turns out renting a car is more expensive than accommodations. Perhaps we should just rent a camper and have done with it? It's almost time to start getting excited, thinking about what to pack (and in what?). Travel from and to Glasgow is by Ryanair, so no checking baggage means that we're limited. It's all OK, though, as our palatial self-catering includes laundry facilities as well as wi-fi. I'm prepared to throw out clothing if I need packing room for things acquired on the trip. I can leave heavier, Canada -type clothes in Glasgow and get them when we get back there. I'm actually wondering about voltage - I will need to recharge my iPod and, while I have a plug-in that will give me the correct charge, I'll need to be able to plug the thing into something in order to plug it in to the wall. Hmmm.

I hear that Euros are slightly less expensive at the moment, so I should go buy me some, real or in travellers' cheques form.

There's hardly time to knit, I'm spending so much time on the internet looking up stuff. Not strictly true - I should be able to finish the Olympic Multnomah in a day or so (no more patterned rows, just a couple of garter rows and then bind off! And the arrowhead is coming along too - I have 4 rows of pattern for the edge left (and four rows of purl).

I plan to take a break from shawls after that!

Friday, February 19, 2010


We had another storm day on Wednesday - schools, uni, college closed, no mail, etc. Great day for staying home and knitting! I have two shawls on the needles. One is JUST for Olympics watching, so I keep it upstairs where the TV is. It is Multnomah and I'm making it in a hand-dyed yarn which I won a long time ago in a sock-a-month competition on Ravelry. The colours are, shall I say, not ME, being orangey-red, purply-pink and brown. However this pattern seems to look good in the wild variegated yarns so I'm giving it a go. It's garter-stitch with a feather-and-fan border, and the colours do look better together when you get to the border part.

Travel plans are coming along. It looks like we'll stay in Galway City for the first week (with J. and E. and maybe Steve!) and Dungarvan, Co. Waterford, is looking good for the second week. We've been emailing about a gorgeous 3-storey townhouse with 5 bedrooms!! The place in Galway is an apartment.

Two years after finishing a Luna Moth shawl in Pixie Floss from VV, I dyed it (it was a hateful pale yellow). I used butternut husks we gathered last October. The colour is a beige more than a brown. I do like it better than the yellow. It's blocking now, so I'll see how it looks unpinned. I just have SOO much beige yarn! Why do I do it?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

All shawls, all the time

I wish work wouldn't steal so much of my knitting time. It's hard to complete all the shawls I want to make when I have to do work things! I would knit when I do my daily walk (all at the gym now because the outdoor walking is so treacherous) but it's hard to manage my music (actually I listen to podcasts, MUCH more interesting and amusing than music) and my lap counter. Don't think I could manage needles and yarn as well.

Today I was listening to Gardener's Question Time (GQT) and learned two valuable things: 1. honeysuckle is out NOW in Britain; and 2. Gertrude Jekyll's last name is pronounced GEE kl. Who bludy KNEW? Reminds me of the time I was talking with a friend about a Cotoneaster hedge (pronouncing it 'COT ton easter') and we had someone come over and say "actually it's 'cot O ne aster'. Gee, thanks. Well, really, thanks. It's a mistake I haven't made since.

Back to the shawls: I finished the Bitterroot (I love this name: it's ANOTHER word with three pairs of double letters, like bookkeeper) and posted it in the January thread of 10 Shawls in 2010. Now I'm working on "Little Arrowhead" with the Fleece Artist Italian Silk I got at the Northern Traditions yarn store in North Rustico last fall. I also got out my file of shawl patterns, and looked at my stash, and came up with a few pairings. I've zipped them into plastic bags, the pattern and the yarn, that is. I also changed my mind about a pattern: Multnomah. It's garter, plain, with a bit of a 'Faeroe' thing down the centre back - just a strip of five stitches, between paired increases. Then it finishes with a few rows of 'feather and fan'. Shooting fish in a barrel, I thought. Then, in my stash diving I came up with this stripey hand-dyed skein of "Perfect Day Yarns" sock yarn I'd won in a Sock Knitters Anonymous competition 'way back at the beginning of the sock obsession. It's orange, brown and purple...not exactly MY colours, but the Multnomahs people have been posting are made of wilder mixes than this, even, so I thought I'd give it a whirl. I should keep it for Olympic knitting, but since I probably won't see any of the Olympics, there's not much point.

I do have an Olympics app on my iTouch, though, it's apparently to tell you what's going on where and how to get there, etc. I don't know if it will include results. I met Doug Gallant at a party Saturday night and he has an 8GB iTouch too; he's mad for apps so I tried some on his recommendation. The Penguin Catapult is fairly amusing, although I DO feel sorry for the poor penguins with ME at the helm of the catapult. And the sheep launcher has turned into a cupid for Valentine's, which is not nearly so much fun. I did download App Miner too, which is a great source for free and cheap apps to try out. Thanks Doug!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Travel Planning

We've purchased tickets for Glasgow and Ireland in April. Still have many details to work out, but fixed points on the itinerary are spending a week or so with Emily and Jeremy, first in Glasgow and then travelling to Ireland for Easter Week. (They are actually in Ireland now, having travelled over by train and ferry and are staying with Jeremy's school friend in Dublin.)
So, we may not spend much time in Dublin when we are with them, but somewhere south of Dublin - Waterford, Kilkenny, or Cork for my preference. Looking for a cottage (self-catering, they call it) in those areas. I'm looking for free broadband. Fred wants free heat and electricity. Priorities!
Then, on the 16th and 17th there's a dance workshop weekend with Pat Murphy in Ballinasloe - by all reports a bit of a hole - so we want to get a cottage for a week somewhere not TOO far away but more interesting, music- and dance-wise. Friends are joining us there for the week, and attending the dance workshop too.
On the knitting front, I've joined the "10 shawls in 2010" group on Ravelry - and am already bogged down, as I am knitting "Bitterroot" from the Winter 09 edition of Knitty - the large size - in Knit Picks Gloss Lace. It's lovely, and the pattern is easy (which, for me, means that I end up at the middle or the end of the row with the correct number of stitches, so I haven't messed up anywhere on the row.) It's a bit dull, though, as the pattern alternates between segments of "ssk k1 k2tog" and "yo k1 yo" all over (although the lace edge is more interesting). I'm going to start adding beads soon, so that should perk up the interest level quite a bit.
Ironically, just before I joined this group I started a "Traveling Woman" shawl, but as it was begun before January 1st, it couldn't count as one of the 10. So, 11 shawls finished in 2010. Two of the shawls have to be big ones (500 m. or more) and the rest should be 250 m. or more. This lets out any one-skein Kidsilk ones for sure, and many of the mini or shawlette patterns I've collected. I have also decided to knit all 10 from stash, and I have a chart with 17 patterns and 17+ yarns - haven't made any definite matches yet (besides Bitterroot).
I am also considering junking my "Meandering Vines" shawl, because I just discovered (almost at the end of the second half) that I have been doing eight repeats...but I did nine on the first half, AND I HAVE TO GRAFT THEM TOGETHER. Even a poor mathematician could see that this is not going to work. The alternative to total junking is to work the second half again. This would not count as one of my 10 shawls in 2010 either. Curses.