Saturday, May 28, 2005

Life's A Stitch

First off, I need to thank Li over at Life's A Stitch for the amazing RAOK of adorable stitch markers. They're tiny little sweaters on knitting needles. How cute! Thanks for thinking of me, Li! Your thoughtfulness is so kind.

It was a big knitting mail week for me! In addition to the stitch markers from Li, I received my order from Knit Happens. Look at the yummy things I got!

I ordered the Baby Bobbi Bear because I've been in love with this pattern since I first saw it last fall. To make it, I had them send some Blue Sky Alpacas Hand Dyes worsted in a lovely green. I'm going to make my nephew a Bobbi before I go to see him this summer. Shhh, don't tell him!

I also added some of this gorgeous stuff to my shopping bag.

Lorna's Laces Hand Dyed Bullfrogs and Butterflies in Glenwood

I have no idea what I'm going to make with it but I could not resist the delicious colours, even in a photograph on the net. (Any suggestions would be appreciated!) I hate to think what would happen if I was actually in a room with these yarns. I suspect I'd spend my retirement fund in less than an hour!!!

In teaching news, I only have one more exam to set and mark before the end of our school year. It's going to be a busy week as we have our graduation coming up next Friday and I'm the coordinator. I'm off to continue with decorations today and may be out of blogging range until it's all done. I hope the grads love their big day!

I did have one my proudest teaching moments last week when one of my grade 12 English students finally premiered his one-person movie version of Much Ado About Nothing. It was his final project for the class and I was so impressed with all the work he did for it. It was one of those days that makes me realize that becoming a teacher was so worth it!

I hope you're all having a great week - knitting or otherwise, M

Monday, May 23, 2005

Our First Guest

We finally have our first visitor at the bird feeder!

Glad they found it, especially on this rainy day when they could probably use the little bit of shelter it provides.

Yeah for birdies!!!

Happy bird watching, M

Sunday, May 22, 2005

New Knitting Book

This one is about taking scraps of fabric and knitting them together to make different things.

I love this idea and actually thought of it a couple of years ago myself. I just never got around to trying to work out the details of it. And now I don't have to 'cuz I've got the book!

I'd also like to try recycling plastic grocery bags by knitting them together to make a water-proof market bag. One of these days I'll get around to that. Or maybe someone will come up with the specs so I can just get the book on that one, too!

Other than that, there's no exciting news in our house. It's a busy day with puttering in the back yard, grading final projects, cleaning and organizing the house. Very productive kind of day. My favourite.

I still have tomorrow off due to the long weekend. One of my colleagues has invited me to go fishing down river and to visit one of the local islands. I'm really looking forward to both and maybe I'll have fish for supper tomorrow night. Have to remember to take the bug spray, though, as the black flies are out in full force and make being outside bothersome if there's no wind.

Hope you're all having a fantastic weekend and getting lots of your favourite things squeezed in. Cheers, M

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Meadow Lake and Beyond

We left yesterday at about 7:00 a.m. The road was so bad from rain that it took us nearly 3.5 hours to do a trip that can take as little as 2.5 hours in the right conditions.

Once we got to Meadow Lake, had breakfast and a visit with friends, we decided to get back in the truck and drive to the nearest Walmart - in Cold Lake, Alberta! This is only another hour and a bit drive. Piece of cake, nothing to to it, etc, etc. Yeah, right! Sounds crazy, doesn't it?!

I did manage to get some knitting done on the next sock adventure in that 10 hours of driving time. Well, once the road wasn't too bumpy to knit. (Yes, you read it right - too bumpy to knit! More crazy talk.)

I have proof, too. Here's Brian holding up the sock-in-progress. (Doesn't look too comfortable with knitting, does he?)

I'm much happier with the way this sock yarn sock is progressing. I'm using 2.25 mm needles instead of 3.5mm, and I'm using a pattern from my fav sock pattern book instead of the one that came with the yarn.

I'll keep you posted on how it turns out!

Reuben came with us but he kept trying to drive!

I didn't actually get a lot of yarn for myself. I did pick some up for my friend Verna in NWT but I wasn't terribly inspired by anything I saw in the craft department.

I did, however, see this lovely bird feeder and decided that we could use another one in the backyard. I can't wait for the birdies to start using it!

Brian bought a barbecue for the back deck and we stocked up on some steak and some salmon for next week's staff party at our place. We have the biggest deck and yard plus we're only steps from the school so it's easy. (Gotta say it's nice sharing a duplex so we can share all the fun outdoor stuff and then go to our separate homes at the end of the day. The dog really likes going from house to house looking for food, cuddles, etc.)

Also managed to pick up (and install) a web-cam so I can chat with friends and family and they can actually see me. I feel so technologically hip! Emphasis on the "feel" as I'm not deluding myself into believing I am hip.

On the way home, we stopped in Meadow Lake again to pick up something for supper at the food store. While we were stopped, we ran into some folks from Patuanak who had done such a big shop that they needed us to throw some stuff in the back of Brian's truck to carry back. Good thing we saw them, I'd say.

Finally made it back home again by 11:30 pm. Not bad. A 16.5 hour round trip. Yeah, that's what normal people do to go get groceries, right? LOL!!!

It's really different how things work up here but I like it. I love where I live and I really don't mind driving that far once a month for supplies. If I need anything in between, there's always someone going out each weekend and I can ask them to pick a few things up for me. We also have one store in town (a general store) but the prices are high and difficult to live with so we all travel south when we can. A very far cry from living in Vancouver just six short months ago.

Life is meant to be an adventure! Hope you're living yours, M

Friday, May 20, 2005

Off To Get Groceries

Should only be gone about 12 hours. Hah! The fact that I have to travel so far for such things still blows my mind.

The drive is only 3 or so hours each way and then the shopping and lunch on the other side. But I've also been informed that there is a craft store in Meadow Lake, and they supposedly carry yarn. So of course I'm gonna check it out.

I won't be driving. I'm catching a ride down with my neighbour, which means I get several hours of guilt-free knitting time. Yay!

Have a great day! M

Thursday, May 19, 2005

You're Just Gonna Have To Trust Me

I've had people asking me what's wrong with yesterday's socks because they can't see anything in the photo. Sorry about that.

I'll just describe the problems in vivid detail so you can get a better idea of the whole painful experience what's wrong with them. First off, the heel is badly misshapen on the sock that's on Brian's right foot. This is on the inside of the foot, though, so is not apparent in the picture. Secondly, because I had gotten used to handling the yarn by about the middle of the second sock, there is a decided difference between the first 1.5 socks and the last half-a-sock. The knitting is loose and inconsistent at best.

Then there are those lovely holes at the heel pick up that new sock knitters get, not usually seen in in the work of those of us who have been knitting for more than 30 years. Oh the pain of it all I could go on and on and on . . .

Yes, I realize that more patience from the knitter could have fixed many of those things. I ripped so often, though, and then reknit with the same results that I finally just wanted them done and out of my hair. I hated working with the yarn. I know so many of you love it but I really hated it.

That being said, I refuse to be undone by sock yarn. After yesterday's post, I went to the stash dresser, pulled out different sock yarn, smaller needles and a different pattern.

I'm going to figure this stuff out if it kills me! Wish me luck with that! (Sometimes I'm not sure being stubborn works in my favour or just eggs me on.)

Actually, I need to thank Thora for her advice on dealing with bad sock patterns for sock yarn. I'm taking her advice and giving it another chance before I give up for good. If this doesn't work, though, I'm going back to my beloved sock patterns and worsted weight yarn and never looking back!

On a brighter note, I started a new afghan last night. The picture doesn't show it very well but in person, the two yarns together have a silver effect.

I rarely make such large projects but it was a special request from my favourite uncle so how could I refuse? It should go quite quickly as I'm using a Quik Knit pattern. The main one on this cover, actually.

I'm hoping to finish it this weekend. We have four days off because a) it's a long weekend in Canada and b) our school has an earned day off (thanks to extra-curriculars and supervision hours put in). Gotta like that!

Okay, so let's get on with the day, shall we? And I promise that next time I have a major problem with a project, I'll be sure to give photographic evidence for everyone. LOL!

Have a great day and happier knitting to everyone, M

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Very Local Web Cam

This is the view from my neighbour's webcam - about 20 feet away from where I'm sitting. Check it out.

Our House.

It's a bit cloudy and grey this morning but if you're ever up at 5:00 a.m. Saskatchewan time on a clear day (which is most of them), there's a heck of a sunrise out there. To see one is to have an "aha" moment.

One of the nice things about living on the prairies is that we get to see the most beautiful sunrises and breathtaking sunsets. It's a perk of being able to see the horizon 360 degrees around you.

Just sitting here enjoying the view, M

Sock Yarn Sucks Socks

Here's a photo of the horrible things on the neighbour's feet.

I gave them to Brian because I dislike them so much and hope to never have to see them again. I hope he wears them outside on a rainy day with no shoes. :-(

I thought I did everything right. I followed the pattern that came with the socks. I used the right needles. I swatched and checked my gauge. They still turned out for crap and I am not a happy knitter.

Normally, socks are my favourite things to make. I have some excellent patterns that I love to knit. Up until this experience, I honestly believed I was good at making socks. I thought there was very little you could do to screw up a sock pattern. They're easy and fast and very gratifying to make.

Until now. Monster sock yarn. Horrible, nasty, rude sock yarn. Ugly-shape-with-strange-heel-problems-and-bad-fit sock yarn.

I'm not even the unhappy knitter. I am the miserable knitter.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Patuanak Woman

I found this archival picture of a woman from Patuanak, the community in which I live, during an image search on Google.

She's weaving a basket.

I'm not sure what it is about her but I felt an immediate connection. Maybe it's because she's creating something useful and beautiful with her hands, just like my knitting.

Whatever the reason for the connection, I wanted to share her with you.

Happy knitting day, M

Saturday, May 14, 2005

This Should Put A Smile On Your Face!

If you haven't seen it yet, I highly suggest you go check this out:

(Click on the tiny British flag to get the English Language version.)

Friday, May 13, 2005

Thanks Everybody

For all your nice comments and emails. I'm feeling much better, thanks, and back to looking on the bright side!

Thank you for taking the time to reach out.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

All In A Day

It's been a bad day. It's been annoying and trying and a day that makes me want to go to bed and stay there 'til Monday, when I'll feel rested and ready to start again.

Sadly, this is not a possibility at this time. So I guess I'll just have to buck up and face tomorrow like a trooper. Wish me luck with that.

Hoping your day has been better than mine, M

Comments Now Working

I don't know what's been up the last couple of days. Comments have not been working here nor at a few other blogs. They seem to be up and running again so feel free to leave one!

Thanks to those people who emailed me to let me know!

Hope you're all having a great day! M

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Ten of My Favourite Things

It's hard to keep a list like this to just ten. I think that makes me pretty lucky to have so many things I classify as favourites.

The order is flexible, except maybe for Reuben and Sara, which of course depends on whether they're having a good behaviour day or a bad behaviour day!!! Ha! I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

1. Reuben and Sara

2. Knitting

3. Chocolate

4. Reading

5. Travel

6. Being Canadian

7. Sunlight

8. Learning

9. My Bed

10. CBC Radio and Television
Hope you all have a list that is at least this long, if not longer. M

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Swatch City

Does this qualify as a FO? I feel quite accomplished for having them done at last.

Now, If I could just get the paperwork done, I'd be all set. My questions are finished; it's the labels that I'm trying to do now.

More in the furry therapy department, here's a photo of Reuben having a sunbath.

And this is Sara helping herself to a drink of water from a very tall, not very full glass of my water! Cheeky girl!

Hope you're all having a great day, M

Monday, May 09, 2005

Personal Book Review

I decided that I would make a list of the books that I've read since January 1.

Being an English teacher has given me the oppotunity to read so many books that I would never have chosen for myself. I must say that I'm having a blast with the whole experience. I will miss my English classes next year when I'm teaching math and science but not enough to volunteer to do it again! ;-)

So here goes.

Reading Lolita in Tehran
Blue Shoe
A Student of Weather
A Rhinestone Button
Stones From The River
The Crucible
Animal Farm
Much Ado About Nothing
I Heard the Owl Call My Name
The Giver
Eaters of the Dead

I have also read a few short plays and short stories that I can't find images for.

It's not a bad list but I feel it will expand greatly once I'm on summer holidays and have more time to read and knit.

I do have these currently on the go that will soon be added to the finished list.
The Amulet of Samarkan
Fahrenheit 451
How the Scots Invented the Modern World
Little Women

I always have a few books going at once as I am frequently in different moods when it comes to reading. This is especially true when I am reading things that need to be read, and not just things that I want to read.

What are you reading?

Hope you all have a fantastic day! M

Sunday, May 08, 2005

Just To Prove It

I have actually been knitting. I haven't really said much about it, though, as it's only the swatches for the Master Knitter Level 1. Not exactly riveting stuff but I do have a photo just so I can show you a picture of knitting.

Obviously they still need to be blocked.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get them out of here in the Tuesday mail. (Mail only goes in and out on Tuesdays and Fridays.) I want them done so I can get on with some more interesting projects!

And just for a little furry therapy, here's a picture of Sara and Reuben taking it easy. They have such a rough life, no?

Hope you're having a sunny and relaxing Sunday! M

Saturday, May 07, 2005

I've Been RAOK'd!!!

How lucky can one knitter be?! I received three RAOK's in time for my birthday! It's so great to know that someone was thinking of little old me!

A big thank you goes out to the fabulous knitters who took time out of their lives to send me some cheerful gifts and cards!!!

Maggie over at Maggiknits and Spins sent me this gorgeous green-themed package. I can't wait to start on a new project with that! And look at those fab green needles! The little package in front is some wonderful soaps for spoiling myself.

Thanks to Cindy at Sauvageblue for the beautiful beaded stitch markers (I promise they'll go to good use!) and the card (the one with the opera purse on the front).

One last (but not least) thank you to Carrie at Southern Fried Knitting for the amazing little card with the big bunch of southern charm on it! (It's the little one in front of photo.) You gotta check out her blog because she has the cutest darned dog in a yarn basket you ever saw!

Ladies, I need to tell you how very much I appreciated getting your random acts of kindness. The fact that they got here on my birthday is just the icing on the birthday cake!

I am humbled by the generosity of human beings, and knitters seem to be the most generous of all.

In gratitude, M

Friday, May 06, 2005

. . . They Say It's Your Birthday . . .

It's that Beatles song going through my head this morning. It's true. It is my birthday. Did you know I was named after an annoying Beatles song - the one almost everyone sings to me upon meeting? It's true, too.

I woke up to a lovely rain this morning. How come all those years of living in Vancouver I hated the rain but here it's so very pleasant? It wasn't exactly a novelty there and mostly made everything moldy and damp. Here it's a refreshing cleansing of the Earth and makes the world bright green with grass and leaves that are about to burst.

So. The birthday morning. Looking out over the freshness that is a spring shower, I take stock of the last year and decide if success or disappointment has been the theme. I would say it's been pretty successful. Yup, a pretty darn good year. Why so good, you ask?

Well, since the last b-day, I traveled to NYC, England and Ireland. I finished up my first year of teaching, in the Arctic no less. I completed a Bachelor of Science. I moved back to my home province of Saskatchewan after more than 15 years away. I got a job teaching high school that I'm really enjoying in a community that I'm really enjoying. I started my own knitting blog and another for friends and family. Quite a few of them are dreams come true.

And now I start 38. It's off to a good start as I look forward to learning to spin and weave this summer at Saltspring Fibre Festival. I've also signed my contract to teach here again next year and will be moving over to the Math and Science side of the hallway. I'm starting another degree in September, via distance education, that should increase my teaching credentials and thus my pay. I'm going to an ordination and a wedding of two very good friends in June. Yes, I'd say I'm already impressed with 38.

Happy birthday to me! Hope your day looks as bright and hopeful as mine!!! M

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Down By The Riverside

Went for a walk last evening down near the rapids, on the north side of town. Reuben had a blast and I got some cool photos.

Reuben at the river

Pussy Willows

Peeling bark for birch bark crafts

The river is very high this year, according to my neighbours, who say it hasn't been this high in more than five years. We had a lot of snow this winter so the melt is really raising the level. Nothing threatening, though, just won't be able to get at the fishing spots for a while yet.

I signed up for a spinning workshop and a weaving workshop this summer at Saltspring Island Fibre Festival. Yahoo for me! Maybe I'll see some of you there!

"All I have to do is dreeeeeam, dream, dream, dream," M