Thursday, March 29, 2012

We're rockin' and rollin' this morning! I'm always so glad that the ferry spends the night in its berth right in front of us because it really helps block the south-easters that roar in here during the winter/spring months. But at 6:15 every morning it leaves on its first run to Vancouver Island and we are left much more exposed. It's supposed to calm down this morning, which is a good thing because Esther doesn't like to come over for Thursday knitting at the Rock Salt if it's blowing.

This Island seems to have no end of little roads that go off into the forest or up little 'mountains', and I just love to discover and explore them. Yesterday, after I spent most of the day in town running errands, I took yet another 'scenic' route home. First of all, here was the view from the laundromat before I left Ganges:
(Many of those boats are live-aboards, or people who choose not to pay the crazy moorage rates in Ganges).

I watched this crow hesitate on the edge of a little tidal stream for only a moment, and then 'dive in' for a bath:
... and then I got distracted by some movement on the water's edge...
... and what fun to watch these two white-tailed deer, right in downtown Ganges, frollicking in the sand!

On the way home I made my way up to the top of 'Sarah Lane' and pulled over when I saw this:
Actually, let me run that by you again, with a bit more detail (remember that you can click on the image to make it bigger):
How lucky am I, to get to live in such an amazing place??

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When we moved to Salt Spring Island last year, I had to leave my hair-stylist behind. She also happens to be my youngest daughter, so, of course, we've seen each other lots of times, but never at a time that she could cut my hair ... so it has grown longer, and longer and longer. It's been making me crazy for several weeks now, so last week I finally caved and PAID for a haircut in Ganges. I do think it takes a few years off my face! I'm not very photogenic, but my friend Esther thinks I should share this with you...
I'd much rather show you pictures of our newest spring visitor...
This is the first otter we've seen since before Christmas, and even though it seemed to be alone, it was quite small ... maybe a fairly new baby?

Or I could show you pictures of my knitting works-in-progress ...
... such as a baby sweater (a test knit of sorts) and my latest shawl on the needles. It's Alcea by Susanna IC, and I'm loving it! I also 'whipped up' another pair of fingerless gloves on the weekend -- but today I'll be spending most of the day in Ganges so there won't be much knitting time. I have a *job!* :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It may not be very 'spring'-like, but it IS gorgeous .... this was what I saw out my window this morning:
Under a beautiful clear blue sky you can see the skiff of snow that fell up there during the night, the ribbon of cloud that often lays in that valley, and then a serious frost over everything. The red boat is in our marina, but the docks behind it are in the old marina next door that's been closed for two years, since a storm destroyed it. Other than that, I sure like my 'back yard!'

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

There's an old line that goes ... "If you don't like the weather around here, just wait ten minutes." That's what Salt Spring Island has been like for several days now. We've run the gammut from sunny and warm to snow to ....
... hail the size of peas!

I spent yesterday, before and after the Ganges knitting circle, going around Ganges and meeting several of the Welcome Wagon merchant sponsors, and I'll be doing the same thing this morning - then I have my first official visit to a newcomer on my own this afternoon. I'm stoked!

And never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be knitting doll clothes ... or that I'd have fun doing it! But I am...
I finished this little brown top-down sweater and an identical green one, and then started playing with a design for a dress:
I had a small skein of this lavendar-colored wool that worked out perfectly. Now I'm designing a pair of bib overalls (in denim blue, of course) for her little friend!

Friday, March 16, 2012


... and it'll be another one today.

Yesterday ended with this view...
As this tug and barge were making their way down Trincomali Channel at dusk, I was hanging out enjoying a 'Knit Night' hosted by the owner of the Fernwood Cafe -- one of my favorite spots on the island.
After the owner's hubby took this photo of us, about 4 more people arrived. That's me, third from the left, concentrating intently on my niece's second afghan strip -- Jennifer is next to me, 4th from the left, and she thinks she might host a knit night monthly. She's a fairly new knitter, and can't get away from the business too often!

When I arrived there, I saw this year's first Japanese maples in bloom ...
... a sure sign that it's spring in the Pacific Northwest!

And yesterday was Thursday, so of course we had our regular knitting circle at the Rock Salt in Fulford -- Esther and Bev came over from Victoria, always a highlight for me!

Today is Joshua's birthday -- 18!!! Unbelievable .... and he's turned in to a wonderful young man who is a joy to be around. Here's one of my favorite pictures of him, 'jamming' with Jason....
Joshua graduated from high school at the end of January, and is hoping to work at a resort on the West Coast again this summer.

The sun is shining right now, and I need to decide if I'll go to Victoria today -- I may have a buyer for my electric carder so I have to get it out of storage to at least take a picture, if not bring it back here. I'll see how the day develops!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I can't believe how the days go by here! I've been busy 'settling in' to the world of Welcome Wagon - having lots of fun, but there's lots to learn, and lots of paperwork to sort through and organize. I have six 'visits' already lined up for the next few weeks!

We've been rocking and rolling lots in the last few days. Day before yesterday was the worst storm we've experienced since we've been here --the outside dock at the abandoned marina next door 'came away' from the outside pilings and is now barely hanging on to the corner piling by maybe one hinge. (If I can get a picture later, I will...) We were without power for about eight hours and had to keep our little woodstove going -- not that we mind, it keeps things pretty cozy in here. But elsewhere here on Salt Spring, and around Victoria, was pretty hard hit:
Lots of trees down and thousands of folks without power for the last few days. We've had it all weather-wise, too -- snow, rain, hail, sleet, and sunshine, just in the last 48 hours!

I'll be doing some writing for a little local 'news-advertiser' that comes out every other week here on the Island ... the first piece I've done has to do with this:
Cute poster, huh?

I did manage to make a quick trip up to Qualicum, with two local friends Sara and Allie, to see if we could find the herring run -- unfortunately it was all over, although lots of the fishing boats were still around. The day was too short and my friends needed to get home to their dog, so I didn't even get to stop at my sister's place for a visit. It turned out to be a decent day for a little road trip, though, and Sara and Allie had fun seeing a part of Vancouver Island they'd never been to.
No knitting progress to report .... the last cowl in the challenge is giving me lots of grief, I've frogged it three times now and not sure what I'll do with it next. And that's taken up so much time that I haven't got past row 4 on the shawl I cast on last week.

Aaargggghhhh..... better news soon, I hope!

Thursday, March 8, 2012


- First of all, happy International Womens Day! Even Google changed its logo for the day... :) The premise, that women deserve the same rights and opportunities as men, seems like a no-brainer, but the truth is, it still ain't happenin' -- even right here in 'progressive' North America! So take a moment to reflect today .... yes, 'we've come a long way, baby,' but we're not there yet.

- I've always had a secret theory that West Coast living makes you younger, and here's the proof! (For non-locals, Saanich is a suburb of Victoria).

- I realized this morning that it's knitting day at the Rock Salt, and I still haven't showed you last week's pics! Here's Esther modelling the shawl she knit that my friend Grace designed for
... and Aiko had her dolls model the Noro dresses I knit for them:
... and Dona wanted to model my 'Christmas in January' shawl:
I also finished cowl #5 in the Great Cowl Knitalong:
This is a bit of a story! I never thought to look at the pattern requirements until two days before the start date, and I realized that I had neither any super-bulky-weight yarn nor a 16" 12mm circular needle! So I went searching for what I did have, and found this:

It's pin-drafted roving that I've had stashed for the day I decide to learn/practise spindle spinning, but, with size 10mm needles, it did the trick, and I was able to finish the cowl before the challenge deadline!

I have two other bits of news this morning. First of all, I'll be doing some writing for a little local bi-weekly news-advertiser paper. And -- I got another little job. I wasn't looking, but this sort of fell in my lap, and so far I'm loving it: I'm now Salt Spring Island's 'Welcome Wagon' lady! Hey, it pays pretty good, it's only a few hours a week, I can work my own hours (and there's no 'boss' hanging around), and I get to meet lots of interesting people .... works for me!

I've cast on another shawl, finally, and the final cowl. Pictures next time, my camera battery is charging. :)

Monday, March 5, 2012


‘Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crises.’
Elizabeth Zimmermann

I've never done a book review on my blog, but then I've never been as compelled to do one as I am now.

What you already know about me is that I knit shawls; what you may not know is that I've wanted to knit an Elizabeth Zimmerman 'Pi' shawl for about three years now -- I've just been waiting for the 'right' pattern to come into my life, and I knew that I'd know when it had (now there's some awkward English for ya)!

So several weeks ago, I was hanging out on the wonderful time-suck which is; my routine is to check out all the 'latest published' shawl patterns each evening. The very first one I saw that particular evening was this one:
It's a Pi shawl. It's called The Lighthouse Shawl. It's stunning. It's in shades of blue. Hello???

So just before I clicked the 'BUY IT NOW' button, I glanced up the page to see who the designer was. I'd never heard of Lonna Cunningham, so I clicked on her 'profile' on Ravelry to read more about her. Her two-paragraph profile had me hooked as it was: she lives with her second husband and teenage son on a small farm in central Alberta (not far from where I grew up); she spins and knits; she's a bit of a 'homesteader,' and very creative.

And then I discovered that this pattern is published in her new book, called 'Just Keep Knitting: a journey of healing through forgiveness, faith and fibre.'

I'm all about forgiveness, faith and fibre, so, as you can imagine, I had to read on.

To make a long story short (ha!) I sent off a private message to Lonna, and that began a bit of a correspondence that's lasted until now. As a writer, editor and knitter (and, as you know, a person who's had to do some healing herself, recently, too!) I offered to do a 'test read' of the manuscript prior to publication, so Lonna sent me an e-copy.

Folks, I read this book cover-to-cover in one sitting -- I haven't had that experience in years!

In Just Keep Knitting, Lonna tells her story, starting from being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder about a year ago. She takes the reader back to meeting and marrying her first husband in the early 90's, and then forward through the interim years, during which she loses first an infant daughter, and then her husband (in a horrific manner, and with horrific twists and turns along the way). Each chapter ends with her reflections on the ways she worked toward forgiveness (for herself and others), the faith that saw her through it all (Cunningham is a Quaker, but the thoughts and meditations are universal and non-offensive, in my opinion, whatever your beliefs. They're also pretty insightful.)

And, of course, every knitter knows the therapeutic benefits of knitting, and Lonnie is no exception. Each chapter contains a knitting pattern (all but one designed specifically by the author) relevant to that part of her healing journey , seven in all, and even Cunningham's descriptions call you to them:

- "a comfy wrap with pockets to ward off the chills of grief;
- a diamond lace scarf to wear for strength and courage in difficult situations; and
- a soft pillow to call to mind a sense of home and safety."

This is an amazing story of human resilience and courage - and, yes, of faith, forgiveness and fibre. In one of my circles, we refer often to "dealing with life on life's terms, not ours," and that's exactly what Lonnie has done, and continues to do. I can barely imagine going through what this woman has gone through -- and I truly can't imagine going through it without knitting. In her own words...

"It is my hope that the story of my past, combined with the reflections on forgiveness, faith and fibre (knitting is indeed a healing art) will shine a light of hope so that perhaps, someday, there might be just enough light for someone else to find a way out of the dark."

I hope you'll check out Lonna's full story on her website at Apple Jack Creek, or on her blog here; but mostly, I hope you'll consider buying her book (in either paperback or ebook form) here. You'll be supporting a fellow knitter who understands that to JUST KEEP KNITTING is key, and you'll get some great patterns, too! And it would be a bonus, if you're a knitting blogger, if you'd give it a mention or a link on your blog, too.

(I've ordered the yarn I'll be using for the Lighthouse Shawl ... unfortunately it went to our old address in Victoria, so I have to go collect it this week. I'll keep you posted on my progress!)