Thursday, January 31, 2008


One of our favorite pastimes here in the harbour is going for rides in our little inflatable ... an activity we're sorely missing and looking forward to when these cold days get behind us! Michael is specially looking forward to taking the boys out now that Gibson is a bit older...

Living in what's called the 'Upper Harbour' we usually don't have to go far for entertainment - there's a working shipyard right across from us.

This tug is the Benjamin Foss, which was built in Houma, Louisiana in 1980 and is 75 feet long and 26.3 feet wide. It's currently running out of Gray's Harbour, Washington, but we see it often here. Here's a clip from a press release about Foss Maritime in Seattle:

"The Foss Maritime Company’s commitment to environmental stewardship was underscored last month when a top maritime organization recognized 59 of its vessels for outstanding safety records.

The Chamber of Shipping of America (CSA) honored the Foss vessels at a CSA achievement dinner in Washington, D.C. Altogether, the ships have achieved the equivalent total of 362 years without an environmental mishap."

Pretty impressive, huh? Well, we hope to be in our little dinghy to great ol' Ben next time she goes by our marina!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


"There are many people who ADORE receiving hand-knit or crochet items; but there are just as many who have no appreciation whatever of how much love, work, and time goes into a hand-made item. Share a story of a hand-made gift you gave to someone and how it worked out - good, bad, or ugly!"

A little over a year ago I knit a wool hoodie for my now-9-year-old grandson River. I had a couple of skeins of Lopi in my stash but had to buy several more -- so it cost about $80 and took me a couple of months to make, but it turned out beautifully.

He loved it, too, but of course, it itched, so I suggested that he could wear it as a coat over top of a lighter hoodie or sweater - I'd meant it to be used in the cold. I also asked his mom to encourage him to do that so he would wear it.

Well, I think he's worn it maybe twice ....

On the 'good news' front, my daughters have both been recipients of scarves that they've loved, and my son requested a blanket similar to these so I made him one in his colors of choice, and he adores it!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Got back last night from my weekend away to my daughter's in Whistler. The forecast was for snow, and it was threatening, but we (my other daughter Mischa, who came with me, and I) crossed our fingers that it wouldn't hit too hard on the highway on the way there. Never saw so much as a snowflake until we turned into the village off the highway at about noon. From then until 8 a.m. the following morning, though, it dumped almost 10", so the gods were smiling on our journey! Here's the road to my daughter's little cabin ...

And here she is on her doorstep...

And here's the 2" icicles hanging from her rafters...

... and here's a close-up of the scarf I knit her while we were there as a 'hostess gift'...

That scarf was the sum total of the weekend's knitting, too! We were busy the whole time we were there, of course, but my best knitting usually happens in the wee hours of the morning -- and in this case, in my daughter's one-room cabin, I didn't want to wake the girls so I knit by stove-light...

I think that's probably a first in my knitting career!

You'll be happy to know that I made it up to Hailey's event on the top of the mountain, via gondola, without hyperventilating -- thanks to Mischa, who kept me laughing the whole way. I *was* starting to get a little testy near the end (it's a 20 minute ride), but was okay. I thought that coming down in the dark much later would be *really* scary, but Hailey had the good sense to send me down with her friend Stella, who's a knitter! So of course, we talked knitting the whole way, and I hardly even noticed the ride (it helped that the windows of the gondola were fogged up, too, so I couldn't see that we were pitching down a mountainside)!

The event was beautifully decorated, had great food, and otherwise went really well. Here's my daughter and her colleagues ...

And here's my favorite image of the evening ...

This woman's hair, make-up, costume and demeanor were all amazing!

Our drive back down the mountain to the ferry was uneventful, except that we missed the 3:00 ferry by about TWO minutes. Got home -- to snow falling here in Vitoria! -- tired but happy at about 7:30 last night.

Clue #2 in the Secret of the Stole KAL arrived in my email during my absence, so I know what today's project will be!

Friday, January 25, 2008

LONG DAY ... and another one to come

Still sick, still sick of being sick .... and tomorrow morning I'm getting in my van with my daughter Mischa to drive to Whistler (a 1.5 drive to the ferry, a 2-hour ferry ride, then a 1.5 hour drive up a mountain!) for a weekend visit with my other daughter Hailey, who is helping produce a major event there as we speak. I'll get to spend some quality time with 'my girls' (who are 30 and 28), I'll get a free dinner on the mountaintop...

... and I'll have lots of knitting time -- works for me! The ONLY negative thing is that I have to ride a gondola to get to that free dinner ...

... and the last time I did that, I was VERY frightened, very unexpectantly! I'll let you know how that goes.... I'm hoping to reward myself with a visit to this woman's studio. She's a knitter, but she's also a
and I've admired that and her photography for a long time!

Last night, once again, I made it down to the water just in time to see this tugboat hauling a barge off into the sunset...

And this morning I was back there again (What can I say? It's one of my favorite spots on the planet!) and watched this one...

This was interesting because there was no wind but there must have been a current, or the outgoing tide was a problem or something, because that small tugboat had actually just 'helped' the barge make a turn, and was coming back in to the harbour when I arrived.

This afternoon at Knit'n'Cafe I finally got to meet and spend some time with another Board member from Blankets for Canada. I've been on the national board for 2 years now and we do all our 'business' online, but Rosemarie moved not long ago from Alberta to Port Alberni, so it was a real treat to meet her. And she's a lace knitter, too!

That's it from me.... I'm exhausted, and 5 a.m. is going to come 'way too soon. 'See you' on Monday or Tuesday some time!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Finally, after several days home with a horrid cold/flu bug, I felt well enough to venture out this morning for a bit. It's cold but there's not a cloud in the sky and the sun is brilliant.

It was nice to be back down at Clover Point, and look! I took my knitting out to play...

This is "Hint #1" in the 'Secret of the Stole II" KAL (click the button on the sidebar to check out the details), and I LOVE it, love it, love it. I'm using a laceweight cotton in a powder blue color on a 5mm bamboo circular, and it's knitting up beautifully -- nice stitch definition, nice drape, nice everything! It's not my first lace project or my first wrap, but it is my first lace-weight wrap/shawl, and I'm definitely hooked!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


We take care of two of our grandsons three days a week. River is in school, so we're his 'day care' after school, but Gibson is not quite two, so he's with us all day. I say 'us' but really it's mostly Michael that takes care of him. Between my freelance writing and things like planning for the FibreFest, I don't have as much free time - but Michael does, and can't imagine a better way to spend it than 'hanging out' with Gibson.

Well, today, just when I'd finished my work and was settling in to work on the Secret of the Stole "Hint #1", we had a water pipe burst at the marina (the temperature's been getting down to freezing at night the last few nights) and it was spraying water all over the boat owner's electrical cord. NOT a good situation! So Michael came home from our daughter's to deal with it -- and left Gibson with me for awhile. I don't think it's possible to resist being offered a toy to play with ....

... or playing peek-a-boo ...

... or listening to a future rock star play his electric guitar (while calling his mommy on the phone to get her to listen!) ...

They just don't come much cuter, I can tell you that! And there aren't TOO many things more captivating than knitting a beautiful lace stole, but having a surprise visit with Gibson is definitely one of them.

Monday, January 21, 2008


34 years ago this morning, I was on my way to the hospital to give birth to my first-born. I was 21 years old, more or less single, and terrified at the prospects of raising a child -- but excited and happy at the same time.

Jason made his appearance at 10:36 a.m. and weighed in at 8 pounds, 12 ounces.

As parents, we like to think that it's because of us that our children grow up alright, but in my case, I'm pretty sure that it's in spite of me that mine did!

Today, at 34, Jason is a man who lives his life with integrity and is a pleasure to be around. He is my son, my neighbour, and my friend ... and I'm proud to be his Mom. Happy Birthday, Jason!

Sunday, January 20, 2008


I've been sick for three days ... AGAIN ... but I did manage to get down to the water the other day just in time to watch this gorgeous sunset over Race Rocks...

And I did make it to Knit'n'Cafe on Friday ...

A couple of other interesting things happened this week, too. First of all, I got a call from a woman asking me if I could fix her boyfriend's sweater for her. She wasn't a knitter, and it's a bit of a long story (which I won't share unless she says I can) but the sweater, a black acrylic fisherman's rib knit, was pretty messed up...

The photo shows just one of the tears, but there were several. Anyway, I did manage to fix it pretty well - there's a couple of spots where you can tell it's been mended, but it's definitely wearable, so that's good.

Also, earlier this week I sent a parcel to NUNAVUT (formerly the North West Territories) for babies at the hospital. I was browsing on Ravelry one night and there was a post from a woman there who said that the hospital has no little baby touques or blankets. The community, on the NorthWest shores of Hudson Bay, has a permanent population of around 2000, and many are very poor -- and it's EXTREMELY cold there. So I put the word out through my network at CommunityKnitters and within 10 days had collected 43 hats and about 10 blankets to send away. Wish I'd taken a pic of all of them, but here's one of the blankets...

AND I have another FO to report! A shawl for Threads of Compassion got finished day before yesterday...

This shawl is 100% leftover odds and ends, including some cotton blends, an eyelash yarn and some acryllic. The pics don't do it justice, actually, it's lovely. Here's a close-up of the stripes ...

Finally, I re-swatched for the Secret of the Stole II because my first choice wasn't 'lacey' enough. I like the bigger (and lighter-colored) one much better!

Saturday, January 19, 2008


The 'Winter Doldrums' swap (check out my sidebar) is posting a weekly topic, and the participants get entered in to a contest if they blog about them. So here's this week's topic:

Weekly Topic: Dishrag. Dishcloth. Face cloth. I've seen folks get all fired up in forums when someone refers to their knit or crochet creation as a dishrag, as that's somehow offensive to them! When you're working on yours, what do you call them? Also, is there a difference between a dishrag and a dishcloth? How bout a facecloth? Are they all really the same thing?

Actually, I've taken to calling them 'Spaaaaaaaaaahhh cloths' because then all three of my grown kids like receiving them! lol Besides, it definitely sounds 'classier' than 'dishrag.' And, bottom line, I don't care what other people call them OR use them for once I've gifted them!

Anyway, we got our 'swap partner assignments today, so I may get started tomorrow.


The last two days have been all about Blankets for Canada, a national organization that is the Canadian equivalent of Warm Up America. As the Victoria coordinator it's my job to collect blanket squares from knitters (or knit them if need be, but that's not a problem here!), arrange to have them sewn or crocheted together, and then distributed to the homeless shelters here. This is what they look like when they're done:

So a few of us sometimes meet on Thursday afternoons here for a 'joining party' and this week we got one blanket almost finished. Yesterday I took it to our Friday Knit'n'Cafe and got it finished, so I was able to deliver that one and two others I'd finished over the holidays to Sandi Merriman House, the local homeless shelter for Women.


This is our trusty little (well, it's 13') dinghy pulled up in Midden Bay on Newcastle Island in Nanaimo. If the sun comes out at all in the next three days (our 'days off' from looking after Gibson and River), we'll be IN it going for our first little jaunt around the harbour of 2008. And if it stays rainy and gray like it is right now, I'll be curled up on the couch casting on and knitting either the Sivia Harding Moonshadow stole or the 'Secret of the Stole II'. Can't decide which one to start with!

Thursday, January 17, 2008


Lest ye think all I do is sit around and knit all day, I thought I'd share a bit about the marina life!

The night-time temperatures here have been hovering around freezing, so there's more work to do at the marina. First of all, Michael has to put 'ice-melt' out on the docks regularly so folks aren't slippin' and slidin' -- that's a little more dangerous on water than on land! We also have to make sure all the water is drained from hoses, etc., or that folks have left a tap dripping a bit -- frozen pipes are a 'PITA' and can be very expensive to fix!

January is often the month, as live-aboards, where 'the rubber meets the road,' so to speak. The live-aboard lifestyle is often romanticized (and it IS pretty romantic!) but it also has its drawbacks, and January is the month that those drawbacks are the most noticeable.

For one thing, many people (including Michael) suffer from what is now being called 'SAD' Syndrome -- not enough sunlight. And when you're living in a small space, that can result in a unique kind of cabin fever.

And how easy is it for YOU to do laundry? As liveaboards, we have to pack it up and trundle it all off to a laundromat -- and January has some of the lowest tides of the year, so that means lugging it up a 45-degree angle dock (which better have lots of 'ice-melt' on it)!

Here's one of my favorite photos of where we live...

We're also having trouble with a tenant who hasn't paid his moorage in a few months, and so our nice requests have now become written demands, and yesterday I spent two hours on the phone between lawyers, Transport Canada and the bailiff's office to determine what, exactly, are our rights in terms of getting a moorage tenant to pay up or get out.It's not pleasant when it's reached this point, but it's part of our job, unfortunately.

Well, back to my knitting -- I'm working on a shawl for Threads of Compassion.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


Wow, wow, wow! (Be forewarned.... picture-heavy post...)

The Arbutus Cove B & B was all we imagined, and more! Check it out...

That's the main house, the cabin we were in is just to the right. Here's our deck, and the view over Sooke basin from it...

And don't I look relaxed?

Our own personal hot tub ... and their private dock. . . (we didn't go by boat, but we technically could have!)

And then there was the Galloping Goose Trail -- there was an access about 100' from our cabin, so we walked a long way on Sunday... here's some highlights along the trail... (Sooke Basin on the left, tropical rain forest cliff on our right).

Two of the highlights on our walk were this waterfall...

And, if you look closely in the centre of this photo (or you can click on it to see the larger image) you'll see 4 or 5 of the most adorable little 'moss'-colored birds having a little natural bird-bath!

It was a blast, and we'll definitely go back... here's the sunset on our final evening...

ON THE NEEDLES: I have my first Finished Object of 2008 ... the interminable purple shawl! Pics later today!

Saturday, January 12, 2008


30 years ago today I went to the bar with a girlfriend -- which I wasn't going to do -- and went home with some guy I'd just met -- which I wasn't going to do.

That guy is out picking up a few groceries right now, and then -- after many moons of sobriety and other assorted good living -- we are away for our 30th anniversary celebration!

When you're an 'old married couple' like us, here's what you take for a weekend away:

Your multi-vitamins
His two favorite movies
My basket of knitting
His Saturday newspaper
My novel I've been trying to start reading since Christmas
The cribbage cards and board

Sounds like a great time to me! I won't post again until Monday evening or Tuesday morning ... oh, I also intend to do a lot of counting sheep, so I thought I'd leave you with some while I'm away...

Friday, January 11, 2008


I was invited to a meeting last night made up of 'stakeholders' in a fledgling Esquimalt tourism association, becauae of the fact that I hold the final day of the Victoria Fibre Festival at Saxe Point Park there.

The meeting was the perfect kick-off to starting the serious planning for this year's event (well, that's not entirely true ... I booked my special guest three days after last year's event, and I booked the park the minute the office opened in January ...) and you'll be hearing a lot more about it over the next few months.

Mark the dates in your calendar now ... Victoria's 6th Annual Knit-Out/FibreFest will take place June 20th to 22nd, 2008. The weekend will unfold much the same as last year ... a dinner and fashion show on Friday night, classes and a 'yarn crawl' on Saturday during the day, my guest 'talk' on Saturday evening, and then, of course, the grand finale -- the Market (and demos and prizes and much other knitterly fun!) at Saxe Point Park on Sunday. Quadra Island's FUN KNITS Yarn Shop (I call it "The little shop that could...") will be our major sponsor again this year!

Here's the park ... isn't it beautiful? Wanna come knit (and spin and weave and shop for yarny goodies, and meet other knitters and spinners and weavers and shoppers) with us?

Stay tuned for more ... including my announcement about this year's special guest, no later than February 1st!