Thursday, February 28, 2008


The 2008 Victoria FibreFest will take place this year from June 20th - 22nd, and it's shaping up to be a fabulous event once again.

Quadra Island's FUN KNITS YARN SHOP is on board again as this year's major sponsor, and I'm really excited about working with Shelley Mackie and her team again to make this year's event lots of fun for all of us!

My special guest this year will be Vancouver-based designer extra-ordinaire SIVIA HARDING, and I'm also really excited about that! I had admired Sivia's work for some time when I finally got to meet her at a Victoria Knitter's Guild workshop a few years ago, and I've been watching her career blossom, all over the globe, ever since! Sivia will have some of her work in the Friday night fashion show, she'll teach a class on Saturday afternoon, be our guest speaker on Saturday night, and then be with us all day at the Market and Knit-Out in Saxe Point Park on Sunday. You can read more about Sivia, and check out her amazing designs, at

Many details are yet to be worked out, but this year's format will be similar to last year's: a dinner and fashion show on Friday night, classes and a 'Yarn Crawl' on Saturday during the day, our guest speaker in the evening, and the Saxe Point 'grand finale' on Sunday. For more information, and to find out how you can participate (or sponsor the event), check out .

Mark the dates on your calender now, and please forward this message or pass it on to anyone you think might be interested in the 2008 Victoria FibreFest -- thanks!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Our trip to Parksville was lovely ... we really enjoy these little road trips. We always meander our way up the Island ... stop for gas just south of Duncan (because it's usually about 5 cents a litre cheaper than here in Victoria), stop at the veggie market, and in addition to much veggies, we often pick up deli items to have a picnic at Transfer Beach in Ladysmith ...

The view to the left...

The view to the right over the amphitheatre and the 'logger sports' pole...

Then we checked out a couple of our favorite second-hand shops between Ladysmith and Qualicum Beach, and ended up at one of our favorite beach-watching spots, right beside the Tourist Info place in Qualicum. To our left, that's Denman and Hornby Islands in the distance...

And right across the Strait of Georgia and to our right is Lasqueti Island (and beyond that is Texada) ...

We spent the night at our friends (and got soundly trounced in euchre, as always, lol) and then took the beach blanket to my sister Julie. It looks great as a cover for her daybed!

Sunday we meandered our way back down the Island to Victoria, and caught this beautiful sunset from Saxe Point Park before we drove home to the marina. . .

Much knitting took place, as always, and I don't have a thing to show for it -- I'll post pics of the two shawls I'm working on soon, I swear!

Monday, February 25, 2008


58 years ago today a new baby boy came into the world, and his parents named him Michael William.

He was destined to have a sad childhood, being brought up in a home full of hatred, alcoholism, unpredictability and violence. In spite of that, he managed to keep the spirit of love alive in himself ... and (lucky for me) I've been the primary recipient of that loving spirit as his wife for over 30 years now. Lucky for Michael, the second half of his life has been much 'fuller' than the first -- he's absolutely adored by our three children (who are all adults now), three grandsons, and ... well ... pretty much everyone who knows him.

He's the kindest, nicest, gentlest, most easy-going man I've ever known, and he's my best friend. Let me give you an example of how this guy works...

We have an agreement, of sorts, about the 'division of labour' in our lives. He's having the time of his life taking care of our almost-two-year-old grandson Gibson, so that's what he does, three days a week. I work from home, and I'm involved in various volunteer and community projects (lest ye think all I ever do is sit around and knit, or drive to beaches and knit!), so, on those days, domestic duties fall to me

Well, the other day I had been particularly busy for the few days prior, and I hadn't done our dishes. There they were, soaking in the sink, still, after two days. On the morning of the third day, I pulled the last clean cup out of the cupboard to pour Michael his morning coffee, and I said, "Guess I really better get those dishes done this morning," to which he replied (without missing a beat), "Well, we can always buy new cups..." :-)

Happy, happy birthday, Michael!

Saturday, February 23, 2008


This 'Secret of the Stole' that I'm knitting (see sidebar for more info) is now 152 stitches wide, with about a kazillion yarn-overs and knit-2-togethers and slip-slip-knits on each row. I've taken to counting the stitches before I start the row, stitch-marking every 12 stitches or so (basically after every repeat), and then re-counting the stitches again at the end of each row. This makes each and every row very tedious and slow, but very, v-e-r-y accurate.

How is it possible, then, that I discover a row with only 151 stitches in it, after all that? And then I tink it back, only to discover that the row BEFORE that row isn't right, either, so I tink THAT row back, too. Only to discover that THREE rows back I MISSED a yarn-over ... right after the 7th stitch at the beginning of the row. It doesn't seem possible -- and it's happened twice this week. Aaarrgggghhhh..... the joys of lace knitting!

Oh, well, I'll take it along on a little road trip today. We are going up-Island (to the Parksville-Qualicum Beach area, about a 2-hour drive) to deliver my 'beach blanket' to its new home with my sister, and then to Susan and Sri's ...

... to celebrate Michael's soon-to-be birthday with dinner and an evening of euchre (during which the'battle-of-the-sexes' card game generally ends in complete humiliation for us women..d'ya think the guys cheat?)

I'm looking forward to all of it!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


It's been a long day!

First thing this morning, I drove Michael and Rennie to the Pippin, which was already up 'on the hard' getting surveyed when we arrived...

I left them there because Wednesday is Guild day, and I had some serious knitting to do. :) On my way home I stopped at Clover Point and just as I parked, my cell phone rang - it was Rennie saying Pippin was back in the water, all well, and that they'd just cleared Enterprise Channel en route 'home' to the harbour. Sure enough, I looked up from my knitting and there they were, just off the lighthouse! I told Rennie to come close to the point so I could get a picture ... that's my husband waving from the bow!

By the time we all got back to the marina (them sailing, me driving) the sun was still out and the day young, so we decided to go for our first dinghy ride of 2008. The skipper was acting camera-shy...

But we cruised through the Inner Harbour to see the sights...

And just when we thought we'd seen it all, we saw this - tied up under the Ship's Point jetty:

Then we passed the Amy Usen -- a 90' fishboat built in 1966 -- and got back to the marina just before supper.

Ended the day by watching the eclipse .... beautiful! Here's a pic from the water of the very beginning of it (taken with my cell phone, not great quality):

Somewhere in all that fun, I managed to knit at least 6 rows on the Threads of Compassion shawl, AND 4 or 5 rows on the Secret of the Stole. All in all, a pretty productive day!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Day before yesterday I just happened to be driving by the Inner Harbour and saw this massive thing making its way into the dock at Ship's Point ...

So of course I had to park the van and watch this event -- which took about half an hour from start to finish...

And what wasn't really obvious, maybe, in those first two pics, becomes obvious in this one...

How do these guys SEE to dock this thing??

Anyway, the 'thing' turned out to be an Alaska-based 'landing craft' (no, that's not a UFO!) called the Greta S. Akpik. The cool thing about these beasts is that they can pull right up on to a beach, anywhere, and trucks or other huge equipment can drive right off! Here's what the company that owns the Greta has to say about her usefulness...

"Because thawing rivers like to collect things along their paths, many Alaskan rivers have no piers. So what do you do when your job involves shipping cargo up these uncharted waterways? If you're smart enough to choose Diversified Marine as your builder, you get not only a great vessel to work with, you get a built-in pier to go with it, rugged enough to stand up to the kinds of abuse the North has to dish out. Because the time to worry about the quality of your vessel isn't when hell freezes over. It's when Alaska does."

The Greta is 150' long and 50' wide, and can carry a total of 600 tons of general cargo loaded into the 4,000 square feet of deck space ... and still only have 4' of boat below the water! You can read more about Diversified Marine, and the Greta, here if it interests you.

Yesterday I spent 3 or 4 hours chasing a sailboat. That's a futile pastime, I know, especially when sailboats are on the water, and I'm on the land -- but this particular sailboat, the 'Pippin,' had Michael aboard. Michael went along to help our friend and neighbour Rennie take his boat around to the Oak Bay Marina, where it will be 'hauled out' today. But the day was a spectacular one -- beautiful blue skies and a beautiful-to-match ten-to-fifteen-knot wind -- so what are a couple of sailors to do? Go sailing, of course! Which they did, from 11:00 am to 5 pm ... while I watched from shore, and knitted.

So you'd think I would have got a lot of knitting done, then, wouldn't you?

Wrong. I started -- and frogged -- a cabled sweater for Gibson, about 3 times. I've decided now to sit down this morning with some graph paper and design it myself (I'll keep you posted on the results! lol) I also worked on a Threads of Compassion shawl and completed about an inch and a half of it. Pics soon...

Hoping to start Clue #5 in the Secret of the Stole KAL today!

Saturday, February 16, 2008


Spent the day mostly working on the new Victoria FibreFest website, hoping to have it up by Tuesday morning... I had a wonderful picture of the Yarn Harlot and I from last year's event, and do you think I could find it?? Spent two hours going through my files, and it's completely disappeared -- I'm so bummed!

Oh, well, the sun came out a bit this afternoon, and I didn't even have to go for my daily drive to catch some harbour action today. Our marina is right across from the Point Hope Shipyard, the oldest working (130-plus years!) shipyard in BC, and there are often interesting vessels coming or going from the 'ways' there. Today's offering was one of the biggest tugboats I've ever seen in here...

In the knitterly news department, I finished a brown feather-and-fan shawl for the local Threads of Compassion program, and delivered it along with one I'd finished before Christmas and two that my Knit'n'Cafe friends donated.

Speaking of Knit'n'Cafe, JANET brought in several goodies for the local Extreme Outreach project. Last year, in AUGUST,, my charity knitting umbrella, was contacted to knit 300 total scarves and toques for their Christmas baskets. We did it, and we'll do it again this year, but this year we're starting to knit NOW so we can spread it out over the year instead of being pressured in the fall.

I've already started another Threads of Compassion shawl (they need 8 - 10 a month here, apparently) and I started a sweater for Gibson, today, as well. Finished Clue #4 of the Secret of the Stole ... I'll take it out to play, and get pics tomorrow for sure!

Michael and I capped the evening by taking ourselves out for dinner to a restaurant I'm hoping will host the FibreFest Fashion Show for us this year. More about that in a few days!

Friday, February 15, 2008


The 'Greater Victoria Harbour Authority' hosts hundreds of cruise ships every year through the summer months, but it has now figured out that a deep-sea port can be a money-maker all year -- this is from the GVHA website:

Services available without the need to deviate from major shipping lanes include:

*Bonded warehousing
*Environmental services
*Canada Coast Guard
*Customs & Immigration
*Fresh potable water
*Medical facilities
*Pacific Pilotage Authority
*Waste disposal

So this beast must have taken them up on it, because I've never seen a freighter this size in the harbour before!

The Babitonga is a Brazilian-registered 'dry bulk carrier' vessel that's almost 800 feet long, 90 feet wide, and there's 40' of ship under the water -- that's freakin' huge!

I'll be checking out the Ogden Point docks regularly now that I know we're going to be hosting these babies regularly -- this one was here for 3 days, but was gone this morning when I drove by. I'll let you know if I can find out what it was doing here...


I know it really hasn't quite yet, but yesterday it sure felt like it! I even found this....
I had to go to Oak Bay, and my son Jason and grandson River came along on a mission ... did you know there was such a thing as a 'live' mouse trap? I didn't, but Jason has had one in his music venue (he's an event producer)and yesterday, caugt a mouse that had to be released somewhere.

So while they were doing that, I wandered down along the beach a bit...

The birds think it's spring ...

And then I saw this...

I have no idea what was going on here! The reporter in me wanted to go down and talk to the dude ... did he get blown in with the high winds the night before? did he beach it on purpose for some reason? ... but we didn't have time, so it'll have to remain a mystery.

Here's some more 'spring in Oak Bay' pictures (I can pretend, can't I?) ...

Much knitting is taking place, but nothing I can share photos of ... almost finished the Secret of the Stole hint #4, and I've almost finished a shawl for the Threads of Compassion program at the Sexual Assault Centre. Pics later!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I picked River up after school (that's our usual Tuesday routine -- he has a 'sleepover' with Grandma and Papa) and we went down to Clover Point to do a little storm-watching, just for fun.

These characters came right over as soon as we parked... I think they were attracted to the warmth from the engine, it was REALLY cold out there!

It was blowing about 30 knots ...

River wanted to get out of the van, even though I warned him that this was a wind he could lean in to and not fall over, that it would probably take his breath away, and that it would be very cold... well, I think he lasted about 20 seconds out in it before he came running back to the van!

Me? I managed to get out long enough to snap these pics, and otherwise... it was toasty in the van with the heater on, and I finished another three whole rows on the Secret of the Stole!

Monday, February 11, 2008


My friend Bev was telling me that her hubby Lynn and their friend Mike motored a 40' sailboat around from Sidney into the harbour yesterday (and yes, my American friends, we really do spell harbour that way here in Canada!) -- in about a 30-knot blow. NOT fun, as you can imagine - it would have been cold, and wet, for about 4 non-stop hours!

Hard to believe, then, that by evening, the Stait looked like this again ...

Generally speaking, it blows about 300 days a year out there, but when it's calm, it's SO gorgeous, especially at sunset.

Today I made several stops to get all the little goodies to put in my 'swap' packages -- one is a 'Cocoa' swap, and the other is the 'Defeat the Winter Doldrums' swap (in the sidebar), so both of those parcels will go in the mail tomorrow. Luckily, the written directions for Clue #4 of the 'Secret of the Stole' were uploaded late, so I didn't miss any great knitting!

Speaking of great knitting, check out what Maggie brought to our Knit'n'Cafe on Friday...

She 'just thought she'd try' the technique called 'log cabin knitting. I'd say she succeeded, wouldn't you? What's even more amazing is that Maggie has donated these two blankets to local charities!

Sunday, February 10, 2008


The breakwater at Ogden Point, which marks the entrance to the Victoria Harbour, was built around 1900 and named after one of the officers of the Hudson's Bay Company. Almost half a mile long, it is located at 199 Dallas Road, right next to the cruise ship dock. (The walk that starts here meanders all along the edge of the Juan de Fuca Strait and ends at the eastern end of the Ross Bay Cemetery, a few miles away). Work on this project included over one million tons of rock, ten thousand granite blocks, fifty three concrete caissons and over one million cubic yards of dredged fill, and it took 3 years to complete.

Local resident Ron McLean has created a great pictorial of Ogden Point scenes, some historical, here and here.

Yesterday our brand new BC ferry docked at the breakwater to host public tours before it goes into service in March. It was a great day for a walk along the breakwater - a sailing regatta was underway, several freighters were going by keeping the pilot boat busy, and of course, the new ferry ....

I had no desire to go aboard (especially after I saw the line-ups!) because I wanted to take my Secret of the Stole out to play, since I FINALLY got Clue #3 done...

I'm really hoping to cast one Sivia's Moonshadow Stole (AGAIN) today, but I also need to work on launching the new Victoria FibreFest website this weekend!