Saturday, August 30, 2008


We still had River here from his sleepover when his Dad brought little brother Gibson for the day ... so the first order of the day was to make a tent.

That was good for a few minutes entertainment, until Gibson decided he didn't want me taking pictures of their tent, thank you very much -- he even knows the words 'move ... it!" Guess I got told... lol.

On to Knit'n'Cafe in the afternoon... I finished the blue shawl and I'm hoping to finish a brown-tones one before we leave on Tuesday, but there were much more interesting things than that at Knit'n'Cafe today! First of all, Sarena (Celena?) ... was the highlight of our afternoon, I'm sure. Her Mom said some 'distant relative' knit that outfit for her... adorable!

And then I glanced up to see what Karen was working on, and zoomed right past the knitting to the necklace...

She calls it her wearable garden, and you can read more about that here. What a great idea!

After Knit'n'Cafe I drove to Clover Point (it was REALLY noisy at Serious Coffee for some reason, and I was craving quiet...) and saw the Quadra Queen II (recognisable by native artwork painted at the forward end of her superstructure just below the bridge)coming in to the harbour.

This is an unusual sight -- this 30-car, 290+-passenger ferry is normally on the Port McNeill - Sointula - Alert Bay triangle run, 'way north of here. Built in 1969, I guess it's getting a little old and weary, and needed to come in to Point Hope Shipyard for some refit work.

The Quadra Queen II is naamed after Quadra Island, one of my favorite places and the island to which she initially provided ferry service. Quadra Island is named after Juan Francisco de la Bodega y Quadra,a Spanish explorer on BC's coast in the late 18th century. (His main 'claim to fame' is having met with British explorer Captain George Vancouver at Friendly Cove in Nootka Sound in 1792).

According to the BC Ferries website yesterday, "the MV Tachek will replace the MV Quadra Queen II which is being removed from service to undergo scheduled dry-docking, maintenance and Transport Canada Inspections. This work is expected to take approximately 10 weeks, and will also include a complete rebuild of the starboard main engine and inside and outside painting."

My friend Bev mentioned at Knit'n'Cafe that I never did finish the story about the batteries yesterday! Well, when you live on a boat, your life is very dependent on batteries -- there are mainly starting batteries (to start the boat's engines) and house batteries (to run the lights, toilet, inverter, and lots of other things -- and there are usually four of these), and the ones on the Wind Walker are easily 10 years old. So every year we're 'gonna' start replacing our batteries -- ha! Well, this year it simply couldn't be put off any longer ... so $800 later, Michael was busy installing all new batteries day before yesterday!

Today ... the Victoria Classic Boat Festival begins!

Friday, August 29, 2008


Yesterday afternoon, while Michael wrestled with batteries (more about that later) and Gibson napped, River and I spent the afternoon together -- and I FORGOT my camera (so the images that follow are either old ones I had, or I found them on royalty-free internet sites).

We started out at the Ogden Point Breakwater Cafe for tuna melts for lunch:

The conversation included thoughts about the up-coming school year (River will be in grade 4 at a local alternative school, and he's excited about going back!), about why he likes to bug his little brother, and about the 'blue ghost' that sometimes follows us around and takes 'pokes' at us or tickles us from behind.

Next stop was McDonald's play place, where River played and I knit the start of a pair of socks for him:

Then onward to Fleming Beach, where the MOST fun was had! Here's some great pics other folks have taken of the park there, where there is a climbing wall, a boat launch, and a picnic area.

But we were on a mission ... to pick blackberries.

To find those at Fleming Beach, you have to go up behind the beach area, and when you find them, you also find -- much to my delight! -- several old military bunkers, complete with tunnels, dungeons, and all manner of things to amuse and entertain 9-year-olds.

These folks have some great pics of the area -- scroll down one entry to Monday, June 25, 2007.

Well, this morning I am scratched and bruised and purple up to my wrists ... but I'll have blackberry muffins for breakfast with River, who ended our great day with a 'sleep-over' at Grandma and Papa's house!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


So I'm going to be away for a whole month, cruising in the Gulf Islands -- which translates to LOTS of knitting time. I'm an early riser, and Michael is not, so I have at least 3 -4 hours every single morning to knit before he gets up -- and then, in the evenings, another hour or two up on the bridge before the sun sets. We are usually busy during the day -- swimming, exploring in the dinghy, gathering oysters, going for walks ashore, etc. -- but if it's rainy or Michael gets involved in some boat project, then I have more knitting time! I'm a pretty fast knitter, too...

So I have to decide, in advance, every year, what projects I'll take with me -- and make sure I have enough yarn along. LYS's are scarce where I'm going (although there is one on Salt Spring Island, and last year I did manage to spend $28 on a luscious skein of handspun, hand-dyed Pender Island wool in a little boutique-y, artsy place in a little bay there).

I intend to finish the Melissa Leapman cardigan, and I'm bringing the yarn for a hoodie for myself, as well. In addition to that, I have:

- 20 (give or take) skeins of sock yarn
- yarn for two prayer shawls for Threads of Compassion, and a lace shawl for a gift for someone
- enough wool for another side-to-side (or 'scrumbled', I haven't decided yet) vest for myself
- enough cotton for about 20 dish cloths and/or spa cloths for gifts
- two skeins of recycled sari silk (for no apparent reason that is clear just now, except that it's stunning to look at and touch)
- 4 skeins of a tweedy wool blend that will make nice touques and/or scarves for myself or as gifts
- the pound of undyed alpaca I salvaged last week

... and maybe a few more random skeins of random yarny goodness here and there...

What do you think ... have I got enough? :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Night before last we had an impromptu family picnic up on the marina patio ... Jason had had a get-together in the Sunset Room (the Club he runs here) and had left over smokies and burgers, and Mischa and the boys were here for a visit, so the timing was perfect. Besides, the sun was out, which I haven't been able to say since!

Here's our view of the Upper Harbour ...

And this converted tugboat was just re-positioning at the Shipyard across from us...

Click on the picture to make it bigger if you need to, but yes, that IS a 30' sailboat up on the bridge!

I have a shawl for Threads of Compassion on the needles at the moment, and I'm slowly working on my Melissa Leapman-design cardigan jacket for myself.

Only 6 more sleeps until our holiday! (By the way, I think I need one more sign-up for Pay It Forward ... and those of you who have signed up need to get it posted on your blog, thanks...)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Part of the culture of blogging is being able to take part in 'events' that seem to only happen in blogdom. One of those events, over the last few years, is called 'Pay it Forward.' Pay It Forward is based on the movie with Helen Hunt and Kevin Spacey. It was a book first, written by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

With all of the things happening these days, random acts of kindness are a good thing. I haven't read the book but I have seen the movie and it is worth watching!

My friend Grace recently started another round of "Pay it Forward", and I got a 'heads up' to participate from Anita!

This is what the PIF Exchange is all about. I’ll be sending a knitted gift to the first THREE people who leave a comment on my blog requesting to join this PIF exchange! I don’t know what that gift will be yet -- and you may not receive it tomorrow or next week, maybe not until 2009 -- but you will receive it within 365 days, that’s a promise! The only thing you have to do in return is then to 'pay it forward' by promising to do the same on your own blog (and following through with the gifts, of course) -- so you'll need to have an active blog if you sign up (which also allows me to get to know you a bit better before I decide what to make for you...)

I think this is a wonderful idea, and I'm really excited to see who signs up! (By the way, you sign up by simply leaving me a comment.... thanks!)

Monday, August 25, 2008

LONG DAY .... and lots of FO's

So yesterday morning I woke up all verklempt for no apparent reason -- but it was a good excuse to leave the boat with my knitting basket, at sunrise, and make my way to Clover Point, early latte in hand.

The rain we were promised hadn't materialized yet, and it was lovely. I set to work on several UFO's -- first, I had one-and-a-half of these spa cloths done, so I finished them. Yay, I've started my Christmas knitting!

And then my peace was interrupted by the arrival of several cars all at once... and it turned out to be the staging area for a small parade!

Apparently the local Porsche Club (who knew?) does this car rally every year to raise money for the programs at the Queen Alexandra Child Development Centre. Have a closer look at this 1910 paddy wagon...

And its utilitarian interior... (can you say that three times fast?)

There were a few pretty cool cars there...

... but it was getting noisy and busy, and the rain was starting, so I decided to move along.

I ended up at the Oak Bay Marina in the mist ... it was lovely, and I finished two more spa cloths and a Christmas baby hat before I treated myself to brunch there.

And yes, thanks for asking, I feel much better now!

Sunday, August 24, 2008


Well, if you look closely at these socks, I really don't deserve the gold, because it was a shoddy performance in a few places, but I'm DONE, DONE, DONE -- last night, in fact.

And yes, they DO look a lot like the other socks I've made .... it seems like I'll never run out of this wool! I've already cast on a pair for Gibson, which will be small, but they should use up the rest of it. And then I feel like I'm ready for socks with a pattern of some sort -- a cable or something -- any suggestions?

Our friends Susan and Sri came down from Qualicum Beach on Friday, and so we snuck out to our favorite anchorage for one overnight, but the forecast last night was for major rain and big winds, so we came home. This morning? Not a drop, and flat calm....

Oh, well, lots to do, so I'm kind of glad we're home! Only 9 more sleeps until our holiday... :-)

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Thanks to everyone who commented or emailed me about my sock problem.... that was a major 'duh' on my part. All I had to do was change colors *after* the short-row heel shaping and *before* I picked up the stitches along the side of the heel flap. Instead, I assumed that in order for the heel to look good in a contrasting color, I had to keep that color until all the decreases were done -- which created the mess I ended up with! Anyway, I'm almost back to where I frogged and 'hopefully' still on track to finish these Olympic socks before ... what is it? 5 a.m. PST Sunday?

Meanwhile, it's been a busy day at the Wind Walker. We are trying to get ready to leave on our annual holiday -- we have all of September off, and we'll be cruising the Gulf Islands for every minute of it (but some of you didn't want to hear that, I bet)! So 'getting ready' means making sure the boat is (literally) ship-shape and the marina is in order -- and, for me, it means knowing what knitting projects I'll be working on while we're away. :-)

My current interest in spinning and dyeing made me remember that I've had an 'odd' thrift store acquisition in my stash for a few years, so I decided to dig it out and take a closer look. Here ... you can too:

This mess is a LOT of hand-spun un-dyed mystery fibre wrapped around a stick that I purchased for $2. I took a strand out this morning and did the bleach test -- it's not wool. I'm pretty sure it's alpaca -- it's been washed and spun, but there's quite a bit of vegetation matter in it still. I re-wound it and picked lots of bits out as I went -- it took me two hours this morning, but the result is three huge balls of lovely fibre:

Not sure whether I'll dye it or leave it natural, or what I'll knit with it -- but it's coming on holidays with me for sure.

Today was a day off from taking care of the boys, and it was pouring rain for most of the day, so Michael and I were both sorting, tidying, cleaning and re-arranging for most of the day. But the sun came out around 4 pm, and it was time for a break, so off I went to Clover Point, with the Olympic socks in my basket. Got there just in time to see this...

(You can click the pic to make it bigger, so you can really see that lovely rainbow!)

And I'll have pics of those socks and my over-dyed skein of wool tomorrow...


HA! Some Olympian I am!

So I'm knitting a pair of socks for Michael, and since I have 'some' light blue and 'some' gray, I decide to make the cuff, heel and toe in blue and the rest in gray. Knit the blue cuffs for both, no problem. Knit the obligatory 7" ankle in gray, no problem. Knit the heel flaps for both in blue, no problem. Turned the heel in both, no problem. Pick up stitches along both sides of the heel flap, in blue, both socks, no problem. But now what??

Near as I can tell, I have to now switch to gray for the instep ... on every row ... while I do the decreases.... and then back to blue, then back to gray (as in: intarsia) .... PROBLEM. I've been up since 4 a.m. trying to figure this out (why can't I have knitting problems in the daytime so I can call someone???) and I've now frogged all the way back to the start of the heel flap, which will be GRAY now, not blue!

On a more positive note, last night I over-dyed the second skein of wool from Sunday, and I like it MUCH better. Pictures as soon as it's daylight!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


On Sunday (before and after the carnation ceremony at the Dragon Boat Festival), I was dyeing.

No, not that kind of dyeing ... this kind of dyeing.

Laurie came over ('Rewelene' for those of you who know her on Ravelry)and what fun we had!

I had no idea dyeing wool was this easy, or this fun. We started out with hand-spun Salt Spring Island wool. We had Kool-Aid and vinegar and salad spinners and spices -- who knew? -- and the one thing I didn't get a picture of, but which made it really interesting, was 'solar dryers!' Laurie has come with this great idea to not have to use more resources... but I'll let you read her version, here.

So we did wet dyeing...

And dry dyeing...

And then the solar thing ... and then dryng...

And finally, last night, here's what I ended up with...

A thing of beauty, I say.... and many thanks to Laurie for being such a font of dyeing (and other) wisdom!

Monday, August 18, 2008


29 years ago this morning, I woke up with a hangover, sick, sorry, and sober.

It wasn't the first time I'd been in that state. In fact, I'd lived a nightmare for two years by then -- spiraling down into the black hole that is alcoholism, in danger of losing my children, my mind, and everything I had. And I hadn't 'fallen in' to that way of life accidently, either -- I'd grown up in an alcoholic,violent and unpredictable home, so I was a mess before I ever drank. Indeed, alcohol started out as the 'solution', then became the problem.

You wouldn't have wanted to know me then.

But I decided that morning would be the last.

I haven't had a drink since then -- August 18th, 1979 -- and my life today bears absolutely no resemblance to what it was then, or what it would have been had I continued down that path. Every single day is a new lease on life -- an opportunity to live differently -- and I'm so grateful!

That's why my son reminded me that I, too, am a survivor -- and he was right.

So it was wonderful to celebrate yesterday by watching these brave and amazing women ... here's the race (you can click the images to see them bigger):

The raft-up:

And the start of the carnation ceremony:

Truly, I think ALL women are survivors, and we are all amazing!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Every year, on this weekend in August, dragons of every description completely take over downtown and the harbour.

The Victoria Dragon Boat Festival is in its 12th year, and I've never missed one, even when I had to drive from up-Island to get here for it. I started coming originally because my son was really involved in the organizing ... and I continued to come because of the breast cancer survivors. Even if I can't make it to the whole weekend's activities, it's crucial to me to be there before noon on Sunday, because that's when the 'Breast Cancer Cup' races begin.

Breast cancer survivors' teams have been part of Canada's dragon boating scene almost since the beginning, and they compete throughout the weekend against all the other teams -- mixed recreational teams, mens, seniors -- on an equal basis. But the Breast Cancer Cup is the race in which they compete against each other, and it's amazing!

Even more amazing is the traditional ceremony held right after these women compete against one another in a race -- it's called the 'Carnation Ceremony', and it's one of the most moving things I've ever experienced.

"It's a tradition that honors those women who have passed away from breast cancer and those who are still fighting. It gives us a moment to remember those who are no longer with us and to acknowledge the contribution they have made to our lives and to our world," says one survivor. "And," adds another, "it's a celebration of all of us who still survive."

The boat teams raft up together ...

... and the women hold hands with one another across the boats. Every member has in her hand a single pink carnation.

As the boats are rafting up to each other, usually an announcer talks a bit about breast cancer, the struggle for survival and the hope for the future. Then the crowd is asked to participate in a moment of silence while an inspirational song like "The River", by Garth Brooks or “Heart Full of Hope” by Mike Fenton is played. The women in the boats do 'the wave', holding their flowers over their heads. And in the Victoria harbour, amongst thousands of spectators, I swear you really could hear a pin drop.

At the end of the song, the women in the boats (and in the audience, which is invited to participate), toss the flowers into the water in honor of all the courageous women who are no longer able to take up the paddle, and a celebratory cheer goes up amongst themselves and anyone who is watching.

Me? I stand on the shore and sob like a baby.

Like many of us, I've lost at least one friend to this disease... but a few years ago I realized that my reaction to this event goes even deeper. When I talked to my son about it, I said, "I don't get it -- this touches me so deeply, and yet I'm not a survivor." To which he replied, "Oh, yes, you are, Mom ... oh, yes, you are."

More about that tomorrow...

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Yesterday was Knit'n'Cafe, and I worked on my Olympic 'Michael-sized' socks.

This included having to frog about 1.5" on one of them when I discovered two mistakes on one row 'waaaay back, of course! But I think I'll still get them finished before the closing ceremonies. :-)

And have I ever got socks planned now. I'll let you in on a little secret ... knowing that I would 'this year' learn how to knit socks, I've been adding sock yarn (and pattern books and patterns!) to my stash for almost 4 years -- I have a LOT of socks to knit, which is good, because I have a LOT of people to knit them for!

But I'm also knitting for myself now, since last year (before that my knitting was almost 100% for others) and so I've also cast on a sweater that I've been planning for awhile...

It's from a book called '25 Gorgeous Sweaters for the Brand New Knitter' by Catherine Ham. I've already knit the one on the right front cover, and one other from the book, and I want to knit almost every one of them! The yarn I'm using for this one is Schachenmayr 'Pompon', which is a tweedy boucle-type wool blend, and I love it.

Day before yesterday Michael decided to try to scrape some of the growth off the bottom of the boat before we go on holidays, and he got a little help from River:

We are electing not to 'haul out' this year, but growth on the bottom hurts fuel mileage, and we need all of that we can get, so .... laying on their bellies in the dinghy and armed with a long-armed scraper-thingy (that Michael created) they move along the sides of the boat and get as far under as they can -- mussels and seaweed are the two biggest problems, but they're both easily dispatched in an afternoon.

I'll tell you all about our upcoming holiday in my next post!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


Yesterday I played 'catch-up' all day with various projects that were getting behind. First of all, the 'Forest Floor' scarf is finally finished...

This was a test knit I did for a BC designer, with her own hand-dyed wool, and it was lovely to work with. She calls it the Shifting Hues scarf because the blocks of color 'zigzag' across the scarf nicely once you get gauge. This photo doesn't show it well, but the first foot or so did the zigzag thing... but she made the mistake , in the pattern, of describing how to 'change' the zigzag (by knitting tighter, etc.), and so that's what I did for the whole rest of the scarf.... played!

Here's an entry from Ruth's blog about how she looks at
color. She's also a dynamo photographer, so her photos become the inspiration for the colorways she creates when she dyes wool. And she creates some amazing colorways!

I also finished a pair of lowly slippers for myself... basic ancient slipper pattern, but I like to pick up the stitches around the foot opening and do about an inch in a rib pattern. Finishes them off nicely, and makes them wear longer, I think.

I worked on a small writing/editing project, I wound some balls of yarn for future projects, and I did housework (I know, you've never heard me mention that word before, right?). But the thing is that we're leaving on holidays in two weeks, and when we go on holidays we take our house with us , so things need to be in some semblance of order!

Then we went out to play in the dinghy(on the other hand, I *know* you've heard that word 'play' here, lots of times!. There are a few boats starting to arrive for our annual Wooden Boat Festival, which takes place on the September long weekend...

Tomorrow ... will be more of the same.