Saturday, January 31, 2009


All I can say is I'm sure glad I have Knit'n'Cafe on Fridays!

Yesterday was 'one of those days' ...

(VIA Rail photo taken last year near Duncan, BC)

It started at 7:30 a.m. when Jason and I dropped Joshua off at the train station to go back home to Qualicum -- I always feel a little sad saying goodbye to him, even though we see him every few weeks, pretty much.

Then I returned home to find that I had no internet service -- aarrggghh. Through a stupid mistake I made last week, I'd been cut off, for heaven's sake! I accepted that it was my mistake (I'd forgotten to report a late payment I'd made) but it still took me two hours on the phone to Telus (half of which is spent talking to robotic pre-recorded 'voice operators --now THERE'S a lesson in frustration alone), getting three different stories from three different employees when I did finally get through to a live human being, having to explain and re-explain what happened, trotting out confirmation numbers and phone ID numbers and blah blah blah .... until finally my service was restored some time in the afternoon. SO frustrating...

I did manage to get down Clover Point to BREATHE, knit a few rows on the market bag, and see this freighter emerging from the fog ...

... but when I took a sip of my coffee, it turned out that I hadn't put the lid on properly, and I spilled coffee all over my sweater.

Like I said, good thing I had Knit'n'Cafe -- knitting with friends in a nice warm coffee shop is just 'what the doctor ordered.'

I'm about half done the market bag, and have another pair of Noro socks on the needles. This morning I have a new Intermediate Knitting class starting at the store, so I'm looking forward to that -- I'm sure today will go MUCH better!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Our oldest grandson, Joshua, who lives up-Island, arrived night before last to spend the week with Jason. (He's in high school now, on a semester system, and he only had one exam to write -- which left him the rest of the week free.)

He and River completely adore each other, so they had a 'sleep-over' at Jason's, and then I had them with me when we went to pick Mischa and Gibson up to go somewhere yesterday. I realized that I have very few pics of these boys together, so we had to remedy that -- even though when Gibson took his toque off, he had the worst case of 'hat-head' ever!

That's 'my boys' .... and my daughter Mischa, mom to the two youngest.

Also got to spend some time yesterday with our old pal Mike from Galiano Island -- he arrived on an early ferry with some errands to do, so we started with a nice breakfast at a local restaurant.

Ended the day at the store, teaching the second 'Intermediate Knitting' class (of six), so that was fun. I love watching new knitters 'get it!' There's only three in the class, too, so there's lots of time for each of them, and that's really nice.

The market bag is back on track (she says, in trepidation, for fear of breaking the spell...) and I've started another pair of Noro socks for myself, from leftover Christmas yarn. (You KNEW I couldn't not be knitting socks for more than a day or two, didn't you?) :)

And today, since I goofed off for most of yesterday, I have much to do -- beginning with a meeting this morning with some former website clients who have a new project for me. And then some work on an ongoing writing project, and then back to Victoria Fibre Fest planning .... I hope to be making some major announcements about that within the week!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I got this new gadget for my blog that tells me where people 'arrive' from, and it's lots of fun -- even though sometimes it actually deepens the mystery rather than solving it. For example, now I know that someone from Lexington, Kentucky visits my blog ... but who? And why?

This gadget also tells me if search terms were used, so I've discovered that a lot of people use the search term 'liveaboard' and then find my blog. (Surprise!) I think those folks might be sorely disappointed for the past several months, then, because between talk about the grandkids, the knitting, and the goings-on at Clover Point, I haven't actually talked too much about living aboard.

And in the winter, that usually *does* present some unique challenges. In fact, I often tell folks who are considering the liveaboard lifestyle to come down here for a visit in January, when the wind is howling, the rain is freezing on the ramp -- and I have to pack my laundry up a 45-degree angled dock to the car in the parking lot. This lifestyle gets romanticized a lot, and that's one way to cure those starry eyes to see if the 'true grit' required of a liveaboard boater is still there. (And then, yes, they'll get the romanticized parts of the lifestyle thrown in for free...)

But this January, if anyone took us up on that offer, they wouldn't be changing their minds about living aboard. Yes, we've had a few cold spells, a wind storm or two, and some snow (in December) but really the weather hasn't been too drastic. And by the end of January here in Victoria, I always feel like we're 'out of the woods' as far as winter is concerned -- the crocuses will be up in a few weeks, and the plum tree blossoms aren't far behind. Nope, nothing here to discourage a potential liveaboard!

Besides, did I mention *this* gadget?

It's the best appliance we've ever owned, I think! :)

On the needles: the market bag has been frogged 3 times. I started with the linen stitch and kept messing up, so then I switched to purse stitch thinking that would be easier, and still messed up. Now I'm doing the simplest two-row pattern, on an even number of stitches: Row 1, k2tog, yo. Row 2, knit. So far, so good.

Monday, January 26, 2009


And January's nearly over, how did that happen??

My weekend didn't go anything like I planned, but I guess I should know better than to plan, right? Today I'm at the store so I'm looking forward to that! I ripped out the market bag when it was about 5" deep because I discovered it was going to be the size of a gunny-sack, so I'll be starting that again this morning.

I'm still learning about my new camera (I only have time for one page in the manual at a time, what can I say?) ...

Although this may look like some underwater treasure, it's actually a little resin business card holder that sits on my bookshelf ... and one of my best 'close-ups' so far.

Happy Monday, and, as my friend Grace would say, "Knit On!"

Sunday, January 25, 2009


(Image borrowed from the Dept of Fisheries and Oceans webpage...)

The Canadian Coast Guard's 'Gordon Reid' is a steel-hulled 'cutter' that was built in 1990 to serve here on the Pacific Coast. The Gordon Reid is 50 meters long, 11 meters wide, and has a top speed of 16.5 knots. She underwent a $2.2 million dollar refit in 2002 in order to be the local 'flagship' to celebrate the Coast Guard's 40th anniversary that year. Then, after a history of excessive roll problems at sea, she was fitted with special stabilizers in 2004.

She traditionally carries six officers and eight crew, and has a cruising range of 2500 nautical miles. She weighs in at 879 tonnes, and it is this last detail that interests me the most, because here's what she looked like yesterday at Point Hope Shipyard. . .

Wanna see that a little closer?

I don't think I'd want to be that guy pressure washing her on the left there, would you? I mean, how do you stabilize an 879 tonne boat??

Check this out... those props are approximately 8' wide!

She was lifted out of the water yesterday morning -- well, actually, the process took almost three hours -- and I'm going to see if I can find out what's going on with her. I'll keep you posted!

On the needles, as promised, a market bag:

That's the base and about 2" of the bag showing, done in 'purse stitch'. Ella Rae Shibu, 90% silk, and I threw in some left-over Noro sock yarn for the base. I may add another stripe of it in a bit, and/or do the I-cord handles with the Noro, as well. It's a fun knit!

Saturday, January 24, 2009


One of the highlights of my week these days is our regular Friday afternoon "Knit'n'Cafe" gathering at a local 'Serious Coffee' shop. I love it because everyone is so friendly and helpful, it's informal, and the women who come are all *very* creative and interesting. The group is generally anywhere from 5 to a dozen of us -- except yesterday, when 16 people showed up! Here's a composite photo from several I took ... and even later, two more gals came...

(Remember that you can click to make the image bigger...)

I was working on my third pair of Regia socks from the two original skeins ... I finished them this morning, and then realized I hadn't uploaded pics of the last pair yet:

So that was sock pair #20 since I learned how to knit them in May!

I have to take a break from them for a bit though... I have a market bag to knit for a store sample, and I need to get started on my scarf for the International Scarf Exchange pretty quick!

I also need to get out this afternoon and get some pics -- one of the biggest Coast Guard ships on this coast has come in to Point Hope Shipyard across the inlet for a refit. And to top it off, it's supposed to SNOW later today, so I may not get a chance to get out again until tomorrow.

I'm otherwise planning a leisurely weekend ... hope yours is going well, too!

Friday, January 23, 2009


Nothing to write about. Nada. Well, okay, I can whine...

I've had three nights in a row of lousy sleep -- waking up at 2 a.m., staying wide awake until 4:30 a.m. (and knitting another pair of socks that seems to be going on forever!), then crashing again until 7:30 a.m., at which time I have to get up and fly around like a mad-woman to do my day! And my days have been full, too -- this morning is no exeption, and I want to reward myself with Knit'n'Cafe this afternoon.

Here. A picture.

Okay, maybe two.... these were both taken the other day while still playing with the settings on my new camera. The first one is the Olympic Mountain range in Washington State, 30 miles away across the Juan de Fuca Strait, and the second is the Sooke hills, about 20 miles away toward open ocean.

I'll be back tomorrow... hopefully in a better humor, and with more interesting news.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Message on my voice mail yesterday from Hailey in Whistler:

"Hi, I just called to say hi and see how everyone's doing... and Mom? I have to talk to you about these socks."

Uh-oh, I'm thinking... did they start to unravel? Did they develop a hole already? Did she accidentally felt them? They looked great when I gave them to her for Christmas...

So I called her back right away, and after we chatted for a few minutes, I asked, "So... what's the problem with the socks?"

"The problem with the socks, Mom," she replied, "is that I need six more pairs of them."

This from the daughter who goes barefoot, pretty much, in Whistler, from March to October? Wow!

Turns out, she says, that these are the first pair she puts on when the laundry's done, and the rest of her socks no longer hold the same appeal. Hmmmm.... :-)

Well. I do love knitting socks. And I do have some sock yarn.

Guess I better get busy!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Saturday morning I taught the last session of my Beginner Knitter class at Knotty by Nature, and it went really well. I've helped create five more knitters! After the class I found it hard to leave the store ... the energy there was delightful. Stephanie, the store owner, was giving a one-to-one spinning lesson so I watched that for a few minutes, and then this woman brought in her sock-knitting machine to give us a demo ...

(That's Stephanie on the right).

There was also a Saori Weaving class going on downstairs in the studio ...

... which looked totally fun and inspiring and creative!
I did tear myself away, though, and went home to finish the Noros, like I thought I might:

River spent the night on Saturday, and our friends Susan and Sri were here from Qualicum so we had a nice dinner and evening of euchre (and the gals kicked butt for a change)!

Yesterday spring arrived here in Victoria. The sun shone all day, not a cloud in the sky, and Clover Point was calling...

I spent an hour or so there in the morning with a latte and a new pair of socks on the needles ... and it was so lovely that Michael and I went back together in the late afternoon with a picnic supper from the deli, and stayed until...

Today I work at the store ... what a tough life I have. :-)

Saturday, January 17, 2009


Size 3 mm needles, 56 stitches, Noro sock yarn (women's medium) .... I cast on night before last and had 5" done before I went to bed; finished the heel flaps and turned the heels last night before I went to bed; and I've finished the decreases this morning. Should have these babies on my feet by this time tomorrow!

Our friends Ray and Sandy turned up unexpectedly from Nanoose Bay yesterday, so we had a nice visit and went out for dinner last night. This morning I teach the 2nd Beginner Knitting session at the store, so Sandy's going to stop in around 'break time' -- she's a knitter, too, so she'll enjoy checking out the store. Tonight Susan and Sri will be here for dinner and cards -- I've got a busy day ahead!

Friday, January 16, 2009


We came back to our marina yesterday afternoon after two lovely days in the Inner Harbour.

I love hanging out over there. It's beautiful, no matter what time of year, and pretty peaceful. It's also not *here* -- I've said it before, and I'll say it again: when you live where you work, you don't get a day off. Managing a marina that you live in means there's always something -- someone's knocking at the door to pay their moorage (or get change to go do laundry, or because their key stopped working in the bathrooms, or to pick up their mail, or ....), the phone's ringing, we're dealing with homeless folks, or whatever. The only way we get a day off is to get up in the morning, get in the van, and ... drive to Port Renfrew for lunch, or something!

Or cruise over to the Inner Harbour. It's a cheap break -- $30 a night includes power and taxes. Works for me! I'm bummed, though, because I took a lovely photo of the still-lit-for-Christmas parliament buildings (with my new camera, and in the dark), and uploaded the photo to my computer -- and now I can't find it to show you!

(Edited at 9:00 a.m. -- found!)

So all I have to show for my time away is this...

Regia, first self-patterning yarn they produced, about 4 years ago? (Yes, it sat in my yarn basket all that time waiting for me to learn to knit socks...)

I've started a pair of Noros from Christmas leftover yarn, and I'll work on those today at Knit'n'Cafe. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's a special anniversary at our house today ... and even though we can't afford to go off quite as grandly as we did last year, we will go over to the Empress docks tomorrow for an overnight or two. Today I'm working at the store all day, and Michael has things he needs to do around the marina.

So we've been hanging out together for 31 years -- and we're still having fun, too! I think I'll keep him around for another 31, at least... :-)

On Saturday I taught a beginner knitting class at the store -- six enthusiastic new gals, all 20-somethings, know how to knit now! Well, we have one more 3-hour class, but they all had projects on the needles at the end of the first morning -- I love it! My friend Esther came in to help because one of the women wanted to learn how to use those pegged looms -- and Esther's the local expert, as far as I know, so that worked out well.

I've finished the baby blanket ... now I have to decide if I like it.

What do you think? Does it look a little 'psychedelic' to you? It's weird how the colors pooled!

And the Regia socks are nearly ready to start turning the heels ...

And I'm happy to report that my cold is FINALLY going away!

Saturday, January 10, 2009


A week or so ago, I was debating whether I would 'make New Year's resolutions' this year, especially in light of my less-than-stellar commitment to last year's list.

Then I read this post and this post -- and decided to pick a word for myself this year, instead. (With thanks to Ruth and Kate for their wonderful ideas....)

After much thought, I settled on the word 'magical.'

Thing is, I already feel like I live a bit of a 'charmed' life. I'm so blessed in so many ways, and I'm aware of that pretty much every day. But I also 'believe' that 'belief' manifests 'reality' -- that is, if I believe I'm going to have a good day, I probably will. If I believe I'll do well on a test, I probably will.

Still with me? So... if I believe in magic, then magic will happen. Or... if I believe that my life is magical, it will be. And even better ... if I believe that there's magic hidden even in seemingly 'negative' events or happenings, I'll find it.

I hadn't even blogged about this whole thought process yet.

So ... let me tell you about my 'day of gifts.' Yesterday morning I got some not-so-great news about a family member, and as I was going out the door to take my grandson to school, I was all bummed and dis-combobulated. (I love that word!) With a sigh, I declared to myself that I could use a little magic, so I better start looking for it around me!

Well... when I got to Knit'n'Cafe, a woman came and sat down who looked vaguely familiar, but I couldn't place her. She reminded me that she was in Knotty by Nature on Monday asking about a book (that we didn't have, so she sat and knitted and chatted for a few minutes - during which time apparently I told her about Knit'n'Cafe).

Then she said, "I brought something for you..." and pulled this out of her bag:

This woman had been aware of my cold -- and went home and put this package together for me out of her own herb garden! How sweet is that (and how magic)?

When I left Knit'n'Cafe, I had to stop in to the store for a few minutes, and when I walked in, Stephanie looked up and said, "Oh, I'm glad you stopped in ... I have something for you." I asked why, and she said, "Just to thank you ..." and passed me this:

... which is a stunning skein of her amazing personally handspun yarn. Magic!

Then after supper, Michael decided to go for a walk up to Value Village. For weeks now, I've been saying that he needs a recliner chair -- he's had two different chairs since we moved aboard, and neither of them has been ideal, or 'fit' him or the boat.

He came home with this:

... and it couldn't be more perfect! It looks brand new, it's a pale green color, it's a La-Z-Boy, it fits in the spot beautifully -- and cost $40.

Magic. What can I say? :-)

I like it so much I think I'll have another day of it....

Thursday, January 8, 2009


This is the photo on the front page of our local newspaper this morning... (that's Clover Point, which you've seen a few dozen photos of in this space)!

I can't really quite imagine anyone swimming or wading there, anyway, but here's the 'rest of the story...'

I was down there playing with the settings on my new camera, and this picture -- of the pilot boat arriving at a freighter at least two miles offshore -- was taken in a downpour and through the windshield ... but 10x optical zoom. I'm loving it!

Nearly finished the baby blanket (pics tomorrow), and another 'travelling scarf' came my way yesterday. This is one of the nicest ones I've seen (although the picture doesn't do it justice -- I haven't figured out *all* the settings yet!)

So it's been raining for days and days, and this morning it appears to be dry but the wind is howling through the riggings here in the marina, so there's probably more yet to come. I have lots to do right here at the computer today, so I'll probably just start a fire and 'hunker down' -- and it can rain and howl all day.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


(That will come as no surprise to anyone who knows me...)

I also sometimes make assumptions about people when I meet them, or 'pre-judge' them ... based on ... who knows what? I know sometimes that's human nature, but I don't like it when I do it. So let this blog entry be my public apology for this particular time!

Yesterday a woman came in to the store and wandered and browsed for quite awhile, while I was busy with other customers. The thing is, she was a soldier, probably a fairly high-ranking one, in full armed forces uniform ... and it seemed an odd juxtaposition to me at the time. Maybe it's just me, but Knotty by Nature is wood... and brick... and warmth... and color... and texture, and the music in the background is a gentle tribal beat or soft classical, generally. It seemed quite a contrast!

Anyway, she eventually came to the till with her purchase -- a hand spindle -- and we got chatting, of course. And then she told me this story (and I may not have the details exactly right, and being a story-teller myself I may have already embellished it a bit, but ... bear with me):

"Several years ago," she said, "I was deployed to the Persian Gulf."

"I took my spindle with me, of course."

"When I unpacked in the barracks, I was a little nervous about who I'd have as a room-mate."

"But I knew we'd get along just fine ... when I saw *her* unpack her portable loom!"

WOW. That woman has no idea, but I was blown away and almost in tears by the time she walked out the door. First, because of my narrow pre-conceived notions about military personnel ... and secondly, because of the story itself. What were the odds of that happening??

Monday, January 5, 2009


First of all, the barge has been re-floated and towed to the Graving Dock in Esquimalt for repairs. I wasn't there to see it, but I went by in the morning while it was being pumped out, and it looked pretty grim, so kudos to whoever/however it got pulled off that rock!

This tugboat won't need to 'stand guard' any longer...

So we started the day with the birthday boy, taking him out for breakfast -- then Mischa and I and Jason took the boys out to Mineral World, a place River really likes! Ended the day with dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, where Jeff joined us for dinner (and Michael would've but he's got the same cold I've had forever, complete with a fever, so he passed).

Jason amusing the boys with a game on his cell phone while we waited for a table:

River showing off his new shirt:

River showing off his free sundae:

Gibson the future bartender?

Jason playing with the settings on my new camera:

And a rare shot of Gibson and his Daddy:

It was a lovely day, but looong.

And yes, knitting *has* happened, why do you ask? :)

Baby blanket, half-done!

I'm at the store today, 11 am to 4 pm.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Ten years ago today my daughter Mischa, who was eight months pregnant at the time, developed a backache that didn't go away -- until our grandson River was born at 10:19 that evening.

Happy Birthday, River!

Saturday, January 3, 2009


These pictures were taken at daybreak yesterday. Here is where the barge is sitting at the edge of Enterprise Channel (remember you can click on the images to see them bigger):

And close-up from the front:

I could hear pumps from where I stood, and as it became lighter out, I could see water being pumped out (at a great rate!) on the left-hand side:

(The news report this morning has confirmed that there is a hole in the bottom and they're having to keep pumping out sea water.)

And here it is from the Golf Course on the other side:

My hunch, when I was there, was that this barge isn't going anywhere any time soon! It's listing very badly, and there wasn't any attempt being made to move it. It occurred to me that they'd have to unload whatever its cargo is first to lighten the load, and this morning's news report also confirms that.

Here's the latest Times-Colonist story ... which isn't saying much.

Luckily, it's been calm out there for the past two nights. If the wind comes up again before they can refloat the thing ... well, let's just say we may have a new artificial reef here on Vancouver Island.

Meanwhile, back at the knitting -- I'm teaching a Moebius class at Knotty by Nature this morning based on Cat Bordhi's invitation, and I think it's a great way to start a new year!

Friday, January 2, 2009


At least once a week, a tugboat goes by us here at the marina and picks up the cement barge from the LaFarge plant behind us in the Upper Harbour. Here it is leaving the harbour two years ago:

(Our marina is on the other side of the Johnson Street bridge, just to the left in that photo).

This barge leaves the Inner Harbour, goes out past Ogden Point, past Clover Point and behind Trial Island through Enterprise Channel (any of that sound familiar??) en route to Vancouver.

Well, yesterday morning, while waiting for the tide to turn to go through the Channel in a 30-kt wind, the LaFarge barge went onto the rocks. And I missed it! Here's the story....

By the time I heard about it yesterday afternoon, I assumed they'd gotten it off again on the next high tide -- but then I heard last night that it's still on the beach, and they're going to try to re-float it on this morning's high tide.

Which is in 20 minutes. See you later!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Here's the complete list:


SHAWLS -- 15
Interlude, blue
Interlude, black
Harbour Lights, blue
Harbour Lights, cream
Moonshadow, navy blue
Triangular multi-colored cotton
Triangular multi-colored ribbon
Triangular multi-colored mohair
Brown-striped wrap
Blue-striped wrap
Brown feather & fan wrap
Secret of the Stole stole
Purple lace stole
Red hearts wrap
Ella Rae lace triangular

SOCKS -- 15
2 blue toddler-sized Paton's Kroy
1 camoflage toddler-size
1 camoflage bigger kid size
1 black Kroy bigger kid size
2 blue Kroy pairs for me/Michael
2 black Kroy pairs for me/Michael
2 Noro Silk Garden adult womens
1 gray ribbed adult mens
1 gray plain adult mens
1 purple variegated adult womens
1 camoflage adult womens

Blue wool
Blue cowl
Forest floor test knit
2 pink wool blends
River Rock beaded
Red merino
Ella Rae moebius

Blue boucle wool-blend

White/variegated baby

2 blue spa cloths
4 beige spa cloths
4 blue dishcloths

One black-flecked wool
One striped earth-tones
One beige wool cables
One camo-mohair stripes
One green Christmas hat
One black-beige striped

1 pair of adult mittens
1 pair of adult wool slippers
Christmas ornaments (5)

Purple cotton sweater for me
Side-to-side striped vest for me
Regia socks for me
Cotton blanket for River's bed (squares)
Baby blanket - merino mult-colored

The one theme I notice? WAY too much blue! lol