Friday, October 30, 2009


... or at least, I'm attempting to.

I went to the spinning circle yesterday, and I'm really glad it was a small group. The spinning wheel never actually made it out of the van, but I brought the gorgeous fleece I bought at the Cowichan Fibre Fair and we combed a bunch of it. Well, mostly Rosalie separated and Alice combed .... I watched and learned and tried to stay focused.

Then Wendy turned up with her stunning finished hand-spun baby blanket ...

... and we ate and laughed and enjoyed each other's company. And nobody else did any spinning either!

This morning I woke up knowing I had to knit something completely FUN ... so I went searching for this pattern, which I knew I had in a binder somewhere. Found, and one created (forgive the 5:30 a.m. lighting, please)!

I think these things are absolutely adorable and right now I feel like knitting about a thousand of them just to keep myself 'cheered up.' I'll go watch the torch relay go by (a block away from me) this morning, and go to Knit'n'Cafe this afternoon, so I think I'll have a good day!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

It was the amazing Elizabeth Zimmerman who said "Knit on, with confidence and hope, through all crisis." She also said "Knitting is good for the troubled spirit... and it doesn't hurt the untroubled one, either."

Both of these lines have been on my mind all weekend, as I completed one pair of socks, started and nearly completed another ...

The drive up was really nice ... lots of fall colors, and even a rainbow...

Susan's memorial was lovely ... and really difficult. Not just because I love and miss my friend, but because of all the layers of weird reactions and emotions we all have around death -- so when everyone's having them all in one room at the same time, it's pretty stressful!

We had planned to spend the night at my sister's, but by the time we left the service we realized we just needed to be alone and to not have to interact with anyone -- even my sister and our niece, whom I know would have been wonderfully respectful, but still... so we checked in to a motel in Parksville right on the beach, and it was lovely.

Yesterday morning we went over to Susan and Sri's for a bit of a visit (and that was also lovely and difficult), then to Julie's for a quick coffee before heading back down-Island. We made one more stop, for some 'baby therapy' ... my friend Monica from Mayne Island was visiting her daughter and two-month old baby just south of Nanaimo, and invited us to stop in, and that was also lovely -- and not a bit difficult! :)

Much work to get caught up on today ... wish me focus!

Sunday, October 25, 2009


I'm so glad I went to the Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Fair yesterday. On behalf of CommunityKnitters I get an invitation to host the knitting circle and teach beginner knitting, while promoting charity knitting. I always take time to wander ... and spend money ...

And here's the best pic of them all...

I bought a pound of some amazing hand-dyed Romney fleece, too, but forgot to take a picture while it was still light ... later!

Anyway, I'm so glad I went and was surrounded by fibre-y goodness, fibre-y folks, color, texture and creativity all day ... because this morning we will drive up to Qualicum Beach for Susan's memorial. :(

Luckily Joshua has been here this weekend so he'll come back with us instead of his usual train ride (he lives in Qualicum, too) so that'll be a nice distraction on the drive up.

We'll probably spend the night at my sister's, and drive back tomorrow. Now I have to go figure out what knitting I'm taking with me...

Thursday, October 22, 2009



So... now, for something positive. :) First of all, I have a few websites to share this morning...

The first one is all about Heifer International, and the 'longest scarf in the world.' My friend Wendy sent me the link for this project several months ago, and it was perfect for to take on -- the scarf I started for our 'team' here in Victoria went all around Vancouver Island, ended up being less than a meter long, and raised $235! Over $25,000 was raised by the project, and every cent gets used to buy fibre-bearing animals for people in poverty somewhere in the world.

I also want to let you know about, "Hope for the Cure - One Stitch at a Time." You can download a lovely 2010 calendar with 14 original dishcloth patterns for $15USD, and all the profits go to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. It's Breast Cancer month, and I know, or know of, several women fighting this horrible disease - I don't 'run for the cure' but I can sure knit!

Speaking of knitting, I started another pair of socks day before yesterday ... and, in my opinion, this is how knitting socks *should* go!

Unlike that last pair, which took two weeks, it's been 48 hours of knitting in my spare time (definition: over coffee with Michael in the mornings, maybe 45 minutes 'mindful knitting' time at Clover Point each day, ten minutes while waiting for River to get out of school on Tuesday, and maybe half an hour while I was cooking supper last night)-- and I'm ready to start the heel flap. That's much more my pace, especially for socks -- if the same pair is on the needles for a week, they start making me crazy!

One more site to share with you ... SimpleKnits, an Indiana blogger, has posted over 600 links to patterns that can be knit with less than 300 yards of yarn. PERFECT for Christmas knitting gift projects!

MUCH work to do this morning, and much goofing off to do this afternoon .... :-)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


In case you haven't been following the current Olympic controversy, the 'authentic handknit Canadian Cowichan' sweaters that will be available during the 2010 games won't be handknit by Cowichan knitters at all -- they'll be handknit, because that was part of the contract, but by who-knows-who, apparently from 'overseas', and sold by the BAY.

Cowichan Tribes bid on the contract ... and lost, supposedly because VANOC's committee felt that the knitters wouldn't be able to produce the necessary volume. So while VANOC pays lip service to 'working with Canada's First Nations' and 'including ordinary Canadians' in the Games -- this contract went corporate (surprise)!

Well, the torch relay is passing through the Cowichan Valley on Saturday, Oct.31st, and a group of people in that area decided that would be a great time to create a visible show of support for the Cowichan knitters, AND show VANOC how beautiful these sweaters are, and how proud the knitters are to produce them.

Here's more on the story... .

So I'll be driving up to Duncan on the 31st to join this gathering, and I have a van that can carry six other people, if you'd like to come along. Email me for the details or pm me (Skipper) on Ravelry(or phone me, those of you who know my number) -- and wear your Cowichan apparel with pride!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Two weeks it took me to finish those socks! Unheard of in my world -- I' so glad to have them off the needles. I'm calling them 'Fraternal Twins' (as opposed to 'Identical Twins.') It's time to get really serious about Christmas knitting now.

And then there's spinning to be done.

... but, at the moment, it's making me crazy. I took the class on Sunday with these three lovely women (the one on the left is holding my skein of yarn because she messed hers up) ... and came home with two little skeins of pathetically overspun yarn, just like the last three times I sat down at a wheel. It's SO frustrating, because I so want to 'get it' but so far whatever it is that spinners make look so easy eludes me...

Other than that, I had a great weekend, and yesterday I spent most of the day making sense of my yarn room. Okay, well, it's a storage room -- but it has a lot of yarn in it... and a few of Michael's tools. And with the wreckage I left behind after I picked out the yarn to take on our holiday, and then yarn donations coming in for charity knitting since, it was pretty disorganized. I took a huge garbage bag of donations to a local mission the other day:

... which brought their total to 167 knitted items this year... and they need 500 by Christmas!

I'll spend some time playing in my stash again today -- I mean, sorting my yarn -- after I visit a friend who had surgery recently. Oh, and I'll get some paid work done, too -- I'm on a bit of a roll in that department!

Sunday, October 18, 2009


After I posted yesterday morning, I came to my senses and realized that the day was actually perfect to WORK FOR A LIVING. I have to remind myself that I do that, sometimes -- I can put it off really well, especially lately, when it's been hard to focus. :)

So I wrote ... for several hours, non-stop. Finally, at about 4 pm, I remembered that my favorite dress pants were at the tailor's getting mended, and I need those for a client's book launch and signing tonight. Off I went downtown, collected the pants (and, luckily for me, the gal was quite chatty) and headed to my favorite Starbucks for a latte to take with me to Clover Point ... to finally do some knitting. As I left the tailor's shop, an ambulance went by ... and then another.

When I got to Starbucks two minutes later, about 20 people were milling about on the street, which was blocked by about 4 police cruisers and the two ambulances. I have no idea what happened there (I went by later and the place was closed up solid), but I would've been in the middle of it if that woman at the tailor's hadn't been chatty!

Drove to another Starbucks, got my latte and headed to Clover Point, which was pretty much completely fogged in. I was taking pics of this sailboat...

... when this power boat appeared out of nowhere...

... and it seemed to be going back and forth across the front of the Ogden Point breakwater. I was trying to figure that out when my cell phone rang ... my friend Penny and her hubby Robin were at Ogden Point, where the biggest news story of the year was unfolding! (I found out later that the power boat in the fog may have been an 'undercover' vessel working with the authorities).

Anyway, here's what I saw at Ogden Point...

The 'Ocean Lady' had been monitored for a week, apparently, and when it came into Canadian waters yesterday, was stopped and boarded -- the entourage of vessels blocking it in included our military, the Coast Guard, Canadian Border Services and the RCMP.

Penny and I watched the ship, the news folks, and the fog coming and going ...

... until, by the time they were taking the people off, I was freezing cold and had to go home.

Hardly knit a stitch all day.

Saturday, October 17, 2009


I went to bed last night looking so forward to today -- I've enrolled in a spinning class at Knotty by Nature, and I can bring my own wheel. Then I remembered another commitment for this evening, and thought I'd better double-check the times for these two things... and it turns out that the spinning class isn't until tomorrow!

What a shame ... it's gloomy and pouring rain outside. Guess I'll have to knit instead.

Friday, October 16, 2009


When we lived in northern Alberta (from 1982 - 1988, when our kids were young), the Olympics came to Calgary, a three-hour drive away. It was the year of the amazing Elizabeth Manley, Eddie the Eagle ski-jumper, and the 'battle of the Brians.'

And I missed it entirely. We owned a janitorial business then, and we were putting in, sometimes, 14 hours a day. I barely had time to watch it on TV!

Well, the 2010 Olympics are in Whistler, and I have a daughter who lives there, so I wasn't going to miss it this time! As a matter of fact, I decided to apply to be a volunteer while I'm there (February 12 - 28th, 2010) ... and guess what? I was accepted! I'll be driving an official Olympics van! How cool is that??

I don't have my schedule yet, but they've told me I'll be driving athletes to and from the Athlete's Village to the sporting venues, and/or dignitaries or international media to and from various functions in and around Whistler. Can you tell I'm excited?? I was supposed to go to the Handweavers and Spinners Guild monthly meeting last night, but the Olympics volunteer person called to interview me just as I was going out the door, so I never made it there. But this was just the BEST news to lift my spirits right now ... and today is Knit'n'Cafe, so it'll be a good day!

Thursday, October 15, 2009


It took three guys, $200-plus in parts, and eight days, but we finally got water back on the dock just before Thanksgiving.

Good thing we live on a boat -- we have a water holding tank that we'd just refilled before we came home from our holiday, and we also keep several gallon jugs full of fresh water aboard, too. Still, it wasn't fun -- having to heat it to do dishes and wash up, and having our showers in the public marina showers. And we were nearly out of all that stowed water by the time it was restored. I kept thinking of those images of women in Africa having to walk 5 miles to get water every single day, and it kept me very grateful!

Yesterday I had to drive out to Sidney to pick up some charity knitting that's been getting dropped off at the LYS (Beacon Yarn Studio) there ... and, of course, they have a sale on right now, and of course, I had to buy some yarn I really needed.

Stop laughing, I did so need it. . . to cheer up. And I behaved admirably, I only bought one skein of Kertzer 'On Your Toes' bambo/nylon sock yarn, for River, who has sensitive skin.

And a magazine. Oh, and a couple of skeins of some other yarn I really needed. For Christmas presents... yeah, that's it, Christmas presents.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Thanksgiving was lovely ... and I even managed to finesse two turkey dinners! Mischa hosted the family Thanksgiving, as always, and it was really nice -- Jeff has been three weeks without a drink, so it really felt like a family dinner this time more than ever.

Then on Monday Michael and I hosted a pot luck Thanksgiving dinner for marina tenants -- we provided the turkey, and everyone else brought a dish. (No, we didn't try to have 15 extra people on our boat... we used to have a 'common room' here for events like this, but two years ago, when it had hardly been used, we were instructed by the powers-that-be to rent it out. Luckily we rented it out to someone we have a little 'pull' with -- our son Jason opened a music venue that mostly only gets used on Friday and Saturday nights! So we hosted the dinner there, at the Sunset Room...)

Other than that, I feel like I'm in slow motion ... it has taken me 5 days to do an editing job that would normally take a day. And I've had the same pair of socks on the needles for a week -- I got them half done (I always knit both socks at the same time, on dpn's) only to discover that one sock had 8 more stitches than the other! The fact that it took almost to the heel flap for me to notice that difference tells you the state of mind I'm in. (And just to confirm it, I've had family all around for several days now ... and haven't taken a single photograph)!

However, I found a delightfully irreverent photo of Susan and I from last summer that I want to share with you... and what you need to know is this: what you're about to see was *completely* out of character for both of us. We had just won a euchre tournament against our hubbies in a glorious finish after they had gloated for weeks, and we were feeling pretty smug...

See? :-)

Today Hailey heads back to Whistler and things will get back to 'normal' here -- whatever that is! Susan's memorial isn't until the 25th, so I need to try to put that 'aside' for now and get some work done.

Wish me luck with that...

Friday, October 9, 2009


April 19th, 1958 - October 8th, 2009

Thursday, October 8, 2009


We've been home a week?? Where did it go?

It's been quite a week! First of all, the day before we got home, our son (who was taking care of all-things-marina while we were away) reported a geyser on the ramp from a seriously broken pipe under the dock. He shut the water off ... and a week later, it's still not back on. My hubby has been on his belly on the dock for most of the week, or climbing in and out of our little row boat, to access the problem.

Getting a neighborly hand out...

We're gaurdedly (is that a word?) hopeful that the water will be back on today.

And I, of course, came home to some serious writing deadlines that I had set before we left, so I've spent several hours at the computer. So Michael and I have barely had a moment to ourselves, after spending a whole month together, and it feels pretty weird! We did take one evening off for some time with the boys -- a dinghy ride to Fisherman's Wharf was in order.

I haven't given up knitting, though. :) I actually finished a hoodie for Gibson and had cast on the Christmas-present scarf for someone else before we got home from our holiday ...

And this week I've managed to finish the headband and wrist-warmers to go with the scarf, and started another Christmas-present scarf, and a Christmas-present pair of socks ... not exactly my usual knitting pace!

I've only made it down to Clover Point twice since I've been home, but one of the times was right at sunset. Correction: the full moon was coming up in one direction, and the sun was setting in the other ... it was stunning.

Wanna see that closer? (Remember you can click on the images to see them bigger, too...)

Must get back to work.... !

Thursday, October 1, 2009

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... I LOVE going away... and I LOVE coming home!

We spent our last 'away' night on the dock at Poets Cove -- it was windy and pissy, and, well, we still had money ... so, why not? :)

We also listened to the extended forecast while we were there, and heard 'Wednesday, rain,' 'Thursday, rain', 'Friday, rain' and 'Saturday, cloudy with sunny periods' ... so we decided we might as well be at home. Left Poets Cove yesterday morning -- during a break in the rain -- and less than 5 hours later, we were on the docks here in the Inner Harbour. Still couldn't bring ourselves to come HOME home (to OUR marina in the Upper Harbour) until this morning! Here's the Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island (American side) just outside Bedwell Harbour:

In Haro Strait this tug and barge went by us really fast ... I don't think I've ever seen a tugboat with a barge move that quickly!

And the Amy Usen greeted us as we came in to Victoria....

All in all, it was a wonderful, wonderful holiday, and I'm ready for fall, the routine, getting back to work, etc.

We'll take a few days to get settled back in here, and then we'll go up-Island this weekend to spend some time with Sri. (Susan is still hanging on, but in a 'vegetative state,' and doctors don't expect her to live more than a week or so...)