Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Signs of spring!

A kind of starfish I haven't seen here before...
And I saw this creature under the ramp the other day -- we never knew these existed until we moved aboard, and they're beautiful! This one was almost 10" long...
It's called a nudibranch (Google it, and you'll see lots of images of different ones, all amazing!) -- we see them 'swimming' near the surface once in awhile, but this one was sort of 'crawling' along the bottom. You could see the 'trail' it was leaving in the sand!

Finished the newest fingerless gloves, finally. I call them my 'Sunday-go-to-meetin' gloves cuz they feel so fancy!
I'll be casting on another shawl today with this yummy yarn:
Which beads do *you* think I should use?? :)

Monday, February 27, 2012

Early last week I got an email from a woman in the lower mainland who reads my blog - she was sending a 'get well' message about my hands, but she also wanted to know if I was interested in some tie-dyed gloves she'd created for herself a few years ago when she had a similar problem?

I sat at my computer with tears in my eyes. People who know me well think I'm a bit of a 'Pollyanna' because I absolutely believe in the basic goodness of people, but I still get blown away when I see it so clearly demonstrated. This complete stranger to me went to a post office and paid money to send me a parcel because she knew I needed a 'supply' of cotton gloves, and she knew these gloves would cheer me up. The parcel arrived on Thursday, with about 6 or 7 pairs, and I'm just tickled!
Thanks so much, Louisa, do you have any idea how wonderful you are?!

And then a young woman new to our Salt Spring knitting circle emailed me a pattern, that she hasn't even published yet, for a pair of very funky fingerless gloves. They're on the needles as we speak!

The good news is that the hands are much improved ... not 100% yet, but hugely better than two weeks ago. What a relief!

So day before yesterday I hopped into the van to go into Ganges, and as I drove up our little lane to the main road, I glanced (as I always do) at the 'upper' driveway to the house here on the property. I thought I must have been dreaming .... or reading too many knitting magazines, or something...

Excuse me? Sheep on our lawn??
So I called the owner, and his wife's response when she answered the phone was, "Oh, yeah. They come."

They do? We've been here for eight months, and I'd never seen them. But apparently they may be part of a wild flock here on the south end of the Island - there were even a few babies among them.

By the time I got home from town they'd moved on. What a shame ... isn't it pretty much shearing time?? :)

It IS spring, more or less. The neighbors were airing out their sails the other day...
... just before this hit us:
... which allowed me to start a little fire in our woodstove, and curl up with my knitting. I finished the Weeble-Wobble Cowl:
... which I have to say, after MUCH knitting, that I don't really love it. It's sock yarn, so it may get frogged; I'll wait a few days to see if it 'grows' on me. But this week I have to focus on a dog hair swatch (or two) and three more little doll dresses, all of which I committed to have done by the end of the month - which is Wednesday, I think.

Knitting circle at the Rock Salt today!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sure glad we got 'out and about' yesterday and the day before because it's yucky out there this morning.... and we've heard a rumor we might see some of that 's---' word today. It feels cold enough -- I started the woodstove before I even put coffee on this morning.

The view from Mt. Tuam ...
Looking south past the ferry terminal to Sidney Spit Marine Park, top right! And to the left...
The San Juan Islands in the background -- pretty country we live in, huh?

There's a boat launch on Isabella Pt. Road, so we pulled in there to hang out for a bit -- Michael reads the paper and I knitted on the Weeble Wobble Cowl (which is now taking forever!) while we watched Al...
Al is the human, I never did get the dog's name, but in true journalistic fashion I *did* chase the story! The dog, a huge boxer/bull mastiff cross, has had surgery on it's back knees, so his owner is providing this daily therapy -- in full wet gear and hanging on for dear life to the leash while the dog tries to swim away (because he loves to swim, apparently, but just needs the non-weight-bearing exercise). After Al and his dog got in their truck and drove away, along came Bill:
... who was up-up-and-away in no time!

On our way home, we passed this Hydro crew ... they seem to be replacing poles all over the Island right now.
It was a lovely drive, and walk, in warm gorgeous sunshine!
And by the way, this nice-looking dude here has passed the three-month mark, and is still smoke-free. Yesterday we really noticed a nice new thing .... the yellow stains are gone from his fingers, and his moustache!

Off to knit ... and stoke the fire.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I finally got outside when it wasn't raining to take some pictures of my 'Christmas in January' shawl, which was the result of the 'mystery knit-along' I participated in:

I love it and I'll definitely keep it for myself -- it'll look great with my black coat! I also finished the Noble Cowl ... the flowers were compliments of Esther. :-)
I'm looking out the window at gorgeous blue sky and sunshine, so today will definitely be a day for a walk somewhere -- maybe along a beach somewhere to look for herring! I haven't made it back to the doctor yet... apparently she decided to take this week off and cancelled all her appointments -- I was not impressed. I think I'll survive, though.... :-)

Monday, February 20, 2012


I started another set of classes on Saturday -- sock knitting in the morning with three students and intermediate knitting in the afternoon with three different students. I love teaching, and this connects me with more Salt Spring Island fibre folks, too, so it's lots of fun.

Other than that, I'm not very productive around here, besides knitting. I'm wearing cotton fingerless gloves 24/7, taking antihistamines and trying various lotions and potions on my skin - to no avail. Back to the doctor tomorrow and hoping to get some answers!

We did go for a bit of a drive the other day, which was nice... here's Ganges Harbour from the Sailing Club parking lot:
The town of Ganges is sort of off to the left in these photos. You can see a crane on the sailing club dock -- apparently there was a mishap here last week when the crane collapsed, but no one was hurt and it looked to us like it was 'business as usual' when we were there - that business is building all new docks and dredging to expand, as well. You can see the progress here:

I'm just about finished the last of the eight items that I got the commission for in the fall. This is a gorgeous cowl, and the yarn is yummy - hand spun, hand-dyed merino (that the woman sent me from her stash):
It's a foot wide now and I'll be casting off this morning! WHICH enabled me to cast on for cowl #3 in Ravelry's Great Cowl Knit-Along:
It's called 'Weeble-Wobble, and it starts with a mind-numbing 10" or so of stockinette stitch -- I'm breaking it up by purling a few rows of the solid color every few inches of the variegated.

I took it with me to work on yesterday afternoon while I attended a meeting to learn how to be a 'herring watcher.' Apparently, many moons ago, there was a huge herring spawn along Salt Spring's shores every spring that pretty much disappeared... but there's some indication that the herring may be coming back, and a volunteer group has come together here to watch for signs of it (because we can 'encourage' more spawning in various ways if we know where they're spawning)!

So I'm now one of about five volunteers who will be watching for signs of herring here in Fulford. Here's what the roe looks like on kelp or along the shore:
Seagulls are gorging themselves:
There can be orcas, sea lions and bald eagles around ... all of which feed on the herring and the roe. It's pretty magical when there's herring around -- should be fun! (You can read about one of my many herring adventures here if you want).

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


THANK YOU to the folks who have emailed, called or messaged me about my disappearance from my blog! I love knowing that you 'watch out' for me ... and I'll try harder to be respectful of that and post more often!

For several days now, a kingfisher has been landing on the bowsprit of the sailboat next to ours and just hanging out there for a few minutes. Every single time I've reached for my camera, got it out of the bag, turned it on, checked the settings, and walked over to quietly open the door of the boat to capture it .... and it has flown away at that very moment. Until yesterday!
Isn't it adorable?

Well, it's been a month since I posted about my 'little patch' of exema becoming a huge reaction to an antibiotic ... and it ain't over yet. Things cleared up a lot while I was on four different antihistamines (plus prednisone, a nasty drug all by itself) ... but as soon as the doc started cutting back my dosages, the 'chemical burn' on my hands came back with a vengeance -- to the point where I've lost the top layer of skin on my palms, more than once! NOT fun at all -- both hands are extremely sore and burning all the time, in spite of being back on all the stoopid-making drugs.

I hope that's not 'too much information', and yes, I'm able to knit ... thank God, or I'd really go crazy! But it is slower than my usual pace, and clumsier (hmmm.... is that a word?) because I'm having to wear cotton gloves 24/7 now, and it's hard to concentrate on any kind of serious pattern because antihistamines make you stoopid. In spite of that, I have finished a few projects:

This is the 'Bufflehead' cowl, the second in the 'Great Cowl Knit-Along' I'm participating in on Ravelry:
That's not the designer's name for it, but I called it that because that deep purple is exactly the color of the bufflehead birds wintering here in the harbour:
I finished the 'Christmas in January' shawl, too, and I love it!
Not blocked yet, but I couldn't wait to show it off!

Finally, I have two new commissions, both for local folks. I couldn't find a top-down pattern for a doll cardigan (which doubles as a dress when it's on backwards) so I designed one myself, and got it approved by the woman who owns the dolls I'll be dressing! I've got an initial order for 5 of them, and I've finished two so far. They're blocking as we speak, and when they're dry I'll get a picture and show you.

The other commission is to knit a vest for a retired gentleman who is a friend of a friend. HE supplied the yarn ...
.. which was actually spun for him by my old friend Susan Berlin, here on Salt Spring. This yarn is DOG HAIR, and it's absolutely lovely -- it's a gorgeous light brown with some grey in it, and soft like you wouldn't believe! There's supposedly about 900 yards here, so it may be a basic vest with a 'panel' on one side of the front just for some unique-ness. He's actually hoping there will be enough for a sweater, but we'll have to see how it goes, and add the sleeves after the fact if I can. It'll be a fun project, anyway! (Oh, and I just know you will want to know what kind of dog this is, and do you think I can remember right now?? I'll find out and let you know...)

So that's my life in sunny little Fulford right now .... laying low, trying to heal (AGAIN), knitting and watching the birds go by.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Yesterday was our local knitting group's first time at a new coffee shop -- there were ten of us, and it went really well! Two new young women joined us, and there were a few gals who hadn't come since before Christmas, so it was nice to see everyone. Here's Greta working on her Baby Surprise Sweater...
... and I've finished my first socks of 2012 ...
... and I finally finished the Stripe Study shawl...
It's lovely merino, to lovely effect, but it was the most tedious project ever -- miles and miles of garter stitch. NOT my idea of fun!

Today I'm doing errands ... I have some shelving to pick up here in Fulford and I'll be dropping it off at the Seniors housing in Ganges, then I'm meeting someone to talk about another knitting commission, then I have another meeting to go to -- and in between, I'll be picking 'old' Mike up at the hospital where he's having some tests this morning and driving him back to his boat, doing a bit of grocery shopping, and checking out the second-hand store. And there's lovely blue sky and sunshine out there, so I'm looking forward to it all!

Monday, February 6, 2012


Our walk ...
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... new growth...

...old growth...... the cove...
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... a welcoming gate...

... home again...
... and still warm enough to 'hang out' up on our 'landing':

AND I finished two wildly successful sock knitting classes ... here are some of my students showing off their toddler socks:

I still had three people on a wait list, so I'll be starting another one this Saturday ... they're so much fun!

I also finished my first pair of socks for 2012, and I'm to finishing the Stripe Study shawl.... pictures manana.

Today the knitting group is going to Barb's Buns in Ganges for the first time ... we hope to start meeting there every other Monday! :)