Saturday, December 31, 2011

Something Blue



I bought this fiber from a yarn store that was going out business here in town (don't worry another one opened up to replace it) It was a great price and I love the color. I am not sure the fiber content off the top of my head, but I am pretty sure it's merino wool.



I am going to try to ply it in such a way that I end up with a yarn that preserves the look of the hand dyed fiber, I am hoping I get enough to knit up a pair of socks.



I started spinning this fiber yesterday afternoon and worked on it on and off throughout the evening. I am going to try spin a bit every day and I think it will be ready to ply fairly quickly. I am about half way through the fiber already.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Gettiing My Feet Wet



I keep thinking about starting to blog again, but I end up sitting at my computer feeling like I need to explain why I have not blogged in so long. I think of all things I would like to say on that topic and figure:

A. no one is reading anymore because I don't blog anymore so why explain.

B. I don't have a great reason anyway, I just haven't felt like sitting down and putting my thoughts and activities down on paper.

I have been working on a couple of knitting projects that I would like to share, I am thinking the best way is just to try to jump back into blogging. If anyone would like to have a read, that is wonderful and if you have given up on me, no worries, that would be my fault for falling off the blogging train for six months.

I have gotten into lace over the past year. I started with some easy stuff and have tried to gradually move up in difficulty. I have seen some of the pretty shawls Shannon has made and thought I would get my feet wet.

This a scarf I made for a birthday gift, I had one skein of a pretty silk yarn that needed to be knit up into a scarf, downloaded a free pattern from Knit Picks and a gave it a try.





I thought I had a picture I took after blocking it, but I can't seem to find that one right now. It is entirely possible those are on still on my camera, I have not downloaded in a while. These were taken with my phone.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Drumheller, Alberta

Thursday we packed up the trailer and kicked off our summer vacation. We left around noon and headed to Banff, Alberta in the Canadian Rockies. We camped only one quick night here on our way to Drumheller Alberta, the Dinosaur capital of the World.

We are staying here for three days and then we will head back towards Banff and camp a bit through Jasper on our way to a wedding in Sexsmith Alberta.

Today we went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, it was amazing. We all had such a good time.



I don't think I have ever seen so many dinosaur fossils, it was fascinating. I had no idea that the area here is known world wide for it's groundbreaking (hehe) fossil finds and its research facilities.

This is a Mammoth, I think this one came from the famous dig site in Utah, not actually from the local area. If you look carefully you can see the Saber Toothed Tiger set up to attack the Mammoth. This was one of my favorite displays, but only the tip of the iceberg.



I loved so many of them I had a difficult time choosing which ones to show you. So you get a Stegosaurus as well:



I have been lucky enough to grab a free Wi-Fi signal right here at the campground. The kids are sleeping and Paul is off to the showers and laundry mat. There is one here, so we figured we would try to keep on the laundry while we are at a campground that has a washer and dryer.

I think he really took the laundry with him so he could read his book, I finally talked him into the reading the Harry Potter books. He is on the third one now, that is saying something, he has never had the love of reading Shannon and I were lucky to be raised with. I have only known him to read about ten books since we have been married. If he is doing laundry so he can hang out in a place that has enough light read by, he must be enjoying the book. He may have done less than ten loads of laundry since we have married!

I am going to shutdown my laptop and enjoy my camp fire. I should be able to share more pictures soon. I am going to do a little campfire knitting.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

We Interupt Your Regulary Irregular Programing...

For a yarn post, not just any yarn post but new stash.

I have been trying hard not to buy yarn for over a year. I have quite a bit of stash and have been picking my projects from my stash. I did slip a bit with some enabling from Shannon and Will upon my last visit to California. If I am honest they did not enable me one bit, unless taking me to a neat little yarn shop in Alameda qualifies?

Where is this all leading? My favorite local yarn store is going out of business. I find the owner a bit odd, but she carries lovely yarn and lots of spinning stuff so the store is very nice. I think she has done well business wise, but had a surprise baby when she did not think she could even get pregnant. I think the lovely little girl is around two years old and the owner is closing up shop to have more time with her.

This all means big going out of business sale. I caved, I bought yarn, for a great price. I will even confess to plans of dropping in next week to see if she has lowered the prices even further.

I bought this amazing alpaca and downloaded the free pattern. I have planning on knitting up a sweater for quite sometime now, but had not really found the right sweater/yarn combo yet. I am going to double check for gauge and then cast on this week sometime.



I also bought this pretty sock yarn, the picture does not do the yarn justice, it is really red. It is 10% Cashmere so very soft. It was a great deal.



I bought some really nice lace wt. alpaca that ended up being about $8.00 for 440 yards, that I have not photographed.

The good news is someone is opening a spinning/knitting store right downtown on September 1st. Only three blocks from the office, that will be tough to stay out of!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Thank You!

We had a postage strike here in Canada for several weeks. After being without mail for more than two weeks the government stepped in and mandated the postal employees back to work.

We were so excited, we had ordered checks not long before the postal strike and our Visa cards expired during the strike, while our new ones were trapped somewhere in the mail system that had ground to a screaming halt. We were in a bit of pickle for a bit with all that happening. We do a lot of things with online banking so that saved us.

Meanwhile all the wonderful Birthday cards that my family had sent from home were jammed up in the mail as well. The workers have been back at it for over two weeks now and we just recently (yesterday) received our personal checks and one more birthday card (Thank you so much Shannon, your gift of an amazon gift certificate is so perfect for me right now, I can download some books to read while my shoulder continues to heal) Thank you to everyone who sent birthday wishes.

Paul took me to Sparkling Hills Spa for a huge bit of being spoiled. We have never done anything like this before and it was wonderful.

I know this picture is a bit dark, but in the foreground is the king sized bed and in the background are the huge windows that make up one entire wall of the room we had.



A close up of the bathtub you can sort of see on the left in the photo above. I had a bath in it the morning we checked out. I don't think I needed one but I could not leave without using that tub.



The incredible view from our room looking over Okanagon Lake:



View of Paul swimming in one of the salt water pools, there are two one indoor and one out.



Really neat all glass shower that allows you to check out the view while you get soaped up:



The bed is not that interesting, I took this picture because I love the lights that are hard wired into the headboard, each one having its own small switch as well. Genius, every headboard should have this feature.



Me after a Salt scrub that sanded the marker off my shoulder. (Note: Salt Scrub massage was not as lovely as it may sound, was like being rubbed with sand paper over your entire body, but you get up and shower half way through and then get lotion slathered on, and I am pretty damn soft right now) Also, I do have a shirt on it this picture, it's strapless.



When we left the hotel on Friday we stopped in Salmon Arm for Sturgis North and then to pick the kids up from camp. I will post a few pictures of that next time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Day After

I was told after the surgery I could take the bandage off and shower in 24 hours. I took these photos about 30 hours after the surgery. I tried to wait until Paul got home from work to have him peel off the bandage and so someone would be around while in was in the shower because the pain medication made me a bit wonky. He ran late with a with a meeting and I could not wait anymore.

The first picture looks the most dramatic, but is really quite tame. The big blue thing is a Cryo/Cuff. If you follow the blue tubing from the top of my shoulder you will notice a white connector that Velcros at my chest, that connect to another piece of blue tubing which in turn connects to a thermos full of ice and water.

I rented a small pump, only $20 for the entire month, that pumps the cold water into the Cryo/Cuff. The pump cycles on and off constantly cycling fresh cold water in and the water my body has warmed out. Very cool. This thing rocks. I have been sleeping with it on and use it after my stretches. I am a week after surgery today and have very little bruising and have taken no pain medication in the past 24 hours.



The bandage looked huge! I understand after they do the arthroscopic surgery and they remove the surgical instruments from the holes they cut they then irrigate all the holes with a saline solution. The bandage is large to soak up the liquids they pump in to clean you all out afterwards, not because I was bleeding profusely or anything like that.



From the back: I have to say I would have saved myself a layer of skin back there if I had waited for Paul to get home. Down where I could not reach the tape and gave it a good yank, not pretty.



One hole in the back, which is the largest at maybe an inch long:



And two in the front, which might be 3/4 of an inch long. Each incision only has one stitch and they get taken out tomorrow morning.



The pink you see on me is due to a couple things, me taking the bandage off, red paint they used to clean everything once they put me out, and maybe cold skin due to the Cryo/Cuff.

Before the surgery, the surgeon came and talked to me for a while. He confirmed what side he would be repairing and actually signed his initials on my left upper arm in great big letters with a permanent marker telling me this was his contract to me that he would be operating on that side. I find it funny that they cleaned off the initials but I woke up to find other markings on me instead. I think those may have finally completely washed away after my shower this morning.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Basket of Good Intentions

In the process of getting The Cave just organized I have come across a few unfinished projects, as I came across anything that was on needles I just tossed the project into this basket, figuring I could deal with these projects over the summer and after The Cave was in a more organized state of affairs. As I tossed in project after project, I started calling it my Basket of Good Intentions.



I have decided it is time to tackle The Basket of Good Intentions. I am showing you two more pictures to be entirely honest about what else I have on the needles. I don't want to shamelessly post about some old project I finished up and have you all mention to me that it was one I never disclosed to you all to begin with. Here is one lonely thrummed mitten and all the materials to make it's mate.



I don't know if we can call the squares unfinished or not, I am still churning out squares pretty regularly with no real good idea what they are going to end up being, but you should keep in mind they are definitely in the ongoing project pile.



Here lies the first project I am going to work on out of The Basket. It is a lace wrap I started years and years ago, maybe even my first attempt at lace. Since the start of this project I have finished a few lace projects and I have been jonesing to start another so this should fit the bill nicely. I was really enjoying this project and think the only reason it never got picked up again was the fact that I was not sure I would be able able to figure out where I left off in the pattern. I spent some time figuring that out and after a knitting a row or two I think I need to change the kind of needles I have it on and then it should be good to go.



By the way the surgery went well, I am recovering nicely and really in love with the CryoCuff. I have pictures to show you soon. I am headed out town for a quiet couple of days with Paul.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I Bought It!

No don't worry, not the farm, but I did turn another year older. Thank you to everyone who called and everyone who thought of me and sent a birthday wish my way.

I bought the Red Table I eluded to a post or two ago. I am not sure the pictures do it justice. I love the piece so very much that I spent the better part of my weekend in The Cave with PJ teaching me how to make friendship bracelets. (I caught on quickly, it seems it's like riding bike you don't forget all the things you knew in grade school)

The boys would pop in The Cave now and again and join us for a while then they would run around outside and come back and play with PJ and I.



It is 120+ years old, made of Elm and even has the wax seal on the back that authenticates that it is indeed significantly older than I am.



I think I only need one more piece of furniture to make The Cave complete, I just need to decide on a colour. I have been thinking a bean bag chair in there would be perfect for the kids, it would give them a place to flop when they come down to chat with me, a good way to make them feel like they can join me anytime with a book or a craft project. Any ideas on the colour? Can you have to much red?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Got Bumped?

I have been having some problems with my left shoulder for a couple of years now. I could not tell you what triggered the whole thing but it has been a hell of journey.

It started as tendonitis and bursitis. That in and of itself bugs me as these are both symptoms that Drs. like toss out there like they are a diagnosis. Tendonitis simply means inflammation of a tendon, likewise bursitis means inflammation of the bursa. I always ask my patients what caused the inflammation? Over use? Poor bio-mechanics? Trauma? I wish I had an answer.

Eventually my shoulder simply started to seize up, the up side of this was the tendonitis and bursitis eventually settled down (it turns out if you can't get enough range of motion to use the involved tendon and bursa they become far less angry) the down side of this is really poor range of motion and therefore a decrease in overall function.

I started treatment with the easy stuff, chiropractic and massage therapy. When those things did not work I tried acupuncture and did a spiritual workshop in an attempt to hear what my body was trying to tell me with all this pain and dysfunction. I have worked with people and their bodies for 15 years and in that time have learned so very much, I understand that pain is not just physical but that it can be emotional as well. I see many patients that I believe get something they need out of their pain experience and I wanted to explore the idea of this being the root of my shoulder dysfunction. I wanted to know if there were emotions in my life I had chosen to ignore until they decided to make themselves known with physical pain. With all this work I had still come up with no answers and no relief.

As I traveled this road of treatment protocols my thoughts have always been of working from the least invasive treatments and gradually into more invasive treatments if the less invasive stuff did not work. At this point the next up was seeing a pain specialist who injected lidocaine into the joint space to numb the entire shoulder and have Paul attempt to move my shoulder through the range of motion and break up some of the scar tissue thereby increasing my range of motion, breaking the pain cycle and putting me on the road to recovery. No go. In fact we were never able to numb the shoulder enough to increase the range of motion more that maybe 10 degrees, and that improvement only lasted days.

Next up was cortisone injections, some would put this under less invasive than the last procedure, but in fact the long term damage from cortisone shots can be quite severe. Most medical practitioners do not use cortisone as it is meant to be used. The idea of cortisone is to turn off the pain response so you can rehab an injury. Today most Drs. use the shot as the treatment protocol by itself and leave the rehab portion out, I believe this is one of the reasons why some Drs. find themselves giving cortisone shots every six months or so for the same injury. They have in essence used the cortisone to shut down the pain, but have not taken any advantage of that period of pain relief to change the function of the injury they are treating. The cortisone did give me temporary pain relief but by this time I had so much scar tissue in the shoulder my range of motion was very poor and limited my rehab, so this was an unsuccessful treatment protocol for me. I have wondered if it may have worked if I had been less stubborn and tried it before I lost so much function.

This has left me with no options except surgery. Over a year ago I saw a surgeon who said I was one of the worst cases of frozen shoulder he has ever seen and that I was indeed a surgical candidate. He put me on his wait list.

A year and a bit later and I had my surgical date. Until yesterday I was scheduled for surgery Wednesday June 29th. Yesterday I got the dreaded phone call from the surgeons office. I got bumped! After all the planning, organizing and time booked off work I got bumped!

I should not be so dramatic, I am very lucky that only got bumped a week. My new date is for July 6th. I am so thankful that I am not the emergency that someone had to bumped for, I am thankful that I got bumped only week and not three months. I am thankful for the fact that they tell me they are not allowed to bump me again.

Random photo: I was downloading the pictures off of PJ's camera for her and came across this one, they clearly took this one of themselves. I love it, it made me smile so big I thought I would share it with all of you. That is PJ, Paul's mom Judy and Paul 's sister Jodie. Aren't they beautiful!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Cave

Months ago I told you I planned to show you the craft room. I am so happy with the room that I have been spending time down in my Cave instead of on my computer. There are even several finished projects I should show you soon.

You may remember the naked pine cabinets I showed you many moons ago. Here is one of them all loaded up with yarn. I have to say I don't know weather to proud or embarrassed about my stash. There is quite a bit of yarn on display in this post. When people walk into the Cave and gasp, "You could open a yarn shop!" it makes me wonder if should be seeking out a some sort of ten step program for fiber addicts.



I love my red tool box. That is a hand me down from Paul. Years ago he bought a bigger one for his tools in the garage and I asked him if I could have the small one for knitting tools. The thought just occurred to me that I may feel slightly less sheepish about showing you my Cave if I did a post on Paul's garage. He has a wonderful collection of stuff it would put my hobby to shame.



Here is my project desk, where all the ideas happen. I love sitting here with my iPod on the dock listening to an audio book while I swatch or work on a project. Shannon you may recognize the little desk, I think it is a drafting table, Shannon and Will were kind enough to pass it on to me when they no longer had a use for it.



A place to spin and read:



The white cubes you see are the cubes my yarn lived in under the stairs, in a space we called the Kissing Cave. I would ask the kids to come down and help me pick out yarn for projects and then I would shower the kids with kisses and tickle them once they were under the stairs with me. That is how the craft room got the name "The Cave" I am thinking maybe "The Room of Good Intentions" might be better. Maybe we test drive calling it "The Room of Requirement" What do you think?

One last photo of the second yarn cabinet and bit of mess. The wire rack with the cloth bins on it is soon to be moved. That is where the kids put there winter boots when thy are not on their feet and each kid has a bin to put there mitts and toques in so they don't get lost. I will move that soon as I have been eyeing up an antique red table to put there. I have been eyeing up the table for months, I think I need to bite the bullet and buy it before someone else does. Maybe for my birthday.



A huge hug to Aunt P for sending me the nudge I needed to finish the post that has been half written for months.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Festival and Spring in BC

I keep seeing the lovely California spring pictures you are all posting, Aunt Patricia with her blooming plum trees, Shannon posted pretty pictures of the lush greenness while she was doing some yard work a while ago, and quick peek at Mom's blog showed me blooming Almond trees.

I thought I would show you what last Sunday mornings spring rain looked like around here.



A look down the street:



And our house. It was a good snow, you can see how wet it is by looking at the shovelled driveway. It was 1C at the time, so just above freezing. Big fat wet snowman building snow flakes.



Every year there is a Festival of fine arts here in town. Kids prepare pieces and perform in front of adjudicators who give them feed back. Kids of all ages perform anything from memorized poems, pieces of plays, all sorts of dance and musical instruments.

It so happens that my kids have a wonderful teacher, who has a huge fear of public speaking. She feels it is an important skill to learn and insists that the children in her class take part in the poetry portion of the festival. She has a speech trainer come into her classroom as part of a class project and has the entire class perform a group piece together.

In her classroom it is mandatory that all her 2nd and 3rd graders perform at least one solo poetry piece. It is optional for the 1st graders but many choose to do it. SeaBass is no longer in this class room any more, but he chose to do two poems and spent a lot of after school time with the speech coach memorizing a preparing his speech.

I broke the rules and recorded the kids during their performances. Here is Q with his first poem. I will post the others soon.

video

Monday, March 07, 2011

That was so cool

I thought I would try it again.


video

There should be sound, Paul was not able to get the sound on his computer, can you?

Testing 1...2...Testing

Just a quick test to see if I can upload some video.

I have Mac and I am not sure if all the software will work and if the video will work for you guys so let me know in the comments please.


video




Tuesday, March 01, 2011

New Books

When mom blogged about the high-lighting tape I went online to see if I could find some. The best price I found was amazon.ca. If you have ever ordered off amazon you know if spend enough you get free shipping. (They really know how to suck me in)

Of course the tape was not enough to earn me free shipping but I since I have been doing a bit of crochet I had noticed the distinct lack of any crochet books in my library. I was not really looking for a pattern book, but just a good crochet book that would give me some good stitch patterns with clear directions and good pictures. I came across this one and I am already so glad I picked it up. The pictures are great and the directions are good, the stitch patterns are labeled from easy to experienced. The book is good for even a beginner like myself.



I have been sucked into the blocks so I picked this one up as well. I am looking forward to trying some different blocks.



I am seem to have been bit by the same bug that mom has been bit by. I am having a bit of startitis. I finished my hockey knitting (plain sock) and need another one on the go for the remainder of the hockey season. I was feeling a bit bored with plain socks but Q picked this yarn out the stash and asked if I would knit him a pair of socks out of it.

I am going for plain vanilla socks but I am trying a different technique. I am knitting the sock in the round on one itty bitty circular needle. I think the needle is a new one out by Addi for just this purpose.



I am not sure how I am liking it yet. It was an easy start, you don't have to worry about moving the stitches to other needles and there was no trouble with twisting the stitches or anything. I found the ribbing a bit fussy, but I find socks are always easier when you get about inch on the needles anyway.

I think it is faster that using the five needles, but I it may be hard on my hands. I have fairly big hands and the yarn seems very slippery on the needles so I am having to pay a bit more attention to a plain sock than I usually need too. I figure now that I am starting the leg it will get more comfortable and I wont have to pay as much attention to my work.

I am wondering what happens when I get to the heel flap and picking up the gusset stitches, but I am going to just enjoy a slightly different technique and cross that bridge when I get to it.



I just realized looking at these pictures that mom and I are now knitting socks pretty near the same colour yarn. Q picked this yarn because he wanted 'Army Socks' and this colour fit the bill for him. It is Socks That Rock yarn, but I am not remember the colour way off the top of my head. I will check the label later. It is from last years sock club.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Weight and Balance

You remember the crochet squares I have been working on? They are still coming along. I needed only 12 for the bag I had planned for them but I still have yarn left so I am well over 12 by now. Mom had a great a idea that I use to make a baby blanket for a friend of mine that is expecting baby number four. I am thinking that idea is looking better and better with every square.

I had three small balls of of some yarn I have been using for the stash busting project. I was sure the balls were just a little a to small to t make a square, but I thought it would be close. I decided to get out the scale and check it out. First I weighed a completed square:



Then I weighed the green ball:



Then I weighed the last of the pink:



Then a weighed the small ball of yellow:



I could not believe that all the bits of leftover skeins weighed the same. It made me laugh.

I am late in writing the post so you will be happy to know the balls are all crocheted up into little squares already and there was of course, just of enough of each colour to complete a square. It was destiny from the beginning.

(I don't really know where the balance comes in as far as my title goes, I just thought it would give mom some flashbacks from her old job)

Friday, February 11, 2011

Hibernation

I am sure you noticed (or not) the Traditional Danish Shawl listed over there on your left in the "On the Needles" portion of this blog. Has been sitting at 99% done for ages. In a very mild case of finishupitis I pulled it out of the basket to have a look. I thought it half way bound off and needed to be finished up. I was surprised to see the only thing it needed was crochet ties on it. Less than 5 minutes worth of crafting!



I finished it up and have been wearing it every evening since. I love it. It is warm and soft, perfect for keeping my shoulders warm while I knit in the evenings. I don't know if you remember but it is knit out of the hand spun that Shannon gifted me for my birthday. Which makes it more delicious.

I tried to use every yard of the yarn she spun up and I came pretty darn close:



On another note we have had the flu bug on and off, PJ had been feeling very poorly for weeks maybe even a month, complaining of abdominal pain and general acheiness. She was also extremely grumpy and very sensitive, I was quite worried about her. I am glad to report that she is back to her normal cheerful self. I think it was a combination of things, and am now left wondering if this lingering flu bug was a big part of it.

Q and I have it now, he has missed 3 days of school this week and I missed two days of work. I understand how PJ felt, I swear this thing just makes you feel all around crummy. The stomach ache I can handle, but the headache is nasty and it has generally made me sensitive and crabby to boot. I put everyone on Vitamin D to help the winter Blues, we have not seen the sun around these parts for ages. The Vitamin D made an immediate difference everyone's mood and energy levels. I am calling it the happy pill.

Everyone seems on the mend, but this is a bug that seems to come and go for weeks at time. I am hearing lots of people say it has taken them three weeks to a month to really feel good again. That appears to be the pattern I am seeing around our household, so I am making sure everyone is getting some extra rest and eating well. On that note, I was sick on grocery day so I need to get off to the store before I meal planning with only a can of coconut milk and black beans left in cabinets. Ick

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hockey Hockey Hockey



I worry that you must get tired of reading hockey content on this 'knitting' blog, but here goes. (by the way these are some of the pictures I told you I would show you when I got around to downloading them) PJ and Q played one another in a league hockey game a weekend or two ago. They had a great time and I did not who to root for so I rooted for everyone. That is Q in the above photo, a rare shot of him with his stick actually on the ice waiting for pass. He has a bad habit of skating with his stick up off the ice, making it very had to get that pass. He is working hard it, I love this picture, to me it is a picture of his improvement.

PJ shocked us all by volunteering to by goalie for this game. She is on the only all girls at her age level and they rotate goalies so that everyone who wants to try the position gets a chance. Last year she opted to never try the position, had no interest in it at all.



Her coach was shocked when PJ asked to play goalie as was I! I had no idea PJ was even entertaining the idea let alone ready to don the gear. I think the coach was almost disappointed when PJ volunteered. PJ usually plays rightwing, is one of the older girls on the team, she plays position well and is a strong skater, I think the coach missed having her in the line up.



I am thrilled she has developed the confidence to try the position and she had a great time in net. I also a bit glad she is not in love with the position. Goalie gear is very expensive!!!!



On another note, she played in her first all girls tournament this past weekend and scored 5 goals and had 2 assists. She won the award in her first game for the player with the most heart and won top gun for her team.

The girls very rarely get to play against an all girl team, all the teams they play here are boys teams. It was cool to see the girls play girl teams and have success.