Saturday, July 30, 2005

Brown Rice and Aching Muscles

My friend from University, Mel, is running leg 5 of the Death Race. That means she will likely start running between 7 and 8 this evening, which is kind of odd for her (she is usually a morning runner). So, I'm cooking chicken breasts and brown rice with broccoli for her, now, at 4:20, so that she has time to eat a healthy meal and get digested to the point that she is comfortable running. It's weird. I'm not used to cooking at this hour (DH and I usually eat at 8-ish), and she's not used to running in the evening, so neither of us are terribly comfortable right now.

The earlier runners (Joe ran leg 1 and leg 3, and Chris ran leg 2) made really good time - when our leg 4 runner started (Simon) our team was in the top 10! Yippee! The guys all ran hard, and are walking on spaghetti legs, all aching muscles. But, no matter how sore they are, they have to be out there to support the other runners at the exchange points, so Mel has been in and out all day. I plan to be waiting near the finish of her leg tonight to cheer her on - there will be enough people providing support at the finish, so I'll wait where the trail first comes near the town, about 10 minutes from the finish line (and, conveniently, just down the road from home).

Notice how easily I slipped into calling them "my team" even though the only work I'm doing to support is feeding one runner and her spouse, and the housecleaning I did to get the place ready for company. Yup, MY team. Go team!

Good luck tonight Mel - I hope Simon makes good time so you don't have to run too far in the dark (even with your lighted hat, I imagine it sucks to run in the dark).

I'll keep the blog posted.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Fridays are for Cleaning

DH was told not to come into work today. No, he's not in trouble - he has been working very hard, and is kind of being rewarded, in a round of bout way. We were supposed to be in Edmonton yesterday and today for a medical (how to have a baby in three easy steps) appointment, but had to re-schedule the appointment. As he had already booked Thursday and Friday off, his boss said he may as well take Friday and have some fun. Yeah,fun. That's it.

So, today he has: put up a curtain rod, done the dishes, pointed out areas that need dusting, suggest I reorganize the bookshelf, and generally made a pain in the ass of himself. I figure he has maybe two more "maybe, honey, you should ...." before I beat him about the head and neck with the Swiffer Duster. But other than the annoyance factor, it's good to have him here. Yup.

Okay, actually it is nice to have him home. I just wish it wasn't raining, so he could go outside and boss around the lawn mower instead of me. He's downright ornery with the weeds, too.

Anyway, Fridays are for cleaning, so I'm getting all nasty and sweaty cleaning shit up for the weekend. Later, Friday night will be for drinking. I picked up some really good vodka and some cranberry juice, so this Friday will be for cosmopolitans. And yes, Saturdays are for hangovers.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Big Weekend Coming Up

Aah, August long weekend. Or, as it's known in the town where I live - The Canadian Death Race. Yup, that's right. "Death" Race.

Now I know you're probably picturing a bunch of retirees doing the lemming thing off a mountain (sicko!!!), but no, that's not it. The Canadian Death Race, known casually to those in the know as The Death Race (boy, we shortened that one down a lot, didn't we), is actually a long distance run (125km). Over mountains. Three of them. Over a period of 24 hours. With so much elevation change that during the course of the race, you can suffer from heat stroke and frostbite, in the same day.

Generally, less than 50% of the starters complete the race. Some are airlifted out straight to hospital. Others give up at one of the many Aid Stations, and are hauled down the mountain on quads. Some limp over the finish line late, thus are disqualified. Oy.

To make it a little easier, they let relay teams of five run the race in "legs". As in "I'm running Leg 2 - Leg 1 is for pussies."
And yes, I know of at least one person who died running The Death Race. He is (yup, is) a friend of ours from University, works at the same company, and dropped about a hundred feet from the finish line of his relay leg a few years ago. Thankfully we have a crack staff here at our tiny little hospital in the mountains, and they were able to revive him - but his heart did fail twice in the process. He's fine now, and ran again the next year. This year he has an ankle injury that is preventing him from running his leg of the race on the work team, so another friend from University is coming up from Calgary (staying with us) to run two legs.

So, grocery shopping will be done today (Thursday), because by Friday, this town will be completely packed with uber healthy stringbeans of muscle in running shorts and toques.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Nothing for a Week, then This?

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I've been neglecting my blog, I'll admit it. I've still been reading other blogs, and loving them, but have been too funkified (and not the good way) to post anything myself. So, today, pulling myself out of it, I'm on post number two. Oy.

I need to give the back story to the trauma quilt. Note that there are no capitals in the name. This is intentional. I don't wish to capitalize on my trauma. Tee hee. Yucks. I know, I know. Oy again.

Anyhoo, the trauma quilt began its existence around Christmas last year, when I was asked to make a quilt for Chris & Rhea's wedding. My Mother-in-Law suggested that it should be pink, as Rhea is one of those girls that look incredible in pink, and she likes the colour, to boot. I, personally (okay at that time - I've since changed my opinion) hated pink. With anger and vengeance. This was going to be a really hard quilt to work on.

But, I persevered. I went out an bought 8 freakin' zillion half yards of pink, from the palest of pales, to the most obnoxious of brights. Some of them, when they arrived (gotta love internet fabric shopping) were more peach than pink. Peach I can get into, as peach leads to orange, and orange rocks. So, I ordered another 8 freakin' zillion half yards of fabric, in peach to hot orange tones.

And, I fell in love with a Jennifer Sampou print, so bought 3 yards of it, in two colourways (you'll have to imagine the paler version - couldn't find a photo). These prints introduced other colours to the mix - soft heathery browns and beiges, mushrooms and taupes, and some celedon and olive to mix things up a bit. By now, my fabric purchase budget had been blown to smithereens (sp?), and I was rapidly falling in love with the whole pink extravaganza.

After much internal discussion, I cut everything (yikes!) into 2.5" x 4.5" rectangles, and 4.5" squares. Up on the design wall it went. Yup, I was in love. It was freakin' phenomenal. I began sewing it all together, in love with every stitch, and then...

Two things happened. First, Chris & Rhea came up for Christmas, and expressed vague but polite dismay at the thought of a pink and peach quilt. I don't blame them - I was dismayed at that thought too. They chose to go with wood tones, instead, which was a much better choice for them (photo to the left of finished wedding quilt).

Second, I had a miscarriage. This wasn't just another quick-and-it's-over miscarriage, nope. It was a three-weeks-of-pain-and-heavy-bleeding, totally uncomfortable, really upsetting miscarriage. Worse yet, this was the first time we had told any family we were pregnant, so all of them went through the loss with us. It sucked.

Anyway, the pretty pink and peach quilt morphed with my emotions. I cut chunks of it away, and replaced them with frustration and pain blocks. These blocks were made simply to express my emotions at the time. They are full of angry lines, sharp edges, discordant prints and colours. They scream frustration. And, they were forcibly inserted wherever I felt like. The trauma quilt was born. Now, it sits in a closet all by itself, and is brought out only when I really need to vent pain. Like now.

Hopefully, in the end, something interesting will come from it. But, when finished, it will still be pink and peach. And really large. It is already over 100" long, and more than wide enough for a queen sized bed - yet I know it will continue to grow. I'm building it in panels of anger, so it will remain quilt-able.

Anyway, now you know about the trauma quilt. It's a good way to express myself. And it's still kind of pretty, in a discordant, non-symmetrical way. And it doesn't fit on my design wall any more (which is eight feet high!!!).

Baby Steps

We had some family visiting last week (my Mom, her brother Jaap from New Zealand, and my brother Dan). We did some local site seeing, so I thought I'd post the vertigo shot here, along with a few other photos of things I can see all within a ten minute drive from my house.

I finished my first ever lace shawl project - Kiri - which is a free pattern from Polly of All Tangled Up. I knitted this with two threads held together (I wanted a denser fabric, but mostly I'm chicken when it comes to using lace weight yarn). The yarn is 100% wool lace weight from HandPaintedYarn, in the colourway Lettuce. My cast off wasn't great - I couldn't get enough elasticity in the edge to get points along the edge, so instead I knitted in some olive toned jade beads. They add a nice weight to the shawl, without being obnoxious.

This was an excellent project for beginning lace knitters, and there is a "Knit-A-Long" for Kiri, too. I joined it mostly to see the other peoples' finished projects (in the photo archives).

Okay, a little QR - I think I will be pulling out the trauma quilt soon, just to get me back into working on a quilt project. Apparently that is about where I stand with quilting right now. I had no idea that focusing all my happy and positive thoughts on a quilt I then gave away would be so devastating! I have not been able to spend more than three minutes at a time in my studio since, and even that tears me up. Yup, I'm an emotional basket case. My new approach will be to wrap myself in my new shawl (yay!) and work on a project (the trauma quilt) that is already loaded with emotions. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Yup, I'm a Proud, Proud Cat-Mom

On Monday afternoon, I stumbled across this scene. No human hands were involved in the feline end of the arrangement, although I did make the bed.

Yesterday, I found this. Again, I was not involved in placement of the cat. I do believe a tear of joy squeezed out! Yeah, I'm a big giant pansy. But look at the cuteness!

Bean's Felted Kitty Bed directly from Wendy's pattern. Peanut's bed (the top photo) a slight adaptation, based upon her tendency to nest completely in and cover her own head.

So, for some of you Quilters who were wondering why I knit, aren't you now considering knitting yourselves? Come on, admit it - your feline studio companion would look freakin' adorable in a colour coordinated Felted Kitty Bed. Yup. Uh-huh. Nya-nya, I've already got two. And they're both taken. Oh, such a proud, proud Mama.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Yeah, yeah yeah. I know.

But hey, I don't have any cute kidlets up to fun stuff, an adorable G'Baby, a husband willing to jump around like an idiot for the fans, a pool full of wildlife, or really cool dishes. I'm a total loser with only her cats to entertain her. Self-pity. Sniffles.

Nope, no Photos of the MHF

This morning, when DH asked why I hadn't come to bed last night, I could only come up with two words: Massive Hurk-Fest. Oh, wait, that's three words. Or do hyphenated words count as one? Come on, grammar police, enlighten me.

Anyway, back to the Massive Hurk-Fest (which will henceforth be known as MHF - hah! I just used "henceforth" in a blog posting). It wasn't me (thankfully I haven't hurked since the recent coal removal from shower sludge debacle). This was a Bean MHF. Poor Bean is feeling a wee tad under the weather (the photo is an "after" shot). Either she has a hairball that just won't quit, or has been into the fusibles again (addict).

So, how does one define a MHF? Is it a quality thing? Or quantity? If I say quantity, does that mean I have to weight it? Uck. Is it about carpet coverage area? Or are there extra points for strategic (read "where Mom will almost definitely step in it before she notices it) placement? Or spread? Holy crap on the spread last night. Wowza, and Yikes. Yup, capitalized.

I've decided it is about quality, moreso that quantity (although low quantity can certainly disqualify the event from MHF classification, and downgrade it to "damn, the stupid frikkin' cat hurked again"). So, here is my list of the items that define Quality on the MHF Scale.

(a) Location (12) There were no less than 4 completely separate locations, and each location was a mini-fest with a minimum of three cleaning zones required. So, 3 points per clean, times 4 locations.

(b) Colour & Opacity (4) I'll give this MHF 2 points for the dark pumpkin pie tone, and another 2 points for inability to locate carpet through hurk. The bile hurks that are translucent get less points, although they may need bonus points for being substantially more difficult to locate, thus easier to find with bare feet.

(c) Escape Velocity & Effectiveness (4) Why is it that a hurking cat can suddenly relocate in mid-hurk, just when Mom arrives with a towel to catch the hurk application pre-floor? For this she gets 2 points - once for each time she wriggled out of my grasp, and escaped to hurk out of my reach.

(d) Hurk Related Expressions of Guilt(6) You're probably thinking "Six? How could Bean get a 6 for HREoG?" Well, she warned me it was coming, and it's not her fault I can't tell the difference between meowing for more food and meowing for stomach distress - she did at least try. She gave me sad and sorry kitty eyes after every single explosion of hurk. She expressed her sorryness even further by walking me from location to location (which negates the whole hiding it where I'm gonna walk without looking thing, but she gets to double dip for points on that because I'm just so dang thankful she took me on the "I'm so sorry, Mom" tour). She also sat a few feet away from me the entire time I was involved in the Hurk Removal Process, looking suitably guilty and expressing her relief that the evidence was being removed. Yup, that gives her bonus points in my book.

(e) Odor (0) Why zero? Because this one was pretty boring on the old cat vomit odor scale. She's done worse, believe me.

So, judged on ThatLoganChick's Scientific Qualification Scale for Hurk-Fests of Feline Origin, this scores a total of 26. Future postings will consist of only the term MHF, and a score. You'll know what I mean. What do you want to bet that the next time your cat (or dog, or child, or spouse) hurks, you start to grade them? Although, for dogs, a bum-scooting-across-floor scale would probably be more appropriate. Aah, the joys of pet ownership.

Ohh, sorry. Just realized this entire post is about cat barf! I guess I should have put a warning at the beginning, for those with delicate stomachs (or no ability to appreciate the joy of cat ownership and hurk-fest cleanup parties).

On a MUCH more pleasant note, these are the wild flowers that DH picked for me after a successful afternoon of fishing yesterday. Oh, and he washed all traces of fish stinkyness from himself before he came in to give me flowers and a hug. Best Spouse in World.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

A SureFire Cure for the Pissy-ness

Warning: This is the first installment of the Adventures of Ratty McBastard. He swears a lot. What did you expect? He is, after all, a rat.

Track down Ratty McBastard (finally located amongst the artificial greenery that is a piss-poor substitute for real plants, but causes me no guilt when the black thumb of my plant killing tendencies rears its ugly head).

Decorate rat. Feathers and plaid, anyone?
Acknowledge massive fugliness of the feathers and plaid combination. DH can pull it off, but he's a rare one. Ratty McB just doesn't have the panache.

Try again. Ooooh, feathers and leather. Yup, that works.

Just when Ratty is settling in to enjoy the cushiness of the feathers and leather, yank him out of his comfort zone. Apply punk version of feathery goodness, complete with safety pin through nose. Ratty says "Shit, that hurt! And look what that did to the hair on the back of my neck!" Aaah, the porcupine-y goodness.

Punked out Ratty McBastard has himself a rip roarin' party out back, including listening to hard rock...

gettin' down with the bush...

and mocking the sad state of the patio's paint job.

He then moves the party inside, out of the rain (plays havoc with the do, dude). His choice for the evening? A little Wolf Blass Cab Merlot to sooth the rodent soul. Oh, and a Pirate Cookie. Don't let it be said that he isn't well fed. It's a well known fact that rats love the peanut butter. Rats also attempt to match the do with the drink - note the classy removal of the porcupine job, and its reincarnation as nest-o-the-rat. Feathery softness so good for nestling in.

Exhausted after consumption of wine and Pirate Cookie, the McBastard relocates the nest-in-a-bowl (nice bowl, dude) to a sunny spot on the rug, and curls up his tail for nap time. The walnuts? Hey, every good McBastard has to keep an eye on his nuts, man. It's in the rules.

Oh shit! What the fuck?

I'm outta here, cat-dude!

Finally, back in the artificial jungle, but this time much, much higher up (and reasonably camouflaged, yah think?). Oy, whatta day. Next time that bitch offers to dress me up and show me a good time, I will NOT fall for it. Gonna stay here in the plastic flower-y ugliness. Yup. Even though all the bright fake cheeriness is playing havoc with my hangover, my nose still aches from the piercing, and THAT BITCH STUCK FEATHERS UP MY ASS!

Note from That Logan Chick: Cat toy my arse.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Almost Entertained (but not quite)

Details: Home made Felted Kitty Bed (knitted, then felted in the washing machine - the New washing machine!). I made one for Peanut too, but she is even less enamored of it than Bean. Pattern by Wendy D. Johnson, found (free!) online at her blog. She also has a gallery of completed Felted Kitty Beds, most of them in use.

Ratty McBastard, from free online Baby Rat Pattern, by Lucia, The Knitting Fiend.

At this point, my cats aren't really interested - I guess these were made more for my enjoyment than theirs. Enjoyment - yeah, that's it. Oh, so much enjoyment. Hear the pissy-ness?

Just call me Princess Pissy

Well, I've been trying really hard to come up with something light hearted and happy to blog. Nope. Got nothing. The inner blogologue (like an inner monologue, but blogcentric) is nothing but pissiness and attitude these days. Haven't done anything quilty. Not really doing anything much knitty. On strike from housework. On strike from life. Pissy, pissy, pissy. Princess F*ckin' Pissy. So pissing off and going back to bed. Piss on it. Some days life SUCKS!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ahh, the Fugly

Yes, these will all make their way into my sidebar. But today, for your viewing (and coffee spewing) pleasure, I give you a three-some of Fug.

For those of you wondering what the heck is Fug, begin here. Then, apply to the world of quilting. Yup, even Quilters fug on occasion. Wow, from the number of entries, I'd say Quilters fug darn near often! Finally, even though I know you're all getting tired of the knitting stuff already, we have the You Knit What? site. Trust me on this - it's worth reading. A word of warning however - don't view any of these sites at work! Your insane laughter and falling off chair reaction will be a dead give-away that you sure as heck ain't working.

Enjoy. Our regularly scheduled programming will return tomorrow. Unless I find something else just as fugly, and feel the need to share.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Catching up on Photos

Last night I finished these for DH - 2.5 day socks (gotta love heavier sock wool). Then I spent the entire freakin' night reading blogs and surfing quilty and knitty things. I'm not terribly enamored of any of the newest commercial fabric lines that have been released - I think there will be more fabric dyeing in my future. Weather dependent of course.

Here we have Peanut expressing her displeasure at my ability to stay up all night on the computer, instead of settling down where I belong (next to her, in the comfy bed). Yes, she will sleep anywhere, so long as it is within a metre of me.

The sky this morning was amazing. Sorry about the terrible lack of focus, but I'd been up all night on a major caffeine buzz, thus was unable to hold the camera still long enough to take a low light photo. The reason I am imposing my shaky photo on you, though, is to share the colour. We rarely get colourful sky here (minimal pollution to change the path of light waves), so this must be in response to a forest fire or something. Pretty in pink.

Finally, this is the non-feline fuzziness that kept me company while I was surfing all night. It is a poncho with a vengeance, and just enough mohair to tickle my fancy.

I have been working hard on narrowing down fabric and design options for the quilt for my brother, but this morning DH suggested I switch my focus and make a quick lap quilt for his Grandfather (we will be imposing ourselves on DH's grandparents for a week in August). The idea is that I make a quilt for Grandpa, and then go fabric shopping with Grandma so she can chose fabric for a personalized lap quilt of her own. I'd better get busy!

So, off to bed (need a few hours of sleep now that the caffeine is wearing thin), then down to the nightmare of messiness that is my stash room. I may have to organize and tidy before I begin quilting. Oh well, it gives me a chance to talk dirty to my favorite fabrics.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Pundit my Arse

How pathetic. I caved. Usually I avoid online quiz things, but this time, I had to. Thanks, Deb. I'm officially a Pundit - and yes, I had to look it up to be sure they weren't mocking me. Although I still feel kind of mocked. Gently. But mocked none-the-less.

You Are a Pundit Blogger!

Your blog is smart, insightful, and always a quality read.
Truly appreciated by many, surpassed by only a few

"Surpassed by only a few." What kind of crapola is that? Surpassed by a great many, thank you! Darn it! Aargh.

Have added some favorite regular blog reads in the sidebar. I've been reading these for ages now, but finally am sick of typing out their blog addresses. I am also considering adding a few political type links. Any opinions? I know I've hacked on exposing one's politics in public many times, so maybe I should follow my own advice, and avoid the addition of political links. But the perverse exhibitionist side of me (that should have been the type of blogger that I am) really wants to start something ugly, and post the unpopular and the damn near intolerable. I'll think about it. Some. Maybe. We'll see. Tune in tomorrow.

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Politics, Religion, and Sexuality

AKA Holy Mood Swing, Batman!

When I came to the computer this evening, I had planned to post about funny, happy things. Instead, I started by catching up on a few favorite blogs, and that plan when right out the window.

Deb of Red Shoe Ramblings posted a very interesting piece this morning, as did Gerrie, yesterday. Much food for thought, and impetus for sadness. Something really needs to be done to stop the swing of popular dictum in America - but can it? While I would love to have something original, insightful, and intelligent to say on the matter, I don't. So I'll leave it with "I am saddened."

On other issues, the current upswing in popularity of "coming out and staying out" as Christian has me freaking out. The great article that Deb linked to beautifully expresses some of my concerns in that arena. I know that society has changed dramatically, and that things that used to be better left unsaid are now openly and regularly discussed. (Case in point - I talk way too openly about my medical issues for my Dad's taste.) However, I'm a firm believer that religion should be a private and personal thing, and not aired in public. I know that Mrs. Mel of Fibermania has strong Christian beliefs, but is never in anyone's face about it (I had a heck of a time finding the archived post about it - not a single other reference to her religious beliefs, anywhere). I love and enjoy a great many people with strong religious convictions, and most of them are good with me too, even though they know I don't share the same beliefs. And that is something I treasure.

We should all be able to believe as we choose, be happy in our own form of worship, and live our lives in a way that doesn't force opinions down the throats of others. This goes for religion, politics, sexual orientation, and many other things, too. I love fiber arts, and am an avid Quilter, Knitter, Sewer, and Hardanger-er (I know that's not a word, but work with me here, will you? I had a rhythm going). Fiber arts are a huge part of my daily life, yet I have NEVER stopped someone in a grocery store, and asked if they have been saved by the Quilting. Nor have I ever gone up to someone's front door on a Saturday afternoon, rung the bell, and asked if they have the comfort of Hand Knitted Socks awaiting them. And this blog? The title is a give-away. And if a stranger happens upon it, and is not interested in quilty things, they can simply click on to the next blog and feel free to ignore my high fiber content rantings. I'm not pushing for Quilting in schools, but if it was provided as an option, at the same time as other courses such as Fly Fishing, Sculpture, Hunting, Soap Opera Appreciation, etc, that would be great. Each student could choose the course that made them happy, without being forced to spend time doing something that makes them uncomfortable, or for which they have no passion.

I'm not saying it isn't okay to be a loud and proud Muslim, or Wiccan, or Christian. That's fine - be proud, and be loud. Rejoice in your chosen Way. But be prepared that your chosen Way may not be the same Way as that of those around you. So, if you want to loudly pontificate on the merits of your beliefs in a public place, be prepared to be ignored by some, and disagreed with by others. Just don't expect everyone else to jump for joy and start singing with you. And you certainly cannot expect that your public pontifications will convert those passing by. Nope, not gonna happen. If someone says that yes, your preaching in public changed their life and made them realize that yes, yours is the One True _____ (insert deity of choice here), then you can pretty much be sure they're not that seriously committed. It's likely that the pontificator of a different tune, hanging out in the produce isle, will swing them in a different direction, as soon as they need lettuce.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that the really serious and meaningful aspects of life - religious and political affiliation - need to come from a deeply personal place. And sexual orientation? I don't believe that is a choice, at all. Some people are born hetero (only ever interested sexually in the other gender), some are born homo (only ever interested sexually in the same gender), some are born open (only ever interested sexually in people with an intellect and personality that appeals, no gender bias held) and some are born with no sexual interest at all. In fact, and I expect to get some really interesting comments on this, I believe that there is more to gender than just male or female. Yup, it's a scientific reality that not every child is born easily identifiable as either a boy or a girl - look it up, people.

Wow, where this post started is totally not where it ended. How the heck did I get into this? Oy.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Puking, Planning, & Porno

So Fridays are for Cleaning damn near killed me - when you combine a lousy housekeeper (me) with a hard workin' coal minin' man (him), the shower gets some friggin' grimy. I scrubbed for over 20 minutes (entire time spent in the shower stall, with various different brushes, scrubbers, and chemical compounds), and was unable to get the coal muck completely cleaned up. In fact, I used so much "thick bleach" that I threw up (in the shiny clean toilet). At least I made it out of the shower before tossing my toast and tomato. Ugh. So, I quit. The task I didn't get done today was the laundry. It will have to wait until tomorrow. I figure I can stop cleaning when I've made myself barf. But yes, cleaned up all evidence of toast tossing.

So, after a long hot shower (in my shower, not his - his is still in treatment) I felt a bit better, so settled myself down for some fiber therapy (no, not the dietary kind). Here we have a small piece I'm still working on (working title: Temperature Study in Brown). It needs beads or a mesh overlay or stones or something. Not sure what yet. I'm listening attentively - when it finally speaks up, I'll be ready.

In the mean time, I've been gathering a pile of hand dyes and coordinating bits and pieces. I have no idea what it will end up being, quilt-wise, but even just looking at the pile is giving me all sorts of quilty joy.

Now the porno for knitters: today I started my first ever toe up sock, did my first ever waste yarn cast on, and turned my first ever short row heel. Even though the sock is for DH, I had to model (yup, I've got the seriously large feet happening here folks). Sexy, no? Especially with the bright green Swallow Casein needles. Kind of pathetic when I get turned on by a half done sock and some colourful needles.

When I grow up, I want to make socks like this one. Mom made me a pair (yes, I have two, but I had to keep one foot on the balcony for balance while dangling the other out in thin air over the grass for the photo op) 4 or 5 years ago. I rarely wear them, as I would hate to wear them out or wreck them. Instead, I put them on (indoors only, with occasional patio time) when I'm feeling frisky for the knitteds.

Finally, I balled up the skeins Mom sent earlier this week, and this is my favorite. Hand painted 100% Merino, this one was labeled "Blackberries". I'm drooling. Really want to start knitting this, but promised DH the socks first. Good thing they turn me on, too.

Fridays are for WHAT???

Yarn Harlot has Tuesdays are for Spinning. Someone else (I can't remember who, sorry) has Thursdays are for What in the Heck were they Thinking. My ever so witty husband, when told about this (I babble about blogs a lot, he occasionally bothers to listen) suggested that maybe I could have Fridays are for Cleaning. Six years of marriage and he still doesn't get me. Oh, well, this week I'm humouring him. But Saturday may not be for his usual - sitting around on his butt, watching TV, and asking for snack after snack after snack. Nope. If my Fridays are for Cleaning, he may find out that Saturdays are for Mowing.

Well, maybe I could concede that Fridays are for Cleaning, but follow that up with Weekends are for Annoying DH, Mondays are for Knitting, Tuesdays are for Napping, Wednesdays are for Quilting, and Thursdays are for Whatever the Hell I Want. Hmmm. Not so bad a plan.

Or, maybe we could call an impasse, and go back to the usual - all days are for a little tidying up, a little serving food to DH, and a little doing something creative.

Oops, gotta go. The vacuuming won't finish itself, and bathrooms are crying out for a scrubbing. Oh, and I think tonight I'll be serving food I like. Yup, if this Friday is for Cleaning, then Tonight is for Dinner of Mangos and Chocolate. And fruity wine spritzers. I think I may start to like Fridays are for Cleaning. Saturdays may just become Saturdays are for sugar/caffeine buzz and hangover.

Thursday, July 07, 2005


What to say? I can't adequately express what I'm feeling right now, as I periodically check the BBC news page for updates from London. After 37 confirmed dead in the blasts, we now get to wait for the final death toll as more die in hospitals, from their blast related injuries. This sucks. And it hurts. And it angers me. But most of all, I'm frustrated. I can't do anything to help. I can't do anything that will prevent this senselessness from happening again. I can't do anything but wait and watch and hope for the end of terrorism. But the very essence of human nature suggests to me that terrorism will never end. It has proven itself an extremely effective weapon, if that type of weapon is what you are looking for. So no "War on Terrorism" will ever wipe it out. There will always be extremists. There will always be hate. And there will always be people like us - listening, waiting, and hurting. Kind of puts everything else in perspective, doesn't it?

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Quilting Content Assured

Finally, I can show you the wedding quilt. Yippee! I'm very happy with how it turned out, and will give a wee bit of back story on it, interspersed with photos.

The happy couple (DH's brother Chris and new bride Rhea). Don't they look like a bridal magazine couple? They both glowed with joy and love.

Anyway, they knew they were getting an original quilt, and chose the main Bali hand dyed fabric in the pieced area. The rest of the fabrics I chose to coordinate, while ensuring adequate value variation. The borders are on two sides only for a number of reasons. The main part looked silly completely surrounded by borders. I tried numerous different borders, including some that were pieced, but the main part of the quilt rejected them all in favour of having two wide, plain borders. The end result is more restful, and also more meaningful.

I think of it as the newlyweds being represented by the pieced area: full of life, movement and interest, and ready to head out on their own (unbordered areas). The solid borders represent their faith, and their family, both of which are always there to support them and provide grounding, but also standing aside to allow the couple to make their own choices and build a life together. It is kind of an "always supported, always encouraged" thing.

The main pieced area is styled after a quilt Mom saw on display at a local quilt store. While she was admiring it, she was told that in order to make it, she would have to buy the book, and that there was only one kit left, so she would have to buy that too. Mom, ever the rebel, turned around and told the store owner (a really pushy woman, known for her bad attitude and general rudeness) that she not only wasn't interested in the kit or the book, but that in the two minutes the woman had spent telling her to buy the book, she had completely figured out the piecing, and would choose her own colours and sizing, thank you. Long and ugly sentence, but you know what I mean. So, Mom went home and improved on the design, adapting it from paper piecing (honestly, they wanted it paper pieced!) to strip quilting, and using fabrics she had at home. The end result was a simple but highly effective quilt, and a favorite of both me and her husband (he was the recipient). It gets a lot of use, and they both call it the "Didn't Buy the Book" quilt.

About the back - Chris is a huge fan of fishing, and enjoys all things fishy. Yup, that's his shoulder, complete with trout he designed. How can you not love a guy so dedicated to fishing that he wears a permanent reminder?

When I saw the fish flannel I knew it had to be his, but I could only get just under a yard! What to do with less than a yard of a fabric you want to feature? I cut it in strips, pieced it with coordinating flannels, and made a series of "fishable creeks" for the back. The quilt is cuddly and soft, and I finished it with a simple FMQ leaves pattern (more openly spaced than I normally use, as I wanted to maintain the softness of the quilt).

The finished product (hand finishing of binding completed 16 or so hours before the wedding) was well received by all, and promptly given a spot in the sun for a photo shoot. Unfortunately, the photo shoot required that DH and I get involved too. Here we are, in all our wedding finery. Please note that DH is very photo friendly (how could he not be - he's freakin' gorgeous - in a strong and manly way, of course), but I would rather not ever be in photos. However, for Chris and Rhea, I did the photo thing.

DebR - sorry the shoes didn't get in the photo. Chris & DH were wearing rentals (shiny and black, that's all I noticed). You've already seen my shoes from a previous post, and Rhea's shoes were white satin ballet slippers, complete with miles and miles of white silk ribbon wrapped around her ankles. However, nobody really saw them, as her dress covered them at all times.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Love comes via Canada Post

This is what I found when I went out into the living room this morning. Bean is thrilled that my nap quilt returned with me - apparently she missed it.

Note to Quilters - the rest of this is a non quilting post. If you're only here for the quilty stuff, you might as well hit next blog on the Artful Quilters webring icon, as this particular post today is all about knitting. Oh, and it's really long. Sorry. Will return to our regular programming soon - but not today!

I know I've mentioned my Mom's love of fibre arts before, but in this case, it needs repeating. She was taught to knit at the age of four, and one of her chores as a child was to ensure that all members of her household (seven sets of feet) were kept in hand knitted socks. Even after spending a large portion of her childhood making socks for four brothers, plus herself and her parents, she still loves to knit. For many years, my childhood memories included quiet evenings by the wood burning stove in the living room, my brothers drawing or playing with Lego while I read, all the while listening to my mother knit. She has also done a lot of spinning, dyed her own wool, done some weaving and rug hooking, some free style fibre art work, and for the past three years has been an active participant in my quilting addiction.

Okay, now you're up on the background and the who's who. Mom - an extremely talented and creative woman. Me - an extremely lucky daughter. We've talked for years about what will happen with Mom's stash (previously just a knitter's stash, now also a cross stitcher's stash and a quilter's stash - that's three complete stashes, all from one woman - no wonder she is planning to build a larger home). I've said many times that while I am truly touched that I (only daughter, and only child with any interest in creation of fibre art) will be inheriting her stashes and book collections, it will be a heartbreaking experience. Receiving those gifts will mean that the most important one, the bond I share with my mother, will have been broken by her passing. As much as I covet much of her collection, I'd rather have her instead.

Mom's solution? She has started slowly going through her things as she prepares to move house (in the next two to four years), and today I received the first installment of my premature inheritance by mail. She told me to expect a box with some sock wool (DH is dangerously low in the hand knitted sock department, I've been slacking). What I got was a box with sock wool and love.

As you can see, the contents of the box included an amazing assortment of goodies for knitters. There are two hanks of Briggs & Little Tuffy (80% wool, 20% nylon) in each red, teal, denim blue, and periwinkle, plus one in offwhite. Mom calls it Briggs & Stratton, which I believe is a reference to motors. She's amused. I'm confused. Obviously the reference goes over my head. There are reinforcing yarns for toes and heels in each teal, blue, and periwinkle. There is a 1400m hank of luscious Filatura Di Crosa 90% merino, 10% cashmere lace weight, in ivory. There are two hanks of superwash 100% merino, each 260m, hand painted in Canada. One hank is "Purple Jade", the other is "Blackberries".

The sock wool was great. The lace weight made me woozy. The hand painted merino? I needed a cup of tea and half an hour to recover from the bliss. Then, I delved into the books. To start with, she sent me a Knitting Journal and The Knitting Stitch Bible (over 250 stitches photographed and charted). These are coil bound and easy to carry with me when I knit on the go. Next, a selection of her books on dyeing/spinning/weaving, including:
Plant Dyeing by Amy Hadfield Hutchinson, published 1941 (3rd edition, 1975 - a New Zealand specific book)
Natural Wool Dyes and Recipes by Ann Milner, published 1971 (3rd edition, 1975 - another NZ book)
Spin your own Wool and Dye it and Weave it by Molly Duncan, published 1968 (reprinted 1978)
Creative Crafts with Wool and Flax by Molly Duncan, published in 1971
Weaving, Spinning, & Dyeing: A Beginner's Manual by Virginia G. Hower, published 1976
A Dyer's Garden: From Plant to Pot - Growing Dyes for Natural Fibers by Rita Buchanan, published 1995 (An Interweave Press book)

Then, an incredible reference library for knitting lace (and it is the Summer of Lace, according to Wendy):
A Creative Guide to Knitted Lace by Jan Eaton, New Holland, 1994
The Best of Knitter's Magazine: Shawls and Scarves edited by Nancy J. Thomas, XRX Books, 1999
Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls by Martha Waterman, Interweave Press, 1998
The Lacy Knitting of Mary Schiffmann by Nancy Nehring, Interweave Press, 1998
Shetland Lace Knitting from Charts by Hazel Carter, a self-published booklet, 1987
And, for those of you that have knitting in your blood, this ought to make you swoon - Faroese Shawls. Nope, not the translation. I now have in my possession a hard cover copy of Foroysk Bindingarmynstur, published in 1983. I don't understand a word of it, but Mom included some typed translations. This book is raved about in the Shawls and Scarves book, which includes enough instructions for their version that I can apply the shaping and simply follow the charts in the Faroese book to recreate these stunning beauties.

For those times when lace is too fine for my fingers, Mom also included a few other yummy books:
Poems of Color: Knitting in the Bohus Tradition by Wendy Keele, Interweave Press, 1995
A Shetland Knitter's Notebook by Mary Smith and Chris Bunyan, The Shetland Times, 1991
Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac, Dover Publications, 1981 (an unabridged and corrected version of Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmerman, 1974)

Any other knitters out there drooling onto their keyboards? I'm certainly feeling like the luckiest, and most loved, daughter in the world right now. Thank you Mom. You not only made my day, you made me cry (yup, a good cry). I only hope that you are around to share these things with me for years and years and years, and that we both end up with so many hand knitted lace shawls we are bored with them in the end. Nope, not going to happen.

The Comforts of Home

We're finally back home! The wedding was wonderful (photos to come soon - some are being emailed from BC, and some from Ontario, as That Logan Chick is an idiot and forgot her camera). Bride was lovely and glowing, groom was handsome and happy. DH did a fine job as a groomsman, even with his hangover (yep, he might be a smart one, but sometimes he forgets himself over Scotch and conversation).

The weather was warm, the mosquitoes were biting, and the pool was delightful. I sunburnt my chest (mind out of gutter - burnt the areas not covered by the bathing suit) on the first day, so spent the rest of the trip with a rather creepy lava red glow about me. It was described as "healthy looking" by some, and "holy sh!t, girl, that looks painful" by others. Now it's just brown.

We had a great time visiting with the various members of the Logan clan able to attend, as well as some Ballers, and many Rempels (the bride's family). Gotta say, though, I got tuckered out darn quick. I blame the sun (I'm just not used to heat and bright light anymore - all it did here in June was rain). Much napping was required in order to remain civil and somewhat presentable.

Getting home was fun - not the drive (aaargh - 8 hours of driving in blinding sun, plus a detour down a long and dusty gravel road due to an accident on Highway 2), but the arrival itself. The cats alternated between ecstatic at our return and aloof to punish our absence. A dog fight between the neighbour's elderly cocker spaniel (maybe 40 lbs soaking wet) and a local malamute (probably 90+ lbs, not including teeth and fur) shot up the adrenaline. Who knew that I was so enamoured of Ransom, the cocker, that I would physically attack a very large dog to try and protect him? Ransom is okay, if a bit sore (he spent a terrifying 30 seconds or so dangling from the malamute's teeth, held by the throat). His owner has a tooth hole in his hand, and I'm still coming down from the adrenaline rush (I actually stuck my thumbs in the larger dog's eyes to get him to drop my little fuzzy buddy - strange what adrenaline will do). And yes, the larger dog is fine, too. I think he is actually embarrassed about the entire incident.

My favorite part of coming home? Our bed! Aaah, the luxury of a homemade quilt and good quality linens - after almost a week on crappy sheets (low thread count and washed in really harsh industrial detergent) my skin was crying out for Egyptian cotton. Yummy.

Oh yeah, the newlyweds loved the quilt. And yes, I finished it in time. We even wrapped it (okay, we tied a ribbon around it and tucked the card into that). Mission accomplished. Now, on to my brother's nap quilt, and some small art pieces. And yet more knitting.