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Nice trip, see you in the Fall

7 Nov

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“Would you like a bag?” the cashier at Twisted, my local yarn shop asked as she rang up my order: two skeins of Knitted Wit Victory DK. I had one last Christmas present to knit.

“No thanks,” I replied. “I can manage. It was a beautiful Fall day, the sun was shining and it was a short walk to the car.

My dog, Lucy, is sometimes a little nervous in the car and I like to take her places that aren’t the vet. A trip to Twisted was a great excuse for a practice trip. Saturdays are our days together and I decided that, if I couldn’t get a parking spot out front, I would just cross my fingers and hope they’d let me bring her in. It is dog-friendly Portland.

I thanked the cashier, grabbed the yarn in my left hand, Lucy’s leash looped around my right wrist, and we were off.

Lucy is sometimes nervous on busy streets, too. She was walking quickly for a basset hound and I was hustling along at a middle-aged lady clip.

We had just crossed the street when my toe caught the edge of the curb. I was down in an instant, yarn on the sidewalk in front of me, Lucy staring at me with a perplexed look.

I got to my knees and took stock of my situation. Scrapes on my knuckles from the pavement, but otherwise okay. And, most importantly, no one had seen me fall.

I picked up my yarn, dusted them off, then got to my feet and slowly readjusted the yarn and Lucy’s leash. Without looking back, we walked even more quickly to the car and drove home where I could start knitting and nurse my bruised pride.

 

 

 

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Of hats and other hand knits

12 Dec

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This book, A Hat for Mrs. Goldman, by Michelle Edwards sums up why I knit; why all knitters knit.  It’s subtitle is A Story About Knitting and Love. It is sort of predictable, but that doesn’t diminish the beauty and truth of the story it tells.

Publisher’s Summary: Mrs. Goldman always knits hats for everyone in the neighborhood, and Sophia, who thinks knitting is too hard, helps by making the pom-poms. But now winter is here, and Mrs. Goldman herself doesn’t have a hat—she’s too busy making hats for everyone else! It’s up to Sophia to buckle down and knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman. But try as Sophia might, the hat turns out lumpy, the stitches aren’t even, and there are holes where there shouldn’t be holes. Sophia is devastated until she gets an idea that will make Mrs. Goldman’s hat the most wonderful of all. Readers both young and old will relate to Sophia’s frustrations, as well as her delight in making something special for someone she loves.

It even includes a simple hat pattern in the back…with a pompom!

I am currently knitting a hat in a style I wouldn’t have chosen. It’s for the PussyHat Project.

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The Pussyhat Project aims to provide the people of the January 21, 2017 “Women’s March on Washington D.C. a means to make a unique collective visual statement which will help activists be better heard” and “provide people who cannot physically be on the National Mall a way to represent themselves and support women’s rights”.

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On Wednesday, I am meeting the counselor from my old school at a yarn shop. She keeps chickens and refers to her birds as “the girls”. When I saw this pattern in the Winter 2016 edition of Knitty, I contacted her and offered to make it for her.

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If you are a knitter and know a chicken lover, you can access the pattern for free HERE.

My friends, this is why knitters knit.

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My take on Black Friday

25 Nov

Driving home from a delicious Thanksgiving meal last night, I passed a noticed all the empty parking lots and thought How nice, people are home enjoying each others company. Then, I drove past a Target. Illusion shattered.

I do not enjoy shopping on a regular day. Needless to say, I will not be joining the throngs of happy shoppers out looking for deals. My holiday gifts are ready. I’ve finished my holiday knitting and purchased the books that will be given. Allow me to smugly say that everything was purchased through independently owned shops.

My Black Friday will consist of three things:

  1. Poor Lucy has her annual vet appointment today. Because of timing this always seems to fall on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving. Poor baby. She will get her bordatella and rabies shots. Most dogs get the bordatella through the nose, but Lucy, feisty girl that she is, always fights it so she gets hers subcutaneously. She is also due for a heart worm recheck. She’s never had heart worm and heart worm never existed this side of the Rockies, but it has arrived in Oregon. If you have a dog, be sure you test and tae appropriate precautions. I suspect, once we are home, she will spend most of the day asleep. She doesn;t really enjoy vet visits, even Dr. Klau is very gentle.Lucy_Nose
  2. I will spend much of my day knitting. I am knitting a scarf with two yarns from my stash and one of them is black. This is an easy pattern that alternates two yarns for a lovely effect.img_2269
  3. I will finish reading The Star-Touched Queen  by Roshani Chokshi.

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Publisher’s Summary:Fate and fortune. Power and passion. What does it take to be the queen of a kingdom when you’re only seventeen?

Maya is cursed. With a horoscope that promises a marriage of Death and Destruction, she has earned only the scorn and fear of her father’s kingdom. Content to follow more scholarly pursuits, her whole world is torn apart when her father, the Raja, arranges a wedding of political convenience to quell outside rebellions. Soon Maya becomes the queen of Akaran and wife of Amar. Neither roles are what she expected: As Akaran’s queen, she finds her voice and power. As Amar’s wife, she finds something else entirely: Compassion. Protection. Desire…

But Akaran has its own secrets — thousands of locked doors, gardens of glass, and a tree that bears memories instead of fruit. Soon, Maya suspects her life is in danger. Yet who, besides her husband, can she trust? With the fate of the human and Otherworldly realms hanging in the balance, Maya must unravel an ancient mystery that spans reincarnated lives to save those she loves the most. . .including herself.

I hope your Black Friday will be as enjoyable as mine (after I get home from the vet).

 

 

 

Llamas, alpacas and goats, oh my!

27 Sep

Saturday dawned early. Although a morning person I struggled. We’d had Back To School Night on Wednesday, and it felt as though it had been followed by two Fridays. Getting up and functioning seemed nigh on impossible, and yet, I forced myself to the coffee maker. It was the day of the Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival!

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It was a beautiful day for a drive to Canby and things were well under way when I got there. Although I really wanted to look at the various yarns for sale, I decided to begin the day in the animal barns.

As an asthmatic, this can be problematic. I brought my inhaler but had no deed of it; the barns were well ventilated. I decided to start with the sheep, since most of the wool I use comes from sheep. I’m not an expert, but I know a little more about sheep, than I do about other animals.And yet, I saw some new faces.

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And lots of fleece. These were some prize winners and they are a lot softer than they look.

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From the sheep and goats, it was on to the camelids: the alpacas and llamas.

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Even with all my wool knowledge, I was surprised to see angora bunnies and Pygora goats, a cross between pygmy and angora goats.

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I didn’t get a picture of a pygora goat, but I bought a lovely skein of pygora yarn.

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By that point I was feeling hungry, so I went over to the see what the food vendors had to offer. No surprise, lamb was the main item on the menu. I opted for the lamb shank sandwich, which, was excellent and really hit the spot.

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I shared my table, but not my meal, with a young family. They’d just purchased an angora rabbit and the kids were happy to tell me about it. Refreshed and reenergized, I faced the crowds of the marketplace. There were tents outside and two buildings with vendors inside. There was lots of roving,  long and narrow bundles of fiber used to make spun yarn. I am simply a knitter. I don’t spin or crochet (though I am weaving-curious) so I focused on the vendors with yarn. I bought a few things I can’t mention, in case some people are reading, but I also picked up this lovely merino/ silk blend for myself.

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By late afternoon, I was exhausted but content. The sun was at my back as I drove home, casting a lovely glow over the whole day.

 

 

Leave Me Alone!

25 Sep

Knitters have lots of mantras. One of my favorites is One more row. Sometimes it is hard to stop. There is a peace, a rhythm, a compulsion to knitting. Living alone, I can find time t knit. Once Lucy is taken care of, time is mine. This is not true of the main character in Vera Brosgol’s  picture book, appropriately entitled  Leave Me Alone. That’s her mantra.

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Publisher’s Summary:An epic tale about one grandmother, a giant sack of yarn, and her ultimate quest to finish her knitting.

One day, a grandmother shouts, “LEAVE ME ALONE!” and leaves her tiny home and her very big family to journey to the moon and beyond to find peace and quiet to finish her knitting. Along the way, she encounters ravenous bears, obnoxious goats, and even hordes of aliens! But nothing stops grandma from accomplishing her goal—knitting sweaters for her many grandchildren to keep them warm and toasty for the coming winter.

This slyly clever and unexpectedly funny modern folktale by Vera Brosgol is certain to warm even the coldest of hearts.

First let me say, kudos to Vera Brosgol for getting the knitting right. Elizabeth Bird recently published an article about inaccurate depictions of knitting in children’s books.

I read this on Saturday morning, just before heading off to the Oregon Flock and Fibre Festival, which I will write about later this week. I actually dithered about whether to go or not, but reading the book helped me decide to go. Knitting can be solitary, but we need people to knit for and a community to help us learn and grow. So, thanks Vera, for a great book, that helped this 50+ knitter.

 

The thrill of victory…

7 Aug

…the agony of defeat.

Growing up, many a Saturday was spent watching Wide World of Sports. Its opening became  an iconic sports meme for me long before the Internet was flooded with them.

I’ve been thinking about this intro as the Olympics begin.

There are lots of ways spectators can participate without flying to Rio. Knitters can join the Ravellinic Games on Ravelry, where there is only one rule:

The One Rule To Rule Them All: Challenge yourself by starting and finishing one or more projects during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

There are actual events such as the Mitten Medley, WIPs Wrestling, Sock Put and Synchronized Spinning. Although I am madly working on a WIP (Work in Progress) I am not participating in the Ravellinics. Too much pressure to perform.

I am however, reading a sports themed book!

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Publisher’s Summary:

I am Lou Brown:

Social outcast, precocious failure, 5’10” and still growing.

I was on the fast track to the Olympic superstardom.

Now, I’m training boys too cool to talk to me. In a sport I just made up. In a fish tank.

My life has quickly become very weird.

Nat Luurtsema’s YA debut is side-splittingly funny and painfully true to anyone who’s just trying to figure out how they fit into the world.

Goodreads gives a little more detail.

Goodreads Sumary: Lou Brown is one of the fastest swimmers in the county. She’s not boasting, she really is. So things are looking pretty rosy the day of the Olympic time-trials. With her best mate Hannah by her side, Lou lines up by the edge of the pool, snaps her goggles on and bends into her dive…

Everything rests on this race. It’s Lou’s thing.

… or it was. She comes dead last and to top it all off Hannah sails through leaving a totally broken Lou behind.

Starting again is never easy, particularly when you’re the odd-one out in a family of insanely beautiful people and a school full of social groups way too intimidating to join. Where do you go from here? Finding a new thing turns out to be the biggest challenge Lou’s ever faced and opens up a whole new world of underwater somersaults, crazy talent shows, bitchy girls and a great big load of awkward boy chat.

Lou Brown guides us through the utter humiliation of failure with honesty, sass and a keen sense of the ridiculous. This girl will not be beaten.

This book was first published in the UK as Girl out of Water.

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In France, it is Moi et les Aquaboys.

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No matter what language you read it in, this is a funny and poignant novel about what happens after the agony of defeat.

Crawling to the Airport

6 Jul

Rather than driving directly to the airport for my 6pm return flight home, my sister and I took a leisurely drive to the airport yesterday in order to participate in the Lakeside Yarn Crawl.

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Unlike Portland’s 4-day Rose City Yarn Crawl, the Lakeside Yarn Crawl begins in mid-June and runs through Labour Day. That gives you two months to visit the twelve participating LYS (local yarn shops) that rim the Southern end of Georgian Bay in Ontario.

Our first stop was True North Yarn Co. in Barrie.This was the only shop of the 12 in the yarn crawl my sister had been to before. The first shop on a yarn crawl is always tricky. You don’t want to get carried away and spend too much, but you don’t want to walk out without supporting a local yarn shop. I bought a colorful self-striping yarn.

Our next stop was also in Barrie. Eliza’s Buttons and Yarn is a treasure, tucked away in a strip mall just off the 400. That’s a major highway for those of you not from Ontario. Deb, who was manning the store that day, was a gregarious knitter.She and her sister, Lyn, design patterns under the name Cabin Fever.  I was anxious to get to this shop because I knew from the passport that they stocked the signature yarn of the crawl and I wanted to ask about it. Deb told us about Dragon Strings,  the local dyer who produced the yarn, a cashmere blend called Lakeside, dyed to match the colors of Georgian Bay.

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I didn’t purchase a skein here, but chose another skein by the dyer in Fall colors. Me & my earth tones! My sister did get one, however, and we left feeling as though we had found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

After a bite to eat at Panera, we went off the 400 and onto what William Least Heat Moon calls a blue highway. our destination was Alliston, and two more shops.

The first, Alliston Yarns, is what we like to call a grandma shop. It caters to an older, more traditional knitter. This is not the place to look for hand-dyed Blue-faced Leicester, but you can find a great gran for knitting aster or baby blanket. I got a skein of gradient sock yarn here.

A little further down highway 89 was our last stop, The Knitting Basket, in Rosemont, a tiny town about 10 miles west of Alliston. Angie, the owner of this shop, was my favorite shop person of the day. She runs her small business out of her house in this rural area. My sister and I fantasized about how we could do this when we retire. For a small shop in rural Ontario, she has excellent yarn. She has a lovely mix of everyday yarns and a range of independent dyers. I finally got my skein of Lakeside here! My sister and I each got a gift bag, too. We had a lovely chat with Angie about how her business operates. If you are in the area, you should definitely stop in to see her.

So, here’s my stash.

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My sister’s GPS indicated we could get to the airport on more blue highways, so, rather than return to the 400, we meandered through the Central Ontarian landscape and small towns towards Toronto, stopping for a Tim Horton’s in Bolton.

I got to the airport in a timely manner and had a bit of Canadian money left, so, I did what any self-respecting ex-pat should so: I bought the candy I can’t get in the USA!

Here’s my other stash.

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