Sunday, December 23, 2007

a new kid-bit already!

Thanks to Susanne, a new kid-bit:

Oh I have a "kid-bit" for you! My youngest DD is due in February and my oldest DD has been trying to explain to her 3 yr old (CM)that Auntie T. is having a baby. He doesn't seem to get it. The other day they were together at the pregnant one's home CM picked something up off a table and his cousin said "no don't that is for the baby". CM said "you don't have a baby here". His Mom overheard this exchange and said, "yes remember CM I told you that Auntie T is having a baby?". Then T piped up and rubbed her tummy saying.."see Auntie T has a baby in her tummy"...CM ..huge gasp..."YOU ATE a BABY?????". The girls collapsed and ran to respective bathrooms to recover..
Have a good rest and know that I will certainly provide you with "kid-bits" on occasion. With 8 grands I have lots!!!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

a break

Well, with some mixed feelings on my part, my teaching career for this school year is over. The combination of my various health woes has been kicking my butt. The fatigue and pain have dictated that teaching is too difficult at this point. I will be on medical leave until the end of June. I will truly miss the children and the other staff members but I am relieved to have time to rest. Hopefully, the leave will allow me to get rested up so that I can resume living with some energy again.

Of course, being away from the kids will cut off my source for the kid-bits. I'd sure love to hear any that you can send my way.

I'm hoping that more time on my hands will translate into more fiber time. I have so many things that I want to do with my spinning, dyeing, and knitting!

Here's hoping that you all have a very Merry Christmas! Be safe and warm!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

work it baby

Bentley received an early Christmas present from his breeder Daphne today so he and I attempted a photo shoot to show you. It's a beautiful coat with reflective trim and his own monogrammed initial!

At first, he wasn't too thrilled about wearing the new threads...

When rolling and turning around didn't dislodge it, he started to be resigned to his fate...

And finally, after a lot of dud shots, here is B and his new coat in a classic profile pose.

Monday, December 17, 2007

and another kid-bit...

This one comes courtesy of my sister and her two kids, ages 7 and 8.

Lately the kids have been rather fascinated with bad words. I regularly hear that "I know what the A word is." This morning they were doing it again trying to impress each other with knowing more than the other. Katie said that she knew what the F word was... fro up.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

another little k-b

One of my colleagues, who teaches grade 2, shared this kid-bit with me yesterday. Her class was painting Christmas crafts when one of her boys came to her to complain that a girl had painted on his paint shirt. The teacher assumed that the girl had swiped her paintbrush on his shirt but discovered that she had done more than that. She had painted, "(boy's name) is a dork" on it but had misspelled dork as "dok". The teacher talked to the girl explaining that there was a problem in that she had ruined the other student's shirt and she had no money to buy him a new one so how was she going to solve the problem? The girl decided that she would trade paint shirts with the boy so that he would have her clean one. Good solution except that now the perpetrator is wearing the paint shirt that says "(boy's name) is a dok" every time they're painting. Both of the kids seem quite satisfied with the arrangement but it's going to be very hard for the teachers to keep a straight face when we see them.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

a little kid-bit

I started reading "chapter books" to my grade ones in story time a few weeks ago. Up until then I had read them picture books. Chapter books, where you have to imagine most of the pictures, are a big deal to these six year olds, almost a graduation of sorts. Since then I have seen several of them toting around junior novels (Junie B. Jones series, etc.) that they had persuaded mom and dad to buy for them at the school book fair at the end of November. Most kids can't read them yet but carry them around, almost like status symbols, until evening when the folks at home read a chapter to them.

Yesterday I noticed a John Grisham novel on the desk of one of my sweetest little girls. When I asked her why she had it she replied, "I'm reading it."

Monday, December 03, 2007

pa thrum-pum-pum pum...

With the cold, cold weather here, I decided to knit some thrummed mittens for myself. I bought the Noro wool because it matches my coat and I was going to use strips of roving from my stash for the thrums. I happened to be shopping at Zeller's one day and spied this Bernat felting wool that matches the Noro pretty well so I bought it to use instead of the roving.

I had never knit thrums before so I bought this Briggs and Little pattern leaflet to learn how.

I couldn't figure out how to do it from these directions at all. It said something about passing the thrum over the stitch but it wasn't working for me. I was about to chuck the whole notion when I did an internet search and found Yarn Harlot's blog about thrums. Turns out it's really easy! You just knit the stitch and the thrum together and then knit them through the back loop on the next round. My advice if you're trying to learn to knit thrums: skip the Briggs and Little pattern. It's very confusing.

Now that I have it all figured out, I'm not sure I'll be able to finish this project. My wrists are sore. Whenever I try to knit some bulky yarn I end up with this problem. The Noro yarn on its own isn't a problem but adding the thrums is just too difficult for my hands. I ran into the same problem last winter when I started knitting warm things. Maybe if I just do a few rows at a time I can eventually finish the mitts. I'm sure that I would appreciate their warmth.

A kid-bit for you:
The morning teacher in my classroom teaches the language arts. They have been learning the letter sounds and listing words that begin with the letter of the day. Last week one of the kids excitedly told me that they were learning f words that day. There was a slight pause and another kid chimed in, "not the bad words though".

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


This is what greeted us yesterday morning. It wasn't the first snow of the season but it certainly was the coldest temperature we've had so far. Last night the temp dipped to -26 degrees C with a wind chill of -35C (that's about -31 F for you American folks). That's January cold!
These pics were taken from the relative shelter of the sun room.

Here is what's done on the first of Dan's socks. The yarn is my own hand-dyed Knit Picks sport weight done Queen Kahuna style. It's not my favorite method of sock knitting but it can't be beat for customized fit. It's hard to tell in the pics but it's knit in a K3, P1 ribbing.

A close-up of the slipped stitch heel and heel flap.

The sock blocker is way too small for these socks so here is the ribbing stretched a bit on my hand so that you can see it. The color got washed out in this photo. It's really closer to the color in the other pics. That's Robbie being nosy and a pest in the background. He's not getting as much exercise as usual because it's too freaking cold to be outside long enough so he's looking for excitement.

The sole of the sock. Dan has very rectangular feet compared to mine.
Meanwhile, this is how the Zivec dogs pass the time on a cold day.Harrison is just coming from the living room window where he keeps watch on the world.

Bentley taking a break from destroying the corded edging on the dog bed. We have resorted to belly banding him as he is not an easy dog to housetrain. Apparently it's a Dachshund thing. They're too busy sniffing while outside and forget to do their business. We started belly banding Pocus too and found out that he's been merrily spritzing everywhere for most of his life. We hardly ever catch him at it and it's purely territory-marking behavior. I've never had Shelties that weren't reliably housetrained once they're mature enough. Different kind of dogs completely. If you are interested, I ordered the belly bands from this Etsy site and they are beautifully custom-made and reasonably priced.

Austin just hanging out.

Robbie. Could this dog look any more energetic?

And Pocus, probably choosing his actions better than any of us, curled up in a warm sleepy ball on the couch.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

I'm still here

My apologies for the scant postings lately. Things have been overwhelmingly busy at work and I have been struggling to work through the TMJ and fibromyalgia pain.

There isn't much to post about knitting or anything else fiber-y. After making most of one foot for Dan's "surprise" socks, I started having my doubts about the fit. I decided that it would be more important to knit socks that fit him than to keep them a surprise. Good thing. He didn't like the fit so they were frogged and restarted. I have the new foot finished and am working on the cuff now. He has big feet! His foot shape is the opposite of mine - wide, wide, wide right to the tip of his toes. I have narrow feet and pointy toes so making socks for him is forcing me to try new fitting tactics. Now that all of the tricky stuff is done, all that is left is boring long cuffs. I'll post a picture as soon as I have the energy to take out the camera.

Bentley has officially left puppyhood behind as he turned one year old. The weekend before the puppies' birthday, his sister Chloe won Best of Breed and a Group 2 in another Specialty! What a way to finish her puppy career!

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Are you ready yet?

Maybe this will help.

Friday, November 16, 2007


How funny is this?! I saw this link to get your blog's reading level assessed and this is mine. Can someone please tell me what I have written that would require college level reading ability?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a terrible blow

My regular blog readers will remember that I bought some lovely alpaca/merino wool from Victoria of Victoria's Fibre. I just learned that Victoria's home in Manitoba has been destroyed in a fire. Thankfully there was no one home at the time and even the cats were outside so nobody was hurt. However, Victoria lost about 1500 lbs. of fiber that wasn't insured so she will be starting over with her business.

Because she was going to a craft show the next day, Victoria had some of her yarn in the trunk of her car so some of her wool was saved. If you are in the market to buy some wool please consider her yarn. It is really beautiful! Her contact information is on the website. You can see here and here some of what I bought and dyed. It's worsted weight 2-ply 70% alpaca/30% merino that was mule spun for softness. I'll be ordering more for myself because it's wonderful stuff and because Victoria could really use some help from the fiber community at this time.

I wonder how many of us have insurance on our yarn and fiber stashes. It's got me thinking that I'd better check my coverage. It might be a good time to assess what else we have that might need to be insured like my husband's DVD library. I buy wool, he buys movies.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Yay for blog comments!

lovs2knit and monica aka gloria patre left comments about my poor frogged denim sock suggesting I dye a similar skein to knit with the original wool. That, of course, was a brilliant suggestion! I'm not sure why I hadn't thought of it myself but I am thankful that someone else was doing the thinking for me. The new skein is on the left of the picture and the original skein is on the right. I don't like it quite as well as the first sock but it's still lovely and will match my jeans.

I've been doing some Christmas knitting that I won't post just yet. Dan mentioned that he would like warm house socks so I took his measurements and then told him that it would be way too much work to knit big socks for him just to wear around the house. Now I can knit them to spec and still have them be a surprise as long as he doesn't read my blog which I'm pretty sure he doesn't. Just to be on the safe side I won't post a progress pic that might catch his eye.

Monday, October 29, 2007

kid bit

This from the out-of-the-mouths-of-babes department:

Today as I sat my grade ones on the mat in front of me for story time one little guy told me that my hair "looks better". When I asked him better than what, he replied, "There's more white in it."

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh, crap!

This is the hand-dyed denim yarn that I kept for myself from the last batch of dyeing. I adore this yarn - the color, it's softness, the heathered look as it's knit up. I am knitting it double-stranded to make a nice warm winter sock. It is fitting really well.

The problem? I am going to run out of yarn before finishing the pair. I knew that it was a possibility when I started. I had just one skein of a little more than 100 g, about 440 yards. I should have dyed two of them the same when I did this one but it didn't occur to me that I was going to knit it double-stranded. I didn't keep track of the color combos that I mixed to create it so making another the same is not going to happen. I naively thought that if it looked like I would be a bit short, I would finish the toes in a different color.

I just weighed the yarn that is still unknit and I have 60 g. No way is 10 g going to get me even close to the toe of this first sock of the pair. Because I love this yarn intensely, I don't want to have half of each sock a different color. I want the world to see my beautiful yarn as my toes peek out of my Birks. So... frog, frog, frog. Sob!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I've been dyeing again

Here are the latest dyeing results. The first two are available in my Etsy shop.

This is Denim, a fingering weight merino. Plenty of yarn for socks.

This is Mountain Spruce, a worsted weight alpaca/merino blend. The yarn was mule spun in Alberta and I bought it from Victoria's Fibre in Manitoba. Victoria is great to deal with! It's really yummy yarn and the colors turned out very pretty. There are two of these skeins for sale.

I'm keeping this one for myself. Shades of my favorite blues, the color of old jeans, it's also fingering weight merino.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Sale in my Etsy shop

I'm having a 20% off hand-dyed yarn sale in my Etsy shop until the end of October. Click on the link to the left for more information if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

finally, a show pic

Here's the show photo from Bentley's wins in Yorkton in August. The picture just came today because the first time it was sent it went AWOL in the mail. B is a handsome little dude, isn't he? I wish I had more time to show him while he's still a puppy but work interferes with that notion. Also, there are fewer shows near home every year so I would have to travel a good distance to get to a show. It's unfortunate but the small dog clubs just don't find it feasible to host shows any more.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

fiber and other updates

Still Life With Spindles

There has not been much knitting or other fiber activities happening around here because of everything else that was going on in September but I do have a few things to share. I envy those of you who have such beautiful artistic photos on your blogs. My Still Life With Spindles is about as artistic as I get. On the left is a Kundert spindle and on the right is a Bosworth. They're both wonderful but I especially like the Kundert.

I finished this sock and am currently working on its twin. On Line Supersocke Winter 6-Ply, plain vanilla. Bentley in the picture, as usual.

I was invited to join Ravelry, and did, but I have no idea when I will get around to putting all of my stuff there. It could be a full-time job. Ravelry is a very cool concept and will likely be very interesting when I find the time to do it justice. My Ravelry name is doglover for those of you who are also members.

In the meantime, I've had the knitting blahs and a bad case of startitis lately. Rather than finishing things, I keep casting on new socks. I started a pair of socks using the Queen Kahuna Crazy Toes and Heels method with Apple Laine yarn. Although I prefer knitting socks top-down I really like the way the QK socks fit me. Her Aloha toe is the sturdiest one that I've found. The Apple Laine yarn is wonderfully soft.

I got Cat Bordhi's new book, New Pathways for Sock Knitters, and made the Little Sky Sock. I'm not sure how much I'll use these new patterns. I don't think I have the energy to be enthused about them just now. They're certainly interesting.

Cat Bordhi likes to double strand Trekking yarn to make socks so I thought I'd try it with these two skeins that I had in my stash. The subtle color changes in the Trekking yarns, this one and that one, are very attractive together. Again, just another plain vanilla pattern that will be warm for winter.

I had a couple of skeins of JoJoLand Melody yarn so I doubled it for this sock in the Spiralling Socks pattern. It's too heavy to do justice to this beautiful pattern so it will be frogged and started over using one strand.

I carded a bit of the sheltie undercoat that I've been saving with some merino using the new Strauch carder. It's gorgeous! I love my new carder. Here is some spun up...

And finally, we welcomed a new little critter into our already pet-friendly home. This is Carmen's 4 month old kitten. The kids named him Nightmare, which I refuse to call him. He is cuddly and friendly and laid-back; Nightmare is a stupid name for this little love. My dogs haven't met any cats before and they are most interested in this one. Unfortunately, the way they are showing their interest is by barking like idiots at him so he is understandably wary of them and spends most of his time downstairs past the baby gate that blocks the dogs from going down. He's ventured up a few times so I know that he'd like to join us but it will take time for all of the animals to get used to each other.

Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians! We truly have much to be thankful for, living in this country.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Saturday in the back yard

I haven't posted any dog pictures for a long time so I thought I would take advantage of a nice day and do so. It also helped that Dan raked up the leaves the evening before so that we could actually see the grass for a few hours before the wind blew down the next wave of leaves.

Harrison giving his "come hither" look. Actually he loves being outside and is always checking out whether there may be birds that need to be watched and/or herded so I have to call him to get his face in the pictures.

In recent days Bentley has decided that he is a mountain goat and has been climbing and perching calmly on anything that he can. Maybe I should think about doing agility with this boy.

Austin's party trick is "Where's your tail?" In addition to doing it on request he sometimes does it just to draw attention to himself, as he is here.

Robbie mid-bark. I love the tongue - it makes him look so sophisticated, don't you think?

And finally, Pocus, posing for the camera as usual.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Autumn in Saskatchewan

The funeral for Dallas' mom was on Thursday afternoon in the tiny town of Spy Hill, Saskatchewan, near the Manitoba border. If I remember correctly, Spy Hill has about 200 inhabitants. There were approximately 350 people at the funeral. I guess that sums up how people felt about Bev Orth. She was a special lady.

It was a typical fall day on the prairies so I snapped lots of pictures as we drove. Autumn is my favorite time of year. The sun still has warmth but the air is cool. There was a good breeze that blew clouds across the broad expanse of the sky.
Near Regina the land is basically flat. The crops are harvested and the night frosts have turned many of the grasses and trees various shades of gold. Most farms enjoyed a good crop this year. Judging by the number of hay bales that we saw, the cattle should eat well this winter.
All of the land is not flat. There are a number of lovely valleys scattered throughout the southern landscape as well. Most of the time, they appear as pleasant surprises as you drive along the highway. The next picture shows one that surprised us shortly after we turned north of the town of Whitewood.
Spy Hill is near the town of Esterhazy. Esterhazy is home to most of the miners who work at the Mosaic Potash Mine, one of the largest in the world. It's difficult to capture the size of the mine on a picture. Seeing the large trucks and equipment crawling like ants on the side of the outside of the mine makes you realize just how vast it is. Apparently, it is way bigger underground.
The sun sets early now. This obligatory sunset pic was taken at about 7:20pm as we drove home.

Monday, September 24, 2007

more goodbyes

My brother-in-law Dallas' mom passed away last evening after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. She will be missed.

We also lost a friend of the family, Bob Farmer, last week. We spent many hours with Bob and his family when we were kids. Bob and his wife Marj were very good friends of my parents. Their children, Joanne and Neil, were almost like siblings to me and my sister.

I don't know why but life often throws us a lot of losses at once. Sigh.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

the gory pic

Geoff got his injury photo off of his phone by emailing it to himself. If you have a strong stomach and want to see how an arm looks after it gets eaten by a miter saw, click this link to take you to the pic in Flickr. Dan says it looks like pictures that he's seen of shark bite injuries.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

a close call

My son Geoff works for an installations company and was installing new carpet and lino in an apartment yesterday. Late in the afternoon, as he was finishing putting the baseboards up, he had an accident with the table power saw. It tore through his forearm to the bone. He was taken by ambulance to the emergency ward at the nearest hospital, shocky from losing a significant amount of blood. We didn't find out about the accident until he was at the hospital.

He is a very lucky young man (although I don't think he feels terribly lucky just now because of all the pain that he's in)! After consulting with specialists it was determined that the saw somehow missed the ligaments and tendons and the damage was confined to the muscles. This news was wonderful as it meant that he didn't lose the function of his hand and doesn't need surgery to repair the injury. He did need several layers of stitches to close the wound. The doctor was fine with Dan and I watching as they stitched up the gash and it was a shock to actually see the damage but it could have been so much worse!

Geoff had the doctor take a picture of the wound with his camera phone and I was all for posting it on this blog but we are lacking the proper software to get the picture off of his phone so you are spared the gory sight.

Apparently the new carpet took a hit from all the blood. Geoff said that it looked like a murder scene on CSI. I'm sure it did as an artery was severed. He was quite concerned that he damaged the new carpet. We assured him that the carpet is the least of anyone's worry; we're just so glad that he will be okay.

At this point, I would officially like to tell the fates that we have had more than enough excitement around here for the month of September and we are ready to go back to our dull, ordinary lives now.

By the way, the dogs are always interested in wounds. Their superior sense of smell alerts them to the odor of the blood (from quite far away). You can see Harrison trying to get closer to Geoff's arm in the picture.

Monday, September 17, 2007

I'm so excited!

Look what the mailman brought me today - my new Strauch Petite drum carder!
There's also a bonus bag of fiber from Copper Moose. I'm really pleased with the transaction and highly recommend this company! The carder was delivered very quickly.

Unfortunately, I had to go to work (and try to catch up at school because I was on compassionate leave last week because of my grandmother's funeral) and didn't have time to play with my new toy yet. I'll post more when I've had a chance to try it out.

On another subject, we in Saskatchewan live in a land of extremes. Last Thursday was cold and windy. We almost froze while at the cemetery for the interment after the funeral. That night we had a hard frost. It dipped to -8 degrees C (about 15 F). We turned on the furnace. Yesterday, Sunday, the temperature climbed to 30 C (86 F)! I thought about turning on the air conditioner but couldn't bring myself to do it after all the cold weather a couple of days earlier. When I went to work at lunchtime today it was beautiful: sunny, calm, and 22 C (room temperature). When I left school at 6 pm it was overcast, windy, and 12 C (about 55 F). I wished that I had brought a jacket. There is a saying around here that if you don't like the weather, wait a half hour. It sure has been true this last week.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My grandmother, Elsie Pawchuk, passed away peacefully on Sunday, September 9, 2007. She is pictured with her great-grandchildren Katie and Christopher.

Granny was born in 1912 in Insinger SK, the second child of John and Rosie Copan, who were immigrants from the Ukraine. Her parents raised their children to work hard and be respectful and she held those values throughout her life. She told us stories about how strict her parents were, especially her father, but also how loving they were. In later years, she accompanied me to the Royal Red Arabian Horse Show annually in Regina and shared anecdotes about her father being a “horse man” and how well he trained and curried the horses.

She was always very close to her siblings, brothers Bill, Gordon, and Steve, and her sister Marian and, later, to their spouses Elsie, Ella, Tillie, and John, and their families. We’re very happy that she had a visit from Steve and Marian in June from their homes in B.C. She talked to her sister Marian by phone nearly every day, even when both of their hearing problems made phone conversations difficult. It seemed enough that they both knew the other was on the line at the same time.

Granny only finished grade 8 of her schooling because she needed to go to work as a housekeeper but she kept a thirst for learning until her death. She loved to play Scrabble and Brainteasers with her friends at Pioneer Village. She was fiercely independent and her mind was sharp to the end.

We are fortunate that she left a written heirloom for us by completing a book of recollections. In it she tells that she had happy teen years but they were too short. Her favorite activities were going for long walks and going to dances. She began dating Matt Pawchuk when she was sixteen. In the memory book, granny wrote that she liked him because he was very nice company and was popular. He also had beautiful dark brown curly hair. They were married in June 1930, over the objections of her parents who thought that she was too young. Upon her marriage she became a mother to Eleanor, Matt’s daughter, whose mother had died when she was very young. They lived with Matt’s parents in Theodore for four years before they rented a farm and moved into a little house by themselves. They eventually opened a small grocery store in Mozart SK and had two children, Gwen and Earl.

Once the children were into their teens they moved to Regina. Granny worked at Simpsons Department Store in the housewares and sewing departments. She sewed a lot of clothing for her children and grandchildren while working. Her grandchildren, Susan, Darcie, Bill, and Donna, knew that they would receive new, hand-sewn pyjamas each Christmas Eve. She also enjoyed knitting and crocheting. Granny was a fastidious housekeeper who liked to clean house and do laundry and ironing. She often told us how much she liked to iron and she ironed EVERYTHING, including sheets, pillowcases, tea towels, and underwear! As she became older and her eyesight deteriorated, her grandchildren could relax more when she visited, as she didn’t always notice that their housekeeping wasn’t up to her exacting standards.

Granny also cooked and baked for her family. They loved her bread, perogies, cabbage rolls and beet rolls. She kept their freezers stocked and also cooked with the ladies of the church for the various functions that they served. We have yet to taste a store-bought perogy that can compare to granny’s but Donna is continuing the tradition of making them for others. Granny’s favorite foods were bread and juicy, garden-ripened tomatoes.

Granny’s Ukrainian heritage was important to her and she taught her family many of the customs, especially those involving celebrations, by feeding everyone traditional dishes. After having the food baskets blessed on Easter Sunday, everyone went to her place to eat the contents. She had the family over for Ukrainian Christmas Eve as long as she was able to cook. She would often take her little grandchildren to church with her. They didn’t understand any of the services in Ukrainian but were fascinated by the singing and the splendor of the church.

Granny regarded spouses of her children and grandchildren as her own kids. She remembered everyone’s birthday and anniversary, and managed to find cards that were specific to the recipient. When she became unable to shop for specific-enough cards, she wrote the necessary ‘grand’s, ‘in-law’s, and ‘great’s on them herself. She delighted in her great-grandchildren Geoffrey, Carly, Brant, Christopher, and Katie. She was so pleased that her youngest great-grandchild, Kathryn Elizabeth, is also her namesake.

There are many happy memories of granny and grandpa dancing with the grandchildren to Ukrainian and old-time dance music. They would start them young by carrying the babies in their arms while they danced. When Don Messer’s Jubilee and The Tommy Hunter shows came on T.V. it was time to push the furniture out of the way and start dancing. They also taught the children various card games, always with great patience. Granny spent many happy times teaching grandchildren to cook and bake. When the little ones were in the room, Granny and Grandpa would slip into the Ukrainian language for the parts of the conversation that they didn’t want the kids to understand. Unfortunately, that practice didn’t help anyone to learn to speak or understand Ukrainian very well.

Granny’s religious faith was very strong and it helped her weather the difficult times in her life including the deaths of her husband Matt, her daughters Eleanor and Gwen, her brothers Bill and Gordon, her sister-in-law Elsie, her brother-in-law John, and her sons-in-law Geoff and Stan. Circulation problems necessitated the amputation of both of her legs and confined her to a wheelchair for the last few years. Her faith comforted her and she often told us that she didn’t fear death.

In closing, I’d like to share the following words that she wrote in the memory book.

How the World Has Changed Since I Was a Little Girl

They invented radio and television.

They discovered immunization.

They succeeded in preventing children from getting

some diseases.

When man landed on the moon I watched on TV and could

hardly believe it.

Timesavers my mother never had are automatic washing machines and microwave ovens.

Women today are better educated and hold better positions in the working world but are not respected as much.

Some movies today are educational but some are violent and should not be seen by children.

Dating today is different because there are so many things to do – a lot more than there were when I was young.

I still like the old-fashioned ways of dating, dancing, and visiting.

My wish for the future is for you to be happy, healthy, and content.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Spindolyn

Drop spindles and I have a love/hate relationship. I love the way they look, I love their history and traditions, I love that there are so many options like size, weight, top whorl, bottom whorl, wood, stone, etc. I hate that I have to co-ordinate my spinning while battling gravity. Most of the time gravity wins and my carefully spun singles go rolling and unraveling as my yarn breaks and the spindle drops to the ground. So I got this: The Spindolyn. It takes the drop out of drop spindles. It is a support spindle and you draft the fiber away from the hook. Way cool and pretty reasonable. I've been spinning sheltie hair with it and it's great for fine fibers. It will never challenge my love affair with my spinning wheel but it's a neat option for portability. The only hitch is that my weak shoulder can't keep up the drafting for very long.

I want to spin a combination of wool and sheltie hair. I think that adding wool to the dog fur will improve its wearability and make it easier to knit by providing some elasticity to the yarn. I hand carded a bit of the combination but my weak shoulder complained viciously about the hand carding process. I couldn't get too into it mentally either because it felt like I was doing more grooming on hair that had already been groomed off the dogs. Like I don't have enough grooming on my plate already. So I researched drum carders for several weeks as I waited for September so that there would be a paycheque before the credit card bill arrived. Teachers don't get paid over the summer.

Behold this! I ordered it yesterday. I can hardly wait for it to arrive!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sale on hand-painted yarn in Etsy shop

All hand-painted yarns in my Etsy shop are on sale for 10% off until Sunday, Sept. 9/07. You can get there from the side bar if you're interested.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It never rains but it pours...

As if things weren't crazy enough around here this past week, we got a phone call from the nurses at my grandmother's senior care home on Thursday afternoon telling us that she was doing very poorly and that she wanted us to come and say good-bye. She really did look dreadful and we sat with her for the better part of two days. Family arrived from Manitoba on Friday. On Saturday she was sitting up, eating a bit, and looking better. By later in the day, she was playing cribbage. She is 94 1/2 years old and it seems that her heart is going to last a little longer after all. We love her dearly but she has been ready to die for a while now and we know that she would have been happy to go. She has a lot of faith and is looking forward to being reunited with passed loved ones. She is quite annoyed that she is getting better. She's obviously made of good pioneer stock. At least we had a chance to visit with family this weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

a quick brag

I started back to school today. The kids start on Wednesday so we teachers are busy preparing for their first day back. I'm teaching grade one this year. I've only taught grade one once before so I'll be busy.

I went to Yorkton SK dog shows on the weekend. I am exhausted and it was probably not the wisest move before heading back to work. However, Bentley had an awesome weekend! There were six shows in three days and between ten and twelve mini long dachsies entered at each one. Bentley and his sister Chloe split the Best of Breed wins between them (at the tender age of just barely nine months old), each of them also won a Group 4th placement, and Bentley won one Best Puppy in Group and Chloe won two Best Puppy in Groups! Bentley's breeder Daphne has a theory that Bentley wins in the mornings at shows and Chloe wins in the afternoons and it certainly held true for the weekend.

I have lots of pictures to sort through and am too tired and busy to worry about it today but I will post some in the near future.

Monday, August 20, 2007

In search of the perfect purled sole

I have sensitive feet and I also have diabetes. Most socks that have stocking stitch on the sole bother my feet because of the purl bumps. So I have been on the lookout for a way to knit the perfect purled sole.

I started by purling all of the heel turn, gusset and sole stitches on this sock, Baby Cable Ribs from Sensational Knitted Socks. I used 2mm needles with the Socks That Rock lightweight yarn.
It worked but frankly, it was a pain. I got tired of substituting SSPs for the SSKs and P2togs for the K2togs. SSPs are fiddly.

So then I tried this.
I decided to purl the heel turn and then gradually increase the purl stitches on the sole of this Monkey sock while keeping the gusset decreases in stocking stitch. It works but it looks kind of odd. I think that I'll frog it. Poor Monkey sock and I have had our issues and this is not the first time it has been frogged. Yarn is Lisa Souza's Delft colorway, also knit on 2mm needles.

Then I discovered Lynn H.'s Fast Florida Footies pattern. (Cascade Fixation on 3mm needles.)
The heel turn continues the slip stitch heel pattern, then one row of knit stitches are used for picking up the gusset. All but four of the sole stitches are purled (two on each side of the sole). Lynn is obviously a very bright person! It looks neat, is easy on the feet, and the fiddly gusset decreases are done in knit stitches.

So now I have used Lynn's technique on this vanilla sock in Skacel Trampoline Stretch (leg knit on 2.5mm needles, foot on 2.0mm needles).
I didn't use Lynn's No Purl Heel Stitch, just a regular slip stitch heel flap, then continued it through the heel turn. You can see the start of the gusset. All but four of the sole stitches are purled, then there is a marker between the sole and gusset stitches. There's another marker between the gusset and the stocking stitch instep stitches so that it's easy to remember where to do the decreases.

It wasn't easy to find information to do this technique. Most references are casual and just say to purl the sole stitches. I was a sock knitting newbie when I started looking for help to do this and was frustrated by the lack of information. Hopefully this little tutorial will help someone else. Thank you to Lynn H. for publishing instructions for her FFF pattern!!