Thursday, September 15, 2016

A summer of lace, part one

G'day all!

I thought I should do a knitted finished object post - I've been knitting like crazy for the last couple of months.

I've been taking part in a knitalong my favourite group on Ravelry (RemRants), Summer of Lace 2016.  I guess it isn't so much a knitalong where you all do the same pattern as a group encouragement thing where we show off what we've been knitting and it should have some lace in it.

A couple of weeks ago I took some of my new knits down to the beach and did a photo shoot of them and a quilt I finished months and months ago.

First, for your delectation and delight, we have Dawn:

Convenient driftwood, and colours match the shawl!

The pattern is Girdle of Melian by Raven Knits Designs (links go to Ravelry).  Light yarn is aptly named Dawn, in a silk, wool and seacell blend by Fidalgo Artisan yarns.  Its colour is more subtle than my pics show.  It really looks like that clear blue light of just before sunrise.  The darker edging yarn is Mora, 100% silk, in Azules by Mmmmalabrigo.


More driftwood! 



Convenient old piling.


This one was actually a knitalong in six or seven parts.  I took it with me to Glacier National Park and knitted frantically on it during the evenings.  (Did I mention we went to Glacier?  Probably not!)


The yarn provides a lovely drape


Next we have Deepwater, my version of Waiting for Rain.  This was an interesting knit, very wordy pattern mind, that you can customise to be how you like it.  So of course instead of being a single colour, I immediately used a gradient set of mini skeins (Graphium in Iachos by A Hundred Ravens - apparently I'm the only person to have ever put it on Ravelry).  The dark colour is Madtosh Stargazing in Twist Light.  My phone pics (and the big camera pics) lose a bit of the subtlety of Stargazing - it is really a dark blue with lighter blue and bottle green bits and very yummy.  Actually the phone pics also lose the beautiful shades in the Graphium minies - a couple of the colours are absolutely gorgeous IMO, subtle variants of blue and green with a bit of mauve thrown in.


Left end

So long.  Rightish side

This is truly a very long shawl.  It is over two metres from tip to tip and as such, terribly hard to get shots of!  Very pretty though.

It spans all of the roots of the driftwood tree!

Third, but by no means least, is my version of Anemone canadensis, another design by Raven Knits.  This one is a design that is meant to stand up to variegated yarn, so I pulled out a skein I bought in London and had at it.  Yarn is Ziggy Stardust by I knit or dye.  Colourway?  None was given.  Pink, mauve and deeper pink.

A nice size shawl, fits over the shoulders and onto the front
This was a test knit so I did it exactly as written.  This was a fairly easy knit for me - once I had the lace pattern established in my head, I could zip along.  The pattern changes at the edging but again, it becomes obvious after a while, at least for me.  There's beads along the lace border - that slowed me down a bit!

There's mauve beads and pink beads there

This one doesn't match the scenery.  That is fine!

A rare modelled shot.  Yes the back is on my front.

Now what to do with the shawls?  They aren't really a thing to wear with tie dye tshirts, though maybe I could get used to them worn that way.  They are warm, surprisingly warm for such light and delicate things.

Finally, here's a sneak peek at a shawl that is still waiting for its soak and blocking.  Do you like the little glass turtle?  I think he is gorgeous.  He was made by Beau Tsai.  I have another shawl just off the needles and a third one only needs another hour or two of knitting before it joins the other five I've completed this summer!




anon!

PS if you are a knitter or crocheter or have interest in the fibre arts including dyeing and weaving and are not already on Ravelry?  GO!  Join!  It is free!  Free, do you hear me!  There's no catch, except you might get soul-sucked into the world of Rav and never resurface.  Your fibry world will never be the same again.  There are fora for chatting about your favourite patterns or techniques or designers or yarns and your fan-person tendencies, you can look at patterns until your eyes fall from your head in amazement, you can look up yarn and look at other peoples' finished objects....so much good stuff!

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Life happens, even when you aren't looking!

G'day all!

Time is slipping through my fingers.  How did it get to be near the end of the day already?  How can I not have blogged for all of August?  How can it be September already?  Signs of autumn are showing up everywhere - stressed trees are losing their leaves, non-stressed trees are starting to go orange and red....

No, not yet, I'm not ready!

My garden is going bonkers but I'm starting to worry that I won't get many more tomatoes ripened.  I've got many many green tomatoes, like I'd say at least 20 kilos/50 lb of the things are still green.  The weather has been pretty average the last week or so, though it is meant to become a bit sunnier now.

Thriving, half-fallen over tomato

Big tomato!

Little plant, many capsicums/chillies/bell peppers

Eggplants!

I would like my eggplants to keep producing/start producing.  The little finger sized ones have been going great guns but the bigger ones have only really just started getting into it.  The capsicums are coming along nicely though I'm learning not to expect too many fruit off the one plant.  I only seem to get three or four capsicums off many of the plants.

But I have been getting some good yields even with the weather being bonkers - hot one week (30C+) and cold the next (struggling to get to 20C).

Fruits of my garden

Today I've done a bit of spinning, plying up about 220m of a rather rustic yarn.  Four years ago I bought some fleeces at Oregon Fleece and Fiber Festival (OFFF).  I had them processed by a couple of different processors.  The dark fleece from a sheep called Odette came back rather full of VM (vegetable matter) and neppy.  After wondering what to do with it for three years, I'm just going to spin it up and deal with it being rustic.  The big lumps of veggie matter and lumps of not-well-carded wool get pulled out, the rest are being spun up.  The result is a quite bouncy yarn, not exactly butter soft but not too bad either.  I think Odette is/was a Corriedale.




I pieced the back of a quilt.  Then I fixed up the front of the quilt.  It is a simple design, some leftover jelly roll strips pieced together then cut into long strips, joined by white.

And for whatever reason, even though all the pieced strips were the same length, by the time they were sewn onto the white sashing strips, the last one was a full inch longer than the first pieced strip.  I had to rip out three nearly 70" long strips....  Who would ever think that such simple things could cause such annoyance?

Remember, pins are your friends.  Pins were the only way I could make those bad boys all play together nicely.

We had some excellent fun on the weekend.  DH's parents were in Vancouver, BC.  They wanted to visit Butchart Gardens.  We managed to co-ordinate well enough that we met up in Victoria on Vancouver Island and went off to the gardens together.  They took a Harbour Air seaplane from Vancouver, we caught Kenmore Air from Seattle.

De Havilland Beaver, from the trip back

It was excellent fun!

The float planes navigate by sight - they must remain low enough to be able to see features in land (or I guess water).  They can't fly through clouds that obscure the ground.  They can't fly if the clouds are too low.  This means the views are amazeballs.  On the way up, we got to see some splendiferous views - the islands and Puget Sound are so pretty.  The mountains would've been pretty too if there hadn't been puffy cumulus clouds in the way.  I was able to recognise where we were most of the way - it is cool being able to tell where you are from your memories of how the roads go and the sights you see along the way when driving.  (Links - take offs and landings, going up, coming back.)

Victoria put on a lovely display for us on Sunday.  It was sunny and so pretty, and a wooden boat festival was on.

Monday was meet up with the parents day and be chauffeur driven in our rather large, double-decker "limo" to the gardens.  They are impressive gardens, I must say, and worth visiting.  (Click the link if you want to see more pics - there's too many to put in the blog.)



Also impressive is that after an incident with a carelessly flailing hand (not mine), my phone still works after bouncing two or three times on some rocks and then PLOP!  Straight into a little man-made creek.  I think some credit must be given to the protective case I keep it in (Tech21's D30) and to Samsung making the phone water-resistant.  It isn't waterproof but it should be okay if it gets rained on or falls in the toilet, etc.  And so far, so good.  I took the case off and dried the cover carefully, then flicked the phone a few times to get water out of the headphone jack, and dried it again, then took the back off and dried any water there (around the speaker in particular).  The phone was still working through all of this, btw.  It only turned off when I, ahem, accidentally dropped the battery on the ground.  Oops.

Impressionist picture thanks to a dunking in the water

My lasting memory of that will be the gasps and the looks of horror on peoples' faces as they watched the phone bouncing straight towards the drink.  I was pretty peeved at the hand flailer, especially as he stood in the way through the whole thing, but also half amused by the aghast looks.

If that isn't a good ad for my now outdated Samsung Galaxy S5 and my D30 case, I don't know what is.

Just as we left the gardens, it started to rain.  Timing, eh?

The in laws then took off back to Vancouver after a spot of arvo tea and a beer, we wandered in the rain to dinner and our second night in Victoria.  On Tuesday morning we looked at the weather with some trepidation - it was grey but apparently not foggy and the cloud ceiling was high enough for the planes to fly.  DH had a meeting to go to at noon and we expected our 9am flight would get us home by 10:30am at the latest.

Just as well the meeting was at noon because our flight was late and then we got caught up re-entering the States (can you believe there were five Australians out of six passengers on our flight?  I didn't even realise it until we got to Seattle - they sounded normal to me and it was only when I saw their passports that I realised they were normal but not American if that makes sense) and it was after 11am before we left Kenmore Air.  Good thing the bus trip only takes 20 minutes and a bus showed up right smartly when we got to the stop.

Canada gave us parting gifts - DH has a cold and I'm fighting it off, though I think it is a losing battle.

Did I buy yarn whilst I was there?  Is the Pope a Catholic?  (Some people will debate this.)  Of course I bought yarn!  I bought yarn of varying Canadian-ness.

Yarn processed in Canada (well roving, Briggs and Little), yarn dyed in Canada (Indigo Dragonfly) and Italian yarn imported and distributed by a Canadian company.

Lovely Canadian woolly stuffs
I must show off some of the things I've been knitting recently.  I've been on a shawl kick even though I forget to wear the danged things.  Do love knitting them though - there's no pressure about them fitting.  As long as they can wrap around your neck and hopefully even your shoulders, it is all good!  Must remember this blogging thing more often.

anon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Time to breathe!

G'day all!

Life has been hectic for the last while.  Nothing bad has happened, I've just been busy.

I put us in for the edible garden tour and confirmed just after we got back from England.  Who knew that there was so much to be done in the garden?

And then my in-laws arrived three days after the garden tour.  It may not surprise you to know that clearing the study was a laborious process?  My knitting, quilting and computer room became their bedroom for nearly three weeks.

The in laws left yesterday evening.

What did we do whilst they were here?  The first week involved puttering around and waiting for good weather, not pretty average weather.  We took off to Artist Point at Mount Baker on one fairly clear day.











The second week DH and his dad started building a shed.  The shed will hold the bikes and the mower and plywood and stuff.   DH and I have to deal with the windows, the gables and the shingles.  We were inspired by a pretty shed we saw in someone else's yard and then went sideways from there.  As we are wont.


Setting up the floor

Discussing the walls

Bringing the doors and windows home.
Amazing what you can fit in a Fit!  (Jazz)
Admittedly my passenger walked home....
Tying down the window frames in the right spots
Starting the sheathing/bracing

Sheathing done!
Starting the roof
Ridge beam in place









Now you can knock at the shed door.
Apparently I have put too many pics in or swapped them around too much because I can't caption the polycarbonate roof one nor the one above it.  Weird.


Doors hung!

We wandered down and saw the salmon run at Ballard Locks.



DH and his dad dealt with a bit of a dry rot problem in the kitchen.  It started on that bottom right corner where we found a bit of fungal fruiting happening.  DH pulled the trim off and found not a whole lot wrong with that but when he looked further afield... the lady who owned the place before us had had a new window installed by a certain Very Large Hardware Store chain and they used plain old plywood as sheathing.  She bought the house in 99 so the ply didn't last 20 years and maybe only ten years....

It was pretty breezy in the kitchen
for a couple of days.

We went on a grand trip to Glacier National Park.  That was fabulous!  I have so many pics to share.  I'll just leave that link there.  I should talk about that more.

And then we got home, DH and FiL hung the doors on the shed and then the in laws were gone!  The house feels rather quiet and empty without them.  I've got plenty to do though so I'd best get cracking on it.

anon!

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Quietness and a trip to the seaside

G'day all!

I've been quiet recently.  Firstly I was flat chat getting ready for us to get new visas, then we went and got new visas and then had to get over the jetlag!

No excuses now though, we've been back for a week.


Tower Bridge


We were lucky enough to visit London, the London, the one in England.  Again! We had such an excellent time!  I walked and walked and walked.  My poor feet nearly fell off.  Thank heavens the weather became glorious after the first few days and I could wear my Tevas.


Can you guess who lives here?  Not in the flower beds, silly!


I sorta wonder why I like London so much.  I think it is the energy.  London isn't sad and dirty anymore, it is alive and doing stuff.  So many things happening there.  Of course it is a very big city with a lot of people so I guess there should be things happening all the time.  We've also been blessed with the weather we've had in our last two trips there (though I did get to wear both the raincoats I purchased specifically for this trip!).  But why like London more than say Paris?  Paris is more scenic, but for me also more confusing - I need to understand, read and speak better French, I need to understand the culture better to be comfortable there.  At least in London I can read the signs and understand what people are saying to me!

Houses of Parliament and Big Ben
We got to hear Big Ben bong.

Anyway I just have to boast.  We went to London!  I had a lovely holiday, DH did some work, we got new visas.

Kudos where it is owed though - it now takes longer to fill out all the forms online and get photos and stuff than it does to go to the embassy, stand in line, go through screening, wait for your number to be called, do the first part of the visa interview, wait in another queue and do the second part of the interview.   We were out less than an hour after we went in - I barely got to knit any sock at all! - and it would've been shorter if the Iranian guy ahead of us wasn't getting the third degree.  Well done, US Embassy London!  Also flying in to Seattle meant that we didn't have to stand in enormous queues for what feels like hours waiting for customs to eyeball us and decide whether or not to let us in.

I did a day trip to Brighton - oh I do love to be beside the seaside! - and DH and I both went to Oxford, Bletchley Park and then Cambridge (Cambridge was a very last minute decision).  The trains were excellent, well except for the one from Brighton.  It was already late and I had to stand in the first class section cos they only opened one first class carriage, then just when I got a seat, someone fell ill and they had to get the paramedics at the next station and said it was going to be ages before the train moved, so we should go and get a different train.  That would've been fine if we had known that if we chose the wrong overpass to a different platform (at Gatwick airport's station), we had to pile into a lift to get to the platform!  Anyway, eventually I got on another train and had to stand in second class instead, whine moan.  I had paid six quid fifty (p) extra for a first class seat and they had totally failed to deliver on that trip back.  But the other trains were great.





Brighton itself was the most amazing mix of fabulous and tacky.  I don't think I've been anywhere like it, not even Blackpool was like this!




So many little shops to explore, some good some ????


Rent a deck chair and bask in the glorious sun!


But it was sunny and I had a lot of fun exploring the little shops in the narrow streets on the way to the beach, and I rode on Volk's Electric Railway (a weird little tram thing) and discovered that I did not like the marina one bit, and I walked on the pier and marvelled that it can take the forces generated by the fun fair rides at the end of it... And took many pics of the interesting buildings like the Royal Pavillion.
 


Street mosaic - couldn't see the chip they were flying for!

Endless water.  No I don't know what the thing sticking
out of my head is...

Beach and ferris wheel

Pebbles!  Not much sand at all.

The beach is all pebbles - flint pebbles in the main.  It isn't very fun to walk on bare foot.   There was also a warning that the water is cold enough to induce hypothermia rather quickly, and I will own that it was pretty chilly!

Not me, a Russian dude.  Madness I tells ya.
(He didn't go in any further....)

Toes preparing to repel invaders

Yep, that's pretty cold

Yeah, that is really cold, not going in any further!

See?  Flint!

Royal pavillion


Brighton Pier and beach

Volk's Electric Railway



I need to do a bit of catching up.  Some posts about other places that we visited.  Some posts about finished things.  Maybe I'll even remember to blog some of the trip and the other stuff.

Maybe?

anon!