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Hello, my friends. The latter part of the summer was quite stressful and I didn’t get back here as planned. But things are better now (not as I’d have liked, but still, it’s all good).

My cousins turned the new sewing/computer room back into a spare room for me, and without asking me (I would have turned it down if they’d asked; she deserves the long-awaited room of her own), so I am back in the house again for the winter. I was up to eight layers of bedding in the MH by the beginning of October, as it was slowly growing cooler. I’m hoping to create a better solution for next winter, though.

In the meantime, we have gotten back to our former routines and it’s all good.

I did finish the scarf. I couldn’t locate my yarn needles and refused to buy more, so I used my crochet hook and followed the instructions for Kitchener Stitch, only backwards, if that makes any sense. I was dragging the yarn through,not pushing it, as with a needle. But it worked!

This is the two halves of the scarf. I still have to decide what to do with the points once I weave in the bit of yarn that you see dangling here: leave as is, add tassels, or ???

I was deeply saddened to learn that Pauline, of The Contented Crafter, had passed away suddenly on her birthday, just a few days before mine. One of her friends, Alys, gently informed all of us, but it was still such a shock. Somehow, I always expect my world to go on, unchanged . . . Alys wrote a lovely tribute and you can read it here.

Creative Pursuits

I’ve mentioned above that I finished the scarf. I sort of finished the blanket, too, but then decided to add some more at each end before creating the border. I attached the yarn, hooked for a couple of days, then got busy and put it aside. It’s under my bed now (in a bag), waiting for me to complete it.

  

 

I used three of the flower stitches from Attic24, the Dahlia, the Sweet Pea / Trellis, and the Hydrangea. All these patterns are on the blog forever and you will find them listed on the left side of the page, down below the blogs she loves. You can see the detail in the close-up above.

Also under the bed is my much-loved and also much-neglected ‘Barn Cardi’. I’ll be knitting again soon . . . but first . . .

I posted this photo back in August of 2014; hard to believe it’s been that long . . . I’ve done a little work on the sleeves since then, but not much. That’s one of my beloved Aunties modelling it for me up at Mum’s apartment. She was under five foot tall, so it came almost to her ankles; on me it’s just above my knees.

You may remember that I call the ‘blogoverse’ my Virtual Village (partly because I dislike the word ‘blog’; it doesn’t sound friendly somehow). Most of my closest friends I’ve met here in the Village. But I’ve also met a few in other online places. Facebook brought me a special friendship. We both belong to Winwick Mum’s Knit and Natter group. One day I noticed that someone had posted about her new loom and I commented, offering to help if needed, as I have some weaving experience. We began replying to each other, discovering a host of shared interests besides knitting and other yarnwork. So I created a private page and we have met there happily most days ever since. Sometimes, when things are challenging, we don’t need someone to fix things, or us. We just need a listening ear and an understanding heart. And that is what we both have discovered. I haven’t posted much since my Mum died, as my life changed overnight and then continued changing. My friend’s support has meant a lot to me. She was going through various challenges herself and she has told me that my support was helpfut to her, too.

Anyway, when I was trying to figure out a solution to my housing situation, I slowly became more discouraged and ‘down’, even though I know that staying positive is far more helpful. I felt I couldn’t post because it would just sound like whining and complaining. And I couldn’t seem to write with hope and positivity at the time. That seemed fake. Ah, well . . .

One thing we share a love of is Attic24 and Lucy’s designs, which are free and will remain available on her blog forever. I was so lucky to actually meet Lucy when I went to Yarndale at the end of September, 2018 and later, in early November when I was able to join her crochet group twice in Skipton, Yorkshire. Lucy is a quiet, unassuming and thoroughly delightful person and I shall always remember my time there and our short chats. So I was delighted when my friend began crocheting and then bought some of Lucy’s kits. I was excited to see her blankets develop, even as I was working on my own black, white, grey and red one. If you remember, the stitches I chose were all from Lucy’s patterns.

So . . . one day, my friend asked which kit I would choose if I were to buy one. And I told her The Summer Harmony. The next day I had a message saying that she’d be pleased if I would accept that kit as a gift. I knew she meant it and I was overjoyed to accept. As it turned out, there is no specific kit for the Summer Harmony; the kit that was ordered is the original Harmony blanket, which I think of as the Spring Harmony, as the colours remind me of Easter eggs, spring flowers, etc. They are beautiful, colourful but not overbearing, and the joining yarn is three skeins of a pale grey with a tinge of violet, appropriately named Parma Violet.

The kit arrived on 23 September, but I didn’t begin for a few days. We also both belong to the Fans of Attic24 group on facebook. Someone in the group had posted about organizing the yarns for the granny square blankets. So this is what I did:

I purchased some Large size ziplok bags and labelled them. I snipped a tiny bit off one corner to aloow yarn to pass through. I put one bag of yarn into its ziplok bag. I have a special cloth bag from Yarndale; it pays homage to the film, Babe, with the quote on the front: Baa, Ram, Ewe. (really, you have to watch this film to appreciate the bag. Itfourteen colourss often billed as a children’s film, but, like Charlotte’s Web, there’s a lot in it for adults, too. And I fell in love with the farmer from the beginning.) But back to the kit:

Lucy has included in the pattern a chart of all the squares and their placement in the finished blanket. There is also a list of the fourteen squares and the colours to use for each. So I chose the bags containing the colours needed for the A Squares and proceded to make all nine of them, round by round. When I finished a round, if I had to put the work aside for some time, the squares went into the bag containing the next colour, along with two hooks and a small pair of embrouidery scissors.

Eventually I had 126 squares, all in neat piles nine high.

I laid the piles in order, A to N, on a whiteboard covered with a small towel to keep them from slipping. Above you can see the final squares just waiting to form the last row.

Then came the joining. I’d heard that Lucy’s Join As You Go (JAYG) method had caused trouble for some people, so decided to try it and, if it was not working out, to use a different method. The only trouble it caused for me was that sometimes my mind would wander off and begin thinking about some issue or other and my hands don’t do so well without a certain amount of supervision . . . but crochet is fairly easy to frog back and re-do, thank heaven. I had to do that on a few of the squares, too, including one that was frogged back two rounds, as I’d completely messed up a corner and forgotten to do the usual visual check before proceeding.

A close-up of the JAYG . . .

Above is the first row, joined and laid out along the back of the futon couch which is also my bed at night.

I figured out another trick to make the joining go more smoothly (and to prevent me from getting the fourteen squares in a strip mixed up). I have the piles of squares laid out on a small whiteboard now, in order from A to N. I choose the squares for a strip, beginning with the final one and with the first one on top. Then I use a folded piece of scrap yarn, drawing it up through the centre holes with my hook. This way I know that the top of the pile, with the next squate on top, is the right one (just in case the pile gets joggled and turns topsy-turvey). If I have to put the work aside, I tie the tails and the loop into a neat bow and then I can put the stack on top of the loose squares.

The other day I passed the exact half-way mark of the joining. I’ve completed six strips now and have only three to do.

Then it will be on to the eight rows of border . . . and after that I intend to work on the blanket I created this summer, as well as completing the sleeves for the Barn Cardi and adding the button and buttonhole bands to the front. I shall have to choose suitable buttons for it, too. I have such fond memories of showing this work to my Mum as it progressed and of my Aunty modelling it for me. It will be a joy to wear . . .

My birthday was just a few days after Pauline’s, so my friend and I considered the kit to be a birthday gift. A few days ago, inspired by my progress and wanting to share the joy she’s having working on her own blankets, my friend informed me that she and her husband wanted to send me another kit, this one for Christmas! Again, she asked me my preference and again I chose the Summer Harmony. This time I looked up the pattern and discovered that the yarn is sold in a set named the Original Pack. The pattern is the same as what I have already; only the colours are different. It should go even faster, as now I have this down. I am so, so grateful to have these lovely blankets to work on! But I did tell my friend they should be the last, as she doesn’t need to keep feeding my yarn habit. Besides, I have another black, white, grey and red blanket to make, along with all the other projects waiting for my attention.

Almost finished . . .

Ta-Dah!! Now only the border to add. 

The border called for eight rows, each a different colour. I did that (and for once, I had followed the instructions throughout the project! A rare thing, if you recall . . .) But somehow it did not look quite finished to me. There was yarn left in all the skeins, so I chose three more colours and added those. You can see the results above. These colours give me so much joy! I sit at the laptop and turn my head ot the left and there they are . . .

It can be very easy to give; it’s not so easy to receive. It’s a lesson I’ve learned over my lifetime. I remember reading a story once, written by a young woman. She said that her mother was the kindest, most generous woman, not only to her, but to all she encountered. The Mum was the sort, that, if you came to visit and admired something of hers, would thrust it into your hands as you were leaving. But she wouldn’t accept anything from others. Finally one day, frustrated, her daughter told her she was being selfish. The Mum was astounded, as she gave without reserve. But her daughter told her that she (the mum) received so much joy and satisfaction from giving, yet denied others the chance to experience the same by giving to her. I was happy to read that the Mum ‘got it’ and changed her ways and I began adopting the same attitude.

I still find it easier to give, but I’ve also learned to receive with gratitude and joy. I think that receiving gracefully is a gift we give to others when they seek to bless us. So soon I shall have two of Lucy’s blankets adorning the back of the futon couch where I sleep. Spring and Summer, so delightful! And if my friend and I ever manage to meet in person, we can wrapup in our ‘virtual hugs’ as we sit together, chatting over handwork and a cuppa. And surely some biscuits and chocolate . . .

Here is the Summer Harmony makings on the day the package arrived. It still looks the same, but now it lives under my desk. I’ve been very good about not peeking at all; I will open it on Christmas Day, when my friend and I plan to do a Zoom or Skype call so we can share the excitement. I’ll be sharing photos with you all here, too, as I go along. I did get the additional ziplok bags ready to hold the new colours (some are the same as the first blanket, so those bags will be used again), but this time it will take longer to finish; I have a very exciting new project, just begun, which is a thank-you to my friend and her husband (she knows about it, but I won’t be sharing photos until they have received the gift).

And, in honour of the blanket being a ‘Harmony’, I’ve been listening to plenty of music as I hook . . . from nine year old Amira singing “O Mio Babbino Caro” (conducted by Andre Rieu), to Bach (the 1/4 Goldberg Variations by Canadian pianist Glen Gould) to music from my childhood and youth (too many to name) to, of course, a wide variety of Runrig concerts and singles. No surprise there, eh? So this blanket will be infused, not only with the harmonies of a lasting friendship, but also a variety of the musical harmonies from my life.

Sorry this has taken me so long to complete; I still haven’t solved the issues of uploading photos, but did find a workaround at least. 

Hope you are all doing well and staying busy and creative as we head into winter.

More to come soon . . . 

No photos with this post, sorry. Just a catch-up . . .

Hello everyone; I’m quite frustrated with trying to use a tablet that’s a combination of touchscreen and keyboard. It’s a great idea, but the technology sure needs a lot of work.

Anyway, I thought I’d touch base here, at least, as it’s been so long since I posted. Uploading photos is very challenging, so I finally decided to just write and to post photos once I’m back in BC and can use the laptop.

This trip has been pretty amazing, although I’ve done little in the way of ‘touristy’ things. Instead, I opted to save up and visit Norway for three weeks. Definitely worth it, as I was able to stand in front of the house where my Mum’s grandfather was born and spent a couple of nights in a bed and breakfast that was the old Priest’s House at that time. He was likely baptized there, as the church burnt down the year before he was born.

In August I moved north from Surrey to a room in Heaton (part of Bradford, Yorkshire) and have been quite happy there ever since. The woman who manages the renting of rooms loves to cook the way I do (meaning that we use recipes as general suggestions and then just ‘wing it’ ) so we take turns cooking and share the meals. We both like spicy middle Eastern flavours, too, so there is often a lot of that going on. I’ll be sharing some of the ‘recipes’ I’ve concocted and some of Karen’s, too, later on. And I’ve adapted a vegan recipe for almond flour chocolate fudgy brownies that are possibly the best I’ve ever made. And a frittata and a couple of varieties of houmous, too.

Just a few days after I arrived here, Karen loaned me a tent and sleeping  bag and one of the owners of the house loaned me a sleeping mat and an emergency blanket (just in case) and I returned to Scotland to see Runrig for the first and last times. Yes, I said ‘times’!! I had a standing/camping ticket that included a campsite and free entry to a Ceilidh on the Friday night plus entry to the last-ever concert on the Saturday night.

My camping neighbours helped me figure out how to set up the tent (no time or space for a trial run beforehand) and then we helped other campers and made new friends as we did so. Then one of their friends came along and they brought him over to meet me. Colin had an extra ticket for the Friday night that he said someone had given him and he was looking to give it away. So yes, he gave it to me!! I gave him a donation for a cancer charity he supports, as I didn’t feel right about having a ticket for free when others had paid so much to be there. And it was worth every minute! So I missed the Ceilidh, which I heard was fabulous, but I got to see Runrig twice!! Something that’s been on my ‘bucket list’ since I first heard them perform on youtube.

The final concert was exactly eleven years previous, to the day, and I’m happy to say that while it did rain a bit, it was nothing like 2007, when it rained all day the day before, all night and then through the day of the concert. People were up to their ankles in mud, although no one left . . .

Anyway, it was all my heart desired it to be. I took photos on the first night with both my ancient iphone (4S, I think, and now they are up to 10 or 12 or something like that); the second night I couldn’t find the iphone, so only used the camera. I found the phone on Sunday when I was packing up, though, luckily for me.

I mention this because at the end of September, I went to Yarndale in Skipton, Yorkshire. I took plenty of photos the first day with the same camera. On Sunday, as I was sitting on the train heading back again, I was trying to reset the time so it would be accurate. I have no idea what I did wrong, but suddenly  the camera ‘ate’ all the photos on it; over three thousand! Shocking, at the time, as I’m sure you will understand. I had copied some of my photos onto a data stick (the terabyte sized external drive that I brought with me for storage worked perfectly in BC with the laptop, but refuses to talk to the tablet. So I bought a data stick. Downloading three days worth of photos took me nearly ten hours, tying up both the device and the tablet for that time, so I’d been putting off downloading more. Lesson learned, I tell you!

Now at first I was a bit down, to say the least, but then I heard that our friend Wendy’s grand-daughter had passed away and that’s a real loss. I have not felt down about my photos since. I figure that I have my memories and also whatever is on the iphone and that is more than I ever expected to have in this life, so I’m not going to be whinging on about losing my photos. I have felt quite wary ever since, though.

Well, Yarndale, too, was more than I’d hoped for. I met a couple of the bloggers I follow and that was a huge thrill for me. Christine from Winwick Mum and Lucy from Attic 24. Both were beyond kind and took time to chat a bit. I was lucky to meet them at the end of the second day, when the crowds had thinned out. Lucy invited me to attend some of the coffee and handwork meetings that occur at Cooper’s Cafe in Skipton and I will be doing that during the first two weeks of November.

I will post about some of the exhibitors I met (and a couple more bloggers, too) once I’m back in BC. I was very much looking forward to meeting the folks from River Knits UK, but although I visited the booths beside them and across from them, somehow I missed them. I was quite disappointed about that. They are a small family that hand dyes British wool yarns and until recently lived on a narrowboat. Now they have a house and the narrowboat has become the dye studio. I’ve been following them on Instagram for a while and wanted especially to see a couple of delicious-looking green yarns.

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s mid-October already and that I have just over three weeks left of this amazing adventure! I will have been here six months less a day when I get back. It hasn’t always been easy and there was a long list of things I’d hoped to do that didn’t materialize, but that’s because I chose to do the things that mattered most to me, which certainly included the time in Norway with my cousin and on the island of Leka (where my great-grandfather and one of his sisters were born). I rather think there will always be items left undone on a list like that and the positives have been so wonderful that I really have few regrets.

I shall be returning to my cousins’ for the rest of the winter and looking for a place of my own, hopefully by late spring or early summer. I hope to buy a second-hand caravan but failing that, to rent something affordable where my storage items can be brought and then gone through. I won’t be keeping most of it, but I do want to enjoy the things I collected for my retirement, at least for a while. And there is plenty of crafting supplies, so life will not be the least bit boring.

I am quite sad to be leaving the UK; it’s been one of the best summers of my life, and I’ve had quite a few great summers in my 70+ years! Just living an everyday life here has been exactly what I both wanted and needed. Time out from all the stresses of the past couple of decades and nothing familiar to trigger sadness, nostalgia, etc.

I’ve made some new friends here and that has been so good, too. I wore my Runrig jacket to Yarndale and met three different people who had been in Stirling for The Last Dance and who stopped me to talk about Runrig. That was most exciting!!

I’d love to return for another visit and next time I’d plan more and have a larger budget. But really, for me the experience of living in another country and just savouring the days and everyday sights has been the best thing ever! I had a similar experience in Mexico City back in 1987, when I was there for a week on my way back from a work-related trip to Costa Rica (the world’s first all-organic foods and products trade show; my boss and I represented four or five Canadian growers) and so I learned that for me, living like a native of another country is one of the most exciting things I can do.

I haven’t done much here, either, but did go with Karen to Saltaire, a World Heritage Site, and that was lots of fun, too. I particularly enjoyed the David Hockney exhibition at Salts Mill, The Arrival of Spring.  That was especially interesting because the paintings were all created on an ipad, then printed out, five feet tall. There were signs saying it was ok to take photos so long as we didn’t use a flash, and I checked and it was true, so I have pictures of some of the images that most spoke to me.

There are a few sites here to visit still, like Lister Park and the art gallery there. So I shall have plenty to write about once I’m settled in BC again. I’m feeling ready to post regularly again, which I think is a good sign.

The other two things are Guy Fawkes Night, or Bonfire Night, on 05 November and the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, a very important day for me. When I made Peace Poppies for the installation last year, I kept one for myself and I shall be wearing it this year and attending one of the ceremonies, most likely in Bradford.

I haven’t forgotten my 500 winners, either, although I’m sure they think I have. I started and then scrapped several ideas and now I think I’m going to go for something more simple and just get it done.

I’ve been working on a crocheted string bag for Karen these past weeks, I’ve finished my second pair of socks and have decided I like them so much I shall frog back the two pairs of Fair Isle style socks (three of them are up past the ankle, too). But re-making them on 2mm needles will make them both more attractive and longer-wearing. I like darning socks, but have no intention of making it a weekly event! 🙂

I’m knitting a sort of hat now, mostly because I know the cold weather is on its way; we’ve already had one fire and I’ve been using a hot water bottle for weeks now. And two thick duvets! I’m lovely and toasty warm at night, though. So nice!

I’ve done some rock painting and some watercolours, nothing wonderful but plenty of fun as I can sit at my lovely tall window and enjoy the view as I work. I shall be taking a teacher’s advice from when I lived in Victoria, BC. He said to never throw out a watercolour you are not happy with. Instead, cut it into small squares and sort them by colour into envelopes. Once you have enough, use them in collages. I’ve been doing some writing again, too, but nothing spectacular; just that I enjoy the doing.

I walk up to the allotment every few days, taking the bucket of compost material as a contribution. Karen’s friends have the allotment and during the summer we would find a bag of some delicious treat or other on the front door. And so I made the acquaintance of English runner beans . . . I shall be growing these next summer, even if I have to plant them in pots or buckets! Huge and delicious and wonderful in a frittata as well as on their own. If you’ve never tried them, do!

I bought two fresh mackerel when Karen was in New York for three weeks and the new room-mate hadn’t moved in yet (so the fishy smell wouldn’t be a problem; smells from the kitchen rise to the top of the house and we all know how fish lingers for ages . . . I stuffed them very lightly with chopped garlic and basil and fried them in a cast iron pan. Oh my word!! I would eat them every day if I lived here on my own!! And they were quite large, but only one pound each, so a real bargain. It seemed a shame to live here, where fresh fish abounds and in such variety, too, and not to try some at least once. I’d almost forgotten how much I love fresh fish.

When I was in Surrey, a new friend and I drove to Littlehampton and I bought fresh cod fish and chips and we ate them at a table by the beach. Unforgettable!

When I was a child, Dad and sometimes my brothers would bring home brook trout for supper. And when I was a very young Mum, living on South Pender Island (in the Gulf Islands that lie between Vancouver on the mainland and Vancouver Island, the Big Island), we would fish for rock cod at least twice a week (successfully, too!) and bake them whole in a cast iron frying pan. We dug clams and pried mussels off the rocks, too, and those went into chowders that we would eat three meals a day until they were gone, then we’d make another one. Somehow, I have never tired of any food that I love.

I had some excellent fish and chips at my host’s in Surrey, too, and before I go I plan to try a place in Shipley, where we do our grocery shopping. It was highly recommended to me by one of the lovely taxi drivers.

You know, I was warned several times about Bradford before I moved here, but my experiences have all been most positive. Everyone I’ve met has been friendly and helpful and interesting to chat with. So sometimes I think it’s what we bring to an encounter that defines it most.

Well, it’s late now and I’m tired of fixing the typos that occur in nearly every paragraph. I hope I’ve gotten them all out; if not, please forgive me.

I’ve dropped by the blogs written by many of you, sometimes leaving comments, more often just a ‘like’ to show I’ve been by.

I’d love to tell you about this house and the neighbourhood, and so much more, too, but I’ll leave all that for another post. In the meantime, stay warm (or cool, if you’re on the other side of the world). I’ve missed blogging and am really looking forward to resuming on a more regular basis.

Love and Light to each one of you, my friends. You are in my thoughts every day.  ~ Linne

For music, I have only one piece to offer. This is the Tweed Ceilidh band, who played at the Ceilidh I didn’t attend in Stirling. Everyone who did see them loved them!

On other fronts . . .

Hello, my friends! I am sorry I’ve been so neglectful, but life has been full and happy since I last posted. And busy! I’ll be continuing to post about my creative endeavours and all the usual ‘random harvest’ of thoughts and events and activities.

However, I have finally gotten a travel blog up and running. I had great plans (aren’t plans easy? Compared to executing them . . .) and wanted to have two blogs for my travels, one for family and friends and another for my grandchildren and other young people who might be interested. It’s taken me a while to get used to the tablet, though, and to figure out how to handle getting my photos uploaded without doing so one at a time. The tablet’s storage space is small and the little external drive I bought, which worked well with the laptop at home, just won’t talk to the tablet! Grumpy-making, for sure. But I have settled for only uploading the photos I use in a post and not all the photos. Those I am backing up to a 64gig flash drive. These are memories I really don’t want to lose! Anyway . . .

The new travel blog, which has two contributors, Flora (a mini sheep) and Bestemor (me, because that’s what my grandchildren call me). Feel free to visit when you have time and see what I’ve been up to. I’ve only three posts up so far, but will be adding more as time allows. I’m dating in the titles so you will know when stuff was happening, as the posts are not going to be in sequence by time experienced.

If you are interested, go here:  Gypsies: Flora and Bestemor [Another Great Adventure]

I had a marvellous time in Alba (Scotland) and the wedding was perfect! I wore my Meg shawl, too, although it still doesn’t have the finishing touches added. I absolutely love it!

The wedding was in Edinburgh on 18 May and I was able to watch the Royal Wedding the following day on my tablet at the hostel. Posts about all my adventures in Scotland and since then in England will follow.

I have been busy knitting since I arrived (with a little help from wee Flora):

Remember the Clover Colours socks? Well, here they are today:

Yes, they are done (and the yarn ends neatly darned in, too; I refused to allow myself to wear them until that was taken care of. I’m doing my best to mend some of my errant ways). They are SO comfy and I simply love them! No turning back for me, now.

I am beyond grateful to Ms. Snail for her recommendation of using the smallest dpns (2 mm or size zero are what I used) to achieve a dense, cushiony fabric that will wear well and so require darning further into the future. I’ll let you know when I have to make the first mend, but don’t hold your breath . . . for one thing, I’m wearing my cotton socks to work in t stable or field and even around the house if the days are warm.

Because of her recommendation, and after seeing the lovely results (and comparing the socks with the Fair Isle style ones that are still on the needles, I made the drastic decision to do this . . .

. . . yes, on 11 June I frogged the whole sock (well, half a sock, really, as it was just past the heel). And then I picked up my new favourite dpns and . . .

. . . began again. And now, as you can see, both socks are nearly up to the beginning of the heel. I think I have another ten rows or so to knit. And I am on my way to creating a Sock Drawer of my very own.

Another project that I began some years ago began as one of my ‘make it up as you go along’ creations. I had read about a jumper that was begun at one sleeve cuff and knitted across horizontally to the other cuff, increasing and decreasing and leaving openings as one went along. Sounded like fun to me . . . But I was using the yarn I had and it proved to be a bit heavy, considering that I was also working a Fair Isle style design into the sleeve. So in the end I changed my goal and decided this would make an excellent, if unique, knitted bag. The straps are different, as the less decorative one (small upper picture) is meant to be worn next to the body, with the other strap (large picture) worn facing outward.

The spiral piece is crocheted and was created to fill the hole at the bottom of the bag, once the place for a hand to pass through. Yesterday and today I have been:

joining the circle to the opening, using a crochet hook and slipstitches. It’s worked out rather well, I think. When I created the spiral piece I worked alternately with the pink and blue, switching to only pink for the last two rounds. Those two rounds I did not use any increase stitches, so the spiral took on a very shallow basket shape and its ‘wall’ is what I joined to the cast-on row of the former sleeve. I have yet to work in the yarn ends and I still have to decide if I am going to use a button and loop to fasten the two straps together. And what sort of button. And what colour . . . oh, the decisions . . .

And in the meantime . . .

This is young Cassie, a yearling filly and a miniature Gypsy cob. She looks rather wild with her mane blowing about, but is gentle, yet spirited. She is in a field with an older mare, a Thoroughbred and I am lucky in that I am allowed to feed them every morning (I prepare the food in the evenings unless my friend Veronica has already done it. I also get to groom Cassie as well as the two Gypsy cobs and two rescue donkeys in the adjoining field. When I was twelve or thirteen I was as horse-crazy as any young girl and begged for a horse of my own. Not a practical thing for a large family. My parents were sure I would grow out of it. I wonder when that will happen . . .

I also put out cat food for the feral cat here and it has shown itself to me twice  before today.

There is a big adventure (for me, that is) planned for Monday (tomorrow) and I shall have photos and a story to share. When I put out feed for any animal I always make a distinctive sound so that they come to know me and become friendly. With the horses it’s a two-note low whistle. For the cat it’s more of a ps, ps, psss sound. Today it came just after I filled the dish and called it.  And it allowed me to come quite close before retreating to its den under a thick mass of tree branches and shrubbery. But I got a photo first . . .

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This is one of my favourite colourings for cats and I adore long-hairs . . . I hope I get to pet this one before I have to leave.

I’ll be back soon; there is so much more to share with you all. In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful week from Chota Farm:

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Oh, I forgot to mention . . . I’m on Instagram and have been posting a few photos there, if you are interested. Search for Another_Great_Adventure, ask to follow me and I shall grant you entrance! I had some odd people wanting to follow me, so have kept the account private for now. But any of you, my friends, are more than welcome.

It’s too late to search for music, sorry. Maybe next time.

Instagram: Another_Great_Adventure

Travel blog

Happy New Year, my friends!

For some of you I know the first day has come and gone and it’s business as usual again. but I am still up and it’s not yet midnight on the first, so I’m sort of still on time.

I hope you all had a good Christmas; it’s different for everyone and it’s different every year, but still . . .

IMG_5930Our tree, an artificial one, which the cousins bought two years ago after Spooky had moved in. A real tree would prove too much temptation, was the idea. This year the tree was not on the dining table, but next to the tv. It went up on Christmas morning and was put away at the end of Boxing Day, after Spooky had managed to get up and knock off one of the ornaments and was looking seriously like he wanted to climb the tree.

Below is a very poor shot of the table decoration cousin M made by putting a string of faery lights inside a huge ;brandy snifter’ made of  strawberry glass. It’s so lovely, but the photo doesn’t do it justice., really.IMG_5924

Our Christmas was good; quiet, but the usual feast. I found stockings at a dollar store and used them as ‘carriers’ for a couple of small gifts for the cousins (and myself), including a chocolate ‘orange’ in the toe.

And the cat instructed me to wrap and deliver three packages of nuts to ‘the staff’ as he likes to think of us.

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The Lord and Master of the House

We also had more of this between Christmas and New Year’s Eve:

And I received this as a sort of joke gift, but I really like it:

It’s an alarm clock with two features I need: (a) the sound changes every few seconds, becoming more and more insistent and (b) if set correctly, it will roll off the table and ‘run away’ if you don’t shut it off promptly . . . and ‘hide’. Of course I don’t use the ‘run away and hide’ option! I shot a couple of short videos of it ‘running’ but can’t share them here. Too bad. 🙂

I don’t know if anyone will remember when I was on a basket-making binge early in the summer, but I finally dug out the largest one; it’s meant to be a workbasket so I can take my projects with me in the car and not have the needles poking through the plastic (and the annoying rustle of plastic bags). Besides, I’m working away from using plastic whenever possible. Anyway, the large photo is of the basket body and the other two are the straps, which will cross over the centre of the bottom and be held in place by a third piece (not shown ’cause I forgot to take a photo). They will let me carry the bag slung over one shoulder.

I haven’t finished stitching on the handles yet, but am telling you to increase the ‘guilt factor’ I’m SO good at beginning things, not so good at the final steps.

And in the meantime, I had another “great idea” I thought I’d make some popcorn and cranberry strings, but quickly realized I didn’t have enough time and there was nowhere to hang them. So the idea morphed into just feeding the birds . . . with bird balls.  So I popped a LOT of popcorn, added both bags of cranberries and melted a pound of lard and poured it over the lot. Mixed it will by hand, then realized it wasn’t going to form nice tidy balls, so I packed it firmly into my spare yoghurt containers, with the string in the middle (see the photo of the strings). WE shall put them in a box on the back porch tomorrow to freeze, then decant them one at a time into a mesh bag to be hung in one of the trees. I only hope the birds like them, as cousin M is not enthralled with the idea. He has read up on bird feeding and has his own ways. I, on the other hand, leapt before I looked, as they say. Oh, well, as I say . . .

They do look rather pretty, though, don’t they? We have been feasting, too, did I mention that? I was too slow to get a photo of the bird and the side dishes. But I did take pictures of the baking . . .

The first three pictures are the shortbread I made on the 31st. I had another bright idea, this one a success: I melted two squares of unsweetened dark baking chocolate and the same amount of semi-sweet; this in a mug. I had to add a bit of milk to make it soft enough to dip the shortbread into. In the end, cousin S simply used a table knife and frosted them while I phoned my Auntie. She made the cute face on a couple, too; only this one remained by the time I had the camera out. 🙂 The next picture and the last two are of the same ‘tart’ in the old-fashioned sense. In it are some of the last of the Macintosh apples from the tree here. There is one more tart in our future, I think and then we shall have to resort to frozen cherries, also from our tree. It’s a hard life we lead here, believe me. 🙂  The remaining two pictures are of some of the butter tarts I made from a recipe my sister J sent to us. I like it best of all I’ve ever eaten. These are the first I’ve made and it was surprisingly easy.  It’s a pity I’m giving up sugar on the 8th, isn’t it?  but I know I’ll be healthier and my food won;t ‘go to waist’ as much in future.

Cousin M loves old things as much as I do, although his are less of a sentimental nature and more of an investment. Still . . . I thought I’d share these photos of a lamp with cast iron work that dates to the 1880s. I’m sorry the pictures are poor; my camera phone is an old one and not the clearest or best for photography. Its reservoir is also strawberry glass, more lovely than you can tell here, even with the light behind it.

I have pretty much finished one side of the pocket scarf but can’t remember if I shared this photo or not. The other two pictures are of the knitted tea cosy, which I have been stitching up the sides. I won’t finish that, as I want it to fit the teapot my sister has; it used to belong to my Aunty in Edmonton and, since I have her wee coffee percolator, I wanted my sister to have the teapot. she prefers tea and I mostly drink coffee.  Or at least I used to. I don’t know if you can tell, but the cosy is of green cotton like the yarn used for dishcloths. I took a close-up to show you the stitching; it makes ridges down the sides.

We had to go to Vernon just after Christmas and the cousins needed to stop off in Armstrong on the way back. The landscape pictures show how misty it was that day.

They dropped me at my LYS and I was so careful watching my step as I entered that I missed the sign on the door saying they were closed for inventory until the New Year.  However, they recognized me and remembered that I was not local, so offered to let me buy the yarn I had on hold. I was waiting for an order to come from Scotland, but that may take more weeks, and, as I was in the neighbourhood . . . so now I have the dark chocolate brown I need to complete the pair of Fair Isle style socks, if you remember.

. . . and two balls of green, dark and light, which I had meant for a pair of rather special socks. I’m now deciding if I still want to do that or if I’d rather have a nice waistcoat to keep me warm.  I do like the paper bags they pack the yarn in, don’t you?

I’ll stop here. I’ll need more to write about in a few days. I haven’t finished the post I’d intended for today, nor the Big News post, so you shall just have to keep on Anticipating.

And for those of you on the other side of the equator, here’s what I woke up to this morning, on the first morning of a new year . . .

So lovely, but it can go away now, any time soon will do . . . I’m not quite ready for spring, but spring like weather would be rather nice. It went to -18 C last night, but warmed up a bit today.

This is the purple poinsettia we gave to our Auntie in Princeton. I sent my cousin there some money to pick up a blue one, but those had sold out, so she chose this instead.

Auntie M Poinsettia Christmas 2017

I wish you all the very best in the coming year; whatever that may be for you.

Much love from here and may this be a year when we share the Light between ourselves and with others.   ~ Linne

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Day 4: A new twist on a scarf

Well, this one won’t be finished on the 4th of December, but at least I’m starting it on that day. It’s five minutes to midnight already. I spent two hours or more on the phone with my friend in Tacoma, had supper, then another hour and more on the phone with my Auntie. It’s been a bit busy ’round here today, well, in a way.

Anyway,, here I am and I have something cool (I think) to share with you.

First, though, you may remember these:

They are the tuques I have been knitting for my RN sister J’s two wee grandsons. They are one and nearly four years old. J bought me yarn last summer when we were still in Edmonton so that I could make a tuque for the older boy (the little one had not yet been born). Anyway, I started it, then we both moved back to bC and my things went into the storage where they have languished since. I felt badly about the tuque, though, so when I saw this yarn on sale, I bought two skeins, one in a light grey-blue and one in a medium grey-blue. The pattern is a traditional NOrwegian one; the original was of a boy and girl holding hands and I adapted it to be two boys; then I ended up making a dozen boys all around the tuque.

IMG_5311This is what the pattern looks like.  I like the simplicity of it. And then I decided to make one tuque dark with a light pattern and on the other to reverse the colours.That way, I would end up with similar amounts of leftover yarn. You see, I already had an idea . . .

I decided to make a sort-of-matching scarf for my sister to wear when she takes the boys on outings. She doesn’t know about this blog so I am safe in sharing this here. lol

But first I have to finish telling you about the tuque adventures, if you can call them that.

ON the left is the crown of the smaller tuque and on the right the larger one. You an see how ‘ruffled’ the lighter one is. I wasn’t really happy with that, and we both thought it would look too ‘girly’ for the parents. So I frogged it back to this: IMG_5595

 

 

 

Not my favourite thing, frogging . . .  But I did manage to make the darker tuque’s crown look much better so I have hope that I can do a better job on the lighter one, too. Anyway, I then began using the leftover yarn to make this:

On the left is the back, on the right is the front and the top centre picture shows how I finished the back. The other photo shows the top as you look down on it. Any idea what that is? No? Well, I’ll tell you . . .

This is going to be a ‘pocket scarf for my sister. They are quite easy to do.

I cast on 44 stitches, knitted a few rows of garter stitch and then joined them into a circle. This is an easy way, I’ve found, to begin a piece that will be knitted in the round. Otherwise there is a strong chance of the initial stitches becoming twisted on the wire of the circular needle. Later, I will stitch up the small gap in the first rows. I then knitted the pattern in the round. You can see that I made the back different. This was just me ‘winging it’; you will be familiar with my happy-go-lucky approach by now, I think. Of course I didn’t write down what I did (too busy knitting!) so I’ll have a bit of work to make the back of the other end match. And that’s what’s neat about this scarf, I think. This half has a dark background with a light pattern to match the older boy;s tuque. The other side will have a light background with a dark pattern to match the younger boy’s tuque. You may be able to see that I knitted the top part of the back in ribbing and then cast off the same way. I hope that will keep the opening from gaping. I will knit the other pocket, then resume knitting a simple flat piece on both pockets to form the scarf body. When I am nearly out of yarn I will graft the pieces together and that will determine the length of the scarf. The pockets can be used to hold a wee one’s mitts, extra tissues, or whatever she likes. I plan to put a pack of tissues in one pocket and  a $5 bill in the other so she can take the older boy out for hot chocolate or something else. Maybe to buy a small book or toy.

Did you notice the patterns on the pockets? I put a small boy on each side, holding the hand of his ‘Dancing Granny’. That pattern I got from a library book on Norwegian style knitting. These boys make my  sister so happy that I feel this symbolizes the relationship very well. (the coloured yarn is my stitch marker for the centre of the pattern) IMG_5602.

I do hope she likes it, but one never knows. She will definitely appreciate the intention, anyway.

I am keeping this post short. Don’t faint!

But I do have to leave you with a couple of pieces of music:

First, in Gaelic, “In The Bleak Mid-Winter” Such a lovely voice and arrangement!

And here is Enya, singing “The Spirit of Christmas Past” . . . and . . .

Sissel singing “I am Singing a Christmas Song” with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. A wonderful Norwegian soprano with a beautiful voice.

I became rather sidetracked by some of the music I found and now it’s nearly 3 am. So I’m off to my bed now, friends. Have a lovely day, wherever you are and do take at least a few minutes to relax and enjoy the coming of the Christmas season.  ~ Linne

 

 

 

Three Things / Thankful on Thursday

Thankful on Thursday

I have been sitting here and contemplating what to write about tonight. There are things in the works that I’m not ready to share yet and things I planned and haven’t been able to begin. Still, there is much to be grateful for.

One: I am grateful for the skills that my mother started me on when I was a wee child; hand-stitching from the age of two or so, for one. Knitting and crochet and embroidery for more. I feel so deeply happy when I knit and crochet; I feel connected to such a long line of women in my family who all did the same, either to keep their family warm and cosy or to be creative or, in most cases, both. Last winter i crocheted an enormous throw for my friends in Tacoma. Out of cotton yarn. It began as an idea for a light (ha!) summer wrap, something to keep  one’s back warm when sitting by an evening campfire. And it morphed into this:

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I used two yarns; one teal and the other a variegate with teal, mandarin orange and white. I started in the centre, crocheted once around, then joined the second yarn. I just kept alternating yarns in a lovely spiral. I changed the pattern a couple of times, too, but now I wish I’d written down what I did. I would like to try this again one day, but with three yarn colours. I did find at first that the variegate interfered with the clarity of the pattern. Next time I will choose solid colours only. AS you can see, it’s five feet across or more. I’m still amazed that I created this in about two months, in the midst of other handwork and with only two to four hours a day, some days not at all, too.

The second thing I’m grateful for is my renewed love of sock making.  When I was in my twenties, my lovely mother in law gave me a pair of work boots for Christmas. I was living with my oldest son and his dad on one of the Gulf Islands and we walked everywhere. They were wonderful boots that fit me exactly and I have never forgotten her thoughtfulness. But I needed some warm socks to go with them. I didn’t than have the patience for knitting with fin yarns and I had some pure wool rug yarn, so I took a men’s dress sock pattern and did the math. The resulting pattern was a perfect fit and I had those socks for many years.

A few weeks ago my cousin and I were driving to Vernon for some of the weekly sales shopping and he kindly took me to Armstrong along the way. Armstrong is a small town about twenty minutes from here, not far off the main highway. We went to The Twisted Purl Yarn Studio and I bought some Jamieson & Smith pure wool two ply jumper yarn in five colours: black, burgundy, red, pink and a sort of sage green. I had not stopped to think what I might make, so gave the colour selection less thought than usual,; the selection was small for my taste and I simply picked colours that I thought I could use successfully in Fair Isle type stranded knitting. A few days later I decided I needed a pair of wool socks and the adventure began. The colours aren’t quite what I like, but I think they are working out fairly well. In any case, they will keep my feet toasty warm.

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AS you can see, I’ve successfully turned the heel and am about to begin knitting my way up the leg. The other sock is ready to have its heel created, too. There are a few errors in the knitting; While doing the hearts motif I was listening to Runrig on my headphones and lost track of the counting, so some of the hearts aren’t quite right. By the time I noticed it was too late for frogging. And while doing the heel, the pattern required using short rows with a wrapped stitch at the beginning and then picking up the wrap with the stitch and knitting or purling them together. Sounds easy, right? Well, try doing that with black yarn in the late evening and under rather dim lighting. Not to mention that my eyesight is not too good at present. However, I got through rather well, I think and the heel looks fine to me.

Today, with snow coming tonight for the firs time this autumn, we went to Vernon again so that I could buy a pair of thick work socks, some heavy work gloves for shovelling snow and the like and some more candied ginger. My cousin is a very kind man and made time to take me to the Twisted Purl again, where I put in an order for a few colours I feel I need before I begin the next pair of socks and another ball of the black for this pair. The Purl was out of the black but ready to make another order, so I asked for not only the black but also a medium green, a slightly golden yellow and I think another colour. And as long as I was in the store . . . I bought these:

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Two balls of dark green, one of a light blue, one of  a darker blue and one each of the three reds I’m already using in the current socks. We were in a bit of a rush to get all the shopping done and get home before dark, so I didn’t want to take time over the colours and order more. I think I can make these work, though. I have a happy pattern in mind for the legs of the next pair and I’ll share that with you all once I get to that. It’s all part of the plan for next year . . .

The third thing I’m grateful for today is my odd knack for baking ‘on the fly’; adapting recipes that I’ve never made before I make them and then having it all work out so well. Usually, anyway. Yesterday my cousin’s wife, Cousin S, gave me five bananas she had brought home from her work as a school custodian. They had black spots on the skins but were still firm. She mentioned that she had been thinking of banana bread and had Googled for a recipe, finding one for Chocolate Banana Bread. I offered to whip that up, as she rarely has time for baking and after lunch I set to. I added chopped walnuts, whole wheat flour and wheat germ to the original recipe (I like to maximize nutrition as much as possible). I doubled the recipe so that I could use all the bananas and when I found the batter a bit dry I added some yoghurt. In the end, we got twenty four muffins out of the recipe. I chose to do muffins instead of a loaf as it makes it easier to pack one for lunch and, wrapped individually, they keep very well in the fridge. They turned out scrumptious, especially hot from the oven with butter after I split them open. The chocolate chips didn’t hurt, either; they formed wee volcanoes of deliciousness that I’m sure you can imagine.

I will share the recipe here, likely tomorrow. It was very easy and well worth it.


Chocolate Banana Muffins 

INGREDIENTS for a single recipe: makes 12 muffins or one loaf.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup whole wheat flour

1/4  cup wheat germ

1/2 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali

1 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1/2 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

3 large brown bananas – 1.5 cups mashed

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/4 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/4 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

3/4 cup packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter). This will work with less sugar.

1 large egg at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take one out, so I used a cold egg. You could use 2 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/2 to 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/2 to 1 cup chopped walnuts

1/2 to 1 cup raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour)

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

INGREDIENTS for a double recipe: makes 24 muffins or two loaves.

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2  cup wheat germ

1 cup cocoa, preferably not processed with alkali. I used a couple of heaping tablespoons more; we like chocolate around here.

2 tsp baking soda rounded slightly

1 tsp salt (less if you like) The original recipe called for sea salt, but we don’t have that, so I used regular table salt.

5 – 6 large brown bananas – 3 cups mashed. I confess I didn’t measure them. Hence the yoghurt added at the end.

(I find there is a more pleasant and mild banana flavour if the bananas aren’t too ripe, but I abhor waste, so use whatever you have)  🙂

1/2 cup butter, melted and slightly cooled

1/2 cup oil (I used safflower)

Note: you can use all butter, all oil or cut it back and substitute yoghurt or milk for part of the liquid.

1.5 cups packed brown sugar (if you measure the oil and butter first, then the brown sugar in the same cup, you will waste less oil/butter) This will work with less sugar.

2 large eggs at room temperature (I didn’t see this recipe in time to take them out, so I used cold eggs. You could use 3 – 4 smaller eggs if you don’t have large.)

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 to 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1 to 2  cups chopped walnuts

1 to 2 cups raisins (large are great and for special occasions, you can soak them in rum or brandy first; the alcohol is eliminated during baking, leaving only the flavour). I didn’t use raisins this time; cousin M has requested them for next timre, as he loves the large raisins we buy.

Optional for topping: chop some chocolate chips and walnuts together. You would need a few tablespoons of the chopped mix.

Optional (if needed): plain or vanilla yoghurt OR milk

Variation: I think these would be wonderful made with chocolate chips and chopped candied ginger, too. But I love candied ginger! lol

METHOD:

Heat oven to 350 F

Grease one or two 9 x 5 inch loaf pans or one or two 12 hole muffin pans, I use a non-hydrogenated margarine made with olive oil. Safflower oil would likely work, too. I like the margarine because it isn’t absorbed so much by the muffins / loaves.

In a medium sized bowl mix the flours, wheat germ, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.

In a large bowl mash the peeled bananas with a fork or a pastry cutter.Add the butter and oil. Stir until well mixed.stir in the brown sugar, egg and vanilla extract. Beat well with a wooden spoon until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture, folding in carefully. I usually add the dry mix in three portions; it makes the folding in easier. Don’t overmix.

IF the mixture seems too dry, add a few heaping tblsp of plain or vanilla yoghurt. Milk can also be used. Use your judgement; less is more sometimes.

Fold in the chocolate chips, walnuts and raisins.

Using a large serving spoon or a tablespoon (a small metal measuring cup would also work, I think), spoon the batter into the muffin cups or the loaf pans.

Optional: Spoon a little of the topping mix onto each muffin or top the loaves with it, if using. I didn’t and they were fine without it. It’s my idea, not from the original recipe; I just thought it would fancy them up for a special occasion.

If making a loaf, the original recipe calls for baking it for 50 – 65 minutes. I’d test them from about 30 minutes on, using a toothpick or table knife. When it comes out clean, remove from the oven, let cool for 5 – 10 minutes, then remove to a rack.

If making muffins, bake for about 15 – 20 minutes and then test to see if they need more time. Every oven is different. I had mine in a 400 F oven for 25 minutes and it was a wee bit too long; the chocolate didn’t burn, but it would have if I’d not checked them.

These muffins are fantastic eaten hot, split open and buttered. You may want to make tea, coffee or your favourite hot drink to enjoy along with them.


I have more to tell you, but it will have to wait. It’s well after midnight now and bed is calling me . . .

Correction:

I didn’t link to The Twisted Yarn’s Three Things on Thursday post. And a good thing, too! I was doing my best to get back to more timely posting and typed that from memory. Actually, the Thankful on Thursday posts belong to Mrs. Snail. My apologies to both ladies.

It’s too dark for me to type properly as it is. I’ll add that tomorrow, too. In the meantime, do share your Three Things / Thankful in the comments, if you feel inspired to do so. Love and warm hugs to each of you. I hope you are all doing well.

A final addition: This is what I woke up to today:

And, as to my Peace Poppies for Kendal; they arrived in time. In this photo you can see two of them quite clearly (the ones with the red bit around their black centre):

The second photo shows the WWI medical tent over which the poppies were draped after being fastened together by some wonderful volunteers.