Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The monster is quelled



It's bigger than all the available space I have to put down rubber mats, so some of it is pinned directly to the floor. Within 30 seconds one dog and one cat had walked across it. I'm just going to hope that it's dry by morning, because I doubt it would make it through a day without being wrecked. I have to say.. that was quite a blocking job.

A picture I took the other day:


This book lies under a group of trees on ground worn bare by homeless people. They (mostly) quietly reside under them; stopping to imbibe, escaping the sun, sleeping during the day. There is a very large community of the homeless in our neighborhood (I know that sounds odd, but it's true); primarily because of our closeness to the downtown core, to the river, and also the largest homeless shelter/feeding station in Calgary. Anyway, I was impressed by the caliber of their reading material. I think things are looking up.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hey BFML, I made you a monster

Originally uploaded by spinknit

Looks like a scary warrior from a bad movie, don't ya think?

I'll block it this week, and it will be a thing of beauty, I'm sure. The hemlock ring must be the strongest pro-blocking argument ever knitted.

And, if you feel like some more movie clips, here's a storm that happened just a while ago! Clearly the sound sucks on my camera, because it was LOUD. OMG kind of loud.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It isn't a fiber circus...

But Mug and the girls were in one for a while. A circus, that is. I think (at least Mug and Kate) are interested in re-joining in September. This isn't Mug's finest performance; it is very hard to do something so physical while on beta blockers.

The following video blows my mind.. I don't know the contortionists, but they are in the same circus company. I think of them often, as I struggle to tie my shoes.

Did you know that circus training started so early? There are the teeniest, tiniest kids in classes. After aging out of this troupe, the next logical step would be to move on to L'Ecole Nationale de Cirque, and then Cirque du Soleil?

Tonight I've been working on a short row, toe up sock. It's not my favorite, and I'm working with a Fleece Artist Merino that I thought was beautiful at one point. That point is not now. However, I want to figure out how to do this (it's not my style) so that I can help Tori and Kathleen with their socks.

I was also binding off the Hemlock ring. I had no idea how tedious that was going to be, so I put it down after a while. At this point I am praying that I don't run out of yarn. If I do, it will be by inches.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Out there in the blogosphere

Bounces my blog; yours.

I heard a number of exciting things this evening (frankly, it's been a pretty darned exciting day overall, and I am wondering how my blood pressure is!), one of which is related to the Swallowtail that I knit for Mandie. Following you'll find some cryptic background, because the entire story is not mine to tell.

I didn't understand why the shawl was Mandie's, I just knew it was, and I went with that. The colours, the beads, everything fell into place; and I made it that way,even though I thought/worried it was wrong for her. This past weekend Mandie had a booth at Bendy, and I'm happy to say that she did very, very well there. I'm not in the least surprised! Sunday was a significant day for Mandie, for personal reasons, and the shawl is tied into the story - so she wore it wrapped around her neck. Tonight Mandie called me to say that strangers approached her and noted that she was wearing the Swallowtail that Annie knit.

Strangers to her and to me. In Australia. Call us by name. Know my work. Touched the shawl.

Now.. that just thrills me to pieces. Honestly. It's way up there with the ribbon. It ripples.

Can you imagine the number of people in the world that are familiar with your work, simply by reading blogs, or by using Ravelry? It blows my mind.

So, ya. It's a super good day. BP be damned.

We're going! We're going!!

It all starts like this...

I came in to work one morning, and Amy had left me a note about a really cool and interesting person by the name of Tori who had been in over the weekend. Tori is from NYS and is in Calgary to stay by her mom's side during a recent illness. She folded into the kind of normal that we are at the shop.. now I find myself looking for her every afternoon; honestly, if she didn't come, I'd worry.

I'm not sure how it came up, but I was talking to her about Rhinebeck, and I jokingly told her that we would all be coming to stay at her house during the festival. She said SURE!.. After ascertaining that she really meant it, I started to work on Aunty Tink. Wouldn't it be great to go?

So today we have tickets. I cannot believe that I'm going to be so lucky.. this has been my dream for a while, and suddenly it is real. In fact, I'm going to Camp Pluckyfluff in September, Rhinebeck in October, and THE retreat in November (yayyyyyy! I have a 6 hour class booked with the Yarn Harlot on Friday. I am so excited). My life has become something different in recent months.. it's amazing what can happen when you are amoung your *people*. I feel real. OMG... Rhinebeck.

I'm so looking forward to spending the time with Tori. She's one of us, and we're all going on this fabulous adventure together.

Now.. tell me.. where in New York should I crawl? Any suggestions to maximize our stay? We have four days to discover all that the fiber arts community has to offer. How does one do Rhinebeck right?

Next stop: Australia. I believe it.

PS: I miss you BF. The house is weird without you and the kids, tho I am currently having ice cream for dinner, in the nude. OK.. not so much on the nude part. ;)

My throat: ouch.

Knitting? Finished the Silk Garden Lite socks for BF last night, and he left with them on his feet. Tonight I'm working on the last pattern row of the Hemlock Ring. I hope to bind it off tomorrow.

The sheep? Romney. Rhinebeck 2008 featured sheep. Ya baby.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I will be spending my summer vacation at work.

Ya.. turns out I have strep, though I don't feel all that awful. Meds make me safe to be around now that I've been on them for 24 hours. However, my BP was sky high, and THAT caused an abrupt change in plans. Instead of heading to the Island again, I spent part of this morning at the Lougheed having some tests done. I have to see the Dr. again tomorrow morning, get an EKG and do a three day test that I'll save you the details of.

It's OK really.. Pfffft on all that.

I haven't been alone in a long time, so maybe it will be great. Today I knit most of the second Silk Garden Lite sock for BF. Imagine what else I might knit while I'm here by myself!

Mug comes home at the end of next week. I really miss her, and I'm wayyyy happier than she is about this turn of events. Apparently she'd like to stay on the Island.

I can't say I blame her.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Gas leak day

BF snapped a picture (and I was thinking.. Gas leak. Camera. How do these two go together?)

It was a bit busy that day. To quote: Click to enbiggen.

In which Nini has her first sleepover at Nan's.

It went pretty well, over all. She came equipped with a stroller, a car seat, a bag of toys and books and diapers and clothes and snacks and God only knows what else... and her little self was quite pleased to be at Nan's. She played with Aidan and Anna for ages, until she finally just fell over from exhaustion. I took her up to bed, and she was having none of that, so I just sat her beside me and eventually realized she was asleep sitting up. When she woke up in the night and realized that I was not, in fact, her mother she decided that things were in pretty sad shape. After a little drink of milk she and I settled in Aidan's bed and she slept on and off for the rest of the night.

This morning was a pleasure. We laid in bed together and played a game involving me kissing her toes about a million times; then sang twinkle twinkle (and other songs from the Nini hit parade). She was totally enthralled with the flowers and rainbow painted on the walls.. Dida and I had painted the room for Maddie years ago. I was thinking how magic it was that Dida's baby would enjoy the art that we'd painted together.

Ike showed up at 9am.. turns out that a baby-free night is fun, but not super fun... As it should be, right?

A few more precious flowers, from Whippletree Junction, for your viewing pleasure.




Friday, July 18, 2008

Yarn stores!

I'll bet you were beginning to think that I didn't go to any! Two actually...

On Friday we walked downtown from one end to the other, and went to see the Beehive. I have been shopping there since I was a little girl, because at one point, the Beehive was really the only game in town. There were no other choices.

A lot has changed since the early 60s! They have a new location across from the Bay (which has been gutted - but the facade has been preserved). It once was the Mexican Gift shop, way back when. Anyway, it was hot in there, and really crammed with yarn. There were a few that I liked and lots of Fleece Artist. Lots of everything, really. I liked that they had accent pieces.. Interesting, jewelry-like bits for shawls, sweaters and wraps. I didn't buy anything that day. My only disappointment (and it is relatively minor) is that Prudence Mapstone was giving a free workshop on Saturday night, and I wasn't able to make it. That would have been beyond great.


On Saturday we drove up to Mill Bay to Whippletree Junction, where at the suggestion of Aunty Tink, we found The Loom. Crazy place, that! The ceilings are low, and the entire place is jam packed with yarn. There is so much there that it would take days to get a feeling for the entire contents. Thankfully there was a really nice lady working there who knew the exact location of everything they have to offer. They also were loaded with Fleece Artist products, tho some were very old and dusty. I bought 2 slivers of silk/wool which was dyed in incredible, saturated, dense colours, and 3 skeins of similar sock yarn. It was kind of funny, because she had a big basket of sock yarn hidden under another basket of something of lesser interest. I had to ask for it in particular, or I would have never known!



Saturday turned out to be the most fabulous day! After we left The Loom, we drove 5 minutes away to my Aunt's house, and found another Uncle there as well. We had such a great visit... I hope to be back soon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Ok; food

OMG. I ate some.

It is quite possible that I ate ALL of the food on Vancouver Island; it sure feels like it now. Thankfully I found a really super fabulous new outfit (a line of Canadian designed/made clothing.. brand spanking new, creative and original) that hides all kinds of sins, including eating all the food on an entire island.

We had some memorable meals... the most special being a room service breakfast on BF's birthday. He ordered eggs benedict on wild smoked salmon, and I ordered classic eggs benedict. We also ordered Mimosas for 2. When breakfast arrived, the bellman said that he'd never served Mimosas before, so instead of bringing two mixed drinks, he brought two 1/2 bottles of champagne and 2 carafes of fresh orange juice. Ya. Tipsy.

The breakfast was completely fabulous.. everything was perfect, including the strawberries and blackberries that garnished the plates,and the flowers that they brought with it. I'll speak for BF and say it was a memorable 50th birthday breakfast.


Earlier in the trip we'd gone to Barb's for fish and chips. Barb's is located on fisherman's warf, and it is well known for good food and a gorgeous setting. It was absolutely packed that day, but we decided that it was worth the trouble to continue our Barb's tradition; this time with Donna, Emily, and BF's mom. We got a great, great table, and had a really fun meal.


My second favorite meal in Victoria was at a small cafe off of Johnson and Government. It was run by a funky Montrealer and a super staff. His concept is to serve the best quality, self prepared food on the planet; and to be honest, I have eaten in several world class restaurants and he may have attained his goal (I'm sorry Paul Prudhome, but you've fallen from your pedestal).

I can't properly describe the salad we shared (huge.. huge salad), but it involved micro-greens, rustic bread with a horseradish mustard, cold smoked salmon and goat cheese. Believe me when I tell you that there are not words to describe such perfection. If you're in Victoria, don't miss Cafe Montreal Vielle.


Then there was Bubby Rose... a fabulous little coffee shop near Lillian's house (close to downtown). The coffee is absolutely great, and the self proclaimed 'best cinnamon buns ever' were, in fact, the best. I saw lots and lots of yummy looking plates of fruit covered French toast going by, but unfortunately we'd already eaten (well, not that unfortunate... BF made the greatest poached eggs that morning).

Just before leaving Victoria, we stopped for lunch at a really super little place called Fish on Fifth, in Sidney. I had a piece of halibut and salad with balsamic vinaigarette. SO fabulous. If they had Barb's surroundings, they'd have lines miles long.


Between the meals I've just described, and the ones I didn't (Foie Gras with black truffles on the back deck? We had it.) I'm now in the market for a nice little tent and awning company to disguise the vastness that is my butt.

Ya well.. it was worth it.

2 sleeves down, 2 to go

I finished Amy's magic cardi, and it is GRAND. I'm totally in love with the sweater, and I'm so, so glad that I decided to make the investment. I have seen 5 completely different size/shaped women wearing it, and it fits everyone... it is some kind of magic, I'm quite sure.

Colour here isn't accurate; it's not so yellow. It's a gorgeous colour of green actually.


And.. speaking of magic.. here's our cat Rocky (having just been disturbed from his nap by a photog). He's a rescue, and we've had him for years and years. He was once locked in an abandoned car for 11 days without food or water. It's some kind of miracle that he survived that, let alone unscathed. He's a really nice guy, tho I wouldn't suggest calling your cat Rocky and your dog Roxy. A bit of bad planning there.

I have so much to say that I don't know where to start


Last weekend BF and I were in Victoria. I am a really tentative flyer, to say the least. I like it best when my feet are on terra-firma, but instead we took two flights there and one flight back. Apparently BF's right middle finger bends allllll they way back now. Perhaps I was holding on just a little too tightly?


The entire weekend was glorious. One of two suspects bought him (and me, by default) a night at the Victoria Inner Harbour Marriott. It was beautiful beyond description.. but I'll save that for later.


We arrived in Victoria an hour early, and were able to spend that hour sitting outside the airport sharing an egg salad sandwich and Timmy's (black, thank you very much). BF's sister Donna came to pick us up and the very first thing we did was take a walk along the breakwater. BF and Donna had some details to work out regarding the wedding they'd shot in Edmonton. Anyway... the breakwater is a pleasure for me; an absolute, unmitigated pleasure. You see, my dad worked on it in the early 50's. Every step I take along it reminds me of him and I feel so proud that something he did.. well, stayed done. Uncountable feet have stepped there.


Mine. His.

So, thanks Pop; it was good to be where you were. I wish you were here still.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

There are times when you don't want to hear: Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

And one of those times would be when you are walking home from work and there is a group of people standing on the sidewalk about 1/2 a block from your house, and traffic is being diverted. The Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh is a major gas leak from a 2" pressurized line, it's been leaking for over an hour (because 'they' cannot find the connection to shut off), and your entire family appears to be IN the house.

Good Lord.

It's over now (total time of event: approx 4 hours!) and all seems to be well, tho certain areas are still roped off and people are milling about.

Tomorrow morning BF and I are leaving for Victoria to spend his 50th birthday weekend in our mutual hometown, and by the ocean.

Ok. I'm going to the Beehive. But otherwise, it's alllll about him.

See ya Monday.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Today I talked to Nancy Bush

Yes I did. Went like this:

A: Make One Yarn Studio, this is Annie
N: Hello. Is Amy there?
A: No, I'm sorry she isn't, can I take a message?
N: No thanks, I'll call back another time.

I know. You're terribly jelous right now. You can't believe I'm so lucky. Remember that time that Amy Singer called me *ahem*, I mean Amy? The telephone conversation was strangely similar.

My celebrity knitters are starting to stack up. I consider them to be: Denny, Rachel H, Amy Singer, and now Nancy Bush.

[Hey, Denny.. Pumper #1 drove by today (it's Tuesday night knitting circle; we were pretty well all present), and the I swear that they were all looking into the window as they went by. We waved like crazy. Blew them a kiss from you.]

Tonight I finally sanded and waxed a part for the Nilus wheel that I had made (the part, not the wheel). I dunno why it took so long. Another coat of wax and it's good to go. :)

Too hot to knit the Hemlock ring.. maybe I'll break out magi-cardi. Every single morning I wish I had it to wear.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I have 'needs-a-sleeve-itis'


Needs a sleeve.


Needs 1.5 sleeves. But the skirt is actually done.

I dunno how you get over needs-a-sleeve-itis. I hope it's not as serious as single sock syndrome; because you know I'll wear a single sock paired with another single sock. It might be pushing the envelope to walk around with one missing sleeve.

Sunday, July 6, 2008


The day I found out about the *BLUE RIBBON*, I also received a box of goodies from my friend Mandie. It wasn't the first. She is such a generous person that it defies description. Ask anyone who knows her, and they will relate similar stories.

So, here's the contents of that one box, plus another that she sent a little while ago. I promise, you're going to wish you were me. *I* wish i was me.

Shredded currency, threads

Sparkly thread

Dyed locks

Dyed and Undyed silk rods. The dye job rocks!

Silk and wool threads

Silk waste, degummed cocoons, silk strips, and an HC star

Dyed silk

Sparkly bling

Threads and bling

Hippy Heaven BFL with sequins

Solitude BFL/Soy

Fluffy, clean, amazing silk noil

Retro Spectro, Merino/Soy Top (it is so fluffy.. i'm dying to spin this)

Wool threads

There's more! Also included in the box was over 2lbs. of raw merino fleece. Incredibly soft and springy; if I can figure out how to deal with it to keep it spinable, it's going to be freaking amazing.

I'm going to Camp Pluckyfluff in September, and I am SO HOOKED UP. Honestly.. I need to spin some singles for the trip, and if I took everything that Mandie sent, and that I've collected over the last few months, I have enough for the entire class. I am praying that I can be an art yarn spinner; because at this point, the only thing that could go wrong is operator error.

Speaking of spinning... This was in the box too. I spun it today. Plied it badly on the Princess Indian Spinner. It was our first project together, and there were problems. Time will tell... but the colours? Exactly right. I'm in love with it.

Rum Runner, Optim/Soy

I don't know how to appropriately or adequately say thanks to someone so gracious and thoughtful. All I can think of is.. Mandie.. you'd better get those needles sharpened up, because soon there will be yarn on the way!

ps: a fish picture:


The fish needs eyes, and a strap. It's going to be a purse.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It takes a village

Let me take a moment from plastering self-congratulatory Ravelry posts to show you this:


I am so darned excited that I can barely think straight. The story goes like this...

Some months ago I read a blog post by Aunty Tink in which she encouraged knitters to enter their work into the Calgary Stampede Western Showcase. I remembered all the times I've walked by arts displays and thought that I ought to give it a try.. yet I never did.

After discussions with Marilynn (AT herself) I decided that I'd re-knit Evelyn Clark's Heartland Lace Shawl (I had already knitted it once for Jim's mom; we both loved it!). The shawl is inspired by and designed around a bison hoof print.. a great idea for a western themed celebration, don't you think? And she also suggested that I consider using bison.

Have you ever tried to get your hands on 100% bison? At first I considered spinning for it, but I just couldn't get the fiber in time, and the price would have knocked me right out of business anyway.. I began looking for suppliers for the intended yarn (Buffalo Gold), but place after place was sold out. Right at that time I had developed a deep and unexpected friendship with an indi-dyer in Australia; Mandie of EGMTK. Imagine my surprise when I noticed Buffalo Gold on her website!!! After a very brief discussion, Mandie had the yarn in the mail to me.

It takes a little while for a parcel to come from Australia, but it was SO worth it (thanks again Canada Customs). I was totally ready; the project was knitting itself in my imagination and in my heart. Soon it was on my needles, and then blocking wires; finally in Marilynn's hands.. she delivered it to the Stampede Grounds for me because I had to work that day.

Today I found out that it had won second place in the knitted lace accessories category of the Western Showcase! I cannot even begin to relate to you how thrilled and excited I am.. (tho there are a half dozen knitters who could probably relate the story quite well - I might have become the Happy Hour floor show!).

I really want to thank Marilynn and Mandie, and Evelyn too.. It took all four of us to add up to a really great shawl, a beautiful blue ribbon, and about a million really huge smiles.


Who got #1? That would be the same person who won the knitting category overall with her wonderful 'Phoenix Rising' shawl.

Marilynn. She's amazing in so many ways.

Fish pictures? They'll have to wait until tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Today I knit a fish.

Yes I did.

More on that later. The wild roses are for entertainment purposes in the meantime.


I spent the weekend in Edmonton.

This nearly blows my mind, because I lived there for years when I was a teenager, and honestly I cannot remember enjoying it in the least. It's nothing to do with the Calgary/Edmonton thing, but more likely with the move from Victoria to what I then considered the bowels of hell, and youth.

Anyway, when BF told me he and his sister had a wedding to shoot in Edmonton I wasn't what you'd call excited. He wanted me to come, so I took a day off of work and did so... thinking that the high point of the weekend would be stopping off at Olds Fiber Week (merchant mall, don't you know) on the way home.

Instead, I had a great time. On Friday night we went to the Legislature building to scope out locations for wedding photography (met his sister and her husband there). Even though I'd lived in Edmonton, I'd never taken the time to visit the Legislature before. Imagine that. It is really beautiful, and if you have the chance, you should have a walk around. There's a truly amazing wading pool and an ice cream vendor (you'd understand this reference if you knew how hot it was that day). The gardens are lovely.

Friday evening we went to an Indian buffet together, and had the pleasure (and, ok.. a little pain) of watching a whole lot of belly dancing students do their first public performance. My, my. You had to be there.

Saturday, BF and I had an early breakfast, and then went to the Bay to shop. He'd reconsidered his apparel for the wedding, and it was so darned hot out that it was clear that he was also going to need a hat. Later he left, and I walked from downtown to River City Yarns. I was hoping for STR, but there were only 2 lone skeins to be had, and the colourway made it pretty clear why they were still hanging around. I did buy some Fleece Artist/Handmaiden for Dida though (she looked after the dogs for us, and kept company with Mug as well)... merino/cashmere sock yarn, some silk, some seawool.. all as beautiful as you might imagine.

Man.. it was a long, hot, hot, hot walk. Did I mention hot? Phew. Great little store though.

On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a boardwalk market (where I bought a handmade monster stuffie for someone's Christmas present). I stumbled upon a gathering of bicycles in a nearby park. There were all kinds of sales, booths and events associated with that, and tons of people. By then I was about 90% melted, so I made my way back to the hotel and spent the rest of the afternoon knitting my magical cardi.

We did make it to Olds on Sunday.. stopped briefly at the merchant mall to visit with Sandra (Make One has a booth). We checked out fleeces that were up for silent auction, but were too early to bid.

It turned out to be a really great weekend; and I really think that Calgary could make an effort to revitalize the downtown area by having similar markets and events.

The high point of the weekend? Spending time alone with BF.

PS: It was hot. But then, I told you that already, didn't I? ;)