Saturday, January 31, 2009

I met someone special on Friday

A beautiful pink bundle named Norah.

She's tiny and sweet and round and precious and three months old... and I think that Sherry really has an amazing blessing in this child. Her hair is dark and she has lots of it; the cutest little bow shaped lips (blowing bubbles). She smiled and lit us all up. Everything about her is in perfect proportion. I'm not sure how to explain it...

I haven't held a baby in so long, and meeting Norah made me realize how big that Nini has become. It was nice to hold her against my chest and fall into 'rocking mode' (if you've ever been a parent, the rocking thing somehow becomes imprinted).

It was so special to meet her, and I felt very honored.

Knitting Francie #1 has become all encompassing. The heel is turned and I'm working on that really interesting sole. I tried on the sock last night and I'm pretty sure that it's a complex combination of wrong for my foot.. but I'll finish knitting them anyway, just for the pleasure of it. What I ought to be doing is spinning Qivuit.

A miracle happened! Dida found my missing copy of the Eclectic Sole in a box of books that I'd given to Nini. I'll be so glad to get it back. I allllllmost bought another, as they're on the shelf at the store, taunting me.

Today I need to get a tetanus shot for my Mexico trip, and next Saturday I'll do the same. Yuck.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Francie socks in cashmere with SNA DPNS

Originally uploaded by spinknit

I have been trying to blog about something other than fund raising (but get ready for another wave.. those silk hankies are in the photography stage!).

So... I started a post about beer. Pretty good, huh? I bought a 4 pack of historic beers from Scotland, and we tried a Kelpie the other night.

Just as I was about to start writing (had a picture and everything) the dog exploded *fyi, the incredible exploding dog had gotten into cat food, which upsets her stomach. she is fine now*. You don't want details. All thoughts of beer were banished from my head and I became one of the saddest human beings on this planet *due to the impending cleanup job*.

That very night I went to Make1, and my friend Aunty Tink gave me my Signature Needle Arts 2.25mm dpns (green) and 4.5mm - 14" red straights with a teardrop top. We'd ordered them and had them shipped to AT's daughter's house, and she mailed them here. (it was a high shipping fee dodge) Ya... even exploding dogs and beers that taste like kelp slip in the distant past in the glow that is SNA needles.

Now, my friend Gale, who I bow too in all things knitting, simply despises her SNA needles. I was shocked to hear it, and was in dread about mine arriving.. what if I hated them too? (Let it be known that I still bow to her, and I think that somehow her needles are messed up something fierce)

Man.. they are so, perfectly, me. I love them (tho I haven't actually knit with the straights).... those dpns are perfection. What to try on them?... a very special ball of Hand Maiden Casbah that I had been hording for some time... and a newly downloaded copy of Francie socks. I've been wanting to knit them for an age.

So here were are.. in the moment.

Last night I woke up at 3, and sat downstairs listening to the Food Channel and knitting my Francies, with the Casbah and the SNA's. I felt as though i was on the planet all by myself. Tonight I laid on my bed and put a portable dvd player on my lap.. watched DVD2 of the Tudor's first season and knit for 2.5 hours.

And it was so good..

That's simply all I have to say for myself today.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Locks for sale!

I had hoped to post silk hankies as well, but they will have to wait for another day.

These locks would be great for spinning. You could card them, or spin them straight from the bag. They would be super for needle felting as well.. whatever your imagination comes up with! There will be some VM. I cannot vouch for the BFL, but in this case, the kid mohair locks originate from an animal friendly farm. Prices are in Canadian dollars, and do not include shipping; I will combine, and/or make arrangements within Calgary.

So here we go! Click on the pictures for fiber weights and prices.

1 - SOLD

kid mohair 2

3 - SOLD

4 - SOLD

5 - SOLD

6 - SOLD

7 - SOLD

8 - SOLD

9 - SOLD

10 - SOLD

11 - SOLD

12 - SOLD

ps: He won his game tonight! If they win on Thursday, then they'll be in the finals. It was a REALLY exciting game today.. the best they've ever played.

Fund raising and knitting, and hockey tournaments and kneecaps

Maybe not in that order, and sometimes done together. For example, knitting and hockey tournaments.

Aidan is in one. A tournament I mean. It's his fist time, and it's all very exciting! This week is Esso Minor Hockey Week, and he's participating in the what has been described as the largest hockey tournament in the world (a Guinness Book record book title holder, I hear). He needs to win 3 games in a row to be in the finals, and last night his team won their first game. Dida, Ike, Mug, Nini and I were there as his fans, and BFML was Assistant Coach (he has earned certification and yesterday was presented with his pin).

Anyway, we all cheered lots, and had a great time waving and jumping, and I managed to finish knitting these (ahem.. he's not on the ice allllll of the time, now is he?).

felted mountain colors socks

When I came home from hockey I threw them in the washer and felted them.. and they are now in my top 2 warmest socks category. I totally love them, and I'm so pleased with the results. There was about 3 yards of yarn left from a 100 gram skein, so I consider a nice warm pair of felted worsted socks, started and completed in less than 48 hours, to be a pretty darned good investment. The yarn is Mountain Colors "Mountain Goat" - colourway: Firehole (I think the name is a bit unfortunate!). The socks don't exactly match.. they're siblings for sure, but not identical twins. I linked to M1's site, but don't expect to find this yarn listed.. it moves so quickly that you'll only be able to get it in person or over the telephone.
Mona sock, forever in progress
(Mona sock, pattern by Cookie A, knitted in Blue Moon Fibers STR, medium weight, Valkyrie)

I had been a tiny bit disappointed that due to other Saturday obligations I hadn't been able to drive to Banff to pick up some more Qivuit fiber. I'd spun everything I had onhand, and still don't have enough to knit the wrap I'm planning to compete with at the Calgary Stampede. Last night after hockey I started to clean up my worst "stuff collecting" corner... to be honest I was looking for the 'Mona' Cookie A sock pattern, and I found THIS:

Qiviut fiber & cobweb handspun


An update: Things are going very well at the Knitting Room. I have been in overdrive trying to figure out all the available products and who to get them from, and also trying to integrate and organize stock. I've met loads of wonderful people, and lots of my friends from M1 have popped by to give me hug and make sure I'm doing OK. Now, that is such a blessing.. I have to say.

Now, the fund raising!

(The cardboard house that our family had been living in. They had built it with garbage they were able to find. This was a very, very fine house compared to some up there on that mountain.. yet a terrible fire hazard, cold, and every time it rained... wrecked)

I don't have words to express how grateful and thankful I am for all of your help and support in this mission. There is absolutely no question that I will make it to 100% of what I require to pay for the trip, between donations and the yarn/fiber I've been selling. I have asked for some feedback on the family from our last mission (the house that I helped build, in particular), and when it is provided, I will share it with you, so that you might have an idea how a real home has affected the lives of even one little family. The little girl in the family was not being accepted by the village children, because she was born in another village and had to move when their circumstances became dire. BFML and I bought her a swing-set; and because there is absolutely no playground equipment in the village, we were hoping that her toy would create opportunities for her to make friends. I so hope that it worked out. Her name is 'Bellie', and she will almost be 8 now.

(The cement pad is poured before we arrive. Here you see the house after we've completed framing and have put the exterior siding on. Drywall to follow. What you see is 3 of the 4 teeny tiny rooms in the house. There is a 'kitchen' area, living room, and 2 very small bedrooms. The entire house would probably fit into your living room)

I wish I could take more things with me to the village.. I'd like to bring things for the kids - they have so little, but we are so restricted for space that whatever I take has to be carried on my lap from San Diego to our final destination. It's harder than you might imagine, when you consider that the 9 other people in our van are doing the same exact thing - elbow to elbow, and we have to also deal with sleeping bags and the driver's 'luggage'.

(I cut every single board for the house. Inside and out. It is one of my proudest accomplishments. I was told at the last meeting that I would be the cutter on the next house too.)

One of the things that made the most impact on my during our last mission was when one of the girls in our group went into town and bought groceries for the kids. She was a very strict vegan, and yet she had her hands in cold meats and deli foods up to her elbows in order to get good protein into the children. A lot of those kids survive on candy.. it's affordable and available in the village, where staples might be out of reach financially. Anyway, when the doors of the van opened, and there was Jasmine handing out buns with cold meat and potato salad.. well, the little kids went crazy trying to get some. We saw many of them join the lineup again and again so that they could eat more. I'm talking about kids from around 2 years old.. clammering for a sandwich. Eating every scrap of potato salad and then licking the paper plate clean.

I can't remember the last time that my kids ate potato salad without wincing. They've never once considered it to be a delicacy outside of their grasp.


I'll be posting another round of fiber tonight; this time dyed mohair locks and silk hankies (beautiful, if I might say so!). Either would be great for spinning or needle felting.

Finally... If you know Sittie, she's had an accident that broke her kneecap. Last Saturday she had surgery.. she has been wheelchair bound and completely immobile since then. Her condition is pretty good, and she told me that she was able to go many hours without pain medication yesterday. I hope that you can take a moment to say a prayer for our island grandmother; she could really use it right now.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!


It's been a crazy, busy weekend.. and somehow it's Sunday night and I promised to post some yarn and fiber. I'll never make it as a photographer, that's for sure! (BFML took this first picture, and the rest can be blamed on me)

I did knit a bit... I've started the bike messenger jacket from Son of Stitch and Bitch. I didn't gauge swatch, so the sweater is going to be for Aidan. He's excited because I told him I'm going to put a skull and barbed wire on one arm.

I spent more than a few hours searching for patterns... I'm looking for something to knit for Stampede, but I don't know what it is yet. The search has resulted in a great deal of research, and zero results so far. I like to test knit in a cost effective yarn, just in case I end up feeling luke warm about the project.... so I really don't have tons of time.

I cooked tonight.. and it resulted in what may have been the very best beef gravy I've ever come up with; it was so dark and rich that I was shocked! I'm not very good at cooking meat, overall.. but gosh, it was all good tonight. The Yorkshire puddings were tall and crisp, the meat was (overcooked, but still) tender and delicious. Back to pasta sauce for me next week I'm sure, but today I'll bask in a successful meal.

Now, for the fiber and the yarn! I should note that we have pets here; both dogs and cats, but it's a non-smoking house. If you see something that you'd like to purchase, please contact me by comments or by email (

OK.. here we go.

I have two more sock yarn submissions.. both 100gms of superwash (wool/nylon blend) - $15.00 ea.



LOTS of BFL today... approx. 100gms per package, at $15.00 ea.

(Note: there is so much turquoise in this roving that I would expect residual dye to be present when washing. It's the science of particle size.. the fiber will remain vibrant)









Saturday, January 17, 2009


I love it, but I'll let it go in the spirit of fund raising.

Silk/Merino blend, dyed in the Valkyrie colourway by Blue Moon Fibers - fiber purchased at The Fold, in Rhinebeck - yarn handspun by me. Approximately 500 yards, 117 grams. It is Navajo plied, to preserve the colour shifts. True colour is darker and richer than shown in the picture.

Well, that didn't work out very well, unless the objective was to make people feel uncomfortable about making an offer!...

I'll think of something else, and post more fiber/sock yarn on Sunday.

In the meantime; I was contacted by Unity today to say that donations had been made in my name. I am so pleased and so grateful; thank you, everyone.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I want to thank you so far...

All of the first batch of fiber/yarn has sold, and I was given donations by two fabulous, thoughtful friends. I am really thrilled and grateful, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

I'm going to do something in your names when I'm in the village, but I haven't figured out what yet.

Please stay tuned for more products to be posted this weekend, including some handspun.

Maybe this one?

blue moon mulberry silk/superfine merino blend, valkyrie

Monday, January 12, 2009

So, here we go! Fiber and Yarn!

To respond to Kourtney, I need donations as soon as possible. I have to pay for my share of the mission by mid-February.

Following you will find fiber and yarn that I have dyed and will sell to raise funds. Detail as follows: Please contact me to purchase (, and note the name of the product, ie: sock1. I will provide a paypal address to you, and can accept non-credit card funded payments. Prices do not include shipping, though I'd be happy to arrange pickup and perhaps deliveries in Calgary. If you purchase something in support of the Mexico mission, you will not get a tax receipt. In order to get a receipt you would need to make a cash donation.


More to come!

If you have any questions about these products or the mission, please comment or drop me a note.

Thanks in advance for your support.

I need help

Several years ago I travelled to Mexico to join a YUGO mission to build houses. I went with BFML and his sister Donna & her family. Donna organized the mission through her church; at the time it was her second mission working with YUGO. There were approximately 40 people who joined in, and we built 3 houses and 3 outhouses (although there were other missionaries there and a grand total of 6 houses and a church were built that week).

The main group is separated into teams for each house/outhouse, and assigned a family. The family's obligation is to purchase the land the house will be built on, and they must establish that they can and will pay the mortgage on the property. There are very many visits between the family and YUGO before they are accepted into the program and become eligible for a house. Now.. Churches and organizations worldwide take part in these missions, and their responsibilities include paying for the building materials, (normally) furnishing the houses, and taking the family on a shopping trip to supply some wish-list items (such as groceries, bedding, etc). The teams are also responsible for paying for air travel, van rental, several days of meals (between legs of the journey), 2 nights hotel, and dorm/food fees at YUGO.

I was hoping that I could attend the upcoming mission, but was unsure if I could due to changing jobs. Thankfully, Mona was able to get Rose to cover for me that week (which is during spring break), Dida agreed to take care of Mug, and besides the dogs, the only issue I have left is funding.

So, I'm going to believe that it's possible, and I've committed to attend. Here's where you come in.

Beginning soon, I'm going to post dyed fiber and a small amount of dyed sock yarn for sale. All proceeds will go towards the mission. Also (or, instead), if you chose, you could mail a donation directly to me or to Unity Baptist Church. There are a lot of options regarding donations; all of which will get you a charitable tax receipt. You could donate in my name, and those dollars will go towards paying for my trip/expenses (noted above). You could donate towards the mission as a whole, or towards building materials for the second house (the first one has been paid already), towards furnishings, or any combination of things. So that donations are correctly applied, please note that funds are for the 2009 Mexico mission. If you would like to contribute to my trip, please note my name as well (I'm the only Annie going!).

If I collect funds above what I need for my expenses, I plan to donate the balance to my Mexican family towards their mortgage. Jim and I did this last time on a very small scale, and it was a very beautiful thing for all of us, family and otherwise. Also, we purchased a swing-set for the little daughter of the house (there are no playgrounds or playground equipment in these small mountain villages).

Our last Mexican family were wonderful, loving people who were living in a cardboard box. They had been doing fairly well until the mother became ill, and all of their money went towards paying medical bills; after a year of illness they became debt ridden. It is extremely difficult to make a living in this area. In order to have a job, you need to get off the mountain and out of the village. To do that, you need a car. In a place where the average daily earnings top out at approximately $7.00, paying for a car and gas at US rates.. well, it just isn't that easy. Kids there can't go to school unless they have a uniform and school supplies. They actually erase all of their work so that they can re-use paper.

Here's a link to a video that Jim made of the 2006 Mexico mission.

I'm going to believe that I'll raise money for this trip, so in that spirit, I'm thanking you in advance. If you would like more information on this mission or the budget associated, please contact me, or email Unity Baptist Church, attention: Holly.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In which I do battle with the earworm.

Night 3. THAT song is going through my head, over and over.

There was only one solution.. replace it with a stronger entity that isn't as distasteful.

Take a Letter Maria.

I had no choice, I had to bring out the big guns. This would have been my third consecutive sleepless night. The good news is that TaLM hasn't re-rooted in my brain so far. Maybe I'm safe?

Hockey was a bit sad for me and HUGELY, MASSIVELY successful for Aidan. When the Saddledome lights dimmed and I could see swirling spotlights I was expecting to see him. However, two colour commentary guys suddenly filled the screen and talked about stats. Grrrrr... (Oh well.. I got a few rows of the Marie Antoinette socks done while I waited)

Aidan came home with 2 hockey pucks, a beautiful jersey, and more joy that any boy is normally entitled to. He'll be talking about last night until he' a very old man, I'm quite sure.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


I have one.

Here is a pretty good explanation of them.

The last time I was infected, I heard 'Take a Letter Maria' in my head, on and off, for 3 years.

God help me.. this time its Britney Spears singing Womanizer. I swear I have been singing Take a Letter Maria out LOUD trying to get rid of that other song which I cannot say the name of twice.

Hence, awake at 1am.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hockey. No kidding. You must watch it tomorrow.

I am the wicked step-mom to a wonderful little guy, aged 9. This is him:

If you'd like to see a better picture of him, then your best bet would be to watch the Calgary/San Jose game tomorrow night. He has been chosen to skate a loop around the Saddledome ice with the Calgary Flames, and to join them for the national anthem. They are giving him a jersey, and tickets for the game. He calls tomorrow 'Happy Day', and he's been counting sleeps until HD since Christmas. Honestly, it is happy day for all of us, because he's been working so hard to be a good hockey player himself, and this is such an honour and a blessing for him. He feels like a winner.. and he is. I hope that you can share his moment of glory.

And, yes, he wears that balaclava all the time. He really does.

I thought I'd share this picture with you:

The tree is dismantled

Not because I'm happy to say that the Christmas tree has been dismantled, but because you might notice that all of our decorations are special; the toilet paper angel has a very special place in my heart, and has been on the tree for years. Blogless C might notice that, yes, we have disco ball ornaments.

If you have children, I would suggest that you buy a big bag of non-breakable Christmas balls, and every year give your kids a ball and a felt pen. We have a collection from years and years back, and I love each and every one of them. You can see one or two in the picture. It's not fancy, it's just them, leaving their marks for you to see when they are not so little any more.

And here you have the early stages of Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette

Gale blogged about it, and I loved her sock so much that I bought the pattern and ordered the yarn. I was endlessly thinking about the sock though, so I brought out a ball of yarn that I bought in Brooklyn during the Rhinebeck extravaganza. It's a cashmere blend, but I can't give you details because I somehow lost the ball band. I totally love the intended yarn (which is Tupelo Honey by the Woolen Rabbit, $22.00 shipped), but I am not sorry that I started with the yarn I used.

In case you're wondering.. today was my first full day at the Knitting Room. It went well, it was a very, very busy day, and I saw a few familiar, smiling faces. Thank you for coming in to say hi; I really appreciated it.

Tonight? I'm up to my elbows in dyed fiber and sock yarn. It's all good!

ps: The Alphagetti was fantabulous.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

What I've really wanted

...for what seems like forever, is some time to myself to create. I have been too this, and too that, and haven't had the opportunity to just sit at the wheel and spin. Everything has had a deadline of some sort, and finally I ended up with a deadline that helped me achieve some time at the wheel.

You see, Donna loaned me her Majacraft Rose to spin over Christmas. After everything was said and done, and all things Christmas were achieved, I found two solid days to sit at the wheel before it goes back to its rightful owner. I spent a good deal of time doing research on the wheel, making adjustments, talking to Mandie (she's a distributor) and generally searching for the holy grail. It was so great. I really, really love spinning.

But you knew that, right?

Thank you so much Donna!

My next goal is to dye. I have the weekend ahead of me, and I feel as thought the window of opportunity might just open.

Tomorrow? I'll be at the Knitting Room for several hours, and after that, Alphagetti with Kathi. I'm so looking forward to both things.