Friday, May 29, 2009

What We Saw

I’m so very glad that I got the chance to be impulsive last weekend. The trip was everything we could have asked for. The weather was nothing short of perfect, and we never ran out of things to see. I have no idea how many miles (kilometers?) we walked, but it was worth the sore calves.

Plane spotting at the Inner Harbor

My husband got to get a close-up look at a multitude of seaplanes. The binoculars had quite a workout.

Parliament Building

I completely failed to get a shot of this building at night, when it’s all lit up. I love the ver de gris on the domes, and the way it looms so majestically over the square.

The gardens at Government House are open to the public, and they are a wonder to behold.


Yellow Rose




This is Boots. She followed us for about 20 minutes, twining through our legs and rolling over to have her belly scratched. She finally wandered off once it became obvious that we had no fish for her

The Swiftsure Yacht Race happened on Saturday, so we went down to watch some of the starts.

Anna’s Bag Sees The Boats

Then we went off to the Moss Street Market, where we got tamales for breakfast and cinnamon rolls for dessert.

Anna’s Bag Meets More Cousins

And, just to show that knitters and spinners have not yet, in fact, become the majority population in North America…

While I was setting up these next two shots, there were three women behind me who did not know that you make this:


from this:


Clearly, our recruiting work must continue!

Many many thanks to our gracious hostess, who accommodated us with very little notice, kept us well caffeinated, and introduced us to the hilarity of Rayman Raving Rabbids and Guitar Hero. [Hey, leave a comment, would you?]

So tell me, what are your favorite impulsive things to do?

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Sometimes it all gets to be a bit much, doesn’t it? Pressure at work, tough things going on at home, and lets not even talk about the news.

Sometimes you just need to throw your bags in the truck.


We drove north all day, until we go to the ferry.


Rain in Washington


Sun in Vancouver Island


Sometimes you just need to be impulsive.

Monday, May 18, 2009

To Market, To Market

There are mileposts in my year, events that tell me that a given season has well and truly begun. When the crocuses bloom, I know that winter is loosing its grip. When the tomatoes arrive at the farmers market, it is high summer without a doubt. When the apples begin to be turned into cider fall has begun and harvest is in full swing.

And, when The Saturday Market opens, spring has most certainly sprung, rain and wind notwithstanding.

It was the perfect weekend to go to market… and it seems that I was far from being the only person who thought so.


Oh, the handcrafts!

Crocheted bags

Fuzzy Pink Hotpants

Mom tried to convince me I needed a pair of these… I told her that pink is one of her signature colors. Since we were unable to agree whom they should come home with, the pants went back on the rack.

Crafter in the Wild

She’s knitting another one of these hats. Lovely cheerful things, felted to help keep your head dry.

Anna’s Bag* Meets The Hats

Tie Die is still a treasured form of expression…

Anna’s Bag Meets the Tie Die

…and anything is fair game for the dye pot…


…even shoelaces and underpants.

More handknits:

Are Those Horns or Ears?

Fruits and Veggies

Felted Booties with Satin Roses

There are costumes to feed your imagination. Multicolored wings, sparkly skirts, and even magic wands.


I need to talk to this vendor some time about some adult-sized wings…


Hand-dyed yarn… on sale. I didn’t even put up a token struggle.

There are a multitude of hand-made bags, but none of them is as pretty as mine.

Anna’s Bag Meets Some Cousins

Things get rather crowded in the food court. Somewhere in here is my favorite lemonade stand.


There’s a wee boy in this backpack, you can just see his chubby little fist clutching the pink balloon animal. He was completely captivated, whether by the tie-die, the headpiece or the balloon twisting I’ve no idea.


Spring is most certainly here!

*For the backstory on Anna’s Bag, see this post.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Full Disclosure

Just because I love to knit lace doesn’t mean I do it right all the time.

In fact, sometimes I knit lace in a way that is the complete opposite of right, and then I do it again and again before I notice.

Case in point, the way I messed up one of the cables in the Ancient Woodland shawl… more times than I feel like counting.

The cables in this design are a very important element. They make the branches at the top of three enormous trees, and they pull the center of the shawl inwards.

They’re simply crucial, not something to be taken lightly.


Imagine my irritation and annoyance when I spread my work out over my knee and saw that I had crossed one of the cables the wrong way… not just once but manymanymany times.

Just in case you can’t see it right off the bat, here is my Ritual Moment of Public Humiliation.


See the blue needle? The cable that is just above it is the one I’m talking about. There are at least six examples of what happens if you knit merrily along doing the exact opposite of what the chart tells you to. Basically, I moved stitches to the front instead of to the back. Or to the back instead of the front.

Or something silly like that.

It wasn’t one of those mistakes I could just shine on, telling myself that it would all work out in the blocking. I fully endorse the wonders of water and blocking wires, but no amount of blocking is going to suddenly correct mis-crossed cables.

At this point I feel that I should get a certain amount of credit for the fact that I neither a) wept nor b) threw the knitting across the room.

No, no, I was very calm about the whole thing. I sat in the break room at work, slid the work off of the needles, set my stitch markers aside, and frogged 18 rows. A co-worker sitting across from me got very big eyes, but the look fierce concentration on my face was enough to keep her from asking me what in the name of all that is holy I was up to.

After 18 rows, I picked up my 24-inch US 0 (1.75 mm) needle, and removed the last errant row a few stitches at a time. I’d pick up the live loops, remind myself to breathe out, and repeat. I didn’t concern myself with whether the stitches were twisted or not, just with getting every single one of them back safely on the needle so they wouldn’t run for their lives.

There were a few sticky moments, and my crochet hook came in rather handy more than once, but I did get them all back on the needle. I counted them five times, and always came up with the magic number of 114.

Then I went for a nice relaxing walk.

I’ve since completed the first chart. It looks like this when you do it right.


Onward to Chart B!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Sweet Surprises

People never fail to amaze me, in ways great and small. Sometimes, of course, I am amazed by how bad they can be, but most of the time I am amazed at how kind and generous they can be, in ways both large and small.

Let us take, for today’s example, m1k1, who blogs at A Little Bit Crafty.

After I posted this piece last month, expressing my surprise that my friends hadn’t sent me chocolate in the mail, she left me a comment offering to pick me up a little something from Haigh’s Chocolates. (Good heavens, I just spent the last fifteen minutes browsing that site… I think I gained three pounds! Lucky for me they don’t ship.)

Yes-please-and-thank-you-very-much, I said. (Really, who could resist such an offer? Someone who is not I, apparently!) Then I had two reasons to stalk the mail carrier. Poor guy must just dread driving down our street…

In due time, this arrived in my mailbox:


And inside were these:


A Caramel Koala, Lindt dark chocolate and mint, and 280 grams of Haigh’s Dark Chocolate with Orange. Also recipe for a tart, which I simply must make, and a fact card about Haigh’s helping to save the bilby. (Just look at the nose on that darling wee thing…)

But wait, what’s this?


It looks like yarn!


Lace yarn!


Yubina Cashmere lace yarn, 500 beautiful red yards of it. I was deprived of the power of speech, which people who know me will find hilarious.

I dashed off a sputtering e-mail of thanks and utter joy (Cashmere!!! You sent me cashmere lace-weight!!!). In response, I got a message from m1k1 telling me “I got a tad carried away when I was ordering, and was hoping some of it would find a lacy home somewhere.”

I do solemnly swear: to give the yarn a good home, to find the perfect pattern for it, to do my best to surprise people with generosities both large and small.

I do not, however, swear to share the chocolates…