Inside the FedEx package was a whole whack of stuff. From Carrie. Just as an aside, it was perfect serendipity that my Bloomin' Feet buddy is the Martini Knitter - before I got sick and stopped drinking alcohol, my absolutely favourite drink in the whole wide world was a vodka martini with a splash of scotch and a twist of lemon (I am making myself drool...teehee). It had to be this vodka and I really love single malt whiskey but alas I digress......
All my goodies were wrapped in tissue which was great....just like Christmas. I admit I didn't wrap my BF pal Margene's in such a sweet way. The unwrapping was great though. The contents...amazing.
Carrie, you have been so generous and so thoughtful! I got all my favourites - Chai Tea, Dark Chocolate (Fairtrade - yea!) with Raspberries, Ginger Snaps - I can't tell you how much I love Ginger, some lovely Koigu yarn and raw,unfiltered honey from Colorado (yummmy!!!).
And my socks. Wow. Lorna's Laces (one of my absolute true loves) in the Georgetown colourway and knit with the Pembrokshire Pathways Pattern. Carrie wrote a lovely note to let me know that my socks have not only been in Boulder, CO but also Cincinnati, OH, Westford, MA, Rockford, IL, Beloit, WI and Orlando, FL! I think I am living variously through the socks Carrie!
A close up of the pattern. It looks great in the photo but even better in person. Carrie was worried about the fit but hey....
They fit perfectly! Thank you so much Carrie! This was Carrie's first swap and she definitely did a fantabulous job - so thoughtful and generous. And the socks are so excellent! I feel truly honoured and spoiled. Thanks also to Amanda for the sock swap. Amanda truly runs excellent swaps and they are definitely a pleasure to be part of.
An Important Request
If I was blogging more regularly I would have put this in a separate post but unfortunately I just haven't been able to post or get out there and comment - the good news is that even though my symptoms are continuing to be nasty, I am moving in the right direction. Sadly, I feel like it is moving at about 15 kms/hour when I would like to be going about 240 km/hour! Patience has never been my strong suit.
Anyway the request...... Dorothy is trying to raise money for Cancer Research through the Relay for Life which is happening for her in Sioux Lookout, Ontario on June 8th, 2007. Her goal is $2000.00 and I would love to see her reach it. Dorothy has been incredibly generous and thoughtful to me while I continue on my Warming Grace quest (which badly needs to be updated) and I would like to return the favour (after all the goal benefits us all....and sadly most of us have known or lost loved ones to cancer).
Borders are of no consequence for this brutal disease nor for the generosity I have seen in the knitting community, to myself, to the Warming Grace cause or for other causes which I and others have generously donated to (I have also donated to Wannietta for the Relay for Life which happens in Toronto on June 22, 2007).
I have donated money for Dorothy's relay and I am going to donate a couple of draw prizes but I am asking that you go over and donate money for the relay. $5.00, $10.00....whatever you can afford. The cause is so important and the support is always heartwarming. So, if you can, please go over and show Dorothy the spirit. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Several days later I got the book in the mail. When I opened up the envelope I saw a little package and my immediate thought was "Crap! I didn't send Rhonda anything extra...." When I read the note and saw the sock I burst out into a laughter that brought Ed and Nick running (clearly when you live with someone chronically ill there is some level of constant monitoring that goes on and any sound I make brings someone to check me out).
Oh my god, you made my day woman! The best part was that the socks were made from Fleece Artist that I had sent to Rhonda in a Random Act of Kindness. Thank you so much Rhonda (I had emailed her immediately when I received the sock and book but hadn't posted yet)!
And I would like to give a huge shout out to Emily for such a fantastic and fun idea....thanks so much!
Now.....about the Bloomin' Feet Swap. Incredibly, they have been started (which with the events of the last month in my body is kind of a miracle but clearly I am able to focus more...woohoo!).
I wanted to do something different, original and unique. However, I need to make sure my Bloomin' Feet Pal likes them (I am quite happy keep them for me so be bluntly honest in your opinions) before I turn the heel, as my pal's feet are not the same size as mine.
My concept was to create a sock that is almost like a collage, interjecting two patterns in one sock with two complementary yarns.
I am using Farmhouse and Jasper (no link - they don't make this colourway anymore!) in STR lightweight. The Farmhouse pattern is done in Basketweave from Sensational Knitted Socks and the Jasper pattern is done in the Wave and Shield pattern from Barbara Walker's Treasury of Knitted Patterns. It may be hard to see the final concept as I have only been able to do one repeat of the Jasper to date. No question it is a funky idea and no question it may not be for everyone. The photo doesn't do it justice.
I am contemplating ripping it back to create only 1 and a half repeats of the Basketweave (there are currently two) although I have some plans after I have turned the heel to showcase the Jasper pattern.
Feel free to be honest. I don't want to send it to someone who really doesn't like it and I'd love your feedback anyway. I am quite pleased with it but can also appreciate the fact that we all don't have the same tastes or opinions.....so have at 'er!
Front view on the blocker - a little un-natural for the sock but gives you a better idea of the patterns. You may have to click on the photo for a better closeup.
Sideview of the sock on the blocker. More like it would be on your foot. **I have to add that the photos are NOT the best representations of the colours - the Farmhouse is more muted and the burgundy that is Jasper is actually in the Farmhouse. I can only blame it on the fancy schmancy digital camera Ed bought me for Christmas (to replace the cheap one I was using - took more accurate pictures though) which I haven't had energy to read up on (and I do have a degree in Photography - like you'd know!).
A Little Aside - I continue to apologize for my sporatic appearance wirh regards to posting and commenting; people have been so kind and understanding - thank you. Without going into huge detail (I am sure it is getting boring for you) I have been in the hospital 3 times in the last 3 weeks and I am in a period of 'adjustment' (for lack of a better term) with respect to my kidneys, bladder, my hormones and my CNS. My doctor, who has experience and distance, is pleased with my progress (it is that whole thing of my body needing to adjust to changes in the dysfunction while dealing with the trouble the lead continues to cause) but acknowledges that for me it is painful, discomforting and tiring. I have wavered a few times, had a couple of good cries (carefully though so I don't send my system totally out of whack) and I am trying to see the positives. So, thanks for continuing to be patient....I really appreciate it!
Robin was 39 years old when she died. She had had a 10 year reprieve from Melanoma, which had then been found in one lymph node (all the ones surrounding it had been removed which were fine so the doctors thought they had gotten it all) and then ultimately it settled in the Myelin sheath surrounding her brain. In there, the cancer cells replicated the good cells. One of the residents working on her case indelicately told her she had 3 months to live (his bed side manner and empathy were sorely lacking)....and indeed she died 3 months to the day.
That Robin died on April Fool's Day was not totally lost on me. Throughout the course of our lives together Robin was quite the prankster and always up for a great gag. When I went to the hospital (she had had a seizure early in the morning and never woke up - a nurse stayed with her and held her hand until she was gone) to say good-bye I kept thinking she would just open her eyes and say "Ha! April Fool's!," which of course didn't happen.
As a kid, Rob was a bundle of energy and rather mischevious. She was always getting into trouble for her high spirits. Being the first child, my parents had three billion slides and photos of her (the picture taking decreased dramatically and exponentially with each successive kid) and in every picture she would have this ear to ear 'photo' smile (the photo to the right is tame in comparison) which always cracked us up.
Robin was truly the pioneer in our little group of siblings. She had an adventurer's spirit and was so full of vitality and enthusiasm AND a lot of impulsivity (as kids I was told that I was 'just like Robin' except that I would think about things first - it drove me nuts as a kid because I hated being compared to her).
She was a social butterfly and always had tons of friends. When we were younger and lived in a brand new housing development, Robin developed the 'detective's club,' where we would spend all day on our bikes looking for 'clues.'
She was also the gang leader the day we decided to take our baby brother, Jamie, to Port Credit river for a 'swim." Our parents were away and the babysitter told us we had to get out of the house and take Jamie with us (he was about a year and a half old at the time) so she could knit! (I laugh at the irony of this now.....). So we took him to the river and used him as a human raft, floating him downstream, with teams to catch him and then take him back up the river. How he was not drown that day, and none of us got hurt, boggled my mind as an adult.
As adolescents we did not get along at all. She and her longtime boyfriend Gerry would time it to see how long it took me to cry. We had vicious, horrible fights (usually when my parents weren't there) and I relished it when she got into trouble from my dad, which was most of the time. We lived on the West Island in Montreal and Robin was a wild child.
Most nights she would go 'flickering.' This entailed her shimmying down the drainpipe at 1am in the morning, meeting up with her friends at the Lakeshore and rowing boats across the St. Lawrence river to this deserted island to party. One night my dad, dressed in his summer pajamas and riding my neon green banana bike, was stopped by the police when he was out searching for her.
When I gave the eulogy at her service I likened Rob's behaviour to Moses parting the Red Sea - she paved the way for us; all we had to do was admire the view (particularly when it came to the way she could get the vein in my dad's head to bulge when he was yelling at her - she was, perpetually grounded!). Looking back I know I was scared sh*tless by my sister's audacity and her joie de vivre.
As adults, we enjoyed a tremendous relationship. I don't remember the exact moment that it changed but I do believe that after her initial diagnosis with cancer (she was 29, I was 26) we became much closer. I realized that it was okay to be like her and that we had so much in common. We would talk on the phone every or every other day (she was in Winnipeg, Manitoba and I was in Toronto/Burlington/Oakville/Warkworth, Ontario) and we talked about everything; I felt such a sense of satisfaction that our relationship had really developed into this much deeper kind of friendship.
Robin was a phenomenal knitter, cross stitcher, quilter, weaver and she made most of her own clothes on the sewing machine. She was incredidly productive too - at Christmases and birthdays the things she would give weren't only beautifully crafted but the volume was incredible. She was the consummate multi-tasker. There was no technique daunting to her; if she wanted to do it, she would. I cannot adequately describe the things she made although she has left quite a legacy for us to cherish, and I absolutely admire her abilities.
I have Rob's floor loom which I still haven't set up (no space) although I know I will one day - I had taken several courses in Weaving when I was at SAIT in Calgary although Rob was the one to buy a loom after she had taken courses at the University of Manitoba several years later. I also inherited about 7 large boxes (the biggest moving size) of yarn which I donated to a local guild who sold it for me and gave the proceeds to a local women's shelter in Robin's memory.
Death is tragic. It is so hard for those left behind. I feel so much worse for my parents than for myself. I remember the devastation on my parents faces on the day she died (my father was in Montreal for a meeting and had to fly back) and that vulnerability changed for me how I would view them forever.
My mother has never really recovered from the loss of her first born. She gave up her knitting. There are so many times when I think that that is the hardest thing of all - parents should never lose their children, no matter their age.
When they found out that Rob was terminal my dad remarked on how lucky he had been to have a redhead, a brunette and a blonde (for those of you who need to know I am the blonde in the photo - I am so not blonde now).
I took comfort in knowing that my sister didn't suffer as much as she could have (with the various indignities that go with the deterioration of the brain) and that who I knew her to be left long before her body ever did.
I vividly remember the last thing Rob ever said to me (and I still laugh at her comment; she kind of said whatever came into her head) and the moments we shared. After she died, Ed and I planted two Maple trees in her honour on the farm - it was her favourite and it symbolized her to me, particularly when the leaves turn that gorgeous red in the fall.
I have so many memories of her, it is hard to encapsulate it all in one post. Rob was a Renaissance woman. She could sew, knit, thread a worm, fish, dress up or down, quaff a beer or sip champagne. She loved Canadian football with a fervour. Robin was as loyal a Canadian as you could ever meet. She was just loyal period.
I feel her beside me sometimes and what I still miss most about her is our conversations; the sound of her voice and her laughter. I don't focus on the loss; I really celebrate who she was, what she accomplished and how much she has left behind. I know that today there are hundreds of people remembering her too. I love you Robin bobbin, thanks for the ride!
So I decided I should test drive the wee tiny sock...on our wee tiny Italian Greyhound Khemet.
I did wash it before sending it along to my pal, just in case you might be worried......
The yarn is Emily (isn't that funny?) from Posh Yarn. The colour is Sweetshop. This yarn is delicious; 80% Lambswool, 10% Angora and 10% Cashmere. I made a pair of socks with it that are divine (coming soon I promise....). These Wee Tiny Socks are toe up with a short row yarn over heel (it was tough...all two turns of it!).
I have been knitting. Nothing too difficult. It feels so wonderful though. Soothing. Calming. Back in my place of oneness with the universe. Almost. Every. Day. A wonderful development.
The finished socks. Vespers' Crew on 2.5mm needles. 2 socks on 2 circulars. No pattern, just the lovely stripiness that is Vespers (this link is the shop - and yes, it is always sold out). And I have just realized perfect for St. Patricks Day....wait that was yesterday wasn't it. Okay, so I am a bit behind....!
Have a wonderful day where ever you be! Here in Eastern Ontario, the sun is shining and the sky is blue and there is lovely snow blowing across the farm. Ah, the last few cold days of winter.....it is a beautiful thing indeed.
When I opened the squares from Rhonda I found something else that made me feel so very very warm inside (and believe me I needed it - things have been pretty rough - I have no clue why I ever thought Chelation was going to be the easiest part of this thing...). Rhonda sent me one of her felted hearts!
Ed and Nick both came running (one of the cursed by products of living with someone who is chronically ill) because they thought something was wrong - I was just so excited....and oh so touched. Thank you soooo much Rhonda. You are so gracious and generous. Really.
I was seriously coveting those hearts. And I can honestly say having one in my hot little hands is so much better than looking at them through a computer screen. If you haven't seen them, you must go and check them out (there are a couple of posts with different ones) - Rhonda is a talented woman; really. The hearts are so lyrical and pastoral; they are really exquisite. I feel very blessed to be on the receiving end.....ah Rhonda, thanks again!
And, on the very same day Ed went to the post office to pick up a parcel. He didn't actually know it was for me; Nick saw who it was from and was keeping it close to his chest (the person in question has been a major sugar enabler of his....just sayin').
So surprise, surprise. A parcel from Amanda. For no reason. Crap. I was so overwhelmed (and okay I am so much better at giving than receiving).
The parcel had goodies for Nick (he was pretty pleased) and Ed (who is not swapping with Nick at all!) and two amazing things for me.
A container of Aromatherapy Bath Oils and a skein of yarn that Amanda spun. Herself. Just. For. Me. Like specifically with me in mind.
Crown Mountain Farms' "Do You Wanna Dance" colourway. It is fucking brilliant.
And touched. And speechless. What a wonderful thing to do Amanda. Thank you so much. I can't tell you how much it means to me.
Two so wonderful gifts on the same day. Unbelievable. My heart feels so full.
I must say that as a sick and woefully neglectful blogger these days I am so thankful for the opportunity that I, as a relatively isolated and 'stuck in my house' person, have had in meeting so many incredible people. Blogging has been such a gift to me - and certainly keeps me going during the bad times, as I think about being able to get back to it more actively when I am well.
And I will. Who knows when but I will.
Okay so I got tagged by Julie with the Six Wierd Things Meme. And, given that Julie got me into blogging (and because I don't want to be beaten by knitting needles) I am listing six wierd things about me.
Which I actually found quite hard - I don't think I am that wierd (and being sick curtails so many wierd behaviours I guess - I am so sheltered...ha!). I realize that there are several of you on the floor cramped up with laughter but seriously, I am not that wierd. Anyway, here goes:
Six Wierd Things about me
1. I can knit the magic loop from the toe up (figure 8 cast on) but not from the top down. I am not sure why and I have attempted it but I hate the little gap I continue to get so...toe up it will always be.
2. I cannot drink tap water. No way, no how. I hate the smell, particularly the chlorine (I am seriously smell sensitive....gasoline, cigarette smoke, the lotions, shampoo, conditioner, not to mention the colognes and/or perfumes people put on everyday). I don't drink pop or juice so if I can't get distilled or RO water I will go without...but that doesn't happen too much because I am always packin'.
3. I prefer pizza without the tomato sauce. I don't really like the tomato sauce; I love pizza with some garlic and herbs on the bottom, veggie toppings (mushrooms, onions and black olives or hot peppers, pineapple and onion - in case you are ever dropping by - hint hint blogless Carole) and cheese on top. It is really really good without the tomato sauce. LOVE. IT.
4. I can't stand - no pun intended - walking on crunchy snow. You know when it is really cold and the snow is hard. It is my nails on a chalkboard moment (which doesn't bother me at all BTW).
5. I don't really care for jewellry - I don't wear any. I have a wedding ring - don't wear it. Ed totally lucked out because I could care less if I ever had a diamond ring or any other kind of gem for that matter. Yarn - BRING IT ON! Jewellry - pass.
6. I seriously think this falls in the TMI catagory but I couldn't think of something else so....both my baby toes are deformed. One looks flat like it has been crushed and the other one looks like a little finger and is jammed into the one beside it. Oh, and sorry, there will be no photos (thank god!). Nick keeps telling me that when he is a Doctor he is going to break them and fix them for me, and if that doesn't work, cut them off. He is such a lovely child.
So there it is - my wierd list. I am so out of the loop these days I have no idea who has and hasn't done it but I am tagging the following knitters:
Amanda, Amanda Cathleen, J, Suzie, Rhonda and Jackie .
If you have already done it then just ignore me. If not, get crackin' will ya'?
All of the above skeins are from Studioloo. These skeins are works of art and I really honestly just love to look at them (and fondle them a lot).
2. Yarns I love and can't wait to knit - this forms the majority of my stash. I never buy sock yarn with a purpose but I usually buy my other yarns with a particular project in mind.
Posh Sock Yarn - this is Cashmere (can't remember the colourway off the top of my head). Dee's yarns are gorgeous and the feel is divine.
Cashmere for a vest for Ed. The yarn is from Trendsetter and it is unbelievable (read that as f*cking f*cking soft).
Sock hop yarn from Crown Mountain Farms. To knit it is to love it. Teyani and Klaus got some serious yarn mojo.
Joy from Needful Yarns. I love the colourways and have a secret plan for these beauties. I have lots of great yarns in my stash and I seriously love most of it (you will have to wait until April 1 to see the rest!).
3. Yarns I have to honestly admit I will never knit and it is time to get rid of.
So I have decided to have a Fabulous February Giveaway. I am not selling these yarns, I am giving them away....with two conditions. I will give you any of the yarns listed at no cost other than the price of shipping (regular, expedited/air or express post) and the labour of knitting me a couple (or as many as you want) of kid colour friendly wool or cotton squares for Warming Grace. That's it. Otherwise free.
Please just email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and let me know what you want, how you want it sent and your mailing address. Once I have sent it I will email you the cost of shipping and you can send me a paypal payment (very easy, believe me). If the yarn you want is gone, I will let you know.
I am hopeful I can find new, good homes for the following unloved, unused and neglected yarns (and two books - duplicates). The yarns can be seen here (I realize that to try and load the pictures here would require 4oo billion hours I don't have).
Edited - everything is gone. Thank you so much for to all those who have willing given a place to my yarn.
It was nice to post. I would say it's great to be back but I am not sure how back I am....I will try to go for a regular post though.
He is a great friend. He is a keen intellect and a passionate learner. He walks the walk and talks the talk. He will not promise you anything he cannot follow through on. He treats people with a sincere level of respect and graciousness.
As a partner and a husband Ed has taught me so much about courage, patience and love. He has been a rock for me during the last 12 years (and particularly the last 5 months) of my chronic illness ups and downs, and I truly feel at times that if it weren't for Ed I wouldn't be here. He has held me with optimism, humour and true caring.
He massages me when I am in pain (he has a healer's hands) and comforts me when I am crying and feeling that this thing will never end (more so of late). He makes sure I laugh at least once a day.
Ed does the laundry (and is quite finicky about his whites), cooks for me(he makes the lightest dumplings, the best jerk, a mean chicken soup that cures just about anything and some awesome stewed chicken, among his repetoire of various specialities, all passed down and without a recipe), cleans the bathrooms, weeds my vegetable garden and cares for the farm with a methodical thoroughness that puts me to shame. He irons. He lets my dog Gryphon (who celebrated her 12th birthday on Wednesday) sleep on the bed.
Ed knits. I love that I can have a discussion about a knitting project or problem with him and he gets it. Ed has this huge laugh, an awesome smile and a larger than life personality. He is this kind of old school, old fashioned guy with a heart of gold. He is a tremendous individual whom I have been very priviledged to be loved by and to know. Happy birthday my love!
They are progressing well. This photo is actually a little old. Both socks are at the heel turn. My goal is to do a yarn over short row heel because I fucking love it so much (seriously fucking love it) and while it is a serious time saver, the few brain cells I appear to have left need to be in the right place to do it (it is amazing what you take forgranted when you are well - I never had any idea how taxing simple things could be).
A detail shot. I admit that while I am using a vintage pattern, I have made a few (okay, maybe more than a few) modifications and I am very pleased with the outcome to date. It gives me an idea for some more variations which I am hoping to try very soon on another sock. I have to say that I LOVE knitting with the Lorna's Laces. They just have such a lovely 'springyness' and such a forgiving nature. Wonderful stuff.
Another yarn I am totally in love with is the Sock Hop Socks yarn from Crown Mountain Farms. And Teyani is seriously the sweetest of enablers!!! I have to say I love my little p*rn shot above. Gorgeous!!!!!
And I did finish my American Pie socks. Yeah!!! They are totally scrumptious; the colours are so vibrant, the tweeding effect is truly unique and the feel of the socks are cool yet very comforting. I knit these in a knit2, purl2 rib (I admit that I don't like the distraction of a lot of pattern on a variegating yarn) on a 2.5mm needle and I am proud to say that they are my first pair of two socks at the same time on two circs - woohoo!
I completely loved the technique although I was worried, because I was so relaxed while knitting them I wasn't sure I would ever get them done (given that they are exactly the same, I could put them done for like a year and not worry about any differences in anything between sock one and sock two - very good and at the same time very, very baaaaaaaaddd!!!).
I also want to show off my yarn over short row heel a la Priscilla Gibson-Roberts from her book Simply Socks. I loved the technique completely although to be honest I had trouble following her written instructions. I think at the best of times I am a very visual learner. So, after attempting to follow her directions 3 times and pulling it out (but not to be deterred), I used this fabulous tutorial from Purlwise. I think I did okay.
I still see minute holes but I think I am (k)nitpicking..LOL. I know I will use the technique again because it really is great and well each yarn is different and it will be great trying with a variety of sock yarns...I have some other techniques I want to try as well. Socks really are great aren't they????????
There is a knitting murder mystery Knit One, Kill Two, a supercool magnet of an icelandic sheep, a coin worth 10KR (of course Nick had his eye on this little baby - not!) and an absolutely wonderfully warm, friendly and informative letter from Carola (with a great post card of Reykjavik). She seriously kicks butt!
And yet, there is more! The candy part! Lots of very cool chocolate and licorice (Carola wanted to include more 'traditional' icelandic treats for me although I think I share her opinion that the 'combination' of licorce and chocolate are not for me - especially given that I am not a big licorice fan; Nick is particularly pleased about what that means for him 'cause he loves licorice).
I really appreciate the effort Carola went to in finding some organic chocolate and letting me know about the candy production in Reykjavik where she lives. Pakka pu (which means thank you in Icelandic - minus the accents not available on my keyboard) Carola! Of course the best part were the socks included in my package. Oh my god, I love love the socks. It gets cold up here in the great white North - fall is definitely taking on the crispness and chilliness of winter and these socks are just sooooooo comfy warm. I love the colours, the softness of the yarn and the pattern. These are absolutely the perfect toasty socks for me! I have them on as I write this and they feel totally awesome.
Here is the requisite foot picture - my toasty toes in some seriously toasty socks! They fit divinely and I cannot thank you enough Carola. You really made my day! Thank you so much Amanda for hosting the sock swap - I cannot wait for the next round of Bloomin' Feet in the Spring!