Friday, August 6, 2010

There and Back Again

Well, so much for staying quietly at home!

My sister, Jeanine, phoned me Wednesday afternoon and the conversation went something like this:

Jeanine: Hi, what are you doing tomorrow?

Me:  Nothing special.  Why?

Jeanine: How’d you like to make a quick, overnight trip to the cabin to surprise Dad for his 80th birthday?

Me: That’s a great idea.  Count me in.

Now, there had been talk of doing something special to celebrate Dad’s milestone birthday but between the cruise earlier this summer and everyone’s work and holiday schedules we just hadn’t been able to put anything together.  Jeanine, herself, had expected to be away but thanks to some vehicle troubles her own family vacation had been postponed and she found herself at home instead. 

Another sister, Anna-Marie, was also free and up for the surprise so we quickly coordinated food and travel plans and arranged to leave first thing the next morning.  It was so fun to see Mom and Dad’s expressions when we pulled up in front of the cabin mid-afternoon, bearing supper fixings and birthday cake. 

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Our visit was short but sweet--just over 24 hours later we were back home again—but we’ll all remember Dad’s impromptu birthday celebration for a long time.  There’s definitely something to be said for spontaneity.   

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Good Mail Day

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Look what arrived in my mailbox this morning! 

It’s Miriam Felton’s new book, Twist & Knit, a collection of twelve designs, mainly featuring shawls and scarves, but also including a cowl, fingerless gloves, and socks.  Miriam’s aim was to create a set of patterns that could work for a variety of yarns so each design has small pattern repeats, flexible gauge, or special construction methods so that you can get the most mileage out of your one-of-a-kind or hand-dyed skeins.  In addition to the lovely designs, beautiful photographs, clear instructions, and excellent charts, the book includes a substantial resource section with tutorials for the cast-ons, bind-offs, and other techniques used in the patterns.  At $20 US it is well worth the cover price but for only $2 more you can also purchase the digital files for all the patterns but one (which is under contract for digital distribution), making it an exceptional value.  If you’re only interested in knitting one or two items the patterns are also available for purchase on Ravelry individually or as part of three digital pattern collections (shawls, scarves, and accessories).  Personally, I think the hard copy/digital option is the best of both worlds.  You can flip through the book for inspiration (knitting books make excellent bedtime reading) then print a digital copy of your chosen pattern for easy portability. 


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

There’s No Place Like Home

This morning I woke up in my own bed and it felt good.  I love to travel but I’ve been away a lot this past month and have missed the rhythm and routine of ordinary daily life.  There has been way too little time lately to just be.

Having said that, we spent a wonderful week on Vancouver Island.  The weather could not have been more perfect.  On Tuesday we took Cameron’s mom to Port Renfrew to see the tree the family planted a few years ago in memory of my late sister-in-law.  Afterwards we walked the Botanical Beach loop trail, where we admired the rugged coastal scenery and spied some sea creatures in the beach’s tidal pools.

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Then it was off to Nanaimo for a few days by ourselves.  Our hotel was right by the waterfront and we took several walks along the pier.  The fishing boats brought in fresh seafood daily and we ate our fair share.

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We weren’t the only ones craving seafood.  One morning we spied this seal near the dock, hanging out alongside some crabbers, hoping for a handout.

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On Friday it was onto Courtenay, where we spent the weekend with Cameron’s brother, Trevor, and his wife, Linda.  On Saturday we took in the Filberg Festival at Comox and on Sunday we played a round of golf at Arrowsmith, near Qualicum Beach.  My lucky number must be seven because I sunk a birdie on the seventh hole; the same thing happened the only other time I played this course!

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Our campsite was right by the water and on Saturday night we saw the Zuiderdam cruise past on its way to Alaska.  It’s hard to believe that it was just a month ago that we sailed past this very spot on the same ship, as we began our own Alaskan holiday.

Behind our site, high up in the trees, was a bald eagle nest, which was home to two juveniles and their parents.  It was very cool to hear the eaglets’ insistent chirps and to observe the adults’ comings and goings.  What a treat.

Of course, no knitter’s holiday is complete without souvenir yarn.  I had planned to visit one of my favourite LYS’s, the Beehive Wool Shop, in Victoria but it turned out to be closed the day we were there.  I’d already checked out the shop in Nanaimo when we were there in January but I’d done my homework and knew there was an as-yet-unexplored yarn shop in Courtenay.  We stopped by Uptown Yarns before meeting up with Trevor and Linda and I scored a couple of skeins of locally hand-dyed sock yarn.  Imagine my delight when I spied a booth featuring the same Sweatermaker yarn at the festival the next day.  Naturally, I had to add a skein of laceweight to my collection.

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Now that I am home for a while I am itching to sink my teeth, or rather needles, into some serious knitting.  Besides working on my current SKA project, there are a couple of other sock KAL’s I want to cast on for.  And then there’s the half-done Brandywine shawl and the languishing Twigs and Leaves cardi and the umpteen prospective projects calling to me and, well, you get the picture…

If this blog goes quiet again, you’ll know why.  Just sayin’.