Knitting and other Jubilations

Whatever have I been doing?  Why, enjoying the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and knitting of course.

Willow Tweed Aranami Shawl

Since my last post, I managed to finish my Willow Tweed Aranami shawl.  The yarn is absolutely heavenly and the finished product is drapey, silky and cozy with just enough weight.  And because it knits up with a slightly larger gauge than the original, it’s extra long so wraps very luxuriously –  I absolutely love it.   Olga Buraya-Kefelian’s (aka olgajazzy) original pattern calls for using Brooklyn Tweed’s Loft but being a cheapskate, I decided instead to use Louisa Harding’s Willow Tweed that was on sale on Elann at the time.  I improvised the colour gradations and am very happy with the result.  Fortunately (sadly), the weather in Vancouver is so terrible that I’ve had loads of opportunities to wear my beautiful Aranami.  Because there have been virtually no sunny days for ages, I haven’t had a chance to make a pretty picture of the finished shawl, so this one will have to do until the clouds finally decide to leave:

Weaving in the ends…








When I became consumed with my Aranami, I had laid aside my previous obsession, Kirsten Kapur’s incredibly beautiful Unsinkable, a shawl/wrap/scarf of unrivalled gorgeosity.  I bought the kit from Wooly Wonka Fibers – the yarn is an unspeakably soft and squishy Merino/Silk/Metallic blend called Arianrhod Sock and the colour is Iceberg, a icy blue-green with a faint starry-night sparkle.  As soon as I’m done a test-knit I’m working on, I’ll get back to Unsinkable.  If summer doesn’t show up soon, I’m going to need this yummy shawl sooner rather than later.

Unsinkable in progress








“Iceberg” Wooly Wonka Fibers Arianrhod Sock



Tea and the Diamond Jubilee

Anyone who knows me knows that I am mental for the Royal Family and adore the Queen.  So of course, I got up early on Sunday morning to watch the Royal Flotilla up the Thames.  Amazing to see the old bird and Prince Philip standing the entire time!  Too bad the DoE had a bit of back luck with the old bladder the next day and missed the rest of the Jubilee fun.  Of course, I drank a great deal of Murchies’ Diamond Jubilee tea this weekend (naturally, this is something I would have done anyway, but the special occasion made it all the more fun).  I alternated between using my special Royal Worcester commemorative tea cup (which you can see is 100% Queen approved) and the one I just bought from Crown & Crumpet (the prettiest place in the world!) whilst on vacay in San Francisco recently.

Tea with the Queen









Naturally, this is what I drank all weekend (in between G&Ts, of course)





Well, that’s all for now.  Remain on the edges of your tuffets, my muffets, for more very soon!  Now I must away.

Waiting for my iPad

Newsflash:  I’m not good at everything

Of all the things in the world that are difficult for me, one of my biggest challenges is waiting.  I am particularly terrible at waiting patiently, quietly, contentedly, for anything.  I’m even awful at waiting impatiently.  As a knitter, naturally I am an experienced online shopper.  I can buy yarn with my eyes closed.  In fact, I did that just last week.  I particularly like ordering from, for two reasons:  the prices are good and their delivery turnaround is frackin’ fast!  Once I placed an order and received it the very next day!  Of course, this spoiled me for all other deliveries.  I find myself getting irate if a shipment from Elann takes three days.  How do they expect me to occupy myself during such an eternity?  Don’t they realize that I. Must. Cast. On. New. Yarn. Immediately.  Or sooner, if possible, otherwise my head might explode.

Make it snappy, Apple

I just wrapped up a painful and lengthy waiting period of another kind.  After months of anticipating and pretending not to be impatient and torturing myself by reading endless interweb speculation about the possible launch date and features, it was finally March 7, also known as New iPad Day.  Once the nerds were finished live-blogging and the PR stuff wrapped up, the online Apple store opened for pre-ordering business.  Of course, I was only one of the billions of iWanters and the internets broke. I mean really, how could Apple not have been ready for the seething hordes?  Anyway, some wretched hours later I eventually got through and placed my precious pre-order.  Only when the confirmation email pinged into my inbox could I relax and start the next and only slightly less stressful phase of waiting:  the 10 days or so for it to be delivered.

You’d think I’d be better at this waiting business by now.  After all, I’ve spent the better part of 50 years waiting for the rest of the world to stop chewing gum with its mouth open, or at least say thank you when I hold the door for it.  Because, contrary to what you may think, it really is all about me.  But no, it never seems to get any easier.

You should know that I fully realize that the hype about waiting is true.  It is what it’s cracked up to be.  Patience is a virtue.  Good things often do come to those who wait.  If something’s good, it’s worth waiting for, etc. etc.  Waiting for Christmas morning really is better than snooping and spoiling the surprise.  I know this from personal experience.  I know actual people who are so good at waiting for things that they forget when they’ve ordered something and are taken by surprise when the mailman arrives with the package.  Seriously?  How is that possible?  Are you even human?

All important lessons are learned from TV.  Seinfeld in particular.

I cope with this affliction by accepting the fact that patience is like grace:  Either you have it, or you don’t.  And I will never have it.  But I will have my iPad in about 10 days.

Welcome to the new home of Oh, you and your knitting!

Welcome to my new and improved home.  I’m hoping these snazzy new surroundings and my very own domain name will help me stick to my resolution to post more often and with greater regularity (yes, it’s practically two full months since I swore on a stack of knitting books that I’d post more often).

I hope you enjoy yourself while you’re here.  Thanks for visiting me.  I hope you’ll come back often.


And now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for some self-examination…

Ever find yourself skipping along merrily, humming a jolly tune and swinging your arms with self-satisfaction and then suddenly your toe catches something on the path and you stumble, almost losing your balance?  You stop to gather your wits and looking around you notice, for the first time, that you’re not in a breezy, flowery meadow anymore.  Instead, you’re caught in the swirling bitter cold of an ever-darkening forest.  Hey, wait a second.  How did I end up here?  This isn’t the path I started on!  You realize that if you don’t turn tail right now and follow the breadcrumbs home, the only meadow you’ll ever see again is the one in your dreams.  So you say to yourself, as Cher said in Moostruck, “Snap out of it!” and immediately start running home.  Wish me luck!

Happy Birthday to The Girl

My beautiful daughter turned 20 years old recently. On that cold February day in 1991 when labour was finally induced twelve days overdue, the cloudless sky was a brilliant azure, I had no grey hair and all things seemed possible.

This birthday was a not-so-small miracle and all day I felt such joy to be celebrating with her. There was a time when we weren’t entirely certain that she would still be in our lives or that she would even have lived to see the day. That she made it to 20 and that we also survived is testament to the strength we all have inside us.

In fact, her strength these last couple of years is something that inspires me beyond description. Entirely on her own conviction and determination and with the help of various programs for at-risk street youth (especially a now-defunct employment program sponsored by Starbucks), she walked away from a life on the streets, trained as a barista and started getting her life back together on her own terms. (I used to look down my nose at Starbucks coffee but, unsurprisingly, it has become my favourite brand!) She went back to school and last summer graduated from high school with honours, having completed grades 11 and 12 in only one year, all while working virtually full time and living on her own. Last fall she celebrated her second anniversary with Starbucks and recently qualified as a Coffee Master. She is currently completing some additional science and math courses and will soon apply for the Veterinarian Technician program at Douglas College as part of her plan to someday become a vet.

Intelligent, brilliantly artistic, headstrong and utterly lacking impulse control, a switch seemed to have flipped in her head shortly after her 13th birthday and we were suddenly powerless to influence or control her. She had figured out the Big Secret. Which is that no matter how we might huff or puff, we couldn’t make her do, or not do, anything. Sure, we could blither on about consequences and responsibility, but when push came to shove, and it did quite often, we were the boss of no one. And she knew it. Her rebellion was epic and there was no turning back. The horse was out of the barn and she ran like the wind.

From birth, she was driven to be free and independent and had always been a force. Against our wishes she eventually left home and dropped out of school to blaze a path of untold risk that caused me, my husband and our son indescribably deep misery and profound heartache. Whoever makes Ativan made a lot of money from the many prescriptions I filled over the years. Feeling as though we had lost her forever, I was suffocating from grief.  Only when asleep was I free from the fear and anxiety of not knowing whether she was safe or even alive. I was so fearful and felt so rejected and such a failure as a mother that sometimes when lying in bed, sleepless as always, I tried to will myself to stop breathing. Of course I’m glad now that it didn’t work, but at the time it seemed the only solution to my heartsickness.

Trying to function day-to-day surrounded by people with “normal” lives was nearly impossible. Consumed with dread and guilt and shame, I felt judged and condemned by the world. I’m sure most people assumed it was our fault – that we were terrible parents and had thrown her out or driven her away. Thankfully, my employer was accommodating and sympathetic when I couldn’t cope and needed time off from the big world. My dear, dear Bookclub friends were so supportive, non-judgmental and compassionate beyond words when I needed to hibernate or just couldn’t read a damn thing for months at a time, not even the back of a cereal box. And most of all, my husband was a tower of strength. He helped me find the will to carry on so that he and I and our son could hang on to what was left of our family.

What happened to our daughter and whatever she had done during those years living on the streets as a squeegee kid, riding the rails across the country and sleeping rough is her story to tell. I don’t think I will ever want to know all the gory details or how close she came to the abyss. All I know is that she left us a troubled wild-child and came back to us a very wise, strong and independent young woman who knows we didn’t abandon her, and never will. Our hearts have healed and once again, everything seems possible.

What’s it all about, Alfie?

My husband quite astutely knows how much knitting means to me and rarely if ever gives me a hard time about the time and money I spend on it. Bless him, because it’s a lot. Therefore, he has reserved the right to say to me occasionally (usually when it’s my turn to do the vacuuming and I’ve announced I’ll do it as soon as I’ve finished this row), “Oh, you and your knitting!” Because of course he knows that if I ever do get around to the vacuuming, it’ll be after I’ve finished the next 20 rows. Or maybe an entire sleeve.

It’s our little joke based on something an ex-sister-law of mine said to my brother many years ago. It was after my father’s funeral, back at the house, and she was busying herself with rummaging through my dad’s workshop, picking out things she’d decided “they” should have, without anyone’s permission I might add. She was working up quite a sweat loading her car with my dad’s tools when she saw my brother sitting in an armchair in the living room, quite spent after a stressful day, reading a book. Miffed that he wasn’t helping her to pillage my dad’s stuff, she looked down her nose at him and sniffed “Oh, you and your books!” and left the room in a huff. My brother and the rest of my siblings looked at each other in stunned amazement and, if we weren’t so stupified by her gall, would have burst out laughing. The phrase of course became code in my family for the ultimate in selfish obnoxiousity and is guaranteed to get a laugh. Needless to say it was a joyous day when they divorced (and she didn’t get to keep our dad’s stuff either). So there.

As for this blorg and why it exists, notwithstanding that everyone who owns a set a knitting needles and a laptop seems to be bloggerizing these days, here I am with my jumble of words, getting in the queue. This is just a place to scribble my miscellaneous thoughts about this and that, various and sundry. More specifically, it’ll mostly be about knitting, pies I’ve baked, books I’ve read or how I simply live for Mad Men, The Office and 30 Rock. (You know I want to go to there, Don Draper.) Nothing earth-shaking, just stuff that I feel like saying and don’t imagine anyone else will ever read. But if you do, I hope you enjoy it!