Thursday, May 26, 2016

in process

 The last few weeks have been a blur.  We've had an amazing, sunshine-filled three day weekend, which was such a crazy comparison to last year's Victoria Day.  Last year, it rained, sleeted and snowed--I remember clearly because we shot the photos for the Riverbend Garden Hat  during a cloudy moment without rain and both my twins were freezing!

We've been busy with grilling and eating outside, tricycle riding, a trip to the zoo to see the dinosaur exhibit (very fun, but also a little scary) and other good weather excitements.

I'm slowly working on another design--here are some blurry, 'in process' shots.  Stay tuned!

I've also been writing regularly for the local Jewish Post & News, but have found it hard to post those articles here.  Here's one of my recent columns--but you have to scroll down to page 21 to find it!

The other thing is a bit more daunting and less sunny, as we are dealing with a whole new round of medical appointments and check-ups.  Nobody is dying, nothing life-threatening, but I have been spending a lot of time trying to figure out "the system" to address everybody in the family's needs lately.  Whole days seem to drift by and I haven't even gotten to my computer to write, or to knit at all, or...much of anything.  It's hard to be zen about this time sink but I know that these issues are important.  (and twins are much more likely to have health or developmental concerns, it's par for the course.)

In order to cheer myself along, I'm running a sale.  I love it when I know my sale has allowed someone else to afford a pattern, jump into knitting or learning a new thing --all for the price of a cup of fancy coffee... and of course, the small amount I earn allows for extras at our house.  (Extras might include...a gift for the Professor's birthday in June, a chance to have take-out for dinner, or even an extra sack of beans for the Winnipeg Harvest bin... all things that make me feel better about spending my time on the phone dealing with referrals..)

So, I'll let you in on the sale:
I have a 20% off sale going on for all my Ravelry patterns, including my eBook: Three Ply, until June 1st. (ends at midnight, CT)  The coupon code is:
Cankal2016
This sale is to support the Canada KAL, which features Canadian designs and designers.  Learn more here, in the designed in Canada forum on Rav.
Thanks so much for visiting the blog and checking out my work!
 (and stay tuned for a new design--a quick project on the needles never hurts morale either!)

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

fixing the province?

Here's my latest CBC piece...
It's on how the new Manitoba government can think about making change on the province's big issues:
How will the PCs fix Manitoba's long-standing problems? 

Several folks have asked, so here's a quick note about the fires in Canada:
It has been very dry on the prairies.  We are in no danger in Winnipeg, (just a preventative fire ban) but there are a lot of scary fires far to the west of us in Alberta (Fort McMurray has been in the international news, I'm sure) and there is a fire along the Manitoba/Ontario border far to the east of us.  For now, I am glad to say that today, it's raining lightly here, which is a good thing...

If it is windy, we do get some smoke in the air and haze when there are fires, even if they are hundreds of miles/kilometers away.  For now though, it's nothing to worry about here, so please extend your worries and prayers, if you do that, to the folks who have already been evacuated and maybe lost everything.  Please think of Alberta and do your very best rain dance, please, wherever you live!  Thanks.

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Thursday, May 05, 2016

Undertow: a hat for strong currents

You may have guessed that I went on a little trip with my family.  My kids had a (long) school vacation for Passover, so we went to see relatives in Virginia.  It was a big adventure, complete with lots of time with grandparents, family, and friends, and many wonderful excitements:

-Metro rides (DC subway)
-a couple of trips to Ayers Variety & Hardware, an old-fashioned store where you can buy real toys for $5 and under that make for ecstatic little boys.  (a slinky, a toy goat, a plastic box turtle, a toy train...and stickers)
-a trip to West Virginia, to my parents' vacation place, to see real animals like deer, a box turtle, a huge wild turkey....and lots of bugs
-A trip to the farm where I used to volunteer and work: (to see turkeys, geese, sheep, a cow, pigs...etc.) 
-The Smithsonian Natural History Museum
-a carousel
and more.

All on the positive side of the list, including my twins, who wowed all the grown ups at two Passover seders with their firm grasp on what was going on, how it should be done, and why.  (they were astounding.  They have good preschool teachers, that is for sure!)

You may be wondering why I have all these photos here of me wearing a woolly hat.  On the "not so positive" side of the list...it rained nearly the entire time we were in Virginia.  This was good, in a way, to show two little prairie boys what a good spring soaking rain can do.  It was green, it was lush, and there were loads of flowers.  It was also cold and wet.  We had our rain coats, but I longed for a hat. (not packed, alas)

We also had the opportunity to pass along world's longest and crummiest head cold.  It laid the Professor low for 2-3 days at the start of the trip, and I am still trying to get over it.  We also had one unfortunate incident on an airplane due to preschooler motion sickness that required a full change of clothing, right down to the underwear...but these things happen... I digress. Now that I am back home...it's sunny and dry here in Winnipeg, with a high of 31C (high 80sF and beyond) today.

Most people don't launch a woolly hat knitting pattern in springtime, I know.  What can I say?  I like to beat the rush?!  Actually though, if you live in a cooler climate, early mornings and late nights can still be nippy, particularly if you are by the water, or at a sports event, or, like me, just walking the dogs.  Here is a quick to knit burst of lush Merino sweetness (or not Merino, if you choose something else!) and it is sized to fit everybody from preschoolers to an XL Men's size.  Good for a whole crowd of chilly folk.

Undertow: a hat for strong currents

Or, maybe it is good in the not-so-cold climates too.  Next time I go way South, on two airplanes, with a passel of kids and a Professor?  I might just find space for this hat.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2016

On Being Present....


Here is the link to my latest CBC piece!  I heard from my mom that she sees tons of people she knows in the grocery store, and that's why it takes her forever to get the shopping done....but since I have moved so much, I only rarely see people I know.  Here's what happened recently:

See?  It's worth it sometimes to smile at someone at the store.  No telling who you will meet.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

Perfect

Here is an amazing follow-up blog post by Hugh Stephens that emphasizes the serious difficulties in copyright issues in knitting and crochet patterns and writing.  Thank you, Hugh!
We've been in the middle of Passover, which is a big deal holiday, lots of family, lots of different foods.  Some years, I cook it all myself.  This year has been so different from last year.  No big medical issues (thank goodness) and some actual breaks for me, which has been great.  The twins have just completed their first big overnight (without parents!) with their grandparents.  HUGE!  What did I do?

I sat outside (hint, I may not be on my Winnipeg back porch...) and drank a little wine, did some knitting, and listened to an audio book.

I looked at the trees.  I heard birds sing.  I sat still for over an hour.  Whoa.


The weather was warm.  Here's another look up at the trees.

So warm, in fact, that my new AllBirds wool runners  (sneakers) felt a bit too warm, but were very comfortable on a long walk, right out of the box.  (These are some new, eco-friendly sneakers that I had to try.  So far only available in the US and NZ, but I got US connections, that's all I can say, here's hoping they become an enormous international hit so I can order my next pair from home in Canada.... :)  Here's another review of the runners...  and they look cool.  I would wish for some more colors, maybe a brown pair, or maybe something a little less bright, (they are very aqua green in person) but otherwise, they are super.

The last bit of this post is about a pep talk my brother gave my kids.  He suggested that if they were absolutely PERFECT on their way to bed after the Saturday night seder, he would reward them with a dessert of their choice next Saturday night, after Passover.  The boys' preliminary choices are: a chocolate cookie, and blueberry pie. (I have never made or served them blueberry pie, so that is an exciting option, apparently!)

Well, the truth is that they took that pep talk very seriously.  I have been so impressed with both little guys, and they were active and smart participants at the seders, too.  It was all sort of amazing.  So, we're aiming for a perfect (or almost-perfect) vacation week (no school, either), cause you know, we want those special desserts.  My homemade pies --apple, peach, key lime, whatever.  Not as good as their imagination, cause their uncle is a great cook, and he is exotic and different than Mommy, too!

For me, a long walk, a bit of sunshine on the back porch, some knitting and some wine?  By myself?  Nothing could be better.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

It's that time again


This month has just flown by.  I try to plan ahead, really I do, but somehow, I got a few of the dates and details mixed up.  A week or two ago, I realized we were nearly out of challah for Shabbat.  (this is the sweet egg bread that is traditional for some Jewish families to eat on Friday nights, for the Sabbath.)  Anyhow, I jumped into action and made bread...and even shot photos.
I put it all in the freezer, and then?  I don't really know how it happened, but it is now very nearly Passover.  (In Hebrew: Pesach) So, we're heading into the "we're not eating any bread" period anyhow.  Oops.  I guess I didn't need to bake so many loaves?!
We've been getting ready.  My boys have been learning about the holiday at preschool, and even invented a holiday of their own: Pey-Socks.  It involves putting socks on all their stuffed animals' feet and making necklaces for them.  Then all the loveys and stuffies will go to a wedding every day during the holiday.  Exact dates of Pey-Socks have not been scheduled yet; it's a holiday in its formative stages.
Note: This has no resemblance at all to the actual holiday, but it sure was fun finding all the too-small kid socks all over the house and dressing the stuffed animals.  Hurray for Pey-Socks!
In other news, I also seemed to have double-booked us; for a while we will have dance class and swim classes on Sundays, which is just too much.  I thought it was only one week of the "double-header" schedule, but unfortunately, this lasts until June.  Luckily, we're shaking things up a bit--going to a concert one weekend, going out of town for a bit...so I am not working preschoolers to the bone.
There was a look of wearied exhaustion from a four and a half year old when I said "Yes" when he asked "Is it another double-header Sunday?"....Oh.  NO.  Obviously time for a holiday and a big rest.  Hurray for Pey-Socks! (and Pesach!)  Time off of preschool to rest up. :)
Chag Sameach! (Happy Holiday!) if you celebrate this one.

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Wednesday, April 06, 2016

The Cuddle Coat--a new release!

It's been snowing again.  One of my boys has another (insert expletive here) head cold.  Both boys have been moaning about when summer will get here... and the answer is?  Not yet.

Long ago, I designed the Cuddle Coat as a Knit Picks exclusive.  Eventually, the pattern copyright returned to me, and I put it up on Ravelry, but gosh darn it, it had world's worst pictures.  It never improved, either.  I wore out TWO cuddle coats (they are seriously, well, cuddly) but could never snap the perfect shot that showed off the sweater.  However, if you look over to my profile shot on this blog?  I'm wearing a Cuddle Coat!

So, I've just revised and re-released the pattern.  I've added metric measurements, I've updated yarn selections, the whole 9 yards (and equivalent number of meters.)  Also, I've left it at the old price, which means it is really permanently on sale...It's easy, it's a fast knit, and it's seriously cozy.  That said, last week, I wore this with a skirt to a dress up occasion, too, so it's versatile.  Did I say warm?  It's warm. So, here it is, re-introducing...the Cuddle Coat.  

Everything else here is still in a serious jumble, but I've tidied up this one pattern AND submitted my Canadian taxes ahead of the deadline, so you know, things are good, right?

PS: Dear Readers, I'm so hoping that one of you buys a Cuddle Coat pattern, knits it up and takes a gorgeous photo...because this is my third try...and I'm still not showing you how danged comfortable it is!

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