Sunday, August 13, 2017

This piece on diversity went live yesterday...

In a strange twist of fate, my piece on peaceful protest and diversity, written several days ago, went live yesterday on the CBC Manitoba website.  Here's the link:
Acknowledging diversity--warts and all

Meanwhile, horrible things were happening in Charlottesville, Virginia.  I grew up in Virginia, and I spent two happy summers at summer camp in Charlottesville.  My stomach was twisted in knots all day about what just took place there. 

 Let's not let violence and hate win.  Peaceful protest is the way forward--and using our critical thinking skills? Essential.  I'm so sad that hate (and lot of outsiders) took over--with violence against diversity, against African- Americans, and against Jews--hate took over Charlottesville yesterday. Let's vote for peaceful protest and love.  Love wins.

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Wipe: fun reusable napkins for cleaning up

 (You may have heard...we've got two busy six year olds.  We get very messy around here!)
In an effort to tame the spills without adding more trash to the environment, we use cloth napkins.  Mostly linen and cotton ones, and you'd be surprised how solemn and grown up linen napkin colors can be.  Since we wash a set of napkins nearly every day, I thought it would be fun to design some hemp knitted ones. 
 Wipe is now live and available on Ravelry,  (and soon will be available on, too) and it's a quick, fun knit.  I used dk weight hemp for these samples, but any washable, absorbent natural fibre is a good bet.  

It uses about 200 yards/183 meters of yarn, and if you want two napkins in two colors, that would be about 100 yards of each color.

In other news, we've had 5 routine medical appointments in our family this week (five!) --we're all fine-- AND, we're having some electrical work done in our house, so it's been a busy week.
So instead, I'd like to focus on sunshine, picnics, and fun knitting projects.
Wipe, my newest design,  is a US$4 download from  Please check it out!

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Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Creative clothes for girls

A new friend of mine has a daughter in my sons' school class.  She's also a teacher at their school--and she has been wonderful to my kids.  In a 'past life'--she also sang opera professionally!  (And yes, that amazing musical talent gets shared with the kids, which is such an amazing gift.)

Today, I learned more.... I've long known that Miriam makes her daughters' clothes.  We have that in common too, although I stick to knitting sweaters, mitts, hats, and socks for my twins.  It turns that out that Miriam also has a new online boutique with girls' clothing here.

 Her designs are creative and colorful, and what's more--these clothes dress little girls in smart ways.  Her kids move and run in these clothes, and twirling is always a good option in these sparkly designs!

Even better, Miriam's found ways to dress her kids in a way that some of us prefer.  Instead of tight tank tops that show off belly buttons, these clothes fit so that girls can outrun everybody on the playground without being, well, inappropriately revealing.  (There's lots of research on this, it's hardly necessary to link to something here--just look at the clothing available for purchase for little girls these days.)

Some people deem this 'modest clothing' or call it 'covering up'--but in truth, it allows little kids to play without thinking about their bodies all the time.  And that's a good thing for everybody's psychological development.

These are fun, handmade, creative clothes, and nobody paid me to say it!  I wanted to let others in on this good secret.  So--please check out this great new resource, the Saravia Boutique....

(While you're there, read about Miriam's story growing up in the Soviet Union, too.  Her mother thought the Estonian school uniforms were the most fashionable, which is no surprise if you're a knitter.  Those Estonians do beautiful needlework!)

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Bandana goes live!

Do you remember how I was spinning Canadian grown and processed flax a while back?  Extolling the virtues of the whole thing?

That flax became yarn, which got simmered to wash it, and then it got balled up and knit into....this.  A new design.  It's called Bandana.  It's available on Ravelry as part of the Manitoba Fibre Festival's Flatlands Collection.  As a result of being part of the collection, the fabulous ash of sunflower knits did a photo shoot, and it was lovely.  Really artistic.  Beyond what I'd hoped.

 This accessory collection is launching August 1st, and to celebrate the Manitoba Fibre Festival KAL, everything in the Flatlands Collection will be 30% off (no need for a coupon) from now until August 6th at midnight, CT.

It's currently summertime warm in Manitoba. The true confessions part of this is that I wear a lot of linen in the summer. I wanted to design something that would hold up to our daily roughhousing.  This past weekend, for instance, we went cherry picking, had an impromptu trip to Gimli for lunch and ice cream. Back in Winnipeg,we played in both the yard wading pool and at a neighborhood one, and watered the lawn with the wading pool leftovers.  There were hands-on opportunities to be stained with cherries, ice cream, grass, soaked with water, covered with sidewalk chalk, and more...
 I'd like to pretend I'm wearing this bandana as an elegant shawl option....and not just folding it up "for good."  For now, it is being held for display at the festival, which happens September 15 and 16, 2017, at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg.
 If I get a chance to wear Bandana, it's far more likely to be on my head, or being used to wipe off bits of ice cream from passing six year olds....but I'd like to dream of an elegant knitwear future.  (That's why I love those fancy photo shoots...)
 Bandana is available as a digital download on Ravelry right now, and will cost US$6---but it's 30% off until August 6th!  Please join me in a quick and cool summer knit.  I know I can't be the only person who needs a little textured hidden paisley or two to jazz up my summer wardrobe. :)

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Summer knitting

Some people don't knit in the summertime.  Weird, huh?  I am of the opinion that there is no bad time for knitting, and further--I live in Winnipeg.  Winter is always coming.  My twins have outgrown nearly all their mitts, and we're a family that wears double layered mitts when it's cold.  In the last month, I've done 2 pairs of kid mittens and am on to #3.  (I'm aiming for a minimum of 4 pairs of kid mitts, but maybe more, we need back ups)

The ones pictured here are based on an old Penny Straker pattern I have altered significantly but used for over 20 years!  This project started around the time we travelled to Virginia in late June.  I am now working on a stranded pair of The hole inside mitts, in green and orange. (Stranded = warmer)  At home, the mitten project happens solely when we are listening to audio books before bedtime.  We're currently having a binge: the Henry Huggins Audio Collection.  It's something like 15 hours of listening, all doled out 20 minutes at a time before twins go to bed.
I also had a little grocery store experience (oops) where I spent more than I meant to--I was feeling relaxed in the air got out of control.  Little did I know that the store also was looking to give away a lot of Canadian blueberries for free, and I ended up with 8 lbs of blueberries, free upon (big) purchase.  So, lots of frozen fruit, 10 cups of jam, fruit salad and crumble later, we're making progress on that front, too.  Like a bear, I'm preparing for winter hibernation.

I'm swatching up a new design project: I want to see if I can come up with a sweater pattern done in strips or sections that are easy to carry around.  I am currently knitting a top down cardigan and I'm on the second sleeve.  That thing is so heavy and hot there is no way I will bring it anywhere!  Hence the strip idea.
After a lot of cooking, canning and cranking out a couple of articles, I felt the need to sit outside, and yesterday, I actually took one of my spinning wheels outdoors, sat on the back porch, drank some iced coffee, did some spinning and read (using my Ipad) at the same time.  It seemed remarkably indulgent and delicious.

If you're a summertime knitter like me, did you know that:
A) I also sell patterns on Loveknitting?
B) Loveknitting is having a BIG SUMMER SALE?
(I get nothing from telling you about the sale--nothing but the feeling that I am helping out friends, right?!)
Happy Summer!  (We're having a really fine weather, mosquito-free one here)
PS: Yarn choices...
White mitts: my handspun, unknown medium wool odds and ends
Blue mitts: Patons Wool Worsted and a strand of Kroy sock yarn (please don't felt these,my twin who felts mitts)
Brown Swatch: Lopi Einband, naturally colored brown, knit doubled

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Manitoba women's health just got worse

Here's a link to my CBC opinion piece, which ran this morning.  You may recognize the photo if you are a long-time blog reader.  (That's the Professor's finger, he took the photo, he held the twin, and no, I did not get to do that more than once in the NICU)
If you don't recognize the photo, click on June 2011 to learn a little more.  The details I wrote about for this essay are perhaps more graphic than I've ever shared in a published piece before, but it was worth it. 
Many women in Manitoba have gone through similar things, and based on proposed changes to our health care system, it could just get worse.  Here's hoping others are concerned, too.  (Based on the CBC-Manitoba Facebook page and the number of times this article has already been shared, my guess is that others may agree and are plenty worried.)
Manitoba women's health just got worse

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Being your better self

Here's my latest piece from the Jewish Independent in Vancouver--this piece also appeared in a Winnipeg paper.  It's about rough days, and...well, donkeys, of course:

It takes work to be your better self

Other news...we've been very busy with summer here.  Summer camp, wading pools (with slides!), picking strawberries and canning strawberry jam, checking out cool bugs, rabbits, and other important long walk, digging outside, planting, gardening, digging... hot weather activities.

I've also been busy on a secret project--a new design to be released as part of the Manitoba Fibre Festival "flatlands collection" which will be available soon on Ravelry!  Stay tuned for sneak's all about handspun flax, subtle handknit textures, and more..

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