Thursday, September 19, 2019

Catching up

I'm a little behind over here!  Ok, here is the summary.  We've had some warm weather, some time off of school (yes, already, there was a teacher-work day right after school began) and I just chose to give in to playing outside and decide to catch up later.  In Winnipeg, we need to enjoy warm weather while it lasts!

In sad news, we seem to have lost a Worry Bear somewhere along the way.  Since one of my kids needs his every day, I made a new one ASAP.  Same yarn, same ribbon...and I launched it on my brand new Instagram account, @yrnspinner.  (Yes, this is news...please follow me!)
My class last Friday at the Manitoba Fibre Festival was just fabulous.  I had a lot of fun teaching and my students were all eager to do more recycling and reuse.  We had fun.

I managed to take my twins back to the festival later in the weekend and we came home with this outstanding fair trade basket, handmade in Ghana, and sold by Big Blue Moma.  My kids knew the basket would immediately be pressed into service for spinning on the front porch and argued over who would get the amazing blue bead on the label.  (We're negotiating about that.  Luckily, I have other beads for the other kid.)  I took some time to myself to do some hand carding on the front porch while the Professor and twins were out on an adventure.  It was an amazingly rare and quiet moment!
All my columns and other writing work during this time has had to be done while kids are asleep or finally back at school, etc.  The Jewish Independent has recently run two columns: Apple-picking and tzedakah (tzedakah roughly means charity, although not an exact translation) and Concern over what to share.

In between play dates outside with Sally (almost 15 year old Pointer mix) and Sadie (our young Gordon Setter mix), I have also begun to post my patterns for sale on a new website called well as my old standbys, Ravelry and  I'd love to hear if you've used PatternVine's new but comes well-recommended.

Here's to enjoying the warm days while they last!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, September 09, 2019


This past week, I did a little tour around my house and collected samples that I'll use for teaching my class on how to make and use recycled yarns.  It was a good opportunity to give beloved household items a good wash and airing!

Remember, if you're interested in taking this class on Friday at the Manitoba Fibre Festival, please register here!

These are only some of my supplies, but a short summary...the baskets.  These knitted baskets were taken directly out of household use.  The flowered one is used to hold medicines and odds and ends on a high up shelf in a kids' bedroom.  The white one sits in a hallway, usually filled with dog toys.

(We are still helping Sadie the dog realize that she can also return toys to this bin as well as distribute them around the house!)
This braided rug usually lives in the guest room.  It is made entirely of old clothing and is aging very well.  I recognized most of the clothing from around 1995-7 or so.  I made this rug for our first home in Durham, North Carolina, around the time we got married.

I wove this rag rug on a floor loom for an outdoor exhibit at the Forks in 2010, I think.  When it came home (a little worse for wear), I washed it, it cleaned up nicely and it became a rug in my guest bathroom.

Part of the reason it was easy to gather all this?  The professor and my kids have been working to paint our guest room recently.  It was an ugly brown color...we inherited it this from the last owner.  When we had our house insulated in June, the workers decided they could not insulate the house on the third floor from the outside.  (too high up, too hard to drill into the stucco to shoot the insulation in the walls.)  So, they drilled inside, and we've had a lot of chaos in cleaning up from this.  Because of the big bore holes, it was a good time to repaint...and we chose a cheery pistachio green shade.  The guest room is mostly reassembled now and looks so much better.  I feel relieved every time I see the new color!
Last but not least, I had an article come out recently in the Vancouver Jewish Independent about the start of the new school year and what we share when trying to connect with others.
That's the news from here!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Back to School Sale!

The first day of school went smoothly around here, thank goodness...and I am finally getting back to my work life.  All the work (writing, etc.) has to happen when kids are asleep, guests have left, and this makes for one very tired freelancer.

I recently had an article come out here--but I need to avoid commenting on details to protect the privacy of some vulnerable minors.  It's a bad situation, but that's all I can say for now.  It fits under the category of 'something has gone really wrong with protecting kids.' I used to teach in inner-city environments like DC and Buffalo, NY, I know when something should be reported, but I'm worried that no one will look into this, despite my best efforts to report the info safely.

In happier news:
I'm having an article come out in the next issue of PLY Magazine!  It's called "The Mad Felter" and I'm excited to see how it looks in print.

In other happy news...

I am running a sale over on Ravelry!

Use the coupon code:

and get 20% off all my Rav patterns until September 12th.  (ends midnight, CT, US & Canada)

This is your chance to get my new pattern, Strippy McStrippit, on sale, too!
I'm giving blog readers a special opportunity to get the sale a little bit ahead of everyone else, too...if you read this, feel free to share the promotion! Thanks for checking out my work!  Happy September!

Labels: , , , , , , , , , ,

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

I'm teaching on September 13th!

Yes, it's true!
I'm teaching a class on how to use recycled materials to make the Manitoba Fibre Festival!  (The photo's from my book, Knit Green, an oldie but a goody...)
Check out this lovely kind blog post for more information..and
  To register, go straight to this page on the Festival website.

Other things, in brief...
Strippy McStrippit, my new cardigan design, is now live on both Ravelry and  (If you live in North America, Lovecrafts even carries Einband, the yarn I used for the pattern sample, so it's easy one-stop shopping.

On an entirely different topic, if you want to read one of my newspaper articles--this one's about Canada's federal voting date, religious minorities, Jewish holidays, and reggae.  (No kidding, I had to throw in reggae...)  Check out this piece, published last Friday in Vancouver.
We are one people, one heart 

Labels: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Monday, August 26, 2019

Strippy McStrippit is live!

If you know me in person, you've seen me carrying around a little pouch of knitting forever.  It's now a real pattern, it's live on Ravelry, and it's called Strippy McStrippit!
It's late at night while I am posting this and it's still summer vacation and I'll be up early with kids, so here is the description.  If you're anything like me, you long to have a mindless sweater on the go, but in small, light pieces...and here it is!
Too tired to carry a top-down sweater project on your commute, to kids’ lessons or the doctor’s office?  This design’s for you.
Strippy’s an A-line, modern open women’s cardigan, in seven sizes with a trick up its sleeve. This is a bottom-up, simple sweater knit in pieces…seven pieces, to be exact. You’ll work towards a sleek and flexible cardigan while enjoying completely portable, simple patterned knitting that fits in a purse while you’re on the go!

Strippy requires knitting, purling, increases, decreases, and sewing up at the end.  This design uses written instructions and a schematic.  It calls for a double strand of lace-weight or a single strand of Aran yarn that knits at 17 sts sts = 4"/10 cm after blocking on a size US 7 needle.
Strippy McStrippit will also be live on soon!

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Gone swimming

At the last minute, we lucked out.  We got two spots for swimming lessons at this gorgeous lake.  It is about 30 minutes’ drive from home, and the lessons are every week day for 10 days.  I did the first week mostly on my own with kids...the professor came along for Friday.  This week, my folks are visiting from Virginia and they are doing the lake run.

I miss the mini vacation of each trip but have also enjoy having a few hours off each afternoon at home to do crazy stuff by myself. (like make dinner, clean up, walk dogs, etc.)

I wanted to share the view with you.  Also, imagine the trip: some traffic on the way out of the city, and then a wide open prairie view of blue skies, puffy clouds, and fields of sunflowers, corn, hay, cows and horses. All that and home in time for dinner...

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Sunday, August 04, 2019

Summer projects

Sometimes keeping everything afloat in the summer time can be tricky.  The professor has been gone for the last week (he just got home last night) as he had a conference to attend.  We were busy.  A lake, two wading pools, a bakery, a book store, a grocery store, two dog walks a day, the human rights museum, a special robot coding workshop for kids...and more.  
When I fit in work last week, it was late at night.  It is a miracle anything work-related gets done at all!  This article just went live on the CBC though:

It's about how our growing city can come up with urban solutions by simply looking to cities who have already dealt with things like noise pollution, drug crises, and infill strategies.  (We are not the first city to face this stuff!)  It featured this great photo of taxis in NYC.

On the making front, I just mended a small tear on one of the Professor's shirts.  It is 100% silk, so I would not want to just throw it out (think of all that silkworm work!)--and it was a very quick fix.  Hurray for darning...

And, I have just finished the latest Nanodistal.  This is a dark photo of this, as was still wet when I shot the picture.  However, it's one strand of a boucle silk yarn by Handmaiden called Rumple and another strand of Knit Picks Lindy Chain (a linen blend yarn.)

This was my purse knitting project and I whipped it out whenever I was with kids and I needed to do something to stay busy until the next thing....piano lessons, appointments, and playgrounds.  I need a new mindless project to stuff in my bag now!  Must dream one up...
Summer in Winnipeg has been beautiful and --well-- hot.  (I think I maybe am really a Canadian now, as it hasn't been nearly as hot as summers when I was a kid in Virginia!)

Labels: , , , , , , , ,