Sunday, March 17, 2019

Agreeing to disagree

The Jewish Independent in Vancouver just ran my piece:
Respecting minority opinions
(Yes, some Winnipeggers may disagree with it.  That's fine.  Civil disagreement is an essential part of Jewish texts and tradition and a cornerstone of democracy, right?!)

What else is going on?  My kids have a couple of weeks of disruption coming up, spring break and other events...posts may be thin on the ground over here.

On the learning front:
If you live in Winnipeg, I attended an amazing interfaith learning event on March 11th, and it's part of a 4 part Monday evening series --Interfaith Dialogue on Truth and Reconciliation.  Due to the constraints of bedtime with twins, I may not get to all of these lectures, but just attending the first one was deeply meaningful--a way to connect with others and discuss ways forward in supporting and connecting with Indigenous Canadians as we grapple with Canada's discriminatory past.  More than 170 people attended the first event.  It's well worth it to be there in person if you can. 

If you don't live in Canada or you're Canadian but can't get to these learning events in Winnipeg, I encourage you to google "Canada Truth and Reconciliation."  Follow some links.  You will learn a lot about Residential Schools in Canada, and the terrible inter-generational trauma that remains as a result of this horrible thing done to Indigenous families.  Winnipeg's population is 15% Indigenous. This traumatic part of our past is something that Canadians must face. We have to work together to help heal. That's the whole message -- and yes, I'm a relatively new Canadian citizen--but heck, that part doesn't matter. We're all in this together.

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Knitting density

Sometimes you have to knit a sweater because winter isn't over, but the kid has darn well worn through his favorite sweater.  Yup.  This is a new version of Stripe Freestyle in all Canadian yarns--all from stash in my house.  I've got some Custom Woolen Mills yarn in here, some MacAusland's Woolen Mill yarn, and some specially made Seine River Shepherds yarn (grown in Manitoba, processed by Custom Woolen Mils in Alberta.).  The kid dictated where the stripes should go, how much bigger the new one should be, the whole nine yards.

I knit it as dense as I could, because after the fifth patch on the old Stripe Freestyle?   I got tired of darning and knitting whole new sections of the old sweater!  The dense knitting caused me a little nerve pain and muscle irritation (I have a good physio/physical therapist) so I didn't get this done as fast as I had hoped.  However, we had fresh snow and big winds today, so he was well-pleased to march off to the school bus in his parka and snow pants ....and a new sweater.

Happy new sweater in March---in like a LION!

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Friday, March 08, 2019

Worry Bear for Women



A friend graciously tested my Worry Bear pattern.  She has already given the first bear to a friend who is going through some mental health challenges.  Her second is destined for an older lady with dementia.  I feel like if this design is all I did for International Women's Day this year, so be it.  I was very moved by her images in the projects and how her handknits have such power to show care for others.  She gave me permission to repost them.
We had a quiet moment doing reading before bed this week, and I caught a funny photo of these cherished (but pretty worn) woolly socks I knit long ago.  They were dangling off the edge of the bed as we made our way through a Rainbow Magic Fairy book together.  --And, if you are looking, you can see an old baby blanket doing double duty on the handmade dog bed and the wool crocheted rug, a little worse the wear now, but well-loved by several dogs after 13? years or so!
After working at the computer, and getting groceries and other chores, I made myself a fabulous snack.  That's Greek/Turkish/Middle Eastern coffee....(1 tsp sugar, for those who wonder) made in a briki, a tall glass of water, and plain popcorn topped with a bit of olive oil, salt, and a tablespoon of maple syrup.  (Don't worry, I saved a lot of popcorn for twins' after-school snack, too.)  It was delicious.  May you have something similar soon!

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Friday, March 01, 2019

New article, new design and a sale!

The Jewish Independent has just published my article, "A need for order in our lives."  If I had to come up with a theme for the last few weeks, it would be "please help me make order, everything feels out of control over here!"
We had a big surprise right before Louis Riel weekend (Family Day in other provinces, or Presidents' Day in the US.)  A water main break happened right across the street from our house. The whole next block was a skating rink, but had no water to drink.  We were very lucky, we didn't lose water, although it was a bit brownish for about a day.  It was safe for flushing and washing, but we did use bottled water and I took a whole Shabbat dinner, pre-cooked, right out of the freezer rather than try to cook under those conditions.  It's good to be prepared.

And yes, it is loud when the utilities folk are jack hammering outside and it's -30 out.  Did I mention we had a relative visiting from the US?!  I was so frazzled that I lost my parking ticket from the airport parkade and had to pay the full day's worth of parking-- for 45 minutes. (Yes, I am not over that one yet!)  Some days are like that.  We've had a few sick days and this other chaos here, too. (Pause here and feel comforted by a bear or two...)


But meanwhile, I have finally (after many years of being told to do it) published this pattern.  What pattern?  It's
Worry BearFor now it's available on Ravelry, and I hope it will become available on Loveknitting.com soon.
This is a special design for me.  It's a pocket sized bear, and it comes in two sizes.  One fits a kid's hand, and the larger size fits an adult's hand.  It's an ideal fidget tool for someone with ADHD, SPD, Autism, dementia, Alzheimer's, anxiety--or anybody who is worried.  It's a private hug in your pocket that helps you know someone loves you.  I've made these for family and friends for years.
In order to celebrate FINALLY getting it published, I'm having a sale.  Until March 5th (ends midnight, CT, US & Canada), get 20% off all my Ravelry patterns  with the coupon code:
Worry Bear

...Because everybody gets worried sometimes. It might be great to make extras if you have time, and donate them to a school, hospital, ambulance service, or anyplace where people might feel stressed.  I have dear ones who carry these around every day.  (Heck, even I sometimes need a Worry Bear or two.  Like, when the water main broke, and I lost my parking ticket....)

Take care!  We all worry.  Consider knitting a Worry Bear instead.

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Friday, February 15, 2019

Things fall apart

OK, deep breath, we've had a bunch of breaking things around here.

Back in January, we had the boiler problems, and it is fully described in this article that just came out in the Vancouver Jewish Independent: Make me a Sanctuary  Well, except for one thing.  Here is the image they used, and well, our boiler is probably at least 50 years old!  (If only our utilities were so small, tidy and up to date!) Hah.

Then we had a problem with my car--at first, the battery was old and the car wouldn't start in the intense cold.  (no surprise, even when it was plugged in.)  But then, this week, I noticed the tires did not look so good, and when that was being dealt with, uhh, the suspension and a wheel bearing all needed to be fixed.  Not actually surprising stuff considering my SUV is nearly 16 years old.  However, that was a pricey date at the auto repair garage! (Think...over $2400. Yup.)

And it snowed a lot, so we had to get the snow off the roof to avoid ice dams. (An hour and three guys up on the roof of a 2.5 story hundred year old house= not free)

Then today, I went to pick up my mom (who is visiting us, hurray!) at the airport, and I lost the parkade ticket for the first time ever, I think.  (charged full rate of $25.)  I am wondering what my next lucrative career opportunities might be, because writers/knitwear designers do not make enough to cover all this!

However, some things can be fixed.  This lett-lopi Bohus-style sweater is one designed by Norah Gaughan that I knit a long long time ago.  (Probably more than 10 years ago.)  I love this sweater.  It was getting fragile.  I washed it.  It came out with big holes in the sleeves.
The benefits of a deep stash?  I found the exact yarn that will match it.  I can fix these sleeves. And I will still have my beloved sweater.  So, some things can be fixed --and the cost of this repair of my sweater?  (free.)  Can't beat that.

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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Deir Hart

True confessions, I was also knitting yet another hat during this cold snap. This time of year, I get bored of the every day woollies. I wrote a design to go along with it...and the tech editor approved it today.  It's now live and ready to knit!

Introducing:
Deir Hart

This fuzzy warm super bulky knit is perfect for your dear heart (The deir hart spelling is from an old Scottish ballad I read about recently) and ....it's on sale so you can knit a fast one in time for Valentine's Day!

This hat is 40% off!!  Download the pattern now and use the coupon code:
Valentine

until midnight, February 14th, (ends midnight, Central Time, US & Canada) and the pattern only costs $3US.

I used a fun combination of some alpaca and lett-lopi yarn in my stash to do the sample, but if you'd like to buy some super-bulky yarn and the pattern all at once, head on over to Loveknitting.com to find the pattern with yarn suggestions there, too. This design comes in three sizes, and will fit everybody from your preschooler to your biggest lumberjack!  Just change the yarn colors so they don't mix up their hats on the way out the door in the morning...

Enjoy--and stay warm!

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Monday, February 04, 2019

hibernation

 I know there are people who continue to rush around outdoors even when it is -40 and the windchills are much lower.  Unlike much of the US upper midwest, Winnipeg didn't shut down last week.  This meant that believe it or not, my kids still got on the school bus, my professor went off to work last week.  Things sort of stalled out for me though.  By the time I got the kid with the cold back at school, and got Sally, the old dog eating, and the food made for dinner, there was precious little time left for much else.  Dog walks were difficult, as was waiting for the boys at the school bus stop.  I felt lucky I didn't have to commute...and I put off all but the most basic errands until it warmed up on Thursday, as well.

 However, somebody didn't read the school bus manual, because after a few days of those crazy cold temperatures?  On Thursday, the temperatures warmed up--a bit--but the buses were cancelled because there were so many accidents and buses whose lines froze, etc.  Also on Thursday, we realized my car wouldn't start, even though it had been plugged into the block heater timer.  
So, we plugged it directly into the outlet in an attempt to warm up the battery.  I drove the professor's car, and he took the bus, and we still got the kids to and from school.  Indoor recess is apparently a hotbed of paper doll activity, where my kids join several others in drawing and cutting out every kind of magical creature paper doll, and building a cardboard house for them, as well.
So what did I do from January 24th to about January 31st?  I worked on the computer, knit, cooked, and enjoyed the great indoors. (which still required woolens, by the way, even with the heat going full blast, it is hard to make inside toasty when it is so cold outside.)  Here is one of the things I worked on.  This is a new Stripe Freestyle for my kid who is outgrowing his old one!  It is getting short and I've had to knit patches on the one pictured in that link.  (It has been worn a lot and he loves it.)

I am using all Canadian yarns on this one.  Leftovers from On Track and Woolly and a light gray that somebody chose, but then changed his mind about, I think.  The yarns are from MacAusland's Woolen Mill and Custom Woolen Mills.    The kid in question thinks a natural colored white yarn, leftover from Woolly, will go best as the next stripe.

However, something happened.  The sweater is a nice, dense plush 34" around, on a size 8(5mm) needle.  And I did all this in a week, and I inflamed my upper back/shoulder a bit.  So, now I am back to only a few rows a day, until things calm down.  I've changed knitting styles and positions, but it still hurts! That's what comes of being too enthusiastic a knitter, I suppose...?!

Meanwhile, the conversation around hate doesn't take time off in the winter.  The restaurant where my knitting group meets was targeted recently.  So, today, it's -30 windchill, 6" (15 cm) of new snow blowing around, and we're still talking about hate crimes.  Dang.

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