Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Super moon & more

Friday evening, I heard about how the moon would appear this past weekend, and caught a moment to look at it.  I saw this gorgeous sunset, and the full moon, bright and round, rose up, looking like the sun in the sky.   This photo is a poor approximation of it, but it filled me with a strange sort of awe.  Remarkable.
Also this weekend, I had this piece come out on the CBC:

Also, it was the start of Sukkot,  and my family was busy building and decorating our sukkah.  Here's a shot of what it looked like a few years ago; we haven't got a photo yet this year.  Since it was a holiday, there are several days without preschool...lots of time with 4 year olds but not so much time to post on the blog!  (or cook, or eat, or go to the bathroom by myself....ahem.  sorry...tmi)
I have some fun things planned for the blog in the near future, including a knitting needle review and possibly a give away.  Sound interesting?

I am also wondering about a way to help raise money to help refugees, which is such a big issue.  I'm pondering a sort of "UNsale."  It would be a way to purchase downloadable knitting patterns, without a discount, but some portion of the sale would go towards helping others who have been displaced from their homes and need so much, perhaps through the Red Cross.  What do you think about that?  I'd love thoughts from knitter readers--would you buy a pattern that wasn't discounted, but that donated a portion to a reputable charity instead? 

Finally, the Manitoba Fibre Festival is upon us!  It sounds like I will get to spend some time with the fleece display and the knitting relay event-- that is-- when I am not teaching.  Please drop by to visit if you're local!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

News you can use

 The Manitoba Fibre Festival is coming up!  It will be October 2nd and 3rd at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg.  This year is exciting; there is a new location, lots more space, shearing demos, sheep, loads more vendors and more.

I'm teaching a workshop: A Spinner's Breed Tasting.  Imagine a wine tasting flight (an oz or two of several wines) but for spinners.  (Now, we won't be eating fleece!  Just spinning it!) I hear there are still spots open so if you're local, please sign up soon.  I'm getting all the different samples and hand out ready.  It will be fun!  I can't wait!

I've also been getting ready for winter as only a knitter can.  I've been designing a new sweater 'on the needles' (as I knit) this summer.  As one of my twins says, "it's a sweater for mommy" and likely to suit others as well, so I hope to write up the pattern soon.  The best parts?  It's light and lofty, really fast on size 11 needles, and all in stockinette.  It's over-sized and knit all in one piece.  I could knit on it while I played soccer with my kids in the park.  (cross body knitting bag, big blunt needles, and endless stockinette in the round...ideal for many hours of summer play.)  Here are some sneak preview shots as the sweater blocked.  It's knit out of Alafoss Lopi, an Icelandic yarn that is perfect in all weights for winter here.  Light, lofty and warm.... it's still warm here during the day, but winter is coming.  I can feel it.

There's always more to say but I am short on time, so will leave you with photos instead. :)

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Friday, September 11, 2015

What I did this summer...

What I did this summer...
by Joanne Seiff

Among other things, I spent hours outside in our front yard as my boys dug in the sandbox, in the dirt, in the garden, played and argued.  Usually, I knit or spin on a spindle to keep from killing anybody, due to unnecessary sibling arguments or sheer boredom...I need to be close by in case of disasters.

This year, I tried something new and attempted a big project.  I wound 2 plies of handspun alpaca-silk singles (yarn) and 1 ply of handspun merino wool together into a ball on my nostepinde.  (that long black wooden thing in the photo)  I then used the nostepinde as a distaff, by tucking it under one arm.  (usually my left, mainly by using my armpit)  Then, I used that turkish spindle in the photo, and starting and stopping all summer, I made a big ball of three ply yarn.  I skeined it up and measured it recently.  It's about 110 yards of three-ply...all spun on a spindle.

I also knit a new sample for my Turkish Lace Camisole pattern.  I used Rowan Pure Linen, and I suspect I'll get good use out of this version!  Of course, I finished it right before Labor Day, and it is already beginning to get cool here...there's always next year.

I spent many hours on adventures with my twins, who told me firmly that their favorite parts of summer were spending time at the wading pool and with Mommy and Daddy.  So, this summer, we went on lots of trips..including to the Aviation museum, the Firetruck Museum, the Railway museum, the zoo, the Assiniboine Park Conservatory, the gardens, the Forks, and of course, several different city wading pools and their adjacent sandboxes.

Finally, while I dangled my feet in the wading pool a fair bit, I also continued writing, creating knitting designs, and freelancing where I could by staying up late, writing through naptime, and using PBS on occasion.  (we love some Curious George, Sesame Street and Clifford around here...)

  (I'm SO looking forward to getting back to work in the new year!)

Also, we're celebrating the start of preschool.  Hurray!  I have had 3 full days off of twin duty so far, and it has been nothing short of miraculous.

However, the high holidays are coming...and with them, many interrupted weeks of school so we can celebrate them.  I looked at the preschool calendar, and my guys will not have a full 5 day week of school until after Canadian Thanksgiving, in mid-October.  Right.  So, I spent part of this week cooking and getting ready... here's a shot from my baking session.  I made 4 round challahs, two plain, and two with raisin.  Here are two explanations on why a round challah is traditional for Rosh HaShanah.  (A note about the links in that last sentence...the first one is short and sweet, the second is more detailed, and finally, the last one is about the whole holiday and not just baked goods!)

Wishing you and your loved ones a happy, sweet, fulfilling, healthy and prosperous 5766.  May we see more peace in the year to come.

L'Shanah Tovah U'metukah!

A happy and sweet new year!

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Putting by

On Saturday, we spent time outside at the wading pool, but hiding in the refrigerator was an enormous bag of cucumbers!  One of the Professor's grad students...has an uncle with a farm.  The farm had a bumper crop of cucumbers..something like a shopping cart of cucumbers every day.  After delivering cucumbers to everyone in the family, this kind grad student brought some to the lab.  How much?  When the Professor took the box home at the end of the day, after others had taken what they wanted, I think there were roughly 9 or more pounds of cukes!

For those who know us, we eat a lot of cucumbers around here...but the household favorite, year round?  Pickles.  So, I had a hot (literally) date Saturday night with the canner and 8 lbs of cucumbers.  Six pints of dill pickles and six pints of sweet cornichons later, I think I'm calling it quits when it comes to canning dilly beans and pickles this it is on to chutney, with perhaps a side venture to salsa if the tomatillo plants produce more.  
Meanwhile, I wrote this article, which came out on the CBC on Saturday as well:
Timely, but completely coincidental...
About 10 more days until preschool starts, but who's counting?

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Scenes from August

What does August look like?
A locally grown tomato sandwich...
On homemade spelt bread, with mayo (cause I could not ever skip the mayo), that one perfect heirloom tomato, homemade basil pesto, and sharp cheddar.
Here it is again, in case you needed a close up of the pesto dribbling everywhere.
Also, today was the last morning of camp, or any kind of childcare, until preschool starts after Labor homemade challah?  Is hard to find time to make.  For the first time, I tried the bread machine.  It is definitely world's funniest looking loaf, even upside down, as in this photo, but it tastes good.  Obviously need to fine tune my recipe for the bread machine, but it's a start...and it all works for French toast, even if it isn't braided!

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Monday, August 17, 2015

women's health...and August

August is here, and I alternate between being very busy with twins and completely stalling out.  This past weekend, I came down with laryngitis that incapacitated me for an entire day.  (I had no idea I had such a vocal parenting style until I could not talk!)  We also had a heatwave (for Winnipeg) which made life steamy for a few days.  It is now sunny, crisp and cool again and I have a brief moment to post one of my recent articles.  This came out on the CBC Manitoba website this past weekend:

Should Kim Kardashian be giving women medical advice?

This is already sounding funny for those who know me....I don't watch reality TV or have time to follow much via social media.  However, the issue at stake is really about how drug companies advertise, and whether women have access to good medical support and information about the right medications when they need them.  Particularly, it is about Diclectin, (Diclegis, in the US), an anti-nausea drug that helped me get through twin pregnancy.  Yes, I was stoned, unable to drive, and fuzzy all the time, but it helped me keep food down...and I was lucky to have it.

There are no weird photos of drugs here or of me, trying desperately to talk to 4 year olds and only squeaks coming out...but alas, we've been back from the lake for 2 weeks now, so it was time for a real-life update!  How are you?  How's August treating you?

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Thursday, August 06, 2015

Images from the lake cottage

Did you see the hummingbird?  :)

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