Thursday, July 27, 2006

Too hot to knit

The last few days have been beastly hot, with afternoon rain. Too hot to knit, in fact. And the outlook is for more of the same. What do you do when it is too hot to knit? Exercise, of course. And the preferred exercise in this household is mountain biking.

Sunday afternoon we ventured out for an afternoon ride. Sure, the sky was overcast and grey. But it had been that way for hours. We had plenty of time before the rain. We did the first half-loop. Great fun. Couldn't be better. Started for the secondf half.

Now, the way we ride this trail, there is a decision point. You can turn left and head immediately to the parking lot and be there in 5 minutes or less. Or you can turn right and continue your ride, arriving at the parking lot about 30 minutes later. We were feeling widely scattered sprinkles during our approach to this decision point. Very widely scattered sprinkles.

So we turned right.

Mother Nature was NOT amused. Not even a little bit. We hadn't gone 30 meters when the skies opened up. Torrential downpour. But -- hey -- we were hot and exercising so this was not a problem. We kept going.

Then Mother Nature upped the ante with lightning. Of course, we felt by this time that we had reached the point of no return and it would be a quicker route to the parking lot if we continued on. This meant, of course, that we could not stop at our usual resting points because they were on high ground, beside tall trees, and we were riding lightning rods -- I mean metal bicycles.

We persevered. We pedaled madly. We went through and around mud puddles. Lakes, more like it. And we ended up at the parking lot in a record 20 minutes. Of course, we had no clean clothes (there is no changing room). We did not have towels either, because the lake -- the reason for needing towels -- was at home.

We did what any self-respecting biker would do -- threw the bikes on the car, piled in, and headed for home. This is what Doug looked like.

You can't see it, but there was actually a very small dry triangle of material on the side of his legs. The shoes and socks had already come off. The socks were wrung out. He squeezed a good half-cup of water from them. Everything was completely drenched. I didn't look much better.

We jumped in the lake completely dressed. It seemed a good way to rinse some of the mud out of the clothes before laundering.

Did I mention that we had a dinner invitation that evening? We opted to take the dry car.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Lace Knitting

I enjoy knitting complicated patterns. Cables, yarn-overs, lace. The more the merrier. Traditionally, I have knit these patterns in knitting worsted weight wool. You know--wool with some substance to it.

At the Knitter's Frolic in April, however, I saw some absolutely lovely, to-die-for lace-weight alpaca. I don't knit with such finicky wool. Never have. And what do you do with a lace-weight wool except make scarves or shawls? I don't wear 'em.

But that alpaca called to me. All day. Softly and insidiously. Until I could resist no longer. Then I went searching for a pattern. Fiddlesticks Knitting Whisper Scarf.

Next I tried to find the perfect rocking chair. To no avail. But if I sat still the platform rocker was comfortable, the space inviting. The knitting alluring.

I finished the scarf and blocked the scarf. In this heat. But you know what? It was definitely worth it. This is the end result:

Truly awesome. Light and airy. Light enough that a poof of wind will make it flutter nicely. Small enough that I can carry it with me and admire my work. And show it to unsuspecting friends and neighbours.

The Yarn Harlot was asked once what her last project would be if she were limited to only one more knitting project. She thought a bit, and decided that a wedding ring shawl would be chosen, for a multitude of reasons. She's right. Lace weight beauty, requisite skills, and then the thrill of blocking.

Fortunately, I have another project on the needles already!

My sister is having surgery tomorrow, to remove the upper-left lobe of her lungs and remove the cancer. Please think of her and her daughter.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Knitters are such nice people

I've been teaching a knitting class at the Uxbridge Library, arranged by the Friends of the Uxbridge Library. The class is offered free of charge to interested patrons. The room is donated by the Library. And it gets me out of the house one night a week.

Last night was the official last night of the class. One of the "students" is a silversmith and operates, with her husband, a studio. She made a thank you gift for me and presented it last night. Imagine -- my very own silver stitch markers!

The class also gave me a nice card to say "thanks." Apparently they have figured out that I really, really like cats.

The students are becoming enthralled with the process of knitting. So much so that they have requested me to ask if it would be possible for us to continue meeting at the library for the rest of the summer. The library has very graciously given us permission to meet for the next three Thursday evenings. We'll see if the group wants to continue meeting beyond that.

I hope so. Knitters are such nice people.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Families -- Part Two

Remember my sister? The one out in Missouri who was having surgery for breast cancer? The good news is that the lumpectomy removed the entire lump, with clean edges. Which means, as I understand it, that the cancer had not spread anywhere. This is good news.

The bad news? She had a spot on her lungs that she had been advised was the after-effect of the pleurisy in January. She was having a routine recheck for pleurisy and complications, when the spot on her lung was observed to still be there. This was NOT the plan. The plan was that when the pleurisy was cleared up, the spot would go away. After testing and a biopsy, it was determined that the spot was, in fact, lung cancer.

The good news? The MRI did not show any spread of cancer to the brain. Apparently, lung cancer's favorite place to metastasize is the brain. So at least we have good news. Also in the category of good news is that a surgery on the lung cancer is scheduled for July 20.

My sister has one child--a daughter named Melissa. She is in the category of being a full-grown child. But she is still terribly distraught with her mother's health crisis. As a sister of the patient, I am terribly distraught. I cannot imagine what Melissa feels.

Unfortunately, all this health crisis is happening in Missouri. That is a long, long ways from Ontario. And I can't be there for them. At least physically.

Being sent with today's Canada Post, is this: a prayer shawl for Melissa. It's not much, but it's what I can do right now. Down the road? We'll just have to see. And pray for a good outcome surgically.

The shawl came from Stephanie Pearl McPhee's book, Knitting Rules. I used three balls of Lion Brand Jiffy and some white yarn from my stash.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Houston, we (may) have a problem.

The stash:

The stash containment system:

Does anyone see a problem here?