Monday, 31 December 2012

In the Spirit of Judith MacKenzie

As I'm sure you already know, Judith MacKenzie lost her fibre studio to fire on October 29.   In the days after, there was a flurry of blog posts and tweets about this, fundraising auctions and knitting patterns released with proceeds going to help her.

So who is Judith MacKenzie?  I asked the same thing.  Judith is a weaver, spinner and fibre artist living in Washington State who has taught at numerous fibre events in the United States.  I've never met her, never had the privilege of attending one of her classes, and wouldn't know her on the street if I passed her, but I can't help but think that the fibre arts community is small and we need to stick together.

That being said, I wasn't much interested in just flinging cash at the problem.  Broadly speaking, I don't do that because so often it isn't really helpful, but if someone is going to do something tangible to help fix a situation, I'm more interested in contributing.  So when the Wild Hare pattern became available on Ravelry for a pair of mittens with proceeds going to Judith's Studio Fund I bought it.  Truthfully, I would have bought the pattern anyway but I was glad to find a way to help.

I have all I need for these, except the red for the accent rows in the ribbing and a few highlight stitches.  I don't need much, just a small amount but I can't really justify the cost of a skein for a few rows.

I did however, have this.  It isn't exactly red, but it's closer to the colour I want.

So, in the spirit of Judith MacKenzie, I made it.

Spinning the roving showing a preview of the finished yarn.

Single ply wound onto a nøstepinde

Used the spinning wheel to make a two ply yarn by taking the beginning and end of the ball made above and spinning back onto the wheel

Wrapped the two ply yarn onto a niddy noddy.

Finished yarn in a skein.

Sunday, 30 December 2012

Tell me again why I have dogs?

I should have seen this coming.

When we chose our newest dog Runner from the Lanark Animal Welfare Society, we saw right away that he liked playing with stuffed animals; stuffies the staff at the shelter called them.  There was a grotty little stuffed bunny in the dog run and it looked like his most favourite thing in the whole world the way he carried it around with him.  I almost asked if we could have it.  I was prepared to add a few bucks to the bill to make him feel more comfortable.

You see, I don't give my dogs stuffies.  They have rope bones and balls, rawhides, pigs ears and all the sticks they can carry, but no stuffed animals simply because there is no glamour in cleaning up puked up stuffing.

What does this have to do with knitting you ask?  Well, I left my knitting unattended one day in October when Runner was obviously missing his stuffed bunny.  It was laceweight yarn, neatly wound into a cake.  I got up one morning and it looked like this:

Actually, it didn't look this good; I couldn't find the ends.  I don't think the bill for the dog had cleared the Visa yet so I wasn't prepared to throttle him but truthfully, it was my fault.  I did leave it unattended.

So I packed it up into a bag and put it away.  Today, I had calmed down enough that I was prepared to take it out and have a look at it.  I did obviously find the wound up end this time; and believe it or not, it only took me 80 minutes to wind this mess back into a ball.  There were two breaks in the yarn.  All things considered, I got off lucky.

Needless to say, I'm now absolutely militant about putting my knitting away when I'm done.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Santa Tracker

Every once in a while you come across a news article that makes you laugh out loud.  I found one such article today.  It concerns the origins of why NORAD tracks Santa Claus as he makes his way around the world.

It seems back in 1955, Sears Roebuck & Co ran an ad in a Colorado Springs newspaper telling kids to call Santa and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.  Except the phone number was printed incorrectly.   What was printed was actually the hotline for the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), which is also in Colorado Springs.  The then Director of Operations was Colonel Harry Shoup and rather than be irritated by the flood of calls, Col. Shoup played along and ordered his staff to start watching out for signs of movement at the North Pole and relayed this information to the kids who were calling.

In 1958, the Canadian and US governments created a bi-national organization for air defense called the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).  Even today, NORAD continues the tradition of tracking Santa Claus as he makes his way around the world with the Official NORAD Santa Tracker.

Col. Shoup passed away in 2009, however his legacy of the Santa Tracker lives on.
Merry Christmas to you all.

Friday, 21 December 2012


Today is my favourite day of the year.  For weeks the days have grown shorter and shorter and by extension, the nights have become longer and longer.
But today marks the turning point, the return of the light.  Tonight I am celebrating Yule.

I wish you all bright blessings, peace and happiness.

Monday, 10 December 2012

If you leave a hunter unattended in the kitchen...

For most hunters in Eastern Ontario, the deer hunting season closed a long time ago.  But for those few who chose to hunt with a bow and arrow, this week is the last week to hunt.

My husband is one such hunter and was all prepared to go out for one final week.  But yesterday, the weather network started forecasting foul weather of snow followed by freezing rain.  He wasn't to be deterred, but by the end of the day, and a glance at the radar maps, he'd decided that perhaps going up early in the morning wasn't a good idea.  

As it turns out, the school buses were all cancelled and there was freezing rain until noon.  It was a good decision on his part, but he was very disappointed.  

So after plowing the lane-way, taking the dogs out and getting dinner ready he decided to make cookies.  He found the cookie cutters and was absolutely tickled to discover that I had deer and moose shaped cookie cutters.  I also have a lighthouse, a couple dinosaurs, and some fish in addition to the more traditional stars, angels, trees and gingerbread men.

Then he found the coloured sugars and started "decorating" his moose....

Anyone else out there have cookies with "kill spots"??

Sunday, 9 December 2012


December 9 and the ALL the Christmas knitting is done, washed, blocked and ready!

I finished the last pair of socks last night which leaves more than two weeks before Christmas...wonder if I can get another pair of socks or a cowl done between now and then.

The tree is up, though not yet decorated but I actually know where the decorations are this year.  Yes, it's an artificial tree.  Not my first choice, but between two dogs, a cat, and woefully uneven floors, I felt it was prudent.

We got some new stockings for my brother's girlfriend and her daughter because everyone needs a stocking,

the fresh, locally raised turkey has been ordered

and I'm starting to buy the specialty foods (Quality Street chocolate anyone?).

You could make an argument that much of the food could be purchased earlier than this, but honestly - I know myself and it would have been eaten long before I needed it.  In addition to this, the vast majority of my shopping is done and the items have been received and I still have miles of wrapping paper thanks to an impulse purchase at Costco a few years ago.  I even know what I'm having for dinner Christmas Eve because my menus are done.

This year for the first time in many many years, I feel like I'm on schedule and ready.  And you know what?  I'm actually enjoying the season.