Tuesday, August 31, 2010

More holiday

I started sorting pictures and got a huge number to show you, and had only covered the first third of the holiday. Yikes! So, with minimal commentary, here we go!

Stop number one, Penticton, BC. We saw Grandma Dee, Auntie Mary, Auntie Nancy, Uncle Bot/Bub/Eric, Cousin Su, Uncle John, Auntie Sally, Auntie Sydney, Uncle Bruce.

Several of those people are here, tubing down the channel between the two lakes in Penticton.

Elaine wasn't keen about the whole idea, until she saw how it worked, so there was a second expedition the next day! Some lucky dude gets the job of driving the old school bus down to the stopping point, about an hour away by tube, throwing the tubes up on top and driving the slightly damp people back to the starting point. Many people have their own floating things (Jeez, floating sofa beds, some of them, complete with bar fridges) and so their fun is completely free. One can speed up or slow down a bit, with a lot of paddling, but basically you just go with the flow!

Long, long ago, Stephen had a job at the little college here, which was in a dumpy building behind this church. Now it has moved, but we had to go see the old landmark, and were rewarded with this sign. Why go to church? Well, we have short sermons and air conditioning!

On the beach is the peach! Apparently the original old peach was rolled into the lake one night when the town got too exciting, after an MC Hammer show! Lucky for us they built a new one, and they serve delicious peach drink.

Above the town is Munson Mountain, where you get a great view over the northern lake and the town. On the side of the mountain is the word "Penticton" spelled out in white stones. Hollywood of the north... Kind of dry, isn't it?

One day we took a ride on the Kettle Valley railroad. We always like a good steam train, but this time we got a full-size locomotive, which was quite a treat!

Vineyards seen from the train. This whole area has traditionally grown loads of fruit: apples, peaches, plums, cherries, pears... anything! But it seems that lately grapes have taken over, and the place is full of vineyards and wineries. This is fine, but really, an apple is often more useful than a bottle of wine, and who knows how the economics of this will all work out!

After the train ride, we stopped off at the Dirty Laundry, and liked their story, their graphics and their wine.

The name comes from local history: there was a laundry in town whose owner decided the guys working on the railroad needed a little entertainment, so he opened a brothel upstairs in the same building. Har har. It gives them a reason for calling their wine lots of suggestive names and putting little Mae West quotes on their ads.

This is a bottle of their Bordello wine. It comes with a magnifying glass so you can inspect the details of the "wallpaper" label! Award-winning design, apparently, as well as wine. We are hoarding this for a while, so I can't tell you much about the wine, except that when we tasted it we liked it enough to shell out the bucks for it.

And now some arty shots of rust!

An old tractor seat.

A coil of metal, and some moss, and some spikes and shadows...

I was lucky enough to find a big old boiler with a brand name on it that included all our initials. I'm not sure what to do with our rusty letters, but here is mine!

As we left Penticton and headed east, we left the dry landscape and got more greenery, more pines, more ranching.

We arrived in Castlegar, where we saw Auntie Diane, Uncle Rolf, Grandma Betty, Grandpa Jan!

Stay tuned! I'm not sure how many pics of stop two I have, but stop three was Banff, and we found it necessary to take a picture of every dang mountain!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Just flew in from Calgary, and, boy, are my arms tired

A knitted mitered square at Lake Louise! I didn't get much knitting done, really, but we had a great time, with pretty darn perfect weather. We have buckets of pictures to sort and get up here.

Here are some of the methods of transportation we used on this trip: plane, car, steam train -- with full-size locomotive! -- floating inner tube, gondola, go-kart, canoe, ferry and occasionally even our own feet! I hope to get you a bit more in-depth reporting in a day or two!

Monday, August 16, 2010

See you in September

I should be back for the start of school!

We've got to find other travel destinations -- going west always means getting a plane at the crack of dawn. Coffee, then a cab to the airport.

But I'll be baaaaaack!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Dyeing in the kitchen

Yesterday I took Elaine, some white wool and a few packets of Kool-Aid to Madeleine's house. She also had some Kool-Aid, the imported stuff from the States, like lemonade and black cherry! The black cherry makes a deeper, purply red, and the lemonade is a very delicate yellow. We added yellow food colouring to boost it!

We had thought of just putting the wool in the jars, but that turkey baster is so appealing! I don't have pictures of all the yarn, but this turned out pretty darn red, with, I believe, cherry and black cherry.

This next was one of Elaine's skeins. She likes to leave lots of white, but I think this did get a bit more colour as time went on. I will encourage her to bring some knitting on the holiday, but that doesn't necessarily mean much!

Ah, and this is what the girls really wanted to do!

This morning we have the skein:

Wound into a ball:

And her bigger skein, still drying a bit:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Planning the next trip

Next week we are off to see relatives and mountains in BC. This time we are not just sitting in one place, but going to three different hotels in three different towns. That means: a plane ride there, 2 long car trips and a plane ride back! Not to mention those evenings sitting around with jigsaw puzzles or Scrabble (mind you, I don't tend to knit while playing Scrabble, since it's such a cut-throat game).

I will take my pseudo-tiger sock. I am trying to get the heel sorted before getting on the plane, so I will really just have to knitknitknit and not think too much about it.

I will take the mitered cotton blanket. Small bits, easy knitting.

I hope to finish the last panel for the wool blanket before I go. Again we are up against the facts: it won't get done unless I pick it up and knit on it. Darn. It's sort of boring, and it's sort of fiddly -- I have to get the length right on this one! I shall exert myself.

And, because all that seemed so last week, I have devised a new project. Of course. I was rummaging in the wool bin upstairs, and realised I have loads of black and grey! I have 4 balls of black Creme, a wool/silk blend; 4 skeins of dark grey Cascade 220; a ball each of black and grey Paton's Classic; a ball of some black Misti alpaca I picked up at a swap! I also found a bit of beaded thread I came across at a destash sale.

Beaded thread and a strand of Creme

Toss all this around in the brain, with this shawl (on Ravelry)! For those of you who can't see that, I will try to describe it. It's several layers of shawl -- strips of edgings sort of attached across here and there, leafy motifs in various greens, various weights, all meant to capture a BC rainforest in knitting.

How about if I did that in blacks and greys? Sort of haunted house, Halloween, witchy? I hope it might look a bit medieval and Wise Woman-ish, but so far all I have is an unphotographable triangle. I am using a pattern called Faux Spanish Lace as my base.

Clearly the beads will run out shortly, but I will have a little excitement on the bottom point. We shall just have to see how it all works out, won't we?

Monday, August 09, 2010

Adventures in the air

We dashed off to visit the family of another of Elaine's friends this past weekend. They are the people we made the swingset with last summer (see the thrilling video here; I've had all of 91 views over the past year!). This year there were plans to strengthen the top bar of that, but mainly we enjoyed the sunshine and didn't do much work at all.

Spot the zucchini!

Let's get the knitting pictures out of the way first. Sitting in a car on the highway is certainly a good way to get knitting done.

The sock is ready for its heel! I'm not that impressed with the tigerishness of this yarn. It's fine, but it's not really tiger-stripes.

Two more miters for the cotton blanket got knitted on the way home last night. Now the whole thing looks like this:

I need to make the four corners, and five more pairs of miters. With a couple of trans-continental flights coming up, this should get done!

Chris, the friend's dad, is a pilot in his spare time, and managed to get hold of a small Cessna for the week! He took Stephen and Arthur up Saturday, in the clear blue sunshine, and Elaine, her friend, and me up Sunday, in overcast skies and threatening rain.

My darlings and a Cessna. This was just a quick trip out to the airfield to put some chocks on the wheels and tie the plane down.

Then we went for a little drive to see antique shops and such. This area of Dead People's Stuff was called Mantiques. Cute, eh? (I think Mantiques is an attempt to get people to stop thinking of antiques as "cute.")

I asked if they had any sock blockers, and they did have a few pairs of metal ones, but really, I don't block socks, and they were not that attractive, looking sort of like someone had twisted them up out of an old clothes hanger. A nice pair of maple wood ones, now that I might pay for!

I did find two little booklets of knitting patterns, published by the Red Cross and obviously distributed in the Yellow Pages! There are no pictures, and the yarn is called things like "Special Light Red Cross Service Yarn," but I might just try something out of one, just to see what happens. Who knows what the difference might be between a Quebec helmet and an Aero helmet?

Then it was time for the boys' fun. Arthur in the red, in the copilot's seat. Going up in this thing was described as flying in a VW Bug. Our pilot, following safety rules, told us not to worry if the door fell off -- we were only going up to about 1000 or 1200 feet, and it wouldn't be a problem.

Pretty spectacular! When the girls and I went up the next day, the shadows were less distinct, but the ground was just as clear. It really was a treat to get to do this!

An old door to end with, today.

No, wait, I'm back, a few hours later, to tell you that today is the centenary of Elizabeth Zimmermann's birth!

Where would we be without the Baby Surprise Jacket?!

Thursday, August 05, 2010

The pictures I took, plus some more

On Tuesday we set off to visit friends and take a wee trip on their 42-foot, 18-ton sailboat!

Before we left, I took pictures of my knitting, because I am always thinking of my dear blog readers.

Here is the Rowan knitting bag they gave as a member gift this year. It says, "Relax, Handknit, Create" on the other side. Highly controversial for a bag! Previously they have given yarn and patterns, more knitterly and definitely worth considerably more than a jute bag! Anyways, it works just fine, and here is mine on its maiden voyage.

It held two projects:

The blanket made of DK wool scraps needs one more strip. Here we have the red and blue strip, waiting for its pink addition. I knew I needed at least the length this pink would give, but didn't want to be worrying about measuring, so didn't bring any other wool for this. I knit on pink wool for a couple of hours in traffic out of Toronto, and had finished that ball before we got where we were going, Penetanguishene, home of a big prison and mental health institution, and "gateway to Georgian Bay."

It doesn't look like much, due to the hated Stocking Stitch Curl, but there is 4 or 5 inches there, I think.

Also I took a brand new pair of socks. This was perhaps not rational, as I still have 2 pairs of socks on the needles, but those are patterned and these would just be plain old round and round knitting.

(Project bag from Liz!)

As we were sitting around the cockpit of the boat, I yanked out the middle of the ball, hoping for that end to just miraculously present itself to me, the way some well-behaved yarns do. But no, I got a huge clump, hopelessly tangled, and, as it turned out, separate from the main ball! When we finally pulled and wound and teased this yarn barf into some semblance of order, I had a teeny little ball, and the rest of the big ball! We shall see how this messes up my tiger-stripes!

I got a reasonable amount done, despite time wasted in detangling!

And that is all the pictures I took! Lucky for me, Stephen had the big camera, and took a billion pictures.

Mary knitting, hoping that mess in the corner will resolve itself. Elaine indulging in the evening pastime of feeding the ducks stale hot dog buns.

Elaine helping in the detangling process. We are now "at sea," heading out toward Beausoleil island, the biggest island in a national park, and with a nice sandy beach.

Arthur "looking nautical."

Arthur goofing around. A great Canadian activity, apparently.

Sailing along!

Anchored, and going ashore in the dinghy. It looks rather grim here, weather-wise. I had taken raincoats, sweatshirts and long pants, as well as bathing suits and beach towels, because the forecast was for thunderstorms and rain. The clouds rolled in and out, but we were lucky and avoided any actual rain.

Another boat. Most of the other boats we saw were power boats and jet-skis, crashing about making noise. This was some sort of antique, perhaps associated with these guys. But perhaps not -- maybe there are lots of pirate ships about!

Back at the dock after our day out.

We had meant to make a bit longer voyage, staying away from the dock overnight, but on Tuesday, after lunch, we got all set to go, the skipper turned the key to start the motor, and ... absolutely nothing happened. This led to scrambling around looking at batteries, getting all sorts of guys to come and hmmm and haw, calling electricians, fretting, cursing, getting out a beer, etc etc.

Wednesday morning the battery was fully charged and we got away early, but I understand that the electrician will be back today to sort things out properly! BOAT: it stands for "Bring out another thousand," I hear!