Tag Archives: Banff

Out With the Old

Happy New Year, everyone! For those of you who had a stellar 2015, may the new year bring you even more happiness. And for those who slogged through more challenges than imaginable this past year, here’s hoping 2016 will bring you what you need.

Being in the latter camp myself, I’m hoping for smoother sailing this year. We survived an unexpected move from Alberta to B.C. that included some severe downsizing and we’re still manoevering through the financial changes the move has created. Worse though, was saying goodbye to our bestest boy 3 days before we left Banff. That is something I’m still trying to deal with.  My world was forever changed when  Skyler died; he was the light of my life.

Though challenges seemed the norm for us in 2015, I did end up with 2 jobs that I love and have added some new members to my ‘squad’ – the friends that support me through all the ups and downs. (Y’all know who you are. Thanks for being there!)

And then there’s the knitting.  Too many changes, and more time spent working than I was used to, proved too much for me; months passed before I could pick up sticks and string again.  Don’t get me wrong – I tried.  I looked at new patterns daily and reorganized my stash but it wasn’t enough to get me motivated until, one day, I picked up the ‘cardigan in progress since November’ and kept knitting until it was finished.  It still needs to be blocked, the pockets sewn down and buttons added, but it’s progress, right?

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(Roosevelt Cardigan in Cascade 220 SW Aran, ‘Chocolate’)

Finishing that led to a gorgeous scarf/shawl (again, something awaiting blocking) and a hat/mitten/cowl ensemble.  Some previously finished projects finally found homes over the past few months.  My favourite knitted dress went to a friend’s new grand-daughter in Markham.

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(Fiesta Frock in Noro Taiyo)

A lovely alpaca sweater now belongs to a co-worker’s son.

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(Top Down Raglan Baby Sweater in Berocco Ultra Alpaca, ‘Tiger’s Eye Mix’)

In new knitting, a request for a pair of fingerless gloves yielded these beauties.

(Woven Fingerless Gloves in Patons Kroy, Cadet Colors)

I’m finally starting to feel like myself again, as more things come off the needles. It feels good to find my way back. Now we’re preparing for a few more changes.

 

A Surprise Gift = Joy

When I got to work last Sunday, there was an envelope with my name on it resting at the register, .  Inside was a little thank-you gift for some work I’d done.

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A friend had a knitted sweater with a hole in it and she asked if I might be able to mend it.  Her mother had made the sweater near 50 years ago and it had ‘got caught on something’, was the story she heard to explain the damage.  I’ve mended a hole or two in a sock heel, and thought this job would be a snap.  Then I got the sweater.

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Sweater mending in progress.

It wasn’t so much a snag as a gaping 3″ hole.

I managed to find yarn that was slightly similar, but couldn’t exactly match the colour or texture after all those years of wash and wear, and my gauge was the tiniest bit off.  The pattern was easy to decipher and it didn’t take long to do the actual repair.

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The real difficulty was trying to integrate all the broken threads – and there were a lot of them.  I ended up sewing in the top of the ‘patch’ and sewing/tying in all the wee loose threads.  Not a terribly professional job, I’m afraid, but at least the sweater can be worn (and washed again), and that was the point.

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And now I get to buy myself a little something extra. Thanks, Lynda!

 

 

Joy = Learning to Knit

Knit Night. Banff. Starbucks.

Anne-Marie learned to knit tonight.  This pretty much sums up how we all feel about knitting.

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Finding Joy, One Day at a Time

(I had every intention of posting this yesterday but my computer was uncooperative.  Let’s pretend, for a moment, that it’s still Tuesday.)

I haven’t been around for a while, I know.  Winter has really been kicking my butt lately.  Dark days, dark nights, cold, snow – I’m really fed up, as I’m sure many of you are.  It often feels like there is little or no joy in my life these days.  A short time ago I heard about something called 100 days of Joy.  The idea is to find a moment of joy, however small, and take a photo of it each day for 100 days.  It was an idea that really appealed to me, something along the lines of a visual gratitude journal.

When Skye and I headed out for our first walk of the day, I was discouraged.  Something about the weather left the morning feeling very flat. The colour of the day, the clouds, even the air looked/felt flat.  It made me think that depression is not blue, or grey or black; it has colour but everything about the colour is flat. It has no up or down, light or dark, it’s just flat.  Maybe that only makes sense to me, but it certainly describes the way the morning made me feel.

It didn’t seem there would be anything really uplifting to the day, certainly nothing that merited a photo.  And then, on our after-dinner walk, Skyler picked up a big old tree branch left on the deck by his friend Izzy, and he showed me joy. It’s more than one pic, but I’d like to share it with you.

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Aside

I finally finished my do-over socks.  I shouldn’t say ‘finally’; all in all, the pair took only 20 hours of knitting once I’d restarted them.  There were a lot of do-over rounds on these socks for some reason but that didn’t seem … Continue reading

Aside

A lack of blog posts can mean the blogger has nothing interesting to say or it can mean that there is much to say but no time to get it in writing.  That last bit, that’s been me for the … Continue reading

So Much to See

As predicted, it’s not really Spring yet here in Banff.  Though it’s still sunny, things have cooled off a bit.  There’s been a lot of freeze-and-thaw over the past few weeks, as you can see here.

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Both the Spray River and the Bow River look like an ice breaker has come through.

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Roads are clear but trails are icy from the constant temperature changes and I really had to watch my footing during my walk this afternoon.  I did remember to look up every now and then though; you never know what you might see.  Here’s what I saw.

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This lovely tree nymph was seen on the horse trail to Bow Falls.  If you know the story behind it (or would just like to make one up), I’d love to hear it.

What was new in your world today?

 

Is It Spring Yet?

It’s a beautiful Spring day here in Banff.  Okay.  I know it’s not really Spring but it’s sunny, and breezy and above 0ºC and if only for today, I want to believe.

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I’m still getting over the rough beginning to last week when I spent the last three days of my vacation sick in my hotel room bed.  I’m still waiting for all my strength to return as well as my appetite .  In the meantime I’m making due with mostly vegetarian meals, long walks with the dog and some Spring cleaning around the house.  Oh, and I hung laundry out on the line this morning.  Because I could.

As horrid as the end of my vacation was, the beginning was everything I needed and more (except for the very cold weather.  That I could have had at home.)  We spent 10 days in Toronto, for both business and pleasure.  I know.  I’d gotten some grief about that.  Toronto?  Why not some place warm instead?  Well, it’s been a few years since I’d been back and I spent as much time as possible reconnecting with the friends I’d left behind. There was much food, and some drink, and lots of laughter and sharing of stories as we caught up.  For the briefest time, I was home.  Sounds warmer than sunshine to me.

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The other key point of the trip was to buy some of the yarns that Canada Post shipping rates keep from me.  Sadly, my brush with death illness took some of my shopping time away and I didn’t make it to Ewe Knit to pick up some Indigodragonfly yarn.  But I did make it to Lettuce Knit for some gorgeous MCN from Zen Yarn Garden.

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It’s Serenity 20 in the new Art Walk Series.  This colourway is based on Franz Marc’s painting, “The Fox”.  It’s going to make a gorgeous shawl.

And a too-short stop at Romni Wools (there is SO much to look through!) yielded the perfect colours of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport for BB’s requested Rasta Socks,

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as well as 2 skeins of Punta Yarns MeriTwist Hand Painted in lovely shades of brown for a cowl.

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Good thing it’s not really Spring yet.  There’s so much winter knitting left to do!

Mornings Need Mittens

It’s cold this morning.  Oh, it’ll warm up nicely in a few hours, by about 20º or so, but right now it’s cold.  The Weather Network says it’s 5ºC in Banff, but where I am, it’s only 1ºC.  I live near the base of 2 mountains, and a river runs between them.  I get to see sunshine earlier than I get to actually feel it.

Top: Mt. Rundle
Bottom: Tunnel Mountain & Bow River

I need mittens.  My favourite fingerless mitts can’t cut it for the morning dog walk these days.  Gloves I have, but gloves here, as in Winnipeg or Northern Ontario, are genereally more decorative than practical.  When it’s cold out, your fingers want to huddle together.  Of course, I do have mittens, but they’re real winter mitts and are too heavy for most September mornings.  Besides, using them would feel like giving in to winter already and it’s too soon for that.  It’s enough that the furnace has been running for the past few days.  That’s my only concession – so far.

The mittens I envision will probably be plain stockinette stitch over the hands.  Seed stitch has been calling to me but plain will be faster.  The cuffs, though, those will be pretty.  I fell in love with Connie Chang Chinchio’s Gioielli Gloves but seeing as gloves are out (see above), I’m just going to use her smocked cuff pattern.  (The only link I could find is Ravelry; my apologies if you aren’t able to access it).

Gioielli Gloves from Textured Stitches

I’m hoping my yarn choice will work.

Llama Lluxury from SWTC in Camel

If not, here’s my second choice.

Gourmet Crafter Gourmet Sock in Moraine Lake.

Either way, I know I’ll love them.

Falling

I know it’s still officially summer, but the past few days have felt particularly autumnal.  The start of the school year has always made me think “Fall”, even long after I’d finished with school.  And the weather, yesterday and today, has enforced that thinking.  It’s pretty cool out (6ºC, 43ºF) and a little rainy,  but not as rainy as yesterday afternoon – so far.  I stopped by the Banff Farmers Market before the rain started yesterday  and though much of the produce available still screams summer (and still tastes and smells like it too), a transition is underway.  Bags of onions, boxes of peppers, and bunches of broccoli mounded high are telling us to get ready for the season to come.  There were still lots of cherries and strawberries but it was the pears and prune plums that caught my eye.  I’m thinking pear crisp and plum kuchen.

And if you’re wondering how radishes fit into the autumn bounty, get yourself a couple of bunches, wash and trim them, cut larger ones in half and put into a bowl with about 2 lbs. of carrots, cut into chunks, and some peeled pearl onions.  Toss the veggies with some olive oil and freshly ground pepper then spread them out on a cookie sheet and roast in a 375ºF oven for 20-30 minutes, turning once.  When the carrots are tender, remove from oven to serving dish and toss with chopped fresh dill and salt to taste.  Bitter radishes?  Not this way.

A trip to our farmers’ market isn’t complete without a stop at the Black Forest Bakery stall for a loaf of bread.

Yes, you’re reading that right.  Bacon Bread.  Made with double smoked European bacon baked right in.  To get the real bacony flavour of this bread, toast it.  It was perfect with White Chicken Chili for dinner.

I finally finished knitting and seaming my Brigid Jacket, known as Ruby Brigid or just plain Ruby to me.  Happily, it’s been cool enough to wear it already and I am totally in love with it.  Totally.

The buttons proved a bit of a challenge in more ways than one.  It didn’t take long to find buttons to suit the colour and style of the sweater but I was a bit disappointed to find that the buttons I liked were, in fact, 3 sizes of the same button, displayed one atop the other (when space is an issue, shopkeepers must do what they can).  The largest of the 3 was the perfect size but it was so plain, sitting there all alone on Ruby’s buttonband.  It looked so much more fulfilled when I put the other 2 buttons back on it.  Obviously there was no choice but to buy the buttons as a set – times 4.  Yes, that tripled the price.  Yes, they were a nightmare to sew together (none of the holes lined up properly – don’t look too closely!).  And yes, they are totally perfect.  No, I couldn’t have done it any other way.  What do you think?