Category Archives: Knitting

Sorry Mom, Also a Hippo

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It’s my mom’s birthday soon. I had this fantastic idea to knit her these beautiful colour-work Owl mittens. The wool was hand-spun, hand-dyed Pender Island Sheep wool. Like, premium local, premium hippy. The only way it could get more natural is if it had bits of grass spun into the wool. It was with this that I started my first colour-work project. (That is, knitting with more than one colour in a pattern.)

Yeah. So that happened. And then it didn’t.

I was so frustrated with it. Partly because I am terrible at colour-work. Partly because my first colour-work project was on these tiny thin double-pointed needles and the yarn, being hand-spun wasn’t as even in thickness as machine spun yarn. (That is, of course, the charm of hand-spun yarn.)

Then I took it to knit night to get some advice from my beautiful knitters, and they took one look at it and said, “You need more pink. Do you have more? You’ll never finish with that much yarn.”

Yeah, I didn’t have more. I only had one puny ball for a pair of mittens.

So now that’s sitting in my stash, needles still engaged, because I don’t have the heart to rip it out. But I don’t have enough yarn to finish it.

I thought, “Oh well, I still have time to knit my mom some socks.”

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Knitting for my mom is tricky because I taught her to knit a couple years ago and she has far surpassed me in knitting skills. Like, she knits sweaters. For real. But, she doesn’t knit socks yet. So I figure this is my last year to capitalize on this.

Then the hippo happened.

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I borrowed a knitting toy book from Danielle and Gabrielle caught sight of it one day. She immediately decided she wanted the giraffe in the book. I did not have any yellow or orange wool. So she compromised and demanded the hippo. Immediately. Like Right! Now!

Every morning she woke up and asked if her hippo was done. Every afternoon she asked if it was done. Every evening she asked what bit of the hippo she could sleep with. Seriously.

When I finished the hippo’s body, she carried that around, hugging it and swinging it around. Next the head went on and she insisted on sleeping with this discombobulated head, body blog. (Looked like two balls attached. No face on there.) Then Gramma put a face on it. The next day there were arms. A couple days later (after a birth) there were legs. And finally ears and a tail.

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Gail is helping sew on Hippo’s face.

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This is when the hippo has no arms, no legs, no ears, no tail. Poor hippo.

All this is to say, Sorry Mom! Your present will be late but now that I’ve actually started (again) on it, maybe it’ll be ready before your birthday.

Also, now we have a hippo.

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Knit Night

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It’s so important to me, as we wile away the Winter months, that I have friends to share in the wiling. And the knitting. Every Thursday evening we try to meet, as childless as possible, and knit. Often we eat sushi too.

It really is as cozy as it sounds.

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We are all at different skill-levels. Some of us have learned to knit within this group. And when we get stuck, there is usually someone that can decipher the pattern. Or suggest a way to ad-lib (as so often is my way.)

Friends have come and then moved away, but when they return for a visit, we always to try gather and knit. It seems fitting that tying little knots together can bind us together the way it does. We are approaching our third year anniversary of knit night and it seemed fitting to recognize what a great part of my community this is.

Thank you girls.

Whatchoo’ talkin’ about?

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“Whatchoo talking about?” Is one of Gabrielle’s most favourite things to say these days. She wants to know what is happening, why I said something, why we are doing something else and what road everyone lives on. So, I have to remember or find out what road every one of her friends live on. Also, she is a bit confused when I say Cora doesn’t live on a road. She lives on a boat. Otherwise, the world is categorized by streets of where everyone lives.

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The constant talking, which I’ve been waiting for, it is exhausting! When my mom offered to take Gabrielle for a sleep over, I heartily agreed. I spent the last two days with a lot of silence. And in the absence of toddler tears which appear frequently, I sipped tea and did not say one word.

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Gabrielle is a proper little lady, who carries her bag out to the car to get groceries, because she believes in green living. When we were in Vancouver, she was asking for a fern “sweeper” to clean up the dirty roads and was dismayed to find out that ferns do not grow in cities. “What ferns don’t grow in cities about, Mommy?” Yeah, does that question even make sense??

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Gabrielle’s inquisitive nature about every living and non living thing on the planet can often be invigorating too. Her brain soaks up every single thing, so it can take us as long as I will allow to walk from our front door to the car. Because she’s poking the bugs, collecting rocks or sticks or leaves, singing about her cousins, and asking me a thousand questions. Bless.

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This wheel barrow is filled with tomato plants. The tomatoes are forming on our bushes and we have two long rows of tomato plants. Marc says that every day I should look up a recipe that uses copious amounts of tomatoes so that when it dumps tomatoes, I’ll be ready. Do you have any favourite tomato recipes that you care to share, in anticipation of these beauts?

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I had this phenomenal weekend a couple weeks ago where I visited friends, went to a book sale, went to the yarn store, picked up bees with a friend dressed completely in flowers (I love her!) and that was only Saturday. Sunday, I spent at a birth. Yup, I don’t use the word phenomenal lightly.

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So to pick up bees, in case you’re wondering, I drove up to Cobble Hill from Victoria (about an hour) with a friend, loaded all these boxes of humming bees into the back of the truck. We tried to wedge them in really tight so they wouldn’t bang around because the boxes are made of mesh wrapped around a wooden frame. We only had one empty cardboard box fly out of the truck on the highway and no bees were harmed in our transporation.

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The ferry workers can be quite gracious with the transportation of live stock like bees, if you call ahead. They put me in the shade and let me park on the ferry where I wanted. Then I got home and dumped the bees into their new homes and headed to bed. It is always a full day when dealing with bees.

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So then the next day, I was up to my armpits in the beehive when I got the call that labour was really rocking. I stripped out of my bee suit and grabbed my doula bag and headed out on the next ferry. I got there with plenty of time before the baby arrived, and I traveled all the way to Vancouver (that means two ferries, and an hour waiting in between ferries) and got to assist in such a sweet sweet birth.

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The blonde mohawk on this baby stole my heart. Seriously, heart was a puddle on the floor…

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My mom watched Gabrielle while I was at the birth, which meant that she had to catch a ferry and sort of meet us in transit. But because of this funky arrangement, I got my birthday present from her. One of them being these fancy feather earrings all the way from the Northwest Territories. As a doula, I think that hippy garb is part of the package, I mean, if you want to be taken seriously. (I am totally joking…) Feather earrings equal major hippy points. Can ya feel it?

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There are two things about the picture above that I love. Obviously, my daughter and her daisy chain. But perhaps something overlooked by a quick glance, she is holding beeswax. She is swiping at it with one finger like it is her “smart phone” and she takes pictures, she texts her friend Paisley, and then she makes phone calls to Grampa. How cool is it that my kid imagines with bee-comb? Plainly, she is completely my daughter.

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Plainly, Marc lives in a house with all girls. And he tolerates it so so well.

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To reward this toleration, I have decided to knit him socks. This is my first pair of man socks and it is totally intimidating. Yeah, his feet are huge. Especially since the last pair of socks I knit were for Gabrielle. I should have geared up gradually for this. But 6 days in, I am almost done one *gulp* sock!

Now that the baby we were waiting for arrived right on time, we are headed camping. I’m sure there will be scads of pictures to follow. Happy Mid May, Friends.

 

The ways I am a Hippy.

Oh boy. So I was looking through my pictures from this fall and winter, and I came across so many that would provide plenty of evidence of my hippy nature, that it was overwhelming. I am actually convincing myself that I have well-earned the title of Hippy. As my friends commented, labels schmabels, it doesn’t matter. But it’s funny. So shall we begin?

I live on a Gulf Island.
The Gulf Islands are known for their alternative ways. There is an excellent book by Brian Brett called Trauma Farm, about his farm on Salt Spring Island. (One of the islands in the Gulf Island conglomerate.) He confesses (or exalts) that he often goes off for brisk jaunts late at night wearing only gum boots. Only gum boots. I’ll let that sink in.

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On that note, my kid is naked a lot.
yup, a lot. I have quite a few pictures to prove it. And we believe in communal baths among the wee ones…. because apparently I have a lot of pictures of Gabrielle bathing with other children.

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(I might have to give Gabrielle double hippy points for the photo above. Naked Toddler Yoga is a whole new level)

I knit and I keep my knitting in a basket.
This is like a chic hippy fad on Pender. Get a cool African basket and put groceries, Farmers Market produce or knitting in it. I totally bought into this fad. And I feel cool when I do it.

 

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I take photos of the following because I think it’s funny…

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Ok perhaps the mustache picture isn’t very hippy. But I couldn’t work out any better excuse to get this picture into a blog post. Isn’t that bumper sticker awesome?? And the fact that it is on a PT Cruiser. It was a great moment.

I’m totally sold on baby-wearing.
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Gabrielle also chooses to wear her baby. Clearly it is amazing!

I keep bees.

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I lived on a boat.
We were on that boat for 13 months. Most of Gabrielle’s first year was on the boat. We loved living small and consuming little. Even though we are land-living now, we still consider ourselves to be living small and consuming little and that is part of the hippy lifestyle we are certainly on board with.

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Kale chips are one of my favourite snacks.For serious. They are tasty.

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Not only do I drink out of mason jars, but yesterday I tried to felt a cover for one of them so I could use it as a travel mug.I’m not sure if this hippy move can be overstated. I had this brilliant thought and this brilliant idea. So I phoned up my friend for a play date and we felted mason jar covers together. Yes, for real. And yeah, she had all her own felting stuff too. My felted cover is ugly as a three-horned toad and needs some decorating but it was worth a try. Now, I’m working on knitting a sleeve for my mason jar. I haven’t given up yet.

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I accessorize with feathers.
This basically seals it for me. I just renewed my passport and Marc opened it up to see the picture and laughed at me. “You have your feather earrings in your passport picture!” He teased. Yup. That’s what kind of good hippy I am.

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I avoid consuming electricity when possible.

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Alright, this one could be because I’m pretty cheap. I hate spending money where it doesn’t need to be spent. So heat, I prefer a wood stove. I prefer to hang dry my clothes.

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This is a manual coffee grinder. I own one from when we lived on the boat and did not have power. I do not use this now unless I have no other choice. The fact that I own one has to give hippy points in itself.

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I’m incredibly attacted to VW Westfalias.I have owned one. We sold it when it constantly broke down on us. But we have regretted selling it and it would not be surprising to find ourselves in the possession of one again. When I drove my westfalia (when it was not broken down on the side of the road) I was grinning ear to ear. I couldn’t tell if strangers were smiling at me because I looked so darn happy, or because it was such a cool vehicle.

The simple fact that this post is much longer than the one previous may speak for itself. We may have a mushroom identification book next to a New York Times best seller but nothing in this world is completely here or there anyway. Being very present, making time to enjoy each other, and living small are values that are very important to us. They lean us toward that hippy lifestyle. I suppose if you were gonna give us a label, I could live with that one.

Oh and how could I forget this one. One of the ways I am most hippy is that I am a doula!

End of story.

Sweet Summer Days

Summer has fully ensconced us. The heat is finally here. It is after all, the end of July already, and we have flung ourselves into Summer’s clammy embrace… With Pudding. Chocolate to be precise.

We have been going diaperless, doing naked waltzes around the house. (Well, Marc and I are usually diaperless but now Gabrielle has joined us though often she’s the only one doing the nude waltz per se….)

The diaperless movement is in an effort to lean towards potty training, which is not happening in the least around these parts. She sits on the potty for a chocolate chip, and pees promptly *beside* the potty. I think she’s got us trained anyway.

The field that we look out on has been hayed, after Gabrielle’s bedtime of course, which she proclaimed TRACTOR when she should have been sleeping. Oh well, done now.

The bees have swarmed twice. The second time it happened, I think I caught the swarm but haven’t checked on them today. They were swarming because there is a “honey ceiling” in the hive. It is so full with honey that they could not lay another larvae in any nook or cranny. So I added some more apartments to their high rise and we’ll see if that solves the problem.

“A swarm in July ain’t worth a fly

Well I hope that saying doesn’t apply to the mild West Coast, but we’ll see how this little swarm does through the Winter.

And then on the needles; a honey cowl. The pattern is on Ravelry. It is really easy but the wool is so thin (and soft and variegated and beautiful, drool drool) that it keeps me focusing my fingers on the knitting while my mind wanders. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy knitting it with such fine wool, but I do. Finding a rhythm to the needles has me sitting on the deck with some bubbly water, a few drops of lime juice for a tang, knitting away with huge sunglasses on, warding off the butterflies that are flanking the lilacs. This is of course, while she naps.

There’s something all the more sweet about these long Summer days.