Saturday, October 14, 2017

A Finished Object

I’ve been feeling lately like I have far too many things going at once. It seems I can’t juggle a lot of balls at the same time! Not that I was ever much good at it, I’m getting less able to deal as time goes on. Not necessarily a bad thing but one I have to keep in mind lest I become overwhelmed. The biggest issue right now are the knitting projects. Just for starters I have two big sweaters going at the same time, both in fine yarns with lots of stitches. It seems like I’m not making any headway on either of them! Time to resort to the progress markers to keep up my spirits. I feel like I really shouldn’t cast on anything else until they are both finished. Which brings me to the project I shouldn’t have started but did anyway. And actually finished too!

This is my Ripple As You Go scarf. Pattern by Amanda Mannas and available free on Ravelry.

What can I say? I had the perfect yarn from deep stash, although this didn’t turn out as wide as I had hoped because I only had one ball. The finished scarf is in between the scarf and shawl width. Aren’t the colours festive for October? I did end up adding one narrow row of a leftover non-matching yarn because I was running out. I needed enough to work the last joining row that linked the row of medallions to the ripple section. It was a nail-biter but I just made it with about a yard to spare. Whew.

I blocked it pretty severely but superwash wool and nylon sock yarn does tend to relax again rather quickly after taking out the pins and wearing the scarf. Doesn’t matter. I’ve been wearing it pretty much nonstop ever since.

Obviously I’m embracing the Slow Fashion movement rather heartily! At least now that this piece is done I feel better. It was kind of a guilty pleasure! Like eating potato chips. Moving right along with all those other waiting projects. Getting out the progress markers for them now...

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

BuJo-ing Some More

Well, we had a very Happy Thanksgiving with 21, fambly members in attendance. I've made so many turkey dinners over the years that I've pretty much got it down with some excellent help from Thom. Others brought the desserts which saved me a lot of work. My 13-year-old biggest grandbeastie (currently referred to as the Wildling) made not one but two pumpkin pies from scratch with only verbal input from her mom. I was impressed since baking is not really my thing. This girl is going to be an excellent cook someday soon! Anyway, a good time was had by all.

Back to the Bullet Journal thing. I've been watching a number of YouTube videos on the subject and the proponents seem to come from 2 main camps: the girls who want to decorate the heck out of their journals and the guys who want to keep it minimalist. Both points of view have value. It's fun to play with coloured pens, stickers, stamps and washi tape! However the basic plan as Ryder set it out originally is really quick to do and easy keep up. Plus I've heard of people becoming totally intimidated by the beautiful artistic pages they see on Pinterest or somewhere and end up not knowing where or being afraid to start with their own. My advice is start with the basics and add - or not - as you get into it. It's all yours and there are no rules.

You've already seen my beginning notebook. It has lovely thick pages with no bleeding or show-through from pens. But it is blank and I've already had to add a ribbon bookmark. Yes, I did glue it in to the back cover and it works better and no longer falls out. However, I was at my local "general store" (Welk's) recently and they had a whole rack of Leuchtturm1917 notebooks. They also had a smaller one of Moleskines if that's your jam but the Leuchtturm (pronounced something like LUOYSH-torm and it means "lighthouse" in German) is the brand that many, if not most, bullet journalists like to use. (Oh, and FYI it's mole-eh-SKEEN-eh, not mole-skin. Think Italiano!) Of course the price was very reasonable so instead of making my own, I bought one for when my current notebook is full. And since it's already half-full, I figure I'll be lucky to make it to the end of the year.

There are a number of sizes of Leuchtturm notebooks. Most people choose the medium (A5) size with a hard cover. Being a rebel at heart and very much liking a littler notebook, I got the pocket (A6) size. There is one size (mini) that's even smaller but I think it's not very useful for functional layouts/spreads. Here's a comparison to my original little notebook:

It's a wee bit longer but also narrower. In fact it actually fits in my pencil case! Cool. This colour is Army and it's a nice olive green which coordinately with my pencil case. You can already see that there's an elastic to keep it closed and two different ribbon markers. Inside it has lots of handy features including the first page to put contact info in case it gets lost:

I'd only put my email address and nothing more identifying on that page. Next there's several index pages all ready to fill in:

There's a good-sized pocket on the back cover for stray bits of paper:

And the regular pages in the middle are numbered with the last 8 pages perforated in case you want to remove them. These notebooks come in lined, squared and dotted so I got the recommended dots:

They aren't very dark so they don't interfere with your writing or drawing but they help keep things lined up and spaced neatly. Lastly, in one of his videos Ryder showed a nifty way to hold your pen if you don't have a pen holder:

You pull the elastic over and it does the trick as well as still keeping the covers closed. Heh. He also shows you how to pre-treat your new book so it lies flatter and you don't break the spine. Already done. I think I'm all set now for future happy bujo-ing!

Next I have a new FO which I'll tell you about soon. Nice to finally finish something. Sheesh. And there's a couple of textile-related adventures coming up later this week. No moss grows on this woman. Hah.

Friday, October 06, 2017

Travels With My BuJo

Happy October! It finally is looking more like autumn around here but I think it's not going to be particularly colourful this year. This summer was so hot and dry and the soil is still parched especially under the trees. Leaves are going brown and falling off before the colours develop. Despite this I will still watch carefully for all the changes. This is always my favourite time of the year!

So this post may either inspire you or bore you to tears depending on your interest but after nearly 2 months into it I wanted to report on my Bullet Journal - aka BuJo. First off, what exactly is a Bullet Journal? It's a simple system of keeping track of your life developed by digital project designer Ryder Carroll originally for his own use. Subtitled "the analog system for the digital age" it can be adapted to keep track of pretty much anything you like: appointments, birthdays, projects, to-dos, lists, thoughts, ideas, inspiration, mood, gratitude, exercise, art, stories...

You get the picture. Why write it down rather than put it in a notes or calendar app? Because it sticks in your head much better than typing it! And you don't really have to be a major list-maker or have a soft spot for stationery and pens to use it. Though it does seem to have extra appeal for those types of people. Personally I could never get into journaling in either the traditional or the "art" journal sense. I always ran out of steam very quickly because it was too much like a school assignment which immediately made it into WORK. And took too long. And made me have to think too much. Not to mention the competition to make it well-written and prettily decorated too! Ugh. So instead I started this here blog to get the babbling out of me.

However recently I heard a couple of people whose opinions I value discuss the Bullet Journal and how it helped them to get organised. More organised than they could seem to get even with smart phones, iPads and laptops. My first thought was that my life is much simpler than someone who has a day job, a business, kids, pets etc. so why would I need to write the things down? It finally dawned on me that I could actually use something to keep all the parts of my life together. It seems that I'm all over the digital world. Along with the Calendar app, I have Ravelry for my knitting, spinning, crochet and weaving projects and Textillia for my sewing ones. There's the Goodreads app for my books and Sortly and Cora to keep track of my stashes. I have all my digital pattern files spread out among iBooks and GoodReader on the iPad and folders on my desktop, with various things floating around on OneDrive and DropBox as well. And there's also OneNote which I especially like to use for inspirational whiteboards and Evernote which I mostly use for recipe clips these days. We won't even mention my Pinterest boards! For a person who likes to keep things orderly, this can be frustrating especially when I can't remember where I put something I need. That doesn't just mean I'm getting older, does it? Maybe don't answer that question.

Does the BuJo sort all these things out for me? The simple answer is no, not really. Not yet anyhow. However, it is a work in progress and it already has kept me from forgetting several things I wanted to remember. And best of all I'm actually remembering to use it every day! That right there is a Big Thing. What I like best about the system is that you don't have to keep something if it isn't working for you and you can add something new at any time. Just turn the page, label it, add it to your index (so you can find it later) and carry on. So simple and easy.

How does it work? I'll let you go read Ryder's website and watch his YouTube videos, plus there are several other people who are very enthusiastically sharing this system online like Tiny Ray of Sunshine. But in a nutshell you have a notebook and a pen. You have several basic pages in your notebook: a key to the symbols, an index, a "future" log, a monthly log, and a daily "rapid" log. Here's my simple monthly log:

You can see I've already added a couple of trackers: the weather, when I blog or Instagram and long walks. It's not spaced out that neatly but I can work on that next month. You can have whole pages of trackers if you like and arrange them whatever way works best. I'm keeping it simple for now. I don't need to track my sleeping patterns, amount of water I drink or when I floss. Heh. But some people find that kind of thing helpful. You can also see the word "Migrate!" at the end. That's where you start a new month's layout and check to see what needs to be moved over to the new pages, such as to-do's that weren't done yet and items from your future log for the new month. When you migrate is also a good time to assess your current layouts and whether or not you're happy with them or want to change or add something.

Here's an example of my daily logging:

That was when we were on our holiday so I had more things than usual to write down. Normally I've been using a weekly system instead of daily which works better for me and my rather uneventful life. You can see some of the symbols that help identify what category the entries are. Small circle is an event, a dash is a note, a dot is a task and you cross it when you've done it. Or you can < schedule it or > migrate it (carry it forward). Add an asterisk beside something and it becomes important. There are other symbols you can use too or invent your own. See how easy it is?

I also wanted to keep track of my current UFOs:

This is a bit different from the "standard" bullet journal item so I invented a layout and a key that works for me. You can even see that I can keep my patterns in more than one place. I know I can/do keep my progress on Ravelry but this can cover more project types and is very satisfying to fill in. I'll complete this page and then see if this layout continues to be useful or if it needs tweaking or changing. That's another nice thing about this system, you can constantly shift things to make it work better for you.

My current little notebook is handmade with Coptic stitching so it lies very flat and the paper is plain but nice and thick (watercolour paper?) so ink doesn't show through. It's quite small so I'll be using it up fairly quickly. But that's ok. I can carry on with a new one which I already have and I'll show you next time. (No, I didn't make it like I said I would. So smack me with a wet yarn hank.) I repurposed a lovely ribbon to keep my current place but I think I need to attach it permanently to the cover because it keeps falling out. Oh, and my pens are Faber-Castell PITT artist pens. I love them and I'm happy to get to use them all here. My current favourite for writing is the Indanthrene Blue 247 in an S (superfine) tip. There's more I about the BuJo I want to discuss but this post is getting kind of long so I'll leave off for now. Perhaps before I start to sound like a born-again Bullet Journalist? Sorry. (Not sorry.)

Coming up this weekend is our Canadian Thanksgiving. We're having a total of 21 family members for dinner on Sunday. Yup, another of our insane marathon turkey-fests! Tomorrow is Rooting Out the Pigsty Day and cooking anything that can be done ahead. Wish me luck and Happy Thanksgiving to those of you celebrating! I'm certainly thankful for you all.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

At Least We Have Pictures

Trying to use Blogger’s questionable online editor today from the Windows 10 desktop. It's the only way to put photos in my posts! But first I had to transfer all my photos from the iPad to the desktop. I am so spoiled for my iPad even though it's easier to type on a proper keyboard. Sigh. Ya wins some; ya loses some. Anyway, here goes...

Here's my latest make - the Forest Green Tunic. This piece of coarsely woven cotton fabric has been kicking around in deepest stash for decades. It kind of looks like linen but isn't and it's got multiple weaving flaws in it. I kept most of them on the private side and just shrugged at anything that still shows. The pattern is self-drafted from my basic blocks. It has self-bias binding around the neck, armholes and pocket edges, and an elasticated high/low bubble hem. Just another one of those popover tops I like to wear so much and inspired by something I saw on Pinterest. Nice to use up older stash too. This garment was essentially free. Not counting labour, of course!

I have lots more projects to sew but first I have to finish some of my summer sewing that didn't get done before I went on vacation: two t-shirts (one short kimono-sleeved and the other a longer raglan-sleeved) and some capri-length leggings in a bright orange-red lightweight knit. I may still be able to get some wear out of them before it gets too cold, especially if I layer up. It seems this summer's sewing was mostly about the basics: leggings, pants and t-shirts. It's all good.

I don't want to get too far into cutting out new garments though until I get farther ahead on some of the other projects I've got on the go. There's way more of those pesky UFOs than I usually have at one time! I have two large knitting projects that each are about half done, a couple of smaller scarf/shawl items that aren't very far along, the woven blanket that I started ages ago with the warp only 1/4 wound off, and just the first bobbin of singles spun for the man's sweater that needs a LOT of 3-ply yarn before I have enough to knit it. As if that wasn't enough to go on with, I broke down and started a crocheted scarf yesterday. I couldn't help it! I had the perfect yarn and it just called to me. Must be the fall colours. Sure.

It's called Ripple As You Go, a free pattern on Ravelry by Amanda Mannas. This row of medallions will be attached lengthwise to a ripple-stitch pattern shawl (or scarf, depending on whether or not I have enough yarn!). I'm playing it like golf - play it as it lies - each piece begins exactly where the last one ended. It's addicting. At least crochet is relatively quick and I should have this done in a few days. And coincidentally it coordinates perfectly with my new green tunic. How did that happen?

So this may be the only way to post for the foreseeable future. Let me know if anything isn't looking right on your end, will you? I haven't used this editor for yonks! And there doesn't seem to be any other option that works. For now.

Monday, September 25, 2017

My Blogging App is Broken!

Yesterday we got started on cleaning up the garden for winter. There isn’t much food stuff left now except for a couple of squashes and lots and lots of tomatoes. I’d show you but since I upgraded to iOS 11 on my iPad yesterday, Blogo, my posting app can’t insert photos. Bleh. Why is everything always two steps forward, one step back?

I also wanted to show you the progress on my Combers Dress. I had problems with it while we were away because when I tried it on it felt too tight. Yes, I swatched - more than once even - but you all know Swatches Lie! So I put it on hold just past the bust and left it until I could get home and steam block it to see if I was totally off base. Whew! Luckily although it’s a little narrower than I had designed it actually looks just fine. Hopefully I can wet-block it out a little further when it’s done. It’s a dress rather than a tunic so I can still increase a little more on the waist and hips than I was planning, just so I have enough room for the Botticelli Belly. The only drawback to this lovely soft Cloudborn Highland wool fingering yarn is that it’s woolen-spun so it does tend to pill more than I’d like. Otherwise it’s turning out the way I’d envisioned and the yoke is a perfect mirror of our holiday this year. So exciting. Guess you’ll have to check out my Ravelry page to see it though! (At least adding links works OK.)

While Combers was in time-out I started the Seagreen Seamus tunic (pattern by Amy Miller) using the Cloudborn Fingering Twist that I dyed in dyer’s chamomile modified with iron to a soft green. This yarn is more dense and durable than the Highland Fingering because it’s worsted spun. I’ve got quite a lot of this yarn and hope to make several sweaters from it this fall and winter. The Seagreen is turning out quite nicely. Again check out its Ravelry page to see how far I’ve gotten.

And that’s all I’ve got! No fun without pictures, huh? I’ve sent them a message outlining the problem so now I have to wait to see how long before a fix appears. Meanwhile I wish you could smell the delicious scent of tomatoes from the dehydrator permeating the house!

Friday, September 22, 2017

Our BC Loop

Yes, we're back! This is early for us. We usually don't come home until the end of September or even the beginning of October. And the weather was pretty darned good too! However, maybe it was the two-month-long trip last year or the fact that we couldn't get another night at Green Point in Pacific Rim National Park because they were booked up? Or maybe we just wanted to go home to hot showers and reliable wifi! Today we're drying out (again!) and cleaning up plus washing about 5 loads of laundry. I blame those old ruby slippers, ya know? There's no place like home; there's no place like home; there's no place like home...

So where did I leave off last time? Oh yeah, we were heading back to Prince Rupert on our old friend the "Northern Adventure". Another whole day on the ferry but at least the weather was lovely and sunny. We were sorry to leave Haida Gwaii but we had yet another ferry ride coming up, the famous Inside Passage. But first we had 2 nights in Prudhomme Lake Provincial Park and since the sun was shining we decided to spend our free day picking up some groceries and hiking a trail.

The Prince Rupert area has lots of pleasant trails and this one to Butze Rapids (reversing with the tides!) was a nice workout. An amazing amount of lush skunk cabbage:

At least something is pleased with the overabundance of rain in this area!

However, see? Yes, the sun does shine sometimes!

Next morning we had to pry ourselves out of bed at 4:30am in order to catch our ferry. Yes, it was the "Northern Adventure" yet again heading down south for a winter refitting. We were pretty darned familiar with her now so we got our favourite seat in the cafeteria and watched the scenery go by. First it was foggy:

Later the sun came out and the view was of course spectacular:

Check out the lodges being towed down the channel while we were stopped in Bella Bella for passengers. We also saw lots of humpback whales - usually well before the purser announced them on the PA. You snooze, you miss the whales! This was a very long day for us since we didn't get docked until 11:30pm. You can't help missing several hours worth of the view in the dark! Luckily the regional campground in Port Hardy is used to folks showing up at midnight off the ferry and were all ready to check us in and point us to our campsite. Good thing because we were pretty darn sleepy by that point. We wisely had 2 nights in Port Hardy so we could rest up and then walk the pleasant trail into town the next day.

After Port Hardy we drove south along Vancouver Island's east coast to Miracle Beach Provincial Park for two days. Unfortunately our timing meant that we didn't get to see much of the wide sandy beach because the tide was all the way in every time we went for a walk.

We finally got a look on the last morning just before we left for Pacific Rim National Park on the island's west coast. We had 3 nights reserved at the Green Point campground which was fortituous because they were booked solid for a week. Our campsite was deep in the forest where it was dark and damp. Very "rain forest".

Just check out that lichen! Old man's beard indeed. And it looks brighter than it really was. The tides here were more conducive to beach walking:

This is Long Beach. Can you tell where it got its name? And this is Combers Beach on the other side of Green Point:

That's actually Green Point way in the distance. We walked the whole beach and back again at nearly high tide. The many logs made it a bit tricksy but luckily the tide wasn't super high.

And here's some of the rocky Green Point from up close:

That was on our last evening there after going into Tofino, walking around town and having The. Most. Delicious. Salmon. Tacos. Ever! For lunch at Big Daddy's Fish Fry. (Note the Mexican Fries were yummy too.) Really too bad we were 2 days late for Talk Like a Pirate Day. I'm sure these guys would have obliged. On our way back to camp we went to the Tofino Botanical Gardens just outside town. Plants and sculptures and trails, oh my! And the best free wifi so far.

This gazebo is by local Tofino artist Jan Jansen who works in wood. We knew him way way back in the day. Glad to see he's still creating wonderful things:

And here's his Story Telling Hut:

Our stories were told only to each other since nobody else was there.

So this holiday had a plethora of loops in it. We did a big loop around most of BC but spending the majority of our time on the west coast. We also got in plenty of ferries, beaches, trails, sea shells, rocks, sand, whales, birds, rain, sun, and evergreen needles. (The latter are still being shaken out of my boots.) Glad to be home. It's Autumn now! At least in this hemisphere. Season is a-changing. Moving right along.

Monday, September 11, 2017

More Haida Gwaii Adventures

We've been busy since last time I had a chance to post! I left you with the bear story but we missed the fact that there was actually another one in the forest near the trail where we walked. The dogs knew! Luckily we didn't see it but someone else did. Guess it didn't want a dog-snack. Whew.

The next day was gorgeous and sunny so we all took the skiff (dogs too!) out to a couple of the little islands that dot the bay at the south end of Graham Island. Tide was out and it was fun to walk around a whole island in less than 15 minutes.

Thom and I wanted to spend some time camping in Naikoon Provincial Park so we headed up first to the Misty Meadows campground near Tlell on the east side of the island.

The remains of the Pesuta wreck was just visible over there on that far beach but I don't think you can see it in this photo. You can see it was a a pretty nice couple of days here. Our campsite was in the woods in the lee of the dunes. We made a friend:

A lovely big black slug named Billy (Which Way You Goin', Billy?) that travelled the full length of our campsite and snuggled up on our rug for a visit.

Next we headed for Masset and then right on Tow Hill Road to North Beach. We ended up with a fabulous campsite on Agate Beach with this view:

We were serenaded by the waves and got in lots of walks on the beach.

That's Tow Hill in the background and great tidepooling at this end at Yakan Point. I like the way the waves tuck shells into every crevice:

And the cool sculptured sandstone rocks:

Of course we also climbed up the very nicely finished trail to the top of Tow Hill:

It's a bit of a climb but the view is totally worth it:

You can't quite see our campsite in the trees but it's just past that white trailer. I thought it didn't get much better than this! But...

My sister and bro-in-law were celebrating their wedding anniversary so they rented a cabin just down the road. We got to walk on their beach too (you can see it past Yakan Point there in the last photo) and then we took them out to dinner in Masset at the ritziest restaurant in Haida Gwaii, Charters. Yum! And that's not all - the next evening we all went to my sister's friend's funky hand-built house near Masset for another delicious dinner. Everyone has been so kind here. (I didn't even tell you about the outdoor party we went to in Charlotte last week with tonnes of food and a live band, did I?)

We were going to stay one last day on North Beach but it rained all day so we headed back south to Charlotte and a hot shower. Today is mostly sunny (with a few sprinkles just for fun) so we're drying out and cleaning up before our ferry trip back to Prince Rupert tomorrow where we will wait for our Inside Passage sailing on Thursday. Chances are we won't have any more wifi unless the connection in Port Hardy works as advertised. Not holding my breath but you never know. Oddly enough I'm reluctant to leave here. Can't guess why. Hah.