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Thursday, November 30, 2006

Public Service Announcement

This week there was a fire in a house a couple of blocks away from my house. I saw it on the news when it was featured as to how fire fighters fight fires in the extreme cold. When they are fighting a fire in -20 degree temperatures, the fire fighters have to be careful not to get wet, how icy it is and how much icier they could make the situation, fire hydrants not working and hoses freezing.

I found this website which provides information on being a fire fighter.

The news also included a report on EMS workers who drive around the city at night checking on the homeless people to make sure they are OK.

So let us be grateful for the fire, police and EMS personnel who work for us in all conditions.

The purpose of today's entry is to remind everybody to check their smoke alarms and make sure they have enough. So many people think they are OK because they have one smoke alarm and then they take the batteries out because it goes off when they burn the toast.

I am very easily pleased. One of our alarms is a combined smoke/carbon monoxide alarm. A voice tells you what the danger is. As we are in Canada, the voice tells you in two languages. I don't know why but this makes me smile whenever we test it.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can Anyone Knit?

Knitting is really just a process of wrapping some sort of thread around a couple of sticks. So anyone can do it, right?

Well, check this out.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

It's Official

Just in case you think I may have been going on a bit about the weather, I wish to let you know that yesterday we hit a record (for that day) low of -30.1 C (without windchill).

See you in the spring!

Monday, November 27, 2006


As yesterday's posting was all words, I thought I would post photos today.

Firstly the sky. This is how it looked yesterday afternoon and pretty much how it looks now so there is no need to take another photo. From the forecast it would seem that the sky will look like this until at least Wednesday.

Yesterday I talked about the Pomatomus sock. Here are a couple of photos of the first one. The first photo was taken without a flash and shows the patterning well but the colour is not a good representation. The second photo, taken with a flash, shows the colour better.

Lastly, here is a photo of the baby quilt I made for charity.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

What Is On My Needles

I promised a report on my knitting but firstly I have to talk about the weather. Please look at my Weather Pixie. Currently she is showing -25 C. I am surprised the cat is in the picture. My thermometer shows -22 C and I have just checked The Weather Network and they have the high, yes the high, today as -25 C. I know this may sound whiney but I am not a cold weather person.

Anyway back to the needles. I am not a multi-project person. I do not like having a number of projects on the needles as I feel pressure to always be working on something. At this point any member of my family will have burst out that I am always working on something. But there is a difference between doing something because you want to and because you feel pressure. I usually have two projects on the go. A mindless one and one that requires a bit of concentration. But, currently, I have just one project on the needles. In a previous post I talked about winding yarn to knit socks and that is what I am working on. It is not a mindless project as I have to look at the pattern but it is not hard so I am having trouble choosing a mindless project. I don't want to have two pairs of socks on the go at the same time, I have made two hats recently and a garter stitch scarf is too mindless.

So what is on my needles? The Pomatomus socks from The yarn I am using is Knit Picks Memories. This is the first time I have used any yarn from Knit Picks. I wanted some lace yarn and the Yahoo group I belong to suggested Knit Picks as a reasonable source for lace yarn. I haven't used the lace yarn yet. But I ordered the Memories at the same time as I thought the colour -Yukon- would be a good choice for the Pomatomus. The yarn feels nice but the socks feel a bit thicker than others and I am not sure if that is the pattern or the yarn. As I said I haven't used Knit Picks yarn before and now I am a bit worried as I read on a bulletin board that their yarn had felted. These might turn into special occasion socks as I am not sure what possessed me to buy hand wash yarn for socks!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Saturday Skies

I have been meaning to post about my knitting but life has been busy the past couple of days. I will get to it soon. But here is today's sky. Different from last week's and please note the Weather Pixie. It is definitely the time to hibernate.

The exciting? news for today is that I have changed over to the new beta-blogger. So here's keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have problems like other people. The trouble is that only people who have had or are having problems with the new blogger post about it on the help boards so you can not tell what fraction this is of all the users. I decided to go ahead before I had too many posts.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tuesday's Walk

I did not take a photo this week. There was a Kodak moment with a deer but I thought that by the time I got the camera out it would have gone. Whereas, of course, it stood and watched us for ages. The deer were filling up before the weather turned really cold. Although it is not as cold yet as they forecast yesterday.

Most of our walk yesterday was on neighbourhood streets. We did go into the park but the trails were still icy. So I didn't see any point in taking a photo just because it was Tuesday.

Here is the photo from last week's walk.

Last week we were walking in a new development. There are a number of houses built along a ridge. They have virtually no back yard but this is their view. Not bad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Someone Read My Blog

Well, I am exaggerating rather. It's just that last night some boys from the local hockey club came round collecting bottles. Yayyy! We gave them two full bags of cartons and cans and it means that I don't have to go to the bottle depot for a long time.

The hockey team is happy and I am happy.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How To Give Yourself a Heart Attack In One Easy Lesson

I mentioned the table runner with 60 billion squares. By the end of Friday the top was finished so yesterday I added the padding and backing. That was a simple process - backing and quilt top right sides together place on top of padding, sew leaving a gap and turn right side out. The sewing was a bit fiddly as it is a shaped piece with angles but got that done and all I had to do was turn it which I think is called pillowing. Put my hand in the gap and pulled and this is where I had the heart attack - the backing was wrong side out and what was the padding doing? OK deep breaths. Pulled everything back inside looked at the turning gap, repositioned my hand and pulled and everything was fine.

What I had done the first time was put my hand between the backing and padding for turning instead of between the backing and quilt top. A heart stopping moment.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

All Wound Up

or how many times does yarn have to be wound?

In the summer I wound two skeins of yarn into balls - one ball for each sock. I didn't get around to using them while on vacation so as the weather is ripe for knitted socks, out came the yarn. I couldn't find the yarn end in the centre of one of the balls, which is very strange considering I wound it myself, so while watching a movie last night, I unwound and rewound the ball. I unwound it round a chair and then just wound it again. It didn't take as long as I expected.

But - and this is a big but when I started winding I was holding the end in the palm of my hand but I wondered if I had overwrapped the beginning too much. Next time I have those doubts I will listen to them and start again because this morning when I went to cast on the yarn flowed freely at first and then stopped and when I pulled the yarn broke! So guess what I was doing this morning - unwinding and rewinding yarn. I don't know what I did last night as the break in the yarn was about 2/3rds through the ball so I must have got yarn caught up really oddly.

I haven't tried the new ball yet - we both have to relax first.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Saturday's Sky

This is the view from my back garden, taken this afternoon

The line across the sky is like a Chinook. Although I am not sure if we have had a true Chinook, it has been very windy the past couple of evenings and my head has been fuzzy.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Horoscopes and Fundraising

No, my horoscope didn’t say that I would come into money. I am not one of those people who read their horoscope. Although I understand that there are people who read them daily and believe them. I wonder how they choose which one to read. Have they read one they like and then stuck with that publication. What happens if they do not like it on a particular day, do they continue reading horoscopes until they find one they like?

I tend to just look at the crossword in the paper, and it is on the same page as the horoscopes. Each day they pick a sentence from one of the horoscopes and highlight it at the top of the page just above the crossword so I cannot help but see it most days. The other day it was mine and read:-
You couldn't pick a better day to sign agreements, enter into partnerships or join forces with others

I decided it applied to the transaction I had carried out with the neighbour boy. He was fundraising for his hockey team, so I ordered some cookie dough from him.

Is there anyone, adult or child, who likes fundraising? It is good practise for children of all ages to go out and sell themselves and sometimes to have the door literally slammed in their face. They are working for and taking ownership in their organisation instead of watching their parents fork out the money. Some schools require the students to raise some of the funds for a school trip. The Boy Scouts of America has funds available so that scouting is available to all and I assume this is true throughout the world and in the Girl Guide/Girl Scout organisations.

So having said that no one likes fundraising, here I am giving examples of why it can be good. The boy next door was fund raising so that his team could go to a hockey tournament in Colorado. Is that something that they should be raising funds for or that the parents should pay for? As a one off it is OK, but I don’t think I would be happy to be asked to take part in a fundraiser every year to send the team to a hockey tournament.

Why did I buy the cookie dough? I like his mum, the cookie dough will get used, I was the first neighbour he had asked and I didn’t want the first person he asked to say no.

But I’ll tell you the best fund raising exercise from a giver’s point of view; when they collect bottles. The organisation gets the deposit money and it saves me a trip to the bottle depot. I’m saving my bottles if anyone wants to come over.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

What Happened to Tuesday?

Yes, I would like to know that too. This month’s project in my sewing group is a patchwork snowman table runner. I spent most of yesterday cutting out 1 7/8” squares for this runner and placing them on gridded interfacing. I counted 3652 squares. OK I am exaggerating; there were about 260 squares plus some half squares that had to be sewn.

The good news is, it doesn’t look too bad. Today I am off to someone else’s house to sew the darn thing up. And I get to use her nice sewing machine.

I took a picture on our walk on Tuesday and will post that later.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Patrick Roy

This week Patrick Roy was inducted in to the Hockey Hall of Fame. He was arguably the best goal tender in the NHL; not only for his goaltending but also for developing the style of play which inspired many goalies to come. As a member of the Colorado Avalanche he could be seen working with new goalies just signed. I am glad that I got to see him play.

Roy is a French-Canadian. It is interesting that after he moved back to Canada his accent when speaking English became much stronger. His speech was in French. Whether this was because he did not feel his English was good enough (he made a joke about it during his speech) or he wanted to speak in his native tongue; I do not know. For me, I was glad he spoke in French. English is the universal language but we must not forget that it is not the first language for many sports men/women. Like it or not Canada has two languages.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Today I went out for breakfast. It is not easy to find places to eat breakfast. Internet and Yellow Pages searches do not come up with much. It is as if you have to have a list ready for the day you might want to go out to breakfast. Coffee and cake do not count.

It is interesting that some towns have many breakfast places and others don't. Does this say something about the residents or visitors? My observation is that cities that start early have breakfast establishments and places that start the day later have fewer breakfast establishments.

After breakfast I just had to pop into a quilt shop to get some 1" grided interfacing for the project we are making in stitch and chat. And....that was all I bought.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The Mighty Mitre

In an earlier post I mentioned "I Can't Believe I'm Quilting". I am working on the forth quilt from this publication.

The second project had straight borders, the third had borders with corner squares and this one has an inner border and an outer border with squares. The instructions in the book are for straight corners. So you add the side borders, which are the length of the quilt top and then add your top and bottom borders which are the length of the quilt top plus the side borders.

For this quilt I decided I wanted to mitre the corners on the inner border. I found the instructions in another book. I have learnt when sewing to pin and check before sewing and check after sewing and before trimming. Well I'm glad I did in this case as the instructions did not state that each border has to be pressed out of the way before sewing the next border. This is obvious to all you experienced mitreers out there but it was not clear in the beginner instructions I was following.

Anyway I mitred the corners without too much trouble and am fairly pleased with how they came out. OK they are not perfect where the border squares have been added but it's my first attempt so I'm only going to get better - I hope.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Lest We Forget

This is taken from a Rudyard Kipling poem - Recessional and I hope will be heard and seen a lot today.

Today is Rememberance Day. Here in Canada we make sure we do not forget. Poppies are on sale everywhere and the majority of people are wearing them. The news has had an item about veterans everyday this week. Schools were off on Friday so they had ceremonies on Thursday.

We shall not forget.

In America today is Veterans Day and is not honoured by the general public. Most people are aware of it only because the banks and government offices are closed. Here is the link to Wikipedia which gives information about this day across the world.

There has been much press this year about white poppies. I was surprised to find out that they have been around since 1933. I wonder if they knew what was happenning in Germany at that time?

We shalll not forget.

Please observe two minutes silence at 11.00 am today.

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Ode of Rememberance from
Laurence Binyon's For the Fallen

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Let Them Eat Cake

or - Old Mother Hubbard

Next time I decide to take a snow day it would be advisable to check the larder first or go grocery shopping the day before snow is forecast. Yes the cupboard was bare of bread and I didn't feel like going out to just get bread so I made a loaf.

This isn't as complicated as it might sound as I do have a bread machine. I used to use it frequently but when we moved I got out of the habit. What I don't like about it, is that you end up with a big hole in the loaf of bread where the paddle was. So I came up with a (brilliant) idea. I put the machine on dough setting and when it has finished I take the paddle out and then set the machine to rise and bake. The up side: I don't get a big hole in my loaf; the down side: I can't set the machine and leave it. I need a machine where the paddle drops out when the baking starts. Is there one out there or can I make my fortune by selling my idea to a bread machine manufacturer?

The family better eat bread today.

Thursday, November 9, 2006

Snow Day

It snowed yesterday so instead of going out to do things I think I'll take a snow day. This could be a recurring theme.

Yesterday, I cut and sewed some strip sets for a new quilt so I will work on that today. The middle strip of one of the sets is narrower than the others so I need to check if the strip was cut too thin or if I sewed my seams too wide. Either way I am going to make a new strip set so that the sets are closer in size.

The interesting thing about it snowing yesterday was that it was forecast and it snowed when they said it would. It started about 4.00 pm and was very heavy. There was even thunder at one point. We rarely get thunder in the summer so it was very strange to hear it during a snow storm.

I thought I would go out today and clear the driveway but I think the snow has frozen and may not be easy to clear but I'll give it a try. We don't have a sidewalk so we are not obliged to clear.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Tuesday's Walk

I walk with a group of ladies on Tuesday mornings. Often we meet at someone's house, walk in the park or neighbourhood and then return to said house for coffee. This week we met at a park and walked to get coffee and then walked back again. We walked along a ridge overlooking the river with great views of downtown.

This is the view.

After the walk one of the ladies realised she had locked her keys in the trunk of her car. I was going to drive her back to her house to get her spare set but before we set off she remembered that her house keys were locked in the car as well. She couldn't get hold of her boyfriend so another one of the ladies riding with her used her CAA membership. Two guys with tools turned up and slid them down between the car and the window and Hey Presto! we were in.

If you were going to get locked out of your car today was the day to do it as it is the warmest day we've had for over a week.

Tuesday, November 7, 2006


In my last post, I mentioned going to the store to buy fabric. I now confess that the store was Walmart.

When I lived in the good ol' US of A, I boycotted Walmart. After all they treated their staff badly, didn't they? Although it wasn't that hard to not shop at Walmart when there were so many other options. Even if it was a massive PR campaign, Walmart looked better after Hurricane Katrina than the government.

Now I live in The Great White North where the shopping options are greatly reduced. Is it OK to shop at Walmart considering they shut down the only store that unionised? I do not think it is right to pick and choose. If it is OK to buy fabric at Walmart then it is OK to buy socks at Walmart. But am I heading down a slippery slope and I need to dig in my heels now before I justify that there is nothing wrong in shopping at Walmart?

Apparently economists on both sides of the political divide say that Walmart is good for the economy but I am not concerned about how they treat their suppliers. They are big enough to stand up for themselves. What is it like to work for Walmart? Apparently people want to work for Walmart so, surely, they cannot be as bad an employer as we would be led to believe. The trouble is, I don't think I will ever know the answer to that. For now I must decide for myself if Walmart is the type of company I want to do business with.

Monday, November 6, 2006

I Am A Quilter

Anyone reading that title will assume it is an announcement about myself. Really it should read "I Am A Quilter?" or "I Am A Quilter!"

Perhaps I don't know who or what I am but I certainly wasn't expecting to one day make the statement "I quilt".

I have nothing against quilts or quilters but quilting was for other people - people who liked to sew. But the inevitable happened. Someone wanted to make quilts for charity and it would have been churlish to say no or not turn-up. The Stitch and Chat group (note how polite we are) to which I belong is made up of mostly sewers. One of these wonderful ladies is a quilter and a teacher and decided that we should all make baby quilts. Easy, she said, takes 2 hours and we could use her sewing machines. So off I go to store and purchase fabric and batting as instructed.

The trouble with shopping is that other items tend to fall in the basket and on that particular day a book titled I Can't Believe I'm Quilting fell into the basket and was purchased. Charity quilt was made and with the left overs the first project was also made. A small nine patch block. Not bad I thought.

So off I go and purchase the materials for the next pattern in the book and I make a table runner. Quite liked that so off I go and purchase the materials for the third pattern in the book.....wait! does that mean I'm now a quilter?