Return to the Peace

IMG_1022They don’t call it wide sky country for nothing. Family business took me back to the north last week. It was a good trip, all went well and there were some opportunities to get out a bit. One can forget just how expansive the horizon can be out here. The wildflowers were at their peak and when one stepped outside, the smell of the sweet clover was dizzying. The land around Fort St. John is resource rich – there is the natural gas industry, and there is farming.  Some miles out-of-town, off the pavement, we found a little body of water. You would have to know it is there – we were just exploring.

IMG_1011Now, doesn’t this kind of define community? (Too bad about the bit of litter, but unlike many party places this spot was pretty clean. It looked like a place for kids and families as much as a place for bush parties. I remember those…)

IMG_1012So inviting on this hot day. OK, there may have been some mosquitoes. This is miles from town.

On the crafty front, I warped up the rigid heddle this morning. These are the yarns dyed with the wolf moss, one pretty uniform and the other quite mottled, as I had tossed in the copper scrubby and the colour was less even. The grey is also handspun and all three yarns could be called rustic. (I ran low on the yellow warp, so stripes again. They are an easy solution to yarn shortages.) The three yarns run around DK, light worsted weight. I am using the 7.5 dpi heddle and am weaving fairly loosely. This is likely to need a bit of fulling off the loom but I hope to retain some drape. As to what it will ultimately be? Oh who knows.  A piece of cloth I guess…  What a contrast the rigid heddle loom is after using the Jane and fine threads. This is fun.

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Wilderness Knitting

IMG_0955Lacy Baktus, done in Mad Tosh, colourway a mystery to me as the ball band seems to be missing in action. This is the perfect project for camping – garter stitch, an easy repeat to make it a bit interesting but repetitive enough to do after a good days walking in the mountains. It’s a hard life isn’t it?

IMG_0934It seems young grey jays are not impressed by tofu. I didn’t think these guys were that fussy. (You can tell this one is a youngster, by his ever-so-slightly scruffy feathers. And somewhat cheeky attitude.)

For a significant birthday, (one with a zero in it, and also a five) I really wanted to celebrate in the alpine. We did.

IMG_1006This was the view from the picnic area – Church Mountain in the Mount Baker Wilderness. In the evenings we would sit and watch the light change. This is the view from one direction…

IMG_0998And this is the view from another. Wonderful, just wonderful.

Picking Up Spark Plugs for the Bike

Now that’s not the most exciting errand to run on a day off. But the offer to pick up bike parts came with the suggestion we make a day of it, to rest and recover from the week’s work on the beach. A picnic lunch of tofu wiener sandwiches and chocolate, a thermos of tea, and a beat up bamboo mat to lay on – how could a girl refuse?

We joined the border line up at Point Roberts but left the crowd behind at the shipping places and went to Lily Point State Park. (After of course picking up the aforementioned spark plugs. Grant wants only the best for his passion. The expensive dirt bike is treated very well.)

DSCN1237The view from under the trees on the beach. It is amazing that right next to the metropolis that is the Lower Mainland, we can ride the motorcycle less than an hour and find a beach all to ourselves. The islands are the Gulf and the San Juan Islands – the Gulf the Canadian ones, the San Juan the American. I watched for Orcas in vain.

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The path through the old cannery site, which is in the park. The smell of hot grass, the sound of numerous bees and hummingbirds buzzing around – impossible to describe. It is the smell and sound of summer here.

IMG_0823The Textile Ranger has had a very inspiring series of posts about natural dyeing. It made my hands itch to do some myself. This is from a pot of wolf moss picked back in the spring. I threw in a copper scrubby to see how it might change the colour and I am really pleased with the deepening of the yellow in places. It is a tad blotchy, this skein, but I have plans. I have some leftover bright yellow wool from last years dyeing with the same moss and I wonder how these might weave up together on the rigid heddle. I feel another project coming on.

IMG_0830Weaving in progress – grey cotton warp, with the leftover silk from the scarf of a few weeks ago. The structure is an extended point twill from Eight Shafts: A Place to Begin by Shelp and Wostenberg. This book will keep me busy for a while. Weaving is a bit slow due to the heat. I am not sure what this fabric will be, but if it works out I am still hoping to sew with it, a garment of some sort?

IMG_0827From our tiny deck garden. Geraniums seem to be one of the few hearty enough flowers to withstand the south-facing scorch.

Happy Canada Day etc.

The Yarn Harlot writes a post every Canada Day, and  I will not even try to disguise the fact that I am influenced by her. She wrote today about how it is to be served by our country’s health care system  and I think she did it fairly and accurately.* It strikes home for this knitter.  I echo her gratitude to live in this place, at this time, by the sheer luck of ending up born here.  Not a perfect place, not by a long shot, but so much to be thankful for. A year ago, I wondered if my life was to be utterly changed – I wondered if I was losing many of the things I dearly love, such as getting out in the wilderness, the ability to work, giving up my body. Like so many predictions and prognosis’, it hasn’t worked out that way, at least to the extent I expected. I am still out wandering in the woods, my body is (fairly) intact, I continue to do work that satisfies. Even a decade ago it would have been a different outcome. My life has changed, but whose has not? I can complain about aging, but hey, at least I am here to complain! There is an old Buddhist story about the Buddha advising a woman who was maddened by grief from the loss of her son. He told her to gather a mustard seed from the home of any family not touched by illness or death. As she travelled from place to place, unable to find such a home she realized that illness and death were known by all, and her madness was eased. I think that other religions have a version of this story as well.

(*The Yarn Harlot also writes about Pride and I say, you go sister, well said!)

From a flying trip up north this weekend. This is a shot of Williston Lake, an enormous man-made reservoir near Hudson Hope. We did a hike up Butler Ridge, really it is less a hike than an old ATV trail. Steep but rewarding.

DSCN1200DSCN1187Our lunch spot. The beautiful girl in the photo above this is our niece Chloe who graduated from high school. We are very proud. She is a very strong hiker too – poor woman, she had to put up with me yapping on about all the best hikes we have done over the years. Nothing like other people’s stories. She tolerated them graciously.

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The hills above the Peace River. We are looking towards the foothills of the northern Rockies. Those are canola fields ripening, this area is the “bread basket” of the province.

No knitting or weaving today, everything is a work in process. It is kind of hot, the wool sticks and isn’t that fun to work with. Maybe in the cool of the evening…

Happy holiday weekend for all those who get one.