Hat Factory

IMG_1720I didn’t know this was going to become a project. To use up all the oddments as hats that is. Honestly, creating some kind of big item, a fair isle sweater or some such is really calling, but when I pull out the needles I end up casting on a hat, to try to use  up some of the growing pile of leftover balls of yarn. Compulsion, really. So this is yet another one blocking, a basic hat with some cables, using up a nice rustic romney hand spun that has been hanging around. I have this idea that a cleaned up stash container would be pleasing in some way. But it is kind of hopeless really, this project because look, now I have yet another odd sized ball to do something with. It is a kind of vortex…

The weaving started last week is going slowly and that is so very pleasurable too. I don’t want to finish it too soon. Just plod along. I suspect I am avoiding yet another compulsion, that is to have a warp on the go at all times. Maybe I am afraid I will forget how to warp?

Now isn’t this a neurotic post!

Mushrooms/lichens from the sunshine coast. No harvesting for dyeing this trip, just admiring.

IMG_1702I don’t know what these are, they are abundant in the woods, particularly on fallen trees. Pretty with the sun shining through.

The End is Nigh…


IMG_1717Hah! I wasn’t sure this would ever happen, but it seems I have made a significant dent in the “ubiquitous blue.” I have a pang to see it come to an end, though lord knows I am ready to weave, knit, do tapestry, sew – whatever it may be – with any other colour! I warped up the Jane to do a simple point twill, using the blue as warp and some  pretty blue chunky mystery yarn as weft. (Found at a guild sell off, feels like wool, sure hope it is wool.) It is pretty enough, I think it will become a blanket, though I am going to have to make it in pieces given the size of my loom. That’s OK, it seems to be how I roll in this weaving game.

It has been an exceptionally nice week. Alison was in town and we went to the Sunshine Coast for a couple of days for some sister time. (Beautiful niece Chloe was here for a couple of days too, but she had to head back north a bit earlier.)

IMG_1703The family resemblance is striking isn’t it! (snort).

One of the highlights of the trip was a hike into Skookumchuk Narrows, four kilometres in the woods to a view-point where the sea rushes in quickly, especially at high tide. It was fantastic. And to cap the experience was watching a group of six sea lions playing in the surf. And it was clear that maybe they were fishing, but they were also really playing – breaching into the air, rolling and occasionally coming near. It is like watching crows and ravens catch the downdrafts – there is no question in my mind that the experience of joy transcends species.

IMG_1692Thanks fella’s.


That Kind of Week

IMG_1650In my line of work (health care) one sees a lot of “black” humour. It is the kind of humour that civilians, for lack of a better term, should likely never hear. It can be wildly inappropriate and can cross the line for sure. I have been thinking though, of why it exists and what purpose it may have for those of us who tend to rely on it.

Humour does a number of things. It can distance us from the just plain “awfulness” of what can be in front of us, the suffering of others. It can provide a common language between team members, that is a big one. My team certainly bonds over humour. It can provide a barrier when one does not wish to be vulnerable. It does all these and more. And sometimes it is just wicked funny, life can be so very, very absurd.

I can’t say there are a lot of fibre people in my immediate vicinity, particularly at work. A couple of people have looked at the handmade and sighed a little, their fingers touching the yarn,  asking me how I “loomed” a particular item. For some reason that is the word a lot of people use, whether it be in response to the knitted or the woven.  But there is a response.  And I might make a little joke. Recently I warned my colleagues that if I show up wearing a cowl, a sweater, handmade socks and two pairs of gloves and a hat that they should be very gentle with me. The handmade is a source of comfort, and if it is needed at that level – well look out! (Neutral is wearing only knitted socks. Kind of like the system they use in national forests for the fire danger. Knitted socks = low risk of forest fire.)

It is good to always have an item in the finished bin. That is becoming very clear.  A number of people in the vicinity are having severe difficulty. The kind where you can only offer sympathy, a cup of tea, an ear. And maybe a pair of socks, or a scarf on short notice. In my practice tradition we call this kind of offering, when it is done in meditation and beyond, the offering of merit. That whatever good that comes from our actions be offered to others. Really, it is a sincere wish that “all will be well” without attached ideas of what “well” really is. A sincere wish that suffering be eased. (Socks not required)


I was going to go all “deep” and put a picture of yet another soaring mountain vista. This came to mind instead. This piece of art (???) is about twenty feet high. She resides, with flood lights to illuminate her at night, on the expansive stretch of desert near Death Valley. I asked, I really did but the staff at the casino nearby, (the only building for miles by the way) just told me that the owner “used to have a cow.”


How Many Lives Left?

IMG_1648This guy. What a way to stress his human companions, and doesn’t he look just fine? This fellow got by us one evening and ended up spending over five days under a fallen tree thick with blackberry bushes, dodging the coyote packs and raccoons that live in our urban wild.  He and his sister are not skilled in survival, but he is clearly better at it than I give him credit for.  He appears just fine, just a whole lot thinner, and perhaps a bit more vocal, as each morning he greets me with a lot of chatter and head butting.  I think he is thankful. He started his life under a porch, motherless, found by an animal rescue group and it took some time for him and his sister to become the affectionate and happy, (as far as we can tell), beasts that they are. There is a lot of conversation about whether cats should be indoor or outdoor, and I see the point of both arguments – I am not taking a stand here. It is clear he must have wanted to explore but I must say, there is something terribly heartrending about hearing a sad, weak meow in the bushes and being unable to persuade  the frightened cat out of the thicket. It took getting up at 5 am when the city was quiet, (no thanks to the folks setting off Halloween fireworks, that was not helpful) and creeping through the prickles to finally grab him.  We are so glad he is back. The house was notably quieter without him.

“if animals can show gratitude surely man can do the same?” From the Sushogi, by Dogen.  Funny how bits of teaching come up at the most interesting times.

Knitting has been continuing. Trips to the red rocks in Utah and Nevada recently inspired this cowl, texture and colour.  And now the rain here has started so reminiscing about wide skies and extraordinary vistas has been reflected in the fibres I am drawn to. This is Indigo Moon fingering weight merino, lots of shifting colours in this. Maybe a bit brighter than real life rocks but invokes it. This will have to help remind me that the rain is not endless….


IMG_1525Bryce Canyon.

On a side note, the old Warp and Woof group met again last night. It was so much fun. The fireplace was on, the rain poured, we had good food and most importantly we enjoyed one another’s company while we puttered away on projects. I am glad that’s back too.