Tuesday, May 31, 2011

No excuses--action

I'm one of those unique blends of introvert/extrovert. I'm content with my own company, but I do like people. It takes me a lot of self-talk to get me to a social situation, but once I'm there I usually have a wonderful time and am glad I went. This coming weekend (June 3 to 5) I'm going to a writer's conference. I won't be there alone. Oh, no, gobs and gobs of people will be there. What's helping my extrovert drag my introvert? Well, tons of things actually I'm going with a dear friend and fellow writers' group member. On Friday night I'm looking forward to listening to William Deverell talk books.

I fondly remember meeting this author in print. I was visiting an aunt. She showed me the book she was reading--Kill All the Judges. 

I said, "Oh, that looks interesting." I began to read and, with my aunt's permission, left with the book. Yes, I have a wonderful aunt. 

Also Friday night I will be meeting with a literary agent--for the first time, ever. and..and...and... This weekend I'm not listening to any excuses from my introvert. This weekend I'm allowing my extrovert to act. Are you an introvert or an extrovert? If you are an introvert, how do you convince yourself to be social? If you are an extrovert, how do cope with being alone? 

Monday, May 30, 2011

Useful article on using #

I haven't been using #
Well, simply put--I didn't why they were so important.
Then I read this interesting article on Zombie Don't Blog
Thank you, Rusty.
I'll be back.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Good News!

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about how nervous I was about being judged. The seasonal gallery on Salt Spring Island (ArtCraft) that sells my hand knitting each summer--may not sell them this year. That was my concern. This week they sent me an email and...and...I'm in. Hurray!

I won this beautiful ebook reader. Much thanks to Long and Short Romance Reviews
My husband assures me it's very easy to use, but I'm still intimidated by this new technology. With all the great ebooks available, I will get over it.

It's a reality. The Sweater Curse is a paperback. Yup, I'm smiling. (More about this in future posts.)

And the icing on the cake, I attend the Mayne Island library book sale and scored this collection for under a dollar. A Prayer for Owen Meany is an old favourite. Margaret Atwood's (Canadian author) Alias Grace I've heard praised. A Maiden's Grave by Jeffery Deaver--I don't know the book or the author. Tip: attend the Mayne Island library book sales. Each time I score wonderful reads.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Celebrating spring Mayne Island style

I would like to apologize for the spacing of these pictures. Each time I tried I deleted a picture and had to start all over again. After three attempts I stopped trying for perfection.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Knitting: never fail guide to proper patch pocket placement by Leanne Dyck

I don't have a straight eye. There I said it. It's out. I feel much better. Usually, this defeat doesn't present any problems. Usually--not always. One of the times it does is when I what to add a patch pocket to a sweater I'm knitting. Packet pockets are added after the sweater is knit. There is nothing to indicate where the pocket should go. The advantage of this is that you are fear to add the pocket where ever you think it should go. The disadvantage is that your pocket could be sewn crooked. For me, with my defeat, this "crookedness" is an ever-present danger. What to do? I invented a sure-fire system that gives me straight patch pockets each and every time. From me to you, here it is... This example is on a cardigan. I knit the sides of the cardigan in Stockinette stitch--except for a rectangular reverse Stockinette stitch.

This reverse Stockinette stitch indicates where the patch pocket will be placed.

I measure the rectangular and knit the pocket to fit.

I pin the pocket in place.
Please note the ribbing on the pocket extends beyond the reverse Stockinette stitch on the cardigan.

All that's left to is sew the pocket on.

There you have it--a properly placed patch pocket.

Clever. Yes?
Happy knitting

Monday, May 16, 2011

Knitting---the good, the bad

The Good
When you are working a large project you won't be able to complete it in one sitting. You will need to secure your live stitches on your needle. You do this by using a stitch saver. Most stitch savers are small caps that slip onto the end of one needle. This is the most common type.
I'm not sure when this little red stitch saver entered my life. I don't even know how I acquired it. Did I buy it along with a fistful of needles at the church fair or was it among a yarn donation? How ever it happened I can't imagine my knitting life without it.

You: Why is it so special?
Me: Well, not only does it keep my stitch safely on my needle but it also keeps my needles together. As well, I can stop knitting in mid row, slip the stitch saver on and be good to go.
Love it!

The Bad
Many plastic knitting needles are constructed in two pieces. This is a bad thing thing because it means at any time this can happen...

If...when...it does I'm left scrambling to collect my stitches and slip them back on to my needles.

There is a solution--work with steel or bamboo needles.

So, why do I continue to work with plastic needles?

They' re affordable.

However, as my husband has often pointed out--cheap isn't always the best way to go.


In cyberspace...

Today, I'm visiting Sarah Ballance's blog. Please visit me here


Next post: A mouthful of mystery

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Pattern shared

It's the middle of May. Summer is on it's way. Let's celebrate! Knit this fun knitting project today.

Barefootin' Foot Thong

One size fits most (model's foot is a size 8)

Tension: 4 stitches = 1 inch worked over seed stitch

Needle: 4.50 mm (US 7/ UK 7) or size to obtain tension
one set, plus two double point needles to make I-cord
Yarn: worsted weight (approximately 100 yards)
cotton and hemp yarns work well

seed stitch (over even number of stitches)
Row 1: knit one, purl one--continue to end of row
Row 2: purl one, knit one--continue to end of row
Repeat rows 1 and 2 for pattern

Triangle panel (make 2)
Measures: four inches x two and half inches
Cast on 16 stitches
Work in seed stitch for one inch
Continue in pattern decreasting two stitches every second row


Using double point needles, cast on 2 stitches
Work six I-cords one and half inches long for end loops
Work two I-cords twenty-eight inches long to wrap around foot (adjust length of I-cord based on size of foot)

Sew shorter I-cord at the corners of the triangle panel to form loops
Thread longer I-cord ties through loops
Wrap I-cord ties around foot and secure with a knot.


Please welcome author Veronica Lynch

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

My life on stage by Leanne Dyck

An actress? Me? Um, not! Or at least that's what I thought before I encountered Mayne Island Little Theatre. After that meeting, I was never the same. MILT taught me to step outside my comfort zone and have fun doing it--mostly.

My acting career was brief, varied, and coloured by many happy memories. 
Choosing from them proved to be a challenge.

My first part was in a tribute to Monty Python--a monk in The Holy Grail. My role as a monk was easy. All that was required of me was to walk across the stage chanting and hitting myself in the head with a piece of foam. Oh, yes and the tricky part--do this in sync with others. Well, this tricky part proved to be too tricky for me. I thought I'd never get it right. I did eventually manage to reach this goal once during a rehearsal. 

You can't imagine my relief when Carol McAndrew (the play's director) said, "No, I think it's funnier when you're not in sync."

So now when I must prepare for an author reading memories of my brief time with MILT are my ace in the hole. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tension (basic knitting tutorial)

My gauge guide is a silver metal bar that many non-knitters may mistake as a ruler with a series of holes in the centre.
You may have overheard a knitter say, "Wow, this sleeve looks too big. I hope my tension is correct."
What does that mean?, you may have wondered.
Tension refers to the number of stitches per inch. For example, a pattern may list the tension as 5 stitches x 8 rows = one inch
Many variable will effect the number of stitches you get to the inch. For example...
-the weight of the yarn (finger weight, worsted weight, chunky)
-the size of the needle (4.50 mm/UK 7/US 7)
-how tightly or loosely you knit
Using my gauge guide, ensures that my garment will be worked in the proper portion.

You: Do you work an entire sleeve, back or front and then measure?
Me: No, you work a sample swatch
You: What's a sample swatch
Me: Using the yarn and knitting needles you will use for your project, cast on twenty stitches and work in Stockinette stitch for four inches.
Measure the swatch using your gauge.
Do you have a 4 inch by 4 inch square?
If you have six or more stitches to the inch, work and measure another sample swatch using a large needle. Conversely, if you have four or fewer stitches to the inch, work and measure another sample swatch using a smaller needle. When your sample swatch measures 4 inches by 4 inches you have the correct size needle for your project.

Some projects such as scarves don't need to fit. This is why no tension information is given on the patterns for such projects.
Next post: Celebrating Mayne Island Little Theatre's anniversary.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Short Story: Childless by Leanne Dyck

Ben leaves his mom and runs to me, eager to start his day in daycare. "Hi, Ben. I missed you." We share a hug.
"How many children do you have?" His mother asks.
"Oh, me? No, I don't have any. I'm not a mom," I confess.
"Too bad, you'll never know what it's like to love a child."
Her words pierce my heart. I feel numb, faint, cold, blind to light. My womb aches to be filled with life, my breasts with milk.
A boulder grows thick and heavy in my gut. Each time I hear a baby coo, giggle or cry the rough edges of the boulder scarp against my stomach lining and I'm in pain.
How can I pass from virgin to crone without filling the role of mother?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Selecting yarn (basic knitting tutorial)

Today is election day in Canada.
I've voted but I'd much rather select yarn.

I've heard a few too many stories about new knitters walking into yarn shops and having clerks hand them yarn that looks like the yarn pictured below.
Understandably, most of the knitters that had this experience end up abandoning their needles.
What do you look for?
-light colour yarn
-evenly spun
Look carefully at the first picture. Now examine the second.
In the first picture, notice the little 'n' each is a stitch. If you take the time, you can count each 'n'.
In the second picture... Well, it's hard to see anything but a mixture of colour.

Happy shopping.
Good luck voting.