Cleite goes to Lake Louise

September 28, 2009

This weekend we attended a beautiful wedding in Lake Louise, what a great excuse to wear a lovely shawl!

LakeLouise 007

Cleite met a feather and fan shawl, bought by its owners mother, it was a sea foam green Kid silk haze(ish).  We enjoyed the lovely scenery, even the bit of snow that fell.  There were four weddings that day, one of which was outside!!  I hope they brought their own shawls, it was a bit nippy.  But with the beautiful cyan lake, the yellow aspens in the distance, and the moody sky, it was a day to remember for the four happy couples! 

Next weekend, Cleite attends a wedding in Ontario!!

LakeLouise 005


Three days and some change I guess, since I’m off again next Sunday.  This leaves me just  a wee bit stressed out, especially since Jackie my little boy cat seems to be having some trouble still.  I took him to the vet a little while ago, he got antibiotics and seemed right as rain, but now his symptoms have come back again!  I guess Mr. J will have to take over once I go away again, I hate leaving my furry little boy behind when he’s sick.  Angst rant over.

The weather in this part of the country has been splendid for the last few weeks.  In fact here in Calgary yesterday they had the high temperature of the whole year!!  In September!!  My last afternoon in Winnipeg was enjoyable, even though I always find it to be such a grey city, case in point:

Winnipeg downtown

I did manage to wander down to their nice water front area for lunch, and a look around, and there were lovely colourful flowers there which I didn’t manage to get a photo of.  My time there was busy, I was networking away, and getting worked up about silly people not considering reusing their wastewater (irrigation on golf courses etc.) before they spent SOOOO much money putting it back into the river. 

I am also highly, highly enjoying my book which I’ll plug again, The Birth House by Ami McKay.  It is set in 1910’s Nova Scotia in a small town, and every woman is either cooking, knitting, spinning or dying yarn or looking after their children.  Knitting and fibre arts aren’t the focus of the book, they are there because they are a part of the book and life at that time, inseparable.  The book is about the clash between a mid-wife and the new male doctor that has come to town to save the day from the old ways.  The women come together in their “Occasional Knitting Society” to share wisdom, and knit thrummed socks for the boys in the war.  Now I really, really want thrummed socks to wear all winter long.  Once I’m done with my copy I intend to pass it along here in Calgary (Mrs Mello, and Miss J, you interested?).  Everyone else, I highly, highly recommend it. 

I did sneak away one evening to walk down Portage Ave (pronounced in the english manner there, rather than the French manner I’m used to) to visit Rams Wools.  It was a great LYS, with a wide variety of items including popular, work horses, fancy smancy stuff, exotic fibres, but what I loved was their Selkirk line of yarns.  I think it might be spun out at Briggs and Little (their fisherman yarn with the lanolin left in was a close second).  This is a “flour and sugar yarn” that makes wonderful fair isle, intrasaria (whatever on the spelling) (knitted pictures), and left overs turn into mitts, hats, tea cosies.  I was undone by the charcoal and heathered green:

Winnipeg Selkirk

Garter Stitch Yoke sweater with green stripes at the yoke, sleeves and hem, from Knitscene 2008 fall is what I have in mind for that!!  It should be a good everyday sweater, especially with some pretty green buttons.

Pirates and Elvis in Winnipeg

September 22, 2009

So here I am at the water and wastewater conference in Winnipeg, finally having a night off from the festivities.  I could have gone over to the awards ceremonies, but I’m all partied out at the moment, and instead enjoyed dinner by myself, and retired to the hotel room for a bit of needle clicking.  It’s nice to eat dinner in a restaurant with a big crowd of people, but I also enjoy finding a quiet table, ordering a glass of wine, and reading a new book (The Birthing House by Ami McKay, which is very good so far). 

The theme of this years Sunday evening festivities was “Pirates” due to Talk Like a Pirate Day.  Each conference they have a silent auction, for which I usually find something to donate.  This year I made a Pirate toque, which got bought for a bit of money, which is good.  I made it a bit big and felted it down, it will be an extremely warm hat for whomever did end up with it:

Winnipeg Pirate Toque

Last night the entertainment involved a rather nice pub night, and then a Vegas Casino party, including an Elvis impersonator.  I tell you, I don’t think I have ever laughed so hard at this conference as when this guy was performing.  Sometimes I wonder how I ended up in Winnipeg, in a room full of engineers and operators, watching a bad Elvis impersonator dance around, but I guess life is weird that way.

Winnipeg Elvis

All I know is one of the raffle prizes is a Roomba, and I didn’t win, and went a way a bit bitter in the end.  However I also didn’t win the golf prizes, or the life jackets, so perhaps I didn’t do so badly in the end. 

Another goal of mine for this conference was to find a mentor to help me out, preferably female, older, and in upper management.  Looking around today at the other women I’ve come to realize something.  One is that we are few, which I guess I already knew, but another is that I’m one of the oldest women there doing what I do, and I’m still able to call myself mid-thirties.  All very interesting!

Home tomorrow, I can’t wait.  I hope to find some time soon to show you the wool I bought at Rams Wool!

Art in Industry

September 18, 2009

This little water treatment plant was old, old, old, but yet not old enough to be one of the lovely Art Deco facilities built in the 1910-1930.  Its being replaced, and soon.  However sometimes in decay, in age, in maintenance revealed in layers of paint peeling off the walls, there is beauty, shape and colour.

Cupar Water Plant 017

In old pipes installed long ago, even then struggling to fit into a small space, comes beautiful form and texture.

Cupar Water Plant 019

Beauty in every day working objects, mysterious patterns, and cloudy depth when looked at closely enough.

Cupar Water Plant 013

Oxidized iron and manganese utilizing potassium permanganate in the detention tank.

You may think its because of the lovely vistas, or the nice people, but really its because they have extremely poor quality drinking water supplies.  Hence there are a lot of new water treatment facilities being built in that province.  Now in British Columbia there is a lot of surface water supplies of drinking water, and they tend to be fairly high quality.  For new source of drinking water in that province (like you are builidng a new subdivision or development) two filtration barriers are required, but there are many systems in operation that just chlorinate the water. 

In Alberta it is more of a mixed bag of surface water and ground/well sources of drinking water.  Still the water is fairly high quality, especially when compared to Saskatchewan water.  Saskatchewn is on what used to be (many, many years ago) a salt water ocean or sea.  Therefore the ground water is extremely high in dissolved solids, so salt, iron, manganese, and a lot of organic material.  Organic material refers to thousands of posssible things, but picture a lot of carbon in the molecules, and that it used to be part of something living.  This water is unfortunately harder to treat, and much more expensive.  But not impossible, especially not when you sell the right equipment, which is what we do!  Now couple difficult and expensive water to treat with small towns without a large tax base, and you can imagine the challenge facing some towns today.  What we’re doing is starting a “mini-plant” or what we call a pilot plant that is going to mimic the operation of a full scale water treatment facility.  This helps us prove the technology, that it does what we say it should, and allows the operators to take many water quality samples to ensure that we are making the highest quality water.  There are two parts to a water treatment plant: making high quality water, and making as much as you say you are going to, for a long period of time before the equipment needs a cleaning.  For the membrane systems, its normally the latter that we worry about, the former is usually a given unless there is a huge problem.

Tomorrow we’re off to one of these small towns, and as normal I’ll try and get in and discover something interesting and unique about the town, its history, and see a bit of its character.  Working in water plants we get to go to some small towns, which you normally wouldn’t, and meet the operators, mayors, council people, which is always a lot of fun.  Saskatchewan, here we come!

Transition to Fall

September 11, 2009

The transition into fall was very noticeable here, promptly on Sept 1 there was a nip in the air, and the chilly mornings were back.  The leaves are already being painted yellow in more noticeable quantities.  At knitting on Tuesday we all commented on how we still feel the need to move, or transition in the fall after so many years (half our lives or more) of starting school in the fall.  I myself have made big moves in the fall, from Boston to Salt Lake, and then to Calgary.  For many of us the fall is the time to pick up, and start anew.  This manifested in moving furniture, cleaning apartments, beginning projects, and feelings of coming awake after a drowsy summer of enjoyment. 

I’ve been in Calgary almost two years now, and feel firmly rooted here, and have no intention of moving.  However my restless feet are still twitching under me at times.  Do you know they need water engineers in Australia quite badly?  I’ve heard Kelowna could be nice to live in, people are hiring out there?  Such are my thoughts at times.  But figure skating will be starting next week, and I bought a cute little running skirt to wear, which I can’t picture running in, but will do quite nicely for a skating skirt.  I’ve been running, and doing lunges and jumps in the backyard in preparation.  Yes, pretty sure my neighbours think we are crazy, but they might as well find out now? 

Plans for the next month are abounding as well as my parents come into town, and my Aunty Ninja is already here for a little mini-reunion.  Since I have to go to a town near Regina next week, Cupar Saskatchewan, my parents are going to join me for a road trip, which should be fun.  I’m hoping I get 8 hours of knitting each way, but I may be called upon to share driving tasks with Daddio.  Local yarn store in Regina is Golden Fleece which I hear is worth visiting.

After that I’m heading over to Winnipeg for a conference, I hope to steal out one evening to visit, a famous Canadian yarn store.  I’m also going to knit a Pirate toque for a fundraiser, we’ll see how that goes over, maybe a hit, maybe a fail?  I do find that there is generally a special spot in Canadians hearts for warm toques, and since Winnipeg is so cold, perhaps someone will buy it at the Silent Auction. 

Then I’m off to Minneapolis, then to Ontario for the wedding, and that’s only just the beginning of October!  A bit too many trips, but a lot of knitting in cars and at the airport.  I hope to get a bunch of nice warm projects finished so that I can wear them!  It may just quiet my restless feet for the rest of the year however, because going on a trip is nice, but going home is much nicer!!

Have a good weekend everyone!

Fall photo from the mountains above Park City, three years ago:


The View from Mount Olympus

September 9, 2009

Mt.Olympus 10

Taken on a January afternoon, with a bit of inversion, looking out over Salt Lake City.  Somewhere down there is where Margene lives, of whom I’m thinking of today!

Making Wedding Mittens

September 8, 2009

A really, really, good friend of mine is getting married in October, and for their present I’m making the couple a pair of almost matching mittens.  Hers will be blue and cream, his will be green and cream.  I’m borrowing the Scandinavian custom of giving mittens for wedding presents, and since these two aren’t the type to get registered anywhere, I think this type of present is perfect.  The wedding is going to be on the French River, near Sudbury, in October, which is high autumn in Ontario, a fact which I’m very excited about.  Its been too long since I’ve been in a real Ontario fall, with the smells, the sights, it’s so beautiful!! 

My friend, who I love dearly, just became a surgeon, she passed her exams in June, she was already a Doctor for 5 years.  How cool is that, my lovely friend, who loves cutting people up, wants to do lung transplants, who once declared spine surgery “kinda boring”.  Her fiance is another wonderful Doctor who is a leading kidney and liver transplant surgeon, who also makes my friend dinner, and tidies the house when she spent the last five years basically living at the hospital.  When someone steps up and looks after your friend when she needs it, even though he has a demanding schedule, that guy is a good guy. 

I’m using a pattern from Estonian Folk Knitting from Nancy Bush, mostly because the pattern in the book has a band around the bottom that I’ve changed up.  The left mitten has “Dr. A +I”, and the right mitten will have the date of the wedding.  I was going to put their full names, but it turned out a bit too long, so I hit upon the shorter idea.  I think its kinda cute. 

Wedding Mitten full

The mitten pattern is incredible, and requires a stiff cuppa a tea and a few hours of quiet to get started.  In the first three rows I had to learn 3 new techniques.  A different cast on, a different join, then the yarn over braids with two colours.  The afterthougtht thumb was new to me, and took some pondering before the light dawned, the decreases at the top are new to me.  Whew, no wonder it took awhile to finish the first one.  Already the second one is going a big quicker!  It is fun to learn new things, even if it can be daunting, and takes a few times to practice. 

Another challenge is the sizing, with the motif on the top of the mitten which is 16 stitches wide, repeated 4 times, its extremely challenging to upsize the ladies mitts to mens sizes.  What I plan on doing is going up a needle size for the mens pair, which may also help the ease of knitting.  The needle I’m currently using is a bit small for this yarn, on the flipside I’ve got an extremely tight knit, wind proof mitten to give!  The women’s pair may also be felted down slightly to make them a slimmer fit. 

A word on this style of mitten.  I think I prefer a mitten with a tight cuff, however this open mitten could work well with my parka as it has a tight cuff which will fit inside this mitten design.  Another idea is to knit a separate cuff in ribbing, and sew that on the inside of the mitten to block wind from going up your wrist and making your hand cold.

Most nice sunny summer days, like today, Mr. J and I head outside and wander down Stephen Avenue in Calgary.  Its closed to traffic, and is a bustling place in the summer, deserted in the winter (picture icicles, howling winds, people running to get inside, so bundled up you can barely see a face, a city of bank robbers).  On Thursdays there is a farmers market set up, in Olympic Plaza there is currently an art installation (a sculptor is chiseling out a lady in stone over the week), a few ambulances, construction workers, bankers, homeless people, such a melange.

Stephen Avenue

Today, as we are extremely charitable people, we decided to support the Make a Wish foundation and buy some things from their bakesale, because that is the type of good, selfless, giving, generous people we are:

We're so charitable

That was one frigging awesome chocolate cupcake, and yes, I now have a tummy ache.

WIP: Snowflake Sweater

September 2, 2009

This is the main project at the moment, even though I’ll need to put it down on the weekend to finish a baby and wedding present.  This sweater was a perfect thing to take camping, as the yarn is not so precious that you couldn’t just put in on the ground next to your chair as you jumped up to tend the fire, run to the outhouse, or look for Zombies.  Oh, and this one time when four (4) young brothers were riding their bikes around, one went over the handle bars, another fell over and started screaming, and the eldest was riding around trying to find his parents who had disappeared, and all the campers were coming out trying to a)find the parents (probably off looking for some peace and quiet (four (4) boys) b) pick the endo dude up c) soothe the other one that fell over and was screaming.  Pretty soon everyone was found, the kids were okay, and were back to tearing around.

Anne knitting by the fire

The sweater, from a Vogue Knitting Fall 1998 that I’ve apparantly wanted to make for 11 years now, also has some change ups to make it exciting.  After 10.5 inches of cabling, you get to make garter ridges in other colours, then snowflakes!  With a bobble in the middle!  It was highly exciting, as Mr. J. can attest, since he had to admire my snowflakes over and over and over again.  The yarn is Patons Classic Merino bought on sale, so no big deal if it gets a bit dirty or smells like the campfire.  The knitting is also very tight which should help with the pilling, and make for a warm sweater. 

Back of snowflake sweater done

The back is done, and one front up to starting the garter ridges, in different colours!!  Once I got back home and saw the photo in the magazine again I realized I had made a mistake, the main body pattern should be k4, P1, Cable 4, P1, K4.  It seems I cabled merrily all the way across.  Now this looks nice, and should make for a warmer sweater, but there is the outside chance that it will make the sweater too narrow, and perhaps mess up the junction between the cabled section, garter ridge etc.  As you progress from each section you are casting on and casting off multiple stitches as cables take up soo many more stitches than garter or stocking stitch.  At this point however I’m crossing my fingers that it will all turn out okay, as I’m not about to rip the whole thing out.  Also, the smallest size in the magazine is a size 40 bust, and I’m way down at 34, so I should be good with a more form fitting garmet.