Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Memories of Grandma
According to my friend, Anita, Chinese wisdom believes that if your stomach is happy then your head will be happy. It’s fitting then how I have so many memories of Grandma that relate to food.

I’m sure all who know Grandma, of course will remember her brownies; the recipe I could never master and always wondered if she didn’t leave out one of the ingredients when she gave me the list. My thoughts go beyond the brownie though.

There were her Mexican Wedding cookies that she’d make especially for me each Christmas. I would savour them, grudgingly sharing them when I had to, knowing that only Grandma could make them that good.

It was Grandma who taught me to make a perfect cup of tea. There are so many happy memories I have of sharing a cup of tea with Grandma, the hot steam of it swirling up out of the cup, enveloping us in a cozy, all’s right with the world comfort.

No one could make a roast beef dinner like Grandma and even once she stopped cooking big meals, she every now and again would make a date with me to come over for a roast beef dinner. A dinner that was magnificent with a roast that melted in your mouth. Put suet on top of the roast she instructed, or if suet wasn’t easily come by, bacon would do. Never put water in the pan – or your gravy won’t turn out. Turn the stove on and walk away – it’ll be fine, she’d reassure. About that gravy… I remember a sense of panic setting in the first time I realized it was up to me to make gravy for a dinner party that Grandma wasn’t at. To this day I still methodically, in my mind, go through each step that she taught me as we would stand at the stove together, teacher and student.

It was at one of her roast beef dinners that Jacques, Gwen and Nicholas learned about the wonders of desserts with “Your Name on Them”. After supper, Grandma brought out the ice cream and dished out bowlfuls for the kids. As they polished off not only one but two bowls of it she inquired if they’d like some more and of course they eagerly, but disbelievingly wanted to say yes. They couldn’t believe their luck! Grandma could see that they weren’t sure if they should have another bowl. It was while they were looking at me trying to gauge whether or not I would allow them to indulge in this incredible fortune that Grandma stepped in. She said, “Of course you can have another. It’s got your name on it.” The three were incredulous. “It has our name on it?” “We can have three bowls of ice cream at one meal?” While Nicholas, who was quite small puzzled over where his name must be written in the ice cream, Grandma explained that it meant that when they were at Grandma’s no one would be counting and that they could have as much as they wanted until they were full. I had to remind them several times afterwards that dessert only had your name on it at Great-Grandma’s house!

Not food related at all, however, the biggest thing I will miss about Grandma and will always remember fondly is “Grandma hugs”. A hug that could make all your troubles go away, make everything right in your world and make you realize that whatever it was that was bothering you, you knew with certainty that you could believe that “This to shall pass.”

I could do with one of those hugs now.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Snowy surprises

I had a wonderful snow themed surprise waiting for me the other day when I got home from work! It was none other than my SnoFlake swap parcel from my partner Merrymom! She spoiled me rotten and I'm loving it! It was full of goodies for the bath, knitting and crafty delights, tea, coffee, stationary, candles, a snowman and a wonderful thick dishcloth. Thank you Merrymom! What a wonderful parcel!

I've been quite busy with my knitting these days - seems fitting given the temperatures outside have taken a downward plunge. I've started seven projects in the last week and some are even done!

First up are three cel phone cases that I'm particularly pleased with! (BF)G had requested a new one as his from last year finally wore out and while I was at it I made two others as well for myself and one for the boys' cel phone. Now I have a request for a pink fluffy one for G's cel.

Next on the "done and thank goodness 'cause it's so ridiculously cold outside" is my hat from theYarn Harlot's pattern and a pair of mitts of no specific design I knit the set out of Ram Wools' latest house brand yarn, Lana Linda. I got it on sale for about $7.50 last week and my little set took about a skein and a half. I love this yarn, it's soft, thick and easy to work with!

I also cast on a pair of socks for either (BF)G or N - whoever claims them first. It matters not to me! I'm making the "Gentleman's Winter Socks" from Nancy Bush's Vintage Knits. As well while I'm waiting for delivery of my emergency purchase of another two balls of yarn for my bulky cabled sweater - managed to get all but half a sleeve and the button bands done out of the yarn I'd originally purchased, yey for Elann still having my dyelot in stock - I cast on for the Gathered Pullover from Interweave Knits. It's going to take me forever given that it's a sport weight yarn and I've only got an inch and a half done so far, but I think it's going to be good once it's done. The yarn, Mr. Joe Blanket, is soft and my hands are enjoying it!

Well, I guess it's time to bundle up, go start the van and head over to the nursing home to visit Grandma! At least they keep the temperature somewhere near tropical most of the time, so I should thaw out from the drive over there a bit before venturing out into the cold again...

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

It's been awhile

I realized that it's been a month since I last posted. I guess life got busy. Between some health issues for J and Granny moving into the nursing home and then promptly having a stroke, getting ready for Christmas and my Auntie Rose passing away I didn't feel much like blogging I suppose. In fact I took the entire ten days off of work as time to be away from the computer and didn't even check my email the whole time.

But I'm back now, and I've things to show you all!

First I'll start with the last few FOs of 2007.

First up is my second attempt at the Little Arrowhead Shawl. I decided to make it out of a superwash wool from my stash (the brand I think was King Cole, the name eludes me) I did one extra pattern repeat making it substancially larger than the first one I made for my swap partner. I knit this one for my Granny. All her adult life she's been knitting shawls for each baby that was born. In a box of special things I still have the shawl that was knit for me to come home from the hospital with as well as the ones for J, G and N. They were always the same pattern and I think each one over the years except one was always white. I decided that now someone should knit her a shawl to keep her warm and give her a sense of that cozy, secure comfort that her shawls always gave the babies. Grandma was thrilled with it and I'm so glad I thought to make it for her.

Next up is (BF)G's hat. It's the Brother-in-law basketweave hat from
Kody May Knits. It was super quick to knit and fits him really well. It's made to match the scarf I made him in the fall and is perfect for those cold mornings outside with the dogs!

Continuing on the list I made a longer version of the lacey scarf pattern from "Last Minute Knitted Gifts". I needed something around my neck to wear with my purple and black dress and I started and finished it on boxing day. I didn't have time nor inclination to go to my LYS so I used a ball of Paton's Lacette I had in the stash left over from G's lace wristwarmers I made last winter.

Stash busting all the way I tell you!!!

So onto current projects. I am thrilled to finally be able to move my Fancy Lace Socks from "Knitting Vintage Socks" over to the FO category! I started them forever ago and am just finally finishing them now. I don't know why I waited so long to get the second sock done. I started it on January 2nd and finished it yesterday so just under a week of knitting time. These are my first Lorna's Laces Socks. I love this yarn (I sense a slight addiction coming on!) and the colourway "Bittersweet" is awesome in my opinion! My only problem is I never seem to get both socks to match exactly when using yarn like this, but it's not a huge problem and my obsessive compulsive nature will just have to get used to the idea that they aren't a perfect match!

I'm also in the midst of a cabled cardi for myself. It's the top down Bulky Cabled Sweater from Glampyre Knits. I am a little fearful though that I'm going to run short of wool. I've only got less than a full two balls left and still need to do the sleeves and button bands. I'm using Laines Du Nord Softlight in Orange Brick. This yarn is incredibly soft and cuddly feeling. I really hope I'll have enough. If I don't hopefully will still have some of the same dyelot left. At $3.01/ball it was an incredible bargain!

Up next I am thinking of casting on the Cobblestone Pullover (from IK) using some stash yarn of unknown name for (BF)G. I'll have to do some playing with the yarn to see if it'll work out, and also take a closer look at the pattern sizing. He wants some new socks too. I'm also waiting to cast on another sweater for myself (the Gathered Pullover also from IK) and have the wool ready and waiting! I'm planning to use Mr. Joe Blanket in Grey Flannel. I've started the guage swatch for it, so we'll see how that turns out. So far I'm really liking the feel and look of the yarn and it was yet another $3.01/ball bargain from!