Saturday, November 29, 2008


I once took a course at the Open University in England. It was about community. What is community? What did it use to be? What does it mean for people living in the world today? Does it mean different things to different people and in different cultures? Basically, it was a intro into learning for adults kind of course. It didn't dive into the sort of academics that you would in anthropology or political science; it was simply a theme used to get people thinking.

I did really poorly at this course. I just didn't understand the concept of community. I had moved around quite a bit during my childhood, so I never really settled into a community. By the time I did (sort of) settle down, I wasn't really sure how to be a part of a community. I almost ashamed to admit that I didn't know what it meant.

Sure, I had family and they were important to me; but you know how it is when you are young and reckless - you want to stand on your own two feet. You want to discover if you can make your own way in the world. Sometimes this means moving to another country.

About a year after that course, I came home when my grandparents became ill. I had a choice, to stay or to come back. I figured that I have to be able to live with myself, so I chose to spend as much time with my grandparents and my family as I could. Otherwise, if I didn't, I wouldn't be able to look myself in the eye. I think that this was the start of it for me. It was a selfless action. I went against my own desires to be independent so that I could give something of myself to my family. It was a major turning point in how I saw my place in the world.

As my grandmother became increasingly ill, I picked up my knitting needles again. I knit at her bedside and I felt connected to not just her, but all the woman in my family who had picked up some yarn and pointy sticks. 'Though, I made different sorts of things than those who knit before me, I felt that each stitch was just like the ones that my grandmother used to make those phentex slippers I always loved getting for Christmas. When she became worse and less aware of the world, I came almost every day to sit with her. I always brought my knitting and sometimes when I knit, I would see her fingers moving with that all so familiar motion. She was knitting in her mind to the rhythm of my clicking needles.

She died on a Tuesday in November. I don't regret a single moment of spending time with her. I just wish that I had realized how important to me she was sooner.

It was this feeling of being connected to the past and the present through knitting that changed something in me. Now, because of the lessons yarn teaches me, I'm changing again.

I admit, I still have trouble understanding what community means. Sure, I can quote all sorts of academic definitions, but that's not enough to understand something like this. You have to experience it, to immerse yourself in it, and most importantly, to become a part of it. I am learning more and more each day.

I think, community is about individuals more than anything else. It is about each person giving what they can, a kind word, a recipe for some wicked-awesome chicken soup, or simply giving time by sharing a cuppa tea with each other and talking about things that make you smile. I'm pretty certain I'm getting the hang of giving. But community is not just that. It's also about receiving, something I'm still uncomfortable with. It's about your friends and even strangers helping you up when you fall so that you can be there to help the next person when they need a little something. It's about knowing that little things, like a single knitted stitch, add up and when each person gives just a small bit of themselves; it adds up to equal something amazing.

I never would have thought that a simple four hour spinning course would lead to me being welcomed into such a wonderful community.

I wish I knew how to say thank you. I don't know the right words to say this. Each individual of this community has been so supportive. They give what they can, be it a kind word or the Herculean efforts of S. &co, and the Trampled by Fleece campaign. It's all so... I don't have a big enough word to say how greatful I am. I hope that one day I can repay this kindness.

Friday, November 28, 2008

What's the deal with Black Tuesday anyway?

This can't be a real news story. Can it? Honestly, I know shopping kills, but if this is what our Western way of life comes to, then count me out. Sometimes, people make me sick.

I'm going to go drink a cuppa tea, that will make me feel better about the world.

EDIT: Feeling better now, sorry about the rant, I was just shocked and dismayed. I mean, Wal-Mart doesn't even carry great yarn (yes, they do have the best dishcloth cotton, but other than that, I'm not the kind of person to go in for synthetics - they make me itch).


I haven't been online much these days. As a result, I'm behind on answering my emails and ravelry messages. Sorry everyone. I'm working on it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rain and spinning

Even though Brazil has already arrived, I'm still working on finishing up some of the projects I have going on around the house. I can manage an hour or two of productive time during the day, so it's slow going. But I figure if I do like the tortoise, I can slowly plod along and eventually everything will get finished. Then again, my project planing brain tends to run like the hare from this particular analogy so it's a bit of challenge for me to remind myself that I can't do everything I use to.

The last couple of days I've been working on spinning.

This is the yarn I started to make during the Tour de Fleece way back in summer (here and here). As many of you know my tour was cut rather short; but at long last, I've finally been able to finish spinning up the wool. Now, I'm slowly plying it together.

The goal is that this will someday become the Tangled Yoke Cardie (see also ravelry link). Although, now I'm starting to feel rather nervous because I didn't check my gage. All in all, I've spun about a pound of fleece into yarn, so if it doesn't work for this pattern, I can use it for a different sweater pattern. The yarn has turned out absolutely gorgeous, so maybe I'll just put it somewhere where I can admire and pet it until I can get around to knitting with it.

dear spinsters and spinners

Hi all my spinning buddies. Last night we talked about something important that I was suppose to remember to do this morning. Does anyone remember what that was?

Monday, November 24, 2008


Is it just our house, or is the Internet completely wrong today? Half the sites won't load. We checked the modem and the router and there seems to be no error there. So, what's up with the net? Is anyone else having troubles?


The sky is lovely this morning. The coffee was ready just in time for me to watch the last bit of sunrise as I drink my morning brain juice. I love watching the sunrise and in a perfect home, I would have a bedroom that faced East so that I could get up every morning with the sun. Actually, in an ideal living situation, I would have a rooster living near my window to encourage me to get up every morning.

It looks like we are in for a lovely, albeit cold, day. By cold, I don't mean Canada-cold, I mean Victoria-cold (It's like only five degrees right now, that's almost freezing). I had best wear a scarf and gloves when I go out this afternoon.

I hope to make it down to Knotty by Nature. I hear that Monday afternoons is drop in and knit time. It will be nice to get out of the house and go for a walk; especially when there is yarn related activities involved.

I actually have a confession to make. I have been thinking about my new coat quite a bit, but that's not what I wanted to confess. I was wearing my coat and thinking about how much I like the way it makes my shadow look (I know, it's a funny way to judge clothes, but I'm a funny bird). I'm full of ideas on how to improve the making of it, especially the lining. That and the fact that it didn't turn out as warm as I had hoped, makes me want to sew a second one. Yes, it is warm, but more early spring and late fall warm, not deepest, darkest January warm. So I went, and this is where the confession comes in, to the fabric shop (the big one with cheep prices and lots of chemical smells) to find some more coat fabric. I was hoping that they would have some, but no. I suppose it's good that they didn't as it saved me from spending money, but I still have a desire to make a second coat with this pattern. I just love the lines of it and the more I wear it the more I want to wear it.

Then I got to thinking. Yes, this is dangerious. I was thinking that I have a loom. I also know of a shop that sells yarns good for weaving with. And since I would like some coat fabric, maybe there is some way to put these thoughts together into an actual project. It's still in the planing stages, and I have to find out if it is going to be horribly expensive. I also need to get down to brass tax and finish up what's on the loom right now (scarves) before I make any decisions. But, maybe...

If I'm not terribly mistaken, it's spinning tonight. This is going to be one very yarn-filled Monday.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

This and that

I can hardly believe it, but yesterday when I was out walking with Brazil, someone stopped me and told me that they like my coat. It's the first time I've worn it while out and about and to be stopped by a random stranger and complimented on my coat made me feel really nice, albeit, shy.

To answer a question on an earlier post, the coat fabric is the last of some 'unknown content' (thus on sale). I think it has a lot of wool in it, perhaps 10% synthetic like nylon and possibly a small amount of a goat fibre. Time wise, well... it took four days to cut out the pattern and fabric, a day to iron on the interfacing (fumes from glue meant I needed to take frequent brakes), and about a week to put it together (I still have to modify some bits of the lining). But I know how to do it now, so it would be about half the amount of time next coat. I'm actually full of ideas of how to make it better and since it isn't as warm as I had hoped, I think I might take a trip to fabric land to see if they have any coat fabric on sale. I really want to see if my improvements would work.

In other news, I received a lovely gift from a lovely person this week (thank you Kitten):

Hand dyed silk by Twist of Fate.

Twist of Fate has generously donated a thank you prise to Trampled by Fleece, two $15 gift certificates. There are so many other great thank you prizes that people have donated, I wish I could enter the competition.

Thank you to everyone who has donated time and gifts to the cause. Also a big thank you to everyone who has sent in donations so far. I'm very greatful.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I want one

I don't know which I want more; the vacuum or the cat. Thanks to Sarah for posting this.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Victory is mine!

I've been looking for my slippers for almost a week now. Finally, I found them.

The weather is turning colder, I mean it's like, plus 10 C. That's super-cold for these parts.

The last time I saw my slippers was almost a week ago when I was re-organizing my yarn. I thought that maybe I had accidentally mistaken them for yarn, so I took all my yarn out of their new home looking for my slippers. They weren't there.

They were however under my dresser behind the pile of handknit socks waiting to be washed. Yeah, I know, it's a weird place to keep dirty laundry, but where they use to live is now full of yarn. What's a girl to do?

Winter Coat

The sewing gods did smile on my yesterday and I managed to complete my project in time for Guild.

Actually, I didn't finish the lining properly, when it came to that part of the coat, the instructions were little better than "assemble lining and install". What the heck does that mean? The main part of the coat had detailed, albeit confusing, instructions and pictures so why not the lining? Anyway, I fudged my way through it and when I ran out of time, I just tacked the rest of it in by hand.

Sarsbar 'convinced' me to show and tell my coat at Guild. I didn't really want to as I'm getting more and more shy. Besides, I didn't spin or weave it, so I didn't think I had the right to show it off at the spinning and weaving guild. But sarsbar found where I hid my coat and put it on the show and tell table. This turned out for the best (though my face turned quite red while I was talking about it) as I got all sorts of tips on how to finish off the lining.

All and all, I think I'm happy with this coat. Considering that all I've made so far was some PJs, a couple of blouses and some jeans, I think I did quite well. Ignorance is bliss and I'm not certain I would have started this project if I knew exactly how difficult it was. I also got some really awesome buttons for it. If you are going to put that much effort into a project, I believe, one should splurge on the buttons.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


I haven't been online much this week. I've been sewing instead.

I am willing to admit that I might have bitten off more than I can chew with this project, but it's nearing completion and it sort of looks like what it is suppose to be. I hope I can complete this in time to wear it to Guild tonight with enough time left over for a big, long nap. Guild is tonight, right? Please tell me, I didn't miss it again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Thank you B

Thank you B the weaver. I don't recognize the handwriting so I'm uncertain who exactly you are; but, I hope you see this and know how much your kindness is appreciated.

Thank you.

Monday, November 17, 2008


Some times I despair that the English language is shrinking. Words that I take for granted, often get blank stares from anyone under fifty. I often worry that if our vocabulary shrinks, how will people be able to express how they feel? If we only have one word for snow, how will we accurately communicate with each other. How will we understand each other?

I read once about a fifteenth century attempt to control passionate uprising in the populous by controlling vocabulary. This lead to one of the very first dictionaries (or what we call dictionaries now) which was published not as an attempt to preserve the language but to standardize and limit the vocabulary. By limiting the words that people used to express themselves, you could limit the amount of emotion they displayed and thus reduce political unrest. It's an older version of the Noam Chomsky theory: if you can't express yourself, then you can't have the emotion, or in this particular instance, you cannot pass it on to your neighbour. It's a very good theory and has many working examples throughout history (and especially the present day, though I'm afraid that if I give an example, I'll insult too many people).

This is why it gives me great joy to read about new words being welcomed into our language. Today, it appears that 'Meh' is now granted that distinction by being accepted into the choirs of The Collins English Dictionary.

I'm not a big fan of 'meh', but I have notice that it is on the increase. However, I understood it to be a statement in and of itself not a (what's the word? darn my short term memory loss) descriptive word. But, meh, what do I know about it?

I love to read the reactions of people who love 'proper English' (but never use it to it's full potential) and despise any interloper who attempts to hop into our vocabulary. But I think my favourite comment on this story is by Kee-lo who says:

"Meh" is a completley[sic] cromulant word that embiggins the English language

I couldn't have said it better myself.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Knotty by Nature Grand Opening

If a fibre festival is like Christmas, then the opening of a new fibre shop is like the promise of a fantastic new year.

Let me introduce you to Stephanie.

Ryan and Stephanie are the proud new owners of Victoria's newest fibre shop: Knotty by Nature. I first met these two at the beginning of this year at a spinning event. I was shy and I think maybe they were a little bit too. The thing was that at this particular event, the room was overflowing with spinners from all over which can overwhelm a person with good vibes. No matter how shy I was feeling, I couldn't help but be intrigued by the whispers that these two people were planing on opening a new fibre shop in town.

There are lots of great shops in the area, fibre, weaving, spinning, knitting, &c. but most of them require a car and a day trip to get to them. I very seldom manage to get to them even once a year, so when I heard that there would be a fibre shop, not just a yarn shop but one with weaving, spinning, felting, and yarn, in Victoria proper, I was head over heals in love.

Back in June I had the privilege to interview the creators of Knotty by Nature and I was very pleased to discover that their values are in line with what I think a small business should be: community minded. Along with the usual products, Knotty by Nature focuses on local items. They carry fibres from Treenway Silks, yarns from Indigo Moon, and all sorts of other local products. I think it's very important for a business to support local producers and I am glad that the people of Knotty by Nature have taken this to heart.

What I like most about this shop is that it already feels like an essential part of the community. Not only do they already give back to the community, I know they will grow with and offer a positive influence on the yarn and fibre people who live and visit our little corner of Canada.

Although they are already open for business, Knotty by Nature will have it's grand opening celebration on December 6th, 2008, from 10am to 6pm. They are located at: 1816 Government St., in Victoria, BC. Check out their blog for updates.

I plan to be there for as much of the day as I can and I hope to see you there. To help tempt you, here are a few photos of a few luxury fibres they are selling. mmmm.... silk.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

sweet tooth

Wouldn't this make a nice Christmas treat? I wonder if I could adjust the recipe to get rid of all the sugar and perhaps have honey and/or maple syrup instead. Instead of icing sugar and cornstarch, perhaps I could find something sweet that I can grind into powder (stevia?) or perhaps just add spices in with the cornstarch.

Even if you don't have a sweet tooth, have a look at the photos, simply mouthwatering. (you know, it's funny, this is the first non-vegan recipe for marshmallow I've seen.)

Random bits

Just a few random bits that have happened lately.

I stopped by Knotty by Nature this weekend and ended up staying for over an hour. It was great to see so many customers in the shop and they haven't even had their grand opening yet. I have some great photos that I want to share with you but I am waiting on my brain to start up again so that I can do them justice.

A Rose found some skirt patterns that she gave to me to use. I'm very excited about this. I just need to get some fabric for them (and to finish my current sewing projects) then I'll have skirts to wear and show off my hand knit socks.

Cleaning the house for Brazil, our soon to be house guest, has gone far slower than I had hoped. I wonder if she knows that I've appointed her the task of washing dishes (joking - slightly). I can't do it any more, it hurts my dad's hand to do so, and since our soon to be guest will be staying more than three days, she gets to participate in the household tasks. Isn't that how it works with guests: More than three days, then they get the privilege of participating in everyday tasks?

That's about it for now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Armistice Day

My G'pa served in the British military every single day of the second world war. He was just finishing up his mandatory service when the war broke out and as a result he didn't meet his son until he (his son) was three years old. He spent years away from the people he loved and saw things that I really cannot imagine.

I'm not a big fan of war or fighting, but I do respect the suffering of those who experience it (both military and civilians). I understand that it is horrible. I am thankful that I have never experienced anything like it in my life so far.

I want to say thank you to all the troops who fought in all the wars, thank you to their families who suffered without, and thank you to those who never made it home. Thank you.

But most of all, I want to raise a great big middle finger to the politicians who let war happen. Those guys suck.

Monday, November 10, 2008


In 10 days I have to give up my craft/living room to a house guest (let's call her Brazil). This is actually a good thing because it forces me to finish several projects that I have on the go. I just didn't think there would be so many.

I am, apparently, a multitasker. I have projects in every stage of development. I have projects that exist as half formed ideas in my mind to almost finished but still in need of five minutes of finishing touches. There are some projects that are simply raw materials, these can just be put away as is. Some projects, a sweater for example, are singles on a bobbin waiting to be plied, washed and knit. This project I can simply ply off the yarn, wash it and put it in my stash until I am ready to knit it. I have a big bag of half finished knitting which doesn't take up too much space, so I don't think they need urgent attention. There are some carded fibres that need a bit more carding before I can spin them. They take up lots of room, so they need dealing with before too much longer. I also have some sewing on the go that is at a stage I really can't put it away without finishing it.

It does feel good to spend time and finish up these projects. I'm working slowly at them all, and hopefully I will be finished with enough time left over to dust, vacuum, and tidy up.

Brazil hasn't seen us in several years, so I'm curious as to what she will think. I don't think we are anything like we were last time she was here, but we might be exactly the kind of people she likes. All I know is that she will be sharing her 'guest room' with lots of yarn, spinning wheels, spinning fibres, and a giant loom. I hope she's up for it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Awe shucks

I actually don't know what to say, except thank you.

Some friends of mine have started a little fundraiser to help me pay for my Lyme treatment. Not only that, there are prizes to be won.

I give you...

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Dear people who sew, please help.

Dear people who sew,

I need your help.

I've been on the look out for the perfect winter skirt. I've searched the local shops, and can find no one who sells skirts. Can you believe it? Not a skirt to be had anywhere in town. That's weird. So, I've got it into my head that maybe I can sew myself one or two. What do you think? It can't be all that difficult.

What I would like in a skirt is for it to be about half way between my ankles and my knees in length, wool woven fabric, preferably with a twill but not too thick, grey, charcoal or brown, lined with something soft (or perhaps a slip instead), have pockets and a place to slip a belt. I would also like it to have a bit of room to move so that it is easy to walk (but not a big slit up the back or side).

I know, this is rather specific. The thing is, I'm still at the sewing stage where I can follow a pattern with great effort. So, designing my own skirt is out of the question. I do feel that I can make minor adaptations (for example, I've managed to lengthen the sleeves on a blouse and I hope to combine different elements from two blouse patterns to make the blouse I want). But, that's about the extent of what I can do so far. I've tried searching the Internet for patterns that would work, but have had no success.

My question to you oh wise sewing people of the Internet: Does anyone know of any patterns that would match my desires? The less expensive the better. I have coasted it out that the materials would cost less than half the price of what the shops would charge if they carried a skirt like this. I just need to find a pattern. Please help.

What ever happened to...

Does anyone else remember these?

I remember they use to be on TV when I was very young. I still remember all the words and often find myself accidentally singing them. It's strange the the things you remember most.

Anyway, I finally got the idea to look them up on YouTube and there they were, just as I remembered them. They make me smile.

Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm starting to fall in love with America (but don't tell anyone, it's a secret)

I must admit, the more time I spend in that country just south of us, the more I like Americans. I know, I know, Canadians, as a stereotype, are suppose to poke fun at our friends to the south (see this clip but I warn you, it's not funny to everyone) not fall in love with them. But, this last trip down south, I saw several things that made me feel very affectionate to those living in the USA.

We arrived on election day. Unlike Canada's last federal election where you wouldn't even notice it was time to vote unless someone told you, but didn't matter because nothing really changed this time around anyway; however, within a ten minutes of entering the US, you couldn't avoid knowing that it was time to vote.

The first thing we saw was this bloke, long beard, slightly ragged clothing, with a cardboard sign on a stick something like those guys that walk around telling everyone that the end is neigh. This guy was standing on a street corner with his home made sign that said simply, "VOTE!" I love it. I've never once seen a Canadian do that on election day. A little further on, at the center of town, the street corners were full of people with party signs. I managed to get a photo of a few. If you notice they were all for one party, that's because they were on the right side of the street and were easier to get a photo of.

Such wonderful passion. I've never seen anything quite like it (well, there were the riots in Chile over the election when I was last there, but that's another story). What I want to say is that it was wonderful to see people care so much about their country.

There were also some extra beautiful sights. They were difficult to get a photo of while driving down the I5, but this one turned out alright.

I really like this photo too. It's another attempt to take a photo of some election enthusiasts on a bridge. You can see a storm that has just passed and the sunshine moving in behind them. Perhaps it's hint of things to come.

And last of all, these were so cute.

Some sort of nightshade plant, perhaps a close relative of a tomato, that looks like pumpkins. I thought it was a very creative harvest decoration.

Sadly, there was no yarn on this trip. Usually, I make a stop at a yarn shop. I can't afford to buy much yarn these days, but I can treat the shop like a petting zoo. I go in, pet the yarn, and imagine what I would make with it if I could take it home. Next time should be a better trip, but we will see.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Today's weather report


These guys are fantastic.
Let me know if the link dosen't work.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

one little thing...

I just returned from yet another long and expensive trip to see the specialist in Seattle. I'm completely tired. So much so that I can't think of the word that means tired but sounds far more fancy (another word I can't think of the replacement word (what's the word for that again?) for). Anyway. Tired is the word I have and that's what I am, but I just wanted to say one little thing today because, well, it's the reason why I'm so tired.

Dear people of the world!

Please do not put your car alarm on when you travel by ferry. The motion of the boat will activate it and prevent poor, sick people like myself from getting any sleep what so ever. I really like sleep and it's too noisy to sleep upstairs on the passenger deck. It also annoys the boat working people (again, vocab recall system is on the fritz because of lack of sleep).

It is very unlikely that someone is going to drive off with your car before you dock. It would be very impressive if they did manage to somehow levitate your car above the sea of parked automobiles on the car deck and drive it over water to some chop shop, or where ever stolen cars go. If someone wanted to break into your car and steal some stuff, they would have a hard time doing so. Most ferries monitor the car decks for suspicious activity. If they did succeed, well, we know one of the people on board did it, so we could search them all as they come off. Basically, from a thief's point of view, it's way easier to break into cars at the mall, so they don't bother on boats.

So, please, people, I beg you, don't put your bl##dy car alarms on when you are travelling by boat. Sleep is a precious thing and there is so little of it around these days. Please help people get what badly needed rest they can.

Thank you,

Monday, November 03, 2008

You've reached...

You've reached Trampled by Geese. I'm unable to come to the blog this week, but I don't want to miss your visit. If you leave your name and a brief message after the beep, I'll get back to you as soon as I can.


Sunday, November 02, 2008

Handmade Holiday 2008

Here is something that I've been enjoying lately: The Sew, Mama, Sew blog is spending all of November posting about different projects that one can make for Christmas gifts.

It's called Handmade Holiday 2008 and it includes links to free patterns and sewing tutorials, among other things. It's absolute genius if you ask me.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Shetland Style Knitting belt in action

Here is a photo of my Shetland style knitting belt (adapted) in action.

(Thanks to Dad for taking the photo. He's good, don't you think?)

It works great. It holds the needle quite firmly so that it stays put and can hold the weight of the fabric as I knit the stitches off onto the other needle.

I need to practice a few things. For starters, my left hand can't stay away from the knitting. I'm still letting it participate while I get the hang of things, just so long as my thumb doesn't do any work that will aggravate it again. It's also quite easy to slip off to many stitches (oh no, the dreaded dropped stitch) if you get too enthusiastic so it helps to knit at a slightly looser tension than I usually use for socks. Not too loose mind, just a little bit.

I suppose the only big setback is that I can't use it to work on my vegan knitting project. I don't think it would be fair to my vegan friend to use a non-vegan item to make her a vegan knitted object. I'm about half way through that project, so I'll just have to find another way to finish it.