Sad News

This is me and my grandmother, about 3 years ago:I’m sad that I don’t have a more recent photo of the two of us. She was the woman who taught me how to knit. When I was about seven years old, she took me to get my first pair of knitting needles- bright green 6 mm straights. I loved them. I wish I still had them.

The day after mother’s day, she passed away. If you are so inclined, you can read the eulogy that I gave at her funeral. It pretty much sums it up.

Grannie’s Eulogy

When I first began to think about what to say here today about my grandmother, I realized I only knew such a small part of her- what she was like as a grandmother. It’s the rest of you who know what she was like as a mother, a sister, a friend. But we have all known her love.

When I think of Grannie, there are so many little things that come to mind:

She loved birds, knew the names of every single one that ever crossed the yard. She also loved cats, and sometimes those two loves did not get on so well with each other.

She had a killer sense of humour, she loved to laugh. Even right now, I can remember exactly what her laugh sounds like.

She loved playing cards, and apparently was quite the shark at poker. I remember her sitting at the kitchen table with the other grown ups, smoking and looking at her cards over the rim of her glasses.

She was an avid reader, and always had a book on the go. She liked mysteries the best.

She was a knitter. She knit sweaters and slippers for all her children and grandchildren. She taught me how to knit when I was little, and I still do it. I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I remember her taking me to get my first pair of knitting needles, bright green ones, and carefully showing me how to wrap the yarn and move one stitch over the next, over and over again.

And could that woman ever bake! Cakes, Cookies, squares, everything. Most clearly I remember her making money cakes for us grandchildren when we were really little, with quarters and dimes and nickels wrapped in wax paper and baked into a chocolate cake, covered in thick chocolate icing. We would comb through our slices with the care of archeologists, trying to find all the money we could.

I remember when I was little, she grew strawberries in the back yard, and we would go out in the garden and walk through the tidy rows, looking for ripe berries to put in our bowls. She would often comment about the insects that would get at them, like grubs, and she would mutter under her breath about ‘those little buggers’ until one day I saw a grub on a strawberry and said the same thing – ‘those little buggers’. And Grannie stopped, and looked at me. I could tell by the look in her eyes that I had said something wrong, but I had no idea what. When she told me that bugger was a bad word, I paused for only a moment before asking what ‘bugger’ meant. She never did tell me. And after that she seemed to use the term ‘ugger-bees’ a lot.

She was strong. The after-effects of the polio she had as a child stayed with her her whole life, but I can’t remember ever hearing her complain, I never once heard her say anything that sounded like she was sorry for herself. And even up to the end, she hung on longer than most of us ever expected, longer than most of us would manage. She was tough.

When she was unable to live on her own anymore, my parents bought her house, and I find that really comforting, being in the house where my mother, aunt, and uncles grew up, where all five of her grandchildren played on the living floor, and in the backyard. Everything about that house reminds me of her.

I’ve been thinking about what her life meant, and what she has left behind. Albert Einstein once said, “death is not an end if we can live on in our children and the younger generation. For they are us- our bodies are only wilted leaves on the tree of life.”

Now when I come home to Sudbury to visit, my mother and I bake together in same kitchen she once baked in with her mother, the same kitchen in which I baked with Grannie when I was a child. And one day when I have children of my own, they’ll bake in that kitchen with my mother, and with me.

And when I think of that, I understand what Einstein meant.

Time has a way of moving past us when we aren’t looking. Years dissolve one after the other so quickly, and suddenly there is a whole life behind you, filled with laughter and tears and love, filled with children, grandchildren, family and friends. Maureen Robitaille gave us all so much love. And that legacy, that gift, is something that we carry from here today.

Sulka Love and Self Portrait Sunday

I swear, I only meant to do a swatch of the Marisol Sulka for the Bulky Mini Cardigan and then, before I knew it:Yup. I’m smitten. And this yarn is heaven. HEAVEN.

I should have planned to start Self Portrait Sunday when I got back from the UK, but no matter- let’s resume. So I took another stab at it this evening: And I actually feel like I learned something from this. First, I have a tough time being comfortable looking straight into a camera lens. So doing something like this (I’m posing- I don’t lay on my floor like a rag doll for sport) at least gives me something else to think about. Also, that t-shirt and shorts were not what I first put on for today’s self portrait. I had on a purple dress, which I think made for a better photo. The solid colour and the fact that it was one item meant fewer visual distractions. The background (my extremely messy bedroom) is a bit visually noisy.

But I didn’t post the photo of me in the purple dress because at that angle, you could see right down the front and it was an eyeful of cleavage. Although not ideal, I have to admit I have a new found respect for the bra I was wearing!

Back from Bristol- with new Yarn!

Thanks for the suggestions to go to Get Knitted and John Lewis in Bristol! I did try to go to Get Knitted, but every time we were going past it, it was closed, or we were already running quite late for something else. But John Lewis did yield some treasure! More Rowan than you can shake a stick at, that goes without saying. but I was on the hunt for something that I hadn’t heard of, something special…..… and then I found them. The skein on the left is Marisol Sulka, in Black Pepper, and the skein on the right is Marisol Hacho, in Purple Peacock. It’s been a while since I was seriously interested in sock yarn, and this Marisol Hacho did it for me. As for the Sulka, I couldn’t resist- it is the cuddliest, softest merino, and the black is amazing- it has the softest halo colour combination of golden brown and bright blue over the basic black. Have a look:
And then this photo pretty much sums up my feelings on the subject:
It was a good day for yarn. And books. I love checking out books in other native English speaking countries, to see which authors they are showcasing, what’s new, and what simply doesn’t always make it across the pond. I’m on a bit of a non-fiction kick at the moment, and bought this and this. I haven’t started either of them yet. I’m still reeling from the novel I read on the flight over: Utterly amazing novel, I read it all in one sitting, it is that compelling.

But back to the yarn…I did some resesarch on the yarn afterwards, and found that the Marisol Project works on developing sustainable income and social programs for the communities in Peru where the yarn is made. So naturally I felt even happier about my yarn purchase- it’s kind of like saving the world, via knitting. At least that’s what I tell myself.

I was so busy having an amazing time in the UK, that I didn’t do any knitting on the eyelet ribbed bandeau, except on the flight back (I slept on the flight there, or at least tried): And I was lucky enough to have an empty seat next to me: Knitting and an extra seat? That’s luxurious flying.

I have to give props to my boyfriend, he took most of these photos. For someone who doesn’t knit, he certianly knows how to photograph yarn!

Babs what were you thinking?!

Bawbwah Walters in an interesting red frock.
This is a classic example of what I like to call “too much much, not enough nough”
The top bit looks crocheted, along with the chinching at both the waist and elbows.
Lots of cables and bobbles. The bobbles! Bobbletopia!

*shudder* It’s deliciously hideous!

‘Cause I’m Leaving, On a Jet Plane….

Oh yeah- did I mention that I was going to England? Hmm. Probably should have said something. Well, I’m going to England!Tonight, actually. I’ll be in Bristol, Bath, that area. If anyone knows any great yarn shops I should check out, let me know- I did leave a bit of room in my suitcase for some yarn: But I’m not going to be a tourist, I’m going to see this fella: And I can’t even begin to describe how happy I am about that.