Seven Weeks of Summer

Growing up my parents always had some good sayings from my Great Oma (my father’s maternal grandmother), the main one was “we are too poor to buy cheap things” and another was “you don’t want to be a musician because then you are working while everyone else is having fun”.  I firmly believe in the former statement, I only want to buy things once and as a result I have nice equipment but I don’t feel the need to replace it frequently. As to the latter, this summer has been a great example of this.

Living and working in a place where people go on vacation is both fun and frustrating.

The fun comes from the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world (at least according to National Geographic).

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Lake Rosseau in Minett

The frustration is more around trying to accomplish things when everyone else just wants to be at the cottage and far away from computers and cell phones.

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Abbey’s Bake House in Minett.

So on Saturday I ended up on a magical mystery tour, which is what my mom would call it when we would go off to an adventure to find some specific spot that was outside our usual stomping ground, or when we would get lost.  Magical mystery tours would often start with a goal and then have a moment of “hey, I wonder where this goes”.  When I was in university I would do this on the bus and on foot in Kingston (Ontario) and always had a good time.  This time I needed to go to the Village of Rosseau and instead of heading straight back I decided to take the twisty road that runs between Lake Rosseau and Lake Joseph.  Then I saw the sign for Abbey’s Bake House, which is a bit of a local landmark, and I’m so glad I stopped.  Not only was it beautiful (as you have seen above) they have AMAZING butter tarts. No raisins or nuts and all butter tart goodness.

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Mmmmmmm…butter tart and knitting.

While sitting there, watching the lake, eating a butter tart and knitting I overheard a grandfather mention to his grandson that there had already been “seven weeks of summer” and asked if he had enjoyed them.

At that moment I realized that there had been seven weeks of summer and I haven’t gone swimming yet, or really done any summery things.  So I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this, but all I know is that according to calculations there are only about two weeks left of summer left and I want to get out and enjoy them.

And for those keeping track, I finished Carla’s shawl a week or so ago and I still haven’t picked a final pattern for mine as the one I wanted to make has a stupid cast on and I’m not burdened with an over-abundance of patience these days.

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Getting to Know You

Morning Sunrise

I’m in my new apartment and it is delightful. I’ve been spending the past two weeks getting sorted and organized in the new place.

I’m right across the road from Bass Rock, a park in Bracebridge right on the Muskoka River.

Bass Rock

Apparently the swimming is really good, but I haven’t been in yet.

Muskoka River

Also, the high water from our spring flooding is still evident in the really high flow of the river.

Not only have I been getting familiar with my new apartment (pics to come once the couch arrives) and neighborhood, I’ve also been getting comfortable with my new spinning wheel.

Claudia, my Ladybug, has been an absolute dream to spin on.  It’s like there was no learning curve to get the yarn I wanted from it, and in fact I have spun up two yarns in the past week.

Left: 2ply semi-woolen Aran weight - Shetland - dyeing by Northbound Knitting, color Pablo Honey. Right: 2 ply semi-worsted sport weight - blended batt of merino, BFL, bamboo, and angelina - dyeing by Bohoknitterchic.

Left: 2ply semi-woolen Aran weight – Shetland – dyeing by Northbound Knitting, color Pablo Honey. Right: 2 ply semi-worsted sport weight – blended batt of merino, BFL, bamboo, and angelina – dyeing by Bohoknitterchic.

The yarns turned out just the way I wanted them too and I’m really excited to actually make them into something. Because they have such similar undertone colors, and totally opposite textures, that they would make for a really interesting woven scarf. I’m not sure who wants to be the warp and who wants to be the weft, but they go together nicely.

My Ashford wheel has found her way to her new home.  One of the women in the Trillium Guild was looking for a more modern wheel to spin on because her heritage wheel is a little fragile.

So I’m getting settled in to my new spot and I’m enjoying the sound of spring peepers and my little deck from which I can see glimpses of the river and I can spend the evening reading or knitting and enjoying the wonder that is summer in Ontario.

Previously on …

So I’ve been having a wild and crazy month, and after enjoying/squandering my day watching the new Arrested Development I feel the need to do a bit of a recap on my life for you folks.

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L to R: Sudden Valley, Rita, Hey Brother, Caged Wisdom

So after learning about Nancy passing away I went on a bit of a yarn binge and bought a whole bunch of the Arrested Development themed sock yarn from Cakewalk Yarns.  She was having a sale and I was having a rough day and I ended up placing an order.

I also placed an order with Tanis (of Tanis Fiber Arts) and got more yarn. And the May club shipment showed up as well, but Carla and I did a swap so that each of us could make a large shawl out of the club skeins.

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But I did finish a pair of socks, this pair is from the TFA Year in Colour Club shipment.  The color and the pattern were named Patina.  The color is exclusive to the club but the pattern will go on sale sometime next year.

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Meet my new wheel, Claudia. She is named for Lady Bird Johnson, who was actually named Claudia and founded the Wildflower Center in Austin where I worked and does amazing work. She was a neat lady and it seemed a good a name as any.

I also have a new addition to the family.  I had a Monday off a couple of weeks ago and I made the drive to Gemini Fibres to try out different wheels and figure out which one I wanted.  Instead of waiting, I decided to take home my new wheel, a Schacht Ladybug.  I strongly considered the Lendrum Double Treadle wheel, but the Ladybug really was the best fit.

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We are already making beautiful yarn together.

 

I’ve also cast on for a new pair of socks, but my knitting mojo is totally bleh right now.  Which is very unfortunate because I have some serious knitting to get done.

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I’m looking forward to knitting and wearing these socks, the pattern is Harvest Dew by Rose Hiver and the yarn is Muskoka Sunset from Blueberry Pie Studio.

On top of that knitting I have a wedding shawl to knit for my sister and a shawl for me to wear at her wedding.  I had cast on several weeks ago with the beautiful gold yarn she had ordered from Sweet Georgia Yarns, but I couldn’t make myself knit it.  However, my reticence was a good thing, because after some serious wedding planning with Carla and our mom last weekend we realized that it would be better for me to knit a pi shawl out of a cream colored yarn to be used as a veil rather than a shawl. The pattern I’m using is Heliotaxis Pi Shawl by Renata Brenner and the yarn is an undyed silk from Handmaiden Yarns that Carla bought on her trip down east last summer. I ordered a second skein so that it will be a full sized pi that can be used for future big events, like babies.

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Another big thing going on is that I’m now a proud owner of two boat shuttles, because I’m borrowing one of the Trillium Handspinners and Weavers Guild Dorothy table looms for a workshop with Jette Vandermeiden in June.  The guild had the  loom but not shuttles, but now I’m worried I’m going to enjoy multi-shaft weaving a bit too much and want a table or floor loom.  Also, the guild has a brand spanking new website, www.trilliumguild.com, which I created.  It’s still a work in progress, but this is a big step forward.

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The biggest thing going on, and a likely cause for my lack of crafting mojo, is that I’m moving on June 1st.  I found an apartment in Downtown Bracebridge, within walking distance of work with a balcony that faces the Muskoka River.  I’m currently in the process of packing all my things and getting ready to go.  But living in the mess I’ve created is really impacting my mental health.  The new spot is amazing.  It doesn’t have nearly as fancy floors but it has closets and cupboards that close and I can store my yarn in a far more useful and attractive way. I can’t wait to get moved into my new place and get my life back to normal again.

So, today was a great day of packing, Arrested Development and an impromptu visit from Carla and Jim (which included lunch at the Old Station, a peek at my new office and a trip to the Muskoka Brewery’s new location). I’m hoping this week goes quickly because I wanna get moved and get out of the mess I’ve made for myself in my apartment.

 

 

It’s still wool season here …

Happy First Day of Spring from Muskoka

Spring in Muskoka

Considering the lack of spring like weather I will have to console myself with more winter sock knitting, (Business Casual by Tanis Lavallee and the yarn is one of her OOAK yarns in Blue Label).

Business Casual Socks

And colorful new yarn from a new-ish Canadian indie dyer, Blueberry Pie Studio in Toronto.  The colorway is called Muskoka Sunset, and while I’m usually wary of multis the name and vibrancy of this colorway made it a mid-winter pick-me-up.

Muskoka Sunset

Hopefully soon we will be getting some actual Muskoka sunsets, on days like today its hard to remember what summer looks like, but summer will come back and we will get those sunsets that inspired the vibrant colorway.

Hello Bracebridge

Downtown Bracebridge on a spectacular September day

Sorry for the radio silence, I have been busy moving from my adopted hometown of Parry Sound, Ontario to Bracebridge, Ontario about 50mi (80km) southeast of Parry Sound in Muskoka.

Muskoka is famous for its lakes, it IS cottage country for many in the more urban and while there are many beautiful parts of Ontario where people have cottages (including Parry Sound/Georgian Bay, Haliburton, and the Kawarthas which are all located within spitting distance of Muskoka), Muskoka is the grande dame of cottage country, with three large lakes playing host to cottagers since the late 19th century.

Yeah, Muskoka is pretty spectacular

While many people choose to move to Muskoka in their retirement for its beauty (and to live the cottage lifestyle all year round), I moved for my job.  It is only a contract, but there are lots more options for me to work as a Stewardship/Conservation Educator or a Community Planner as there is a much larger population and more employers in my field.  Also, after living with my parents on and off since graduating from grad school in May 2010 it was time to move out again.

I moved just over a week ago and I’m finally settling in. I found a great apartment, out of town right on the Muskoka River with hardwood floors and vaulted ceilings, and thanks to my mom and sister it is starting to feel like home.

While things are going well here, but I’m pretty homesick for Parry Sound and Georgian Bay.

The Big Sound, how could I not be homesick for this!

One of the constants in my life has been moving.

Growing up, my Dad’s job moved us a few times, and since graduating from high school I have been moving every 2-3 years. When I moved to Parry Sound, it was just supposed to be for the summer, I was supposed to get a summer job and find something permanent in the fall.  Then summer turned to fall, fall into winter and my contract at the Georgian Bay Biosphere Reserve was up and I still hadn’t found anything else, a few months of unemployment and I came across another contract, for a year this time.  I couldn’t believe I had found work again in Parry Sound, it is a town of 6,500.

Without realizing it, Parry Sound had become as much a hometown as I have ever had.  Weekly dinners with my grandparents, going to the gym with my sister, making some really good friends (hi Laura), falling for my sister’s puppy, were all things I wasn’t expecting when I moved “home” to a backwater town in Northern Ontario from Austin, Texas.

Little Toshie has wormed her way into my heart, and I’m really not a dog person.

For the first time in my life, moving away doesn’t force me to abandon my old life.  Parry Sound is a 1 hour drive from Bracebridge, I did it every day this summer.  I already have my first trip back planned for September 29th for a community event (Doors Open Parry Sound) and a party at my sister’s place and to try out the new taco place that just opened the weekend I moved.

I am still knitting, and after a week of unpacking I spent last Saturday lazing around and finishing off a shawl/stole/scarf thing in Tosh DK and maybe this week I will tell you about my yarn show as an indigodragonfly Minion and how I got to meet the Yarn Harlot and finally posting about my other pair of Ravellenic Socks!