Posts Tagged ‘snow’


One of the best things about spending my workday catering to a toddler’s wishes is that I get to spend an inordinate amount of time just sitting at the window, looking at things.  Birds are a big hit – there’s a seagull who hangs out on a streetlight out front, and we often watch crows flying by.  And then when it snowed, I noticed the flock of robins that seem to visit the back yard quite regularly.  This is maybe half the group; it seems to be about 15-20 birds that visit the little ash tree daily.


Sadly, these fat, sassy birds are very shy and every time I tried to actually get outside and photograph them, they flew away.  In fact, as I took these photos from behind the glass, there were a few times when I felt they flew away because they noticed me looking away from my viewscreen and right at them.  Well, I do have eyes on the front of my head like a predator, so I suppose I can’t entirely blame them.


These guys aren’t even the fattest ones, but Big Fatty Robin was the most skittish, so you’ll just have to take my word that ze’s out there, looking rather as though a normal robin had put on a big fluff suit.  Kind of like this sweetie that somebody else photographed.

Speaking of fluffy, wonderful things, here’s another bit of fibrey goodness I just brought home.


That right there is a gorgeous braid of Blue-Faced Leicester/Silk top from, yes, my recent favourite, Everything Old!  It’s also proof that I am going to learn to spin!  Because I can’t let something that pretty sit in a drawer forever!

I’ll be learning to spindle spin, as I mentioned when I bought my starter spindles, partly because of the space issue, partly because I can buy a lot of drop spindles and fibre to spin them on for the price of even an inexpensive second-hand wheel, and partly (maybe the largest part) because I see drop spindling as a connection to a long line of fibre crafters stretching back through song and folktale into the dim mists of history.  In particular, my mother sings one Quebecois French Canadian turlute (a kind of folksong with mouth-music refrains, often sung at breakneck tongue-twister speeds) collected in Saskatchewan, featuring a woman with a distaff:

Dans mon chemin, j’ai fait rencontre d’une vieille… turlututu
D’une vieille… turluron, turlurette
D’une vieille… turluron, turluré
D’une vieille… rare beauté.

Je lui ai dit, ma bonne vielle, voudrais-tu faire… turlututu
Voudrais-tu faire… turluron, turlurette
Voudrais-tu faire… turluron, turluré
Voudrais-tu… m’embrasser ?

La bonne vieille avec sa quenouillette, a voulu faire… turlututu
A voulu faire… turluron, turlurette
A voulu faire… turluron, turluré
A voulu me… frapper.

C’est les jeunes filles de notre village, ils ont des beaux…turlututu
Ils ont des beaux… turluron, turlurette
Ils ont des beaux… turluron, turluré
Ils ont des beaux…jupons picquets!

C’est les garçons de notre village, ils ont des beaux…turlututu
Ils ont des beaux… turluron, turlurette
Ils ont des beaux… turluron, turluré
Ils ont des beaux… caleçons barrés!

Which is to say:

In my street I met an old…
an old…
an old…rare beauty!

I said to her, “my dear, would you like to…?
would you…
would you like to…give me a kiss?”

The old woman with her distaff wanted to…
wanted to…
wanted to…beat me!

“It’s the young girls in our town, they have the pretty…
They have the pretty…
They have the pretty…lace petticoats!

And it’s the young men in our town, they have the handsome…
They have the handsome…
They have the handsome…striped undershirts!”

(Apologies if my translation is inaccurate…I think it’s close enough to convey the idea, but French 12 was a long time ago now)

I want to be a sassy spindle-wielding Woman Of A Certain Age, and beat men who get fresh with me with my fibre transportation system!  Plus, the word quenouillette is just so fun to say!  And so I snuggle my fluffy fibre and pet my pretty spindles and plan to register for a drop-spindling class early next week!


edited to add and correct a few points after singing this through with my mother and getting lightly schooled

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Hester in the works

I started knitting Ms. Prynne (that’s Hester Prynne, she of the Scarlet Letter) at the beginning of the month as part of a knit-along in the What Would Madame DeFarge Knit group on Ravelry.  As I wrote back in the summer, Ms. Prynne was the first thing that popped into my head when thinking of ways to put my gorgeous pink Kattikloo sock yarn up close to my face where it belongs.  But I was unsure.  See, I have a horror of high necks!  I find turtlenecks uncomfortable, and as a woman with a generous bustline I have very much internalized the concept (brought to you by What Not To Wear) that lower necklines look better on a frame like mine – a concept that I assure you is borne out in photographic evidence.  And as Em at Everything Old said, cowls are either close-fitting enough to be warm, or loose enough to look good!  But although I looked at pages and pages of patterns, I couldn’t find any other neckwarmers that felt right for the yarn, so Ms. Prynne it was!   I chose some fabulous, funky beads left over from another project and got to work!


And then this happened:


All week, it’s been below zero.  And not just a tiny bit, but like -4 or 5 degrees ALL DAY.  I know half the continent (and all of Canada, except Vancouver) is laughing at me, but really, in a normal year we get temperatures around 0 or -1 intermittently, and occasionally maybe get down as low as -3, but most of the winter will be around 5-10ºC, so this week has really been exceptional, and not just because of the unusually solid precipitation!

The day after the first big dump, the day when I went to work thinking “well, that was pretty but it’ll all be gone by tonight” and came home going “WHERE AM I, TORONTO?” I was waiting for the bus with a shawlette tucked point-forward into my winter coat (it’s not actually a coat; it’s actually a sweater with a zipper) and my hood pulled up, but god damn if my neck wasn’t freezing!  The shawlette does a great job of warming where my low-cut tops leave me exposed, and my face is apparently willing to Just Deal With It, but there was evidently a hole in my wardrobe.  A hole that only Ms. Prynne could fill!  But although I worked at top speed that evening I was not able to finish it, nor have I yet.  So I decided it was time to take fashion into my own hands:


Yes, that’s me wearing my unfinished cowl, ball of yarn tucked safe in a pocket.  Yes, I know it was brave of me to go out with my needles uncapped, and yes, I did have to pick up a couple of stitches after I put it on incautiously and dropped the last few.  Hopefully I’ll get it finished before we have any more really cold weather (it’s started raining now and temperatures are supposed to be up around 6º or more, so presumably I’ll have some time).  And I decided that A) it doesn’t look that bad, high neck or no, and B) it’s such a comfortable garment that I don’t even care, so nyah!   Next, I will KNIT ALL THE COWLS.  ALL OF THEM ALL THE TIME!

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sad dolls in snow

Those darn job things have their uses, but they do keep a person from getting in any daytime photography.  Still, is there any better time to photograph snow than dusk?  (Some might argue “Yes, any time there’s enough light for your camera to work properly.”  To them I say “Nyah!”)  And it is, after all, Victoria…I’m already surprised that the snow has been here on and off for two days, and I have no hope that it will still be around on the weekend.


I flatter myself that in her Pevensie coat, Rada really does look like Lucy Pevensie wandering into Narnia for the first time.  Only the coat fits her too well, heh.


Suzuha’s just a snow fairy plain and simple, perhaps admiring her own handiwork with the withered apples on our little tree.

Happy snow day!

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Snow Days

It doesn’t snow often here on the wet coast.  Rarer still to get more than a centimetre or so, and for it to stick around more than a day.  Well, it started snowing on Monday and there’s still white stuff out there now, although temperatures are supposed to rise and rain to fall this afternoon.  They say make hay while the sun shines; I say take photos while the snow falls!

Here is Snegurochka, the snow maiden, in her natural habitat.


And look – an elf!  Perhaps he got lost on his way up north!



A little girl took advantage of this rare opportunity to make a snowman.  Something about the white light from the snow makes her rosy cheeks even more adorable!




The coat Rada is wearing is a pretty heavily adapted Swing Thing (Rav link), knit from locally sourced hand spun alpaca that I picked up at the Saanich Fair a couple of years ago.  Adapting the coat was a big pain in the butt because I was absolutely going to use this yarn, come hell or high water, but the smallest gauge I could get was 1/2 the written one, instead of the 1/3 gauge I needed in order to just follow the pattern.  If anyone’s interested in the details, I wrote a bit in my project notes over at Ravelry.  In the end, I think it turned out amazingly well and I’m glad I didn’t give up and switch yarn.  The heavier fabric is just perfect for the look of this coat – it looks perfectly believable as winter outerwear.

I was still working on the coat on Monday when I took the first photos (in fact, I’d put it down in favour of giftmas-related knitting until I saw white stuff drifting down).  I was worried that I’d miss the snow (no such luck!), but in the end the delay was a blessing.  Gareth took a snow day or two this week (-5 and snowy?  Not the best day to start building a fence!) & we spent Tuesday hauling bins out of storage that have been there since the spring when we had to HIDE ALL THE STUFF because the house we rent a suite in was on the market.  We got rid of a tonne of stuff and found a few things we’d been missing – including the doll stands I tried unsuccessfully to hunt down for the first snow day.  I don’t normally bother with stands – the dolls do extremely well on their own 2 feet, especially when stood on a table or shelf – but for outdoor photo shoots, it’s nice not to have to worry about this:


Dignity, Vasilisa’s got it!

Anyway, now that I’ve got a bunch of lovely photos out of it, the snow can just blow back from whence it came for the rest of the winter.  Unless it wants to come and hang out for a day or two at Christmas…

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