Advent Knitting

Last year I made an offhand comment on Facebook about the Opal Advent Calendar. Much to my surprise and delight my aunt bought me one for Christmas. It was so much fun opening the little windows to see the pretty new yarn each day. I loved advent calendars as a child, but mine pre-dated the chocolate variety (or any other type of gift) and only had little pictures inside. Yarn definitely beats pictures and sometimes (but not always) chocolate.*

 

 

By Christmas I was left with 24 mini balls of sock yarn and some questions about what I would do with them.

 

My anal knitter side wouldn’t let me make mis-matched socks. I find Opal slightly scratchy so I didn’t want to make a shawl or scarf. My back up plan was squares for my sock yarn blanket, but that didn’t seem quite right either. Then I stumbled across a pattern for Christmas ornaments knit from small amounts of sock yarn. Perfect!

 

There are two varieties: spiral:

 

And chevron:

 

Chevron is my favourite of the two. I had trouble with the spiral pattern that was completely related to my inability to count and completely unrelated to the pattern, but it’s finally working out.

 

Because I remain totally, hopelessly delusional about the amount of free time I have leading up the Christmas holidays and totally, hopelessly delusional about the speed at which I knit, I thought it would be fun to knit an ornament a day, sort of a reverse advent calendar. So far so good, but I’m traveling for work this week and I’m pretty sure things are about to go off the rails. I’m posting a picture a day (hopefully) on Instagram, so please follow along there.

 

* I’ve never really thought of yarn vs. chocolate. That’s a debate I’m not ready to have.

My Knit East 2017

Every other fall I look forward to attending Knit East. This biennial event is hosted by Cricket Cove in St. Andrews, NB. It’s 2 days of knitting, yarn, and learning in a gorgeous hotel only a couple hours from home. It’s about as good as it gets.

 

Knit East 2017 was held in late October, right at the peak of fall foliage in Southern New Brunswick. Two of my classes were held in the Rotunda; which reminds me a lot of a sunporch. With views like this, it doesn’t really matter what you call it.

View from my seat at this morning’s class. #KnitEast #KnitEast2017 #ExploreNB #TwoNationVacation

A post shared by Bonnie Morse (@bhmorse) on

 

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The Brown Sweater

In some ways it seems like forever and in others ways it’s like it was last summer that I took a pottery class with my mother and sister. I ended up making buttons there and to say they were “rustic” is a bit of an upgrade:

Nevertheless, I was proud of my accomplishment (and felt a bit like a third grader who made a lopsided ashtray in art class) and was determined I would knit something to actually use them. I knew had to be a substantial pattern to hold up (literally and figuratively) those buttons. No wimpy fingering weight would do here. To complicate things, I’ve knit 2 sweaters in my life: one over a decade ago and the other was a baby sweater. No matter, I could do this. I settled on the Annabel, an Aran weight sweater in garter stitch which should in theory result in a “quick knit”.

 

I settled into knitting. And I knit. And knit. I wrote a poem about knitting. And knit. And then, like many knitters, I grew bored and tossed it in a corner. Not forgotten as much as I might try.

 

Finally a few weeks ago I decided one way or another I was going to finish it. I as a little annoyed with myself: I only had half of an arm to do. (Really, that’s when I chose to quit?!?)

 

I finished sewing the buttons on this week. I had some mixed emotions; I can point out immeasurable mistakes. Most notably I’ve always had issues with sleeves being too long (I blame short arms for my lack of selfie prowess). Apparently this completely left my brain as the sleeves would probably work for a seven foot basketball player. I’ve decided that the rolled up sleeves are a design feature.

 

 

In the end, it’s not a great complicated knitting accomplishment but it’s not bad for a third sweater. It’s a cozy, squishy knit for a chilly fall day (I’m sure we’ll have one of those eventually).

 

Prayers for Everyone

I look at the news and I can’t understand.
I refresh Twitter and I keep shaking my head.
It doesn’t make sense.
I can’t understand.
How does this keep happening?
How can there be that much hate?
How do we stop it?
What can we do?
We can’t keep posting “Prayers for ______” and then walk away.
It’s something.
But it’s not enough.
One person isn’t, but many people are.
One person doesn’t have all the answers.
Maybe there’s more than one answer.
Maybe the answers are different than what I think they should be.
Maybe it’s as important to listen as it is to know.
Listen to all sides, about many issues.
Talk without yelling.
Then do.
Do something.
Try something.
And pray.
Prayers for Las Vegas.
Prayers for Edmonton.
Prayers for Paris.
Prayers for Columbine.
Prayers for Spain.
Prayers for Moncton.
Prayers for Orlando.
Prayers for Sandy Hook.
Prayers for everyone.

Cape Breton Fudge Company

This summer I had a couple of free hours in Sydney, Nova Scotia. A quick google search of “things to see nearby” turned up the Cape Breton Fudge Company. Never one to turn down sweets, I headed down the street. I have to admit I was slightly concerned when I came across this building:

It did not appear promising for souvenir shopping. I turned a corner and it felt like a dream sequence in a sitcom; there was practically music:

Such a cute little store. πŸ™‚

 

I was completely overwhelmed by the myriad of choices and ended up bringing home an assortment for my nieces and nephews:

 

It came packaged in a sweet little box:

With some added sweets thrown in:

 

Saltwater Taffy is always a hit in our office.

 

As for taste, I didn’t actually get any. But by the reports I got back, it disappeared quickly. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.

Stay the Course on Owner Operator

Back in July I had the privilege of attending a political announcement for my job.Β  Political speeches are nothing new, and often don’t say anything new. This one was different.Β  In it, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Dominic LeBlanc announced the government’s intent to enshrine the owner operator policy into the Fisheries Act. For fishermen, it means that the license holder owns and operates the boat; he (or she) is independent and not following the direction or control of someone else. For coastal communities in rural Canada, it means that the beneficial interest from the fishery flows from fishermen to the communities they live in. It’s something inshore fishermen have been fighting to maintain for decades, but particularly for the last five years when a Department of Fisheries and Oceans policy paper on “Modernizing the Fishery” omitted any mention of the owner operator policy. The fight has been long and the stakes are high. For many communities (like mine) fishery after fishery has become corporatized and those fishing boats, jobs, and money have left our island. Watching the corporate creep into the lobster fishery is like living the fishing version of Groundhog Day.

 

That’s why that July afternoon when the announcement was made, I freely admitted I got a little teary eyed. When I looked around the room full of burly fishermen and jaded industry reps, I wasn’t the only one. It was kind of a big deal, and we all knew it was. For that moment in time, there was a ray of hope against a backdrop of bureaucratic molasses climbing up a hill.

 

There’s been fear mongering from the other side about decreased license values and government taking licenses. It’s meant to distract and divert attention by people who have the most to gain from losing the owner operator policy. It’s a political tactic we’ve seen play out far too often on far bigger stages. I think fishermen are smarter than that. I think they’ve watched fleets and opportunities disappear from their wharves and they don’t want to lose any more. I think communities understand that if they want to maintain the way of life that they’ve had for generations, they need to make sure there is an opportunity for young people to enter the fishery as independent business owners, not as a paid per hour labourer for a corporate interest.

 

I think this because as the industry reps left the announcement in July and went home, we started having a similar experience. We were approached repeatedly in groceries stores, at the dentist, in the bank, at the wharf by different people with the same questions:

 

“Do you think they’re really going to fix owner operator?”

Do you think I’ll really be able to have my own boat and licence?”

 

That ray of hope I thought I’d glimpsed in other red rimmed eyes in Chester has spread. It’s an important fight; an important discussion. Too important to be distracted. Too important to lose.

 

Stay the course.