Wednesday, May 31, 2006

My wake up call

I know my alarm clock has a snooze button but I never use it. I have always sprung out of bed. Notice I am not saying I spring out of bed with a song in my heart. In fact, when I was younger my family knew that it was best to leave me alone for at least ten minutes upon rising. Like fine wine, I have improved with age. I still don't sing but at least I don't thunder. At the first beep of my alarm I arise. I have even been known to rise a minute before my alarm sounds. All of this simply to say, I do not need extra help in rising. Unfortunately, I feed my cats first thing in the morning. This has lead to a problem. Sammy has begun to wake me five minutes before my alarm. He and I both know he is not starving. He is a big fat cat who can survive those five minutes. Yet he has taken it upon himself to "help" my alarm clock. This morning Sammy and I had a nice long talk. I expressed my need for the extra five minutes and my annoyance at his behaviour. He listened and hopefully understood. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Mayne Island's writers group

You may recall that one of the reasons that I started this blog was to improve my writing skills. I made a pact that I would post one entry each day. I have been more or less faithful to this pact. The occasional slip has occurred - after all I am only human.

On Mayne Island, I established a writers group hoping that this too would help. It did help enormously.

It was relatively easy to establish the group. In a small island it is easy to discover people with like interests. I found word of mouth the best way to advertise. We meet in our local library - after hours.

I found a group of talented supportive people who aided my growth as a writer.

Unfortunately, life happens and people's priority chance. I was worried that the writers group was dieing a slow painful death. Fewer and fewer people showed up for the monthly meetings. Last month and this there were just two of us. I had begun to come to terms with the fact that I would lose this useful group. However, last night Hubby informed me that a mutual friend would be moving to the island full-time. She is a published authour. She is interested in joining the group. I know of at least one other person who is eager to attend the group. Three the magic number. Two is sure death but three is growth. You can build on three.
Wish us luck. Positive thoughts are always appreciated. : )

Monday, May 29, 2006

Knitting camp (continued)

Continued from Friday's (May 26th) post...

Quoted from an email sent from Pete to Dean.
"Just saw Mary Lee. Don't know what happened on the phone...I hate to break it to you pal...but she ain't your cheerleader any longer. She warned me that my presence better not be one of your twisted plans to meet chicks. She handed me a list...A List...of questions
1) gauge - explain it...
2) How to prevent zig-zags in your knitting
and a knitting pattern book. Then she told me that I better have answers by the time we dock. She also wants me to select a project to knit. Instead of scoping out the prospects I will be back in school studying...studying knitting? Thanks a lot man! Me and five chicks stuck on a private island for four days - it did have potential. Then reality hits. The instructor hates association. And it looks like I'll be stuck knitting the whole time anyway. Oh ya and Mary Lee just dropped yet another cheery note. "You can kiss your email, cell and such good-bye" . Apparently the island is not in the civilized zone. She says its the best way to learn: total immersion. "If you're serious, you should thoroughly enjoy it." She said and then flashed me this she knows...thanks a lot pal.

Copyright by Leanne Dyck on May 29, 2006

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Knitalong: the end

The bottom of my version was worked in Stockinette stitch. I cast off my first blocks in these stitch following the pattern. I soon discovered the necessity to rip the cast off row back and re-do in a rib stitch (knit one, purl one). This then allows the cast off row to stretch.
Seen here are the bottom Stockinette stitch blocks, the top seed stitch blocks and a sleeve. The sleeve is worked in:
Row 1: knit - to end of row.
Row 2: *knit one, purl - repeat from * to end of row.
Repeat row 1 and 2 for pattern.

Here you see the back.

Seen here, the front and back as well as neck and shoulder seams sewn together.
All sews done - accept the side and sleeve seams.
The back: I outlined the blue blocks in a blanket stitch. This gives the sweater a primitive look.
The front: I'm not totally thrilled with it. I can see revisiting the design idea in the future. I like the portability of the design. I dislike the amount of finishing involved. The design would make an excellent group project.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Knitting camp

I know...I know...I promised a picture of my finished Knitalong. Sunday I promise. No excuses. In fact, I promise you even more. I will walk you through the finishing process.
Now. I just wrote this. It needs an audience so can I please borrow your eyes, thank you.

Two guys talking...
"All I want is a nice old fashioned girl...what is wrong with that."
"Yawn. How would you like me to categorize my response: alphabetically or..."
"Very funny. We're not all cut-out for mindless, emotionaless one night stands."
"Pity that. They are tons of fun."
"Can you be at all helpful?"
"Oh, you're being serious. You seriously want me to help you find a sweet old fashioned girl."
"No, I just you to mock my problem."
"I have tried...Let's see sweet old fashioned girl, old fashioned, handmade, handicrafts, crafts done with your hands...Brilliant. I am truly brilliant. You, my friend, should take up knitting."
"I said old fashioned not old."
"Have you seen the women who are knitting these days?"
"No, no I can't say that I have...which is rather strange what with my passion for textiles and everything."
"They are sexy! Young, hot, and ever so caring. Caring in a nice old fashioned way."
"How would you know?"
"Remember Mary Lee."
"44, 28, 34"
"That's her. Well, she knit me this sweater. She was passionate about knitting. She was passionate about a few things as I recall."
"So, where is she?"
"I could give her a call. Set you up..."
"No, thanks, I don't want your sloppy seconds. I simply meant if she was so perfect why'd you break it off?"
"Sweater curse: They knit you a sweater. It marks you as theirs. Its like a dog peeing on a tree. I'm no tree. I won't be marked."
"So, you ditched the knitter but kept the sweater?"
"I'm way too much for one woman."
"You're too much, alright. So knitting? How does that help me? I can't knit."
"That's the beauty of it, my boy. She'll teach you to knit while you teach her other things."
"So where would I meet 'her'. Where do knitters flock?"
"Mary Lee was always trying to drag me off to some knitting camp. She taught at one during the summer. If you like I can give her a call and get all the info."
"Sure. Why not. I can't imagine there are too many guys this desperate. The ratio could work out quite nicely in my favour."

Copyright by Leanne Dyck on May 26, 2006

Thursday, May 25, 2006

A little bit of a write-off

Well, in terms of this blog, unfortunately, this week has been a little bit of a write-off. Few posts early this week simply because my "island jobs" would not allow it. Yesterday my computer was recovering from a power outage that occurred the day before. Yesterday the post was scheduled from 7:00 am to 7:30 am. I knew I had to make the ferry at 7:30 am. I ran to my computer ready to type quickly. No such luck. I did have luck in the mall however. 'Astra' 10 balls and 'Canadiana' 12 balls for just over $40.00. It was all I could do not to buy out the all of the remaining yarn stock. Lewiscraft is offering great sales right now. Why? They are being forced to close some of their branches. So run don't walk to your nearest Lewiscraft. Maybe "going off island" has it's plus side. Look for these colours in Olavia's fall fashions.
Next post: Sewing up my Knitalong.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Hunting the wild Muskoka

Hubby, with his own two hands, built me this beautiful knitting chair. I dream of the days when I can fully embrace my career as a knitwear designer. I will not cry over the lose of my "island jobs". Just imagine hours and hours of knitting, writing and dreaming.
This will be my view.
Happy knitting
until tomorrow when I present my lame excuse of "just where was I" and what about the "knitalong".

Friday, May 19, 2006

Writing for an on-line newsletter

Yesterday I received an exciting invitation. Yet another venue to showcase my writing. When it comes to writing there is only one thing I like more than actually writing: having someone read it. So I was thrilled to have this email delivered:
Lori of Ram Wools wrote: We are seeking 't find out what the guilds and knitting groups across the country are up to. If you, or anyone you know, would like to drop us a "newsy" little report about their guilds, projects they are working on, or charity work that they support, we would love to publish it in the newsletter. Basically, we are looking to bring knitters across North America together, promote the craft and become information resource, not just another yarn store.
If you have any interesting ideas to share, or know of people who might like to contribute, please feel free to share my email address with them.
Lori's email address is:
Ram wools web site address is:
Ram wools' newsletter may be accessed by logging on to:
or follow the links on the Ram Wools web site.
I hope you will consider write a little something. I have begun to plan my contribution.
Write on!

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Angels on my doorstep

I live in a very special place. Island life builds in residents self-sufficiency and thoughtfulness.
A few days ago I was working merrily in my studio when Hubby comes in, "Someone left this book for you."

When, several months ago, I posted a blog in which I selected this book as one I wanted to read I never dreamed it would materialize on my doorstep. I am enjoying my read: light and easy. Currently I am on chapter three and am already beginning to see how the plot will play out. ...not rocket science. ...but nice and relaxing. Thank you, Marion

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Knitting notes

Authour Judy Brown explains that KNITTING NOTES was: "created so you could record your knitting projects, as well as your thoughts and ideas about knitting." Scrapbooking for knitters. As well as inviting you to record your knitting experiences Judy has also invited fellow writers to share their talent: Valerie Falconer's poem: Sasha's Sweater. and...

To order, visit:

Tomorrow: Angels at my doorstep

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Marketing hand knits

First let me start with an apology. I promised you pictures of my ArtCraft wares. I am afraid the last couple of days before the deadline where a complete blur. ...and so, sadly, the pictures just never where taken. I hope to do better next year.
My wares where exported from Mayne Island to Saltspring Island by Marlyn and Dave of Quasimodo Pottery. Please visit their web site at:
Mayne Island artists/artisans have come to rely on Marlyn and Dave. All they ask is that we deliver our inventory to their house. That's it nothing more. So please visit their site. They deserve as much traffic as I can send them.
Marlyn and Dave deliver to
Even though this site is dated (2004) very little has changed. The gallery is run entirely by volunteers: all members of Gulf Islands Community Arts Council. This is, I think, my third year. I am hoping for yet another good year. Wish me luck.

Tomorrow: KNITTING NOTES ...or what arrived in the mail.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Electric bike

I am very pleased to report that I do have my electric bike back. I couldn't be happier!! Much thanks to the fine people of Greenworld Electric bikes in Victoria on Vancouver Island in BC.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

An ode to my Mom

For years after Mom passed Mother's day for me was a day to wallow in self pity. She had been my rock, my best friend. Now I was alone. She was gone.
Hubby and friends, sensing my lose, attempted to give me gifts of pleasure. Feeling my lips forming a smile I was overcome my guilt. How could I betray her memory? Then one day I felt Mom so very near to me. She was annoyed. This is what she said:

A Mother's tasks are many,

Rewards are but a few,

One reward is to see you happy,

So smile darn you.


Your Mother

Knitalong: block to block

Boy, was I away a long time. Glad to be back.
I found the best mirror in the world. It is in the Cannnery restaurant in Vancounver. Out by the docks. If you want to feel good about yourself run don't walk to the woman's washroom in this fine restaurant. The restaurant itself provides you with mouthwatering meals while you enjoy ocean vistas. (Don't worry if you are a vegan they are pleasantly accommodating.) Take my advice, excuse yourself between mouthfuls and venture downstairs to the loo. The trip will be worth it when you see your reflection in the mirror. Am I vain enough...maybe. Moving on...

This post will guide you through sewing up "what you have knit".
1) Grab two "block A" s. Match cast on rows to cast on rows and cast off rows to cast off rows. Sew a seam connecting these two blocks.
2) Grab two "block B" s. Match cast on rows to cast on rows and cast off rows to cast off rows. Sew a seam connecting these two blocks.
3) Grab a "block C" and a "block D". Sew a seam connecting the cast off row to the cast on row.
You have completed the front and one sleeve. ...oh did I say too much?
Continue steps 1 to 3 for the back and the second sleeve.
Once you have finished that sew the shoulder seams. Then sew on the sleeves. Then sew the side seams. The last step is to weave in the ends.
Need clarity...please email:

Next week-end log on for a picture of the result I received.
Monday: was there a happy ending to the saga of my electric bike?

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

I'll be right back

Hubby and I will be off island for a few days. I will write to you soon.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

I don't mean to complain but come on...

I promise you this blog will not be used as a soapbox to complain about every little thing. However, I just have to get this off my chest or I will explode. Doesn't this bike look fun. It was fun too. I drove it with pride knowing that it was generating zero-emissions. Sadly, the love affair was doomed. I had it for a brief period from December 31st to March 17th. Then I had to send it off island to Green World Electric Bikes on 725 Yates Street Victoria, BC to be repaired. I was given assurance that my bike would be returned shortly. No longer than a week. Granted they had yet to actually look at it. ...but come on it is now May 9th. Frustration is increased when I step outside into the perfect bike riding weather. Just last week I had a nice talk with the owner. She has always been polite. She promised me that all would be resolved last week. Well the week came and went and no bike. This morning I phoned again and there was not a soul there. How much longer? Your guess is as good as mine. Shall I pitch my tent on their doorstep? All I want is my bike back in good working order. Is this too much to ask?
Late breaking news: Just got off the phone with Green World and my bike maybe ready for pick up this Friday. All cheer. Please keep your fingers and toes crossed. Thank you all for your positive thoughts. I will keep you posted regarding this saga. "Will Leanne get her bike on Friday?" Stay glued to your computer and be one of the first to know. Here's hoping.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Down to the wire

A fellow artisan has kindly offered to take my inventory over the sea to Saltspring Island. There it will be sold in a beautiful little boutique known as "ArtCraft". Only one problem remains: I need to finish assembling it. Most of the knitting, expect for a few small pieces, is finished. I have knit so much that I had to don a tensor bandage to support my pained wrist. I know...I know...I should rest my wrist more and knit less. Wise words have never been better said. I have been stretching my wrist and this seems to help. I need this current week to last. Saturday, d-day, looms large. Your good thoughts are most welcome. I will take a few pics when all is done.
Watch those needles fly. : )

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Where was I?

I apologize. It was not my intention to be silent for so long. It is merely the result of computer trouble. My repeated attempts to post yielded me nothing. I'm not even sure this will get through to you. I feel like I am adrift in cyperspace. I want so badly to reach you ...but sadly can not. Please hold on. Please have faith.
Here's goes nothing...
In my last post I promised this post would be about "lengthening a sweater".
I have a long back. Those who have an "average" back length may be thinking, "Big deal?" Ah, you don't know. We of the long back always have a delightful gap between our top and our pants. Crop tops are one thing...but this gap is something else. You "average" backs think its cute to run your cold fingers across this gap. Well, guess what: IT'S NOT!! I would often long for just a few more inches of fabric. This need gave me even more desire to learn to knit. Finally, I would have a sweater that covered my whole back. The trouble is that most knitting patterns are written for the "average" back. I had to learn how to add a few inches. Adding length to a dropped sleeve sweater, I learnt, is not a problem. Carefully measure your back. Then simply keep knitting until you have added those few necessary inches. Ensure that the front and back are the same length. Set-in sleeve tops present a problem. Exactly where do you add those extra inches? The answer: between the waist and the armhole. Of course this also works in reverse for you of the short back. Lucky, lucky you you will be wearing your new sweater before me. Just think of the yarn you will save.
I haven't forgotten the "Mystery Knitalong". I wanted to give you the last installment yesterday. Sadly, that was just not possible. So log in May 13th for a guide on what block fits where. Then on May 20th I will end the mystery by posting a picture of what I have created.
Now I will hit "publish post" and hopefully....

Thursday, May 04, 2006

A trick to aide in the selection of size of sweater to knit

Okay, so you have selected a pattern. How do you know what size to knit?
Here's a trick: Go to your closet or dresser drawer. Select a sweater that fits you the way you want the sweater you are about to knit to fit: snug, loose, etc. Spread the sweater out on your bed. Read the pattern. Find what you believe to be your size. Find the line that tells you how many stitches to cast on for your size. Cast on that number of stitches. Work that number of stitches for four inches. Now lay your knitting on top of your sweater. Compare the width of each. Remember that your sweater has no doubt stretched a little with wear.
Hope this has helped : )

Next post: how to adjust a pattern's length.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I'm going home...and other pleasures

I am all for living my life years ahead of the present moment. This strategy has served me well. And I have faith that it will not fail me now.
You see my adult self knows that I am a Mayne Islander. I love the island ways. We travel through life at our own pace admiring the beauty that surrounds us. Talking with our neighbours. Stopping to admire an extremely long slug, watching a deer feast on our plants, or smelling the roses. The adult me delights in this life.
My inner child (sorry) misses home. She wonders what happened to the sky that goes on and on for miles. She wonders where her cousins, aunts, uncles, and brothers went. She even misses mostiques.
It has been over five years since I was last in Manitoba. I have told many that I don't care if I ever leave my island. On the surface this is true. However, little me has stomped her little foot and demanded attention. She apparently has had enough and wants to go home.
And so in 2007 I am headed east.
Not only that but I will also be indulging my "folkie" self.
I was introduced to the Winnipeg Folk Festival by a dear friend. I was naive. I thought I was simply attending a music festival. I did not realize that I would go through a transformation. I did not know I would be shaped and molded and would return changed forever. The Winnipeg Folk Festival is more than a simple music festival it is a community. A family that embraces creativity. To enjoy it fully you have to go with a open heart and mind. You must become part of the community by pitching your tent under the stars. Bugs, sun, rain, soil, trees, grass, and every where music we share it all for four days. Then sadly it is over. In 2007 I will once again share in these delights.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

"Why?...knit" an ebook

It is the time of the owl. The sun has long since set: a black blanket envelopes the earth. All is quiet...and still I am drawn by a wordless call. I am careful to wake no one as I leave my slumber. I wrap my shawl around my night-gowned shoulders, grab my purse and slip into the night. I leave the familiar and travel deep into the forest. I do not tarry. My footfalls are quick and sure. I come to a natural clearing in the woods.
"Where am I? What happens? I want more." I hear your protest. You will get more once my book is finished. "When?" I am hoping by this fall. I will let you know. Thank you for your interest.

Tomorrow: I'm going home ...and more pleasures.

Monday, May 01, 2006

something's growing

right outside my studio window. Though the tree is tiny each branck holds about four or five flowers. Size is only a problem if you let it be.

Tomorrow: "Why?...knit" ebook.