Sunday, November 29, 2009

the tour goes on

The professor got back to Winnipeg safe and sound and brought home a treat for me. He often goes to collect his moths in an area near Homestead, Florida. He goes to the Robert is Here fruit stand, where they sell all sorts of tropical fruits. Usually, he has himself a keylime milkshake (these milkshakes are top notch!) and he buys me passion fruits, which I really enjoy when he gets home. What is particularly interesting is that technically, bringing fruit from the US to another country can be difficult. (it's one of those questions they ask you on the customs form.) However, there is no real danger of contaminating Winnipeg with passion fruit diseases. One winter's hard freeze will certainly get rid of any tropical fruit diseases we might bring along home in one bag of passion fruits!

The "heat wave" here seems to be passing and we've had a couple of light dustings of snow. The snow doesn't stay around for long and it doesn't amount to much. Supposedly, that will change soon. In the meanwhile, I shot a photo of it so I can remember --we didn't have much snow in November. :)

I'm still really enjoying my time outside. Granted, it hasn't gotten much above about 35F this week, but that is apparently "tropical" for Winnipeg this time of year. I kept meaning to take a photo of the amazing elms that line our street...and then of course, the canopy of greenery turned color and came down. Yet, even now, the trees are majestic skeletons that reach the sky.

In the U.S., the professor and I have been in many small towns where there is some mention of the elms that "used to" line the streets. Sometimes there are replacements--other varieties of trees--and sometimes there are few trees along the streets. That is because Dutch Elm Disease basically wiped out the elms in most of North America. Manitoba has a lot of its elms left...cold weather and an active prevention program have saved many elm trees.

I'd never seen elms "the way they used to look" before moving to Winnipeg, and I find it awesome and inspirational. Every walk under the canopy of these trees finds me thinking about how lucky it is that, so far, these elms have survived.

I can't let the end of November come without mentioning the 95th birthday month of our house. Most people who buy an older home have no idea exactly when it was built. There's a lot we're still wondering about ours, frankly. However, we have this little homemade "plaque" above the entry to our living room. It's a bare spot of plaster that's never been painted. It's framed by molding and on the image to read it for yourself! (also, if you can figure out that first name at the top, please let me know what you think it says in the comments!) Hopefully, we'll be here for a big bash on November 18, 2014. Seems like 100 years is a good reason to throw a party...maybe an "open house?"

We are celebrating this big birthday by doing lots of home repairs. The professor feels he has a new hobby called "recreational plumbing!" (as in, if you want the toilet to work or that faucet to stop dripping, well, take up plumbing as a serious hobby!) I've also been hanging pictures, cleaning, and trying to take care of other house frequent radiator bleeds. It's an adventure, owning a house this old, but so far I like the house because of (rather than despite) its age.
Another special part of this house is that the front door opens into a small anteroom. This room has hooks for coats, window seats for putting on boots, and room for dog towels, leashes, and other important winter details. It's also the place where I am able to show you how my knitting is being put to good use!
Many of the knitted samples from my books have been kept pristine, in case anyone should like to see these as a trunk show or at a lecture I give...someday. (the requests aren't exactly rolling in...) That said, my handspun cashmere Gator Gaiter, pictured here from Knit Green, is seeing a lot of use. (project links are available on The white hat is the women's or small size of the Icelandic Winter Cap from Fiber Gathering. I love this hat and it is wearing very well!

Both of these projects are quick ones, if you're looking for holiday knitting ideas... I can vouch for them both--at least for me, they are warm, reasonably attractive, and comfortable.
You'll note there are no more pictures of my Icelandic wool spinning--I think I've just finished bobbin seven. It's getting a little monotonous, so no more photos for now...
So, what do you think that first name is on the signed portion of my living room wall? Any guesses?

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Wednesday, November 25, 2009


One sturdy, portable folding black music stand.
This music stand was given to me by the religious school class I taught. The kids and their parents gave it to me in the early '90's. It is well traveled, much loved and has lived in upstate New York, Virginia, North Carolina and Kentucky. It's new home should be in Winnipeg. Somewhere.

Last seen during the packing of my house in Kentucky.

Note: This is one of those things you don't need to unpack right away. However, it eventually occurs to me that it might be useful to have it, say, when I'm playing music. Thus began a "*pop up from the couch, do a focused search, return to the couch, defeated, start doing something else that might have been productive, and then....*return to asterisk and repeat" sort of day.

The professor says, --and yes, this might be logical, since it was stored in my office before--
"Do you think, (long long pause) maybe... it's in a box of wool?"

Well yes. It might be, clever man... I've looked briefly through the 30 boxes up here on the third floor of the house and I can't find it. I've found numerous other skeins of yarn, stashed where I least expected them. I've found all my boxes of roving, formerly used to pack photos. (Photos still not up on the wall. Yes, I know, we're working on that.) Brief moment spent wondering if that roving could possibly be compressed into, say, 5 or 6 boxes instead of the 10 it's in now.

Rediscovery of multiple bags of wool used as padding in other bags. Oh! I wondered where this Rambouillet went to... (no, actually, I'd forgotten I'd had all that. Left my mind completely.)

I hate losing stuff. Yet, I'm feeling that the only way to find this might be to empty every single box and reorganize the whole household. Oy, I'm not up for that. I just moved! It should be here....somewhere?

(Yes, I'd planned an entirely different sort of blog post, but now I can't focus. I can't find the #$)(%#@ music stand.--add your own frustrating bad word in as it comes to you. I'm sure you know how this feels...)

Found after much searching, one music stand, carefully tucked away in the back of a desk drawer. I spun Icelandic wool and thought about this a long time. I checked every box. Then? I remembered drawers. Thank goodness for drawers. Finally! (and yes, I would have likely stayed awake until I found good this happened by 7pm.)

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

I tell you zee joke

A couple nights ago, the professor and I were talking about science presentations and things. I brought up a recent conference that I read it about. The meeting was held to dicuss the increased difficulties and issues, due to melting ice, regarding polar bear and human interaction. Apparently the meeting was very popular and useful because of the increased polar bear/human interaction and danger all over the world. People came from the U.S., Greenland, Canada, and several other countries to attend the meeting.

Then my professor says, "And what was polar bear attendance like?"

Suddenly he starts making these weirdo moaning noises that polar bears make. We only know these noises from when we watch them on nature shows or at the zoo; we haven't been up to Churchill, Manitoba yet to see the polar bears ourselves. (We know people who have been there and scientists who study them, though...)

I start laughing and ask him what he is doing. He says, "Oh, this is what I think the polar bear powerpoint presentations are like." (Yeah, all the slides are white. Every last one of them.)

PS: I thought I'd tell you about this joke today because I went skating this afternoon at a rec center about a mile or two from my house. When I was skating around and around, I realized I didn't have a camera. Also, I couldn't possibly have managed a photo while dodging all the pint sized kids zooming around me on their hockey skates. For the first time I've skated in perhaps 13-15 years, (at least since college) all went well. I didn't fall, and my new stiff figure skates and I managed to stay afloat for about 40 minutes before I called it a day. My ankles hurt like they were on fire---but I'll be out again to build up those muscles soon! I can't believe I used to be good at this--I'm so rusty! However, well, the ice looked alot like the professor's description of a polar bear powerpoint presentation. It's possible tomorrow I'll be copying the moaning sounds of the polar bears too if my ankles are sore...

So, did you think this was as funny as I did? Please let me know!

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Thursday, November 19, 2009

days flying by

It's apparently very warm here for November...hitting at least 40 to 45F every day. Since it's my first fall in Winnipeg, I don't know what to expect, and I don't mind! I've been doing all the dog walks lately as the professor is out of town. (He's coming back late tonight, he's been off doing field work and collecting moths.)

This is what I told a friend about the experience in an email:
I always wondered whether I would like the (prairie) western landscape before I moved here. I mean, it is flat flat flat. However, it's also wide open, spacious and beautiful.The streets are laid out logically, aside from the rivers which intersect the city. I also love the fact that I have now figured out which way to walk the dogs to see the horizon and the sunset, and in which direction to go if I want to see the sunrise. Of course, I'd need to be outside, but you know what I mean. :)

It is still a lot of work adapting to life here, I'm working hard. That said, it is worth the effort.

As a result of the 2 walks a day, doing all the house chores on my own, etc., my spinning efforts have fallen behind. I'm on only bobbin 3 of the Icelandic wool, and I'd hoped to send my mom home with 10-15 skeins of yarn! Well, I need to get a move on. So, while I was on the phone this morning, I hopefully hurried up the process by teasing a lot of wool ahead of time, so I wouldn't have to do it while spinning.

It's got a look of cappucino froth when it's all poofed up like that! I hope I'll be able to make more of a dent in things by the time my mom arrives in early December.

Other work adventures are taking up time as well. I'm teaching some teenagers in a local Jewish leadership program on an occasional basis. (sort of when the program organizers need me!) Part of that is doing some music with them, and gosh, I'm rusty. I've been practicing guitar and trying to build up my callouses again so each time I strum isn't quite so painful! This, of course, leaves less time for spinning, knitting and typing, all of which require the same darn set of hands. (In a whimsical vein, I was wishing I were able to borrow from another religious tradition here and have a few more sets of hands!)

Finally, I made time to visit my local Canadian Tire and buy myself a brand new set of skates! I know exactly when I got my last pair, over 20 years ago, and those were too small. The only other pair I have were my Mom's (from her college years!), and while the calfskin was supple, they were no longer very sturdy and had no ankle support. I was amazed to leave the shop having paid only roughly $40 Canadian for a brand new set of skates, sharpened at the store. When I got my last pair (again, a long time ago) in the DC area, I remember that they cost at least twice this, in US dollars.

Folks are often saying things must be more expensive here than in the US. Well, it depends. Flour is really inexpensive here--we're lots closer to where wheat is grown and milled. Skates? We're in the land of winter skating here--universal skates for everyone! Health care? (you've heard it's free, right?)

What's more expensive? Books. Cars. Heat. It just depends--like moving anywhere new.

I'm off to take my second walk of the day now with the canine members of the household. Last bits of news:
We've been talking about a potential Knit Along (KAL) over here on Ravelry...(please join us!)
Another friend is doing some fascinating musing about identity, process, and culture over on her the context of knitting! I find it very interesting--and relevant since I'm having a big shift this year myself from Kentucky to Manitoba.

Off to walk into the sunset!

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Monday, November 16, 2009

taking the tour

Many times, I think knitting someone else's design is like taking a tour. You're exploring how someone else thinks and works, seeing what their strengths, interests, and weaknesses are, and, if you're me, analyzing how that works compared to my designs.

Part of my "move to Canada" knitting was doing just this--I decided to knit a Lady of the Lake kit by Fleece Artist, a Canadian handdyer and designer. I finished the sweater last week. The photo has a stripe of sunlight across the bottom--that's not a change in the colors of the sweater!

It fits nicely and I think the design is flattering. The way it was designed was innovative--only down side was that the pattern could have used some tech editing. I'm a stickler for the details sometimes!

This past weekend I had some knitting time while taking a bus tour of historic Jewish Winnipeg. My professor was the one signed up for the trip but he ended up on a work trip instead, so I decided to take his place. He asked me to recount the I'm going to try to take everybody on a vicarious trip of some of the highlights!

Many immigrant groups moved to Winnipeg from about 1880 onwards...this was in part to escape discrimination, and in part economic. Winnipeg wanted to recruit people, and it was an affordable place to settle. The Canadian Immigration folks encouraged the move west. So, Eastern Europeans moved to the prairies. Ukrainians, Polish and German Catholic immigrants...and also, Polish, German and Russian Jews.

While the groups were encouraged to move here, there was no infrastructure in place to receive them. The Jewish community built a lot of organizations to help immigrants. They created a free health clinic called Mount Carmel Clinic to help poor people get medical care. In the 1930's, they built an old age home called the Sharon Home. This place had extension upon extension put on it, and now has finally moved to a new facility in the south of the city. Back in the old days, when a married couple couldn't keep up in their house anymore, they might sell it and "move to the Sharon Home." Today, the Sharon home is part of the Canadian health care system. A woman taking the tour with me told me about her 93 year old grandfather who announced he was ready to "move to the Sharon Home." His family had to tell him that according to health care rules today, he's not sick enough! (he's moved to some other retirement facility in town.)

There were several schools in town. This shows the hall attached to the old Peretz School. This was a left wing, Yiddish based education, the school was started in 1914. The building housed up to 400 kids. That little parking lot (without the utility equipment in it) was the playground for the whole school. The kids played baseball there on that tiny blacktop, and apparently the lady in the house next door suffered a lot of broken windows!

Every Friday night, there were concerts, competitions, poetry readings, and lectures in that hall, and several hundred people would squeeze in. These were families without TV, so they organized their own entertainment!

The Peretz kids didn't get along with the Talmud Torah kids, whose curriculum was more traditional and religious. (I didn't get a photo of the Talmud Torah buildings--none of these buildings is being used by the schools anymore these days.) This is a timeline of Winnipeg's Jewish day schools.

Most of the immigrant communities had their own lending systems. There was one bank in the North End of Winnipeg that had a Jewish assistant manager--and it was the busiest bank! Long before the days of ethnic and interest group banking, that one bank had figured out it was useful to have someone employed there from the neighborhood immigrant commmunities! The Jewish community also had a branch of the Hebrew Benevolent Society. Here's an explanation of what they did that I found here. The short version? They gave out micro loans and helped keep the poor and needy afloat.

Winnipeg’s Jewish community, although with a later start than Toronto and Montreal, developed an exceptionally broad aid network. A Hebrew Benevolent Society was established in 1886 to take over the work of earlier groups that had helped to absorb nearly 340 pogrom refugees in the city. The new organization carried out charitable programs for the next fifteen years, assisting needy local families, aiding the Jewish farm settlements, helping transient immigrants to US cities, arranging job placement for newcomers, and contributing to the Winnipeg General Hospital. In 1906 the Hebrew Sick Benefit Society was founded, with its several hundred members deriving not only the usual cemetery plots, sick benefits, and loans, but also cultural advantages such as drama and lectures. B’nai Brith, the Jewish fraternal and charitable organization, had arrived in Toronto in 1875 and Montreal in 1881, while Winnipeg Lodge No. 650 was formed in 1909 and by 1913 had over three hundred members. The lodge’s early activities included action against antisemitism, an employment bureau, and a fresh-air camp. In 1912 the lodge aided the formation of one of two Jewish orphanages that were merged a few years later, functioning as the Jewish Orphanage of Winnipeg until 1948.

Click on the photo and when you see it large, you can see the "HBS" initials in the railings. The orphanage mentioned here operated not only for orphans, but also for Jewish kids whose parents lived in rural communities. The children would live at the orphanage in town so they could get an education.

Right near there is Gunn's bakery, one of the few businesses still left from that time period. Gunn's has been operating since 1937. It bakes very good bread and creates specialities for a lot of the ethnic immigrant groups in the area. They make over 20 varieties of bread!

Throughout the north end of Winnipeg, there used to be many small synagogues. There are still a few there, but most of the congregations are now in the south end of town. This is doorway to the Ashkenazi Synagogue, the oldest existing synagogue building in Winnipeg. The congregation has been meeting in that location since 1922. There were synagogues for every political and interest group, from the Sholom Aleichem shul (communists) to the Butcher's Shul (Yes, that was for the Kosher butchers.) Here's a long list of just the synagogue cemeteries.

There are even odes and editorials to this community.

I love social history and try to find "tours" in many things I do. So, I took a tour through someone else's knitting design...and I took a more literal tour of the old neighborhoods in Winnipeg. Hope you enjoyed the excursion...
(and I hope I did a good enough job so that my professor doesn't feel he missed anything!)

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

the fiber tour

My friend Sherry came to visit and we did a whirlwind two day trip of fiber arts in Winnipeg. We went to two yarn shops, the Manitoba Craft Museum, the Costume Museum of Canada, an amazing fiber arts show on Winnipeg's urban landscape at the Canadian Mennonite University and a side trip to the Bay (aka Hudson Bay Outfitters, a big department store) to buy Sherry's children Winter Olympics pins and mitts. That's just what was happening in town this week. This is a happening place for fiber arts!

We also went to Rovings, which is a small, breed specific processing mill that focuses exclusively on Polwarth wool imported from Australia. This is a business that has advertised in Spin-Off magazine for years, so I was really curious to see it...and it's just about 15 minutes away from my house! The wool, first of all, is exquisite. This Polwarth is imported from Wendy Dennis. The drought and fires of the past couple of years were rough on the sheep station, they've had to reduce their flocks to survive it all. Rovings has also just returned from SOAR, the Spin-Off annual many of the shelves were bare! However, my friend found some beautiful heathered rose colored roving to spin,and I got a skein of Cranberry colored Polwarth/Leceister blend yarn. We had a long and fascinating chat with Francine, who runs it all!

She does amazing colorways, dyeing her wool in hundreds of colors. The colorway is called "Quarry."

Rovings was also the first customer of the Belfast Mini-Mills, who produce small equipment for wool processing on the level of a cottage industry. The mill processes hundreds of fleeces a year, but isn't industrially sized. Here's what some of the equipment looks like in the (very clean) mill.

The fleeces are shipped raw from Australia and washed in very hot water here in Manitoba. The process isn't too complex but Francine does have it down to a science since she washes so many fleeces per year. In particular, we thought her drying racks were something special. The racks are lined with snow fencing (see the orange netting) and this allows the air to circulate below the fleeces as they dry. There's a ceiling fan right above it all and of course, it helps to have a dry climate, which make drying fleece so much faster than a humid one.

Sherry left bright and early yesterday. I took Remembrance Day off and spent some time with the dogs and getting back to my regular routines.

Having a guest visit was good! It forced me to get out and explore, which was great! It was also tiring, but every time I hop in the car and see something new, I've learned new driving routes, met new people, and seen more of the potential of my new home. It's totally worth it...and exploring Winnipeg is something we haven't had enough time for in all the moving chaos.

Finally, I mentioned dyeing a sweater last time, so here are the details. A while back, I knit a sweater called "Thermal"--a design I found online at Every so often, I like to knit other people's designs so I can explore how their patterns work. This sweater, knit out of Australian Merino, took a long time to knit on size #3(3.25mm) needles. Here's what it looked like.

Sadly, I found I never wore it, because it looked ok when I put it on in the morning, but as gravity worked throughout the day, I began to look like a big cream colored marshmallow. I decided the sweater design wasn't the problem but the color was.

On Sunday, my sweater took a dip in a dyebath and became a deep rich forest green. It's hard to shoot a good photo of this, but here is an attempt. The coloration actually looks more solid and normal in person than in this photo.

I'm wearing the sweater today, and the next renovation will be shortening the sleeves, which are still several inches too long for following the pattern there, I forgot to think critically about how much shorter my arms are when compared to the pattern as written. Somehow, changing the color didn't magically shorten the sleeves!

That's the news from here. Thanks so much for all your kind comments on the last post about Knit Green! I appreciate it! Thanks for celebrating with me!

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Sunday, November 08, 2009

Icelandic chocolate fleece and more

I know what you've been thinking. Where is she? She just doesn't blog as much anymore.

It's not you.
It's me. (really!)

I've been having a busy work week. When I wasn't busy, I wasn't breathing all that well, because I have asthma and am allergic to fall. Well, I'm allergic to leaf mold, I think. So, with the help of all my medicine and some caffeine (opens up those lungs) and a few attacks, I'm making it's just been a rough season for me. I'm probably the only person in Winnipeg who wishes the unusual warm weather would end with a nice long frosty period to get rid of that mold!

Anyhow, first, there's the fleece. Here's a knitted swatch of roughly what I'm aiming mom wants yarn between 4-5 sts. This is what I'm aiming for. Since that color doesn't shine there, here is what it looks like on a bobbin--For those who are spinners, I'm spinning this differently than my "usual." The usual part? I take a lock of the fleece out of the pillow case, tease it a bit, taking care not to separate the thel and tog (the hairy part and the soft undercoat of a primitive dual coat fleece like Icelandic) and spin it. The unusual part is that I'm spinning this to make a very firm (even hard) yarn. My dad wears the heck out of his sweaters (just like me, I inherited that!) and I want this to wear well.

While spinning the first bobbin, I've found quite a few short bits of fiber. For some fleeces, this would indicate that the shearer made a lot of second cuts, which isn't a good thing. (while shearing, she'd miss a bit and go back to cut it off the sheep in a second pass.) However, some Icelandic sheep still "roo", which means there is a natural break in their fleece. This is leftover from long, long ago--hundreds, if not thousands of years ago-- when people didn't shear sheep but rather plucked fleece from the sheep (and from bushes) as the sheep shed its fleece. While sheep have now been bred for a long time to avoid this, some primitive breeds still roo, and a good shearer has to shear the sheep right above that break point. That's an interesting part of the fleece and I wish I had a class to show it to!

These bits are not something I want to include, they will automatically pill, so I just pull them out as I'm teasing and spinning the fleece. This might make good stuffing, but otherwise, it's not useful for much else.

When the bobbin is mostly full, I like to use a ball winder to make a center pull ball. I tuck a bit of stiff paper or cardboard around the inside strand of yarn. When I'm ready to ply this (this will be a 2 ply yarn), I will push out the paper, pop my thumb inside the ball, and ply from both ends of the ball. This is my preferred way to ply, and I like to pile up the balls of singles so I ply a whole lot of yarn at once.

I also just dyed a handknitted sweater--more on that later.

OK, now, that was my planned blog post. Then I found out:
Guido over at It's a purl, man has posted our interview. Please check out his podcast if you're interested!

Also, today there was a little promotional email that went out about Knit Green. Then, next thing I knew, I looked over at the book's listing on Amazon and it said:

#2>Books>Home & Garden>Crafts & Hobbies>Knitting

That means, for this brief period of time, Knit Green is the second best selling knitting book on Amazon. Whoa.

Good thing I was sitting down.

So, over all, a very nice day. I'm off to cook some lamb for dinner. Oh, did I mention we got our freezer lamb from Seine River Shepherds this week? Like I said...busy week...

A spinning and knitting friend is coming for a visit starting tomorrow. I'll try to get back over here after her visit. Whew! big times around here!

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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

wool, it happens when you least expect it

While I was visiting my family in Virginia (in between teaching and book signing adventures), my nephew's nursery school had a sheep shearing program. This wasn't entirely a surprise...

In fact, probably when my mom started this nursery school in 1970, she hoped it would always have events like this as part of the program. My mom (now retired) went on to many other things professionally, but she is incredibly proud that all her children and now, her grandchild, are at this special preschool.

A few months ago, I got an email from one of the teachers, asking me to make suggestions about a sheep shearing program. I replied with lots of ideas...and then I forgot about it. After all, it's not like I lived nearby!

It just worked out that the day of the shearing, I was in town. (no advanced planning...) My dad took me out to run an errand and suggested we just drop by. The sheep being shorn were lovely clean Icelandic sheep, part of a small "boutique" flock. I wanted to support the efforts of the shepherd, who worked hard to introduce small children to the joys of a sheep haircut or two. So, when my father pointed out this milk chocolate Icelandic fleece as his favorite, well, I bought it.

As the afternoon went by, my father became more definite about his plans. Now this fleece would be yarn that I'll spin up for my mom to knit a vest or cardigan for him. My mom said "worsted weight, please!" and my dad said, "Oh, and you can maybe give her the yarn when she visits Winnipeg in December!" Oh,'s a spinning order now! No problem! Yes sir! (Insert big smile here for the man who drove me to all those spinning lessons at age 12...that deserves instant service, right?!)

The fleece arrived in Winnipeg in a box (with a few other kinds of wool, but that's another story) and as soon as our heat worked again, I gave the fleece a quick wash. Now it's upstairs in my office, and I've started spinning the first bobbin. Never mind the enormous stash that I moved here this summer...this wool is butting in line as per my dad's request! We'll see what I can find time to get done by early December!
It seems like the perfect milk chocolate wool to feature with Halloween candy leftovers, doesn't it?!

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Sunday, November 01, 2009

been a while

Well, it's been a while since I posted, and it's been a while since I've given you a "moving in" update. You'd think, "gee, well, they've been in Winnipeg since mid to late July, it should be done by now, right?" Well, it turns out that 3 months isn't quite as much time as we need...the house still needs some fixes and we need to get cracking on putting block heaters in our cars. Winter is coming! However, we're plugging along and every day things get a little more organized in our lives.

First, I'll point out that the professor spent nearly all day in the 3rd floor bathroom. He was doing plumbing fixes, and they appear to have worked. (fingers crossed!) This bathroom is functional, but, as seen from the doorway, it is small and under the eaves. The sink is to the left of the door. The toilet is to the right. The bathroom cabinet is now attached. The toilet appears not to cycle endlessly now. The clawfoot bathtub is now tilted properly so it drains and the bath tap seems to work better. This is a major achievement and I wish I could pay him what a plumber might earn for all this!

Several people have asked us what things look like now that the first floor of the house is set up. Well, here's the dining room, complete with weekend newspapers. We've definitely settled in here!

Our piano was badly damaged in the move to Winnipeg. (Things get damaged when you move, it's a fact of life. Buy moving insurance!) The front legs were broken off and there were some big scratches on it. It was a mess...and my parents bought this piano when I was six, it was important that it be fixed. It took months for the moving company to settle the claim. Then a very competent furniture restorer fixed it for us. It will be tuned in December, I've already set that up.
This photo is shot at about the doorway of our livingroom, the piano, bench, Canadian Production Wheel and other stuff is to the right of the doorway. About the 2 lone boxes under the bench--one is labelled "Knick knacks" and we obviously don't need that stuff urgently! The other box has sheet music in it and I need to figure out where that will go.

To the left of the doorway, we've set up the rest of the living room. The coffee table has about 4 different knitting projects on it; I've got a bit of startitis. (The fifth project is in my office.) Statistics? One is a commisssioned design, two are other people's patterns, and two are sock designs in varying stages of first sock completion. Schacht spinning wheel is in that left corner there, and Harry the dog was just passing through. The fireplace is not currently usable, but fixing that is on the "longterm" list. You can't see all the bookshelves in the living room in these photos, but rest assured, for the most part, they are now full of books.

From the living room, you can walk into the kitchen, which is fully in operation at this point. We had a guest over for dinner Friday night, and all went very smoothly. I made homemade challah, a beef tagine/stew with potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, parsnips, ras el-hanout spice and a bit of fruit chutney and soy sauce to give it kick. Then a big salad and homemade chocolate raspberry mousse for dessert.

I left all the clutter in place--those who have been our houses in other places can recognize our stuff. :) Click on any of the photos to make them bigger! (I think I hid all the really messy least, I hope so.)

The kitchen leads back into the dining room. Note Harry the dog, modelling the kitchen for you. His food bowl is near there and it is getting close to dinner time. Dogs think if they can just get you into the right room, dinner magically happens... Harry, I promise, it will happen soon!

Thanks for coming on a tour of our first floor! Welcome!

Last night, we had only a few trick or treaters, although Halloween appears to be a big holiday here. The professor answered the door to a crowd of 10 at once (every kid on our block) with their parents. The neighbor parents came along and said thank you to us for moving in.

It's so nice to be welcomed home!

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