Thursday, July 30, 2015

Alfie Date, designer to the Phillip Island Penguins

You know what it is like when you get on the Internet. One link leads to another, and another, and you find the most incredible stories. I am going to Ireland in October and was doing a bit of research. I found an Indie Irish hand dye yarn company called Smudge. Of course I had to see where I might find it, which led to a yarn shop blog, which posted the story below.

Are these not the cutest little guys you have ever seen - Phillip Island Penguins sporting hand knit jumpers (we call them sweaters).

Penguin Sweater Gallery

Little Penguins in Sweaters

Phillip Island is an Australian island about 140 km (87 mi) south-southeast of Melbourne and is the home to about 32,000 little penguins. They are the smallest penguins in the world, and the only species with blue (rather than black) and white feathers as an adult. These little penguin "jumpers" are functional as well as unbelievably cute. The penguins were unfortunate victims of an oil spill. Left to clean themselves, they were ingesting toxic chemicals.  Cleaning them with soaps removed their body oils which kept their feathers water repellent and there were suffering from that. These adorable sweaters, kept them warm and were all the creations of a 109  year old Australian man, Alfie Date, who had been knitting for 80 plus years.

For the full story, click the following link.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015



I love cats ..... of all sizes. I have been trying to compose this blog for about 36 hours. I just keep getting caught up in how angry and sick this story makes me feel. If you are unaware of this story, just Google Cecil the lion. You may probably wondering what this has to do with yarn and knitting. I will explain. I have some OCD tendencies. The O stands for Obsessive. When I am bothered by something, I get rather obsessed by it and can not stop thinking about it. That is referred to as an "intrusive thought".  When I get that way, I cope by various distraction methods. Last night I had to triple up on distraction methods; Big Bang and Modern Family, ice cold Red Racer Beer and a nice new ball of self-striping  yarn for a great pair of slippers I found on Ravelry. There are as many reasons to knit as there are knitters. I have a wide variety of reasons to knit, at least one suitable for just about any occasion. But one I value greatly is the ability of knitting to distract me from everyday worries when they pile up. When I feel stressed by any number of everyday worries/anxieties, I find the distract-ability of a beautiful new ball of self-striping yarn an invaluable tool to escape for a few minutes. I am so sad and angered that the life of such a majestic creature has been wiped out by some terribly misguided individual who believes big game hunting is a sport..

My companion Miss Meredith Gray Cat

Friday, July 17, 2015

Forced to help with the blocking, Puffy is not all that happy.

No, this is not one of my cats. I found this post on Ravelry while viewing some Jared Flood patterns. The caption came to me automatically and I could not resist sharing.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Summer Vacation 2015

Just got back last night after 2 weeks at my family cottage at Grand Lake, NB. I have been going there every summer since I was 9 months old. I have only missed 2 summers. Palmer's Cove, Grand Lake is one of my favourite places in the world. My maternal grandfather, Willard Kitchen, purchased an entire cove eons ago. He built  ten cottages along the beach as rentals. As years went by, he gave a couple of them away to family (mine included) and sold others to families that had been renting for several years. In my life time, no cottage has changed families and about half belong to relatives. Every summer, my family, who live all over the Maritimes converge on the cottage where we relax, eat great food, drink beer, play cards, read books, knit and hang out on the beach. This summer I was very lazy, a real deck potato. Can you blame me when this was the view?

I cheated a bit, this last photo was taken by my nice Katie last Thanksgiving.
The younger McElmans were much more energetic. My nephews Jackson and Quinn, and their Labradoodle, Obi, enjoying the water.
We did make one day trip to the village of Gagetown. Gagetown is one of the oldest English villages in Canada. It was originally the capital of New Brunswick, but the capital was eventually moved up river to Fredericton, which was viewed as a safer location during the early years of our country, when invasions were something to feared and worried about. It is now a sleepy little village with several tourist shops, B & B's, craft stores and museums. While visiting Gagetown years ago, my husband Chris, who was an avid fan of old homes, fell in love with a 200+ year old house which was vacant and slowly falling apart from neglect. We ended up purchasing the home and began restoring it, planning for it to be a summer/retirement home. Unfortunately, life had other plans, and Chris died from cancer 14 years ago. Since then the home has changed hands twice and the 2 owners completed Chris's dream of restoring "The Ross House" to its former glory.


I was very happy to find the current owner to tell them how happy I was to see what a beautiful job they had done.
While home, I did a lot of knitting and of course research visiting local yarn shops. More about that later.