Ferry Circle Tour

Well, goodness! How did it get to be Autumn already? And the last day of September. We’ve been a bit chilly here so have actually turned on some heat. That’s at least a couple of weeks earlier than usual but really, who wants to take a shower when the bathroom is only 15C? (That’s 59F for those non-metric people out there.) The garden is mostly done producing and ready to be put to bed for the winter. Our chestnuts are starting to fall now but leaves are just beginning to turn colours. I have no idea what kind of winter all this means we will have. I’m not in a hurry to find out though because I love this time of year the best!

We just got home a few days ago and we’re still cleaning up and drying out after our September vacation. This time we again stayed in British Columbia and explored some of the places we had only a glimpse of last year when we went on a seniors’ bus tour with Thom’s mom. The weather was very changeable which made it a little challenging to camp in our 30-year-old VW Westfalia especially in the dark damp forest which is where every campsite we stayed at was located. At least it was relatively warm up until the last couple of days where we had an electric hookup so we could have some heat going.

In total we took eight ferries! I think we spent more time waiting for and cruising on ferries than we did driving. First we explored the Sunshine Coast. This beautifully maintained trail around Inland Lake near Powell River was a highlight. It’s 13 km long though so we really only walked halfway up one side of the lake and back.

IMG_6677

We got as far north as Lund at the end of Highway 101. Just so we could say we did!

IMG_6680

Then we backtracked to Powell River and ferried over to Vancouver Island and up to Campbell River. From there we took the short ride to Quadra Island where we got the best campsite of the whole trip at We-Wai-Kai, a privately run campground in the protected bay next to Rebecca Spit. We were right on the beach with power and reasonable wifi. Pretty cushy! And very quiet this time of year.

IMG_6702

IMG_6704

Home Sweet Van! Covered in dust and mud so we were obviously having a good time.

From Quadra we ferried over to Cortes Island and stayed a couple of days. Love this bicycle on the beach. Wonder how long it’s been there?

IMG_6733

From Cortes we went back to Quadra and then to Campbell River where we stayed at Elk Falls. We did a lot of hiking along the river and to see several different waterfalls.

IMG_6754

Elk Falls itself is the most spectacular. Wish you could hear how loud it sounds! And how deep that gorge actually is. From there we headed south and west to Sproat Lake just past Port Alberni and viewed the petroglyphs on the lake shore. Weird and wonderful sea creatures! So different from the petroglyphs we’ve seen the deserts of the US South West.

IMG_6764

After that we continued west (in the pouring rain) to Green Point in Pacific Rim National Park for our last 3 days. At least the wet stuff let up long enough for us to get in a few more beach walks. We were glad of power to run our electric heater though because it was very damp and colder than it had been up to then.

IMG_6774

We went into Tofino on our last night to celebrate Thom’s birthday. Best Dutch chocolate gelato ever (and I’ve been taste-testing them all year!) from Tofino Chocolate in lieu of a birthday cake and then dinner in town. On our way home we stopped at Cathedral Grove to visit all the giant Western Redcedars and Douglas Firs. This fir is the biggest one and I couldn’t get all of it in one photo! If I recall it’s 70 metres (230 feet) tall and the second largest in Canada.

IMG_6796

You will notice that the sun finally came out as we were on the homeward run to our last ferry at Nanaimo. Figures. All in all it was a relaxing if somewhat soggy holiday. We saw whales, sea otters, porpoises, garter snakes, loons, sandpipers, red-legged frogs, deer, a bear and a whole lot more. I dragged my Louet Victoria spinning wheel along but only got one day where I could get out and spin.

IMG_6740

A few more random photos.

IMG_6791

IMG_6705

IMG_6663

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Well, hello! I’ve been trying to get photos of my latest sewing but it has been very hot and I had no desire to model anything made of French terry. But needs must so I sucked it up for one garment anyway. First though, the two pieces that made a lazy flatlay:

Top and pants, not necessarily to be worn together

The top is the tunic from Love Notions La Bella Donna pattern. This version has elbow-length dolman sleeves with long cuffs and I used the bias-bound neckline from the t-shirt view. Unfortunately, this fabric isn’t very stretchy at all so the binding puckers a little but it doesn’t look too bad whilst wearing. I made the pockets a single layer underneath and top-stitched it to the tunic front so they are stable and don’t flop around as regular inseam pockets often do especially in knits. This was a pretty quick make since I’ve used this pattern before (for the snow-dyed hoodie version) and I’ve already done all my fitting changes. This one fits a little snugger however because of the thicker firmer fabric but it’s still comfy.

The cropped pants are from the pattern that I rubbed off a RTW pair and made before in grey knit. I left off the pockets this time and gave the rise another inch in height which seems more comfortable. Both of these garments have already been worn several times when we were camping on Vancouver Island so I guess they’re a good addition to the wardrobe. Yes, I laundered them first before the photo. Heh.

The last piece I made from this four-metre piece of French terry from Dressew’s bargain basement is the Robin Hoodie:

Hoodie Woman
Me, Mountain Goat?
Balance
Ta-da!

If I’m going to wear a warm hoodie dress on the hottest day of summer so far, you can bet I’m going to have fun doing it! The pattern is yet another hack of the Hey June Lane Raglan which I’ve used so often I’ve lost track of the variations. This is the first one I’ve tried with the hood and the thumb-hole cuffs (aka monkey thumbs). You can barely see them but I used tiny cord-locks on the drawstring cord that I got from our local outdoor fabrics store before it sadly closed a few years ago. Nice to find a perfect use for them. Instead of the usual kangaroo pocket I used the big pockets from the Helen’s Closet York Pinafore pattern.

So for once I’ve used all the fabric (six metres total) that I bought most recently before it sat in my stash for a couple of years…or decades. Six garments out of six metres: cap-sleeve tee (which I’m currently wearing), skimmies and leggings from the 2 metres of nylon/lycra and long-sleeved tunic, cropped pull-on pants and hoodie dress from the 4 metres of cotton French terry. At $4 per metre/garment I’d say I got my money’s worth, doncha think?

Last week when I went fabric shopping with my granddaughter I asked her to remind me that we were buying fabrics for her coat project, not for me. She was very diligent! I got nothing and she got:

Pattern and fabric for The Coat

The coat fabric is a bit soft but it’s glorious: wool and cashmere in a deep dark brown! We got that and the interfacing from Atex Designer Fabrics and the purple-brown lining from Dressew. She’s planning to make the longer ankle-length version of this princess-seamed open-front coat. Hopefully we can put enough structure into it to hold its shape without having to resort to elaborate tailoring. Neither of us are quite up for that! She’s really lucky that she’s got me and all the resources of my studio to make this big project that’s been stuck in her head for awhile. Even though she’s not-quite-15 (only a couple of weeks to her birthday!), she’s a pretty fearless sewist already. Hah, but she can’t sew unless she comes here because…I have her sewing machine! Mwa-ha-ha!! She’s gotten pretty good at taking public transit now, thank goodness. It’s about 25 kilometres from her house to ours and it takes about an hour and a half to get here. Now that’s dedication, no?

I’ll leave you this time with a photo from the walk Thom & I took today along our Vancouver harbour waterfront:

A view of Vancouver Harbour

Big Holland America cruise ship, the Westerdam, was at Canada Place over on the right there. (It’s heading to Alaska as I type.) Then we walked west toward Stanley Park, turned south and skirted Lost Lagoon, and eventually hit English Bay:

English Bay

We had lunch at the Cactus Club on the beach and then continued (well fed and lubricated with local beers) down Davie Street to the Roundhouse Skytrain Station and home. A total of nearly 10 km walk in gorgeous sunny and not too hot weather! Gotta take it while you can get it. Right?

Interlude

We took a few days to escape the city for camping at Lightning Lake in beautiful E.C. Manning Provincial Park. The weather was most definitely chilly and changeable. We had sun, rain, cloud and wind – often all in the same hour! Luckily we’re quite used to the mountains and brought appropriate clothing and footwear along with our little propane heater for the evening. Thom’s brother and sister-in-law were kind enough to share their site with us so we had two blue VW Westfalias parked together. Theirs is a lighter blue and ours is a navy blue and they were purchased within a few months of each other over 30 years ago. Much camping has ensued ever since!

Lightning Lake, EC Manning Provincial Park

We saw some wildlife including loons, a momma merganser with 10 babies, a pika (in the rockfall you can see in the upper photo), a pileated woodpecker, deer and a bear on the side of the road on the way home. Trout were caught, trails were hiked and flowers were photographed.

Wildflowers
More wildflowers

I collaged a few of them for you! There’s too many more and although I can identify many of them, I don’t know all their names.

I also managed to finish those socks that have been on the needles forever.

Self-Striping Socks

The yarn is the no-longer-made DGB Confetti from a no-longer-in-business shop. What does that tell you about working from Deepest Stash? Love the colours obviously! The pattern is my usual top-down heel-flap basic socks on 64 stitches. No need to mess with something that works just perfect for my feet, eh? And then I started a new pair, this one’s for Thom.

Beaded Rib Socks

The rib pattern is from Charlene Schurch’s Sensational Knitted Socks book. It’s only 2 rounds and easy to follow so these shouldn’t take too long. Notice that I’ve gone back to my Knitter’s Pride cubic needles? These are still my favourite way to knit socks. Even though my wee ChiaoGoo Minis are rather adorable. I will use them again soon anyway. Oh and the yarn is Trekking XXL and I quite like all the subtle colours that add up to brown. Almost made a pair for me with it but Thom won out. These are on 70 stitches since that’s what divided into the pattern’s 5-stitch repeat. I usually make his plain socks on 68 stitches.

So. Must run. My fishies need to be fried up in butter for supper now!

Happy Spring!

Or alternatively, Happy Autumn if you are on the other half of the planet! Must be spring here because today I picked the first of the kale buds from my overwintered plants.

Wee kale bouquet

The weather has been unseasonably warm and sunny for the past few days. Just to make up for having been unseasonably cold for February and the first half of March, right? Plants are speeding to catch up. The crocuses and snowdrops are fully out now and the larger daffodils are just starting to pop. I even saw some plum trees starting to flower finally. They usually come before the cherries do anyway. Such a beautiful time of year.

Yesterday we took advantage of the good weather and went on a day trip over to Bowen Island on Skytrain, bus and ferry.

Coming in to Snug Cove

Back when we had two small children and a sailboat we used to spend quite a lot of time over here since it was just a hop, skip and a jump from where our boat was moored in Fisherman’s Cove, West Vancouver. We took a look about the shops in Snug Cove and noted all the changes since we had been here last and then had a yummy lunch in the Bowen Island Pub, including a locally brewed Snug Cove lager. Thus well-fortified we hiked into Crippen Regional Park and around Killarney Lake.

Killarney Lake, Bowen Island
The farthest marshy end of the lake

It’s a good hike, some of it on smooth trails and across boardwalks and some scrambling up and down on the more rustic parts. We finally made it back down to the salt water at Deep Bay.

Deep Bay, Bowen Island

The snow is still quite low down on the mainland’s mountains but where we were standing it was very warm! A little more walking brought us back to Snug Cove, watching the ferry coming from Horseshoe Bay.

That little white dot in the middle is our ferry, the Queen of Capilano, on her way to Bowen

After we got home, very tired after the day’s adventures, Thom checked his FitBit and found out we had walked more than 14.5 kilometres in total! I think that might be at least a 10-year record for us. Whew. No wonder I lack much ambition today, huh?

Meanwhile, back at the Spring Cleaning, I’ve got 14 boxes of magazines and books ready to go bye-bye. And a bag of paper recycling and another big bag of non-recyclable trash. Not done yet, but I’m finally feeling like I’m getting somewhere at least. Unfortunately nothing else is getting done while this is going on. Apart from starting some baby seedlings under the grow-lights which can’t wait. Now I’m committed to their care and can’t leave them for more than a day. Hence the reason for the day trip to Bowen. Otherwise we might have run away for at least a week. Oh well. Can’t do everything!