A Spring In My Step

Snowdrops!

The sun is shining, the birds are singing and signs of spring are popping up all over. The crocuses are out and I’ve even seen a dandelion flowering already! In the garden my garlic is up and the rhubarb is showing its red covers over baby leaves. We ate the first snipping of chives on our baked potato. Admittedly I felt as if it was cheating since they were only about 2” tall. Yummy though! And we have lots in several patches. There’s work to be done out there but every time the sun comes out, it’s so precious that we end up going for a walk instead. Also it’s still very soggy ground from all the monsoon rains we’ve had so it can wait and dry out a bit first. At least that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it!

No sewing and not much knitting has been getting done. I’m struggling with the next phase of the Make Space Project, namely my upstairs work and storage spaces, actually the entire top floor of our small house. It’s a ridiculous amount of work! Although I’m actually a pretty organised person, the multiple stashes have gotten completely out of hand. A year ago I went through and downsized some of the stuff that I absolutely knew I wasn’t going to be using. But I wore out and never continued throughout the whole space. There’s more. Oh yes, is there EVER more!! It’s amazing what one can accumulate over 40 or 50 years of mad making!

And it’s not as if I actually bought all of it myself either. I’ve been the (mostly) happy recipient of other people’s stashes! Or perhaps a convenient dumping spot? At any rate, over the years I’ve been given yarn, fabric, tools and equipment from other crafters or their families. Some of it found other homes or got used up but some of it is still lurking about. Unfortunately I have quite extensive storage areas! For example, this is just one of my four attic spaces.

The North-East Attic, before…

They are all only a sloped space under the eaves with the highest side about bust height down to the (rather questionable) patchwork flooring and with a lovely little dwarf-sized door in to each. But they hold a remarkable amount of stuff! Pictured is the first one I started on, aka the Fabric Stash, with a side order of Paper Bins. This isn’t even all the fabric since about 9 more boxes were out in the main studio space. It took me more than a week of schlepping, sorting, chucking, inventorying and putting everything back in some sort of functional order.

After. Better?

That’s all that’s left including all but 4 of the 9 extra boxes. Whoo-hoo! The flat Paper Bins aren’t back in there though. I haven’t sorted through those yet and I’m hoping to find another place to put them. I kind of like having more clear space to actually get in there and grab the box I want. Every piece of fabric that’s in each box is in my inventory with the box name attached. I use an app that I’ve had for years called Sortly which works great and could even produce QR coded labels if I wanted but I move everything around too much to make that practical. (I’m sure there are other apps out there that would do the job too.) Now I know exactly what I have and it’s already inspired some ideas for new makes. Like I needed more ideas, right? Sure I do.

True confessions: I chucked a whole lotta scraps in the garbage. Yes, I know I could have made one of those ubiquitous poofs. Or 6 of them! But I don’t need one and neither does anyone else I know. Some of those scraps have been in there for-absolute-evah! I even found some from the 1970’s and nothing actually big enough to make anything much out of unless it’s patchwork. And I don’t quilt. I saved 2 big boxes of the best bits just because you never know. And the rest…out. I’m generally one of the most environmentally friendly folk you could imagine but sometimes you just have to get rid of it in the most expedient manner. I’m trying not to feel guilty.

However, I didn’t chuck anything at least a yard or more. That pile along with any other sewing/knitting supplies that I decide to part with (including 4 bags of old/vintage patterns!) is all going to Our Social Fabric, a local non-profit textile recycling initiative. At least then it will have a chance to be used instead of sitting around in my attic for another 40 years! Helps my guilty feelings a little anyhow.

It’s interesting that when you’ve been sewing as long as I have, I can see my own “history” of pattern styles and fabric choices over the decades. My pattern sizes changed! Can you believe I used to fit in an 8? Me neither. And ditsy floral prints? Yuck. No offence to those who love them but they are not me. At least since the ‘70’s anyway. Granny dresses, ruffles, oversized drop shoulders with giant shoulder pads? Nope. Okay, nearly everyone agrees the ‘80’s had a lot to answer for! But some preferences remain constant. My favourite colours of rust, green, black, brown, charcoal grey are well represented even in 20-year-old fabrics for example. There’s some polyester as you would expect but there’s also quite a lot of natural fibres. Knits are less common than woven fabrics. They got used up quicker because I definitely wear more knits than wovens. I do plan to use the nicer polyester because it’s already in existence and it would be stupid to get rid of it before it actually gets used first. Just my not-so-humble opinion. I have made better fabric choices more recently so my environmental impact continues to improve going forward.

So all this cleaning, sorting, assessing, etc. stuff is still ongoing. I have 3 more attic spaces! Most of two good-sized rooms. And another closet. This one is finished already.

The Pattern Stash, plus some weaving & spinning equipment.

All sorted and inventoried. Only took me at least four days. I’m slow and methodical? Or I wear out too easily! Note that I didn’t have any of those cool pattern hanging hooks so I made do with binder clips and bent coat hangers. There’s several patterns on each hook so I sometimes have to shuffle them to get to the one I want. Otherwise it works pretty well to keep the unfolded paper patterns together. When I’m sure I’m not going to be using one anytime soon, it gets folded into its manila envelope and filed in categories in the clear bins below. According to Sortly I have 158 patterns left in my collection! I think that should be sufficient to keep me busy for awhile. Maybe?

Knit Knit

For some odd reason I’ve been finding it difficult to get back into sewing. I have several projects that have been on hold, plus a couple of things to mend and a whole list of items I want to make. But so far…nope. Nothing doing.

Instead I’ve been knitting. I finished my Wolkig Cowl in my handspun Fernwood 2-ply yarn:

The pattern is a very easy one by Martina Behm from Knitty’s First Fall 2017 issue. It worked really well with the variegated yarn, neither getting lost in the colour changes nor obscuring them. The needle size was a little large (4mm) for this yarn which is slightly finer than regular fingering but the results are very soft and squishy and truly warm! Especially when I doubled the cowl on my neck. Mmmmmmm…

The cowl only used just under 90g of my 250g total of this yarn so of course I cast on for another accessory. This one is the Midas Hat by Laura Reinbach. I was going to make another Sockhead hat but the Midas has the extra-warm doubled band which is exactly what I was wishing for after a particularly cold walk a couple of weeks ago. There’s not enough of this project to show you yet.

I’m also finally plugging along on the self-designed Deciduous Pullover that I started way back in July of 2018. Somehow I got frustrated with how it was going and bailed on it for quite some time. I reassessed my issues with it and realised that I wasn’t going to have nearly enough of the main medium grey yarn to make it a tunic length, which was my first plan. So instead I went in the other direction and cropped it severely. With my fluffy belly this is only going to be wearable over dresses or longer tunics so we’ll have to see how much love it gets in the end. I’m on the last sleeve now and making use of my “sweater turntable” (I refuse to call it a Lazy Susan) to facilitate going around and around and around.

Thom made it for me and it wasn’t even properly finished before I snatched it into use. You can just see it under that heap of sweater. Guess I should have done a video so you can see how it rotates as I knit, huh? Too hard to hold the iPad and knit at the same time unfortunately. You’ll just have to use your imagination. The needles I’m using are my wee ChiaoGoo Mini Twist Shorties which work a treat for sleeve knitting. (I’ve mentioned them before on the blog here.) These 3.25mm tips are the largest size in this set so I was happy to discover that ChiaoGoo has come out with the companion larger tips set in the Blue case. So of course I had to have them too.

They go from 3.5mm to 5mm tips in 2″ and 3″ lengths. The connectors on this set are the Small size rather than the Mini ones of the Red case so they are not able to be combined together. But I don’t think that’s much of a drawback although I would like second sets of the stoppers so I can put two sleeves on hold at the same time. A possible future purchase! I’m pretty sure the eensy wee Mini ends would be too flimsy for the larger tips anyway so that’s likely why they went with the sturdier Small connectors on the new set. The blue cables are thicker as well. I now have really short circular needles in sizes 2mm to 5mm which should hopefully cover pretty much anything of a narrow circumference that I wish to knit. I rarely knit anything heavier than that anyhow. Oh, and I’m currently using the longer 3.25mm tips with the longest cable (Red set) to knit my Midas Hat so they are definitely getting a workout!

As I’ve mentioned before short circulars are probably not for everyone. Even I still prefer dpns for sock knitting though I did knit one pair successfully with the Shorties. So far I’m finding them most useful for sleeves and hats and necklines where even a 16″ circular is too long. The modular system of interchangeable needles makes them very adaptable to different situations. These little guys fill some of the gaps left by my Addi Lace Clicks which only go down to 3.5mm tips and 16″ length. As you might be noticing, I spend a lot of time knitting so to me it’s totally worth having the tools that I enjoy using. There’s a lot of options out there these days – enough to make every knitter happy.

Clarity in 2020

Well here we are in the New Roaring 20’s! I’ve chosen the theme of “clarity” for this year since “2020” calls up associations with good vision. (Not that my own vision is actually 20/20 or anything!) I intend to focus on clearing out the junk, clarifying my future goals and generally looking to clear my head of all the negative emotions that are floating about. Don’t know about you, but I’m trying desperately to hold onto my peaceful little corner of the world. This is my 70th year of life and I can’t guess how many more years I’ll have left but I don’t plan to give up what is important to me anytime soon. All I can do is carry on the best way I know how. And keep making stuff, using what I already have as much as possible, and trying to live a little lighter on my poor abused planet. We can only do what we can only do, right?

So. I promised a bit of a retrospect of last year’s makes. The stats are interesting considering I didn’t think I’d done much! I finished a total of 39 projects: 33 sewing (including helping the granddaughter with The Beast), 5 knitting and 1 dye. The UFOs were 3 sewing, 2 knitting and 2 spinning for a total of 7. That seems like more uncompleted projects than I usually have ongoing but I guess not really since I often cut a half-dozen items out before I sew them.

A selection of successful sewing (and knitting)

Interestingly, I made more dresses this year than tops. Does that mean that my personal style is shifting? I seem to feel more comfortable in longer lengths but I still wear either shorts, leggings or pants underneath. My fondness for layers isn’t going away! I did discover a hole in my wardrobe however. After I reorganised all my drawers it seems that I don’t have many long-sleeved tops left anymore. I bought several lengths of suitable knits quite awhile ago but hadn’t gotten around to sewing it up. So solving that issue is on the agenda in a top position.

And there’s still some garments I want to make for Thom. I have the patterns and fabrics. I just have to do it. He doesn’t have nearly as many clothes as I do. Since he mostly wears shirts, pullovers (or sweaters) and jeans his needs are pretty simple. But he’s beginning to be quite spoiled with his “bespoke” wardrobe! More men’s sewing coming up.

Other than those things I don’t really need anything else until something wears out. Not that a lack of need will stop the wants. Just wait until I start going through the stashes during that section of the Make Space Project! It’ll remind me what I’ve already got until I’ll have a long queue lining up for future makes.

Meanwhile, I did finish one spinning project that’s been worked on in fits and starts for a year, the Fernwood yarn.

This is the first of 3 skeins

The fibre is 250g of New Zealand Corriedale in the colourway “Fernwood” purchased from my friend Andrea when she owned Aurelia Fibres. FYI, these rovings are now sold by Dewedlebug Fibre Emporium (Alberta) and their Fernwood seems a little brighter than mine if I can judge by the computer screen. Instead of being dye-painted the roving has the colours in carded strips aligned lengthwise. Sorry I didn’t save a bit unspun to show you (or a photo) but this makes a somewhat more blended effect when spun from the roving just as it presents itself. I spun one bobbin-full (half of the 250g) that way but for the second half I decided to strip the colours to separate them as best I could. I spun 6-10″ lengths in a sort of random-ish order which definitely made longer areas of a single colour.

Bottom: first bobbin; top: second bobbin

You can sort-of see the different effects in the above photo. (Note the photo of the finished skein shows the colours more accurately than this one.) Then I plied the two bobbins together for a kind of faux-fractal. I ended up with three skeins, two larger and one smaller, totalling about 980 yards of fingering weight. Why is it that 2 bobbins full of singles often don’t ply into just 2 bobbins full of plied yarn? I guess it doesn’t pack as closely together as the singles so there are going to be leftovers! Anyway, the amount isn’t quite enough for a sweater but a lot more than I needed for my intended project. I started with the little skein.

Cowl beginning

Yes, I started another knitting project still with two UFOs haunting me! Pfttt… This is the Wolkig Cowl by Martina Behm from Knitty, First Fall 2017. It’s deceptively simple to knit so you can guarantee I’ll be finished in a jiffy! I like the way the variegations in the yarn don’t clash with the puffy knit texture as it would if it were lace or cables. I have no idea what else I’ll make from this yarn. Maybe a hat? More fingerless mitts? At this rate I’ll end up with a matched set.

Progress

Well here are some actual completed projects to show off! On the Make Space Project we’ve finally finished the kitchen section. I decided to just “git ‘er done” so after locating my original patterns for the foam padding, we ordered the pieces cut. Then we went to good old Dressew and found some good-enough dark red velvet-ish upholstery fabric. It unfortunately was a limited bolt and already cut into three pieces so I was unsure of how the pattern would lay out especially since it was only 56″ wide instead of 60″. So to be safe I bought the whole lot, just over 4 metres total, when I really only needed less than 3. At only $9.99 per metre it wasn’t a big sacrifice. There’s leftover pieces which can become some throw pillows for the front room couch eventually.

So there were four antique oak chairs and a stool to cover. The last time I reupholstered them, I not only did the seats but also made back cushions for three of the chairs that hang from tabs tacked to the chair back. This made them a lot more comfortable so of course I went all out and did that again. Also I hadn’t ever reupholstered the stool before which was originally covered with some tacky vinyl. The other pieces are over 100 years old but the stool is probably only from the 1960’s or ’70’s. (There’s actually two of them that were dumped on given to us decades ago but one lives in the basement so I cheerfully ignored it.) Thom took the upstairs stool completely apart and sanded and refinished the legs and rungs so it looks much nicer now.

Every piece of furniture in the kitchen has a family story!

The newly spiffed up kitchen chairs
Granny’s chair
The stool, which I mostly use to reach high shelves

In the first photo (which is somewhat more yellow than it should be thanks to the artificial lights) you can also see our new window above the kitchen table. Now I can sit at the table and not feel like I’m sitting next to a refrigerator with the door opened! The horrible old drafty louvered window should have been replaced 40 years ago when we did the other one. But we held off thinking we’d do something different like a larger window or a bay window or even a door to a solarium. Never happening. And then there was another year-long delay because we had trouble finding a company that would just make and install one itty bitty window. The building trades are so busy here that we were just too small potatoes to even get a call back on inquiries. However, we did finally get an excellent reference and they were great. Git ‘er done, eh?

We’re now taking a well-deserved break on the Make Space Project until after the New Year. It took nearly three months to do one half of the main floor! Whew. Hopefully the living/dining room and entry hall won’t take quite so long. Unfortunately there’s some more reupholstering to be considered there but since I’m not able to do such complex chairs myself, we’ll need to find someone else to do it. That’s going to be spendy for sure! I’m going to be lazy and not worry about reupholstering our old hand-built couch/TV table/bookshelf/spare bed but just clean it up as best I can. Just remind me I said that when I get tempted to go all out on it, won’t you? More on this section of the house when I get there.

So what else is there to discuss? Oh yeah. I finished knitting a sweater.

Sammal Cardigan

This is the Sammal cardigan, pattern by Joji Locatelli, yarn 100% Peruvian Highland wool (Cloudborn Fibers wool fingering twist) in Iron Heather. I probably should have gone up one size since I didn’t quite get gauge in this yarn even after going up a needle size. But it’s not too obviously tight. I increased at the sides somewhat to compensate for the pattern being straight from the underarm to the hem. I am definitely not! It’s a beautifully written pattern and I like the extra-warm sand stitch texture and the cute little opposing cables in the front. It’s knitted from the top down in one piece which is my favourite method for sweaters.

I counted up all my Finished and Unfinished Objects for 2019 and I’ll have a quick review in the next post. I’ve been feeling rather unproductive but there were more than I thought!

Checking In

Hi! Hello! I’m still here! So tell me…how did I manage to skip the whole month of November? Sigh. Somehow, between the Thom’s damaged knee, dreary weather (not inspiring for photos), the Making Space Project and sewing with my granddaughter I just haven’t felt like there was anything concrete to post about. We haven’t been able to walk very far, though the knee is finally improving so we can go on some of our usual grocery trips. But not much more than 4 kilometres every few days which is a lot less than our usual 30-40 km per week. And yes, I’m noticing the difference in the old body! Hopefully we can up the distance over the next few weeks if the weather doesn’t foil our plans.

It’s not as if I’m not getting some exercise though, if you count deep house cleaning as exercise. I certainly feel it, especially in my hands. I’ve had to rest my poor sewing and knitting fingers as a result so not much progress in that area. I have so many UFOs! They are starting to weigh on my mind since I usually prefer to keep the numbers down by actually finishing things. So not happening right now. Oh well. I can pretty much guarantee that most of them will get done eventually.

Making Space has been going quite well anyway. We are very satisfied with the cleaning, decluttering and small changes we’ve made so far. We finished the bedroom, hall linen closet, bathroom and are mostly done in the kitchen, which has been the most time and energy consuming room. Every single cupboard and drawer has been gone through and sorted. It took days and days! The counters, windows and walls have been washed down. The microwave, stove and fridge have been thoroughly cleaned. We’ll be getting a new replacement window installed on Friday. Now all that’s left is the floor to clean and the kitchen chairs reupholstered. Unfortunately the chairs are going to be a big deal! There are 4 chairs, not all the same but all antique oak. The last upholstery job was mine and included replacement padding and my own handwoven fabric. It actually lasted quite well, apart from damage caused by our late lamented cats. But it’s way past it’s best before date now! And I don’t think I can talk myself into weaving the fabric this time unless I can’t find something suitable to purchase. The foam padding will need replacing as well. I need to see if I can hunt down the original paper patterns that I’m sure I kept from last time. Once I have the materials, the actual upholstering job isn’t difficult.

As for the granny/granddaughter sewing project, it’s done! Yay! The Beast, as we began to refer to the duster coat, took since July to finish but it turned out so well.

Wearing her grampa’s Barmah hat.
Showing off the back.
Testing the twirl factor.
I think she’s pretty darn pleased!
I made her a tag to celebrate her accomplishment.

The pattern we used is McCalls 7644, a cosplay pattern by Yaya Han. The envelope only shows the shorter length coat but you can see the details better on the line art.

We made the longer View B version.

This is a very nicely drafted pattern and includes A/B, C and D cup sizes. There is some tailoring, with shoulder pads, sleeve heads and lots of topstitching. The instructions are quite detailed and it all went together pretty easily (apart from one mistake that was my fault but luckily fixable). The main fabric is a lovely warm dark brown wool/cashmere but I really think we could have done better on the lining fabric instead of settling for rayon but didn’t see anything else that appealed. Oh well. I was rather glad I had made the peacoat for Thom last winter/spring so that some of the tailoring I learned was fresh in my head. This one isn’t quite as well-armoured but there’s still plenty of interfacing so it should hold its shape. If I was to do this all again (noooo….) I might add a back neck facing and a centre back pleat in the lining which this coat does not have.

This was definitely a joint project! By the end it took both of us with me supporting the weight and granddaughter feeding The Beast through the sewing machine. Apart from the weight issue though, her little mechanical Brother machine held up really well to this coat. There was quite a lot of hand-sewing as well which she actually quite enjoyed. I think she learned a lot but was happy to have me step her through and show her what needed to be done or leap in myself when things got difficult. We’re both glad it’s finished but a little sad about not having our weekly sessions! I think she’s planning to ask her grampa for a woodturning project next. But not until after the Holidays. It takes her an hour and a half each way on public transit to get here and I’m not surprised she wants a break.

It’s already getting dark at 4:30pm. The weather was sunny and fairly cold for a good portion of November. We spent a lot of that time raking lots and lots of leaves and it was nice to have them dry instead of soggy. Now it has warmed up somewhat and gotten rainy which is more like our usual end of autumn/early winter weather. We shall see where it goes from here.

Make Space Project

Do you have any idea how much stuff one can collect after living in the same house for nearly 41 years? Especially when there are two people with multiple craft interests involved? It’s not like we haven’t cleaned and purged and sorted and pitched lots of things over the years. But no matter how diligent you are (and we haven’t been especially) there’s always more you can do. And then when you’ve done it, you can always do it again! Stuff grows to fill the available space, right? And priorities and tastes change. Also your tolerance for clutter. Mine is decreasing rapidly and I’m starting to crave more simplicity in my life. Is this an age thing?

Anyway we’ve started on the bedroom first as the room we spend the most time in. We went through our clothes not that long ago but there were a few more things that had to go. And then I fell down the KonMari rabbit hole. Oops!!

Folding is fun! Who knew?

I’ve been frustrated in the past trying to locate a particular garment in a pile without disrupting the whole drawer. I’ve totally lost things at the bottom that I’ve forgotten I had. This method solves these problems by making everything visible at once. Another advantage to folding everything was that it gave me a chance to inspect each garment for popped seams, loose buttons or other mending. This is just one drawer out of 10 and includes my bras, panties and leggings. I surprisingly had more room in it after I folded everything! And yes, I included Thom’s drawers in that count because I folded all his clothes as well. Now we’ll see how long I can keep them this tidy.

Yes, I do have quite a few garments! I am no minimalist by any means. However, if you realise that I’ve made most of my clothes with my own two hands that might put my collection in better perspective. Not to mention that most of the things that I haven’t sewn myself are a minimum of 10 years old. The t-shirts that I wear to bed as pajamas are old enough to vote! I actually think that owning more clothes makes them last longer. But you do have to be careful to cycle through them regularly and not just wear the same three things over and over. And that’s proving to be another example of how the folding helps with that: you take garments from the front to wear and after they’re laundered you put them back in the rear of the lineup.

We’ve also cleaned off most of the shelves, sorted the grandkids toys kept in the closet (and chucked a whole bunch), donated most of my jewelry which I no longer wear to the eldest grandkid (who I’m sure will find lots of creative ways to use them), and are contemplating buying a new mattress for the bed. We’ve given ourselves until the end of the month to finish this room and we’re well ahead of the deadline. Hope we don’t run out of steam before we get to That Silly Season Which We Shall Not Name! We’re already only a week away from our Canadian Thanksgiving which we foolishly happily volunteered to host this year.

In other news, I’ve started knitting a new sweater. Let’s not mention the fact that I already have a sweater on the needles that’s been in time-out for months. Also a pair of socks, same. I wanted something fresh and new! This is the beginning of Sammal, a cardigan by Joji Locatelli.

Sammal Cardigan in Cloudborn Fibers Wool Fingering Twist

The pattern is beautifully written and edited so there’s no excuse except my own that it took me two tries to get the short row neck section correct. Going well now though. I do like the Sand Stitch texture and the cute little braids down the fronts. Yeah, it’s dark grey, aka Iron Heather. It goes with everything. So sue me.

Lastly I bought myself an early birthday present! It’s not until next month but so what? I’m worth it. Since I had to retire my oldest pair of Blundstone boots after our last holiday (OK, I couldn’t throw them out – they’re gardening boots now) I was going to get another pair of brown ones. But this colour, Seal Grey, jumped out. Not quite grey, it has elements of taupe and brown in it. I’m calling it Bob because that’s our family’s name for all harbour seals which it totally resembles!

Seal Grey Blundstone boots – goes with everything

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.

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

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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A few more random photos.

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