Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Healing Hug Completed

Last night and this morning I finished the prayer shawl I have been working on since November. My last post outlined the care taken as I chose the colours and pattern. Today just want to post pictures of the completed project. I cannot wait for my recipient to get it. IMG_2263Back


Persistence Pays Off

Earlier this year, I tagged along with my husband on a work trip to Halifax, Nova Scotia. One day, while he worked, I took the ferry to Dartmouth Yarns. That was my only destination, even though I knew it was crochet day (and I cannot do that). I wanted to get the materials for a prayer shawl for a close friend’s mom who is battling illness. Knitting a prayer shawl is a spiritual practice, before you begin knitting , a blessing, prayer or wish is, dedicating the work of your hands and the intentions of the receiver.  You play soft music to enhance your knitting time, remembering that this is a reflective time, and think calming and healing thoughts.  Essentially, you transfer your prayers, energy and good wishes for the person into the creation of the piece. I wanted to pick something relatively simple (I believed cursing the pattern is not healing) but unique.


They had lots of beautiful shawls displayed around the store. I decided to try the Arpeggio (or broken chord) by Ilga Leja, a local NS designer. I also picked Fleece Artist wooly silk in an amethyst colour, from across the room. I loved the soft silkiness of the wool and silk combination. Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people (from “The Curious Lore of Precious Stones“). For the main color,  I matched the pink in wooly silk ball, the only ball in the store that matched was the Halo (75% wool and 25% heard Angora) yarn. It was so soft and felt that it would warm her without being too itchy or heavy. I was ambitious enough to use the store swift and ball winder, so I could start as soon as I got back to the hotel. I was so excited on the ferry back that I almost got it out to start it right there.

I had a number of false starts, even frogged the shawl once. It is all knitting so I thought it would be easy but the technique uses lots of short rows to make the shawl drape properly. For some reason, I had a really hard time getting my head around how to do them. At one point I even started a different pattern but I could not get up on the Arpeggio. Last weekend I gave it one more try, I am so glad I did. I love how it is turning out. The drape of the material and its softness is the perfect combination for creating a healing hug to wrap in.IMG_1226

Gluten Free Subway Bun

Today for lunch tried the gluten free bun at Subway. It costs an extra $1 in Canada but is so worth it in my view. I got the butter chicken sub with Swiss cheese, spinach, jalapenos, and cucumber. I did not get anything I should not eat on it. This is a major accomplishment because I try to be gluten, lactose and nightshade free (O.K. so jalapenos are nightshades but there was only a few on it and I did not have green peppers too). I juggle the cheats when I go out to eat and try not to have more than one at any meal. The butter chicken was not amazing to me. I found the taste was not as “bold” as I was expecting, so I would have preferred my normal go to sub – turkey bacon. But it was fun to try something new.

My sub was toasted. The warm gluten free bun was great, at least according to my taste buds. It had the moisture and texture of fresh regular bread (sometimes I find my gluten free choices and dry and crumbly). I did not have any of my children with me so was not able to do the kid test. If they say it is good then I can actually take it somewhere or recommend it. Today I am going to be wild and crazy and recommend it anyways without their endorsement. I really enjoyed it and did not have any of the after effects that I would get from regular Subway buns.


ONRPEI Weekend Events Apr. 15 & 16 — ONRPEI.CA

April 14, 15 & 16 All New People at The Guild

via ONRPEI Weekend Events Apr. 15 & 16 — ONRPEI.CA

“All New People” written by Zack Braff and directed by Keir Malone opened last Thursday, April 7. The last three shows are this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The cast is strong and although some themes are heavy they are broken up by comedic moments.

Check it out!

Never giggle when you read a pattern!!

One of my friends has wanted children since our childhood. She finally had her first child late last year. At the time, I decided to make a really special treasure for her little boy. I purchased yarn from mycolourwheelhouse on Etsy. Choosing Alison’s Walking After Midnight yarn was so good. It is a variegate of deep rich blue and charcoal black with a beautiful sheen from the silk content of the yarn. Yes. I know silk for a baby is crazy but I know his mom will love it. However, it required that I knit the project on very small needles. It makes a wonderfully thin and warm material, but takes forever to get anywhere on the pattern. Last week I thought that I really should finish that project (especially before he outgrows it).

I remembered back to reading the pattern as I was working through the short rows to make the butt a bit bigger than the front. I had giggled when they had said “Be sure you are working your short rows on the back of the pattern”. How would anyone be so inattentive as to miss that. Then I blissfully went on thinking how it is so cute to see the big butt in any baby pattern. I was feeling so proud that I finally figured out how to knit the yarn around the stitch together with the last stitch to make the short rows without holes. It only took me 30 some odd years of making short rows wrong before perfecting this technique. I was also enjoying the colour changes, loving the transitions from black to blue and back again. I set the project down when I’d finished the short rows. Thinking that I would leave the easy part until after the holidays.

Anyone who knits knows that you should never feel so smug about a project. I picked it up last week and started the gusset. It took me two rounds to realize that I had actually put the butt short rows on the front of the overalls. How stupid could I be!!! I ranted and raged at myself for a bit then spent some time wondering if it would really be too odd to have the buttons button on his back. Eventually I decided that even a non-knitter would know that buttons on the back of the overalls was not a “design feature”. Finally I admitted defeat, I spent the rest of the night tinking back to where I started the short rows. There the project sits. I did not even pick it up again this weekend. 12627936_1545859992408172_1603284265_n

I repeat NEVER get smug about how well you are knitting. The knitting goddess will strike you down. Maybe I will be able to face it again later today.

Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories

cover225x225Future Visions: Original Science Fiction Stories Inspired by Microsoft is an anthology of short stories written by some of today’s greatest science fiction authors. These visionary stories explore prediction science, quantum computing, real-time translation, machine learning, and much more. The contributing authors were inspired by inside access to leading-edge work, including in-person visits to Microsoft’s research labs, to craft new works that predict the near-future of technology and examine its complex relationship to our core humanity. –

Robert Sawyer is the reason I got this collection. He is one of my favorite authors and he tweeted about the book. His contribution was Looking for Gordo. It is a story about a mock court proceeding that was being televised regarding the debate about searching for extraterrestrial intelligence. It is instigated by receipt of messages from an alien race “similar” to Facebook of our time. I love the short story when well done and Sawyer is on of the masters. I love seeing ideas from another point of view, and this is so engrossing.

Seanan McGuire opens this collection with Hello, Hello. A story about a prototype ASL interface between siblings that gets hijacked by an unknown avatar on the Tasha’s end. This is complicated by the fact that Tasha runs a bird sanctuary in her home, thus has many visitors, and the unknown is talking to her brother’s children Greg and Billie. The story is very engaging as it unfolds and the mystery of the unknown caller is resolved.

The Tell by David Brin follows a magician in an alternate world where he developed a way to reveal hoaxes and scammers. This gets him targeted and a friend must come to his rescue. It is a wonderful approach to take in exploring how we know things. I keep thinking about how I interpret what I see now, then I try to look at it through the eyes of the main character here.

In Another Word for World, Ann Leckie starts when a Ashiban Xidyla comes to with a headache. The Sovereign of Iss, hereditary high priestess of the Gidanta sits across the aisle. They must leave the site of their flier’s crash says the Sovereign through her handheld. Someone wants them dead to start a war. They struggle for survival and to understand each other. The story’s evolution as the characters learned from each other and determined what was really happening was very satisifying. A perfect ending to this book.

The interesting thing that I found is that all of the authors have written engaging short stories. That is what happens when you have a book full of masters of their craft. I love the idea of a company putting together an anthology like this. Microsoft picked the authors well. You should enjoy it too.

Download Future Visions for yourself.

INFJ and My Writing

I just read Andrea Wegner’s post on how people with my personality type approach writing. It mostly fits me, although in school I had no problems with outlines. Now, I must admit I do not use them when preparing my posts, but that may be a product of the fact that I am trying to be less formal and academic here.

However, I do need to learn to let go of the editor in me while writing first drafts. My NaNoWriMo writing is falling victim to too much editing and not enough new writing. I will have to fix that this weekend. I also am energized by small groups not large.

Overall the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator works to identify my go to preferences. INFJ means that I prefer: Introversion over extroversion, intuition over sensation, feelings over thinking, and judgements over perception. Preference is relative. I can do extroverted things but I get revitalized by doing things alone or in small groups. My though process is abstract. Even my kids know to interpret what I say. “You know what I meant” is my mantra. Trusting my gut is becoming more and more what I do as experience has taught me that my feelings tend to be bang on. Most times when I get in trouble, I have ignored that feeling. Closure is very important to me. I think it is one of the reasons I love knitting so much. I can start a little project and finish it in a day or a weekend. So much of my work and my writing take much more time. I believe I should set smaller writing goals so I can say “Finished!” more often. I might get more productive that way.


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