Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Well, so here we are at spinning day once again and as determined as I was to have this braid completed, I do not.  I did spin a couple days over the last week, but not so much as I planned.

I am ever a work in progress. I am very pleased to say that my spinning quality, while not perfect is very much improved from what it was not so long ago.  The spinning all through this braid is fine and quite evenly spun.  I don't know that even is really tremendously important in the long run, but my goal for spinning is to produce a finished yarn that is no heavier than a fingering weight.  I am really aiming for a 2 ply laceweight as my long term goal.  Even spinning is definitely part of that goal.  Someday, I intend to spin me a lace shawl. That is what I saw the first day I saw what spinning was about and that remains the dream.

I had a full day of errands and meetings yesterday.  I did all kinds of little things like getting a library card and getting my address changed at my bank and getting my Co-op memebership (It is the best grocery store in these parts!).  While I was out, I stopped at the big box giant down the road to see how their cotton supply was.

I have lots of plans for much more weaving than thick cotton towels and dishcloths, but thick cotton is a great place to start. The weight makes it easy to see if patterns are developing properly and it should be easy to teach myself how to keep my fibres nicely balanced. They had a decent supply and to be honest, I had a tough time choosing colours. In the end I went with these simply because they were the brightest!

I wonder if this kind of cotton yarn would be heavy enough for a woven rug?  I could use another rug in my bathroom and that pretty orange creamsicle colour would look great with my bright yellow towels.  Maybe doubled?

Both of the multi colours have a strong yellow component.  I seem to be having a very yellow time lately.  My bedroom was planned to be yellow.  My livingroom is yellow by accident.  Surely I am not the only person on earth who choose a thing because it is yellow? I am, aren't I?  It was yellow.  Nothing more.  I am deeply attracted to bright yellow accented by crisp white with blues and greens to go with it.  It is possible that I need some bright yellow yarn too.

But first, warping. And that is going to take a good days worth of work.  Not today though.  Today is for spinning and visiting with friends.

Monday, 26 June 2017


After Friday's flurry of joyful expectation, the sweater is underway and I still love it. Maybe more.

The pattern is Granito  by Joji Locatelli.  I love the things she designs. There is always a little flash of brilliance in each one.

I think I initially wasn't keen on this pattern.  It's the pockets.  They are a little drapey right where I don't need the extra attention.  Now that many people have knit the sweater, you can see that the wide open pockets are a photo styling feature, possibly due to use.  But I do like the way this sweater hangs and with a slight accomodation to better fit my figure, I think it is going to be great.  It certainly will be the kind of thing that will get lots of wear.

The yarn I am using is Elann Dolce.  It is a fingering weight Australian merino and was one of my first purchases of highly discounted bags of Elann yarn.  At the time of purchase, I had a pattern picked out, but as soon as the yarn arrived I knew that while the yarn was right, the pattern was wrong, wrong, wrong.

I don't recall there being any choice of colours when I bought it, but I really like this very soft gray blue.  In the bag it always seemed to be more blue than gray, but now that I am working with it, it appears much more gray.  The darker spots are a lot like the colour of well worn jeans, worn so much that the colour is almost gone from them.

Because the colour difference is so distinct in the ball, I worried a little that it would look spotty once knit.  I was so wrong to worry.  It is just this wonderfully mottled gray blue.  Nothing distinct, just lovely soft variations of colour.  

So far so fair.  One ball finished the upper back section.  Next step is the fronts.  On the fronts, I think I am going to make a small change.  As designed, the pattern has a pretty round neck.  That isn't something that looks really good on me, so I am going to make a small henley split at the center front.  There will probably be 2 small buttons, which are not a feature, and it will probably be sewn closed.  I like the look, but the use of it is neither here nor there.  Closed or open doesn't matter, it takes away from round and adds a vertical line and that is what is needed.

When I knit Joji's Lipstick sweater, I used the extra large as my starting point and that was a mistake.  The whole sweater was always just a little wide, but it has become unwearable even with my slight change in size.  (That sweater and the red Rios it is made in are going to be redone this winter.)  This sweater, I started with the large and we will see where that gets us.  I did knit the arm edges a little longer than in the pattern.  I have pretty thick upper arms, and too tight sleeves is not a good thing.  With a little luck, that slightly more close fit through the shoulders will keep this as a sweater that I can wear for a really long time.

As I was tidying on the weekend, I realized that the red lace sweater had been tucked deep beside the loveseat for safekeeping while loom building and was almost lost in the melee.  I do have to get back to work on that.  So last week focus on socks.  This week on sweaters.  

Friday, 23 June 2017

The Edge

I feel the magic of simple socks wending its way through me.  I feel much more energetic and full of life than I have the last few days.  I am looking forward this morning and almost feel resentment that I have to type, which is slower, to tell you about it all rather than just letting all the words come tumbling out like wee Marcus does when he tells me about finding all his toys again.

I started two different socks yesterday.  

I started a plain just knit me sock

from one tidy ball of my favourite yarn blend, wool, cotton and nylon from Jawoll.  It should be noted for clarity that one simple sock in this put up, uses up one skein, so a pair requires two. I am letting the yarn do it's thing for this sock.  It is interesting even though I am not through one pattern repeat.

The second comes from a bag of stuff gathered when I went through the sock yarn pile the other day.  

It's kind of a mess isn't it.  Its one ball of gray Sisu with one ball of Patons Kroy and a partial ball of Elann Sock It To Me.  I had the Kroy and Sisu out through several sock binges, but they always seem to be the last yarn I look at.  I think it is because there is no punch in either yarn.  The bland just never excited me enough to begin even though I know it would look perfectly fine.  The skein of Sock It To Me was on its way to the scraps bin, but I wondered if the dark gray, almost charcoal would be the punch the two drab yarns needed.  I am not 100% convinced yet, but I think I am getting close.

I might pull back and put in a bit more of the dark, but I might just keep working forward and just add two rows of the darker next time and repeat a one, two sequence of it, through the sock.  The other two yarns blend so seamlessly, that is it difficult even for me to tell which rows are which. This is pure play, and it excites me.

The spark of sheer joy of these two little socks, have me looking to the next thing. They have even set my mind to the next thing and I want to knit it pretty badly.  The next thing means I get to go dig in my yarn to find this yarn.

I have already picked the pattern.  

I love this point of things, this edge just before you jump where your belief that the step you are taking is right, that it is a good plan and that all you have to do is take that first step.  I will forever be thankful that knitting allows me to feel it.  

It is much harder to find that feeling in the rest of life.  In the rest of life, outer forces often foil a great plan and temper the joy of that first step, by the reality of things you have no control over.  I know that all the self help gurus and life style coaches in the world wouldn't agree with me, but there are things that a positive attitude and believing in yourself can never resolve for you and can never make happen.  It isn't popular in our modern western culture to acknowledge that some things just happen.  That some things just are. Some things, some situations are not your fault or your responsibility but you carry them all the same. They colour everything else in your life, all the same.  

This week I had to face the fullness of the end of that life and that place and those dreams in a way I haven't had to up till now.  I was completely ready for it and mostly I feel lightness that it is done and over, but right there sitting with happiness is this strand of inescapable sadness.  Some things just are.  Would I go back and have that life in that house with Brian again in my perfect world?  I wish it with everything molecule I am, but it cannot ever be.  Some things just are.  I accept that it is.

It seems to me, that the real trick is to find at least one thing, one place in your life that allows you to feel that place of a perfect edge of joy before you commit yourself..  Everybody needs a place to feel that.  If you fish, that point is where you know you have a fish on the line, but before you get it in the boat.  If you skydive, it is standing at the door of the plane, ready to jump.  If you bake cookies, it is that point just before you put it in the oven, where you know, by the taste and texture of the batter, that this is going to be a really great batch.  If you knit, it is that place where you have the yarn and a pattern in mind and it is all so good together, that you can see yourself wearing the sweater in your minds eye.  

So here I am, standing at the edge of perfect joy and isn't that a great place to be at the start of a day?