Friday, 28 September 2007

I hab a code

So there was no knitting last evening, just sleep, and some drooling.

I debated about not posting but hey I have stuff, and stories behind it. So here you go, a picture from my study.Nothing fancy, but this is one of my favourite things I have ever done. Its just a simple crosstitch, notable for its size, about 2 ft by 3 ft. For its size, it was quick to work.

I have no idea anymore who published the design, but I do know I paid dearly for it, 8 bucks IIRC in 1989 or thereabouts. Look at the subtle shading of the smoky blues, look at the detail in the leaves. Its the only piece I've completed that ever came close to shading colour like the book with the poppies.

It started with 2 other smaller iris pieces, which were completed first. Sadly I needed a gift for a friend, framed them and gave the set away. The entire set was meant for my bedroom, which had soft blues accenting white at the time. This piece was finished and has never hung in my bedroom. All alone it wasn't quite enough, and somewhere in there we moved north to our current home, and well, you know how it goes. Things meant for one place find alternate places in others. It lived in a closet for a while and then in our master bath. It was decommissioned for a few years to the laundry before finally being restored to prominence in my study.

Its not perfectly mounted, just taped to the back of the mat, and stuck in the frame, I keep thinking one day...

It's soft blue reminds me of my silly blue and white china collection and how that came to be, it reminds me of a wonderful needlework store, Barbra Christie's Needle Arts (I cried when I was in there the last time before we moved. They aren't around longer but they were fine.), it reminds me of my mom.

My mom is a lady to her core and for most of my life she has had blues in her bedroom. Soft blue is ladylike, gracious, and comforting. It gives a room a delicate air when used as an accent colour, and its wonderful to wake up to.

I'm certainly not a ladylike sort. No delicacy in this burgh but for the string things. I'm not sure why the blue became my bedroom colour. It was likely something simple like the catalogue had these seriously fine toppers for my white sheers, and I found blue lamps to match. That does sound like me.

Way back when, the blue fit perfectly with my bedroom, and I fell in love with a project enough that it endures and I love it still. Enjoy.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Finished! Calorimetry and scarf

I'm really pleased with how these pieces turned out. Calorimetry is a project I'd do again. Small enough to do in one sitting, and the short row work, makes it interesting, a nice and very different project than socks. The scarf is plain Jane, but I just couldn't leave the leftover yarn sitting there now could I? (Note: Great photo of the fireplace. Too bad more of the scarf didn't appear. A dozen pictures, and this one was the only clear one.)

Girl, whose proper name is SS, says it feels like it should be tighter. If she keeps feeling this, we may yet felt it a little. I'd also consider making it with a less stretchy yarn. I'd like to see how it would turn out in a cotton or linen, sized to fit more closely, not counting on the stretch of the fabric for the fit.

It was really nice to work a few rounds on socks this morning, and I did a whack of squares on the blanket. I calculated the size based on the 6 inch square size, and it seems I am a quarter done. Obviously, less than I thought, and it is time to bust my buns. I'm not working it together as I go. I don't mind the putting together later, for the same reason I didn't mind working in all the ends on the scarf. It feels just like embroidery to me!

As I worked on the scarf last night, I did have a wave of longing for an embroidery needle and some linen, or even cotton fabric. It has nothing to do with the tea towels Mary Maxim has in its catalogue, which it probably always had, but I never noticed before. (Of course I would not use the paints, but do them in the way it was done when I was a girl, like this.) It has nothing to do with checking out Nordic Needle for the first time in a while. It has nothing to do with the fact that they carry things like this or this , and even this . And then there is the Blackwork , that I am wanting to try.

No it's not that at all.

I'll have to do some before vacation to take the edge off.

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

A swatching we will go.

Somewhere over the last few days I managed to find time to swatch the Jagger Heathers yarn.

This knit swatch was knit with 4.5mm needles, but I think to be ideal, I should be using 4's. The fabric is a wee bit open for my taste. The crochet swatch will be next, just not today. It seems all 3 of my size 4 and my 4.5's are in a project right now, or are otherwise occupied and I make it a habit never to take the needles out of the work in progress. The various brands of needles and ages of needles and hooks can make a difference in gauge even though they are technically the same size needle.

Here, I'll show you. The upper needle in the picture is the Red Heart brand needle I am using for the vest. The lower, one of my very ancient and well used set of Tailorform needles. These are not the same size needles, just a sample of the brands.

See how deep and straight cut the Red Heart needle is, and how sharply it becomes full throated? This needle always gives me a more tightly done fabric. The old Tailorforms, perhaps because of decades of use (circa 1976 IIRC) give me a more loosely crocheted fabric. Note its more rounded cut, and much more gradual throat.

There was also the great sweater disaster, to make me a firm needles-with-work for the duration needle person. The fronts were done with a 4.5mm hook and after a time away form the project, the back and sleeves were done with a 4mm hook. People brighter than I would have noticed before trying to sew it together, but not me. I will never ever get over the trauma of thinking all I had to do was put it together and I was done, and ended up having to redo the front.

Specific needles matter for me, and what I start with stays with the work, no compromises.

On the works front, more of the scarf. I'm down to the second last repeat of the Loft strips (I'm using colour 925, which seems to be unavailable everywhere I checked today - try some of the other shades though, its great stuff), and yes, I'll be short about 10 rows over the last 2 large repeats. Ah well. Someday I'll get it right. I'm not concerned. It is after all a scarf, and if the ends are not perfectly matched strip-wise, I can live with that, rather than reknit. When that is done, hopefully tomorrow, you will all get to see the set, Calorimetry and scarf modeled.

And then I have to address, in a very serious fashion, the blankets for giving away. Its a few weeks since I managed to get any squares done, and my goal of October is perilously close. Not that there is pressure mind, but my conscience is going to bug me if I don't get them done before it gets really cold. I want the blankets eventual owner warm the whole winter, not just some measly part of winter.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

More Stash

As promised, more stash. Looking in the sock yarn bag really lifted my spirits after a sad day yesterday.

I realized something. Here look at this. This is the yummy, yummy Schaefer Yarn - Anne. Its a hand painted merino, mohair, and nylon mix, sturdy enough for socks, 560 yds to a skein. Its hard to see it, so try this photo.See the green Regia in the background? See how the colours work together. I almost couldn't breathe when I noticed these laying there all innocent like, in the bag. 560 yards and 200 yds and 200 yds, I think I have enough for a small shawl.

I'm dreaming of something that I could wear at the office, to cover my upper back, with ends long enough to pin together in the front. Something more than a scarf that goes round one's neck, but less than a full blown shawl. It has to be small enough that I won't sit on the end, but large enough that if I pin it tie it or belt the fronts, they will stay in place.

It was a lovely possibility to wake up to. And then there was this. This is the Colinette Jitterbug, a wondrous, luscious rich blue. It looks only half as good in the picture as when you are sitting in front of it. I'm sure you can hear me sigh over this one. In a perfect world, I'd use it for something showier than socks, but at some point the yarn acquisition must stop. And I really do need those socks.

Just so you know, this stash growing affliction is not quite over. I had to order a coordinating yarn from Red Bird. See how the Sunset is out of stock? Yup that's me. I had to control myself in a big way, because I tell you the Redwood is calling my name too (its a very noisy yarn). I want something to use with the Peat (See yesterday's stash pictures). Peat has more colour in it than shows up here, and adding the pure streak of colour ought to look quite nice. I'm not certain what I am going to do with it, but it will be crocheted and it will be a wearable, be it sweater, short sleeved top, vest or cardigan.

GD, no rush, Sue good to meet you, and Gina, are you really sure you want me to lead you astray? I tell you its an awful thing, this sock compulsion, but I was once just an ordinary crocheter, who saw this, made a few pairs, and loved them. I won't even tell you about these, or these. (shakes head sadly) No Gina, I won't lead you astray, not at all.

Seriously, these are all surprisingly easy, and are lovely soft and have a yummy thick warmth to them. The crocheted socks that I have will always be my number one choice for fireside socks, and those really chilly winter days. There will be more.

I'll leave you with this, the almost complete scarf, of Patons Classic and Zitron Loft. Did I mention how much I am enjoying both these yarns?

Monday, 24 September 2007

So onward we go.

Recall if you will the new stash additions. Here are some partial pictures of the new yarns. (Isn't the green stupendous? I desire more of it. I have plans.)

I think the peat will companion nicely with another of the same line, Boysenberry perhaps.

Further to these few and sundry pictures, insert photo of lovely Anne yarn in it's gorgeous earth tone, insert lovely Blue Jitterbug, insert photo of new and improved look of the sock yarn stash, insert close up of the purlpleness of the purple cone. I deleted those pictures as I was making space on my photo card for new photos from the anniversary party.

I did not succumb to the new Blue Moon yarn, but decided to work on sock feet for the Tree of Life Cable socks I plan for son3 and lovely bride. One foot of her socks are done, and the other close to it. This evening I need to check on the size of the foot I am making. The Kroy yarn demands a different size needle than what I have been doing socks with (3 mm rather than 2.25 mm) and I have a sudden concern for gauge and oh dear, how huge should the foot of this sock be?

On the very upside, all the previous socks have been delivered. Sister GD has tried hers on, and has professed to liking them, as I knew she would. She will take the other pairs over for mom and dad to try on. Mom, dad, try them on and let me know if there needs to be any adjustments to make them a perfect fit.

Do you need more room as you slip the sock on as your foot gets to the heels? Is the ankle baggy? How does the arch fit? Do you prefer anything snugger, looser? Longer? shorter? If the fit is really bad, let me know the adjustments, and you can then pass on the existing pair to someone who it will fit, and a new pair will be custom fit and will follow shortly.

They are super wash, all of them, some containing cotton, and they all contain nylon for strength. They can be washed and dried in cool water and even warm water, just not on hot, in your machines. They improve in the washer, becoming thicker and more cosy each time.

A sock is a small thing, not difficult but still fraught with challenge. It is a very mundane thing, but like many mundane things, the time invested in the making of it, is me giving each of you, mom, dad and sister, a hug. Think of me and of warmth and comfort when you wear them.

I live a rich fantasy life.

I live a rich fantasy life and have a accumulated a fair number of imaginary friends.

I'm not really sure why it started, these imaginary friendships, but I posted something on the blog of a writer whose work I enjoy, and others posted, and soon we were posting comments not just addressing the comments of the blogger, but back and forth to one another. I guess you see the same things on a lot of blogs, but most blogs back and forth is arguing and disputes. Achenblog was simply different. Sure we gripe back and forth, and sometimes have strong disagreements, but there is a general air of civility at Achenblog that does not exist other places in blogland. We laugh far more often than we gripe, and no matter what else happens, we still respect each other in the morning.

Some months ago one of our imaginary friends let us know that he was ill, and some time later, we came to know that he was terminally ill. Error Flynn was the recipient of a fairy door from the boodle, and I was honoured to be included in the gifting. He is part of every stitch I take and will forever be a prayer on blankets and prayer shawls that I make. Our differences matter not, it was our commonalities that made us friends, and made me wish to give him comfort.

As several other boodlers have said, I too have the vision of my friend Bob, imaginary and oh so very real to me, stopping on his way through the Fairy Door to Forever Land, taking one look back, doffing his hat rakishly, bidding us a fond farewell till we meet in the next great adventure.

Error Flynn in 08.

I salute you.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Flyby blogging

I have 1 task at the office this morning, and then its off to the anniversary celebrations. 6 hours of pure handwork over a road I have traveled many, many, many times in my life.

I WILL get moms sock done even if I have to spend another hour looking at why this sock doesn't seem to measure the same even though when I measure parts they measure the same. I am 6 rows or 2 from the ribbing right now, and both are correct. (Pounding head on keyboard)

There are yarns in the bag for Son3 and his brides socks. There are socks to deliver in the bag. I am packed and ready to go, and yet... I've a hankering to work on the new yarns. I'm expecting to succumb to the Socks that Rock yarn though I dearly wish I could succumb to the Anne. Sadly Anne is a hank, not a skein, and unless I can talk someone into being a swift, it will remain unwound this trip.

Pictures of the new stash, you ask. My bad. I do have pictures. At home. On the camera. 2 days in a row. I plead guilty as charged. I am so scatterbrained this week, I amaze even me. It takes a lot to amaze me about the things I do, but yeah, this is a really bright move.

So I will leave you with pictures of other things. Lovely things. Can I distract us all with that? I know it works for me. Enjoy.
This is a pattern from one of my crochet books, I think this one, which was adapted by me. It is a snowflake pattern but we turned the white to be blue and the blue to be white, and I put long borders of white up the middles of the joined rows. The long stitches are double trebles that go down 2 rows below to be worked around the post and make that very interesting look. If I do this one again, I will join it as I go, and I will also cut the size in half. This blanket must be 8 feet by 4 feet, too big for any human sized being!

Now off I go, into the wild beige knitting yonder.

Thursday, 20 September 2007

The 'Civil War' Blanket

Last evening, my yarn order arrived from Red Bird Knits. Sigh, sigh and sigh again. The Jagger Heathers are lovely. Volunteers are falling all over themselves with ideas of how I can use it to make them things. The Collinette Jitterbug in Damson, is breathtakingly blue. The real fight is going to be over the Schaeffer Anne yarn. I want it. The Girl with the Morphing Foot wants it. If I let anyone else see it, they would covet it too. I was so entranced I did up a swatch of the Jagger yarn, to see how that would be washed and swatched. A thousand ways to use it, and a very good buy. Note to self: Need more.

When that was done, I picked up mom's sock. I knit my heart out. I was about 2 rows from casting off, when I noticed something very very wrong. I'm about 6 rows short on the lacy part before the ribbing starts. Sigh. I ripped and then I went to bed in sheer disgust. .

Because I am still disgusted with my not measuring behaviour, I will show you something lovely, done long ago. Its looking a little worn now, but it is one of my all time favourite projects.

One great big granny square, named the 'Civil War' blanket, because it was begun and completed one sitting, while the History Channel was playing Ken Burns 'The Civil War' in its entirety. The first stitch was cast about 5:30 a.m. - or was it 6:30? - and the last stitch about 10 hours and a few minutes later. It is made out of aran coloured acrylic yarns left over from a couple of previous things, and some blue heathered yarn left over from a sweater project. There are no technical details. It is just a regular granny square as the middle picture shows, until the blanket is the size you want or you have run out of yarn. On this blanket, I had hoped to add a blue row round the outer edge, but I did not have enough yarn. Instead, I added a blue double crochet line from the centre of the blanket to the outer corner, over the corner chain 3 loops.

This project displays all the really good things about acrylic yarn. Its tough. It has been washed and dried in a machine many, many times. It lived for a time in the back of one of my sons cars (they stole it, but it was recovered in a sting operation where they begged for help with their laundry pile). It lived at the bachelor pad.

Its old age, I drape it over my chair in my study, and use it as a shawl in the chill of the very early morning hours before the furnace cuts in. Its soft and warm, a cuddly snuggle of comfort.

Its a personal favourite in every way.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Hump Day

Wednesdays are a funny day. They are the middle of everything. Not the start of the week, not the end, just sort of middling. Wednesdays are a 3 cup of coffee day, with a little bit of brightness on the horizon.

I'm still working on the scarf, I'm still working on mom's socks. Bye the bye, all the socks you have seen me do lately, mom's dads, sisters are coming with me this weekend, and will be given to the recipients. We'll have time for a quick stop only. Mom's second sock is 2 rows from the cuff, one heel to do and one heel to redo.

An interesting thing about doing peasant heels. To do a peasant heel, you take 2 to 2 1/4 inches off the length of the foot, to know where to put in the waste yarn for the heel. After you pick up the stitches, you then work decreases to the point where you want to graft the heel closed. Most people do those decreases on one row, and follow it with a row worked even.

I did not read that line (what follow a pattern?) so up till mom's socks, I always simply worked decreases evenly over all rows. It worked, and the socks fitted well. Occasionally someone would find it a little snug but once they wore them a few times, it was a great fit.

I decided to try it following the basic pattern information, but... Square. Deep and square. My shorties socks are worked like this, and are a tad large. The yarn will felt a little, so I'm not worried about mine, but with the high cotton count, mom's won't.

Mom's first sock with alternating even and decrease rows, ends up too deep, too square and a touch too long for her foot size. So back to my old way, with its much shorter more rounded looking heel. It's possible that a few rows of each will be the perfect heel. (Its possible that this is what the regular pattern does say to do. I didn't read that next line. What? Patterns? Follow???)

I'm going to start some of the gift socks on the trip this weekend. I hope to make Son 3 and his lovely wife matching patterned socks, but in a slightly different colour of yarn. Looking back to the sock yarn stash on yesterdays post, the aran yarn is for her and the heathered soft brown is for him. I hope to find a tree of life pattern that can be worked in purl stitches. If I can't find one, I'll have to make one. I'm sure someone already did this, I'm sure I saw it somewhere. Lunch will be devoted to the quest.

Where do we travel this weekend? Its Mr. Needles parent's 60th Anniversary (the picture is from the 50th with their children). A life well lived together still, through many trials and much joy. We should all be so lucky. Congratulations and much love to them from me.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Strange things happen

I'm working on a scarf to match Calorimetry, and I realized Saturday, that I was going to need more of the Paton's Classic if I want the scarf to be reasonably long. I described my yarn misadventures at Micheals previously but since Micheals is where I picked up the first skein, it was where I went to pick up a wee bit more.

I am not responsible for what happened. I seem to be incapable of restraint. I think I'll plead insantiy. They had enough of one dye lot to do what I wanted with it. Well enough to do the fronts, since I already decided the back and sleeves will be plain. I don't think I should be allowed in yarn stores anymore.

There is good news too. The sweater is looking like this.

I am pleased with it so far. I'm working on the sleeves, putting a cable up the centre. When I look at the sweater in the photo, I get the strong feeling that the same cable up the centre of the sleeve is too heavy looking. A plain sleeve with a narrow band of blue along the bottom edge might be better. If anyone has any opinions on it, I'd appreciate it. If I go with a narrow band on the sleeve edges, I think I would repeat it on the bottom, and collar edges too. It would give me my bit of variation, without the blue overtaking the look of the Ragg yarn. I'm really enjoying this Mary Maxim yarn. Its lovely too work with.

I also spent a while taking pictures of completed projects in my study. 8 other handmade items in this room alone. That's not even counting the little box with the pincushion lid, or the little basket. You'll see them the next time my projects are driving me batty. Its going to be cheaper for me too, since contemplating all the nice things I have done, will mean I won't be obsessing about purchasing yarn.

I leave you today with my sock yarn. The pitiful version,

And just look at how nice it looks with the addtion of a little red. Another day or two will add some blues. I might keep the lid on my stashes, but I appreciate how great they look.

Monday, 17 September 2007

Slow start

Its sort of a slow start today. I attended court this morning (NO it wasn't me) to ensure that a certain matter did not simply disappear. Traffic court is dull, and no they did not allow me to knit. I don't think Mr. Security would have allowed me to crochet either. I did not challenge him. When I picked it up, he was in the middle of being ribbed by police type people about taking up a hobby, so I came to his defense and offered to teach them to knit. The ribber laughed really hard at this, and the ribbee gave me my yarn back right quick, and even held the door for me. I think he wanted me out of there fast.

That said, I had the chance to deal with my colour problem.

Isn't that nice? As you can see, I had no problem getting some of it onto a needles. (This photo is not a good one at all, colour wise) It may have to come off for the short term. I do have holiday socks to make, one with a pattern, I don't know which one yet (breathe woman, breathe), so I really have no business doing socks for me. But it was so bright. But it called me. It was almost crying. Sigh, I know better than to fall for a yarns siren call, and yet...

I did finish the Romney sock yarn socks.I'm wearing them right now. Lovely. Wonderful. Warm. I will have fall for this yarns siren song before too long, I'm certain. These are shorty socks, so I have enough left to make another pair, if I do the toes, heels and ribbing in something else. I'll have to go looking for a very fine grey yarn to match, or maybe a pale blue solid.

I'm working on the scarf to match Calorimetry too.

Not a lot of knitting this weekend, though I planned for it. I really wanted to have both on going socks done. It was more of a cooking weekend. I prepared for a freezer full of lasagna.

I resisted the urge to make fresh buns, but I promised myself those for an evening. Knitting while making buns ought to be a very fine complimentary task. Knitting can fill in while I wait for the dough to rise. Come to think of it, I used to fill the waiting time in with doing laundry, but I have a feeling I might enjoy the knitting fill in a lot more. I could go superwoman and do some laundry too, because there is a lot of waiting time in laundry.

I won't though. I do have a reputation for sloth to keep up.

GD we are equal, trust me on this. You always had the decency to call before you visited, while I just knocked on your door. Still do, and its hardly fair at all, is it? Any cleanliness you saw at my house was false. Yes, where are those sisters? Sisters?

Friday, 14 September 2007

Book Review: Join As You Go Afghans

I don't generally review newly published books, since most often I get my books on the discount shelves. Sometimes great books end up at discount places right along with the rest of the over printed books.

Join As You Go Afghans was printed in 2005, and is still for sale at Amazon. My copy has a spiral bound back, and that choice of binding is probably the books biggest flaw. While the pages will lay straight while you work, they are bound in a too small spiral, and page turning is arduous. According to Amazon, there is a paperback cover now available. The other flaw in the production values of the book, is the placement of photos of completed articles. Awkward is putting it mildly. Maybe the paperback version fixed the flow problems.

There is a good range of patterns in the book for the new crocheter. There are some really nice colour combinations being used, some really nice variations on the granny square, some very nice round and octagon patterns. One really creative piece is a sun shiny happy face blanket, very cute. The yarns used in the book are readily available worsted weights and there are a few afghans that include the use of some of the 2005 trendy fuzzy yarns, even one using Lion Brand Chenille Quick and thick. The books strongest suit is colour without taking us too far from what most people will enjoy having in their homes.

Its a comfortable book. If you are a beginner, and don't know where to go after dishcloths, give this book a shot. If you are a longtime crocheter who really likes to stick closely to patterns, this book will serve you well. Most crocheters looking for a blanket, you will find one that will please here.

If you are a crocheter who looks at patterns as a starting point, you will find a lot of starting points, but not a lot of the innovation that drives your soul. Few stitch innovations, easy colour innovations, mild yarn innovations. But even for you, blankets are comfort and you might find a quick warm pattern to remind you of home.

I fall in between the true innovators, and the comfort crocheters. At first look, I didn't think there were a lot of patterns I would end up using. The second time I looked, I found a few more things I would use. Even this morning, there were a few more things that caught my eye, that were glossed over before. Bursts of Fur, Make me Smile, Spring Plaid (the reason I picked this one up), Stair Steps are all on the list of highly possible.

This books stitches up for me to be a half-double crochet. If you have no in house library and can get a good discount pick this one up, but if you already have a catalogue of patterns, check it out at a library.

Like all reviews, movies, books, this review is really subjective. I've been crocheting a really long time, and have tried all kinds of things. Since that makes me a wee bit fearless, I generally look for more in a book than many would. I paid a little more than I would have liked for this book, 12.99, plus shipping, but if I was buying a few patterns, I'd end up the same. Besides books look good on the shelf.

So there you have it.

A small further note. When I started the blog, I thought about how little I had kept over the years, and hoped to keep a record of the things I do. I worry a bit some days when projects are a little slow, what my direction for the blog will be, what to post about. A regular reader will know that once I get the germ of an idea, I can talk on for days and days. I was cleaning this week (I don't do this often. My sisters will vouch for that. They have probably fallen off their chairs laughing at the understatement). I kept coming across things I have made. I never really realized just how much I have in the house. My bedroom alone is awash with stuff. I thought of a couple more projects around the house as I was writing this. I think the stuff at home qualifies as a plethora.

It fills me with great joy to say: This blog will never be pictureless again!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

In which the blogger does something about the lack of pictures

Ah today, we are back to our regularly scheduled pictures. Its about time too. And I didn't even have time to get any yarn, so the lovely thoughts of red, violet, turquoise and rich blues, vibrant yellows are still in my future.

The household is settling. Son 1 has his home iv set up. Its in the inside of his upper right arm, which is a really bad thing if you are using crutches. You can't have everything, and he is considering if he can try canes. No more runs to the hospital 3 times a day, a huge relief to all of us.

Like any other time when the immediate stress is off, we start seeing the goofy in the world. At our house, we invented the knitted ear warmer.Its not the normal band over the head kind of ear warmer. We intend these to function as independent so that a person could wear one only on the windward ear if one felt like it. Obviously we must get a handle on the bind off, but both the boy and I figure it looks pretty good. Just so you know, we were giggling pretty hard here, and it took 5 tries before the picture turned out for him shaking for laughing or me shaking for laughing.

There was serious knitting too.

A lot of knitting happened after I took this. Its almost double in length. There is something very comforting in the knit 2 purl 2 rib. I don't have to think, I can do it in the dark on the commute in to work the days I don't have a car. Apparently I need work that is even simpler than a stockinette sock.

Maybe what I was craving was a texture that is different than fingering weight yarn. I really enjoyed Calorimetry, and had these materials sitting there staring accusingly at me. I debated about making a felted bag with them, but the Loft kept talking about wanting to be featured in something long and drapey. I of course complied, so there you have it a scarf. I think those cool little shortie pink Susan Bates needles were calling my name wanting to be used too.

I also came across 2 really nice quick to work tops. I'm not sure if I could work them up before Christmas, but I might consider trying if I find a yarn that shouts Tubey, and Tempting.

I have a book to review tomorrow, a crochet one, so if you like afghans, check back then.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

A Lack of Pictures

There has been a distressing lack of pictures on this blog lately. It's likely only distressing to me, but in the vast wasteland of no picture blogs, I am becoming a standout. Its not that I'm not knitting, its that the colours of things are so un-inspiring.

I'm working on a olive green blanket, which is OK in person but looks like dishwater on the screen.

I'm working on two sets of socks, both of which I am really pleased with, but they are both soft and welcoming colours, but not eye catching, bright and soul moving colours.

I'm working on the lovely Alina colourway from Blue Moon, the vest. OK this one is a lovely bright colourway. Its an anomaly. I should be working on it more.

I have the sweater project, in blues and whites, which is good, but is a calm project and I'm not feeling very calm right now.

I'm working on the little lace project at which I am stymied by the delicacy and how to get the thing to go smaller, sigh. Its yarn behaving badly at its finest.

I have a full bag of sock yarn (its a 18 beer, beer cooler, so its is large) but its colour ways are muted, heathered, aran, earthy tones but for one bright yellow set of yarns.

I have a fine order in but its not here yet. I'm not sure if its the reason I am not sleeping well, but I'm certain with bright yarns I'd feel better. I've a hankering for red. I should have bought a red colourway in this. Red 9 is looking really good this morning.

I've a need to go see some of this yarn up close. I need to see some of it in my work bag, in my basket and in my bins. We all know that there will be no escape, and that I will leave the yarn store with copious quantities (really 2 or 3) of yarn. We all know that there is no way that I can possibly leave without at least one or two unplanned purchases. We all know (OK, maybe I haven't told you about it) that River City has Louet yarns , and that my craving for those yarns, and their gorgeous colour tones is starting to raise eyebrows. We won't talk about how I dream of the basket of Loft they had last time I was there. River City Yarns is a dangerous place, and I don't go there lightly anymore.

Yellow, red, violet, lush greens, turquoise and shades of brilliant blues. I can hardly wait.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Yarn orders

I went to Micheal's to check out the stock of yarn. I was extremely interested in the Paton's Classic Merino, and in the SWS. However, true to form, the shelves might have been full, but you could not have done anything needing more than 4 skeins. DYE LOT, people. DYE LOT. Maybe that is what happens when you have a system that doesn't care about yarn people, just about selling. I did pick up some fairly basic sock yarn for gifts, but even in that, I had to pick for dye lots.

So I took my yarny self over to Red Bird Knits, and let me tell you, they had a pretty good day. I picked up some of this in Damson, one of Earth 9 (its now out of stock, so maybe that is me!), some of this and this in amethyst, and umm, oh, this in peat! I had a good day, but I controlled myself because I did not order this. I really would have liked to though. Next time.

This is going to have to hold me until I get the pattern for clogs. Then I'll have to pick up some Paton's Classic Merino or maybe some other yummy yarn. There will need to be a trip down to River City Yarns (drat them they are going to have a thrummed mitts class. I really want to do it, but my days are used up) for some Blue Moon for socks, maybe for Christmas but maybe not. Once I get those things done, I might feel as if I have enough to get by with. Or maybe not.

Its rather odd, but for all the yarn in the house, it feels like all of it is under construction (in projects that is) and I have nothing left to think about. Yarn is limitless possibilities, yarn is open vistas, and new horizons. I like how that feels.

Monday, 10 September 2007

Very good progress

Knitting had good progress on 2 fronts this weekend, crochet had very good progress on 2 fronts.

2nd sock for me is almost to the heel line - it's a whole lot easier when you can just do a tube and worry about the rest later- and socks for mom, 2nd sock almost there too. Her socks are getting a push to get done.

The warm sweater has only 4 inches to completion of the second front, and then on to the sleeve, and the vest worked up another couple of inches. The best part is that the yummy Blue Moon yarn, will be fine. I was worrying without cause. Other worries were making it seem larger. It will be fine, it will not hang stupidly, it will be lovely. Even if it doesn't, I have a plan for that yarn, a shawl, and a shawl in that yarn will be just peachy fine.

Son 1 not so fine. He's not eating, and when he doesn't eat, he gets miserable. He's pretty miserable right now. We will get through this, HE will get through this. There are worse things in the world but not for him, not today. We will be as stoic as we can be and we will manage by taking turns, by feeding him food he really likes, and can keep down with all the meds, and we will get through this thing. With luck, he will know when where and why by late tomorrow.

In the mean time, I've a fierce hankering for yarn. There is a need to get it if any of this is going to be presents for the holidays. The yarn order is going in today, I have contemplated and planned long enough and I think I've figured out sensible yarn for things I can complete.

If I tell myself I can do all of it before the holdiay, maybe I will even believe it myself.

Friday, 7 September 2007

I killed the heel

I ripped again last night, and the yarn looked OK for another go round with short rows. About 4 rows into it, I just sat there and looked at the thing, and I pulled out the needles and ripped back again. I've really enjoyed this yarn because of how it reminded me of comfort but I realized that the sock was no longer speaking to me. It was quiet. It was feeling a little woozy and its just needed it to be over. I knit in the half row of waste yarn, and it was wide awake again. The yarn flew through my fingers, and I'm well on my way up the calf. This sock is thinking 'Peasant heel indeed'.

I'll toss the big ball of yellow yarn from an old project into the bag for the weekend, and I'll figure it out then. I don't like this to defeat me, any more than I liked feeling like knitting defeated me.

It was a nutsy day yesterday. It feel like all I did was go back and forth paying for parking, but my desk job tells me I did accomplish something.

More drugs today, more consults, and then maybe by next week, we'll know what and when Son 1 will be taken care of. The UD guy says its an internal thing, probably caused by some of the grafting material that didn't take. To kill everything, they have to go in, take out all the hardware, clean everything out, then put in all the hardware again, then do the new bone graft, then probably do a skin graft to cover the hole that doesn't seem to want to heal. Its going to be months more. Son 1 admitted that he knew it wasn't right, but he said he just could not admit it to himself. He was hoping he wouldn't have to face it for a while yet. I thought we might have a pity party, but he takes things pretty stoically once he knows what is going to happen. It's the not knowing that makes him nuts.

I will hold my own pity party in his stead, and I admit to all this making me feel like I just want to buy yarn, close the door and knit, crochet and embroider myself silly. I want to watch nice movies, and hear nothing controversial. I just want to lock out the world. While the idea of knitting and crocheting and embroidering sounds like a fine plan, locking myself away from the world won't work, and pity will get me nowhere. If I can't be happy the least I can do is my needlework.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

More Ugly Heel Turn News

I made the wise decision. I ripped. I spent lunch looking for short rowed wrap tutorial on the Internet. I re-knit it last night, and I'll tell you, I don't think I'll be doing a wrap thing again. At least not unless I want to poke my eyes out. I seemed to get all the wraps too tight to pick up and the thumbs feeling hasn't left me yet.There are still holes on one side, and though the other side looks better, it doesn't look right. I probably need to practise with some worsted weight yarn, a few times before I try again on a sock.

Short rows and slipped stitches at the edges to pick up must be easier than this. As Bonnie suggested, knitting those tighter, maybe even twisting the picked up stitch, feels like its going to be a better way for me to keep heel stitches live. If not, I'll stay with peasant heels which gave me no trouble at all. I'll rip again today at lunch, and then I'll decide if the yarn can take another trial or If I put this sweet yarn out if its misery and stop inflicting my untutored hands on it, other than for the peasant heel.

I put the toe on for mom's other sock. Toe is is the only way to go if you hate starting ribbing. Someday, I'll take a class, and maybe I'll learn a smarter cast on, but casting on my way is as lame as I get in knitting. Its going to be a knitting day, and I really needed string to just cooperate with me.

As some of you know, Son 1 has been masquerading as broken leg man for months now. The last week or so, he kept saying he just didn't feel right. He was right, and is spending today, and possibly tomorrow going back and forth to the hospital for IV antibiotics. They are sending him for a whole bunch of blood work and to visit the nice doctors in the Infectious Diseases Unit (I assume all doctors are nice) to see what the heck little bug is causing this infection. While he is there, they are going to see if they can't get his orthopedic surgeon to look at his leg, and decide what to do. It might save a trip next week. Since sitting in waiting rooms is high on my list of fun things to do, you can understand my umbrage with this stupid warp thing (my apologies to people who can do wraps, my umbrage is showing), and my need for nice sensible, knitting. Failing this, I'm going to start a doily. I might cry but I do like fine thread work.

You know, thinking of doilies is really appealing all of a sudden. So is embroidery, and even another Calorimetry. And mitts and scarves. And then the felting books should be here any day. And my book order from Hampstead House.

I'll feel better soon. Just another minute to contemplate the sweet niceness of things that work.

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Queen of the Ugly Heel Turn

I think it's time I take the title, Queen of the Ugly Heel Turn. My first knitting heel turn is something I look at with a great deal of fondness and then I laugh because its so ugly. My first crochet sock heel turns, were stunningly ugly, and I doubt that the socks will make the winter for the quality of the turn.

I see no reason why the short-rowed heel should be any different.

You know this photo doesn't make it look too bad. I must tell the truth. The holes along the picked up wraps and stitches are huge. E-freaking-normous. I made a judgement call, and kept moving along. They will be wearable and in honour of completed projects and practise pieces everywhere, I will proudly wear them. Besides the next heel will be better.

This is a good kind of heel, but working it, with the needles wanting to go the other way and stitches left on, and things pulling willy nilly where they weren't supposed to go, it was not a really comfortable experience. I felt like every finger was a thumb, and all the thumbs were left ones. I'm sure it is how I felt when I first worked with dpns (see post above) so I am hoping the all thumbs feeling goes away in time. I'd like to like this heel so I didn't have to worry about having enough yarn for the peasant heel, but for now I'm going to hold onto the peasant heel as my favourite till I have done this one a few more times.

On the very bright side, one of my favourite parts of toe up construction is that you can try it on as you go. Just before I began the short rows, I tried it on. Oh me oh my the yarn felt great on my foot. Warmth, softness, and utter comfort. Not too shabby for a yarn that I was initially disappointed in. I think I am going to really love this yarn, and in fact, Robyn over at Red Bird Knits, be warned. I've got warm feet for winter on my brain, and your Romney Sock yarn is in my sights.

River City, you'd best batten down the hatches too. Its September, the yarn budget is full again, and surely its a week or two since I bought anything.

On Rock Lake and camping for GD, there are so many great sites its hard to pick which one is 'the' one. When you get up here to camp, you'll understand. And one of these days I will get you up here to camp!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Back from the high country.

Back from the high country with mixed results. I worked a lot on my sweater. I'd gotten it about 2/3 complete, a row from the arm shaping when I realized that my left front matched my completed right front exactly. The blue zipper edge was on the wrong side. I ripped and then tossed the works in the bag, and let it think about itself for while. Sunday I worked about halfway back, blue zipper edge on the correct side.

If you've ever had this happen you will understand what I mean when I say, no matter how sure you are of a thing, it never hurts to check a thing again. And again. And again. I think my wee obsessive side determined not to do it again, but then I have a history with sweaters and doing things wrong multiples of times.

I did have significant sock completion, with the first of mom's socks done,

And the second one will be on the needles tonite. I also took up a ball of yarn that I haven't had any idea what to do with and started socks. This is from Redbird Knits Romney Sock yarn, colourway Cornflower. I've had mixed feelings about this yarn. It was originally going to be socks for my mom, but with her foot trouble, I didn't think she'd like them. Then I thought I could make a lace scarf and hat set, but the patterns I tried just didn't want to be made in that yarn. Someone once said a yarn will tell you what it wants to be, and this stuff really wanted to be socks, because lo and behold it did the most pleasing things in a sock. They remind me of home, and comfort. Its a springy yarn, thicker feeling once worked up even though its finer than many a sock yarn. The subtle colourings will make a sock that will be great to wear even in the most formal of offices.

I had to stop because I am going to be testing another new thing for me on this pair, the short row heel. I'm looking forward to a challenge, I expect to rip, but I hope to have figured the heel out before I go to bed tonite.

And as usual on weekends, I bite off more than I can chew. I did not get to the lace for want of warmth. My hands were just not capable of the fine movement needed for this lace.

And the vest? I think I'm going to have to think on it. The yarn might be a tad too light for the pattern, and I'm worrying about the drape of the fabric. I'm going to do a little more, and then I may have to find a yarn to team up with it to get it right. Or use a new pattern. Currently its one of the vests from Classic Crocheted Vests , the bottom picture. I'm thinking I should have chosen the heavyweight yarn.

No matter, this glorious yarn will be something special. It might not make this vest, in fact there are some of the SWS yarns that would look great with this ridged pattern. This must be how yarn stashes grow.

Camping, bye the by was good, cold but good. Next time, I'm picking a sunnier site. The only other thing that would have been really great, would have been a can opener. And chocolate. You can never have too much chocolate.