Monday, 31 March 2008

You could not tell

What if one day you could not tell you had done anything on the weekend? All your projects are moving along. You worked on socks, bamboo tops, scarves, lacy bits, spinning, but none of them are complete, none of them are even close. What if you have done feet of knitting, and have learned lots, but you have nothing to show off?

Well I'll tell you. You sit down and write about how you have nothing to show off.

I spent a lot of my time researching dyeing and spinning things. I spent much time pre-drafting and learning to do it evenly. I spent some time looking at books about spinning.

I checked out sheep breeds, and yarn qualities from the various animals. I checked out and compared breeds against what the big fibre places are saying are good or great spinning fibres. I did a lot of reading about staple fibre lengths. I did a lot this last weekend, and I have only scratched the surface. Very interesting stuff but not stuff that will earn my keep.

My knitting holiday is over, and it is time to sit down to figure out what I want to do with myself. I know a whole lot more what I don't want, than what I do. Its time to go past the direction stage and start traveling in a direction, down the path.

Even if I have to start without a map.

Friday, 28 March 2008


I admit to a fondness for Yiddish. Yiddish says thing that are inexpressible in any other language. Verklempt, utterly verklempt.

I spent most of yesterday with a friend who went over the basics with me. I watched her spin. I did it in front of her. Voila. A massive improvement in the product I make. Mr. Needles changed my bottom whorl spindle, to a top whorl spindle after watching her with some of beautiful spindles a couple weeks ago, and its so much easier. I left the all thumbs feeling all behind. She helped me rfine my drafting technique. I was close on my own, but close does not make good yarn. This isn't even good yarn.
What it is is decent beginner yarn. And I am very pleased with that.

Thursday, 27 March 2008


Apparently it's this weeks theme. Theme de jour if you will. This morning, as I was working on Picovoli, I started to see how it is looking sweaterish. Now that I am working the underarms, I can see the road ahead. As I was laying it out for the photo shoot, a thought crossed my mind like a streak of light. 'Its too big, too wide' So I took a little break to obsess over this, and worked on the scarf, which is really going very well. I think I have now solidly placed a new rule, that when knitting blind, without being able to reference a size, or the body of the eventual giftee, the most important thing I can do is have a consolation project to work on instead of bashing my head aganist the wall.

I'm knitting to gauge (I checked). The pattern seems to be bug free (it is simple) and I really just have to trust that it will fit. This is the smallest size for an elegant delicate woman, it is an open cardigan conversion, making it an even less picky fit, and it will be OK. Surrender, trust, give it up already. You have needles in your hands, you can kill yourself later if you must, but for now just knit.

There. Now that the consolation knitting has worked its magic and I have given myself a stern talking too, I am going to just keep working along. There is a very good movie on this morning, called 'Mrs. 'Arris goes to Paris' with Angela Landsbury. So my channel is tuned and I am going to put on a second pot of coffee and just work, and see if I can't get half way to the waist decreases before the movie is done.

Wednesday, 26 March 2008

And that is all I have to say about that. We all knew there was no way I was getting out of the store alive.

I was actually doing pretty well, till I turned and looked down. Because down in the bottom of a nice little drawer unit, where all the best cottons are kept, I came across this, Garn Studio Cotton Viscose. You really can't get a feel for this stuff, till you look at the bottom of the colour chart, and look at 28. 28 captures the sheen, the glow, the elegance of this yarn. I had a terrible time choosing the colour, because they had it in a green and the gold too. I wanted the entire drawer, but bought only 6. I may call and ask them to hold a couple more so I have 8. You never know what you'll need to make, but I'm thinking its going to be The Agatha Shawl by ThatLoganChick. The yarn would show off the pattern and the pattern the yarn. Its serendipity again.

I did find some needles. A 3 mm Addi Turbo to be precise. Yrnjunky from Ravelry brought along her set of Knit Picks Options to Sit n' Knit (Thank you again) for me to peruse. My concern was the cable, and my cable worries are put to rest. I am going to get some of these though I will have to stop buying yarn to do so.

I've been working on the scarf again so my mind is filled with music. The rhythm just makes it happen in my head. (Maybe this is how I will be able to tell good lace from great lace?)The music I seem to hear plays another role in my knitting. The music allows me to let go enough to trust the work in my hands.

I took out Picovoli to show at Sit n'Knit. Suddenly there it didn't seem wrong, it seemed like it would all work out, and I heard faint sounds of music, of symmetry as I looked at the shoulder section in the light from the window.

I think it's time to trust the pattern, read carefully and move along with it. At some point I have to drop this fear about making a mistake. The yarn has proven to be forgiving of ripping back and redoing. One worry resolved. There will be enough yarn to finish the project. Two down. I'm sure I had other worries. I just can't remember them.

At some point I just have to toss all the worries aside and succumb to the knitting. Succumbing to knitting has proven to be almost as easy as succumbing to yarn.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Socks being difficult

Since I am still in the thinking process on Picovoli, I have been working on socks and since the socks have been for people that I have a foot size for, I have been doing a gusseted heel. In both cases I am working the heel using a slip stitch.

On the gray sock done of Cascade Fixation, the slip stitches were made only on the knit side of the flap, and form an nice little ribbed kind of look, but the inside is perfectly smooth. On the rich colours of the Fabel sock, I did the slipped stitches on both the knit and purl side. This double slipping is creating a very nice fabric. Thick and cushy but the fabric wants to narrow up. I was prepared for a shortening of fabric, but not for the narrowing, but when you think it through, yeah, it is going to do this. In essence the fabric is forming two layers with half the stitches on each layer. It has to be half the width. It is shorter too, but not by that much. I am going to continue onward, to see what happens, as I work the gusset stitches. Will the fabric be OK, will it do what it all is supposed to do? Will they fit? Big Drama.

Anyway it may be smooth sailing and it may not. I am ever prepared for failure. Failure means I am learning why no one does it with the double slip stitch or will confirm that this is a good way to do it.

The scarf continues apace. This pattern simply flows off my needles. It is rhythm, it is music. When I am at the end of a row, I can't wait for the next row. When I am working the purl side I am convinced that the purl rows are my favourite part. When I am on pattern row one, I can't think of rhythm that flows better, till I am on pattern row 2 when I think it is the best row ever. You always know when a project is right when all these things are aligning, unfolding as they should.

I'm already planning to use this lace pattern again. Way back, at the start of my knitting, I was working on something with a gorgeous charcoal lace weight Centolavaggi yarn, and I gave that up, because I was just so unready for the challenge of lace, and I was not at all ready to work without a pattern. I'm a lot more confident now. My work at Christmas gave me an inkling of how to get past one of the major obstacles the project faced, and the lace class and all I have done since has given me the confidence to believe that I can make the yarn speak for me.

Today, I go on my quest of good needles. I'm not going to get anything else. yeah right. Sure I can walk out of the yarn store without yarn. Yeah. Sure.

Monday, 24 March 2008

Some Monday Mornings

This morning it finally feels like I don't have a job to go to daily. It feels so strange to have all this time to think, to be quiet, to work on things that have a great deal of meaning to me.

Over the weekend, we did some work in my study. Besides a good deep cleaning, we built some more shelves, and got a bunch of things off the floor. I also picked up some roller drawer units to put all the bits and pieces away. There still is some refining to do, like making some intelligent needle storage...

Ah, my regular needles. They are a source of deep dislike and maybe even serious knitting trauma. Years ago, I bought a set of plastic needles in a case. They are plastic with stubby fat points, and no amount of knitting will ever make me like them. I am seriously considering tossing the works. One of the ladies at my LYS and I once discussed that they might make good wall art but that is about it. Slowly I am replacing them with better things, but as I do that I'm finding out some pretty strong personal preferences.

I used to dislike knitting because I found it very hard on my wrists. The dpns, and circular needles and short metal needles that I like to use for scarves don't do that, but every new long straight needle I have tried does. I think the answer for me is with a circular needle set.

In a perfect world, I'd like the firm part of the needles longer than most circs have, 10 inches rather than 6, but there is nothing on the market like that currently. I've looked for a long time at the various systems. The Denise needles are OK, but I have a growing preference for sharper points and shiny steel. I'm thinking quite seriously about the Knit Picks Options nickel set. I like the idea that I can get an extra cable or 3, and that if I happen to loose a point, I can replace it.

And then again, maybe I should just buy Addi Turbos in every size imaginable. They are dream needles to work with. Sharp points, long sloped tips, super flexible cables. There are lots of great reasons to give in and buy a good set of Turbos in every size. It would give me an excuse to go to the yarn store every couple weeks. As if I need an excuse.

What to do, what to do. I might have to stop and see what the store has for needles tomorrow morning.

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Consolation knitting

Thinking about the project doesn't always work at least the first time. And for those among us (me) who are very special, seldom. It is as I feared. I'm having trouble following this pattern and I worry that I will have trouble following all patterns. Sigh. I'm lost among the increases for the raglan. It looks right as you see here, but no way is it long enough. I have all the stitches on that I am supposed to but... I'm going to have to rip it back and go back to single increases all along.

So I picked up another project that has been hanging around. I'm calling it consolation knitting. Remember the scarf with the lovely blue yarn from curlerchick? I had a pattern problem in the second row of the lace design, so I had to rip back. While I was that far back I ripped it all the way, because I wasn't satisfied with the depth of the edging garter stitch rows. I recast and did the border in seed stitch (which looks far nicer) and made it a nice deep 6 rows to match the much deeper side edge rows I wanted.

I knit through the first few repeats of the patterns stitches. Something felt different. Something looked different. Something felt even better than the first go round. In my rush for consolation, I picked the wrong stitch from the book, though a very closely related one. This stitch is called Lace Wings, and is noted as an old Dutch pattern. It is a 2 row 7 stitch repeat, and Cats Paw is a three row 7 stitch repeat (noting right side rows only). The first two rows in each are identical. Without the extra pattern row to make Cats Paw, the design that forms ends up showing the yarn even better. Look at all the lovey rich blue wavelets. There is something almost musical about the play of the ebbs and flows of the increases and decreases. Not big crashing music, but intricate music. Like this from Dutch composer Unico Willem van Wassenaer.

I could go back but serendipity is at play. A Dutch stitch for the lovely delft blues that makes me think of music that happens to be Dutch? The knitting goddesses are telling me something and I think its something good.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

North Side Sit 'n Knit

I. Had. A. Blast.

I was instantly recognized as a knitter by the others, which gave me the biggest thrill. It must have had something to do with the big bag of stuff I was carrying! One of the ladies brought along her spindles and fibre and gave us a spinning lesson. She was making singles from a soft rose coloured silk blend. I can see the difference that superior tools make. Her spindles were top whorl spindles, and I think I'd feel less of a klutz with one of these. I may try to convert mine one of these days. It was nice to actually watch someone prepare the fibre and draft and then spin rather than just reading a book.

People brought projects on the needles and off the needles, and it was just so nice to see. We knit and talked...well, we talked about a lot and sipped our coffee or other beverage, and we had a blast. I'm hoping to continue with something like this in my life for the rest of my days. It was so very nice to be surrounded by women who were just as nuts as I was about yarny things and it was comforting to know that if there is a problem I can't think through, I can bring it there, and someone will help figure it out.

I worked on a sock for my sister, GD. Look at this. It has not repeated itself yet, and I'm half way down the foot. This is really nice yarn. Its not so fine you want to scratch your eyeballs out, but it is fine enough that its going to make a great shoe sock. Originally sister wondered if these would make a good set of work socks or would they be too bright, too mixed or too strong. Nope. The colours are strong but not in your face powerful. They are perfectly balanced and there is nothing that does not please the eye. I think you will be very very pleased.

I'm going to get the Arequippa wound so they can be started shortly. I saw some of this being worked up yesterday and was impressed. It is everything sock yarn should be, though some of the ladies are wondering how sturdy the socks will be considering the alpaca content. Several suggested working woolly nylon into the wear points such as the heels. I'll have to go check that out but others felt that it was going to be just fine. Worked up, the colouring was wonderfully subtle and soft. I'm really looking forward to using this yarn.

And here is just a quick trip to the other project I've been working on. This is the Bamboo Tape and there is just not enough good to be said about this yarn. Lovely to see, lovely to feel, wonderful to work with.

Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Thinking Knitting Through

The last of my yarn orgy yarn has arrived. I'm deeply impressed with it. I picked up some coned yarn from WEBS, a 2/8 wool in a wonderfully dusky rich blue, tweeded with tiny flecks of pink and white. Its a light weight yarn, 2/8 weight is roughly a fingering weight yarn. This is one of very few yarns that I didn't have a plan for before I bought it. Seeing it is giving me some ideas though.
The other in this last gasp of yarn is some 10/2 bamboo in a deep rich black. If you are an animal fibre free knitter, and you'd like something for lace, do consider this yarn. I haven't worked with it yet, but oh my it feels really nice when I'm playing with it.

I've been working on Picovoli from Grumperina for my daughter in law. With the weekends sleep knitting, I'm not all that far along. I was making changes and each step along the way, I find myself thinking a lot about the final product. I didn't think she wanted a rolling collar, so it is being made with a seed stitch border. This is turning out really really well. The plain stockinette for the main body with the garter edge is a wonderful way to show off the nice things about Rowan Bamboo Tape.

Except that now that I am near the end of the raglan shaping, near the arms, I'm trying to figure out, how do I get the seed stitch to the arm edges. I have been thinking about knitting short sleeves, but I'm not certain. I do really like the cap sleeves the pattern has. They balance so perfectly with the shaping. If I were a knitter, say, like one who has knit a sweater before, and was more confident about knowing the way parts will work together, then I think I'd just move blindly forth. I'll probably do that in the end, but for now, I'm just going to let it simmer for a day or so while I think it through.

This afternoon, there is a Sit'n'Knit I'd like to get to. I'm down to one pair of socks on needles, and they are getting to the point where I have to start paying attention so I can get the gusseted heel in the right place. They won't do for visiting knitting. Starting the second grey sock isn't very interesting, so I'm starting socks in some of the yarn my sister choose when she was visiting. A new one, I think, Fabel from Garn Studio, and a really great Arequippa fingering weight. Which to choose, which to choose.

Monday, 17 March 2008

Knitting at a slower pace.

For at least this week, I'm going to live at a slower pace. I figure its going to take a little while to feel comfortable thinking like that....


The whole weekend was about living slower. It seems all I did was sleep. I snoozed the better part of Saturday away, and though I was awake for a few hours on Sunday, I slept through at least 3 movies, and about half of murder in the morning on Mystery channel. I think my body and brain are trying to catch up on years of being short of sleep. That or now that I don't have to be anywhere, and have no particular responsibilities, I am going to get sicker than a dog. I really really hope its the former.

I tried knitting. I did a lot of knitting now that I think about it, but when I tell you that I started the same project 3 times, you will understand that I was asleep even when I was awake. It was a whole weekend of rip it and do it right. I expect better of me today. I'm working with that gorgeous Rowan Bamboo Tape and let me tell you, what an absolute pleasure to work with.

I finally took some photos of my completed shawl. I'm very pleased and find I'm wearing it every time I sit down. That is exactly what I wanted this shawl to be. A close companion to my day, but one that does not get in the way. I was hoping for one of those shawls that women of old used to tuck into their skirt bands, so it stayed tidily on their shoulders, providing warmth and comfort as they went through their daily chores. It's exactly what this shawl does so very very well. I love how it doubles up at the neck, how it is heavy enough to roll rather than fold at the neck giving double warmth where I most want it.I still have to block it, even though it has been pressed into service. It will bloom a bit, since I worked with the yarn straight off the cone. (I didn't feel it would matter being a shawl) Today is wash and block day.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Final day

This is my last regular day at my current place of employment after 15 years. When I came here I was 35. 35...I don't even remember feeling 35. EVER. What kind of person sits at the same desk for 10 hours a day for 15 years and can step away from it feeling whole.

Truthfully no one, or maybe no one I know. After 15 years in deep dark pockets of your mind, male or female, no matter how much you value or weigh everything else you do in your life, when you are in one place doing one sort of work this long, a lot of your self esteem, a lot of your self worth in tied up in what you spend 10 hours a day doing. In a lot of ways this whole long process of leaving, of passing on my work, is rending my self vision to bits.

Here at the office, I have always been organized, monitored by minutes, surrounded by queries, responsible for stuff. I've played mother, dish-nazi, confidant, confessor, problem solver, sorter and deliverer of deadlines. At work, I managed and I made things happen. That is the person I leave, the confident, capable, doer.

In this same past 15 years at home, I have slowly gone from being a wife, occasionally competent housekeeper, reader and lover of all things string, mother of small children, chief cook, and bottle washer, to being a wife, does not see dirt sort of housekeeper, reader, lover of all things string, mother to men, not caring if I cook, no dishpan hands in this household sort of person. I have to take this person out to lunch, sit down with her to have coffee and find out just who she is again. We need to go on some nice long walks, to look at fauna, and flora, and to get interested in lichens and moss again.

Its not that I lost touch with things, it's that it feels like there hasn't been time.

This is the first step on a journey to discover something else. Its a little scary. I feel as if I'm setting off on a voyage to see the world I fear is flat with sharp edges. I worry that if I go too far I'll fall off. Inside my head is a teetering feeling, a careening into the unknown that scares me. What if I can't. What if I don't. What if I fall? What if...what if I can?

If I am lucky and if I look at this voyage with open eyes, I think I'll see what mariners of old found. The world is round, you can't fall off the edge, and the corners aren't really corners, just endless avenues for discovery.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Another thing done

I've finished the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton Scarf at 6:54 a.m., and I have to leave for work at 7:00. That I finished it, got dressed and made it to work on time, should tell you how much I love this scarf. Its everything I hoped for even with the unexpected colour changes. I might still add a fringe. Karen over at Contemporary Embroidery is doing smocking for her next cloth (no, no, go past today's fresh crisp embroidery, down to Tuesday). I love the honeycomb patterning that smocking creates. When I was a small girl, children's dresses were often smocked on top. I can see that same patterning on the ends of this scarf, with the fringe tied alternating, 3 or 4 times to form that nice looking honeycomb. It would look so fine in the crisp crumples of this yarn.

Like 1824 Wool, the cotton is one puffy soft strand wrapped by one crisp tiny fine strand. That is what gives the 1824 wool its scrumptious soft feel and its crisp finish in a project. In the cotton, the two kinds of textures woven together make for a very interesting yarn. Its crisp and yet soft. Crumpled right where everything inside you want some crumpled. In this simple lace, it adds wonderful extra dimension that really makes this simple variation of garter lace pop to life.

Garter Lace stitch from Mildred Graves Ryan Encyclopedia of Stitchery. I don't know what I would do without this book in my library.

OK, Mission Falls, you got me. Confirmed for life. Its more money than I want to spend for a sweater project for myself (I'm a big woman so it would take a lot of skeins, but still I crave being wrapped in it). Your luscious products will be my go to wool and cotton for small special projects. Be gentle with me.

Check out the new Knitty feature, The Knitty Yarn Roundtable. First up, Mission Falls 1824 Tricolour wool. Those Knitty meisters! How did they know we needed this feature. Great idea, guys.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Dear Mission Falls 1824 Cotton,

Why Knot?

Skein one is at the right edge of the photo. The strings show where the join to skein 2 is.
Skein three being joined, again the straight hanging strings show where the joins of the skeins are.

Somehow in the middle of the second skein, one 4 skeins of the same dye lot, there was a knot. And one side of the knot was the richer darker colour, and the other, the softer faded looking colours,. and then on the next skein of the same dye lot, back to the stronger colours. Now had it been something that faded in, and became mellower as skeins progressed, had it been variations of tones across the whole, it would be fine. But I have a couple of sharp lines, one mid skein, and one when the next skein is joined. How can I show off your lovely yarn if this happens.

There 's a couple hours I won't get back down the tubes.


PS, and an update:

After that start this morning, things seemed to be going downhill. I got a call from sons 1, with the broken leg, that there was a squirrel in the house. He needed help to catch it. We succeeded and are now sitting for a beverage. I told him my sorrow over the scarf, and he was looking at it, and told me to look again. I still couldn't see it, so he made me stand at the far end of the room. From there in good light, I could see that the scarf is forming alternating sections of the darker colour, and then the light.. EACH skein has the two variations on a theme. So, it seems I have taken the name of 1824 Cotton in vain, and must now make amends to the knitting gods, lest the last skein which I am about to attach is indeed just one colour range.

Boy picked what no one at the office noticed and I showed it's full colours to 4 different people. Son, you have good eyes. You sure didn't get them from me.

Monday, 10 March 2008

The Shawl is done, The Shawl is done.

I feel a little like I'm riding a fast horse down a country road of times long ago, shouting about something coming just down the road, like the fellow who road down the road shouting the British are coming the British are coming. It could be a good thing or a not so good thing depending which side you are on.

The shawl is complete, though it needs blocking. It felt so good when I put that last stitch in and stitched the little lace edging together. Its not perfect, but its mine and in tests performed by both my sister and I, it is just right. A shawl, not too large that it swamps your wrists, but large enough that it can be pinned firmly at the front or tucked into a waistband to hold it. Warming without getting in the way. This is the good of the shawl being done. Photos as soon as blocking is done.

The other side of it is now what? This is the not so good. I had to actually decide which as anyone who knows my sisters and I, is not our strong suit.

All winter I have been thinking about working with the Rowan Bamboo Tape. This will be for something special for my daughter in law.
After dithering over several things, I have decided to consult her. To me, the very best things about this yarn will be shown off in a simple knit project, rather than something too lacy. Its best, it absolutely very finest quality is the way it feels and stockinette sends that feature to the fore.

In my mind, the Mirabella cardigan in the newest Interweave Knits is in the running. So is Picovoli . So is Soleil . And there are a few I am still looking at via Ravelry.

So the time is now that I get to work with this scrumptious yarn, but someone is going to have to choose. Thank heavens it doesn't have to be me. Now I just hope she likes the very hint of blue in it.

Friday, 7 March 2008

The knitting is going to take a short break.

My sister is coming for the weekend, and since it is spur of the moment, the knitting is going to take a short break today, while I clean my house.

For smart people, tidying the house is a day to day thing. But in the House of the Needles', tidying is not a day to day thing. Its more of a thing to be done when you just can't stand it any more. Sort of.

I really like organization. I love it when things have a place and a place has its things. In my ideal world, every book would have a shelf to go to, every yarn would have a home, and every magazine would have a magazine holder and would be codified and identified on the back cover by the projects with in it. Relaxing happens when things are organized.

Conversely, I have a very high tolerance for piles and indeed consider that piles are a form of organization. If I had not accepted this, I'd have gone crazy just with the piles of books that populate my spaces. I have nooks and crannies filled in one room with my yarn (one except for the other acrylic yarn that is in the TV cabinets) and it is only now as the end of the my orgy of stashing comes to an end (stop laughing..really it will happen), that I am even close to filling my available spaces and I haven't even had to be creative yet.

But at the same time, I have so many bits and pieces that are out of their homes, all over my house, that the place looks like a mess. Underlying all the things out of place is what I'd like to believe is a reasonably clean place. (I'd like to believe it, I'm not sure it is true).

So every once in a while, I take the time to put everything away. Usually it is when I have company coming. Like this weekend.

Truly, there are times when I wish I had company coming more. Because the last few months I have managed to have an unbelievably stoic sort of tolerance for things out of place, since my hide-o-meter went into high mode, lets just say, there are a lot of things out of place. There are movies on the cupboard behind the breadbox, there are plastic bags in the mixer bowl, there are shed antlers on the fireplace, there are still a couple of Christmas ornaments on one shelf, there is the mail pile nightmare, the book pile by the stairs, there are dirty socks by the computer - don't ask, there is a stock of bandages (for the fella with the hopefully healing leg) where bandages just should not be, there is the pile of recyclable cardboard that needs to go....and on and on.

So I am going to have to leave work early, to get things done, so that when my sister comes, she will think I have just been sitting pleasantly knitting awaiting her arrival. This is my fantasy.

Of course she knows better, she knows there was work done before she arrived and she also will see that it did not all get done. She will not care. She has lived with me away from our mothers house and knows my flaws. We will hug and settle down with a good cup of coffee and we will talk and talk and talk, and the tidiness of the house will be something both of us will ignore for the really important things.

My sisters are my bestest friends.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

So I went to a yarn store and...

I had to pick up some things at River City yesterday, and I heard voices again. Anyone who reads here a long time, will know what I hear when I stop by yarn stores. Yesterday I heard voices.

They have some really great new things in stock. Some Arequipa (colour 203, I do believe) found its way into my hand (socks for Mr. Needles), even when I tried not to go to that corner of the store. Its ok, I made it out of there without the Misti Alpaca Chunky in this wonderful rich lapis lazuli colour that has been trying to seduce me for weeks.

I heard other yarns calling me too. They have really good stock of Misti Alpaca Lace, and even harder to leave behind, some Misti Alpaca Suri Silk. It says this yarn "glides through your hands, sashaying over your needles, and draping softly into a project for your sensual delight" . I tell you, it didn't even have to be on needles for me to feel sensual delight.

You may want to consider only going into the Misti corner at your LYS on days when you feel particularly strong. Or when your wallet feels strong. Or when you need just a little something to take the edge off. Or when you are feeling blue. If you touch it, you will find a reason to need it. Considering all the lace I just picked up, I left it behind.

Which was probably a bad thing. I rewarded myself for leaving the Suri Silk alone with some Sisu Fantasy yarn, enough for a second pair of socks for Mr. Needles. And some other 'small' things we aren't even going to mention, though it might have something to do with some merino laceweight in teal. But its a really nice teal.

And then I got to what I really went for. I wanted to check out the Mission Falls 1824 Cotton. I made the last Calorimetry project with their 1824 Wool, and was deeply impressed, and I held high hopes for the cotton. Again I was impressed. First off, I was beguiled by one of the new Whirl colourways, Wheat. Its a beautiful blend of butter yellow, golden wheat, and a marvelous slate blue. In my head I saw a scarf, something light and airy but not too fancy, around my neck on cool summer morning walks.

4 skeins jumped into my hands (and 2 plain Maize skeins, just in case) and before I hit the hay last night, some really pleasing purposeful holes appeared (Do holes really appear?).
The picture isn't all that impressive, but in natural light, oh my, its fine.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Layers of loveliness

The other day I stopped at my mail box and picked up the mail. There was a key for a parcel box. I opened the door with a little excitement and found...nothing. The box was empty.

Yesterday I had reason to go home at lunch so I stopped again to see if anything showed up. Ah ha, a parcel card. It said I could pick it up today after 1 p.m. curious. I thought I would stop at the post office to see if they had it, considering that originally, the post office person meant to deliver on Monday. I was in luck.

This is the second last in what has been my orgy of wool, my getting the stash to the level where I felt I had enough. One more stop...

If you believe this, can I sell you the Eiffel Tower?

This box was packed by someone who takes delight in colours. It was layers of colours.

The first layer was blue lace. Seeing that layer of blue, I know how how the end product is going to be displayed. But here in the box, it was like holding clouds in my hand. These are Knit Picks Shimmer, Alpaca Cloud, and Shadow.

The next layer was a layer of green and white lace. Funny, I could have sworn I made sure to get a photo of the glorious rich green there, but well, all you can see is the natural tones of this bare laceweight. (And yes this is for playing with. I mean to dye some things sometime) The green is Shadow, and the the other, Bare Merino Laceweight.

And then, peeling back the green and white layer, revealed the box's intense heart.

Brilliant tomato reds, and rich iron. It was such a pleasure to finally see the colours I had imagined them to be. The left is fingering weight Palette in Salsa Heather (I could eat this it looks so good), and the other to the right is Wool of the Andes Iron Ore.

All these yarns were purchased with projects in mind. They have a place and a job in the list of things. The last of the orgy of wool ordering also has a place and was purchased for very specific identifiable jobs. I mean who in their right mind would just purchase wool without having any idea of what that wool wants to be?

Don't answer that, but if you believe me, maybe I could sell you the Rocky Mountains.

Tuesday, 4 March 2008

CGOA National Crochet Month

March, it seems, is the CGOA's National Crochet month, and since I got nothing today, I'm going to do a book review of one of my favourite books from my library.
Crochet with Style by Melissa Leapman is one of my favourite books on my craft shelf.

From the mid 90s out of sheer frustration with store bought plus sized sweaters of unimaginable ugliness (they always have little flowers in bad fake embroidery or farm animals on them), I was determined to find some decent sweaters to crochet. I had tried making a few of my own but was not happy with the results and all the crocheted sweater patterns from the library were things with square shoulders in double crochet or the inevitable 1970's granny square monstrosities.

I was miffed because I just could not accept that only knitters could make nice things, that only knitting could make things you would be pleased to wear in public. Crochet with Style was the first book I found when I was on my search for really nice crocheted wearables. OK, make that really great wearables.

The first sweater I crocheted is from this book, its the aran worn by the girl with the green pants here (view the back of the cover, centre photo). If you click on the small sweater photos below the book cover, you will see many more of the great sweaters from this book. I've also made the second one pictured, a nice little cotton thing with apple green, orange, and red rows worked among the white body. There are 4 other sweaters from the book that I made and there are still several in it that are on the to do list. If you go back to the back cover photo, see the purple sweater? I have yarn in the stash that is going to be turned into one of those. See the purple? That lavender summer sweater is going to be dark purple fall wear, though I might turn it into a cardigan (shouldn't be hard).

And there is a nice dressy cream coloured sweater made in a lighter weight yarn with a texture that must be seen to be believed, that has had my name on it from the moment i saw it. And the blue tunic with the little white v's among the photos from the book at Amazon, well that is on my list too.

This book, published in 2000 is full of sweaters and shapes that will not go out of style, things with timeless appeal, some classical and elegant, and some warm and reminding the wearer of home. The book is filled with stylish tops, tunics and sweaters using a diverse range of yarns, to cover all the seasons.

If you are looking for a book with a broad range of sweaters, and only sweaters, do consider this one. It may be from 2000, but good is good. It ranks a treble on my bookshelf.

Monday, 3 March 2008

The things you do on weekends.

Some people do a lot of things on weekends. They shop, they run errands, they catch up with friends, they go for coffee. For too long, my weekends were about hiding out getting some peace and quiet, and not thinking. It is a huge relief to feel a little freedom. Hiding out can be a burden.

I stayed home this weekend, and worked hard to finish some things up. I have 2 sides of lace edging completed on the shawl, just one more and it is complete. It won't even take that long, just a few short hours. There was a point working off the live stitches where I was thinking about a much speedier crochet edging, but I am so very glad I stuck it out to knit it. The shawl wonderfully light and so very fluid now that most of it is off the needles. I'm starting to get a feeling for how it will be as working shawl and it is all good. Here is a little detail of the edging.

I did some spinning too, but still have a very long way to go and when my hands needed rest I played with a new toy. I took out the ball winder and gave it a whirl. I learned some interesting things about ball wound yarn, one being that too much tension results in a ball of yarn that sucks together so tight that you can't pull from the centre (I rewound that one), and that cotton is sort of fun to wind. No need to worry about stretch in the yarn with cotton.

From front to back, a skein of Anne from Schaeffer yarns purchased at River city (I love that they have some of this in stock right now), a teal coloured 'Gloss' from Knitpicks, Shadow also from Knitpicks, and finally some Cloud Cotton picked up at River City.