Thursday, 27 November 2008

Bead Knitting

I'm about to put beads onto the knitted fabric. Thanks to all I have seen and read about on the net, I was able to take my time and really think about the look of the finished project and my goals for the beads. After much serious consideration (or none at all), I have the right solution.

Had I strung the beads onto the yarn, easy enough with only 3 beads, the beads would have sat between the stitches, and be visible from both sides and the beads would have sat with the hole horizontal to the fabric. The strong black edges of the beads would have worked in the opposite direction of the columns of knit stitches.

By using a crochet hook to get the beads onto the knitted fabric, the beads lie on top of the fabric and their strong edge colour echoes the columnar look of ribbing. Prominence looks right.

Thought, logic and sense had very little to do with my reasons for choosing to apply the beads with a crochet hook rather than stringing them along. I chose it because it was easier to contemplate this early in the morning before coffee.

I took the easy road, and surprisingly, it is the right road.

I'll post some photos later today after I have another bead laid on the knitting.

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Litte things that thrill me.

Need I say more?

Glove one, reasonably well worked, reasonable fit, and ...

All right. There is nothing at all reasonable about how thrilled I am with the way this mitt turned out. Its not perfect, and there is a strong possibility that I will redo the decreases on the thumb, and it may yet come to pass that the hand might have a few more rows knit plain before the decreases start to form the top of the mitten but I can put it on my pudgy hand, so it will fit the giftee just about perfectly around her knuckles.

One mitten used a skein of the black Love It and the better part of a skein of Phil Bambou. The fibres split more than is ideal for stranded colour work, but over all work quite well. The little bit of stretch in the Love It and working fairly loose gives the mitten the stretch it needs. The fit is fairly close so that down the road, when the fibres relax, the giftee will still have mittens that work.

The single biggest yarn issue was that the two yarns were not perfectly matched. I had hoped to compensate for that by making the slightly lighter gauge white my dominant colour. It worked marvelously. The yarns seem quite balanced in the end. It has been just a really pleasing knit.

There ought to be a brass band on standby for such occasions and fireworks, maybe even a parade with a float I could sit on while I wave to the crowd. I'd wear the mitten, naturally. We'd be famous.

There are no brass bands, no parades, no crowds, no fame. There is just me, who knit a really nice mitt.

Tuesday, 25 November 2008

More not knitting content, but

it still is pretty important.

Yesterday, in the mail, I received the first of spring 2009's seed catalogues. I have mixed feelings about getting the first seed catalogue this early. It previously arrived between Christmas and New Year and was my respite to get through winter thinking about something else.

I don't think I'd mind so much, but we don't have any appreciable amount of snow, and everything is dry and brown. It isn't even all that cold. In every way that counts, it is still fall, so don't be rushing next spring.

There will be knitting today. Mitts for Christmas this morning, and knitting with friends this afternoon. this evening there will be still more knitting, but in between, there might the occasional sneak peek at the
Seed Catalogue.

Looking at a seed catalogue is really a lot like looking at yarn and planning a project. First you dream the really big dream of a perfect sweater in yarns you cannot afford and patterns you'd never wear. Then you come down to earth, look at what you really like, what you wear, what you need, and what you can afford.

I'll dream of a pretty garden and bountiful produce. I'll dream of gardens crisp and green with nary a weed in sight. And then by the time spring comes, I will have accepted that I don't have enough sunlight to grow crab apples, and cherries and will have been beguiled by the many hostas and berries I'll find on its lovely pages.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Big Days

Sometimes I forget important days but I think that has a lot to do with the way I was brought up.

My sister and I have birthdays 9 days apart in January. I am 1 year and nine days older than she. At the time my sister was born, my brother was not yet 3. That is a lot of diapers in a very very short time span. (Several other sisters followed after us, but there was some time between the other girls.) There were some birthdays where we had a friend over for dinner or a sleep over, but sometimes, we shared a birthday in between our birthdays. Birthdays were marked and counted but were not big splashy celebrations.

I'm still not into big splashy celebrations. For my birthday, I like taking a day of quiet contemplation, of reflection, of doing some of my favourite things, like watching a movie and having popcorn with real butter on it. For other days, I like a nice dinner out.

Today is my 29th wedding anniversary. We are going out to dinner tonite to mark the occasion, and I am looking forward to it. We wouldn't have to go out to dinner, it would have been OK if you forgot (which you did not). Those things are not what I hold so dear.

What matters today, what I am celebrating close in my heart is not that today is our anniversary, but that I have been lucky enough to spend all those other days in between, with you.

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Needles.

Friday, 21 November 2008

Black socks

These black socks are sucking the life out of me.

I worked on the nice little stranded mittens. I worked on the EZ vest, I work on the travel pair of socks, but nothing is distracting me from the soul sucking-ness of the black socks.

The soul sucking black socks are becoming mythic in my mind for their power to dominate my thinking in a very unpositive way. Every time I go to the work box, there they are. I have tried hiding them at the bottom of the pile, but the giftee looks at me most accusingly (He doesn't realize he is doing this when he walks into the room, but his spectre looms large.).

I am working with 2 balls of Kroy sock yarn, which as everyone knows is not enough yarn for a pair of men's socks with a medium long top. You know this I know this, but it doesn't stop me from not buying enough yarn. Running out of yarn on a project you are not all that fond of, generally means the project hits the frog pile. I was tempted, but there the giftee was, looming.

I grabbed a hank of Louet Gems at the store the other day, the only true black that I could find among the many sock yarns, and it's working out OK. Gems is a little bit finer, but alternating rows of yarn as I work up the calf is making the difference almost unnoticeable.

I'm going to put in a bunch of time to get these socks out of my hair. I am going to try to get sock one completed today (if I have to stay up late to do it) , and I am going to devote Sunday to sock 2. If I can get sock 2 past the heel Sunday, I'll be doing just about right.

Just making a firm schedule for the completion of these socks is making my day feel brighter. Nothing looming right now. No spectres hanging about.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Jumping for joy.

One of the interesting things I have learned since taking up blogging is that if something looks good to me in life, but looks bad in a photo, the photo is right.

I submit this.
It looks pretty good to me in the photo, so I'm jumping for joy. The black is Berocco's Love It, the white, Phildars Phil Bambou. Neither are particularly bouncy yarns, both are a little splitty, the weight of the yarns is mildly different (compensated for by making the white the dominant colour{I think})but they are working very well together.

I'm pretty sure I'll have a lot more to say about stranded colourwork before this pair is done, but for right now...

Well I'm going to go knit. I'm feeling just a wee bit obsessive about this whole knitting mittens in colourwork thing.

(I'm planning to get obsessive about working with beads next. Wait till you see what I found.)

Wednesday, 19 November 2008


I enjoy finishing a project. Just getting done a thing feels good. I finished a pair of mittens yesterday, and even if the photo shows the thumbs on the same side,

these still work. EZ's mitered mittens really don't have a side. My kind of knitting.

The only thing I would change on the next pair? I'd start the thumb gusset before 5 and a half inches. 5 and a half inches works great with the afterthought thumb EZ uses, but at 5 and a half inches with a gusseted thumb, I have mitten a very long way up my arm. They will make a nice gift.

I'm back to square one with the stranded colour work mittens. The others were just too tight. I added 4 stitches, and now that the cuff is done, and I am on my way up the mitten, I am very very pleased to say these will fit just right. Its such a relief to get the size right. I was beginning to envision casting on hundreds and still having it be too small.

There has been one big bonus to all this knitting of stranded work. My tension is getting very even. From cuff one, to cuff three, I can see a marked improvement in the evenness of the lengths of the carried strands.

Its a beautiful morning for knitting mittens and the start of a great day. Can't you just feel it?

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Looking for the perfect thank you

The other day, I ran out of gas (You'd swear I had teenagers again.) I managed to catch my very busy realtor sister in law at home, and she brought me gas so I could make it to work on time. I wanted to get her a little something to let her know just how much that meant. I spent the last 2 weeks trying to figure out what to get for her.

Not once did I ever think about knitting her something.

Sigh. She does not knit, she does very little in the way of hand made, and when she has, it has been made in a workshop she took. She likes the results, just doesn't enjoy the doing. I realized this yesterday as I drove in to work. She is the perfect candidate for something knitted. How could it have taken me 2 weeks to arrive at the obvious?

I picked up yarn yesterday, my much loved Lang Silk Dream. For a special project, there just isn't anything nicer than this. I've chosen colour 39 since she often wears that kind of soft warm tone.

The gift will be wrist warmers, simple, ribbed, possibly the Maine Morning Mitts from Clara Parkes Knitter's Book of Yarn, but I'd like to show a wee bit of open work to the knit part of the ribs across the back of the hand.

Or maybe some beads. There is a nice bead store in town, and I think I'll stop to see what I can find that will coordinate with this yarn. If I find nice beads, the beads will take place of the lacey bits.

Maybe it will be a shorter wrist warmer with a ruffly bit at the wrist, recalling, but not copying Mrs. Beeton's Wristwarmers.

This part of a project is always an adventure. A quick little yarny adventure where I can travel without a map, with only the vaguest notion of where I am going. Go west young man they used to say.

Knitting is often like that. Sometimes you end up heading east instead of west and sometimes you get lost. Sometimes you begin and end looking a lot like a puppy chasing its tail, but sometimes the traveling and the search will lead you to the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Monday, 17 November 2008

the Purple Thing

I had one goal this weekend. To finish the black socks. I didn't, but I'm ok with that. I had a lovely time, nice enough that the thought of black socks doesn't fill me with dread, nice enough that even though I know I am going to have to get another ball of black yarn, it doesn't bother me.

I've come under the powerful influence of Elizabeth Zimmermann. Reading her books, makes me want to just get something on the needles and see for myself, try something new, take a look at the shapes and forms that knitting can produce.

Whammo, you get a big purple thing.

Before I knew it, half a day was shot, and I had swatched and had half a front done for a rib warmer vest. The swatching and planning and first knitting happened Thursday, Sunday, after a little ripping back, and reknitting on the first corner, after this mornings thinking about fit and shaping on a shapeless design, I'm down to the second corner of the first half of the vest, and have my changes, plans and size adjustments worked out and done.

I'm having such a good time knitting this vest. Interesting shape, short enough rows that it fits on my favourite needles, short straights and a yarn in a rich tweeded purple. What's not to love.

Friday, 14 November 2008

The Little Guy Wins.

When I was a kid, there was a provincial lending library in Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan, being a very, very rural place, did the sensible thing in a land with relatively few roads, a lot of space and people far and few between. The library was a mail order library.

We used to select from a list of books, mail that in and in a few weeks you would get the book, and a new list of available books. You could have it for 2 weeks to read, and then you mailed it back in the envelope provided. Since I was fairly young when I first began getting books from the provincial library, I did not imagine I could ask for anything more.

They changed the mail system when I was 9 or 10, and had small libraries in any town that wanted them. The library rotated between the towns all over the province, so every 6 months or so, you had an entirely new library. Now, when you did not know what to read, you just asked the librarian for help. I will never ever forget the luxury of being able to pull the books off the shelf and just take them home. Even though it was only open a couple days a week, it was so good having it right there at my finger tips, it was almost sinful.

Today, with mildly improved finances, and a little bit of choice in the matter, I like to buy books for just me. Lately, many of my purchases have been knitting books (but you knew that).

My latest quest, continuing in the tradition of lovely things, is for the book Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush. I had an opportunity to get the book signed. A couple of friends were going to the Make One Yarn Studio retreat in Calgary, so I went out to Chapters for the book.

The book was not even in their system. It did not even come up on the list under the authors name. If it wasn't on the list, I couldn't even order it. Harrumpppppppph.

My friends brought me back an autograph from Nancy Bush, which is awaiting fixing in the book when it arrives. Because I like to support local book stores - I'd like to keep them in business - I went back just the other day and finally, the book is in their system showing a release date of November 30th. I ordered it.

I checked with Interweave. The book was released on November 1. It is just Chapters. They show the book slated for release on December 1, shows its release date as December 1, but at the same time, my favourite online needle work book store, a Canadian operation, The Needle Arts Book Shop already has it. ( For all my American friends, the exchange rate is in your favour again)

I'd support my local book sellers, but it seems they are not ready to step up to the plate and sell me that which my heart desires. If they intend to stay in the book business, they are going to have to do better. This is of course why the little guy will stay in business, and I would whine at the big stores, but I'd rather keep my little online place in business.

Next book purchase, I'm buying online. It feels like a step back in time.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Pond Scum

I'm pretty sure about one thing in my life. I don't think like everybody else. This has been made clear to me many many times in the course of my life and in every subject imaginable.

Most people think linear-ly, like a river. Thoughts flow from the source of the stream, through a well defined channel and end in an ocean. There may be obstacles in the way, and they have to find their way through the delta, but the smart ones find a way around those obstacles.

There is nothing in me that thinks like a river.

Think of a smooth still body of water. Toss a pebble into it. Watch the ripples. There are no steps with tidy ends and beginnings, there is no point to point process, there is only ever a gentle wave moving along, in clarity and confidence and sureness. Toss in a second pebble at a different point in the pond and you have competing and complementing ripples. The complementing waves can carry me along to a whole other place of thought that is unexpected, often delightful, a tangent to where I was going in the first place. When the ripples compete fiercely, I have been known to hang on ever tighter to the first ripple.

Toss two pebbles into a river. The ripples are not nearly so clear in a river. River ripples are best seen near the edges, on the periphery, near the wall. Ripples might seem to be easily overwhelmed by the river, but they are there.

I think I am going to make a pair of socks with Socks That Rock Pond Scum just to remind myself that even though the ripple is perfectly clear to me, it may not be so to others. They will serve to remind me that sometimes I hang on to an idea just a little too strongly.

More than that, Pond Scum, of the mossy, warm, rich greens, will be to remind me that even though ripples may be overwhelmed in a river and pushed to the periphery, they are no less beautiful.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008


Monday night, we got out first significant snow of the year. It might melt away in some places, but here in my yard, with all its high trees and north facing slope, the snow is here to stay. It is very right that I am working on mittens.

I'm continuing to work on the EZ Mitered mittens whenever my hands are tired, when I need to do some cooking or when I need a break from thinking. They are easy to whip up, little thought involved. I make the occasional mistake, but that is happening when I stop to think about what I'm doing. If I just put my brain in park, and let my hands take over, no mistakes. My kind of project.

I'm also working on my first attempt at stranded colour work mittens. Technically, black is not a colour and white is the absence of colour...well you know what I mean.

I've started with a knit 2 purl 2 cuff. You can sort of see that. The pattern is going to be EZ's Winter Spruce pattern from Knitting Around, though it may be more correct to say it will be an attempt at the pattern. I've already made a couple of mistakes and expect to make a few more as I go. Good thing I know duplicate stitch embroidery. I am a little concerned about how tight the mitten is. The stranded work is pulling things in far more than I thought. I might have to restart just a few stitches wider.

It would be a little disappointing to have to do that since most of yesterday was spent working on another mitt-let, of about the same size before I acknowledged that only an infant could get their hand inside it. If I do restart, I guess that the upside is that there won't be need for the embroidery skills.

One way or another, this first real stranded colourwork project is coming along, and I can see that there is going to be more of this. It isn't entrancing the way lace is, but it challenges me and I like that.

Though there are moments when a simple garter stitch has challenged me, this is so much more. This is challenging me to stay awake, to be in the no parking zone, to stimulate my brain. After I work on it a while, instead of feeling stressed and tired from concentrating on the pattern stitches, I am reinvigorated, and renewed. Just as a good physical workout strengthens you, so does good a mental health exercise.

I don't know, but more and more, I think I should be able to write knitting off my taxes.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008


In Flanders Fields

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below...

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved, and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields...

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields...

Lieutenant Colonel John Alexander McCrae
Second Battle of Ypres, May 3, 1915

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,

We will remember them.

Laurence Binyon, 1914

Monday, 10 November 2008

A Pair of Peculiar Mittens

Over the weekend, a very peculiar pair of mittens emerged. Not a pair really. Maybe more of a companion set. I've posted about the thrummed mitten before. These were supposed to be for my mom, and I do think she will get a pair, but not this single mitten. This is the just beta version.

Once I got to the point where I was knitting the thumb, it felt a bit bindy, and awkward. Not bad for a learning experience, with only the barest outline of a pattern. The next mitten will have the thumb gusset starting way down, only a row or two above the cuff and the gusset is going to have many more stitches. In a way this is OK, because now I get to keep a pair. Because they are going to be mine, I am not rushing to get the second one done. I'd rather be working on gift mittens right now. The yarn is an undyed Blue Faced Leicester aran weight held double and the thrums are from a slightly felted skein of Fleece Artist roving.

For the gift thrummed mittens, I think I'll use some of the same main yarn, but I have some lovely soft blue roving for inside them.

The other glove is a pair of mittens that were started as a work project. We had a really big windstorm and no one was out, so the boss suggested we start some of Elizabeth Zimmermann Mitered Mittens. These are being made of Mirasol's Hacho, a wonderfully springy yarn. This mitten is out of the beta stage (I ripped back three times, to get the right size, the right placement for the thumb etc.) and fits really nicely. It has a fairly long cuff, but this is a bonus. No cold wrist with these. The second of the pair is already on the needles and well along.

My next adventure is some stranded colour work mittens with Berocco's Love It. I played around with doing thrums from some corn fibre and while it works, I don't think the fibre is really quite what I want for long term wear. If I had some cotton fibre, ready for spinning, thrumming might go a little better. For the colour work, I have to pick up some white yarn, a bamboo yarn, I think, for the other colour along with the Love Its deep black. I am going to use one of the EZ's patterns for these.

So far it is a pair of mittens and techniques. There are dozens of more ways of knitting mittens, and Canada is a nation where you cannot have too many pairs of mittens. Maybe this year will be my year of the mitten.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Black sock heels

I'm working on black socks today in lieu of working on everything else that I should be working on. The black socks match my mood.

As suspected, there was no way I could do all the things I planned. I did not even get to the last load of laundry, because first things first, I had to load the dishwasher. Lo and behold halfway through the loading, one of the 4 little wheels that holds the top rack to the rails, broke off. After spending a great swack of time on the phone with the Maytag people, I find, they do not sell this little fifty cent wheel separately, that you have to buy the entire tray. For a hundred and fifty bucks.

I waited till Mr. Needles came home, but my mood was such that knitting was not really possible. (thankfully, we still have an old tray in the garage, with some spare parts)

I wound yarn instead. I've not posted much about my yarn purchases of late, because well frankly I am a little embarrassed by them. It all started with red and

You know how sometimes you just need a really good red to jump start your day? No? Well, once I saw this at Knitty, I just had to have red. So began a quest for the perfect red. Along the way, I changed my mind about making the sweater, but I still needed a good red. So I searched till I found one. I had a few other accidents, because as we all know, looking at yarn, even if you are focusing on red, can be a dangerous dastardly game that yarn will eventually win.

I did find a great red, a red filled with black and garnet and deep warmth.but not before I found a seriously fine forest green, so fine that photos cannot do its foresty goodness justice.and the there was a particular taupe that fell into my lap too. There was not quite enough of the taupe for what I plan for it, so I picked up some charcoal for accents. Three sweaters worth for me.Then there was yarn, in various permutations for Mr. Needles requested fair isle project. I still cannot think of it as a vest.

You'd think this would have been enough for a sane woman. I am clearly not sane, so I fell just a little further down the rabbit hole.

I fell into some Socks That Rock.

And a few other good things. Some Drops Silke Tweed, for a scarf I began but did not like. The yarn is going to do a couple of lace scarves, though I might need another skein of each (and so it goes)

Some really divine Colinette Sock yarn, that will be something nicer than socks because it is so pretty.and some Mirasol Hacho for a pair of mitered mittens from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac.

The really sad part is there is a little more, but I am going to be late for work if I tried to fit it all in.

It seems like a lot of yarn. It is a lot of yarn and yet I have a plan for each of these skeins. I don't buy yarn without knowing exactly how I am going to use it. Buying yarn is much better than drug therapy and healthier for me than if I took up drinking. My black mood is gone, just looking at the pretty pictures.

Buying yarn did get out of control lately. Not fiscally hurtful, but really not a sane amount. Considering the previously noted health benefits I have gained, one ought to be able to write this off of ones income taxes as a health care item. I wonder if Mr. Harper and Mr. Obama would agree?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Too much rushing around.

I've got a ton of things to do today. The blogging is going to be just a little shy.

Oh there will be knitting a plenty. There will be the fixing of the fishy mitten. Thanks to the frazzled knitter - her Ravelry name - one of the evening knit group ladies, for the thrummed mitten tips. I don't mind learning by failing but your experience makes the learning happen more speedily and effectively.

There will be, with luck, the binding off of the first of the Christmas knitting. There will be reknitting of the sweater shoulders, and blocking to prepare for finishing the hood and button bands.

There will be be completion of laundry or at least a close facsimile to completion. There will be clean hand washed scarves, socks and shawls.

It would be lovely to finish the pairs of socks I have in my bag, start two of the ten thousand other projects I have in my head, read at least part of one of the books that has nothing to do with knitting, vacuum and clean the cupboard today. I feel as if I could.

There is a new sense of possibility in the air and I like that.

Of course, I'll be lucky to get the laundry done, but I can dream, can't I?

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

If it looks like a fish...

If you take some of thisand add a little of thisshould you get a fish?I don't think so.

Its not a fish, I tell you. Its not a fish.It does bear a passing resemblance to the M-113 creature. Or a lamprey, which is in my mind fish-like...

OK, Needles, feet back on the ground. You are weirding people out. Back to knitting.

I am trying to make a pair of thrummed mittens for my mother, who walks a couple of blocks to get to work. Since she is in Saskatchewan and winter is here, I think she is going to like them. It's a mildy larger than normal mitten, with thrums, which are little bits of fibre twisted and worked into them every so often. The fibre felts over time with the heat of your hands, and forms a very warm and comfy inside. The M-113 creature like maw is what the fibre filled inside looks like from the top of the mitten. Neat isn't it.

The unfortunate fishiness of them comes from the stubbiness of the hand. I've got to go back to the part where I started decreasing and work another inch and a half before I start decreasing. Then I am going to do a standard sock like toe decrease, 4 stitches on every alternate round. I am a little concerned about the thumb opening. I'll have to put the stitches onto a different kind of stitch holder to check for fit. Who knows, I may be going back to the thumb.

I keep telling myself that I don't mind ripping. I do and I don't. I hate losing the working time on a project when you have to go back and rip. It hurts when you are on rip three, with knit 4 coming up. Yet, I don't mind ripping because I know that there are sound reasons to rip back and before I accept that ripping back is the right decision, I've usually learned something about my knitting or myself.

The lesson here is that a mitten should look a lot more like a sock toe than you think it should, even when it is thrummed, and that the fearless inner knitter who rushes to see a finished product, ought to listen to the sensible inner knitter when she is all but screaming that this mitten is too short.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Having it good.

I've had a pretty good run of luck with employers over the years. These ladies at River City Yarns are real gems.

First off they are smart enough to own a yarn store. Isn't it pretty much a dream to have your own yarn store right at your fingertips? It is certainly one of the things I'm trying to recreate when I stash yarn. To have it all right there, just waiting for me. It is almost as good as having a personal library.

Secondly, they not only own a yarn store, but began it with a particular philosophy. In some ways that philosophy has grown and changed to accommodate the realities of the business world, but the basics still ring true and I can see that in the store, in action, every single day. More, I love participating in that philosophy every day.

And third, at days end, they make you feel that you are part of a team, that if they thrive,you will thrive.

I am honoured, thrilled, elated and utterly delighted to be allowed to work in such good company. So when your employers leave to go on the annual store sponsored Wool Wine and Wheels Trip copyright 2008, leaving us behind, it feels really really good to know that they trust you with something so precious as their store and they leave you behind a special little treat? You are flummoxed when that happens.

They left us with a delightful little knitting bag, filled with some treats. The bag is a great little thing for take along knitting. It looks ordinary until you turn it around. There be chickens knittin'.

The little pocket could hold a pair of double points or any of a number of small travel knitting accessories. I'll have to go searching for some fold up scissors, and a little tape measure, maybe a set of little markers too, to tuck inside, so I have these things with me no matter where I go.

And then the big treat.

The brilliant mixed skein is Nova Sock yarn from Fleece Artist and the lovely turquoise/marine blue is a skein of sock yarn from a small independent dyer.

Sometimes, I feel rich beyond measure. For now these lovely things will sit, to be fondled and petted. I'm going to have to do something special with them, and I don't want to rush.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Following up the silly things

If you finish up a week doing something silly, you really should bracket that with something good. So I did. The picture just does not do this fun little thing justice. The colourway panned out very close to what I had hoped for. Only on the very last few rows did I play with the sequence at all. As the work progressed, I realized that the outer parts of both balls were the very light tan brown. I had hoped to end with the darkest shades (next time I'll end one ball on a black colourway), so just where the last light stripe is, I cut the yarn, and started working from the soft tan outside of the ball and put the darker yarn on the outer edge. I am really really pleased.

The Noro sock yarn did just as everyone says, and softened up right away once washed. It eases around my shoulders in the nicest of possible ways. I'm not quite certain how I will wear this shawl to work. At home, this small shawl is great just sitting on my shoulders, with the fronts just hanging in the crooks of my arms. At work, things need to be tucked and pinned which on this small triangle, means it is going to appear more scarf-like. Either way, it is a nice addition to a mostly black wardrobe.

As I was laying the shawl out to dry last night, I realized I am a shawl person. I know some people who make a lot of scarves and shawls but never wear them, but I seem to be wearing mine all the time. My very first shawl of really fine yarn (Estelle yarns discontinued Vespa and in comparison to whatever can be found at Walmart) has been worn so many times over the years, that it is losing its fluffiness. My second shawl (acrylic boucle) is already standing guard in my study, its mildly worn comfort still working on the back of my chair.

The Truly Tasha's Shawl made last winter is my favourite. I have worn it many times to work and on several chilly occasions (before the furnace kicked in), to bed to help ward off the cold. Its been washed and shaped several times in its short life. I'll be making more of these, right down to its mistaken twisted garter stitch heart.

I like the way a shawl hugs warm and comforting, just there around your shoulders, quietly keeping you warm. Even a fine knitted lace shawl speaks very softly when you wear it. Its finery is hidden in its folds, there for those who wish to look and see, but otherwise, unassuming, there only to provide comfort and warmth.

There are so many shapes and stitches still to try. There are so many other lovely things to knit, but if I could knit only one thing, it surely would be shawls.