Friday, 29 July 2011

Tiny drops of rain

I woke early this morning and listened to the rain for a while.  I love the sound of rain outside my windows.  With the sound of rain outside my windows, I know that there is no chance of getting to the garden today.  SO...

Today should be a day of getting stuff bits of stuff done.  The knitting is done on my last sweater.  Steeking could happen today.   There is a swatch of corrugated ribbing to be knit and a practice zipper to install - practice for the zipper I want to put into the Lichen vest.  

But instead of those things, this morning, for a couple of hours at least, I have promised myself that I am going to spin.  

I am now working on the second box of that nice warm gold/brown/green/rose fibre and as nice as it is, I can't wait till the spinning is done and it is all plied up.  Surely such a pretty thing will be magic.    
Here at home my spinning wheel sits in front of the big window downstairs.  Listening to the sound of the rain drops falling and the wind rustling the leaves of the trees outside my window is the perfect accompaniment for spinning.  

Wednesday, 27 July 2011


I've been a little sluggish the last few days.  In part it was I wasn't feeling well (just a little summer bug) and in part because I was a little disheartened with more rain.  I keep telling myself that it is what gardening is all about and sometimes that works.  And sometimes it doesn't.  C'est la vie.  

I have been sticking close to home and knitting and knitting.  I'm finished the body of the sweater and one sleeve and I have just half of the second sleeve left to do.  

After that, there is little to do.  A bit of fix up knitting on the top of the sweater - I want to re-knit the collar band and fix a pattern error.  

I started out using only the multi-colour and find the colour too strong for the soft gray.  I want to redo and alternate the ridges with plain gray and multi-colour as I did on the hem and sleeve.  It's much prettier.  The other thing I have to redo is the first part of the pattern.  It started with a 2 knit 2 slipped stitches for  4 rows, but I erred and only knit two rounds.  

Next up is steeking.  I have been contemplating this.  Woobu is slippery yarn and the pattern called for only 4 stitches for steeking.  I should have knit more, but I stayed with the pattern.  I never stay with patterns so why on earth did I begin now?  For safety I am going to sew a backing onto those 4 measly stitches before cutting. I hope that a little bit of interfacing to the backside and then a good bit of vigourous sewing will keep the ends where they belong.  Once the steek is cut, the bands will be turned back and tucked under as I knit the edging.  Or it may be that I knit and sew in a wee facing.  I don't know yet, but there will be something to hide it all.

Worse come to worse, I will have to do more stitches for steeking and a knit a completely different button band.  The sweater will still work out.  But just like my garden, it might not be exactly what I envisioned in the first place.  

And who knows?  I might have a bumper crop of peas, and my sweater might yet be a masterwork.  
After all that stockinette, garter stitch

feels weird.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A little Guy

On Sunday I had a good long visit with a little guy.  Remember this?

The little guy is sure an active thing.  He did not stop moving or bouncing or squiggling around for one minute, just as joyous and chipper as you please.

He has grown out of sweater 1, so it is time for sweater 2.   

Of all the thousands out there, I'm going to have to think about what I want to do next.  And I am going to have to think about colours.  I have a tone of Baby Ull by Dalegarn in the stash somehwere, in bright cheery kid colours.  Though I don't have a colour that I would use as the base colour for a little boy, I do have tons of it.  There might be some dyeing in my future.  I also some Mission Falls 136 in some soft grey greens and taupes. Too bad there isn't more of this great yarn out there.  There are a couple of good sock yarn candidates too.  All sorts of things that will be great for kids.  

I'm looking forward to knitting something little and cute and boyish for a really sweet little fella.    

Monday, 25 July 2011

Time for socks.

At the beginning of this year, one of my resolutions was a pair of socks per month.  I did a pretty good job right up to Mays socks.  I finished all the old ones I had in the WIP basket and made one new one per month. Then I realized my sock drawer was filled when all the laundry was clean (who knew that would ever happen).  And so, I stopped worrying about socks.  Mays brilliant red are half done.

Then, the other day, I had the very strong urge for socks.  It has been too long.

  Mr. Needles could use a few more pairs.  Plain ordinary socks.  Manly colour. Perfect for a break. 

As you can see, this has a garter square toe.  I have done this a few times now and I really like the fit of this but none of the pairs I have made for Mr. Needles have had it.  We'll see if he likes it.

It is the start to a busy week.  With luck I will get in the garden today to do a little maintenance. With even more luck, I will have a chance to do another couple of days of maintenance (that sounds so much nicer than catch up weeding, doesn't it).  I'm hoping to get to the gray sweater finished this week and I am hoping to crank out this pair of socks.  

Off and running...

Friday, 22 July 2011

Shades of Gray

Things are very very gray today.  The sky is gray, my yarn is silvery gray.  There are no pictures today, because , well, everything is gray.  Its just not that interesting.

Really, who knew I would get this much knitting done in summer?  I really should be out working in the garden, but all the gardens around here are wet, wet wet, and everyone I know is talking about the great wild mustard takeover.  

After yesterdays decently warm sunny loveliness and my fondest hopes that things would hold off one more day the forecast for the day ran true.  2 inches of rain overnight.  It could get depressing.  

Its a good thing I had fibery goodness planned for today.  Spinning this morning, knitting with some friends this afternoon and a visit to the yarn store somewhere in there too.  

Now who could be depressed or even marginally sad with that on their plates?  Not me.   

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Flower days

This morning I woke just as the sun caught a spire of fireweed in the big hillside bed behind my house.  I started thinking about all the tall flowers and went out to take some pictures.  

My pictures are pallid and vapid and don't even begin to come close to what is out there.  Mr. Needles, on the other hand, takes magnificent vibrant photos. I'm not sure what he does, but they shine true.   So I am going to skip showing you mine and am just going to show you some of the grandness as captured by Mr. Needles.


OK, there are a few of mine in there, but only because he hasn't taken flower pictures this week and there are a few new things blooming.  

Of all of these, the rose at the very top, that creamy white open single rose is my favourite.  Its an old rose, found in a tangle near an old house at a friends place.  We've had it for several years and moved it last year.  It likes its new home and gave a grand display.  

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Up next

Since I am currently knitting up what I ripped back on the sweater and since you already saw a picture of its grey silvery beauty knit into a lot of stockinette, its time to think about something different.

When I was in Saskatoon earlier this year, I stopped at Prairie Lily and found the loveliest Drops Lin,a pure linen.  I'm not sure if I showed you photos of it, but it is really nice stuff.   (I'll link it instead.)  I have two skeins of white and one each of the soft dusty blue and black.

My intention is to turn it into a nice little shawl called the Holden Shawlette  There are so many really pretty ones on Ravelry.  Mine will be white for the body and one repeat of the lace, then one lace repeat in blue and one on black with a bind off in white.  This is the plan.  We shall see if this plan is going to...well...go to plan.

But first, I must finish the sweater.  I hope to get a lot done, though I doubt that I will get it as long as I need it to be.  I just don't think my hands are up to that but it is easy knitting and slightly hypnotic.  You never know how far you can go.


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Gauge Tales

As Mrs. Spit said in the comments yesterday, '... I like the Yarn Harlot's idea - guage swatches are nothing more than a vain offering to the knitting fates and bear no resemblenece to the actual thing.'

So true.  

Late yesterday afternoon, I did another count for gauge.  It wasn't making sense. It was fitting and yet, according to the swatch, I was 100 stitches away from where I needed to be to make it fit!  100 stitches at 6.5 stitches per inch is 15 inches.  Clearly something was off.

So I counted yet again.  20 stitches on 4 inches (midway between needles and coloured yoke, just like yesterday).  Plenty o' stitches.  I will have 7 inches of straight...Which makes me want to pound my head against the floor.

I'm going to rip back the last few inches, and take out the increases I was making on the front.  I just don't need them.  Increases along the side every 6th row and a few randomly placed ones across my lower back will be just about perfect. In my head this sweater was supposed to be a nice casual a-line. Now it can be.  

Yes, the knitting fates were active yesterday, messing with my mind and my knitting.  It is what it is.  I'd get frustrated, but you know, it was a lovely day.  I sat on my front porch on the swing, I turned on the wee thermocell to keep the bugs away and knit all afternoon.  I knit there to supper time, when the sky turned gray and the thunderstorms began again.  Not a bad way at all to spend a hot summer afternoon. If I have to repeat some knitting, I won't mind at all if it is tied to such a nice memory.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Not where I'm supposed to be.

I was supposed to be out in the garden this morning.  The plan was to be there by now.  It was a good plan.  Really.  It was a most needed plan.  You have no idea how needed.

But due to the vagaries of weather, I'm not.  Let's just leave it at that.  I'm going to go out and check a little later.  We didn't have a lot here and if they didn't have much up there, then it should be possible to get there just a little later today.  I don't like working in the hot sun, but I don't think I have any choice.  

I did not get around to blocking the rest of that lace.  There is some laundry and some dishes, and if I recall correctly, the household is running low on toilet paper.  It isn't like I have nothing to do.  

There is always knitting.  As far as knitting goes, this can only be good.  I knit through the next lace/color changes on Lillia Hyrna, and I knit a whole bunch on the Folklore cardigan.  
I'm very pleased.  I'm also a little confused.  I did a swatch.  I got 22 stitches on four inches on the swatch.  Its hard to figure out what the gauge on the top multi coloured section, but on the bottom it is 26.  I pay attention to gauge, but it is a good thing I compulsively try it on.  Rather than trusting gauge, I tend to trust fit more.  

So, as usual, knit to fit.  Just a little closely mind.  Once washed, yarns almost always relax and give me the little bit of ease I need.  

It's things like this that make knitting exciting.  And gut wrenching.  Forward I go.  If the skies stay dark and the wet stuff still falls, I ought to get a lot done.

I have to post this, un-edtied and un-spellchecked before the signal on my internet sat cuts out again. One way or another, one day or another there will be dirt between my toes instead of just between my ears. 

Friday, 15 July 2011


For the last several months, I've met a friend to spin.  It has been working, there has been actual yarn production but with summer coming and other stuff, it has been almost a month since I spun.   It is going to be good to get back to it.

But in other news, with the ending of the Postal upset, I finally got a book I ordered through the Hurt Book Sale from Interweave.  It was just too much to of a deal to let go.  $12.47 and $5.00 shipping.  I can live with that.  

I'm pretty picky these days about what books I buy.  I've never been the sort of person who would knit directly from a book, they just don't write a lot of books that do what I need to do for fit. Almost all of the books I have bought have been to learn from rather than just for pattern books.  

And then there is the lace shawl class of books.  Like socks, that is an entirely different class. 

This one is really just a book of patterns.  Nothing to learn, no instruction and yet...

That works too.  I bought New England Knits because it was a good deal.  And because I needed to knit one shawl from it. Seriously, just one shawl.   Oh I already have a plan for another sweater from it.  The picture looks just like a yarn I have, soft and cozy and oh so pretty and warm.  And there is a vest.  And...

I'll use it, the same way I use so many of the other patterns.  It will inspire me to knit something pretty.  Even if, in the end, it isn't a pattern from the book.  

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Done done done!

Done!  I am so thrilled at how it looks!  The photo here is a 'first fling' picture.  I've got it sitting on the 4 x 8 pool table in the family room.  The unblocked size, unfettered in any way is about 4 x 4 feet. 

A few weeks ago, in preparation for blocking I purchased another set of the foam floor tiles.  I thought that these, with my other two sets, and I'd be able to do it in one session.  

But no.  I have the tiles laid out, 3 tiles by 3 tiles, and have only blocked the center of the shawl.  I'd need yet another set, to take the tiles up to 4 tiles by 4 to get it in one go.  And I'd have to move all the furniture out instead of just some!

Blocking in sections is the order of the day.  The center blocks out to a massive 39 inches square.  If each edging blocks to the expected 20 inches deep (or even if it is close) the shawl is going to be a massive 6 feet square.  Big.

But oh so lovely.  I'll finish blocking today (I can't believe I am saying this, but if it could just be miserable for one more day, please) and I can't wait to see it.  

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

I Sat in the Company of Knitters

The previous lethargy is gone.  I think I thawed!

I sat in the company of knitters and I knit on the Lillia Hyrna shawl and just enjoyed the company.  Its hard to imagine what my life was before I found these people to knit with.  

There is something so beguiling and inspiring about being there.  Everybody works on the things that interest them. Some on complicated mittens, some on fantastic light ethereal things,  some on sweaters, and the ever present socks.  Every week, someone among us is working on socks.  Some crochet, so using the term knitters is completely wrong, but beyond a doubt being there knitting among them is the most illuminating thing I have ever done.  

And then I went to lunch with one of my sisters in law, who I just don't get too see much anymore.  By the time I came home the afternoon was pretty much done and it was time to put on dinner.  
What I am trying to say is that I did not knit a stitch on the Shetland Shawl.  

But, today, I have the coffee on, the movies lined up, and the shawl is right at my side, needles loaded and waiting.  The long sweet goodbye is about to end.

Updated to note...done! The last grafted stitch was completed at 3 pm.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Dead Space

When TV stations stop sending out their signals, it is referred to as dead air.  

Yesterday, this blog went through some dead air.  (It is entirely possible that this whole blog is dead air.)  Not sick but surely not right.  I just was not...I want to say motivated, but that implies there was something there.  And seriously, there was just nothing.  I did get the van unpacked from the weekend, ( not cleaned).  And I got dressed. Getting dressed was the biggest thing in my day.  I consider it a huge victory.

I did not pick up a book.  I did not pick up any knitting.  I did not do anything other than watchTV and scroll things desultorily on the internet.

Dead air is exactly what was going on. I'm reading this post over, and man, dead space.  

I feel more connected this morning so I will do Monday today.  I will probably skip Tuesday because there just isn't anyway that I am going to get Tuesday and Wednesday done tomorrow.  You know what I mean.  

Anyway off to the Shetland shawl.  Pictures tomorrow .     

Monday, 11 July 2011

Cold That Isn't Cold.

We had plans to go to the lake this last weekend, but the weather report was awful.  There was a very large system with heavy rain sitting just east of the lake.  It isn't dangerous, but this is a back country campground.  The risk is getting stuck behind raging streams till the water goes down.  We debated not going, but we decided the van was well stocked and worse come to worse, we would only miss a Monday.  As fast as the water in rivers and streams goes up, it goes down - so long as it stops raining in the watershed. 

Yes sir, the weather sucked.  When the weather sucks,  we go camping.  

This was the temperature inside my camper.  I could raise it if I turned on the furnace, but that only lasted for 15 minutes or so and using up your propane can be risky (that whole stuck longer than you planned thing).  You want to save your propane for when it is really cold.  

And this was the temperature outside my camper.  I went outside.  At least outside, I could keep a campfire going.  I played around watching the thermometers all day.  With a nice medium sized fire going, I could keep it easily at about 13 or 14C.   

So, even though it had the capacity to be truly miserable, it was actually very nice.  Though the air temperature was about the same as when we went early in June, the ground was warmer. That warmer ground made a world of difference. 

With the tarp as roof and the fire, this happened.  
It is the bodice of a pretty sweater called Folklore  The yarn is Blue Moon Fibre Arts Woobu.  The multi is the Fire on the Mountain colourway and the gray is Bleck.  I'm excited to see what Bleck looks like knit up in plain stockinette.  I suspect stunning. 

I've got the bodice done and will try it on today to see if I have to add stitches for fit and to check on how much more depth it is going to need till I split for body and sleeves.  I have followed the pattern carefully thus far (I Know!) but from here on in,the pattern and I depart and I'm in knit to fit country. 

I'm hoping I have lots of the gray yarn, but just in case, I do have at least a half a ball of Fire on the Mountain left.  Plenty to fill any short of gray yarn emergencies. 

Much as I would like to continue this newest thing, this morning I have a camper to clean and a Shetland Shawl to finish.  First things first, right?  

Friday, 8 July 2011

If I had today

If I had today to just sit and knit,  I'd finish the Shetland shawl.  I've turned the last corner and am about 1/3 done the fourth side.  If the week just had one more day I'd be done this week.

I have been avoiding shaking it out and looking at it.  Part of me want to see it now.  But part of me thinks it's like Christmas.  The presents are always better if you don't sneak a peek.  I want to wait to see it when it is done and those last few stitches are off the needle.  I want to look at the size of it unencumbered by the tools with which it was made.  I want to look at it once the graft where beginning and end meet are complete.  I want to see it for the first time, in all its glory, when it is free.  

Its not going to happen today.  Its not going to happen this weekend.  It will have to wait for next week, but come Monday...I can hardly wait.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Oh my goodness!

What a busy day.  I did all sorts of things!

I pulled back Lillia to just where the first lace bit happened.  
(Ain't she purty?)

I had made  a slight error in reading the pattern.  I could have left it.  Others have done the same thing and it looked fine, but with these strong colours,  I needed it to be right.  So pullback and re-knit.  But I am moving forward nicely now and it is right where I want it to be for knitting around.

Then I finished the band on the Lichen vest.  Only facings and zipper to do.  I'll pick up the zipper Friday when I am in town and then will install it on the weekend.  

I knit on the pretty Clapotis that was hanging around for the last while. 
It was supposed to be done before summer, so it could be my cover up as I went out and about.  It is so close to half done, just the tiniest bit left of ball one.  Right Purty too.

And then I played with what I had planned to play with last week.  My new flour mill/grinder for my mixer.

Mr. Needles had to do a little playing around with it.  It was just the tiniest bit bigger than my meat grinder, which was just the tiniest bit bigger than the place they were supposed to fit into. So, Mr. Needles got out the auto sand paper and made them both fit correctly.  It worked wonderfully.  Of course, I needed to make bread.  

Two wee loaves.  

We don't eat a whole lot of bread around here and this way, we can keep the bread fresh. 

It was far too hot to bake in the house today, so I took advantage of our very very large BBQ, and cooked a roast and some baked potatoes for supper and popped the wee loaves in so they were done just in time. Perfect.  

I must thank my dear friend Frazzled Knitter who gave me the idea,  
and thank you to Mr. Needles, who will benefit from both, for making them work.

Oh and then I did laundry too.  But you all know how that goes.    

A Desert Island Yarn

Every knitter has yarns they prefer over all the others they have used.  It  often isn't a fancy yarn, but it will be a yarn, that for them, performs whatever knitting task they ask of it. Sometimes it is laceweight, sometimes it is chunky, but for each and every knitter, it is going to be different.  

I might have met mine.

Yesterday, before going to knitting, I sat and had a good long think about what I wanted to knit.  The last few weeks I have been working on the pink Icarus when I went out and needed knitting, but I'm just about ready for a little break from it.  It isn't that I don't like knitting it, it is just that the red sweater made me realize how much sheer joy I get out of knitting.  Sheer, pure, simple joy.  Focusing on all the things in the WIP basket has made me step away from that simple joy. It was starting to feel just a little like work. Its summer, its time for a nice break, knitting things I quite simply love.

It was time to pick out something new to cast on.  What would be good knitting while chatting and would give me that very simple joy?  I ran through all the various projects and yarns.  I wanted it to be a shawl and I wanted it to be in some of the fine earthy yarns I have been collecting recently. I rejected most because they need to be wound into balls.  I rejected some because the vision I see using them for is a little too complex for starting at a knitting group.  What did I have that was in a ball, was for shawls, and would be simple to knit.  

The answer was Einband, Icelandic laceweight.  Icelandic laceweight and simple, led me to the lovely Lillia Hyrna shawl from the Book of Wool.  And so it was begun.  

In starting to knit with Einband, one thing became clear after a mere 4 rows.  This yarn is fantastic.  Its softer than you think.  It is very well mannered.  Its just grabby enough to hold to itself and stay in right where you left it should you have to take it apart.  You can ask me how I know this.  Yes.  A couple of times in the first 50 rows.  

When you look at the knitting you are doing as it falls away from your needles, there is just something, an air of sturdy Icelandic sensibility that clings to it.  It is an air of survival, of living with the land and sea air... an air of balance and stalwart determination even in its delicate beauty.

I may have found my personal desert island yarn.  I just didn't expect that desert island to be Iceland. 

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Yes it is

The Jamie is very me, isn't it.  Perhaps that is why it almost knit itself.  It made me feel happy and cheery and each time I tried it on, I had to laugh.  A sweater that makes you laugh cannot be all bad.

There has been other knitting. Steeking even!

See?  Front bands.  Sleeve and collar bands.

Just an ordinary and narrower than the bottom corrugated rib.

There is one more front band to knit and then a zipper to buy and install, and facings to knit.  It isn't going very fast because the two front bands have to be knit back and forth rather than the much speedier in the round work.  I have been avoiding working on it just a little.  It isn't hard, just the extra work flipping one yarn to work and back to carry over the other stitches.  It ought to be done by the end of the day.  It is only 6 rows after all.  The stitches have all been picked up, so it really ought not to take too much effort, just a little perseverance.

There is a significant difference between the pleasure of knitting this colourwork and the utter lunatic joy of knitting the red sweater, but both give me a great deal of satisfaction.  Perhaps that is some of what makes knitting such a wonder to me.  So many different paths.  Such pleasure.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Jaimie All Growed Up.

and dry.  It took forever to dry without having the furnace blowing on it.  
Here is a good view of what I did on the sleeves.

And here is a shot of the shaping rows.  

If you look really closely at this shot, you can see all the shaping.  There is the shaping to add just a little more ease to the backside, and there is the short row shaping just at the very top of that lovely line of vertical increases.  There is, unfortunately, one too many sets of short rows in there.  It hangs just a little lower in the back than it does in the front.  I'm thinking about re-knitting it, but boy, I don't know if it is worth it.  It just means my butt is covered a little lower and surely that is good. 

Even so, the fit across the back is superb.  The short rows and the increases started at just the right point.   It lays just like a sweater should.  There is no bulk where I am not bulky.  Its fits decently at the underarms, both front and back.  The shoulders are a bit wider than usual, but it is fine.  It just has a tiny bit of a drop shoulder shaping and I knew that was going to happen very early on in the process. 

There are things I would have done differently, some things very differently, generally having to do with underarm fit and where and how the side shaping needs to happen, but overall, I am so very pleased.      

There will likely be another one.  I have some medium weight Socks That Rock that didn't do what I hoped it would, that might work perfectly for a modular construction like this.  And there won't be any worries at all about yarn quantities, if I do as I did with this one and make the back and sleeves out of a solid colour.  

Had I knit a little slower, and thought a little more, perfection might have been achieved, but there seldom is purposeful thought while I am knitting.  Its usually dreaming and contemplating and as fast as this was knit, there was precious little of even that.  Its sort of nice for that to happen sometimes.  Just knit, no thoughts in your head.  It probably shouldn't happen on a sweater.

But it was fun. I have an imperfect but wearable sweater and that suits me, the imperfect wearer just fine.  I'll save perfection for later.  By then, the wearer will be just a little improved too.

Friday, 1 July 2011

Happy Birthday to us!

Somewhere in the deep archives I have red cotton and white cotton.  I was probably waiting just for this!

Happy Canada Day!