Saturday, 31 December 2011

A Year End Wrap Up

This is a good day to sit here and lazily contemplate the year that was.

A lovely shawl for a wonderful friend who was born to wear this colour.
A tiny baby gansey for classes in winging it knitting.
Best bead storage ever.
Everytime I wear this someone comments on it.
The start of a really big blankie.
Learning to shop in Iceland while sitting at home.

A new favourite toe.
Sublime colours.  Fantastic yarn.
Joy in simple things
Knitting with delicious yarns.
Breathtaking lace.
Dreaming of spring.
Just fun.  So much fun.  
I'm particularly proud of this shaping.
A favourite heel.
Best Friends.
The wrong side?
Fun and funky but still very me.
Messing with 3 colours in simple knitting.
More Iceland.  For good yarn, it is well worth the trip.
A happy find.
Becoming something more.
Pretty little baby.
Cheery Cherry Cerisara
An elegant collar.

Stripes which I love.
Rich colours
My pride and joy.
A beautiful ball of yarn
Other things to keep me warm.
A much worn sweater
Memories of good times and wonderful friends.

I've had a marvelous year.  Some of the other highlights, OK, the biggest highlight was my daughter in law, 
who was in charge of fresh vereneki.  They were so good...
Probably the only shot of the finished November Sweater, worn very very casually.

And finally, from our bearded household (4 are real),
a wish for the very best in the New Years from my family to yours.

Friday, 30 December 2011

What with al the knitting

What with al the knitting there was the other night, there was not a lot of sleeping.  Last night I caught up.

Slept in a little later, OK, a lot later than normal  (Normal is 5 ish, today 6;15 A.M.) and I'm now going to have to rush to make it to work on time.  So no knitting this morning. Sheesh.

Updated to add:  Well, that explains it.  Sick.  Yup, in time for the weekend.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Who says so?

I do feel a burden when I have too many things in the work in progress basket.  It just starts to wear a person down when the basket morphs into 2.  

But what about when you frog one project and start doing something else with the yarn? Surely no one would say that contstitutes a new project and another WIP? Its is the same thing only different from what it was when I started playing with it.  

So the thing I started early this morning isn't new.  It's me being good and working on a WIP because  I say so.  And if I keep saying it often enough, I might believe this isn't a new project.

I started by picking a lacy pattern.  

I did a cute little scarf some time ago in this old Dutch pattern.  Its really quite lovely to knit.  Rhythmic, only 4 rows.  My kind of lace.  

Then I started thinking about how am I going to knit it.  Bottom up?  Top down?  

Top down I think.  Top down simultaneous set in sleeves, which is fast and firm, my favourite way of knitting sweaters.  I've got a bit of the neckline done, but not enough to show you anything. 

The yarn is a simple, ordinary cotton.  A good old fashioned cotton, Carezza from Italgamma.  It is inexpensive and crisply spun but not shiny and mercerized.  With its soft finish and its demin like blue colour, it should be the perfect bridge between jeans and jean skirts and the office. 

The time for knitting warm winter things is done. (Maybe.   Its Canada.  You never really know.) Though it is the middle of wool season, the same as seed catalogues and Sears Summer catalogue show up about now, this is the time to get ready for spring.  In knitting, that means cotton and all sorts of other yummy plant based fibres. 

So, its not new knitting day here at Chez Needles.  Because I say so.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Knitting in Dangerous Times

This is a dangerous time, this time after and before.  It is the time where last year I finished just one more project, but this year have absolutely no motivation to finish anything more.  

I just want to start.  Something.  Anything.  A hundred things.

If I let myself I would start a dozen things.  I started one
and now that it is working out just fine, my fingers itch to start another.  I've been wanting to work with this yarn for months.  Its been sitting, gently calling me from its perch at the top of the pile.  It is Briggs and Little Sport and I have a good feeling about this yarn.  It will make just the right sort of warm snuggly wool shawl, the kind of wool shawl you wear when you want to be comfy, that you wear when you sit in front of the fire reading...not that there ever seems to be time to sit in front of a fire reading.

Much as I love the idea of this shawl, I would turf it to the side as soon as knit it. Oh my itchy fingers.  

I would love to cast on for something colourwork, something small, a pair of mittens maybe. Type the word 'Selbuvotter' into Google and look at the images.  How could you not want to knit that?  Or Google 'Latvian mittens' 

How could seeing things like that not lead to itchy fingers?
And then there is the tremendously pretty snowflake vest from Folk Vests.  

These are dangerous times for a knitter, this time after and before.  Who knows what might get cast on?

Tuesday, 27 December 2011


I can't show you the secret projects just yet.  They won't be delivered till mid January when we will make a trip to Saskatchewan.  And ummmm...I did not quite finish them yet.  One to go.

So I shall show you what I did finish.  The gray sweater is done and looked fantastic on the wearer.  No one could ever doubt how warm and cozy it is.  I would show it to you if I had taken a photo of it but all I have in the Christmas photos is goofy photos and I don't know that my daughter in law would want that.  (We all had beards!)

What I can show you is a little something that I finished yesterday.  

  I really love how this turned out but as you can quite clearly see, I ran out of yarn.  About 8 rows short to be precise.  I thought about ripping back and alternatig rows of plain black and the multi, but I decided not to.  The extra weight of the black edge looked ok by me.   

And then I confess, I sat about, wondering what to do next.  That is a hard thing in a room full of yarn.  So many choices.

I pulled out 3 skeins of Briggs and little sport that I had hiding in a basket just waiting for such an occasion.  I started what will be a shawl, though I am not sure it will be the one I started.  

I bought the yarn with the intention to make an Icelandic sort of shawl though what I started knitting was more of an old fashioned Sontag, the little shawls that one ties behind your back that covers you much like a modern sweater.  I need a little something like that.  Something that stays just where you put it when you get dressed in the morning and stays tidy while working all day.  

I'm still not quite sure what I will do with it.  Its more of a gauge swatch right now.  I ought to have it sorted by the morning.  

Thursday, 22 December 2011

4 days

The office I am currently working at is closed for the next 4 days, so I am going to have a bonus day before Christmas Eve.  I'm looking forward to it after working everyday for a month.  It came up so suddenly.  That is what I get for going temp!  I am looking forward to having a few days of family stuff and goofing off.   

I'm looking forward to being able to post my fall's mystery project.  But not quite yet.  I have one small part of it to complete and then a day or two to wait, but then I will have knitting content to show off.  Its been short of knitting content lately even though there has been knitting.

Over the next few days, I don't anticipate a lot of knitting time, but over the next week, I hope to do a lot of good relaxing knitting.   I want to work on a couple of little WIPs. One is the pretty little Damson made from yarn from a friend, and the other is a sweet little Victorian shoulder shawl started last spring and set aside on encountering lace problems on the border.  I can't wait to wear them, but there is more.  

Over on the sidebar, you will see the little knit tracker I use.  I didn't have a goal for it, but I know I will be over 20,000 km for the year. The closer I got, the more fun it was watching the numbers grow as I finished things.  Once the sweater and the mystery projects are recorded, I will be over, but I'd like to get just a little more.  I'd also like to finish the year with just a few less things in the WIP basket.  

So some pretty little knitting to look forward to for that week between before the world goes back to normal time.  

In case I don't post tomorrow, I wish everyone a very happy, blessed Christmas.  May all of your knitting days and all of your non knitting days be hapy and filled with the joys of simple things.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

All is right with the world.

I wish there were more hours in a day, but there isn't so I am going to have to fit my expectations into what time I have.  

My daughter in law is coming out on Friday to help me and to make vereneki.  I'd like to get the meatballs ready and to get the turnips prepped for the oven and stuff the potatoes.  The salad ingredients will be prepared and ready. Happy.  

I hope to make some dinner buns and some poppyseed rolls but I think the rest of the baking is going to be store bought.  We haven't made it to desert in years. The boys have always just liked to go back late in the evening for a turkey and dressing sandwich.  (I admit that is my favourite part too).  So, desert will be my moms traditional low stress light desert, strawberries and icecream. Plus if anybody wants to come back for brunch the next day, I have strawberries for on top of the french toast. Happy.


Grocery list made.  Check.

Husband. Check. Son 1 and spouse.  Check. Son 2, the sweater guy.  Check on alternate under the tree gift, sweater OK after Christmas. Son3.  Check. Mom and Dad. Sister did.  Check.  FIL and MIL, Mr. Needles takes care of. Check.  Sisters. Almost check, but I don't need them till just after Christmas.

I should have just the right amount of time to make it to knitting tonight for just an hour. And since I will be working on the last of the knitting, I feel really good about that.  

The house might be a disaster, the gifts are not quite wrapped and the kitchen?  Well lets just not go there, OK? Its going to be messier before it is clean.  It won't be quite the Christmas of my dreams but then they never really are, are they?  

I will be surrounded by all my family.  There will be way too much good food.  A woman could not ask for more.  

All is right with the world.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

And so it goes

Arrived.  And we are so glad.  

Now back to our regularly scheduled knitting.  There is going to have to be a real push to get the fall's long secret project out of the way.  Mr. Needles will be delivering it...that is if he gets to go to Saskatchewan over the holidays.  The doctors are not letting him off so easy just yet.  More antibiotics are going to be needed.  Oh well.

I have about an inch of cuff left to do and then some short seams and sweater number three is complete.  I'm still miffed about not getting sweater 2 done, but I spoke to the gentleman in question and he claims he will survive.  He might but I really wanted to have it done for the holidays.  He is being awfully good natured about it, so I am going to work my buns off after the holidays to get it done.

And without the pressure of a deadline, I anticipate having a lot of fun with it.  I really do like the yarn.  Its the perfect guy look and all that simple stockinette of Brooklyn Tweed's design, are just right.  Very very guy. The bonus to all this is that I am going to have said gentleman try on what I have done already, so I can see just how much more I need.  I'll be able to move on with complete confidence, a much more interesting way to knit.

And then after Christmas, during that long time before gardening and yardwork, there is a winter full of knitting just for me. October, November and December have been mostly about knitting for those I love and care about, and it is time for a little bout of selfish knitting.

Monday, 19 December 2011

One last day

One last day.  I spoke with our son yesterday afternoon and you know, if his smile was any bigger, his face would crack right in two.  

This part, this day is much harder for our daughter in law.  Its got to be a tough thing to leave your world behind.  A hundred years ago, many many young Ukrainian men and women did so before her and thrived and I pray that she will too.  But I have no doubt it was a very hard thing to take that last turn at the airport and wave goodbye to her mum and grandma and go through into the secure waiting area at the airport.  

One short flight to Frankfurt, one longer flight to Calgary and then a very short hop home. 


Friday, 16 December 2011

Flying time

Right around 5 a.m. on Monday morning, Kiev time, my daughter in law will be getting on a plane to come to Canada.  
I am counting the hours.  

We have waited so long, hoped for so long and by Monday right about 5 p.m. Edmonton local time, she will be here.  

It doesn't sound like much and if you only counted hours in the air, it really isn't.  But, add in a stop in Frankfurt and a shorter one in Calgary and well, check out local time in Kiev right now and you get the idea.  

It is almost as far away as you can go before you get closer again.  

May the weather right across the world be particularly wonderful come Monday, right around the world and make her flight and the flights of anybody flying home, safe and smooth.

Thursday, 15 December 2011

I've been waiting all year

Seriously, I have.  I love this video.  Enjoy!


Still knitting.  Need more hours in the day.  48 please.  24 is just not cutting it.

I am thinking a lot about textures these last few days.  It started with lace and moved on to texture when I kept coming across perfect ways to use these two yarns.  

Can't you see it? Pretty green sweater looking like it is overlaid with a net of pretty green multi yarn?  Easy knitting with slipped stitches.  Maybe easy knitting.  I know how this knitting thing goes.  

Looks easy, but there is always a little something tricky about simple in knitting.  I forsee a 'learning' opportunity.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

I'm knitting

No real blog today.  Just that I am knitting.

A Merry Christmas from Mr. Bean.  If the add plays, sorry about that.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The good, the bad and the mistake.

I've finished the bind off.  It was long.  Very long.  All that remains of the sweater is to do the cuffs and sew up the short side seams.  

They really should be done by now, but my hands are giving out.  There is just no way I will get the sweaters done before Christmas.  None at all.  I am a little disappointed but it was not going to be do-able unless I was not working and I am, so that is that.

The worst part is I'm pretty sure that Son2's sweater is too small.  As I knit this snuggly warm one of my daughter in law, I realized how much more relaxed it was, how much more easy it was on my hands.  It was needles are so large that they usually make my hands ache, and the thick very thick yarn doesn't help, but still, a much more relaxed knit than the Remix sweater.

Remix is in a weight I prefer and a fibre I love and yet it was not so much fun as it should be - I know this or it would be done.  I think I am knitting it too tightly.  The fabric agrees.  

I went back to my swatch and checked gauge.  I measured the sweater and even though it says it is right, it looks too firm and too ...well, just too.  I want to restart it on slightly larger needles and there is no time to do so, and I am a little heartbroken that it isn't going to be done.  

I might finish it if I didn't take time to decorate the house or book or do any cooking at all, but those things must be done too.    So the deal is I will have two and a half sweaters done before Christmas, but no way will I make 3. 

So an evening devoted to cuffs and sweater 3 down.  Then I will rip back sweater 2 to the ribbing and will restart.  The ribbing will be fine I think, I just need to get more ease into the body fabric and a few more stitches just above.  A softer drapey fabric will make a world of difference.  Maybe the knitting goddesses will bless me and will make the knitting go fast and happy and joyful.  

I'll hope for that. 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Done and done

My daughter in law is now, technically, a resident of Canada.  Even though she has never been here! The papers say she is.  7 days till she arrives. I am so very very happy for both of them.

Meanwhile back at the ranch....

I'm binding off the ribbing.  I worked on it an hour yesterday.  I'm not yet half done. 

I know.  Because it is the outer edge of an almost circle, it needs a good stretchy bind off.  I am doing Jenny's stretchy bind off.  There is no doubt in my mind that this was the right way to go.  It gives just the right finish and it has all the give  I could want.  But because it is ribbing, there is a regular yarn over and a backwards yarn over and I keep getting the two mixed up.  It makes a huge visual difference at this gauge.  

Pretty, pretty.  After the ribbing, there remains only cuffs and two really short seams to call it complete .  I can't wait too see it in alol its glory.  A big snuggly beautiful wrap you up in cozy sweater.

I'm taking it to town today to look for closures. A pin means you could wear it in a dozen ways but there are also some funky closures from Nicki Epstein that would look great.  

I love this stage in knitting things.  It is so close to done, I can taste its goodness.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Well, there you have it

Flights are booked and now we just need to pray that the visa stamping goes as planned and we are home free.

I expect a very busy weekend after all the recent excitement. There is knitting to be done.  There is baking and cooking to be done.  There is some shopping left to do.  Less than I thought till I sat down and started really sorting it out.  I do have to sort out the mom and dad gifts, but that will take a phone call to a sister to know what I need to do.  The biggest shortfall is in the knitting department.  

There is about 1/6th of the secret project left to go, and half of each of two sweaters.  One of those should be finished by the end of the weekend.  The bulky yarn covers a lot of territory quickly.  I anticipate reasonable speed on the other as well.  Being made from the bottom up, it get smaller from here on in.  There will be a small with more stitches on the needles as the sleeves and body are joined, but the raglan shaping will take care of any feeling of tediousness.

I am blessed in the choices I have made.  There is minimal finishing on both of these garments.  The wool one has felted joins as I go and does not have a lot of stopping and starting.  The beginning tail will be used for the short seams, and there shouldn't be much more than another couple of ends.

On the Remix sweater, I am using a technique suggested by a knitting friend and am weaving the ends in as I go.  Its is the same sort of technique that I use when I carry strands along the back for colourwork knitting.  Easy peasy and just a little tidying up of tails to do.  There will be a little bit of sewing and tucking to get the shawl collar set in, but that is about all.  

Little finishing, diminishing number of stitches, few ends.  My kind of knitting!

And just to get you started right...

 My kids loved this once.  

The thousandth time?  Not so much.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

This blog should talk

This blog should talk about knitting today.  This blog promised to talk about knitting and only knitting this week.  And this blog was going to talk about knitting when she got out of bed this morning.  This blog was in fact, going to talk about knitting, right up until when she sat down and turned on the computer.

But that blog that I planned to write is gone and there is nothing that I want to tell you except that my daughter in law will be here for Christmas.  

Forgive me for shouting, but 

My daughter in law will be here for Christmas.  

She got the call from the embassy this morning that they want her to bring her passport in and that they will have her visa ready for her by Tuesday.  

I have a lot of knitting, baking and decorating to do!

Wednesday, 7 December 2011


Thank you all for the encouragement!  Its nice to know I am not so loopy as I first thought. 

After Christmas, here I come.  

In the meantime, a just a little Christmas modern.


Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Renovating knits

 Way back when, I made a very pretty capelet in one of my favourite colours in a wonderful pure alpaca yarn.

Nice yes?

I loved everything about it.  It knit itself in one weekend...and then lay around for months while I tried a couple different ways to hem it.

I mostly wore it at home.  The clasps were not a good choice of closure for the sort of work I did at the store.  They popped open every time I bent over to get something.  And being alpaca, it was warm, too warm for walking, leaning, lifting, carrying  all day.  It slipped down, down till it was at the bottom of the pile and such a beautiful thing is worthy of far better treatment.

I found a few more balls of this stunning blue when I was digging in the the store room in my last weeks at the store.  That, plus the 3 or 4 skeins I had left from this project, means I have enough to turn my pretty capelet into a rather dainty cardigan.

Wouldn't it be neat if all I had to do was join it at the underarms and keep knitting?  But sadly no.  There would be a little more work to it than that. Still, it is an idea that intrigues me.

Has anybody ever done an afterthought sleeve?  Heard of it before?  No,  me neither.  But you know...

I have to think on it some more.  I suppose it is a good thing there are sweaters to be done for Christmas. What is it that carpenter's say? Measure twice, cut once.  A knitter's afterthought corrolary must be think twice, cut once.

Sunday, 4 December 2011


Oh yes there is knitting.

This amorphous gray blob is an entire bag of yarn.  It was zooming along today.  The ribbing that joins the 2 ends is begun and will be ripped.  Yessirree Bob, I spent an hour knitting the ribbing and then suddenly realized I was supposed to change colours.

So the ripping begins on 2 very longs rows, but thanks heaven it wasn't more. It was time for a break anyway.

This might not strike anybody but a knitter as funny, but Thursday evening as I was measuring and knitting, I decided that there was just no way 2 bags of yarn was going to be enough.  So I umm, ordered another bag.  I'm feeling just a little sheepish because I am only into bag 2 by 2 skeins.  

Which, now that I write it out, is a lot less than I calculated originally (before the sheepish bit).  I think I am going to measure it again.  
And again.  Just to be sure.  It said it needed to be 36 inches.  I am pretty sure that is what I have.  

Unless my measuring was way off, there ought to be enough yarn for a whole other sweater with the bag still to come, the left over gray, and the half bag of charcoal I expect to have left from the ribbing and sleeves of this sweater.  Yup right there I can see it.  Plenty for a second sweater.   

I can't tell if I am happy or sad about this.  Sure am feeling sheepish though.  Yup.  That is me.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Organized and ready to go.

I'm starting to get my holiday stuff organized.  

OK.  Maybe I'm overstating the case.  I have the wrapping, just not the gifts.  I need more hours.

In other news, there has been knitting.  But not a lot.  This Saturday I'll be back on the Sweater for the boy.  I think I know what I am going to do.  I'll keep you waiting till after the weekend.  

Just think.  Knitting content next week.  All week.  Everyday!  

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Interesting Times

All summer long, I spun with a friend at the library.  Without that, My spinning efforts would have taken years to finish and I would still be handmade yarnless.

I don't have a lot but I do have this:

This bobbin is almost full and there will be one more to ply up before I am done.  

This is the same sinlges I showed once or twice before, now plied and soon ready for knitting.  I'm aiming for a post Christmas finish for it.  I would plan to knit it but I am not sure that it will be something I will want to work with. Time will tell, and I have fallen in and out of love with yarns before.  Who knows what will be.

I'm still not really in love with the colours.  I never was, though there were times, as my spinning friend well knows, when I liked it better  and times when I liked it less.  This morning?  Less.

Let this be a lesson in why one really must love the colours you spin and why I can't look at  fibre in the same way I look at yarn.  

Still it is my first big spinning project.  My first attempt at really fine singles and soon, my first yarn that there will be enough to do something with.