Sunday, 30 January 2011

Other Things

First then first before we move on to other things.

Savvy bead storage.  An no, I did not get all of the bead stash in here.  Next time I see something cool, like this, I am going to follow my first instinct and pick up 3. A third set would have done it.  



Moving forward, I was feeling tired of Shetland stuff so I took a little side trip into easier knitting.  



This is one of my little shawl projects to finish up in 2011.  A small simple shawl from  a single ball of Zauberball Crazy Fach 6, IIRC (the ball band is missing).  It is the sport weight version of Zauberball.  Very interesting to work with, as all Zauberball is.  

The cone the shawl is sitting on, is the most amazing coincidence.  I was in search of a perfect red lace, and in the search, I tried Webs Colrain Lace in Plum.  Plum.  Yes I am a desperate woman (for red).  Sigh.  Plum.

And it is.  Plummy that is.  Very very.  The perfect plummy fuchsia to match the rich tones of the Zauberball. 

From the moment I saw the colours side by side, I knew what I was going to do with it.  The shawl body is Zauberball and the finishing touch is a lace border, the English Crystal design, from Marianne Kinzel's First Book of Modern Lace Knitting.  


This is not a long pointy edged lace.  It is a simple straight edged lace, the sort of thing you would find along the sides of a linen tablecloth, the kind of tablecloth of linen and lace your great aunt would have painstakingly finished off with fancy hem stitching. The pattern could almost be called an insertion. Yet, for all its origins in tablecloths, it still is lace knitting and, when added to what is an otherwise simple shawl, quite right.   In the book, it is finished off with a crocheted loop edge.  I've saved just enough, I hope (and pray), to do the crocheted edge in the blackest part of the Zauberball.   

My hands are a bit achy from knitting all day.  Playing with it has been a lot of fun.  It is getting close to bed time, but I keep looking between it and the clock and wonder if I have time to do just one more row.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Planning to Play

I had a pretty post all planned out.  I was going to put these




into these.  



Which looks pretty much like nothing.    

The little tubes are a set of spice containers, made to look like test tubes along with a little stainless steel stand.  

Clear tubes are not the best way to store spices. The contents go stale too fast.  Proof was on dumping the spices out.  Only garlic and cinnamon smelled like anything at all. And the garlic smelled really really bad.

I saw the little sets just after Christmas and knew they would be right for beads. For 9 bucks each, a bargain. I washed out the tubes and thought I could finish up today.  No go. 

The tubes are still damp inside.  I shall have to impress you with my bead storage savvy later.     

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Knitting friends

As I came home from work yesterday, I contemplated what I would post today.  The germ of  post can start hours ahead.  Then there are times like today where everything I thought about yesterday was influenced by one thing:  the things knitting has brought me.

Towards the end of life in an office, I was working many hours.  Part of the number of hours I worked was self inflicted.  I was a capable sort and gladly took on whatever was asked of me.  It made me feel good to be appreciated and valued and it made me happy to support my greater family in such a way (and yes, I did work for family)  Toward the end, that burden, once happily taken on, threatened to bury me. The more I worked, the more my life was work and sleep.  

And then one day, at work, while on hold, trying to get the software glitch out of our work Internet connection, the signal hung up on a picture of the difference between my knitting and the rest of the worlds knitting and suddenly, I discovered knitting.  

Somehow, discovering something I wanted to understand for so long, freed me.  I found the strength to leave and after leaving, found so many good things.

I found a wonderful job, doing something completely different and took it on out of a sheer love of knitting.  Imagine.  They let a knitter loose in a yarn store.  I was then and still am, surprised that they took on a newbie knitter with nothing but enthusiasm and let me loose on customers.  I am daily, thankful at the good that has come of that.  


Knitting gave me the space to rediscover and re-appreciate the other things that gave my life so much joy and fulfillment.  Gardening without vegetables at the end of it is like art without food.  A body and soul needs both.  Walking between the rows of growing things, watching carrots and peas and beans and potatoes grow, waiting for the harvest, adds context to the beauty of the flowers. There is such dignity and beauty in the simple utility of a vegetable garden.

Long hours spent over very fine linens, placing myriad dainty stitches, opening and closing space in the dance of so many different embroidery styles are no longer mine in the way they once could be.  The long hours and close work are something I just cannot do much anymore. 

Reading too.  Fine print and days lost among the pages of a book.  Trips through time and other lives, are no longer mine.  These days books  usually come to me in audio format, interpreted through someone else`s voice.  Knitting is consolation for these.  And what a consolation.  

I found knitting friends.  Women need to have a community of women friends.  We need to share in a different way than the guys in our lives do. Through knitting I discovered that even if the only thing you have in common is an interest in string and needles, you can sit down and talk, even if you never met them before.  

Among knitters, there is an instant sharing, an instant appreciation for the amount of work that went into that shawl you just spent 8 jillion hours of your life on.  Non knitters, even appreciative ones, never know this.  Knitters understand what every stitch you went through meant to you.  It is as if, on seeing your work, they joined you on that intricate delicate journey.

Knitting brought me history and generations.  If you sit with a teenager and an octogenarian, and all 3 of you are fascinated by knitting, age disappears and you are just knitters having a really good time.  (Surely there is a knitting joke about 3 knitters going into a bar...) We connect with the past and future as we sit and share and knit quite firmly in the present.  

I met a knitter yesterday, whom I have seen before at the yarn store, but who I could not even call an acquaintance, not even via Ravelry and all its virtual friendliness.  And yet, I knew her.  I knew her knitting.  

She let me into her home and we made a good bargain and she invited me, a virtual stranger who was not hardly a stranger at all, in to see her knitting.   I have a feeling we could have spent hours talking about knitting. Perhaps one day soon we will.

Of all the things that I have gained from knitting, it is the friends I treasure most.  New friends, old friends, virtual friends, friends that I meet for coffee just down the road.  Knitting brought me community, shared stories and connections that have enriched everything I am and hope to be. 

I am very thankful for each and every one of you.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

There they were

I was busy doing  the first major grocery shopping of 2011 at Costco yesterday and as usual, I strolled though most of they aisles just looking.  So many thing.  Such big piles.

I particularly like to wander down the book aisle.  All the hot hit books, all the big fiction is there, every self help book that any one ever needed is near, all the pop psychology.  Piles and piles of books.  I'm a picky reader, and I have a very hard time paying full price.  To me, though interesting, it was all just a big pile of stuff.  

And then I saw them.  Two awkwardly placed small piles tucked on top of a pile of cookbooks, placed between more cookbooks.  There they were.

'Blood and Iron, Building the Railway' by Paul Yee,  the fictional memoir of Lee Heen-gwong in BC in 1882 and 'Prisoner of Dieppe, World War II',  by Hugh Brewster, the fictional memoir of Alistair Morrison in Occupied France in 1942. They were both published under the header of I AM CANADA by Scholastic Books.  

Every Canadian kid who went to school the last 40 years knows Scholastic, publisher and seller of young adult and children's fiction. They were the company of school book fairs and monthly fliers of kids books that you would take home and then try to talk your parents into getting s couple of books.  My kids always got books. I am a sucker for the owning of books.  

But these are not just young adult fiction. These are not just the realm of Harry Potter and Lemony Snicket. These are so much more.

These are Canadian stories.  Canada has always suffered from this odd little complex of talking big about the little things and little about the big things, but we seldom told our own stories.  In my lifetime, I have seen it change.  The best and the brightest of our literature are distinctly Canadian stories and it is very thrilling to me that it reaches into young adult fiction too. We are a nation just bursting with stories and it is time to do the tell.

I'm not going to lie by omission and not tell you I am also delighted to have some light reading for NaJuReMoNoMo.  I am.  Seriously delighted to have some interesting books that are not 800 pages.  Delighted that they are books, not ebooks.  They might be kid lit, but they are well written and so far, the Dieppe Story is excellent.  

Oh, and while moving books on the book case to dust, I realized I never did get round to reading 'Solomon Gursky Was Here'.  Five chapters into that one too. 

In the battle for supremacy between books and ebooks, books win.  At least in my house they do. 

Monday, 24 January 2011

1002

I just realized I passed a milestone.  I'm just over 1000 blog entires!  How appropriate that I should be pretty much where I started this whole thing at.

Socks.

 And not quite perfectly matched either! hahaha So right. So fitting. This is my knitting and it makes me laugh.  And so it should.

The heel on one sock seems to be a row larger than the other.  Too bad  no one but the inside of my shoes and you will ever know.  I refuse to acknowledge such paltry errors.

I've already cast on Februarys socks.  I need something new for plain for at work knitting.

Deep thoughts

I spent a lot of yesterday contemplating knitting and its place in my world.  I knit a lot.  I am not a particularly fast knitter and perceived prodigious output is a function of the numbers of hours I knit.  

I spent a lot of time thinking about how very different the digital and audio reading experiences are from the paper book reading experience.  

I spent a lot of time thinking about my grocery list and what I need and how grateful I am that I have a good stock of things in my deep freeze.  I also spent some time debating (with myself) the benefits of getting groceries Monday, versus getting groceries Tuesday.  

I spent some time thinking about how Sunday TV really is a wasteland unless you watch sports and spent a whole lot less time debating which movie to watch.


Did I mention that the rows around this shawl are really, really long?

Friday, 21 January 2011

Still Reading

An accounting of books in this month of NaJuReMoNoMo is in order.   I have read only 2 complete books this month.  I feel lucky to have gotten 2 done!

My first book was The Secret Garden. My second was Beowulf.  I am midway through The Pillars of the Earth and midway through Curiosity: A Love Story.  It is hard slogging but it isn't the books fault.

I'm reading them on my Sony Reader and I have to tell you, books and reading them are a completely different thing when you read them on a piece of technology like a ereader.

As a kid, I was a voracious reader.  As an adult I read more.  There was nothing that I did and no where I went that books did not come into play.  I read everything I could get my hands on. I have slowed in recent years and I have become a much pickier reader.   

With NaJuReMoNoMo, I have tried to find books that are newer. I don't have a really high opinion of modern literature.  Everything is so dark.  Why the heck can't modern literature be happy?  Why the heck does the focus of it have to be so blessedly grim all the time?  Or perhaps my feeling everything newer is dark, is one of those things that mark me as old people.  Sigh.

That has been the first challenge as I tried to find things for my ereader.  Finding books that don't draw me into darkness, that are novels, has been hard.  

The second challenge has been the ereader itself.  There will never be a time where the story played out on a reader screen will draw me in the way they do as they play out on the page.  Ereaders might work to keep ordinary people reading, but it isn't going to work for those of us who are readers. There is a physical connection to the story and the book that does not translate on the black crisp edge of an  ereader.  Perhaps if you never read a real book, but did all your reading all your life on a piece of technology you would feel different but it just is not ever going to be the same experience as when I read a paper book.

What I am trying to say is that though I am reading Pillar of the Earth and Curiosity:  A Love Story,  I don't have the same connection to them that I do when I read a real book.  I can take them or leave them.  I'm not driven to complete them.  

In all honesty, I'd rather be reading Charles Darwin.  I downloaded several of his books from Project Gutenberg and I can't wait to read them.  I suspect these will fit the ereader experience better.  And I just recently downloaded Walter Isaacsons biography of Einstein as an audio book.   I'm looking forward to that.   

I'm going to try to complete another novel this month but it isn't going to be easy.  I doubt that it is going to be the more than 800 pages of Pillars.  More likely it will be the shorter Curiosity.  And then who knows.  

I probably just need a good dose of something familiar and comfortable to knock me out of my novel funk.  Maybe a little Miss Marple is in order.  

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Dealing with the list

Several of my posts this year have been about my work in progress goals for this year, but I have not really given a full accounting here of the the list of specific things I mean to finish.  Here goes.

1.) Rustic Watershed  

 
2.) a scarf that matches Fuzzy Wuzzy 



3.) Small Shawl of Zauberball, unlisted on Ravelry

5.) The pair of IcarusShawls 




 
7.) A second little shawl not listed on Ravelry 

8.) Lehe Shawl



It is a weight to carry all these lovely but unfinished things. I feel the same as those rare days when I absolutely must get the kitchen pristine and those even rarer days when the only compulsion I have is to get the laundry done, completely done.  It is a weight and I am want it to be done.

This is the list of things I mean to finish or rip apart and give away the yarn for. This is the list of things that I have a deep connection to and do not wish to take apart.  These are yarns I do not wish to lose.  I must knit them.  

Still, it is a very long list of things, and I do have other things I would like to do this year.  There is a whole list of sweaters I want to knit and a bunch of shawls and lacey goodness to no end.  I like the idea of being swept away by very pretty new things too.  It occurred to me while knitting on January socks, that the best way to find balance between fun new things and this weighty task I have set myself, is to think of it like the socks, one a month.  

Some of them are going to take a fair bit of dedication to finish up in a month.  The two Icarus shawls and the Shetland Shawl need a lot of work.  Many of the others only need a couple of hours of work to complete. One of them is going to be ripped back and completely reknit (I found a better way to get the look I want)  Some of them are easy knitting that can be done on work days or come summer, after a long day in the garden when I am too pooped to think about anything else.   I have a right kind of project for every occasion and knitting need.

I've been wondering how I ought to approach the list and its nice to have it sorted out in my head.  It is also nice to know that once the Shetland Shawl is done, that I can start something completely new and still feel very good about it.  

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

A sock project

Last year I only knit 6 complete pairs of socks.  This isn't enough.  I'm going through my sock drawer faster than that.  

Since I really do like socks and since I do have a fantastic sock stash and an ongoing need for socks, I have decided to commit to one pair a month this year.  Surely somewhere in the week, I can find time to knit a half a sock.  Just good plain socks.  

If I am going to do this, and stick to it, getting the yarn out and keeping it close to hand and in view seems like a good idea.  
These are the winners.  A little something of everything.  Hand dyes, stripes, faux isle, solids, cottons, wools.  And no particular order to knit them in.  There are even a couple of extras so that no matter when it is I have a choice of what to knit.  There are 14 in total.   (One of the extras isn't in the picture.  It fell off the display, but it is there in spirit.)  

So having knit enough for a while on the Shetland shawl, I began a January sock.  As I knit, it became clear why this yarn was my choice.  

 It  reminds me of winter, all icy blues and bits of pinks. Cool colours made all the more so sitting beside the crisp white. The icy yarn is a single 50 gram skein of Jawoll Color.  Not enough for a full pair of plain socks, but perfectly fine for a pair of tennis socks if I add another colour for toes heel and some ribbing along the top.  

The white is a skein of ...something.  I have used this for bits of at least one other pair of socks and there will be some left for sock bits for a few more. The all purpose heels and toes skein.  (edited to add :  Ah there it is Trekking!)

I was having a lot of fun knitting this simple sock.  A lot of fun.  

A lot of fun!  One down and a little bit of sock two. 
   



Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Developing things

I know that the rest of the entire knitting world has a thing for soft yarns.  If you wandered around Ravelry you would see over and over, yarns noted for being soft, yummy buttery.  That is fine so far as it goes, but there really is a whole other world of yarn out there.

My Elysium sweater is made from one of those other yarns.  


Elysium is made from the wholesome goodness of Custom Woolen Mills Mule Spinner 2 ply (that acts more like a worsted weight)

My Red sweater is certainly made from one of those other yarns.

The red sweater is made from Sandnesgarn Tove, a crunchy sort of wool, usually noted for its felting abilities but trust me on this, absolutely, perfectly wonderful for almost any kind of knitting.  


Proof Positive!

Now this Shetland Shawl of the indeterminate Shetland style yarn. I am quite in love with this stuff.  Most amazing since I am knitting it from a huge cone and I am knitting it pre-wash state (it comes oiled for use on looms).  

 
You can see the amazing transformation the yarn will have once it has bloomed after a good wash.  From the cone, it is stiff, hard through my fingers, almost linen like in its crunchy constrained state.  After a wash, it becomes a thing of magic and beauty.  It turns from a flat unimpressive thing, into what several of my knitting friends would call a good and proper yarn.  

I am most assuredly developing a taste for these yarns that do not have 'soft' listed as the first descriptor. 

Yesterday I fell deep under the spell of the yarn and the pattern of the Shetland Style shawl.  Deep, deep. Deeper.  Deeper still.  I knit in the morning on it and finished the centre.  I picked up the edges slowly and carefully making sure I had exactly 153 stitches.  Then I knit the first few rounds and thought 'ah, there that ought to do it for the day' but I could not seem put it down.  

I knit on it in the waning of the afternoon and knit on it through the evening. I knit till I had a crick in my back and my legs were stiff from sitting in one place so long.  (I changed places).  I knit more.  

By days end, I had the inner lace border complete but for one pattern row and a few rows of plain stockinette.  

        
I hope you can see the magic within.  It is the yarn.  It is the pattern.  It is the perfectly right combination of the two.  

Monday, 17 January 2011

Knit Knit

Much knitting happened this weekend.  Unfortunately, all the knitting looks exactly like the knitting I did last week.  

I thought I was done the centre of the shawl.  But it seems that I am not.  I pinned it out as if to block it and found I will be better off knitting exactly to pattern.  I still had 2 more repeats to do.  I am almost done now, in fact, I have about another hour of knitting to go, and then will be ready to pick up the border.  It will be done just like the pattern says!

How is it that I am able to knit a shawl pattern exactly as it says but socks and everything else, I just get overwhelmed by words and numbers? 'Tis a mystery for another day.

Still, interesting stuff happens around here besides knitting.  OK that may be overstating the case.  Stuff happens around here besides knitting.  :)

It is winter so most of it involves snow!  A lot of snow.  

Mr Needles took this photo in the middle of December. We had already had several good snows.  

 You can tell this is not the snow pack of deep winter though. As winter wears on, the plant remains usually disappear among its weight.  But it was already a goodly amount of snow. Note the bottom fence rail. 

The interesting thing about it, is how it stacked up on everything and just stayed.  No wind made it into the yard to blow it away from where it landed.  Its only rebellion was to drape off the fence rails as if it were a lacy shawl tossed carelessly, landing willy nilly in my backyard. 



This was yesterday.  A quick glance and you might not see it, but we have had a healthy foot of snow in the last two weeks.  Oh my we have had snow, soft deep piles of flakes of very, very dry snow, still clinging most dramatically along the rails.  

The winter diva who tossed that shawl is not done with us yet. 

Friday, 14 January 2011

Brrrr

Actual conversation between myself and Mr. Needles.

Me:  I'm worried about my car starting at the end of the day.
Him:  Why?  
Me:  I didnt get a chance to run out and start it up during the day.
Him:  No problem.  It went up to -25C today.  Your car will start just fine.

Me:   ...

It did, but I think I was pushing my luck. 

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Shetland Shawl

Once again, I will start my day working on the Shetland shawl.  I did not get the centre done yesterday.  I would have had to take it along to knit night to do that, but if you don't stick your project in your car...

Once I finish the inner square, comes the grand inner border.  I don't really care for the inner border the book shows.  It has a look that is very different from what I have always thought of as traditional.  It looks of one of those patterns that gives me nightmares.  It looks like there will be a lot of counting to 2.  

When I go through all the shawls available on Ravelry, and pay attention to the more traditionally styled ones, including the Queen Susan Shawl, a shawl recreated from a photo in a museum library by the cooperative skills of the ladies on the Heirloom Knitting Forum, I find that very often, Shetland shawls have just this kind of border.  I am compelled to trust the skill and sensibility of the ladies who developed these patterns and knit under such arduous conditions and the shwal designer who studied and researched the shawl pattern.  

I will knit the border Folk Shawls call for.  It almost feels like a cop out, knitting exactly as written.  I have no math to do, no fiddling.  All I have to do is pick up 153 stitches on each side and knit across 153 stitches on the knit and cast on edges for a grand total of 612 stitches and I am home free.  

Just so long as the path to home free is not littered with stones and numbers like 2 and 4 and 1.  

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Downsides and Upsides

Yesterday, while working on the Shetland Shawl, I had an aha moment.  

The pattern is a simple pinecone pattern.  a single pattern row repeated 4 times, purl back between and then the same row offset, repeated 4 times and purled back between.  It is the sort of pattern work that the Shetland women usually did.  Simple, but producing something beautiful.  Easy to hold in your head and do between all the tasks of the day.  


There is a certain sort of pleasure even in its unblocked state.  Its knitting up faster than I thought.  (Shetland patterns always feel like they knit up fast to me).  According to my rough calculations, I only need a couple more repeats to make the square at the heart of this shawl.  

So when I tell you that I ripped out an entire repeat because I was weirded out by missing stitches when I really just forgot that I was on the first row of a section and was setting up the offset, and that when I was trying to do a decrease section, what I really needed to do was an increase section...

A Ha. Arghhhhhhh.  There was no need to rip and reknit on Friday. There were no mystically missing stitches.   I caught myself doing the same thing yesterday, thinking there was an error when there was not.  Thankfully, it was the middle of the afternoon and I looked a little deeper. 

And that is why things usually get set aside when there is an error:  so I can be certain that there really is an error rather than it is just time to put my sleepy head to bed.  Sigh.

On the upside, I might just finish the center today. 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Flibertigibbet

I slipped from a day of solid directed work to a day of flibertigibbet behaviour.  I flitted here and there and did not get a whole lot done.

I was restoring the house to post Christmas order.  There were a number of fits and starts to the day, but that task is done.  As usual, the house is littered with projects so when I was upstairs I knit on the seed stich vest project.  When I was downstairs, I knit on some WIP socks.  When I was in my study avoiding de-christmasing, I knit on the Shetland style shawl.  

So a pattern repeat was knit on the shawl, an inch on the socks, and a few rows on the vest.  It would have been more productive to just work on one thing, but it would not have been convenient.  I would not have taken all those little breaks that made the day so pleasant. 

Today there will be more directed knitting.  Knitting with friends this afternoon should make it easier to get a lot accomplished on one thing. I just don't know which one thing that will be.  

No I did not get to the River Valley Shawl.  That is going to have to wait for another day when the thought of ripping back doesn't bother me so.  

You know, that is the interesting thing about digging in the WIP baskets.  There are 2 classes of things that end up there. 

One class is the stuff that is always ongoing or is so simple that I do get tired of the colours or the yarn or the thought of it.  Socks, and the small shawls fall into this category.  Often they were started for a reason that was not that I needed to knit that project.  They were almost always started because I just needed to knit and the yarn was handy.  Might like the yarns, not deeply connected to the projects.

The second is the the mistake category.  All the good things are in this category and there is a lot of personal want in them too.  Each of them has some problem, so it was set aside.  I know the solution to each of them, I just have to rip back and do it before the project can move on.  

Which is how I get to what I was thinking about yesterday while I knit and de-christmased.  How much I dislike making mistakes.  When I discover a mistake, my instant reaction is to toss the thing aside while I think about it.  I have to move slowly to fi things or the fix might just be worse than the error.  If I don't get back to it immediately, it goes into a WIP basket and then it can percolate for months.

It isn't that I mind doing corrections.  It is the spectre of doing it that I hate (Reminds me of the evil spectre of dishes.  Or laundry).  Thinking about the doing, planning for and scheduling the doing of it carries the weight of the ages.  Thinking of it carries a heavy spectre, a gothic, dark, dank scary spectre that sends cold shivers down my back.

Once you get to the doing of it, it isn't so bad. 


Monday, 10 January 2011

A fine accounting

After Fridays quiet contemplation, I hit the deep archives of WIPs and took a good look.  

I really could use more socks so that was the first thing that came to my hand.  
I was just about to turn the heel on the second sock when I began.  Finis!

I went through the projects in the rest of this basket.  2 shawls and a pair of bed socks.  I picked up the bedsocks to finish.  

Done two!  On this one,done heelless in a DK weight yarn, I had only an inch of the second sock done.  

I think I am going to keep working on this basket.  There is a very interesting shawl in the bottom of this particular basket, the Edmonton River Valley Shawl.  The last time I worked on this project was a very long time ago, at least eighteen months.  I had a wee problem on the third last row of the border and then lost a few stitches off the needles.    I took a little break that became a very long break.  

I'm going to pick this up today.  I'll pull back the whole edging.  Sad I know, but I really have no idea where I am.  I have a much better feel for the edging now and I am certain I will do a better job this time than I was doing the first time round.  The only thing I am really worried about is, what size needles was I using and did I bother to write that down and tuck that little detail in the bag?   

Here is hoping.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Time for a big strong cup of Coffee

Need more of this stuff.  I knit on 3 different things yesterday and ended up frogging back each one of them.  Fwttttttt.  There went my day of knitting.  I am looking for the lesson in that.  Really I am.

Maybe socks?  I could choose yarn for my sock project.

I haven't really felt like it.   I can usually dig in the yarn closet at the drop of a hat.  Usually, I dig and start something new as easily as I breathe, but so far this year I don't really feel like starting something new.  This is a revolutionary thing for me, to not feel like starting something new.  I might worry that I am ill but for one thing.

I have become inordinately interested in knitting what is on the needles in my WIP baskets.  I pledged that if my 3 baskets of WIPs still remain at the end of the year, then they would have to be frogged and the yarn given away.  This has to be the scariest thing I have faced to date in knitting.  To frog things I like.  To give away yarn that I like.  

If I have to contemplate that, I am gonna need a whole lot of good strong coffee.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Nothing much and laundry

Yes, once again, I am sitting here with nothing much coming to mind but laundry.  

It used to be said,

Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday,
Churn on Thursday,
Clean on Friday,
Bake on Saturday,
Rest on Sunday."

But that was long before modern conveniences were invented and some of the very heavy work women used to have to do to keep the household running disappeared.  I recall the look of exhaustion on the face of the lady of 'The 1900 House' fame when she talked about laundry and I am forever grateful to whoever invented the washing machine.  

To the very best of what I remember,even when I was very young, this was just a little ditty to embroider on tea towels.   I am absolutely positive that we cleaned on Saturday not Friday, because we all had to have our chores done before we could watch Roy Rogers which came on at 11:00 (IIRC), and I have a funny feeling that mom baked whenever she needed too.  When you were down to one loaf, you absolutely had to bake more. If your grocery money came from what you made off of the fresh cream sales to the local dairy, you certainly were not going to waste precious cash on something you could do better at home.

I really don't remember what moms schedule used to be.  I really ought to ask.  I only know that I personally do better when I have a schedule and on my internal clock, Thursdays are for laundry.  Thankfully, all the mod cons on this task are in my favour.  It is usually a day with a lot of time for knitting.  

See? Nothing much to say, but if you follow all the links where they may take you you could entertain yourself all day!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Wrapped in Lace

I went to the bookstore yesterday and wandered the morning away.  I wandered not because I had a lot of time, but because after 5 years (at least), the book store is changing its layout and the craft books are now stored behind the cards, gift oddments, and other miscellaneous stuff way off in the boondocks of the store, under the big sign that reads 'computers'.  

yah.

When I did finally find them, I struck gold.  I came upon a copy of Margaret Stove's Wrapped in Lace.   I have a great library of knitting books and I am pretty picky.  I long ago vowed that whatever books I buy have to be something that I could learn a lot from, not just knit a lot from.   

Wrapped in Lace is such a book.  I have a funny feeling that it is going to take some time before I understand just how much `suck a book`it is.  Each time I open the book some little tidbit falls out changing the way I think.  Even this morning just flipping though the pages, idly waiting for my computer to boot up, a little ditty on hiding short row holes popped into view.  

Toward the back of the book there is an entire section devoted to grafting lace.  This alone, it makes the book a must.    

The shawl patterns follow Margaret`s path knitting lace.  Much knitting history, rich with family stories, the patterns follow traditional forms.  They are not traditional shawls but they are shawls knit with the eye to a living tradition.  There is a stunning Faroese shaped shawl (the red one in the link above) that makes my fingers itchy to knit lace.  

There is another very large round shawl called the `Filmy Fern`.  It is ethereal.  And probably really hard to knit for all that it looks simple.  

Indeed the only irritating this about this book is that one pattern, a `New Zealand, Tribute to Orenb├╣rg`, is pictured in the book but it is not in the book.  You have to download it from Interweave`s Knitting Daily website to get the pattern.   I might accept this if the publisher told me why on earth he did this. He did not.  

But for this one glitch, this book is going to be in my best buy category. It is so full of lace knitting.  It is so full of knitting.   I am a mere padawan learner about to be taught by a master.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

A Forest Floor Seaglass

When we were in Mexico last time, we did pick up the inevitable piece of sea glass.  It is a measure of the sorry state of the world that such a thing is tossed into the sea but the sea works it magic and the result is a glass of extraordinary beauty, etched by the water borne sand and waves, smoothed to soft rounded edges.  The magic is that you see its soft milky cover, but you know that hidden at the heart of it, is clear clean crisp glass.  


I'm knitting the Sea glass vest from Knitters Magazine summer 2010.  You can see a picture of it here:  Sea Glass Vest

Remember the lichen coloured knitting from just before Christmas? Well, that sweater choose not to be, no matter that I got gauge.  I think I have another yarn I'd like to do it out of though, so I have not despaired of the project yet.

I'm using the lichen Cascade 220 to knit the Seaglass Vest.  The photo shows a marvelous creation of a strong turquoise, perfectly in tune with its name and though the store had the eminently lovely turquoise heather, I had this warm deep khaki green with rust undertones at home. I am more of a forest floor creature than a sea creature  so I opted for this colour.  

The part I liked of the pattern was its crisp lines and edges and the colour statement the pattern shows just did not matter a whole lot.  The yarn is just right for me.  

   
It will be a few days till this is done and I intend to enjoy every single one of them.