Friday, 31 August 2012

Thinking about it.

Last night, when I went to bed, having just bound off the bottom band, my head was filled with thoughts of the collar.  I knew from the get go, that I did not want the hood.  This is a sweater to wear while I work.  My desk isn't warm, but its not freakishly cold either.  The extra weight and layers that the very nice looking hood would provide day in and day out is just not something middle aged (or slightly older) me needed.  I have a t-shirt with a hood and I can't wear that on really warm days, so how on earth would I get by with this fabric with a hood.  

No, from the get go, mine was going to be the collar version the designer did.  Before bed, I was reading just how she went about knitting the collar.  Lisa Kay has very good notes about that.  

I must have been pondering all these layers as I slept.When I woke up this morning I was absolutely positive that I did not want long sleeves.  

Isn't that just a nice basic sweater shape?  Its real style comes from that substantial hood or collar and the wider than average ribs of the button band.  

Both sleeves are done.  So the main part of a sweater completed on the morning of the 7th day.  Not too shabby. 

Two row stripes make a fast knit.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Letting the Yarn Speak

I'll let the knitting speak for itself.

Day 6 and one-half done the bottom ribbing.  


Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Just zip[ping along

This sweater is zipping along even though it is a very busy week for me and I have hardly had any time to knit.  I am obviously knitting in there somewhere, but It doesn't feel like I am knitting.  

It's the stripes.  If you have done a Noro Two Row Scarf a la the Ravelry recipe by Brooklyn Tweed, you know that watching those stripes is hypnotic.  You just keep knitting so you can see what will happen next.  With the estimable Mr. Flood's recipe, you have two colours of Noro and even though this sweater has only 1 Noro and one solid, I just can't seem to stop knitting it.

I'm past the back shaping I wanted.  I did that just after trying it on last evening.  The math is good, my gauge is steady, but I still worried.  I feel better now that I tried it on.  And yes, it fits.  

Even better, it looks really really good on me and the fabric is how you spell cozy in yarn.  Just a little more knitting and then the bottom ribbing and the body is done.  Then, just the sleeves to work, and I don't think they will take long at all. 

It's the stripes.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Starting to look like something

I love this part of a project, where it stops looking like a pile of yarn being knit up 

and starts to look like something with a purpose, no longer amorphous blob, but proto sweater.  I think this is the most interesting part of any knitted project.  

I came up with this idea as Julie over at Knitting at Large was making an Undercurrent sweater and I just happened to be digging in the stash.  

I had 5 skeins of Noro Silver Thaw which I really "needed" at some point and then couldn't quite see the garment I had envisioned as looking good on me.  I had a similar quantity of grey Mulespinner 2 ply from Custom Woolen Mills  and no particular thing to use it for.  I always knew it was a sweater, a good ordinary wear it all the time sweater but no particular burning desire to knit it right now.  

With Julies inspiration at hand and a stash dive, I could see these two yarns looking really good together.  I knit up a swatch and I think I even showed the swatch off here.  YUM.    

What was completely unexpected, what I could not have known from the small swatch, is how nice the fullness of the fabric feels.  You grab a handful of the sweater and instead of the homespun goodness that is Mulespinner or the fuzzy angora softness of Silver Thaw, you have this rather remarkable creature.  

Its soft and fuzzy with a backbone.  Its like delicate Spritz ribbon cookies held together with chocolate icing.   Its like Amaretto in your tea.  Its as if you knit a sturdy sheep out on the pasture an angora scarf or knit a fuzzy Angora rabbit a dainty sheepy scarf.  It's the unexpected combination of two very different things becoming perfection together.  You can feel the sheepy lanolin of the lightly processed Mulespinner surrounded by soft dainty angora haze, right there in your hand.  

I'm keeping it close by me, you know, just to pet it once in a while.  If you had a bunny and a sheep beside you, you would too.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Hearts and Sweaters

I don't know about everybody else, but usually, when a project pops off my needles, I weave the ends in, and get it all ready to block.  Usually, the blocking is where it stalls.  

I knew I had to have this wee t-shirt done for Saturday and all week long, it was like a nagging little worry in the back of my head.  So very very early Saturday morning, I picked up the bag, feeling pretty bad about slagging off all week, and took out the sweater.  All it needed was ends weaving in and wee buttons!  I'm not quite sure how, but somewhere along the line I had finished knitting it and I have no memory of it at all.  Rather, I didn't till I took a good look at it.  I wasn't really happy with the placket, but on second look, it was fine.  It just needed a little tidying of stitches to show that.  Then buttons.  I had these tiny hearts in my stash and though I was searching for ladybug buttons, these were really quite perfect.  (Thank you, though to Curlerchik for the very very kind offer.)

It didn't get blocked though.  Time just ran out for drying so it got a really quick steam, and it was perfect.

So then, what would you do when you have finished all the needed knitting and your company isn't arrived yet?  Well, I started another sweater.

Just like that two row scarf we could not stop knitting, this sweater is a little hard to put down.  Somehow or other, I knit enough that I joined at the underarms this morning.  I think this might just beat my all time speed record.

Friday, 24 August 2012

All the knitting looks exactly the same around here no matter how much I knit.  Great gaping maw indeed.  

Surely there is a sock somewhere that can fix this.  

Why ye.  Yes there is.

So I'm knitting it. Nice. Simple. Sock.

Well, there is more.

Final photos of the big Pink thing.  It turned out rather well for a thing.  And it looks pretty nice on too.  That part is a sort of surprise, but it does and I am thrilled with it.

 Except for the lace at the sides, there really isn't any ornamentation on this.  Plain is the word.

Doesn't look like much, does it.  By having all the flash on the sides, 
 when you walk it shows off, when you turn, you flash lace for just in instant.  The lace keeps the drape and flow in what is a relatively heavy yarn.  

Very pretty.  

The sweater is Gregale with some pretty heavy modifications.  Its knit top down in the round using the Contiguous method of knitting shoulder seams and setting up for the sleeves.  Sleeves are knit simultaneously from the top down in the round as well.  I lost the very elegant wide collar when Imade the switch to Contiguous, but if I was to do it again, and I probably will, I will know how to get the collars wide elegance.  Still, the sweater is all Gregale in inspration though and I hope Norah Gaughan doen't mind my interpretation,

Thursday, 23 August 2012

Gaping Maws

Almost every knitting project, yes even socks and lace, there comes a time, or so it feels to me, where it is about to become a great gaping maw that will suck up every stitch leaving me with precisely nothing to show for a days work.  

That is what happened yesterday.  I did a lot of knitting on the button bands.  I picked up stitches about 4 times, I know 6 or 7 rows, and then lloked at my yarn.  And proceeded to rip it all out.  Every bit of the work of the day before is gone, dust in the wind, and I am not quite back to where I wanted to be.  I will have lots of yarn to do a hemmed edge.  I think I can say that with confidence.  Or not.  No, I do think I will have lots of yarn. 

My neck edge is about half the width I want and I just went into ball 2 of the blue on the previous round.  I will have lots of blue to at the very least do the hemmed edge on the neck edges, and there still is a half ball of the grey to back me up.    

I tried  a couple other edge treatments on my way to finding out I had enough yarn and I think my early assessment is right.  The only edge that really has the look I want is just a plain stockinette edge.

It's just about what I hoped it would be like.  

The only down side to this state of affairs is that I still have a wee t-shirt to finish.  There is just a part of the button band left and to sew on buttons.  Not much, but enough to really put a kink in things if I don't get my act together. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

When a Plan Comes Together

I love it when a plan comes together.  That line wasn't a cliche till it was used in a movie so it almost has cliche status, but it works for me.  I do love it when a plan comes together.  

I've talked about the things that attract me to a yarn before and one of the things that most draws me in is something that hints to old while being firmly rooted in the new.  Classic Elite Alpaca Silk is one of those yarns.  Or is sometimes.  

I had 3 skeins in my stash, figuring that 1200 metres would be plenty for whatever my little heart desired.  I loved its soft gray heathery goodness. I loved the depth and dimensions of its colours.  That was fine till I met Bridgewater.  When I met Bridgewater, I knew I would need more.

And more was not so easy to come by.  I ended up buying a 4th skein on the hopes that it would be close enough to match. I figured with the heather in the yarn, alternating dyelots would be fine.  

As you can see here, the dyelots were dramatically different.  One with a certain something, the single new skein, flat. No depth.  No dimension in the way the yarn took the dye.  I tried it anyway.   

You can see the colour changes.  Its even more dramatic in real life.  One yarn has a gray cast and the other a taupe cast (taupe is a difficult colour).  It was less than pleasing and the only way it was headed was to the frog pond.  I looked at other yarns I have in my large lace stash but there was nothing that said 'I want to be Bridgewater' except for  an alpaca lace weight out of Saskatchewan with only 1300 yards.  Too bad little Alpaca.

Occasionally, I would check Ravelry, searching for that single skein I needed as if I searched for a lost sheep.  And then one day, Mary found her sheep!  Right colour way.  Be still my heart.  Right dyelot.  Oh my.  Seller who agreed to send it to Canada! Wowsa.  I was jumping over the moon.

It arrived safe yesterday and is really quite perfect.  One full skein and a part of another.  It is really quite perfect. There was always that niggling little worry that maybe the dyelot will say it is the same, but won't actually be the same, you know what I mean?  And more yarn than I need, but hey, I will take it!

Thank you wheatfran.  You have made an obsession possible.  

Bridgewater is a fairly simple shawl, but this particular dyelots depth and heathery goodness will make it the most wonderful simple thing ever.  

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Last night

I should be knitting other things.  The wee baby t shirt needs finishing, though it is really close to done.  Then a good wash and it is ready to give to mummy and daddy.  

I have to say, I can do the thinking about being a grandma with no problem, but there is a lot of weirdness in calling one you remember so well as a baby a daddy!  I digress.  I am doing that a lot these days in the real world.

I am on ball 5 of the original skeins of yarn I had for the vest.  As usual, I worried and figured out what I was going to do when I was short of yarn, and now I am not.  There would be plenty there for button and sleeve bands.  Of course, figuring how I was going to manage without enough yarn has left me with a vision and its a really nice vision.  It's exactly the sort of vision and gives exactly the sort of feel and look that I wanted for this vest.  I am not going to give it up now.

The plan calls for the 3 skeins of navy to go on the edges.  Originally the plan was for simple 4 stitch cables, repeating a little element I had at the shoulders.  That shoulder cable was just play so I don't feel bad about dropping it.  I'm opting for simple easy ordinary.  The blue will be simple stockinette.  It means I will have to do a little shaping at the sleeve edges so they don't stand out stupidly, but I think I have that sorted in my head.  Decreases in the curvy sections, none in the straighter parts should work.  

I'm pretty sure I don't want to change to a ribbing or garter to finsioh the edges up with.  That would just destroy the carefully planned look.  I think this is going to mean that the blue parts are going to have to be a hem finished edge.   Maybe I won't have any gray left over after all.  Maybe I will have just enough.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Up Next

This wasn't a knitting weekend.  It was a cleaning weekend.  Study and laundry room were the focus.  It doesn't sound like a lot and the study is usually in reasonable order or near order, but the laundry room was a disaster.  It took hours and hours.  

I did take some consolation in cleaning the study and study cleaning means playing in wool.  I put away all the bits I was done with, and sorted through and put and pulled and picked yarns for what is up next.  

There are certainly a thousand things that I could do next.  If all I did was look at yarn to sort out my choice for the next thing, I'd be busy for days.  I usually have a better plan that that.  Most of the times.  Once in a while?  

I have been planning a vest, a colourwork vest for some time.  Simple stars following the Scandinavian tradtion.  I will be using charts and design details from Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle. 

The deep inspiration for this comes from a version I saw on Ravelry done in an icy blue and white.  It was such a powerful inspriation that it set me off on  a search, ongoing still, for the perfect icy blue.  I'm close, but I am ever on the hunt.

The other thing I am going to work on this fall is my Undercurrent.  I have loved this sweater for a long time.  Its such a nice basic shape, and with its two row detailing, it feels like a nice speedy knit.  
I'll be working it in pieces.  I know, I'm appalled too, but the practice will be good for me (I hope) and it is the only way to really show off these shorter than usual Noro colour changes.  So pieces it is. I'm not entirely sure about sleeves yet.  I suspect that I will end up working those top down using the Walker method. 

I've got a little to do on the vest and there is a shawl, that lovely Mooi Icicle shawl, for my sons mother in law that need to be completed first but this is the first of the fall knitting.  I'm looking fall squarely in the face, and I'm excited.  Antsy perhaps.  

Or maybe its just that I'm looking forward to getting the garden put to rest for the season.  Dear garden, I do love you but your time is almost done.  

Fall is coming.  Sweater weather awaits.  

Friday, 17 August 2012

You know what I love about knitting groups?

Its that one day someone new comes to your knitting group, and says they are only a scarf knitter, or they say they are pretty new to knitting, and for a while they do only one kind of project.  

And then all of a sudden they pick up a yarn that just inspires them, or a stitch or a colour and they are off to the races and running and they become the most inspiring creative person you know.  

I love that when that happens and I love the knitter's it happens too.  I am so happy for you!

I love knitters.  And knitting groups.

Norsk Strikkedesign

I got a lovely new book in the mail.  Well not new but rather one of the old ones, reprinted.  Lovely thing.  

And I will never make a single garment from it.  Here is why.    Just go through them and you will see what I mean.  A lot of them look like holdovers from the late 80's, the very over sized shoulders, the very very large ease designed into the garments.  And yet, I can see this getting really heavy use.  Heavy heavy heavy use.  

It has to be one of the best pattern books ever.  There is stunning patterning after stunning patterning.  It is simply the most beautiful book I have ever owned.  

Thursday, 16 August 2012

You'd think

You'd think with a baby shower a little more than a week away, that I would be rushing to finish the wee t-shirt.  

But what did I knit on?  The vest.  

Did I mention that the fabric created by Flicker  is really really nice to work with? Did I mention that it's sink your fingers into it good?  Did I even say how wonderfully it slips and zings along my needles?  It is all these things and more.  

I'm not usually that taken in by a soft yarn.  It isn't that I don't like them, but when I am at the store, it isn't what strikes my imagination.  I like to pet them just fine, but they never seem to set me off.  

When I do go for soft, it almost always has alpaca or lama in it and it isn't usually the soft that gets me.  Its the slip of the fibre.  But that isn't so apparent with this yarn.  Not till you work with it that is.  But now that I have...

Oh. Yummy.  Its squooshable.  It makes me want to curl and and surround myself in it.  I can't wait to wear it.  

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Backwards, Forwards, Every Which Way

Backwards, forwards, every which way.  That is how I feel today.  
I did the final finishing on the wee denim set yesterday.  

Everybody really needs to knit with denim.  It is just too cute.  That would be the backwards.

Then I worked on the baby T-shirt.
with its very very pretty contiguous shoulder seam.
That would be the forwards.

And then every which way is a little harder to explain.  I know I talked about it here on the blog, but I inexplicably never entered it as a project on Ravelry.  I always enter things as a project on Ravelry when I start them.  It usually helps me stop startitis (or at least keep it under control) Anyway it is there now.  

It even looks a little every which way.  It is going to be a vest out of some yarn given to me by a friend, Flicker from Berocco.  I don't have quite enough Flicker to do what I want.  My original thoughts were that it would be short and worn open, but that isn't a good look for me.  I've been able to get my hands on 3 skeins of another Berocco yarn, Voyage, in Navy, which will get used along the bottom, for what would be seen as the button band, and the arm bands.  They might have some cables on them to match the little cables that happened on the shoulders. We'll see.  The colour might also just speak for itself.  

Even the planning of it is going a little every which way.  I am just going to sit back and enjoy it.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Pink Things

I'm sitting here feeling just a little odd.  I know I have no reason to feel this way, heaven knows there are enough things to do, but I feel just a little bereft.  I always feel this way when a big project is done.  

Yes.  A big project is done.  The pink Gregale sweater is done.  

I picked it up yesterday and worked on the sleeve over my lunch hour.  I was down to 6 rows and the bind off so I did that quick last night.  The first thing I like to do when I've put that last stitch in is to try it on.  

I love it.  But I am unsure of it.  I've been wondering if a tunic is a good idea for a large short person who carries the weight at the hips.  And lower if the truth be known.  I knew that I had to knit at least to my widest point and I worried that doing so would swamp me.  And yet, I could see me looking very elegant in it, worn with a nice straight skirt or trim pair of pants.  In my minds eye I always look elegant and crisp.  But I am also know that my minds eye can lie like a sun of a gun.   

This sweater makes me feel good and that is my usual standard for if something is right.  I have come to trust it and ignore all the rules of shoulda woulda coulda.  And yet...  
 If it looks right in other eyes, I might be very interested in knitting more tunics while tunics are in fashion.  If not, I'd rather know.  So, please do advise.  You all have better eyes than I.


Monday, 13 August 2012

A workman like weekend.

Once I knew pea picking was done for the season (and it is) I realized I still had 2 good weekend days to try to finish my shawl.  Saturday morning, I sat down and started to knit.  For some reason what was happening on the ends of my shawl, wasn't the same.  That was bad.  A little forensic work and I found an error midway through chart 2.  That means that there was no possible way that I was going to finish it as part of the Ravellenic Games WIP Wrestling event. I hate that, but now that there isn't any rush, I can go back and redo it right.  

So I spent my time working on the wee top to go with the wee jeans.  This was right before I tossed it in the wash to shrink it.  And do you see that nice orange ribbon above it?  That was part what wrapped together the pretty fabrics that I showed you just the other day.  It is the perfect colour for this project.  The wee jacket will tie.  No buttons.  

and from the garden.

I did not gather this.  Mr. Needles did, but I cooked and cleaned vegetables and prepared them for freezing to beat 90 this weekend.  

So I guess you could say, since it wasn't a lace weekend, that it was a workman like weekend.  Jeans, garden stuff, a little on a mitten.  

There is just one more piece of knitting to finish before baby comes and that is the wee white t-shirt for baby to wear with the jeans.  And when that is done, the very stunning Icicle shawl to finish before my daughter in laws mom comes for a visit.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Edited to Say

Everyone on Ravelry is knitting this pretty scarf.  And it made me realize something about my Wingspan scarf.  

Though the yarn is stunning in the skein and I love everything about it, knit up, it is pretty wishy washy. The turquoise is giving it a little kick right now, but then it goes very very soft for a long while.  

 Goofing around this morning, I realized that the thing I like about Steven Wests Spectra is the strong clean lines between the changing colours and the plain yarn.  

I played around in paintbox to see what I liked better.

The dark contrast frames the colours and lets each soft change stand out.  I think I have to go back and redo what I started the other day, and add some strong contrasting lines on the divisions between the colour sections.  

Shouldn't be too hard and I think I know just the yarn to do it.  From my stash too.  

Friday, 10 August 2012

When the Going Gets Tough

the tough knit something else.  

How else do you think I acquire all the unfinished objects and WIPs?

Wingspan made from that lovely soft coloured skein of Noro Taiyo sock.  

I needed a project that was knitting for work and knit group and all those little occasions that require easy low thinking stuff.

It seems ripping back and knitting plain stockinette on an itty bitty baby sweater isn't simple enough. Or knitting white seriously fine yarn for a wee t-shirt. Or a stockinette sleeve on a pink sweater.  Or a really simple lace edging on a shawl that if I was thinking right, I would be working on to see if I could finish it before the Olympic Games are done.  

That's my excuse and I am sticking to it.  That's all you get on a morning of thunder and lightning. Platitudes and plain knitting.  

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Itty Bitty ughs

Itty bitty sleeves.

Looks good from here, but I made an error way back so...

Significant ripping out must occur to repair it.  Sometimes I hate knitting.

Well no.  That isn't really true.  What I hate is the part of me than answers no, it will be fine, when I start questioning something.

I really hate that part. Ugggh

Wednesday, 8 August 2012


I think I am wired to dislike competition.  I've never been much of a game player, am not into cards, and have never really gotten into sports.  The notable exception is curling which I enjoy watching and if I was any good at anything requiring timing and physical ability, and if people did not take the game so intensely, might even play. And Golf too, I suppose, but people take it too seriously.  There are no courses for duffers as bad as I am who are out there to have fun and enjoy myself.  

Most often I prefer the solitary pursuits.  Once I discovered that I could take books home from school with me (teacher didn't like it when I read ahead in the Dick and Jane Readers), there was no stopping me.  I was, as my footer on the blog page says overwhelmed by needlework at a very very young age and there was no stopping me.  Knitting?  Water off a duck's back.  All the things I have really really loved doing have been solitary pursuits.     

From very early on, I knew that I wasn't going to do any regular knitting KAL's.  There were some lovely shawl ones, the River Valley Shawl, in particular that I joined, but I tired of the idea of keeping up to clues.  That shawl will be finished because it is a thing of stunning beauty and I am very pleased with it so far.  

I joined the Ravellenic Games this year and I did OK in the Baby Dressage competition, but I am highly motivated to knit baby things.  

Then on the spur of the moment, I also entered a WIP challenge.  I'm doing it, but it really is sapping my thinking. I will tough it out and will knit on it as much as possible, but I can pretty much say, it isn't going to be finished in time.  I will need good long days on the weekend to do it right and with the garden in full production, I just can't see it.  

I am disappointed in myself.  Not in that I won't get it done, but that I joined, that I let myself fall sway to the notion when I knew that that kind of thing wasn't me.  I'll get over it.  The shawl will get done.  It just might have a flakier deadline than expected. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Found things

I knew I would have the right colour trim for the jeans.  I knew because there was a time when I had all the colours of DMC embroidery floss.  

Back a few years, all the Beer companies up here were selling beer in nifty coolers in the summer time.  Mr. Needles collected them and donated them to me.  They were my early on stash holders and the type pictured below was my first knitting bag.  This kind was also my embroidery bag for several years before knitting entered my life.  

They fit all my boxes perfectly.  All the threads, all the accoutrements of embroidery, plus a project fit tidily inside.

I had forgotten about the project inside.  Forgotten in the day to day scheme of things, but not really out of my mind.  It sat when knitting came into my life, forced to the sidelines, by an error.  If I recall correctly the needle in the work below marks where my count is one thread off.  That is a deadly error in Hardanger work.  A rip out of the a goodly section of work is needed.
Its going to be a pillow top, part of my pillow top in every type of work I do collection.  There will be a knitting one too, a colourwork pillow from Eunny Jang.  This one was designed for a place mat, but like many things, the design is what matters.
I dug that book out just for fun and came across these too.  I haven't looked at these in such a long time.
I brought them with me to work today, just to peruse instead of just checking out the internet.  When these books were published, the internet was still in its infancy and the idea of spending hours on it was ludicrous.  

So I guess you could say, I am going back in time today. Back in techniques, back in print, and back to when life was a lot simpler and my boys were young instead of these great giant men they have become.  Today is very very good, but its kind of nice thinking about what was and the way the days were ordered then.  

So long as you don't get stuck there.

Update:  Obviously, I am channeling Piecework somewhat.  Piecework's July /August Issue is all Blue and White!

Monday, 6 August 2012


If your Ravellennic Games project turned out just right, and happened to be the cutest thing on the planet,  

what would your next logical step be?


Me too.

(Pattern of the wee jeans is Blu.  Pattern for the top is improvised.  Not sure how far on the jeans theme I'll go but there will be some jeans related trim.  Yarn is Elle True Blue) 

Friday, 3 August 2012

If a Picture Paints a Thousand Words

That is a line from one of my favourite old songs, but it covers this sort of thing too.

Its not that it looks bad, but there are so many, many sleeve stitches left that decreasing them in the way that I wanted, would mean inches of extra and unneeded length. Enough inches to fit a 6 year old when I am trying to fit a newborn.

It became a ball of yarn again and I started over right from square one.  Starting at the top down, to control size better, and get the look I want (bye bye cute little 3 needles bind off).  I'm doing this one contiguously.
I should have done this from the get go.  

I've been able to return to the placket that I was looking for (knit in) and will be able to make this match my wee sweet jeans which just need a wash and the finishing.  As they have needed all week.  

There just aren't enough hours in the week to get it all done.  Not in gardening season, anyway.  But tomorrow is bright long weekend morning and if life isn't sucked out of the day by chores, I'll tend to these things bright and early.  

I've got big things planned for this weekend.  I'm heading to the west side of the city over to the new River City Yarns.  They have closed their flagship location, opting for good light, plenty of class space, a very large store room and work space, an office, and tons and tons of lovely retail floor space. And I can't wait to see it!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A little Love Affair

But in a good way.  I stopped at the South side store of River City Yarns the other day.  It was a few weeks since I was at a store and it was just time to go.  

I had a little fling.  But only a little one.  They had these new colours of Noro.  They had a new yarn from Noro too, Karuta.  I can't call it chunky, but somewhere just past Aran which is what Ravelry lists it as.  The colours in Karuta are just a little different.  They seem to follow families of colours.  There is a red orange fuchsia blend. I know, you are all thinking that I'm nuts saying they are in the same colour family, but ummm....they are?  OK, would you believe there is a green...How about this.  Holly Yeoh has designed a funky tee for the new Noro magazine.  See what I mean.  There is a sort of blue green blend in it that shouldn't belong, but it works.  Just like the orange with the fuchsia and pink.  It works.  Family.  Different but oh the roots are the same.  I loved Karuta, but I brought home something else.

One of the things I get most comments when I wear it is a Simple Yet Effective Shawl made from Kureyon Sock yarn.  Every time I wear it, I am stopped and asked where I got it, by knitters and non knitters alike. 

 I always think it really should be reknit, because it is a little loose and the front corners flop badly in comparison to all my other shawls and there is a wonky bit on the increase line.  But it hugs my shoulders and sits just effortlessly.  I should reknit it because it would look a thousand times better if I do, but really, no one has noticed its flaws.  It is the most fantastic series of greens.  

I love my Noro shawls.  You don't have to think, the colours just work it for you. I picked up a new colourway of Taiyo Sock.  2 balls for a nice big shawl.  Crecsent shaped I think (its easier to wear), but simple, just like my green.

Can I tell you a secret about what I see when I look at this pair?  I see glaciers.  Glaciers from far away, look pristine and white, but from far away you don't see the heart of them.  Close up, there are layers of dust and volcanic ash, and cracks that skew grey and deep dark blue and green crevasses.  I could see icy shards sparkling in the sun from where chunks had fallen.  I think I'd have to add crystals to show that part of it.  But can't you see that?  

Maybe that picture won't be there when I knit it up, but that is the adventure with Noro.  There is always something new to discover, always a different story than what you see on the surface.   The joy of Noro is the journey.  

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Contemplating Fibre

I slept in just a little this morning, did some laundry and then stopped in at my study.  My knitting bag is out in the front hall and I'm feeling just a little too lazy to go out and get it.  I only have 20 minutes, so I looked round at the piles of work sitting right close to me.
I picked up the blanket I started for my aunt.  Its such a nice pattern to knit, such a marvelous rythmic thing.  But oh how I wish the yarn was wool.  In wool, this would be a masterpiece.  

I'm working on a pattern round, so its knit 2 together, knit 2 together and then yarn over knit yarn over knit, in endless music right around the ring.  Midway through the round the tips of my fingers are a little sensitized to the yarn.  

Its not unpleasant yarn. It does have good points.  It is going to be very easy care.  The colour really is a gorgeous melange of turquoise and deep green and forest, old growth and moss, and the tiniest bit of shimmering silvery white. On the plain knitting rounds I don't notice really, but on these pattern rounds,  I tend to use my fingers just a little more intensely.  It probably means I'm knitting just a little tight.

But it isn't wool.  Wool, even at its most coarse, is silky somehow.  It stretches and moves and runs along the grain of my hand.  Even so far removed from its sheepy source, there is a life to it, a hidden spring within it that pushes back.  When I knit a stitch with wool, even the coarsest most crisp and harsh of wools doesn't make my hands tingle except in anticipation of more. 

I believe you have to work with a yarns best points to make the nicest things with it. It is as true for these very ordinary acrylic yarns, perhaps more so, than it is for the finest of wools.  Still it is a very pretty colour and once it is washed and dried and beaten within an inch of its life by heat and water and more heat, it will feel a little closer to the heaven of my dreams for this blanket.  

But I really wish it were wool.