Friday, 28 September 2012

And what about the knitting?

There has been so little knitting this week that I could cry.  There has not even been enough time to get the lovely shawl blocked and ready for giving.  Ludmila has seen it and felt it, but I could not give it to her undone.  

Last night mrdr schucked the last of the corn and I spent my evening putting it away.  My hands were too wet and corny to knit in between and I'm not even done yet.  

This weekend I think I will be able to squeak in some time to knit between getting the carrots and parsnips in and seeing if the turnips are any good to take in.  I fear they may be riddled with worms.  If so we will let them be.  Mr. Needles is going to work through the garden with his big tractor and they will get worked up then.  I almost wish they would be wormy, though that is rather bad of me considering they have been babied all year and it would be nice to get something out of them.

Gardening, on the scale to keep yourself in vegetables for a whole year, takes a lot of work and yet, I wouldn't give it up for the world.  I love that we can do this to provide for us.  There is comfort knowing where it all comes from, but mostly, it is just the idea and the knowledge that we did it for ourselves, that we put it in the earth and took care of it and worked along with mother earth to make these things come into being in this place.  There is such a sense of balance and of our place in the world eating this way.  It is the same feeling that drives and fulfills my knitting. 

Its been a long summer, and I learned a lot, but I am glad it is over and that I can go back to all knitting.  Well except for the spinning and some quilting I want to do.  But mostly the knitting.  

Always the knitting.   

Thursday, 27 September 2012


My son and daughter-in-law and her mom were at our house for dinner last evening.  We had the nicest of evenings.

We cooked, we ate, we drank, (but sparingly), we went into the hot tub.  Mum really enjoyed that.  Really really enjoyed that.  As our son said, a hot tub is an unknown luxury there.  You might find one in the very richest homes, but even then, the cost of the heat and more important, the cost of the water make it a complete luxury only for the extremely wealthy.  We have decided.  When mum wants to go into a hot tub, she will come to Canada!  :)  

(This blog is coming to the smiley emoticon stage of life.)

In among all the other delights of the day, I had my daughter in law try on the little striped sweater.  Its the tiniest bit snug right now, but that means it is perfect.  She is just very very pregnant and is the the tiniest bit puffy and ripe looking as is so common with very very pregnant women. Once it is blocked and she has lost the baby floufiness, it will be perfect.  I am very very pleased.

I had the very best time last night.  If you ever want to have a really good time in my world, find some Ukrainian people and kick back and relax.  

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Not for the faint of heart

 Last year in October, I knit Mr. Needles a sweater.  It turned out well, other than being a little wider than he is, but the yarn was lovely and it was wonderful in our chilly basement.
It was only logical that the sweater go camping with us this year.  Warm, thick, would fit over everything else he might be wearing.  And go camping it did.  

Like sometimes will happen, you don't get away from camping unscathed.

It was left on a chair and a spark flew, and landed right in the center of the upper body.  It burned right through to the other side.

I'm going to try to fix it but if that doesn't work I will re knit.  Mr. Needles is favouring the reknit so that the sweater is a little smaller, but I don't want to if I don't have to.  

Its nice yarn, and I don't mind it but I'd really rather just knit him something new and put this on a WIP pile or something.  To that end, I guess I'm going to have to go looking for another sweater pattern that he might like to wear.  

And there will be much pondering about yarns. I'm thinking a nice 1824 Wool in a lovely deep forest green, or a maybe a just a nice creamy cabled one...

Well, I guess the decision will be the job of the day.  But only because I am avoiding thinking about the repair.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Saskatchewan Time

You will notice I did not mention weekend knitting yesterday.  It isn't that I did not knit, it is that I traveled and knit plain stockinette.  The plain stockinette, you heard about yesterday. 

Every trip to Saskatchewan yields something new and special.  Maybe it is that way because it is home to me.  The air is different there and Saskatchewan is full of unintended smiles.

Like seeing a sign saying 'rough road', but not a word about the complete road reconstruction that began just out of view or the point after the construction where another sign said 'rough road, next 8 kiliometres', but was as good as most highways anywhere.  Or the place where the road was staked and you had to weave between the stakes to get past oncoming traffic.  That was pretty 'Saskatchewan' too.

The best thing, though, about Saskatchewan is that it reminds of an innocence lost.

Who doesn't want an hour like that? 

The world runs differently on Saskatchewan time and that is a blessing.


Monday, 24 September 2012

What is up with that?

Remember how I said there was only going to be enough yarn for 1 more gray stripe?  

Wrong.  The gray stripe is done, and there still is plenty left.  Where did this thick full ball come from anyway.  Why wasn't it there last week when I looked?  Where did I get that skinny wimpy feeling thing I felt last week from?

There should be plenty of yarn for at least 2 or three more stripes.  Sheesh.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Good Things From the East

On my way out of the subdivision this morning, I stopped at the mailbox. I had not checked it for a few days and I was hoping something would be waiting for me.  And it was.  I am so pleased to have it.   

I am the very pleased possessor of enough balls of this very pretty pink "Peony" colourway of St. Denis Boreale for a sweater.  

One day I hope to knit this, Morrigan from No Sheep for You.   With Rowan discontinuing Calmer, my search for the right yarn ended with Boreale. It should be perfect for gauge, though Calmer is a much much loftier yarn with no wool.

I know.  Heavily cabled.  Fingering weight.  I expect it to be epic.  I don't expect it to be fast.

I really hope to be able to fit one more round of Boreale purchasing obsession in  before the yarn is all gone.  I know people say there will be something good to replace it, but sometimes you just have to have the real thing, you know?

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Back to real time

The plethora of things I did on the weekend allowed me to write up the last few blogs in one sitting and goof off all week.  So far.  This one is live.  Knitting photography as of this a.m. live.

I was very busy working on the shawl.  I've just added in the second ball of yarn and you see the stitches between the sections of purple cable?  Those are all that remains.  It looks like three lace repeats to go for the stockinette section.  These are getting to be longer and longer rows and after each 5 stitches you add in, you work 4 rows of plain stockinette.  That is what gives this particular shawl its lovely gracious shape.  Which you will see soon.  I only wish you could feel it.  

Then, when I should have been knitting on the pretty Woobu sweater for my daughter in law, I have been goofing off and working on this for me.

I'm going to do a shawl collar on it, and I think short sleeves.  Short sleeves because I think they work well at my current work, and because, yes indeedy, I think I will run out of yarn!  

That does rear its head here quite a lot, but this is a valid run out fear.  I had 14 balls at the start of this, and in knitting this far, I have used almost 5.  I am only an inch or so below the arms, and I want, no, need it to be at least as long as the really nice striped sweater (which is being worn a lot.) With all the extra yarn needed for the collar, I'm pretty sure that I am not going to have the yarn I would need for full sleeves.  If I do, I will likely go with long sleeves, but only because I really don't want to have one ball of something left when it could be all used up.

That is getting to be a theme of mine...which I will disscuss another day.  And finally, a shot of my work space.  

When I came it was pretty spare.  It matched the more modern and uncluttered personality of my sweet niece whose maternity leave I am covering.  I am not so uncluttered a person, and seem to acquire...ummm, stuff.  I keep a large jug filled with coffee near me (yes back to it and no headaches!) and it was making my desk go all coffee spotty.  I knit and felted a little sample way back, when I was learning stranded colour work.  It was going to be a bag, but it never quite happened.  I came up with the bright idea of a coasters large and small for my desk.  Looks rather smashing, don't you think?

The little Knit Happens sign was given to me by one of the ladies in our Friday knitting group. It fits and will stay here as long as I stay here. I'm very very happy to have it!  

Makes me feel right at home to be surrounded by all these good things.  Now if only I could fit my spinning wheel here, and maybe a little stash in the supply closet...

Oh to dream because you should see the size of this supply closet.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Knit, Knit, Knit Threeeeeeee

Yes I know.  

I did a lot of knitting last weekend.  There was none of the veggies stopping me.  I'm saving that for weeknights.  

Mr. Needles is always getting after me for slopping coffee as I go down to my study.  And yes, there is a trail.  I watch and do try to tidy after myself, but it doesn't show up right away, not in the early morning light anyway.  (My sisters are laughing right about now, and so is my mom. I doubt that Mr. Needles finds it at all funny.  Sigh.  My failings laid out before the blog.)

One of my kids gave me a Tim Hortons Teapot a couple years ago for Chirstmas.  I love this little teapot and am going to start using it for my early morning forays with coffee.  The bonus is it holds two cups of coffee but by the time the first is drunk, the second is cold.

Obviously I need a tea cozy. Umm, coffee cozy.  

So I dug in the bin of leftover yarns, and sorted out some fibre that was thick enough to do the job without having to felt.  

I found the better part of a skein of Briggs and Little Country Roving in black, and a nice red bulky and the smallest bit of the crayon coloured Noro Wadaiko that was  showing only the reds, purples, and the littlest bit of turquoise.  It was only enough to do 2 stripes, so the last has a bit of other turquoise yarn and a tiny scrap of plain purple. 

I might redo that last stripe.  My early result is the teensiest bit too short to reach the table (and for prime heat holding, it has to reach the table), but for Sunday morning, it did the job.  I will likely reknit from the decrease line up, adding in another two rows, and then reknitting the top sans coloured stripe.  

But on this one, trust me, I won't run out of black yarn.   

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Knit, Knit, Knit, Too

More weekend knitting.  And more and more.  I knit a lot last weekend.

I knit on the Adrift sweater for my daughter-in-law.  I'm to the stage where I worry about running out of yarn.  

That I feel I am running out of yarn means that both sleeves are done, and I am on the body!  But I am really worrying about running out of yarn.  I have only enough of the gray for 1 more gray stripe, and I have enough of the blue for 2.  This is perfectly right, because I am just starting on a blue repeat.  

I had hoped for just a little more length than I am going to get.  Each pair of stripes gets me 3.5 inches of length and on completion there will be 3 sets of stripes under the arm.  The length of the sweater, from the underarm will be just a touch more than 10.5 inches.   That is a little shorter than I planned.  Shorter than perfect.  Shorter than in my dreams, so...

I will run out of yarn.  Sigh.

The upside is that even though it won't be long enough for draping fully over baby when she nurses, it will be long enough for a stylish sweet sweater.  Here is hoping that she likes it.  

Monday, 17 September 2012

Knit, Knit, Knit

It was a very busy knitting weekend.  

This lovely shawl is looking very very (very) nice. I love the way the desinger put the soft slope into what is an otherwise straight lace.  Fantastic.  

And the drape?  Oh my.  It is fantastic.  I hope Ludmila likes it.  

At the same time, if all I knit on was that, I would go crazy.  It isn't that it is so fine.  It isn't that it is lace.  It isn't that it is stockinette.  Nope.  None of these.  

There is a deadline on it.  I hate that.  I don't like feeling pushed in this.  I don't mind deadlines in work.  That is OK.  It marks an end, but in a knitting project, deadlines should only be my own internal ones.  This projects deadline is marked by her arrival on the 21st, though why the arrival date is my deadline, I do not know.  She will be here 3 weeks so I guess, I do have those days too.  But I don't want to clutter those days with knitting like this.  I want to be able to not think about my knitting while she is visiting and when baby is new.  

(I wonder if she is as excited as I am about this whole grandmother thing?)

I won't run out of time on it at all.  It is going faster than that, but I find that I don't feel like knitting on it as much as I would without the deadline.  I work on focusing on how fantastic the drape of this is and how wonderful it feels. It helps, but I wish it helped more.   

Did I mention the fantastic drape?  

There are two skeins of yarn left in RCY's snazzy new westside store, different colours than what I am knitting.  I almost bought them after working with this.  I've resisted so far and bought of bunch of other stuff instead.  I am not so sure I will remain strong next time.

And did I mention the fantastic drape?  

Friday, 14 September 2012

The puzzle

I submit:  

 A sweater that took a week (8 days).

I further submit:
A sleeve that has taken over 1 week and a very skinny sleeve at that

Please explain beause I sure can't.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Thinking Socks

Whenever the going isn't going how I want it too, my mind strays to socks.  My needles aren't straying but my mind sure is.  

I picked up Nancy Bush's book, Knitting Vintage Socks a while ago.  Its been around a while, published in 2005, but it is a real gem.  It doesn't get talked about nearly enough.  It predates my knitting life by a couple of years, so it is a book, that has just always been there in my eyes.  No one chased after it, never the hot topic of the day, not hotly contested on the bookshelf, but there acting as a backbone for all the other sock books.

Not a fancy feet book really.  It isn't meant to be, but there is a certain soundness to it.  The designs are taken from Weldons and there is a little something for everyone.  Plain socks, textured socks, lacy socks, all with a little historical perspective thrown in.  I love that kind of thing.   Nancy takes you on the gentle path to vintage.

There is a variety of heel and toe patterns, not revolutionary but the old fashioned ones.  I like that too.

As you can see, nothing earthshaking and yet these appeal more strongly to me than all the modern fancy sock patterns in the world.

I think after some of these sweaters are done, and perhaps some of these shawls and scarves and the other little things in my bins, there will be socks again.  There are always socks on the horizon.  I've always wanted to work my way through a book of socks. 

This book might just be the one, and this winter might just be the time.  Something to think about.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Taking recipes out to play

I love this time of year.  Just as I finish my early morning wake me up knitting, just as the clock hits the bottom of the hour, I look out my window and see the sky almost at perfection.

The sky isn't the deep black of night.  It isn't the gray early morning light.  It isn't yet the full sky blue of day.  Its somewhere in between.  It's alive and constantly changing but it hangs there, for just a moment or two, in that land between gray and blue.  

And should there be clouds, what colour then, would the clouds be?  Navy, rich, salt of the sea, with a deep undertone of black.  That's what colour clouds are in this blue gray morning light.  I love these colours, so different than the colours of the night and day.  I dream of taking them right out of the sky and putting them on a palette and painting my fibery world with them.  I know this dream has already been dreamed.  

Somewhere, someone, some very long time ago, felt the need to have that blue gray and that navy and imagined them out of the sky and into the rest of the world.  And somewhere, somebody noticed that certain kinds of plants left hands and  utensils blue when they did certain things.  And then that certain someone decided to do it on purpose.  And discovered all kinds of ways, to make all kinds of colours.

And the rest is history.  That long ago certain someone, or perhaps, a collection of certain ordinary people made magic and created the art of dyeing.  It takes a certain kind of genius to  dream of a thing, and observe a happening and then decide to see how that something works  And most of the time I am content to know I walk this path on the shoulders of genius from long long ago.

And sometimes I am not.  Because it is their blue gray and their deep navy black, and not the exact ones I saw that perfect moment in the sky.  I don't have a certain kind of genius, I am just ordinary folk, but it might just be time to put some old recipes to the test and play.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Out of left field

I wore one of my favourite knits to work yesterday.  

I wear this one a lot to work.  It goes with almost everything I own.  It is understated.  It is simple.  I love it.

With the return of September and cooler weather, I've been wearing everything in my drawer.  About mid morning I noticed something funny.  Well, not funny at all.  I could have cried.  

And then, I looked a little closer.

I wanted to cry but I was at work.  This happened over summer, right there in my dresser drawer, the one place I don't do serious preventative treatments for moths.  I even went through the drawer a few times over summer to stop something like this from happening. There was lavender in the drawer.  I just didn't want to do mothballs right there in my room.

I'm a little devastated, but the damage is fixable.  And everything in that drawer, everything that lives in my room has been gone over with a fine tooth comb.

I'm feeling just a little bereft right now.  Its what happens when you live in the bush. And from now on,  even the completed knits are going into plastic when they are not being worn.

Monday, 10 September 2012

After an Eeeeek

After an eeek event, there is always a rush of adrenaline and there is energy to spare.  I did not know that happened in knitting.  It does.  

I made big strides on the lace on the weekend.  I'm now to the point where the non lace short rows start and each row is shorter and shorter.  The knitting is going to be much faster now.  I'll be fine.

Its such a scmusch of softness.  Really really lovely stuff.  I didn't know lace would be sink your fingers into it good, but oh yes.  It was horrendously expensive, in the normal scheme of events much to expensive, but for this?  For this, well worth it. Uniquely Canadian for a wonderful Ukrainian mother.

And laid out a little so you can see the very pretty but relatively simple design.  Good things are so often simple.

And then, I had a lot of time in between and around all the other stuff the weekend was made of.  Adrift is coming along nicely.  I would be a little concerned over the weight of the fabric.  It doesn't look very drapey here, does it?  Not nearly so much drape as the lace weight it was designed for, and yet, I know that with the full weight of itself and the unstructured nature of this design, it will be just fine. 
Bamboo always drapes so elegantly.

I really like the way the stripes look so far.  At first I thought the width of the stripes was going to be important, but looking around at online catalogues, there are stripes of all kinds.  Stripes and colourwork and colour blocking are the in things.  I went with a nice 12 row repeat.  It feels pretty balanced.  14 sounded like too many somehow.  I hope it looks fashionable in her eyes.  

I hope it fits.  This knitting for slender tall people is very new to me.  Kind of fun.  Fast.

And that is what happens with a spurt of adrenaline, a hundred other tasks and a weekend.  

Friday, 7 September 2012


Sometimes I feel like the world is spinning around me out of control and the only thing I can do is go eeeeeeeeee.  I think it is just too much stuff coming too fast.  

As one of my favourite Ravelers said the other day, 

"You know, I really wish we could reverse the whole growing/harvesting thing. By the time fall comes around, I’m sick of gardening…sorta’…and am busy getting ready for school…well, sorta’…and really don’t have time or inclination to spend hours in the garden or over the hot stove!"

Oh Annja, I do so agree.  My kitchen is filled with stuff to process and my freezer is full and I really don't know where I am going to put it all.  Thankfully, I have a weekend coming up and I will have to get the freezer in order, because I'd like to get things organized for when the root veggies are ready to be picked.

And that is going to happen soon enough.

In between there is always the knitting.  The knitting keeps me sane.  I do have those little obsessive bits where the knitting may in fact be making me batty, but mostly, knitting is the sane place.

I started another project this morning.  I know, I know.  But this one is important to me.  As a young mum trying her best to breastfeed, the hardest part was trying to do so when out and about.  It was the dawn of when breastfeeding was OK to do in public, but there was just nothing available to wear that you felt comfortable in, without carrying along extra blankets, extra clothes, extra extra extra.  I saw Adrift and knew that kind of sweater would be perfect for wearing when when nursing in public.  Those long draping fronts would be just right for covering baby, and still keep mum looking stylish when not nursing.

I had lots of silvery gray Woobu left from my Folklore sweater, and with the addition of a skein of Woobu in In the Navy, a silvery soft dusty blue, and a plan for nice wide stripes, a little math, a few prayers and I am hoping to knit a reasonable facsimile that will still keep the drape and give mum and sweet wee thing just a little more ease and comfort when they are out and about.

It will be my unthinking knitting.  All my thinking has to go into that shawl I showed yesterday.  Here is hoping there is enough time for both.  Mamma from Ukraine's arrival date is sneaking up on me fast.  

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The 'real' Wednesday Post

Ok, now that my love fest with my sweater is over (it isn't.  I am wearing right at this moment.  I wore it all evening yesterday too), I can go back to my original posting for Wednesday.

With that sweater itch scratched, and the baby things generally out of the way till baby arrives, I have one more project that has a deadline for finishing.  My daughter in laws mom will arrive in Canada on the 21 of September.  (plenty of time)

Earlier this year, I searched for a yarn that felt a little Canadian, and was really unique.  I came up with Mooi.  Mooi isn't just unique, it is bison unique, and now discontinued.  Unique.    And it looks really really nice done up.  A friend knit a really beautiful shawl with it.  

There was a search for the perfect pattern for two skeins of Mooi, which is all that my yarn store had.  I also wanted it to be something a modern woman could wear to work, and wear out and about and for fancy wear. A big old fashioned square shawl just doesn't fit the day to day office world. I choose Icicles, from Susanna IC.  

I did one pattern repeat and worked on it a little everyday, till it was baby knitting time.  And then I got distracted.  And busy in the garden.  And it sat looking exactly the same for weeks.  

This is the most up to date photo, and as you can see, I have just one lace repeat left to go before the much speedier to knit stockinette portion.  I think I have one beaded row left before I stop beading.  I have enough beads, but the one thing I didn't like about this design was the beads running all the way up all the repeats at the one point.  So,  my plan for the last repeat is to stop beading the strong bead line, and place 2 bead rows in the section above the area that was only beaded in repeat one.  That's the plan for now.

I'm not anticipating this taking long.  I finally feel as if I have some sort of skill when placing the beads, and the stitches are decreasing in this last section.  I've also moved onto a set of 1 size smaller wooden needle tips, which means less fighting to keep the stitches on the needles min this delightful but slippery creation.   

Why not wood from the start?  I cast on with 5 mm needles and then was knitting on 4.5, which I don't have in wood.  The plan has always been to knit the body of the shawl with these wooden 4 mm tips.  

This lovely yarn and shawl pattern are once again my morning knitting.  There are no sunrises to accompany the knitting in the very early mornings any longer, but all fall mornings have their own kind of charm. 

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Once in a Blue Moon

You know how every once in a blue moon, you come across something so perfect that you can't hardly breathe.
Blue Moon was Friday.  

And so it is with my knitting.  I knew it was good.  I knew I liked it on me.  But now that it is almost finished blocking, oh my.

I've put sweaters on my dress form before and been very very happy, but this one?  

This one is me.  It is exactly right.  The colour.  The general simple sweater shape.  The wide bands.  The collar. The way it flops open.   The way it stands up at the back.  The custom fit (though you can't see that on the dummy).

This is what I knit for.  This is what I have been wanting to get to since I was that little girl sitting by my aunties shoulder watching her work. 

And then there are some very very awesome buttonholes, if I do say so myself.  This last one is almost perfection.  You can just barely see where it sits among the rib.  

Not everything is just how I wanted it.  My contiguous increases still show a little more than I wanted.  It will be an easy thing to close them up with a little duplicate stitching.  I might, but wearing it his way is fine too. 

I still have buttons to find.  I have 3 here at home that are perfect, but there are 5 button holes.  I'm hoping to find something similar atthe fabric store.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed. 

I had another post all ready for you this morning but that one will wait.  I knew you wanted to see this one more.  And so did I.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

One done, another on its way

I finished up the very very pretty Undercurrent.  Well, my version of this design anyway. I am so very pleased.  The colours remind me of a much worn multi colour jacket I had eons ago.  Its comfy and cozy and feels so very very good.  I think I did just the right thing with the sleeve lengths.  It is blocking right now and I need some buttons, but it is done and almost ready to wear.

Once the knitting was done, it was a little disheartening to have to weave in all the ends.  I used just shy of 3 balls of the Mulespinner, and a little less than 2 and a half of the Sillver Thaw, so there just shouldn't be this many ends, but the first ball of Noro went laceweight thin so often, I could have cried.  Add in a few knots on both of these handspun effect yarns, and know that it took several hours to weave in the ends.  Still once that job was done, I recovered my good feelings about jacket and yarn and am liking it again.

Because there just can't be more than a moment without a sweater on the go, I had to cast another on.  It isn't what I plannned, but the Noro-Mulespinner sweater and a little something I saw online inspired me.

More about that one tomorrow.

Monday, 3 September 2012

A good days work.