Monday, 31 December 2012

Late Breaking Update

While tossing through the WIP bin I came across the Pretty Thing I was working on before Christmas.  

It was supposed to be a gift, but I had some misgiving about the last part of the chart. It did not look like the first part of the chart so I assumed I had done it wrong.  I was going to rip back (again) and re-knit (again).  

I had coffee the other day with a friend and she laughing pulled out an absolutely gorgeous version of it.  Looked just like mine.  And since she wouldn't make foolish mistakes, I realized mine must be OK.

As I tidied up the bins, it came to hand and I looked into the bag.  I had one half a row and the bind off to do.  I smacked myself on the back of my head and did them.  Silly Me.  Giving up when I was almost done.  No more of that in 2013.

Its really quite fine, you know.  Quite fine. Fits me perfectly.  I couldn't have given it away under any circumstances!   I may have to go after some of the red cashmere my friend was telling me about.  

Wrapping it Up

I suppose it is the time of year when one must do a bit of a roundup of everything that was and focus on what will be, or dream of it at the very least.  

What was is pretty obvious.  Much knitting, a grandbaby, some garden stuff, a daughter.  It was a very big, big year her at Chez Needles.  May 2013 be just as good.

As you all can see by the sparse posts this past week, I am taking a bit of a holiday.  Not from knitting, but from everything else.  I'm doing lots and lots of knitting.  

In the deep parts of my head, there were yarns that I wanted to use this year and it occurred to me that I was hanging on to them for no good reason.  I had long worked out what I wanted to do with them, so it was time to use them.  

And you know what the best part of using them is.  Falling in love all over again.  How could I not?

I decided to pull out my Noro Kureyon.  I had split some bags with a friend and they decorated my shelf in the nicest way, but it was time to use them.  I can always use another addition to my sweater wardrobe.  This time between Christmas and New Years seemed the perfect time to get a serious amount of knitting done.

I started on Thursday.

I did more on Friday and Saturday

And by Sunday I was here.  By Sunday, my hands were tired so I slowed the pace on Sunday.

I'm not really sure if you can see what I am doing here.  The top is ribbed and the bottom, stockinette.  I'm about 2 inches into the stockinette.  I still have a long long way to go.  I'm going to be cutting it close on yarn, but then, isn't that my usual fear at this point in any sweater.  I do have the most marvelous fallback position though.

The 'skirt' of the sweater needs to be quite long.  I would like to have sleeves that are at least 3/4 length, but I suspect that I will have to give them up to keep the length of skirt it needs. I can live with short sleeves, I suppose but my bigger and better option is that I could, if needed, do a black border on all of it.  Button bands, sleeve ends, and bottom welt could all be a solid black.   I figure those things will give me at least 2 extra balls of yarn to work with and at least 3 more inches of length.  

I'm going to knit the start of the sleeves in a little bit, but only to the best short sleeve length, and then put them on holders. Then I'll see what I can get out of the rest of yarn I have for length.  If there is enough, I'll come back and finish the sleeves longer and if not, they will get a nice black yarn welt.  

I don't mind knitting without a pattern but I am most decidedly uncomfortable knitting without a safety net or sound fallback position.  And that is the state of my knitting.

I'm not sure if that is everything I have to say about the year that was, but it is everything I have to say about it today.  It was a pretty good year.  Life has been kind.  

Can't beat that as a year end wrap up.    

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Another one almost done

I doubt that I am going to get another project done before the end of the year, so I've updated my yearly total for the last time.  Its right about the same number of metres as each of the last two years that I have been tracking.  Right about 21 - 22,000 metres of knitting.  It's kind of a comfortable number and yet.

There were so many times this year where it felt like I had not knit at all, where it feels like there were huge chunks of time where I ought to have been knitting, but could not.

Guess not.  Which I find rather funny.

I'm off now to meet one of my favourite people, and we are going to catch up and chat and have a generally lovely time.  She has red cashmere and has promised to tell me about it.  

Friday, 21 December 2012


There is always this sense of unreality as it gets so close to the big day, knowing full well, I am not ready.  I still have one stop at the stores, but that will have to happen at lunch, then wrapping, then cleaning, and baking, and early prep of the Christmas meal.

That last is actually the one thing I love these extra days for.  I can prep and then have all the dishes done, table set, and everything spotless and sit around and just visit on Christmas Eve.  Well that is my plan and with a little luck...

I'm working on the last little sweater.  Its really cute and I ought to have it done by tomorrow morning.  It is just zipping along.  I love little things.

I have to admit I wasn't very sure about my colour choices. Not that I had any choice.  The only other colour they had that worked at all was a gold and I just don't see this little gent as a gold kind of guy.  Few 4 year old boys are in my estimation.  These are Berroco Vintage colours 5175 and 5179.   

At first, the colours look wrong.  There was so much green it was swamping the soft brown olive tones of the brown.  I stood back and decided to persevere and kept knitting.  Now that there is more brown there is a better balance.  It looks just fine.

Just a little more knitting, just a little more time.

Thursday, 20 December 2012

The view out the window.

This job has one perk that I am really going to miss when it is done and that is, its east facing window.  

I've spent endless hours watching the sun rises and this pleases me more than I can say.  Its been a pleasure watching the sun crest from behind the building across the way, out of my view, somewhere off to the northeast.  

Its was a pleasure being blinded by the brilliant morning sun of early fall and late spring when it rises almost in front of me.  It crests the building across the way, and floods my desk with warmth and light, like a little blessing from on high.  I could stop that blinding bit by closing blinds, but it only last a little while, and I would sooner treasure the experience than miss it.  

It is a pleasure even now, in the darkest heart of our year, on what is almost the longest night of the year, watching the sun creep sluggishly from behind the horizon.  

I've been trying for weeks to take a picture of it, but it hides southeast of me, almost out of view from where I sit.  It hides its brilliance in the tree branches that block its solsticial rays, sneaking me but glimpses of it.  It defeats my little camera and photographic skills.

Shards of light shine are only here for a moment before they are gone.  It's okay, though.  Come Saturday morning, the whole magical arc, begins its long slow slip back to the north.  I'm looking forward to watching it wend its way again. 


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Planning at the last minute.

Wow, this planning at the last minute thing is really working out!

Hat.  Done.

Oh, I know it needs a good wash so that the yarn can do its blooming thing and I know it needs a good shaping.  Those will come and will be aided by the power of my dehumidifier.  Who would have thought there was a good use for it in winter.

On to one final sweater.  Its already cast on and there is a little bit of the ribbing done.  I ought to get nicely into the body at lunch time, and then it is just a matter of knitting and knitting away till it is done.  It will be the same general sweater as the first little green sweater, your basic with a pouch, no hood.  No huge challenges but that is good.  

I also wanted to say Happy Anniversary to my Sweet Things mom and dad.  It is the first anniversary they have had where the anniversary did not involve flying half way across the planet!  

It has also been one year since my daughter1 arrived in Canada. We are so blessed.Congratulations Son1 and Daughter1!  What a year it has been.  

Sweet Thing is sending mommy and daddy a wave too!  (Perfectly still but that wee hand ?  Man can it move!)

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

I'm over that now.

I think I am over the chunky scarf thing.  
Not too shabby production for late Sunday till early this morning knitting.  Each one is one complete skein of Magnum, and is long enough to twist around your neck twice or your neck once and over your head.  Its just the right amount of snug for the head bit to stay whilst keeping the neck bit perfectly loose and comfortable.  And warm.  Just a few minutes and you are nice and cozy wearing these.  

I still have a few things I have to knit before Christmas can come.  Well you know what I mean.  I think it is doable though. 

I need to knit a toque for one person who I hope is coming to Christmas at our house.  I dug out the remains of Mr. Needles sweater from last year.  It's some Briggs and Little Regal and there is plenty for a nice knit 1 purl one ribby hat, where the brim can be rolled up far enough to give your ears double protection.   And if there isn't I have two balls.   

I'll be knitting on that at lunch and I hope to finish it up before I go to bed.  Then there is just one small sweater to knit, and that is eminently do-able before Christmas.  

Chunky scarves were a little unexpected but sure take the crunch time right out of the knitting.

Monday, 17 December 2012

The Awsome Power of Wathching Y'all

I am subject to populist influences as much as the next guy.

So I swear by all that is, this is not my fault, but I am not going to lay any blame. It's Christmas and that wouldn't be neighbourly.

The basic pattern is Marian and the yarn is the just slightly smaller so I cast on more stitches, Cascade Magnum.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Pretty Thing

Morning found me working again on Pretty Thing.  

I have to admit that I wasn't sure this would look right in such a light laceweight yarn.  Much of the beauty of Pretty Thing comes from the twisted texture game that is going on.  I wasn't sure that would translate well to such fine stuff, and that the gently fuzzy yarn would hide it all.  

But no.  It's really quite lovely.

I am really quite enamoured of this cloud of the softest blue flowing off the end of my needles.

Now that the pattern is in my head and I understand the plan of it, it won't take but an good evening to finish.  After that, there is going to have to be some massive work on a pretty green thing.  I finally have some new needles and it is time for Sweet Things momma to get a new sweater.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

I made it to a Knit Night

This shouldn't be something big or something of note, but it has become that.  With everything else that is going on, it has been a long time since I was a regular.  And I dislike that.

I knit on the Icelandic Overblouse sweater.  The garter stitch is perfect for a knit night and the Icelandic Overblouse, even at the increase stage, is so basic.  The perfect pairing of knit and talking with some very good friends.  

It was lovely.  Good coffee too.  

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Breaking out the old stuff

It isn't often that I get to say that with knitting, but on  occasion, I have knit things that do not get a lot of wear.  When they finally fit with something, no one is more thrilled than me.  Its like a whole new wardrobe without any work at all.

Not that this is amounts to a whole new wardrobe but it is something I knit quite a while ago and have seldom worn.  

I knit a simple ribbed scarf from a skein of the original Cotton and Silk from Misti Alpaca, pictured at the bottom here.  Its the warm purple.

This is probably the only photo of it.  This is from 2009.  None of the other yarns pictured here have been knit, though I have picked up more of the gorgeous red B&L Regal.

Back to the dusty eggplant. I knit the simplest ribbed scarf from this yarn, and really liked the feel of it.  However it was so softly spun that the yarn was fuzzing badly before I was done knitting it.  I'm not so sure that it would have worked for a garment.  Would have felt very nice though.  Scrumptious even.  The next iteration of this Misti yarn was very different.  

I never wore it.  Well, hardly ever.  I wore it once or twice that first summer and found it just too warm to have on my neck in summer.  I didn't really have anything to wear it with for winter.  

Well now I do and the weight and warmth of it are perfect.  I think I have worn it
3 or 4 times since I dug it from the drawer, each time with my Undercurrent sweater.  It is the perfect colour to complement the soft purples found in it.  
It fills in the neckline when I don't have anything high collarish, and keeps my back extra warm when the furnace here blows down the back of my neck.  

It adds such a different dimension to a wardrobe that is mostly black or navy with a spot here and there of colour.  It's neutral but so much more.  

So, my advice to you is dig out your old favourites and see what else they can be!  Also, knit an Undercurrent in a very multi yarn.  Best decision ever.  I love this sweater.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

It's the Yarn Harlot's Fault.

I'm done my Christmas shopping!  There are 3 things to pick up but that is just a matter of stopping at one store.  Hardly shopping at all.

But that still leaves 'things'.  Like this.  

I reworked the problem on the neckline( pulled tight to put in my bag.) and have only one row left before a nice super stretchy bind off.  I am forgoing the hood.  It isn't my fault.  No.  

Its the Yarn Harlot's fault.**

The deep dark stash holds 3 balls of such stuff, 3 balls of blue.  You will note that I am already prepared with needles and since I bought the pattern when it was new, I am set.  Lunch time here we come.  

I bought the pattern ages ago to knit Pretty Thing out of some Louisa Harding Kimono Angora.  At the time I did not own any short circs, and I was new to Bamboo dpns.  I had a horrid time keeping things in order and eventually frogged it.  I've fixed the needle shortage issue and now have circs in all sorts of short sizes.  I just haven't gotten around to knitting up the angora yet.  It might be the perfect thing to do between Christmas and New Years.

I think if I took a good look at the stash, there would be 2 balls of Kimono Angora.  Different colours if I recall right.  Maybe 2 things between Christmas and New Years.  

For now I will concentrate on this soft blue cashmere.  One small thing.  A nice evening of work.

I hope.

**Just in case, because weirder things have happened, Thanks for the reminder Stephanie!

Monday, 10 December 2012

Here it is Monday again

You know how when you go to sleep Saturday night, the last thing you think is 'Thank heavens there is another day to sleep in' and you wish there were more?  

Me too.  

It just feels as if there is never enough time.  It was made worse because I forgot to stop and drop off a Christmas tree at Son1's on Saturday so I had to drive back into town on Sunday morning to do so.  Had I not had to do this, I would have finished this:

It is the perfect sweater for a little boy, or rather, it will be soon.  Just the last few decreases to do and a quick little hood and voila, 1 Knitted present done.  

I might drop a few rows and change the neckline slightly.  I think I stopped the slope of the neckline too soon and now I have some awkward stitches that I am not quite sure what to do with.  That means I have to change the start of the hood slightly, but it isn't a big deal.  

I could work on cute rewarding little bits of knitting for sweet kids for a very long time before I get tired.  

The other sad news is that I have to redo the feet on Sweet Things wee overalls.  Somehwere along the line, her slender ankles have chubbied right up as babies feet will.  I thought it would take longer!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Just fooling around.

I'm posting from my playbook as a test.  This little thing has a camera and I want to see how good it is in comparison to my usual camera.

I have come to a horrifying realization.

Somewhere back in the mists of time I made a Northampton neckerchief.  It isn't as big as I would like it to be, but then I have never really blocked it.  I steamed it once to make the lace lay straight, but I am pretty sure that when I wash it, it will grow to be exactly the size I want. Still, I wear it a lot, as a square over my shoulders, pinned at the front, capturing the look of an old fashioned sailor collar.

I have never worked the ends in either.  I think I remember this every time I wear it.  I wear it a lot.  This horrifies me somewhat, that I walk around the office with these strings hanging down my back.

I am also sure that I have noted that I have not worked these ends in before on the blog.  I think it probably was last time I wore this little kerchief to work with the strings hanging down my back.

When I tuck things away, I tuck in ends so it all looks pretty and then promptly forget about ends down my back.

 You may laugh. I accept this as my due for such silliness.

Thursday, 6 December 2012

What pleases me (and what doesn't)

I had to leave work yesterday to pick up Mr. Needles and take him to a doctors appointment.  Just the way things worked out, I drove home in the worst whiteout conditions I have ever seen.  If I could have found a place to pull off, I would have but it was so bad you couldn't see the side of the road.  It reminded me about reading about how long ago, they used to string a rope between house and barn, so they had something to follow if a big blizzard came up.  We think this never really happens, but yesterday?  Yesterday was a rope to the barn sort of day. 

I got home, made lunch and hunkered down.  I had a nap and knit and felt really awful because the poor person who was covering my desk over lunch, was left covering it the rest of the day.  Without lunch!

It did give me the chance to sit down and play with my current sweater knitting.  Not the green sweater, which I really would like to be working on - I haven't had time to go get another needle, nor even time to find the right sort of glue to fix what I have - but on my version of EZ's garter stitch Icelandic overblouse.

There are lots of things to love about this sweater.  It is simplicity itself.  It is colour gradients.  It is knit to fit.  But most of all, this.

This picture posted sideways.  It is much more striking if the orientation is correct.

These little dots of black.  Totally my favourite part of this.  Enough of a thrill that I am working furiously to get where I can make that happen again in the next colour.  Its a small thing I know, but it doesn't take much to make me happy.

See how pretty these wee dots look marching across the sweater?  Its very fulfilling.

I've just begun the sleeve increases.  its kind of interesting watching that happen.  I'd post a picture of it, but honestly, it is sideways too and would make you seasick.

(The other thing that would make me happy?  Photos that uploaded in their correct orientation.  You would think somebody out there in the great land of computer wizardry that is Blogger, would fix this.  But no.  Blogger is sure this is something we are doing, but all I do is copy the file from the camera to my photo file, no camera software, nothing.  It is right till Blogger gets hold of it)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Whine, whine, whine, whine, WHINE

Don't say I didn't warn you.

You will have noticed that there isn't any sign of Christmas knitting on this blog.  Mr. Needles adventures in knee problems have stalled any hope of that.

It isn't that I did not have some dreams.  I did.  I have yarn for them.  I wanted to knit our Christmas guests little guy Alex, a sweater.  He is only 3 so it wouldn't take long.  It was going to be a nice quick gansey in some utterly edible Fennel 5175 from Berroco's Vintage line.  Its just a perfect yummy looking thing and perfect for this sweet little boy.  This sweater might happen.  

I also had planned a Taiga Cowichan in cream and the softest prettiest blue green ocean froth colour  Donegal Luxury Tweed Chunky.  I was originally planning to make 2, the second in navy and crisp appley green, but I thought that might be weird.  More skeins arrived in the mail so the appley green will be another sweater, also planned originally to be knit before Christmas.

And there were supposed to be a family of socks for son1, daughter1 and sweet thing.  

With Mr. Needles surgery events followups and doctors appointments, blood work, and trips to the far side of the back of beyond to pick stuff up, I doubt any of it will happen.  

At this point, it is going to be a big deal to fit the turkey in.  For one thing there has to be time to shop for one.  Sigh

If anybody has a 36 hour day, that is what I want for Christmas.  


Tuesday, 4 December 2012

One thing and another.

You know how I love delicate and the longer I live, the more enamoured I am with very simple things.  There is a project I have long wanted to do for its delicate simplicity.  

The project is a Churchmouse pattern.  .....

You have no way of knowing this, but a significant amount of time has passed as I whiled time away at the Churchmouse website.  Its a dangerous place.  They have new patterns.   They have yarn.  They have tea.  Sigh.  ...

OK, that is enough of this.  Focus.  I have puttered away 20 minutes looking at pretty things.  Not that that is unusual mind, but it doesn't normally happen while I am trying to write. (I was even distracted as I was editing just before publishing!  Its a lovely, lovely website)

This lovely Beaded Mohair Scarf  pattern has always spoken to me.  Utter simplicity.  Delicate beauty.  I have the yarn.  

Or I thought I did.  I bought 2 skeins of Punta which I thought were Punta colour HP71.  One isn't  

as you can see.  I think my remembery failed me when I bought the second skein. Sadly one skein isn't enough to do the little bit wider scarf I wanted, so I decided two row striping and damned the torpedos.

Using two very multi coloured yarns is often the path to complete annihilation (to continue the topredo analogy), but not so this time.  The 'torpedos' look pretty striking.  

My monitor isn't showing off the green as rich as it really is and it is beefing up the yellow gold, but up close, there are rich greens and rusty rosy colours that dominate.  Its really lovely.  

You can see the striping but just when you realize it is striped, you realize that it almost isn't.  Its harder to appreciate here, but there is enough of the yellow rusty golds in HP72 and enough of the greens in HP 71 that it works in the most magical of ways.  

Sadly, the beautiful Beaded Mohair Scarf is not what this yarn was destined to be.  The construction of the pattern is such that you start with a yarn over on every row (I think).  This doesn't work very well when you are two rowing yarns together.  I'll save my visions of delicate beaded beauty for another yarn.

So, what is this magical thing to be?  Just a nice wide stole to which I will attach some very fine light shell buttons and will proceed to wear the completed stole in the many ways that the gorgeous Wisp (Knitty, summer 07) is worn.  

So, back to winging it. Back to two rowing it. There seems to be a lot of the two rowing it lately.  It seems to work out so marvelously well.  And in the back of my mind, you know what I am thinking?  I am thinking that I have this lovely dark rich forest green Mission Falls 1824 Wool that would make a really great sweater to wear with this.  

Its never just one thing you see.  There is always the next thing on the horizon.  

Monday, 3 December 2012

I'm running behind.

There will be an update later in the day.  It is drive hubby to his appointments day here at Chez Needles.  But somewhere I will find time to post.  

Lost to tell!  Yummy lots.