Friday, 30 March 2012

A Knitter's Conundrum

There has been very little of anything this week.  I don't know why, but it just hasn't been a week where there was a lot of time for knitting.

The most significant progress has been on one of the ongoing socks.  They are really pretty socks, but they are after all, just a tube and while very worthy of much long talk and discussion in my books, not that different than the last 3 times I showed you pictures of them.  

I am quite willing to keep working on socks.  Its kind of nice to simply work on that most basic of knitted things.  A sock makes no demands, asks few questions, and is quite content to simply be knit without any expectation of fame or fortune.  A sock after all ends up inside shoes.  A less glamourous life is hard to imagine.  Yet a sock is content to just be.  

I'm looking forward to having this sock be finished.  I love its red striped soulful look.  But as ever, socks are not just enjoyed.  

The bottom line is that I need socks and my sock drawer is taking a kicking right now.  Some of my favourite oldies are wearing thin and developing wee holes.  Some of them are old enough that making patches, and darning isn't really extending their wear all that much.  They are just sprouting holes on other spots. The holes are sometimes sprouting holes for good measure. 

I spend an unreasonable amount of time thinking about cutting worn socks off and knitting a whole new set of feet.  Stop me.  It looks odd and with the short cuffs I prefer, it isn't that great a time saver or yarn extender.  

It is completely possible that the next few weeks are just going to be sock weeks. I have 2 finished pair in the basket waiting for heels and with this pair and at least one more, I will be back up to a bearable sock drawer level.  Still, socks might end up being a spring long project.  

I hope not.  There are so many other good things to knit.  And yet, I am looking forward to it.  

And that is this knitter's conundrum.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Canadian Conundrum

On the weekend, I experienced that most Canadian of conundrums.  It never happened to me before and yet, being Canadian I am not surprised.

The place I was at this weekend is operated by the wife and family of a Canadian writer of some note.  Like most writers writing Canadian stories, he is well known and yet, completely anonymous.  

I think the way most of you might put his work into your day to day world is his connection with the story of the Mad Trapper, Albert Johnson.  Its a book, published in 1980, that tells a story to try to illuminate what the last days of Albert Johnson must have been like.  

Or so I am told by reviews and information found on the net.  I wouldn't know.  I haven't read any of his work.  

I find myself a little ashamed of this, that I know of his work, but I have never ever read even a smidgen of it.  Not.  One.  Single.  Word. And I have read a lot in this life.  A lot.

And so the Canadian conundrum.  Fame and absolute anonymity to the point that one can be in the room with the man, and know him, and recognize his face but only have a glancing familiarity with his work.  I commented on his stature as a writer of some note to one of the retreat participants, and she had no idea what I was talking about.  It wasn't just me. 

And that is just a wee bit sad.  We are so busy reading and watching and connecting with the stories of our near and much more populated neighbour to the south, that we could name dozens of American writers  telling American stories and yet not be able to identify one of our own when we are in the same room with him, with someone who has won the Governor General's Award for Fiction twice in his lifetime, of someone who is a member of the Order of Canada.   

I have to remedy that.  I really must.  A person shouldn't have a complete hole in their reading list.  A Canadian shouldn't be so unaware of the stories of our own people.  Really we shouldn't.  

Ladies and Gentlemen, I bring your attention to Mr. Rudy Wiebe.

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Where magic lives

I should have at least one finished object to show you from my weekend away, but I don't.  

I knit a little on some socks.  I knit a little on the soft gray Bridgeport shawl, I knit a little on Clapotis.  There is an inch or two more on each.  While many others finished things, I sat plodding along as usual.  

There was a heap of spinning happening around me.  Such lovely fine yarns being spun and knit.  

Several of the ladies had wee tiny Turkish Spindles  and were spinning very fine yarns with some of the specialty fibres of the spinning world.  Camel has incredibly delicate soft fibre and there was incredibly delicate lace being made with it on the tiniest of turkish spindles.  Another had a wool and silk blend (I think) and again very very fine yarn with the tiniest spindles.  I admit, I am completely bowled over at watching these itty bitty bits of goodies being made.  When you take it down to the smallest size, spindling takes on a whole new delicacy and grace.

There was also a lady working with a supported spindle.  Its a slightly different techinique than a drop spindle and fascinating to watch.  

I love watching people work with spindles.  There is a grace and rhythm that flows through there whole bodies.  It flows from the tips of their fingers right down through the fibre as they draft and the elegant twists to load the newly created yarn on to the spindle shaft and ends up in the yarn.  Surely there is magic in spindle spun yarn.

The lady in the little spinning video from Monday has a mgic entirely her own.

video
She is perhaps, my favourite spinning story.  

As every knitter who becomes a spinner knows, they started looking because everybody else was.  My friend P, admits quite freely to just following along on a day trip to an interesting place.  But while most of us use what we learn in spinning to inform and add to our understanding of knitting, P became a spinner.  She did not know she would.  She has knit all her life and loved it and thought it was home, but she took up spinning and magic happened.

When you watch her spin, you see a transformation.  Her face is suffused in joy.  Her sheer love for the simple task of spinning shines through. That joy surely goes into the heart of her yarn.

This one is for her.  She looks like this sounds when she spins.

 

Prelude no. 1, C major, BWV 846 (v03)     

Monday, 26 March 2012

On Coming Home

I did have a wonderful weekend, and then, as ever, one must return home.

A surprise awaited me!

Several weeks ago, I ordered a few more things from St. Denis Yarns. I love Veronique Avery's yarns and St. Denis is one of the few online places that has all the B & L lines.  The 2 yarn lines are the perfect match.  One woollen, one worsted, both utterly good.  

Ordering from St. Denis is always a pleasure.  

I wanted 3 more skeins of B&L sport in Sheeps grey.  I wasn't too worried about dyelot matching.  There are ways I can work around it.  On opening the package, what did I find?  A dyelot match for the 2 skeins I already had.  Nice job St. Denis!

I also tried another colour of Boreale blue.  There is a back story to the blue thing.

A long time ago, I bought some very pretty blue beads.  

It is like having a little vial full of ice.  The problem is that most blues are pastel blues.  These beads are not pastel.  They have tones of soft lavender blue and icy white.  (Lavender blue dilly dilly)  Up until now, the closest I have come to the right blue is a single skein of Drops Mohair Silk and I really really didn't want to have to use them on mohair.  It just was not what I had in mind.

Last time I found an excuse to order from St. Denis, I ordered chalk blue.  I had high hopes, but no.  Chalk still had a soft pastel blue cast.  It is a lovely colour, but it was not quite what I needed.  

This time I tried Aurora. 

 Isn't that just the prettiest soft icy blue combination ever?

I am content.  Coming home was very, very good.  Now if only I can remember the pattern that set me on this icy blue path.

Friday had no post so I could play on Saturday

I wanted to do a post on Friday, but somewhere along the line, I slept in a little late, my laundry wasn't dry and all the extra time I had was spent coming up with decent weekend clothes.  I needed something decent for public because I was off to a knitting retreat.  And excuse with a treat at the end!

We had a lovely time.  It was a small group at a very quiet place not too far from the city.  A beautiful big old log house full of knitters and spinners made for a lovely weekend.

What a lovely place.  
At every turn there were quiet little sitting areas.

Even the nooks had crannies.
There was a beautiful library
With knitting books!  Well, not really but The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder does have a few pictures of knitting and Ma does knit a lot as it is mentioned in almost every book.  The library was like visiting all the books of my past.
 There was a quiet presentation area, separated from the main room by a gorgeous massive fireplace.
There were stunning views
and views of stunning knitters

and more.  The spinners were out in full force.  4 wheels, 3 different kinds and multiple spindles.  

video
We were supported by a wonderful staff and fantastic cook.  She and her assistant took such great care of us.  

It wasn't the sort of retreat where time was filled with classes.  It was just a quiet get away among like minded people.  We showed off our current projects and past projects and talked knitting and life and spinning and knitting again.

I can confidently say, in the manner of my forebearers, in that very small town, just a column in a newspaper sort of way, a good time was had by all.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Two Solitudes

There was a quick disscussion on Ravelry yesterday in one of my groups about Sock Madness and who we should be cheering for.  

Sock madness is 4 teams of about 50 people each, knitting their heads off making more and more complicated socks.  The early rounds are everybody, and as the rounds complete and the socks get harder, the moderators judge who should continue from the pool of who is done their socks.  At the end of the month, on the last sock, only 1 knitter, the most successful knitter, usually the fastest knitter knits alone with all  her teammates cheering her on for sock supremacy.  

I love watching this kind of thing but I would never join it.  By now everybody will have noticed that while I might not shy from knitting hard things, I do have an affinity for earthy simple yarns and garter stitch.  There is such beauty and dignity in those things.

I knit plain socks.  I have knit a few that were mildly fancy, cables,  
I have knit at least 1 published pattern.  
but just one.

I have played with all sorts of variations of toes and heels and cast ons and cast offs.  It is not that I am unsophisticated, as it may appear to the initiated, but rather that it is a deeply personal choice to do and choose the simple. 

Mostly, its plain socks.  Ordinary yarn, but I do have some standards.  Like some colour changes just for a the thrill of watching what will appear.

Stuff like this, Regia World Circus Colour.  Plain.  Simple.  

Socks are my safe place.  You know, that thing you can knit and not have to think, that place where you don't have to step up to anybody else's expectations of what is fun to knit, what someone who should be knitting.

Socks, just ordinary socks that please me beyond reason are mine and mine alone.  Mine to knit, mine to gift, mine to wear.  Just mine and they are safe and right on any occasion and I don't know anyone anymore who questions my knitting them.  Well, all right.  Very very few people out here in the real world do.  Socks have  become part of me, part of who and what I am.  

Much as it is a choice to proceed more simply, it is also a need.  My own personal two solitudes.  

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Packing my bags

I'm going to a knitting retreat this weekend.  Just a small retreat, 10 people IIRC.  I am really looking forward to it, but I am wondering what to pack.

I should be knitting on the sweater.  I will in fact take the sleeves along and will work on them but I don't want to be tied to a pattern when we are trying to visit and knit or knit and visit as the case may be.  The rest of the sweater will have to wait.

There are always socks to take along, in fact there is one set I that is hitting a time crunch and I need to get it off to its new owner.  There are several additional sets to choose from for no thinking knitting.

There is the shawl.  There is a lot of garter stitch on the center of it and I anticipate it will be the bulk of my get away knitting.  

But I feel as if there should be something more.  Something with a big challenge for when I need to just have a quiet space and time.  Whenever I go knitting anywhere, there are so many amazing ladies, knitting such incredible patterns, such complicated stitching.  I find it such a struggle to do that but I would like to try.  I think I am going to take my pretty little Forest mittens.  Its looks like very complicated knitting but is fairly simple, and so far the patterning has been basic.  I am about 1/3 way up the palm on the first mitten.  Not much I know, in what I thought would be a year of colour work, but it is what it is.

I might take along a few balls of yarn to swatch too.  Or maybe that bag of cotton that has been thrice started for sweaters.  Maybe I will start another!  I mean what if I can't find anything else to knit?

I'm taking along some books too, just in case I need to fill in the holes. And some magazines.  Maybe I should take that large knitting bag of yarn for another afghan?  What if I run out... 

Yeah, the idea of a weekend retreat of just knitting away from my usual haunts, is making me batty.  

I wonder if I am trying to recreate my study?  My study is my safe place, and is my home for knitting.  It might not make sense but surrounding myself with these things is part of my picture of a perfect weekend.  Well, that and the cook.  

No dishes, someone else to cook for me, good company, and a lot of knitting.  Yup.  Perfect weekend on the horizon.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

What garter does.

As much as I am loving the garter on the pretty shawl, I really should be knitting the sweater.  It just isn't that long till Easter, and I do hope to have it done by then.

Shawl knitting, specifically garter stitch,  worked its magic once again.  It has given me the time to get back into the zone and understand why it isn't going so easily. Instead of thinking about why I am in a knitting funk, it gave me time to pick apart all the reasons and sort it out in my head and get over it.

When you knit, particularly if you are part of the online knitting community, there are some things that you know you can't bring up in polite knitting company.  Things like what kind of needles you prefer over others, and whether your style of knitting is the right way, and knitting versus crochet.  Silly things, but things every knitter has an opinion on and isn't afraid to express it.  It is really quite silly but then...

There are certain things that just feel right to me, things like metal needles for most knitting and bamboo for lace and slippery things.  Things like my preference for double pointed needles and one at a time when I knit socks.  Things like a little cotton in the blend being very good for socks and how bamboo isn't sturdy enough for any socks I am going to knit.

The things I prefer come from small differences in how muscle and bone are put together in my hands versus anyone else's hands, like how different needles sit in my hands and the unique way each of our brains are wired and the different experiences that determine how our brain interprets all sorts of different things, like  how cotton feels right at home as it runs through my hands and not so much in someone else's.

When I knit socks, I prefer to use double pointed needles.  They just feel right in my hands.  All the fun of it, the rhythm of it, the knit knit break, knit knit break of it it part of my sock knitting pleasure.  The joy of it goes away fussing around on that long loop thing of magic loop or fight past the which needle should I be grabbing now problem of 2 circulars.  There is no rhythm in those other methods of working socks.

And so it is with a bottom up sleeve, that other tube I knit a lot, on 1 short circular.  Not so much fun at all.  The knitting is looking better on the 4.5 mm needles.  It has lost that stand at attention look and become a nice causal fabric that suits its tweedy nature and the relaxed look of Brownstone.  But though these things are good, I am not really enjoying this way of getting there.  Oh for a spare pair of double points.  It might be very worth it to spend an evening locating one of the two sets of 4.5 mm dpns or even a mix of 5 of the 4.5 mm needles to get it moving along faster.

Plus, I did the increases too fast on this half done sleeve and have to rip back and go a little slower.  Yeah that makes is a lot less fun.

At some point I am going to have to stop playing on shawls which are just for fun and sit down and work on the sweater.  Wishing has never knit a sweater (but wouldn't it be nice).

And such is the path that a little garter stitch set me on.  Its like a fresh breeze clearing the cobwebs out of the corners.  Good for the soul.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Itchy still?

I stopped the endless haunting of the books and yarns around me and picked something out and well...  

I have long been wanting to knit Bridgewater, one of Jared Flood's lovely designs.  I had yarn for it.  I had the book and for a very long time, I thought I was ready, I just needed the space in my knitting cycle.  

And then I read that I needed 4 skeins of yarn.  I had 3.  Sigh.  

My local LYS did not restock.  It took a while but I finally ordered that last skein.  I knew that I wasn't going to get the same dyelot, but so many yarns come in so close that it wouldn't matter so long as I was careful.  

As you can see, that center ball is   a very different kettle of fish.  The first 3 are a rich heathered sort of gray with secrets hiding deep within, but the last is more of a sheeps gray.   The difference was bigger than I thought it would be.

I needed to sort out how to use them and still have enough yarn to finish the shawl.  I wondered if it was the right yarn choice after all.  I scoured Ravelry, but could never quite decide if I was going to commit to such a large project with yarns that might or might not work.  It sat for a very long time.

This weekend I jumped.  Its garter stitch.  I needed that I think.  Its heathered.  I needed that too, I think.  It is the easiest way of adding  stitches there is.  Knit front and back on the first stitch of every row.  It is almost the perfect thing to break out of a funk.  Plus it's got pretty lace.  

I fell into it, and began to knit with one ball of yarn, figuring that at about 1/3rd of the way on the additions, I would add in the 2nd ball.  Oh dear. That single ridge of lighter more browny gray stuck out like a sore thumb.  Rip.  Rip.

I re-started, alternating right away but I think you can see the difference here.  So long as it is an all over the main body thing, I'm ok with it.  So a striping I will go.  

Off and running and my fingers are loving it.  I'm using some bamboo tips for this project.  The longer I knit the more refined my knitting preferences are.  My usual nickle tips are just too slippery for lace.  I want to love knitting lace.  I have the stash that says I had darn well better enjoy it.  But with nickle tips, it was just not that much fun, no matter how much I loved the pattern.  So I tried some bamboo tips and they are the answer.  

Garter hasn't got the rhythm of lace, but it is such a wonderful, traditional foundation.  It is of the earth and the sky and of history and of people who knit a long time ago.  

I can't wait to knit a little more on it in the morning. I'm hoping I wake up before my alarm, so I can squeak in just and extra half an hour.  

And that is a very strong indicator that the funk is done.

Friday, 16 March 2012

That was nice

Knitting on the Clapotis was really nice.  I'm not sure that it has quenched my itchy fingers, but it was nice.  OK, I know it has not calmed my itchy fingers.  

Never the less, it is what I am going to focus on finishing as my 'needs something beside the sweater' project.  Beside the several socks on the go, that is.    
 
I have some yarn coming soon.  Its another wee shipment from St Denis yarns.  I say wee because it really isn't very much.  Just a few skeins of Sport in  sheeps gray and some denim Durasport to go with the other skeins of denim and sheeps gray in the stash.  There was a little thing that happened as I passed the Boreale section of the website too.

I think the sheeps gray is a contributing factor in the yarn funk I have going.  I think I am in love with this yarn.  It is really the most interesting stuff.  It has a delicious warm natural heathered look to it.  I think I was born to be heathered.  There are depths and hidden secrets, corners of sheep and corners of gray, that will be revealed as I knit.  

I would have started but I have to wait to see what happens with dye lots.  Two different source means it will not be the same dye lot which is neither here nor there.  It is going to be a textured and I have no problem alternating balls so for this end use, I am not anticipating any problems.  It does mean I don't even want to start the project until the other arrives though.  

And so I wait.  It is some consolation to know something special is coming in the mail for me, but there is that wait.  Dear post office, much though I malign you in my everyday life, in my yarn life, I revere you.  You bring me good things.  Bring it faster please.

The yarn funk should be over soon.  





Thursday, 15 March 2012

No, not socks.

I did try socks.  I was sure it would feel right, but no.  So I am still in search of what my hands want to knit.  

My WIP bin was looking really promising so I have pulled out my ongoing Clapotis. I started it last spring and hoped to get it done so I could wear it in summer.  I never said which summer! 

I thought I was on to the second ball, but nope.  I have about 5 grams of the first ball to go.  That was a little disappointing but well, that is the way it goes.

The yarn is Wendy Happy.  Purported to be a sock yarn by most people, sold as such, it has never said said sock yarn to me.  From the beginning, it said shawl, wrap and quite possibly, it may have even whispered Clapotis the moment I saw it.  
  
It is a bamboo rayon and nylon yarn, and it is soft and slippery, and might feel great to wear on your feet, but honestly, no amount of nylon will make it good for socks.  Rayon fibre holds moisture and socks are not a good place to have moisture held.  But a shawl?  Oh yes.  Bamboo rayon's goodness is perfectly displayed in that sort of wearable object.  

Oh dear.  I looked at my rave project page.  2 years.  It is two years since I started this.  Oh I hate that.  

I have to switch out the needles.  I have nickle tipped needles on it right now and these days, I prefer bamboo tips for slippery yarns but it is time to get this project done.

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Yesterday

When I tried to post yesterday, my internet went down.  Not my router, which is usually where the problem lies, but my internet signal.  Realistically, I know that it wasn't me, but when that happens, for just a few minutes, I felt like I broke it for the whole world.  ;)  Not that I had anything important to say, mind, but it was disconcerting. 

The sweater continues apace and my little diversion is done
and now I don't quite know what to knit next.  It never fails that when I am closing in on a project being done (and the sweater is closing in on being done), my mind wanders to what is coming next.  

I know there are a thousand things I would like to knit, and there are a few things I should knit, but I am not sure if I want to do any of them right now.  

I know I talked about Undercurrent, but it is the same colour palette as every other big project I have knit on this year, the brown gray natural.  I worry I will quite simply tire of the colour midway through and there I will sit with no sweater and no gumption to finish.  I hate that.

I should probably knit a couple summer weight sweaters and work down some of the massive pile of non-wools that I have.  I started a couple things this past year, but they went no where.  I have the yarn all wound and ready for my Bacardi sweater, just need to knit the swatch.  I have some really gorgeous yarns that I swatched last summer, but none of them are what is on my mind right now.  None of them appeal to my fingers.  

And yet they all appeal to my fingers.  I might swatch.  Swatching really isn't starting is it?  I mean it isn't committing myself to something just yet.  

Or would it mean I have just that many more unused swatches on the swatch board?  

I think that means this week is going to be a sock week.



Monday, 12 March 2012

Another knitting weekend!

I got so much done this weekend.  Half a sleeve and the whole body of the sweater are done in the new gauge. I did a deep tidy of the Cascade 220 bin.  

It was past time to go digging in the Cascade bin.  A lot of the colours were assembled when I was trying to figure out Mr. Needles vest so there are a lot of grays, browns and walnuts and rusts.  I was thinking about the Cascade stash earlier this week.  I wondered if I had enough good things to combine to work up into a vest.  Not Mr. Needles colours, though I certainly could do that (heaven knows there is plenty left), but maybe there was something that was a little more me.  There is if I keep it simple.  It will be a target project for fall, a second colourwork vest. I already have one planned in blue and white, if you recall, though I hope to do that this summer.

When I was digging, I came across some other pretties too.  One of my Christmas goodies, some very delicious butter cream Mirasol Sulka.  

The moment I saw it, I knew exactly what it was meant to be.

The Bandana Cowl from Purl Soho.  It doesn't look like much here.  It is need of a good blocking before you really see how nice it is.  I used about 1 and a half skeins, and then sat down to do something sensible with the rest.
  
Then I made one of these.
Simple, basic mittens.  
With a wee bit of a purl pattern on the back of my hand.  

I always carry a couple spare pairs of glove s in my car in the winter.  You never know when you will need to warm up someones fingers.  My spares were gone but for one lone mitt and that one went missing in some time in February.  

So when I had a comfy cushy soft buttery yarn left over, I knew it too, had a predetermined fate.  It would make great mittens and would go into the emergency car supply.  

It might be odd to be doing this in the spring, but for a few things.
Its March, and March can get really ugly and its Canada.  Mitten weather is never all that far away.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

What else you can do with Knitting Needles






Cool, Yes?

Friday, 9 March 2012

All I got was a t-shirt

Mr. Needles was off for his usual midwinter golf thing and once again, after a bit of ribbing,  

 and joshing from his buddies,

He brought something home for me.


It really isn't quite so bright as it seems here.  It is more of a soft peach, or melon colour.  Very soft and pretty.  

Its a yarn I haven't worked with yet, Cascade Pacific, a 40/60 blend of wool and acrylic.   There are so many babies to knit for this spring and summer and its is the perfect blend for easy care and long wear for kids and families, I am very sure it will get put to good use.  I'm looking forward to it.

And to all his golfing buddies, should they or their wives be checking the blog (or not), thanks for putting up with my wee small request.   

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

I did a bunch more ball winding today.  It was one of those kind of days.  I had a good time.

Then I finished a project, and though it turned out nice, I should have foll,owed my instincts and  knit 1 part of the lace in the white.  You will see what I mean when I get around to blocking it.

And then I knit socks and my pretty In the Forest Mittens.  I did not want to knit on the sweater.  None of it stuck.  I could not settle. 

It is the spring thing.  It always hits me at this time of year.  Its sunny and nice looking outside. But it is too cold to just hang out on the porch.  I guess that will come...



 i swatched a little when I couldn't settle on anything.  To the left is Custom Woolen Mills 2 ply in a warm heathered gray and the other is Noro Silver Thaw.  At first glance, the earthy homespun looking Custom Woolen Mills yarn isn't a good match for  Noro's lovely Silver Thaw.  In price they occupy the opposite ends of the scale but they are reasonably well matched in weight, the colours work, and the local to me yarn follows the same production ethic that the Noro yarns are created with.  They will be a warm and snuggly combination.

I am inspired by Undercurrent from last fall's Knitty.   A friend knitted it and it looks great!  I need to do a lot of changes.  I'll go with a shawl collar a la Cowichan shaping instead of a hood as well as the usual shaping for fit.  And pockets.  A sweater like this must have pockets.

I am in need of a comfortable, casual kicking around the yard kind of sweater to wear in place of that summer jacket I haven't had in years.  

I felt like winding yarn

On occasion, I take a day or so and do very little knitting.  When I do, sometimes I play in the stash and sometimes I wind yarn.

Yesterday I wound yarn.  
Yesterdays winding was lace weights and a couple fingering weights. No tension, but not so loose that the ball fall apart.  (Also, much though I think Vogue Knitting is foolish to go strictly i-digital, the spring issue is, once again, a truly wonderful thing.)

I know that a lot of people don't like to wind till it is time to knit. I understand why.  Sometimes, the ball winder and swift combine to make a ball of fibre so tight that you can barely pull the fibre out of the center ball, so tight that every ounce of stretch the yarn ever had is used.  I'd worry about yarn that was under that kind of stress for a very long time and if I wound like that and left it, I probably wouldn't wind early either.

I am the master of the double wind.  Once off the swift and then off the ball for the perfect yarny cakes of goodness. On occasion and yarn dependent, sometimes it goes to a 3 level wind to create the perfect tidy cake.  They only have a little bit of stress and tension on them, much like any nice ball of yarn you would find in the store.  If yarn is caked, it stores so tidily in the square sided bins.  I don't know if it saves room but it makes such a tidy pile that it warms the cockles of my heart.  

I like how cakes of yarn sit so quietly, so well behaved beside me when I work from them.  I can put a few in the bottom of a workbasket and they just sit there waiting.  I like that.

But most of all, I like having it all wound up so that when I get it in my head that I absolutely must knit with x today, I can take it and knit and just have a good time.  If I have to wind everything before I start, that can and has stopped me from working on that project.  When that happens, I usually end up with other things started and a bunch more wee things in the WIPs bin.

My preparation in advance seldom means that I knit with a plan.  Indeed, on seeing a new knit queue organizer program on sale in a magazine, I was repelled.  Trying to follow a knitting plan usually reveals that I wasn't listening to what I really like, but was listening to what everyone else is doing, or what I think I ought to do. A general direction, East, west or south is as much a plan as I need. I prefer to knit on a whim and choose my projects on the fly.

I just like to be ready so that when it is time to fly I can do it with as little effort and as efficiently as possible.  

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Holden

Knitting on the sweater was bound to leave me wanting a little something else.  My son is a large tall man, and it takes a lot of stockinette to cover him.  I can knit about 4 hours with the yarn before I have to rest my hands or knit something else.

Since I had long lovely hours this weekend, I wanted to knit a little something else.  I thought it would be a break from the stockinette and the non stretchy yarn.  I did a little stash diving, and came across some yarn and I dug out the pattern and away I went.



The pattern is Holden and the yarn is Drops Lin.  Holden, if you have not knit it, is stockinette and the yarn is a pure absolutely non stretchy linen.  

I get away from those 2 things, by going even deeper into them.  Like most simple little laces, it is a very different experience than knitting a simple mans sweater and that seems to be enough.

I would like to say that Holden is a strikingly lovely pattern and I am enamored of this yarn.  It is slippery and shiny and crisp but is not hard-crisp as many other linens are.  It is a little softly spun, a little loose along the edges, and while those qualities might drive some batty, it sure works for me.  

I would be long done but for the fact that I had to re-knit one row in the first lace repeat 6 times before I realized the problem was not in the knitting(always my first assumption), it was not with the pattern(the usual second), but that it was that the knitter was reading the wrong row of the pattern.  I usually mark stuff like lace, but this lace is so simple, it is such a tiny chart, that I didn't think I needed it.  I did.  For a whole afternoon, I really did.

I know March is in its early days yet, but I think March already has a theme.  Re-knit.  I could be sad about that but what the heck. 

It is all very good yarn, and good yarn is just a possibility.  How could anybody be sad with all this possibility around her?

Sunday, 4 March 2012

It seems so long

Friday seems like so long ago.  There was a lot of knitting happening here over the last few days.  I think I will start where I finished, on the sweater.

I'm hoping you can see the difference in the photos.  The sleeve, to the left in the photo, is knit on 4 mm needles.  It is from the original work.  I don't know why, perhaps it is that there is no wool in this yarn, but my knitting was very firm.  It looked all right, and I would have left it if not for the simple fact that I was knitting much more tightly than the gauge I planned the sweater around.  



The new gauge on 4.5 is much nicer, just  to the right, a little looser, and there will now be some ease in the sweater.  I suspect the way he likes his clothes, some ease is going to be important.  He is a casual sort of fella.


I'm pretty pleased with how far I have come over the weekend.  It shouldn't take too long to get back to the collar split again.  And from there, just a bit of knitting to go to the underarms.  

There was other knitting, relief knitting from all that stockinette and the firm feel of high cotton percentage yarns.

The last ball of my slinky chunky Misti Alpaca.  I was 3/4 done another scarf, when it occurred to me that the perfect thing for a gorgeous yarn stuck in a project bad project, would be Brioche stitch something.  And so it came to be.  A nice slippy buttery good yarn rich with the depth and life of basic Brioche stitch with buttons from the button box.  It will make someone warm some day.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Being good

At the end of a week, where I have been fairly wishy washy about what I really wanted to knit, I am feeling settled again.

I really wanted to get the Lilia Hyrna shawl done, but I am not ready to find out where my screw up is.  I worked on the socks and though it is an interesting way to knit a heel, it isn't holding my interest.  My mind wanted to be elsewhere.  OK, I admit it.  I wanted to be knitting that pretty green.

I decided to pull back a sweater so it was ready to knit.  If that didn't settle me, I planned to wind yarn.  Laceweight.  Yup.  I was ready to pull out the big guns.

I didn't have to.  
Once I was working on the sweater, it started feeling right.  I settled and then, once it was all pulled apart, started knitting on it again.  A little diligence and I will be back where I was before Christmas in short order.  Son 2 should be getting his present before Easter.  

Thursday, 1 March 2012

And so it grows.

Some things just happen.

I spent some time wandering in yarn store yesterday.  There were so many pretty things to reacquaint myself with.

Some managed to follow me home.  One of the things that managed to follow me home was a very pretty ball of Zauberball Starke 6, a sportweight version of one of my favourite pretty things.

I've worked with this weight of Zauber goodness before on my Purple Haze shawl.

It is completely possible that I love the sportwieght version of Zauberball Crazy even more than the regular fingering weight version.

The Starke 6 (at the back) was welcomed by two balls of the same colourway of the regular weight of Zauberball Crazy.  (It is a good thing I like all Zauberball, isn't it?)

I have a thing for this colour palette too.  If you recall this wee project?  Turquoise blues and bright apple greens.  Magic!

Though I would have preferred the comfort of two balls for what I have in mind, one was better than none.  A little something else to hold the worry of running out of yarn at bay, followed him home.  

 A couple balls of a perfectly matching fingering weight apple green.  For what I plan, and for the way I hope to use it, the small difference in weight, shouldn't matter.  And, the green really is just the back up plan.  

A two ball back up plan?  Two balls because if I don't need it for this project, I might as well have enough for a decent pair of socks. 

And so a mighty stash grows.