Monday, 30 April 2012

The Spinning

Once again, I have knit on the sweater till I could not knit anymore.  The neckline is rapidly decreasing and it isn't going to take long to get this puppy done.  I'd show you pictures but there not really that much more exciting than what I showed you last.

So I will move on and show you this.

My spinning.  My first real yarn looks and acts like real yarn.  

Very handspun looking.  Its the beginning blorphy yarn wrapped with a rather good looking 2nd bobbin done by a more practiced hand.    It looks a trifle underplied here too, but this is again, the oldest of it matched with a newer more tightly twisted.

This 2nd side of the skein looks much more balanced, much more evenly spun, better plied.   Overall, I am well pleased.  It is o the border between  laceweight and fingering.  I thought it would be more of a fingering weight but I am thrilled that it got so fine.  It was not what I expected on my first go at a light weight.

It is still drying, so I can't really measure or weigh it.  And remember, this is only half of it.  I expect the next skein to look even better.  Both of the bobbins were after I was well practiced.

I do have one question.  Just where did the turquoise blue come from.  It is in there but as heaven and Frazzeledknitter are my witnesses, there was no turquoise, not even this soft pale shade, when I started.  Green?  Yes.  Blue?  Not a drop.  

Mysteries abound.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

About afternoon

I knit steadily till abut mid afternoon.  And then I had to stop.  My hands just were not going to do it.  It is looking great.  Really just how I wanted it to be.  What a great combination of yarn and project.  And please heaven above, let it fit!

So I busied myself with some other stuff.  I took my spiffy new flick carder outside and dumped out the lovely Columbia fibre and I flick carded a bunch.  

You can still see the very fine crimp in this.  I love that about this very minimally processed fibre.

Its like a box full of tiny little clouds.  So very soft and not at all damp or cold like a cloud would be, but warm and soft and baby delicate.  I hope it spins up to be something just as fine.  I can't wait to see it.  It is going to require a little bit of a different technique, maybe a spin from the fold, but I think I would rather try it my usual short forward draw first. 

Before I can get there, I have to deal with a little something on my wheel.  It is taking up all my bobbins right now.  I have to ply the fibre I was spinning all last summer.

I have two bobbins of singles left and I might as well get them empty too, while I have the gumption to do so.  Having something that I want to do badly, like work with the Columbia, will help me get something I wasn't all that much in love with out of the way.

Well on its way.

Well here you have an unusual Sunday morning post.  I'm just taking a break after a good few very solid hours knitting on the sweater.

I finished the sleeves yesterday, and then joined them to the body.  It was gorgeous outside so I sat on the back deck in the sun.  Somehow, back deck plus sun and I could knit forever.  

I had just gotten to the decreases when it was time to put it down for the evening.  I want to finish but not at the cost of my hands.  Nothing would be worse than having to stop for injury.  Its blend is very cottony and when knitting cotton, you have to take your time and do it right.

 It looks just a little odd on a 32 inch needle, poor thing laid out as if it is trying to call for help!  Everything is going so smoothly.  The decreases are looking great and they are really starting to speed up the knitting. Another two rounds and I will be doing neckline decreases too.  Zipping along.

I'm still not planning on getting the collar done today.  I am however, hopeful that magic will happen.

After all, if you can find this kind of magic in a protected corner at this time of year here in Alberta,
Who is to say that a collar can't happen on my knitting.

Friday, 27 April 2012

If I could

If I could think of something to write today, I would, but I have been stymied.  

I think it just from being tired out.  I have not had a day off for 2 weeks.  In between my regular work, I worked at the yarn store. And before that was Easter and the week after Easter 2.  There has not been a weekend where I could devote any significant time to just knitting and I am really feeling it.

Knitting isn't my whole life, but it is what keeps me on an even keel, and right now, I am just a little off.  

I'll make it through the day and then blessed rest.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Sweater knitting

I moved quite firmly from the sock-a-paloozza and back to sweater.

Sleeve one, once I picked it up again, seemed to almost knit itself.  Sleeve 2 is now under way, but it is at the sticky part, where it is a little tight around the needle and it isn't a whole lot of fun.  Another inch or two and a few more increases and it will be a nice little knit.

I really am enjoying it again.  I am so glad that I decided to redo it all.  The fabric is much much nicer this time. I intend to knit myself silly for one reason and one reason only.  I really really need to have the sleeve done by Friday evening.  

Saturday morning, I intend to get the rest of the sweater body under way and moving along.  I have every intention of having the whole thing complete by Sunday night.  Its big dreams I have and yet...

Dream big or go home.  

That way I can play all next week with the pretty new things that are on the horizon.

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Weak in the knees

With all that lovely fibre sitting here with me, I find myself in need of some tools.

I've never done anything where the tools of the trade cost so much as spinning.  Carders?  Electric?  Way way out of my league. So I have a pair of hand cards  Its going to take a while to really learn to use them to best advantage, but I have them waiting for when I am ready.  

I have looked at combs, which I think I might use more than cards, but the price of those makes me weak at the knees.  It doesn't take the wind right out of my sails but it sure does make you stop and think.  I have to talk to Mr. Needles about these, because if I tell him what they cost, he might very well manufacture me a comb and hackle.  We definitely have all the supplies.  

For this lovely Columbia fleece of mine, I suspect I am in need of a flicker carder.  This is a wee small hand card and works perfectly to manage certain kinds of fibre and small quantities.  

I ordered myself one of those yesterday from Shuttleworks.  It may very well be my perfect spinning prep tool.  Its going to be a lot easier to manage than the other types of fribre prep and I can see me doing small batches to spin in an evening far easier than I can see me doing large masses of fibre prep at a time as I would be tempted to do with other tools.

Because I was on the phone to Shuttleworks, I also ordered a high speed flyer for my spinning wheel.  The highspeed flyer is something I can see me getting a lot of use out of.  Spinning very fine seems to be my forte in spinning and I would like to see if I can go just a little finer.  

It takes forever to spin that fine, if you only spend a half an hour a week spinning. I usually spin slightly less than that, but I have faith that I will spin more.  

I have a lot of faith, but I know how it is.  And that knowing how it is is the only reason I did not also buy a Victoria spinning wheels so that I would have a nice wheel to take along easily on my travels.  Because I certainly need one of those.

Need it.  Badly.  A lot. Really bad.  Somehow the cost of the extra wheel doesn't make me weak in the knees the same way the price of a good carder does.  Somehow a spinning wheel seems like a bargain...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

A Spinning thought.

I've been thinking about spinning the last while, a little gentle meandering, a little flighty thinking but a lot of soul searching.  Spenidn so much time with spinnners on the retreat led me in that direction.  

What is next, where do I go from here.  On one hand, I like here.  I like doing the things I am doing.  I like the results I am getting.  Heaven knows I have enough fibre.  It is mostly the same preparation, but oh my do I have fibre.  It is time to record it on Ravelry in order to keep track of it.  On the other hand, my fingers and my soul craves something just a little more.  

I'm taking care of that.  This is a lovely washed Columbia half fleece.  I have not taken it out of the box yet  I haven't had a chance.  Too much work, but I intend to get it into the air fully this evening and this weekend, I intend to play with a few locks, and do a little bit of carding and maybe some spinning too.  

"We live in a moment in history, where change is so speeded up that we begin to see the present only when it is already disappearing"  (R.D. Laing)

 "When you are knitting socks and sweaters and scarves, you aren't just knitting.  You are assigning a value to human effort.  You are holding back time.  You are preserving the simple unchanging act of handwork." (Stephanie Pearl McPhee)

You are assigning value to human effort. 

So much of what we do today is really just ether, the cloud, but you are left feeling that unless you adopt and adapt to this wild modern way, you will be left behind.  

I'm looking forward to that.  It will be quieter when I am spinning and knitting.



Sunday, 22 April 2012

Playing at the yarn store.

I did a favour for my favourite people at my best LYS, River City and worked Saturday and Sunday.  It was lovely to stop and talk with people and help them.  A very good time was had by all (though I can really only speak for me!)

Yes as I said, I was scoping out the store on Friday, preparing.  It really wasn't so much to plan the shopping, it was to get the lay of the land.  Things don't change all that much, but half the art of being a good retail associate is to know your stuff, know where it is, know what is in stock.  So I dug in baskets and poked in corners and just generally learned the lay of the land.

Saturday in the quiet moments, that is when I shopped.  I did well.  I did really well.  Well, in truth the store made out like a house on fire!  And so did I.

I did do a little prebuying.  I happeend to have some stuff come in just after I said yes to working the days. 

A full bag of Lanett, a good baby yarn, in a nice clear white.  I like to keep some plain stuff on hand.  You just never know when you need a little gift and I was down to just a few coloured balls.  Its also great for colourwork, for mittens and small projects.  Along with the Lanett was that lovely golden Eden from River City that I knit my friends shawl out of.  That was round one.

Round two was a lot of fun.  The 2 red balls in the picture above was part of round two.  We'll talk more about that later.

This was round 2.  Lots and lots of fun.  

The back creamy looking stuff is Wendy Happy in the softest prettiest colourway I have seen yet.  It reminded me of Bitterroot (Lewisia), with it's soft roses and gentle golden yellows.   I don't know what it will be but is mine and I will not share .

The green is two skeins of Malabrigo Lace. I have loved this stuff for some time, but I just never got around to getting any.  Yummy good.

Then in the center, the red, is more of the splendid Eden, colourway  
Temptation. Oh it is aptly named.  So absolutely perfectly named.  Sinfully delicious.

And the rust?  That pile of rust is a sweater quantity, or so I dearly hope, of one of my pet yarns.  It is something that is no longer made but I love it.  It never struck people fancy's here, too bad for them and very lucky for me.  I have used this a few times now and it is a really great yarn.  It is Elsebeth Lavold Angora.  12 skeins.  Sinfully good.  It will be a very simple cardigan, something with short sleeves, I think.  Its Angora.  I'm 50 get the picture.  Single button closure, short sleeves, just a nice simple top with one really over the top feature.     
This is Egret, a free pattern from Berroco's website.  That splendid reddish, but not really just red at all, ball of mohair, is going to be that long showy collar.  

See?  Match made in heaven.  I did look at Rowans matching Kidsilk haze, but the single ball of older stock in the store matched better than the newer stock and this just seemed a better way to go. Besides the little bit of variegation will look stunning.

Anyway, that took my wages for the weekend and more. I had fun and earned a little completely free yarn money leaving my yarn budget there to blow on that really nice Angora.  

At the end of it all, we had some pizza and beverage and then carried in all the boxes and baskets and display stuff from the show back into the store.  

If you want to see what RCY was up to this weekend and where they were, check out their facebook page.  Some great snaps, and you never know who wants to sit and knit for a while.  


Friday, 20 April 2012

Sky Magic

I love to knit because of the feel of fibre running through my hands.  No two ways about it, this is what drives me.  

Colour plays it's own little part in the game, but it is rare that the search for colour starts from something I see in a yarn.  

Last evening the sky had the prettiest colours.  Such a soft coral pink layered with the last of the days sky blue. As evening broached, the pink quietly disappeared and the sky turned the lovliest richest colour.

Not black, not blue, not really a colour at all.  Almost navy, but not.  Certainly not charcoal, not gray. No one thing at all, but many, alkl at once. I can tell you what it was not but I cannot tell you what it was.  

It was just wonderful though.  The colour of the sky right at the point between evening and night will sit, a stolen little memory, something special and magical outside the regular things of the day.  The memory will last long after that days sun has set.  

And I have the strongest urge to find it in yarn.  I think I saw it once.      I'm sure I will see it again.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

The sock thing is over. Really

Yesterday morning found me sitting here with these on my hands.

It is a rare thing when 3 sets of sock needles are free and clear in this house.  

The results of digging in my stash, just a quick skim of the top layer, yielded these

Definitely colour happening. Soothes a soul ready for spring when spring is a little sluggish in coming.

I couldn't leave all those needles bare, so I cast on and knit this.

Very pleasing.  Strong clear stripes but the little dabs of the green keep it calm and sensible.  The yarn is Online Canadian Colours and a good sturdy plain sock, yet another poartially complete sock.

I didn't take it along to knitting last evening, working instead on another little something sweet.

This is the second contender for the shawl for my work friend. It didnt make the cut, but I will finish it for me.  I started it out of a laceweight from a local handdyer, Dandelionfluff. She does some reallly nice things as you can see.

This is a merino laceweight, held double, and what appeared to be a very brown skein, is turning out to be a really lovely combination of  gold, soft gray blue, rich purple.  It is just the nicest colour and quite unexpected from what appeared to be plain brown.  

Currently the pattern is Multnomah, but it may not stay that way.  I might change out the edging.  I haven't quite decided.  This is such a good basic shape for shawl construction.

You will notice that I did not mention the sweater.  I have it with me at all times, but I am ignoring it.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

I really planned to have a sleeve finished.  It isn't going to happen today.  

I seem to have picked up a throat something or other. Or tonsil something or other. I don't think I am contagious, but if I am, and the ladies at knitting come down with something... well, my bad.  Oops.

I'm going to bed now.

And up again.  Feeling a lot better after 11 pretty solid hours of sleep.  I knit for a bit this morning before I had to get ready for work.  One of the pretty new from the stash sock yarns.  I'll show it to you tomorrow if my head is functioning.

There is also slow progress on the sweater sleeve.  It looks like it matches gauge with the re-knit body.  I'm not actually going to measure it mind. That would take effort I don't think I have right now. I'm just going to close my eyes and pray.  I figure the worst would be that I have to knit it again and the best will be that it works.  I'm aiming high and blindly hoping for the best.  

Monday, 16 April 2012

I know its time

I know it's time to behave, to pull up my big girl panties and get on with it.  

But first

I have to do the sweater.  He really has been very patient.  

So back to the sweater.  I reworked the body of the sweater to soften the fabric and get a gauge that would work a little better.  Negative ease is not the look you want in a casual man's sweater.  

Then I started the first sleeve.  That is where I am now.  Back for a third go at the sleeve.  The first time it was just too firm, the second too loose.  The third time?  Just right. (I hope)

Oh heaven's, I'm starting to sound like Goldilocks.  

I think before I go to bed, that I will take a break and dig in the sock yarn stash just to find something pretty and bright and crazy.  It will the perfect antidote to a rather simple sweater sleeve.

Are you as tired of socks as I am?

I hope so because I am not. I could still talk a long time about socks before I am done.

This weekend we celebrated our second Easter and we did it in a very spring way, combining the best of the old world and the new.  We had Shashlik cooked over an open fire in the middle of a snow storm.  Perfectly Ukrainian and perfectly Canadian at the same time.  Of course the little snow we had this weekend, 3 inches of wet white stuff followed by colder dryer flakier snow, was hardly a a snow storm.  It was actually kind of pretty out. No wind and a nice fire and good food and family?  It was the nicest of Julian Easters. 

But it did mean that there was not a lot of time to just sit and knit.  So I worked on sock heels.  I did pretty well considering.

Plus this

And then because I was just a little tired of heels, I did the second red sock.

There is only a few rows of ribbing before it is ready to cast off.  I didn't think I'd get these done, but along came a time when I needed just plain knitting and oopsie daisy, done.  The short row heel and the wee bit of upper before the ribbing took almost no time at all, and the cuff will only be a few minutes more. I'll finish that this morning, I suspect.   Not instant, but tennis socks are fast.

That means the bucket of sock blanks looks like this.
One left for seed, you see.  Maybe the socks will sprout and grow again, without me having to knit them!

Which leaves this.

A bin full of bits.  Big bits and little bits and in between bits.  Someday I will do something with them, but right now, I just need a a bigger bin.

And some blue sock yarn.  There isn't enough blue in there. 

All of this combines to mean, be still my beating heart, I get to visit the sock yarn stash! Pure fun!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

The other end of it.

When I left my last temp position, the one I was at all winter, I made a pretty little shawl for my office mate.  The office we shared had heating issues and even though they sort of solved it, there were times when a chill ran down your back. Shivering was a regular and shared event.  There is a certain sort of cameraderie to shared cold, a sisterhood of sorts.  I'm sad to lose that.

I made the shawl for her to remember me by, to wrap around her shoulders when the days weren't going well, to let her know I'm cheering her on and shivering with her, wherever I am.  

I did not expect anything back.

She came with a very large bag.

Oh dear I thought.  I worried that my small gift of very very enjoyable knitting made her feel that a gift must be given in return.  I hate when that happens.  Obligation isn't what gifting should be about.  My small thing gave me joy to make and the thought of keeping her warm is what drove me. Well that and me being swathed in wool all winter while all she had was her coat. I was worried. What on earth could be in a bag that big?

And then I looked in the bag.

I had to laugh.  The gift was absolutely perfect.  It is rare that anyone understood so clearly or so quickly the very heart of me.
This is a rare friend indeed.

Its the biggest ball of yarn on the market.  As you can see it almost takes up the whole seat of my knitting chair (Its one of those tub chairs from Ikea)

It weighs several pounds.  I would weigh it but I suspect my scale down here for woolly things doesn't go that high and the scale upstairs doesn't do that small!

As a gift for a knitter, this lovely perfect bluey green, or greeny blue is exactly right.  She understood everything in all the ways that I could never come right out and say.

She understood how much I enjoy knitting even though she knows nothing of it and knew yarn would be perfect.  She understood that my love of knitting is beyond reason, and that I consider poking fun at my knitting necessary to balance the universe and wasn't afraid to share that with me and poke just a little fun at it that with a very very large ball of yarn.  She knew that a very very large ball of pretty yarn would convey the message she needed to say, just as my knitting told her how much I valued her support and care, that she valued mine.

See when you say it with words, it sounds a little much doesn't it and it doesn't even approach all the depths of it.  But a big big ball of yarn?  That speaks a language that says it all in one large and goofy and completely and utterly sweet very very big thought.  I am charmed.

It is going to be something special.  I knew that the moment I saw the yarn.  My first thoughts always go to sweaters, but I rather think a blankie, to echo the shawl. Something to keep both of us warm at each end of a gift exchange. I might consider a shawl, but seriously, there is too much yarn! So to blankets.  You don't have to go further than Brooklyn Tweed to find the right stuff.  Girasole perhaps, or maybe he Hemlock Ring or the absolutely fantastic Umaro.

I'm looking forward to getting it on my needles, and then getting it onto my lap!  I will cherish it as I cherish a good friend.

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Upwards and onwards.

There is a classic afterthought heel happening on the sock repair project and there has been a lot of knitting on the last stripey sock (the one with the green.  Another good session and I will be deep in heels and toes.  

But before I forget, I have to show you the little shawl.

Multnomah, made from River City Yarns Eden.  

Let me try that again, the colour isn't very true here.

There.  That one is better but maybe a little too orangey.  It is a true copper in real life.  

I'm not sure which look I like the best, because as nice as it is, it looks even better worn by the giftee.

If you need just a little something, but aren't in the mood for a lot of brain work, give Multnomah a try. This was my second and I can see doing another sometime. If you want a taste of splendor, try Eden at RYC.  

And so closes one more week.  You know what is looming?

The sweater.  The sweater which doesn't want to have the same gauge on body and sleeve.  I need to finish it and get it out of my hair.  How can such a nice yarn make me feel like this?

How many more socks will be knitted in the avoiding?

Oh well.  Upwards and onwards.  Off we go.
Oh my.   I'm showing up in different places these days.  Crafty Corners  asked to feature me in their Best of the Web series.  That was very nice of them.  A certain sister of mine and possibly a certain daughter in law of mine, are really going to enjoy the other featured  pages!  Thanks to Crafty Corners Susan for the invite to become part of it all!

Now on to socks.  

I promised to show repairs to my pretty little socks, so here goes.

 The original gaping maw.  

Because I am going to take the heel out completely, the quickest way to deal with it is to cut it right out.  So a nice sharp scissors and away I go.  I'm leaving a ridge of garter uncut all the way around.  I would hate to accidentally snip the good pretty blue fibres.
There you have it, a different kind of gaping maw.  The next step is to pull off the little loose fibres and weave the last round of white out, leaving nice clean loops of pretty fibre free to be picked up.  

You might worry about dropping stitches, but it just isn't an issue.  At all.  Not even a little.
Because these socks have been worn and washed many times, they have the usual inside fuzziness.  Weaving out that last thread is, in fact, a little bit of a challenge.  Sticky mildy felted inside the sock fibres aren't the only challenge. 
The corners were a little challenge too.  Snarly, messy layered challenges.  Sigh.  It took a little longer than I thought, but finally, I came out of it, with this,
4 needles of nicely picked up stitches, ready for a brand new afterthought heel.  

I don't want to be doing this again, and heaven forbid the heel outlasts the yarn I am knitting into, so I am going to take the time to look carefully at the pretty yarn stitches on the foot of the sock as well.  I want to be sure to be working this new heel into good strong yarn.  This sock looks ok, but I won't actually knit the new heels till I assess the heel and foot of sock 2.  

If the foot of the pretty yarn needs reinforcing, I am planning to do a combination of inside weave and outisde duplicate stitch to give the rest of the sock a life beyond heel one. 

As I said the other day, this heel is easy to replace.  The short row structure of it, means there are live stitches all around, to be picked up.  My favourite afterthought heels are a quick to repair heel too. Live stitches are revealed in exactly the same way. 

I'm not so sure that a heel flap sock would be so easy to repair.  I think it would depend exactly where the holes formed on the foot, and how much reknitting you planned to do.  

I'd stake my life some clever knitter out there has done it.  They would be in good company.  Elizabeth Zimmerman thought about it to the point that she designed socks with a completely replaceable sole.

That is the most interesting thing about knitting. There is always something new to think about, always a new way of looking at something that has been done a thousand times before.

On to sock 2.    

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Why socks are forever on my mind.

I know I have been talking socks a lot lately, but I am having such fun with them.  But besides all the fun I have knitting them, socks are a very important subject. They impact the real world from the moment I get dressed in the morning.  

Socks are serious stuff.

I was talking a few weeks ago about how some of the older socks had holes in the holes, they were so bad.  They were the old socks, the going on 3 years socks.  They were torture tested and washed and dried in the dryer so many times, that even an angels wings would have lost their shine and loft.  

But now I will speak to you of the horrors of the not long lived sock.  This is the sort of unexpected horror that happens when you open the dryer and pick out your favourite pair of socks to wear to work (it never gets farther than the dryer here) when shazamm, it hits you.  

 Giant, gaping holes.
Not just ordinary holes, or spots where the thread got thin and took a vacation, but a huge gaping maw in each heel.  

M113 monster kind of gaping maws.

To say I was devastated is mild.  

These socks are only a year old, a year and 3 months to be precise.  The main part of the foot is made of a very pretty single skein of Lang Jawoll and heels, toes and ribbing are made from a generic white yarn from the leftover bit bin.  The feet seems to be holding up fine, but Mr. Generic White just couldn't cut it. Mr. Generic pooped out in his youth, barely reaching puberty in the life of a sock.  

If I knew what the heck Mr. Generic white was, I would never, ever buy him again.

As you can see this sock has short row garter stitch heel.  Luckily, this kind of heel is easy to replace.  I have to do it by Friday, because the sock drawer is dry.  If it the sock drought goes on past Friday morning, I will be wearing unmatched 'pairs'.    

I would fix it right now but I have to finish the pretty, pretty shawl. I'm already behind on that for gift giving and tomorrow is my first day at the new assignment. I'll be retracing old steps to get it to the giftee, but the steps are good ones.  They take me back to a firm friend.  Its good. Still, time's a wastin' .  

Shawl, then finely tuned sock repair. 

4 hours

I was sitting knitting yesterday evening wishing for nothing more than another 4 hours.

I am on the lace section now, and have just gotten to the part where you add the additional repeat of the lace pattern.  The are precisely 5 row repeats of the pattern plus the bind off remaining.  It would be nice to finish today but I don't see how.

Wouldn't it be nice if you could slow down the passage of time just a little when you needed it to get your knitting done.  Just 4 more hours please before I have to leave for work.  

That is all I need.  Sigh.


OK, that is two down.  I really just need another 2 hours now.  Just 2 measly hours and I am not going to get it.  I've also taken a good look at the yarn I have left.

There is still time to worry about running out of yarn!  I'm not sure I am going to get to the end of the second lace row repeat.  Things are unfolding as they should.

Monday, 9 April 2012

Well there you have it.

In the middle of the biggest sock 'thing' in quite a while, I had a quick project to do and I am really enjoying it.

It is a small shawl, a Multnomah, a bit of garter, a feather and fan pattern.  It is almost the perfect quick project pattern.  

I have been working in the company of some very very nice people this winter.  I did not really like the jobs quirks but the people have been grand.  I shared an office with a lovely lady.

The offices were recently renovated and the renovation left the heating system decidedly unbalanced.  The back offices sweltered and accounting was cold.  Beyond cold.  There were a lot of days where coats were common working wear.  I was lucky with my large stock of wool scarves and warm woolly sweaters.  And some days, scarf, sweater and shawl in layers were required.  They finally got the right balance in February, but there is just something about shared companionship of working in challenging conditions.  It ended up being a lot of fun because as chilly as it sometimes was, we could laugh together at the silliness of it all.

So this shawl is for my office mate Johanna, the loveliest of people, who I am really sorry to be leaving behind.

I have just today and tomorrow to work there, (Wednesday I move on to another assignment) so I need to finish this shawl tonite.

It is made out of a stunning yarn from River City Yarns, dyed specially for them by Handmaiden, named Eden.  They have two brand yarns now, the sturdy basic Epic, and this sinfully rich stuff.  

I know I talk a lot about earthy yarns, yarns that remind me of where we came from.  I love the feel of them in my hands, I love wearing garments with their sturdy honest plain folk feel.  But this is a whole different ballpark.  

Mostly wool with a bit of cashmere and a little nylon, Eden is sinfully rich and soft.  This is my first experience working with it, though I have a lovely red skein that I have been fondling through fall and winter.  (I've been a little sluggish knitting it up, but it is hard to let it go.  I mean what would I pet?) To say that I love to knit with earthy things is not to say that I don't like knitting with heavenly things too. It is a dream to knit.

I declare this a desert island yarn.

My desert island had better have a good link to the internet and be on a regular postal delivery route. Just sayin'.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

5 before I am done.

I finished the second of the striped socks very very early yesterday morning. As I was finishing, I thought about the next thing to knit and all I could think about was a certain sock yarn with green stripes that I bought not so very long ago.  

So I picked it out of the cube I store sock yarns in and looked at it while casting off.  Somewhere between finishing the striped socks and getting ready for work I knit the toe and a few rounds of the foot.

At lunch I found a sunny place to park my car, and had my lunch and knit.  (In my car because though the sun had plenty of warmth, the wind was a little cool for knitting in the open in the sun.)

And then it was knit night.

I've got 8 or so rounds before I switch to the ribbing.  I figure I will have it done before I leave for work.  I doubt that I will be able to knit the toe of sock 2 this morning, but I will try.

Some people might find it dull, this sock knitting extravaganza of mine, but oh my, sitting here knitting it, having it happen in my hands, watching it grow, is anything but.  Only a non sock knitter would find it dull. Well, to be truthful, them and the whole non-knitting world.  But sitting here in my chair, its mystical and magical and compelling. 

I guess that is why I keep knitting and why I keep knitting simple socks.  I still feel like I did when I picked up my sticks and knit my first pair.  I am instantly transported back to the swing, knitting and giggling at the wonder of turning that first heel.  

Yes.  5 before I am done.  Magic. Just magic.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

A Different Sort of Knitting Thing

Sometimes knitting isn't just knitting.  Sometimes knitting is life and sometimes knitting is what takes you from dark places and into the light.  There are all sorts of knitting stories on the horizon, on blogs, in books, in the hearts and minds of so many knitters who have gained much from their association with the sticks and strings.  

Then sometimes, if you show up in the right place at the right time, there is that little something extra.  

One of the extras I have been following for a while now is the Savvy Girls podcast.  To say I am a devoted follower might be putting it mildly.  

I had the opportunity to go all 'fangirl' as I passed one of the Savvy Girls at a place and time that I was pretty sure was inappropriate (not a bathroom) or might easily have felt inappropriate to said Savvy.    I resisted the urge and then spent the next couple of days wishing I had at least stopped and said thank you for the podcasts.  Note to self: Resisting anything that could be seen to be 'fangirl' is usually smart.  Missing an opportunity to say thank you is foolish. 

If you haven't heard of the Savvy Girls Podcast, you should.  They talk knitting and travel and sister silliness in a way that reminds me of my own sisters.  You will be guaranteed visits by SavvyMom and various and sundry other Savvy friends and relatives, most notably the gerbils, seriously interesting gerbils (and I don't even like small rodents).  If you listen to the whole archive, you get the bonus of hearing Savvy Dad and his wisdom and wit too.

The Savvy Girls don't just knit.  Savvy Melanie is a singer and actress.  She has had several productions in the Fringe Festival here and has taken the shows around North America.  

Savvy Melanie's latest venture is  Knitting All the Day, a CD of knitting songs from the early 20th century.   Who knew?

Well, Melanie did. 

My personal favourite is 'Knocking at the Knitting Club' but I confess to a fondness for the whole darn thing. 

The radio just doesn't play songs like these and for those long drives across the prairies, a CD like this is a must.  It's probably better if you listen and resist the urge to sing along unless you are alone.  Then sing away.  It is the perfect album for it. These are the perfect songs.

Peppy, happy, sad, purposeful.  Those are the things that come to mind when I listen to the previews.  

Now I must go and sort out formats and such so I can purchase!

There are 5

but I cannot count the plain red one.  Its got a short row heel and I am off anything but a tube right now with a heel day in the future.  I think it is part of the knitting funk leftover and dumped on a poor pair of socks.  

I was really going to open today's blog as a letter to the poor blog.  I neglected it today in the most heartless way.  I stayed in bed and watched the last episode of Pride and Prejudice.  I chose Mr. Darcy over the blog, which would be quite clearly forgivable if I had been watching the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice.  But it wasn't.  I was watching the BBC version and the Mr. Darcy isn't the sort of Mr. Darcy that I would ever make a fool out of myself over.  

But it was Mr. Darcy and Austen tells my favourite stories of all time.  Sorry blog.  

Monday, 2 April 2012

Is 4 a bevy?

When you travel on a weekend, and you are not the driver, you get a lot of time to knit. Considering the impending doom to my sock drawer, the only knitting I took along was sock knitting.

 I finished the orange purpley-brown red ones first.  They are nice socks, but though they were just fine to knit, that sort of striping is never as much fun as something really stripey.

Then I finished the lone red sock.  It was short and just needed the cuff completed.  I do have one more sock  to knit for the pair, but its is a really short tennis type sock.  It shouldn't take long to do.  Rather than starting that second red sock, it was time for more fun than plain red. Its a nice red but still, time to move on.

So I worked on yet another started pair, the really striped red, white and blue pair.  I love these with their almost farmer, almost nautical, perfectly fun look.  Sock one completed on that pair, and sock 2 well on the way.

Note the colour theme?  Red seems to be my spring thing.

Once I finish the striped sock, red shortie notwithstanding, I will put them together with the previously completed pairs
and will sit and have a heel day.  Or maybe I will have heel lunches.

A heel a meal?  Perhaps.