Friday, 29 June 2012

Seams and Yarn Sales

There is one other wee thing that I want to point out about seams.  Well about the word seam.  When used as a verb, it can also mean   "To form ridges in by purling."

I mean, who would have thought that.  The use of the word simply cannot be in the everyday lexicon of most people. I even found supporting use of the word this way when reading last night, in one of my older knitting books. Or maybe I just wasn't ready to know it yet.

My local yarn store is having their yearly sale Canada Day.  Its a biggie.  25% off.  For newsletter people if you care to shop a couple of days early and get the best selection, you can get 10% off in the days leading up to the sale.  I stopped by yesterday to scope things out.  

But I didn't scope.  I shopped.  I shopped hard. Like running a sprint, I only had so much time and there was a lot of yarn to consider.  There was lace.  Misti Alpaca or Malabrigo?  Colinette?  There was that gorgeous store line,  Eden as well as their Epic yarn in the cream and charcoal black.  Wonderful natural colours.  There was some cool chunky multi coloured Malabrigo.  There was a a whole bunch of Debbie Bliss Amalfi.  Its gorgeous stuff and perfect for summer knitting.  There was Rowan.  Oh my Creative Linen, how I love you. Kid Silk Haze, I love you plus I love your big balls of 'Stripes' even more.  There was a ton, a ton of chunky weight Super Alpaca from Diamond yarns.  I could have used several sweaters worth of that. There was Noro. And sock yarn.  And Sirdar's marvelous Baby Bamboo.  And Cascade 220 and Ecological Cascade  and Ultra alpaca .  And...and...and...

When I was preparing to pay the piper, they did not tell me how much I owed, they told me how much I saved.  That was impressive enough.  When I got home, I was mucking about and put it all in my stash, like a good Raveler (and so I remember just what I have) and you know what?  

I bought 3.9 miles of yarn yesterday. Almost 4 miles of yarn.  I didn't think 4 miles of yarn could fit into bags that small.

I ought to go lie down and think about that.  

Thursday, 28 June 2012

If a Seam isn't a Seam

So, if a seam isn't a seam but rather a strut, what does it do?  

A strut by definition is a structural element used to brace or strengthen a framework by resisting longitudinal compression.  Clear as mud, right?  Yeah me too. so let me say it in relation to your knitting.

A strut, commonly referred to as a seam, holds the stitches of the shoulder strap and stops them from growing wider if placed at the shoulder. It might make a back of neck perform a little better.  Stay narrower as the case may be, but it applies some structural stability across stitches not rows.  It won't help to support the garment.  

At the sides of garment, yeah it could be argued that some stability is given to the garment by a seam, but that stability does not go very far back into the garment because of the net nature of knitting.  You might get, maybe 6 stitches wide of relative stability beside the seam but that is about it.  If your project was going to sag a seam isn't going to help a lot.  At the end of the day, that extra layer of yarn used in making the strut might just end up adding a bit more weight to the thing.

Bottom line is this.  The fabric you are knitting is a self supporting net.  If you knit too loosely for the net to support the end weight of the garment, it is going to sag.  And every single fibre in every single weight and make up of yarn is going to be different.  

A lot of people use dressmaking as the reason why you should do seams but knitting doesn't produce the stable relatively unelastic fabric that weaving gives you.  Knitting is stretchy and flexible and has give.  It will round a shoulder and snug to an arm nicely.  You don't have to force a shape, you just have to suggest it by adding a few well placed stitches.  

It is a very different creature and I am all for letting that creature do what it does well.  As poster NewYorkbuilt, says, swatch and murdalise and know what the fabric you produce is going to be capable of and knit accordingly.

What all this means is that I am surely going to have to knit that Bamboo tape tightly.  

In other knitting news, I finished something!!

Also Purple, is a nifty little 6 foot long scarf that is knit like the bottom shaped part of Sally Melville's Shape It Scarf.  Increase 4 stitches at the beginning of every row.  Its only about 6 inches deep.  Jewlery as much as anything!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Textured Stitches

I picked up the Book Textured Stitches in the Interweave Hurt Book Sale.  Umm Interweave?  Book not hurt. Just saying.  

But what an excellent buy.  And it means that I did not have to buy from Knitpicks to get this kind of price! 

Its a great book.  Lovely patterns and an interesting premise.  The writer, Connie Chang Chincio does some really nice things and opens up eyes with the way she uses small bits of texture stitches to adorn but not overwhelm the sweaters.  I love it.


The book has one irritating problem.  She says some things that, and never supports the statement, and never explains why she supports the statement.  I take some issue with that.

"To prevent possible stretching, the fronts, the backs, and the sleeves, are knitted separately and joined with stabilizing seams." (Pg 119, Connie Chang Chincio)'

Like a mantra, it is repeated.  I heard the same thing while taking Sally Melville's classes.  

I've wondered about this. I just felt the statement was wrong.  I'm not sure why, and I could never explain what I felt, but there just seemed to be something wrong with this.  

I would like to respond.  Or rather, I would like other much smarter people, much better knitters, respond for me.

We've been discussing this a little at my knit groups.  OK.  I have been asking about it because of my very very nice Bamboo Tape and the contiguous method of knitting sweaters.  And then one of the very smart people I knit with pointed out that raglans seem to hold their shape just fine and they have no shoulder seams.  The seams raglans have are most definitely off the shoulders.  I thought about that a lot and I agree. Icelandic style sweaters, or other sweaters knit with the round yoke don`t seam to suffer this either.  

I mentioned that on the contiguous thread here, and another member posted this response.  

"While there is a natural inclination to assume structural support in a man-made object is ADDED by a seam, the materials research scientists disagree with your statement. In fact, seams are a weak point. What is being confused here is a tight length in a flexible mesh…knitted fabric with a shortened expanse that prevents stretching. This is a strut, not a seam, which is a fundamental aspect of design. Seams are not necessary for strength, as in any living organic body, sweaters, or other objects created with flexible meshes."  (Ravelry member NewYorkbuilt)

NewYorkbuilt goes on further to say:

"The knitted object, as noted by such authors as Deborah Newton In Finishing School, Priscilla A. Gibson Roberts in Knitting In The Old Way, or Maggie Reghetti in Sweater Design in Plain English has no need for seams. Tightness in a strut built on the shoulder stops stretching. The body supports the shoulder material at the top of the arm, the chest and the back.
The key as stated earlier is to beat the daylights out of your swatch, torture it, MURDALIZE the wretched thing. Then wash, dry and see wha’ happened. You will learn much more about your stretched shoulder area.
Also, as SuzieM has noted in the group pages, most people make their shoulder lengths TOO LONG. The correct shoulder measurement is from the crest of the acromion bone to the base of the neck. If you go longer than this, the shoulder area will stretch, regardless. It has to. A fundamental aspect of OUR design." (Again, the fabulous NewYorkbuilt)
So not only does a seam not help, it makes it weaker. Think of how often a seam splits under tension and how seldom the fabric beside it does.  

It is the tightness we give our knitting that is doing the job of keeping things sitting pretty on the shoulder.  And a lot of really good people have said it and supported it with sweaters, knit over and over and over again.

So yes.  Finally something that makes sense to me, in terms I actually understood.  I`m not saying that knitting should never be done with seams (though I do not like to knit that way) and I am not saying that every sweater isn`t going to show some wear and weakness at the shoulders.  What I and some smart people and a lot of observation are saying is that if you choose the right yarn and knit without seams, You are going to be just fine.

So long as you swatch and `murdalise`it so you understand how your yarn will perform. Aye, there is the rub. 

Words that designers say are taken to be truth by the average knitter.  Too often, it is unsupported truth. Document it, research it.  Then say it.  Explain why before spreading a mantra that just isn`t quite all it is made out to be. 

The book is a good one, do consider it.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Also Purple

I have not had much time to do a lot of knitting, but here is what I have done.  This is the scarf that is also purple.  

Two shots to see if the colour is right on either.  And no it isn't.  I hate when that happens.  If anything the second is more correct.  Not that your monitor will look the same as my monitor!

The other thing to know about Also Purple is that it isn't a Shape it Scarf anymore.  It is a sister of shape it.  I didn't like the proportions I was getting making a regular shape it scarf.  To get it to look right and to have the ends long enough, I would have needed another 2 skeins.  This is supposed to be a mini stash busting event, plus, I don't love it enough to spend another 20 bucks on it.   I've just kept right on doing the increases and I love it long long triangular shape.  

When it is done, I am going to force myself to do that last sleeve on the pink thing, and then on to a Daybreak.  Or maybe a Clockwork.

I still can't decide.

Monday, 25 June 2012

A mixed bag of things

Do you ever look at your kids and wonder how you possibly could have given birth to such great guys?  Here is one of them.  Number 2 son, a tall, broad shouldered, big man modeling his completed Brownstone!
It turned out really great, even though , as usual, I gave only glancing attention to the pattern and just sort of followed along in my usual way.  My gauge was different, my number of stitches was different, but even so, still indisputably a Brownstone.  The sweater knit from a pattern without a pattern.

And then just before dinner, Number 1 son and his wife dropped by.  It was the perfect day.

One of the other things that has been going on around Chez Needles is, as ever, the constant reading of books.  I sure don't read like I used to but I do manage to get my fair share of reading in.

I've had an old copy of the letters of Thomas Jefferson for a while now.  It is the perfect thing to read in short bursts of time.  Each letter is self contained and does not rely on what precedes it.  So long as your page is properly marked, you can still move forward in a nice slow procession of time.

That is what reading a book of letters feels like.  Especially old letters.  You move along through a writers life, watches as they change their points of view, watching as history passes, and in this case feeling history being made as you read along and get a real feel for the scope of the man and his life.

I am just to the point where he has been elected president.  I was scanning ahead and a letter titled Friendship Renewed, written to John Adams, caught my eye. So I stopped to read it.  A nice letter about day to day things.   

"Every family in the country is a manufactory within itself, and is very 
generally able to make within itself all the stouter and middling stuffs for 
its own clothing and household use. We consider a sheep for every person in the family as sufficient to clothe it, in addition to the cotton, hemp and flax 
which we raise ourselves. For fine stuff we shall depend on your northern 
manufactories."  (Thomas Jefferson)

See that? "A sheep for every person in the family as sufficient to clothe it."

People often ask how I know little detaily things.  Now you know.  And, once read from paper, not easily forgotten.

So, when I'm are trying to sort out how much fibre one needs to clothe oneself for a year, I would say 2 fleeces considering that in Virginia, they likely sheered twice a year.  This would be offset by the lack of truly deep, cold weather (which Jefferson addresses in another letter in this section), and the modern offset, that I don't have to make all my own garments from wool.  

Thinking of the unrecorded and unwritten down fibre stash....I have 3 full fleeces and umm, how shall I say it, 'some' other stuff.  

I think I have this covered for a few years.  

Friday, 22 June 2012

Good Drugs

I know tremendously bad title there.  But it is what I am hoping for today.  

Somewhere along the line, I've managed to catch another cold.  Or other.  I haven't had a cold sore yet, which is usually a sign of what is to come for me.  Knowing what it is, really doesn't matter because, bottom line, I feel yucky.  

And pitiful.  Really pitiful.  And sleepy. Which is really bad because I have to be at work today.

Here is hoping good drugs work.

Thursday, 21 June 2012


I know no one who collects in the way that I do other than knitters and perhaps readers.  Is a personal library a collection or just an accident that happens as you find stuff you would like to read?

I do have a yarn collection.  You have all seen the signs of that.  I also have a small collection of blue and white china.  I've pictured that here before.  

I may have even shown you part of my other great collection before, but you are going to see it again!

I love to cook, but cooking is best done when you have time to gather things and prepare them thoughtfully with joy.  I am an indifferent cook of everyday foods.  I love cooking and over the years have amassed a large collection of cookbooks. 
    These are the hardcovers.  Many were bought long before I had a family or kids, long before cookbooks were works of photographic genius.  Cookbooks used to have very few photos, but were stuffed full of great things.  You just had to work harder, read and imagine deeper, that the very severe looking recipe would be magic.  

Over the years, I amassed these, but in the middle years, the years of kids and family and farming, there really wasn't a lot of money to spend on my interest in cookbooks.  But I could spend 10 bucks every now and then.  

I also needed recipes for things that I could make from what was readily available in the stores I shopped at.  In 1980, in small town Saskatchewan you weren't going to find the latest hot trend in cheese and rutabagas and parsnips would have been the trendiest vegetable out there. Baby Spinach?  Arugala?  I think not.

Jean Pare came out with 150 Delicious Squares in April of 1981 and her special brand of magic has been happening ever since.  She and the company that she founded to keep publishing are a Canadian success story.  She found her niche before there was such a thing as niche businesses.

I think I bought my first one, Muffins and More when it was published in 1983, and my sister in law bought me 150 Delicious Squares as a thank you gift for helping her out at Christmas function she was hosting.  I loved these books, and as Jean published her original series, I bought.  

The only one I don't have in the original format is the red Holiday Entertaining.  I have it in the format that it was given out at Turbo gas stations, a binder full of booklets.  But otherwise I have them all.  The whole shebang can be a little hard to take in all at once.  

Storage is always an issue.  Unfortunately, mine looks like this right now.

There are a few that aren't tucked in here, because it is full.  (The shelf below is cookbooks too)  

When we redid our kitchen, I told the designer lady that I needed a lot of room for my cookbooks.  She put in what she said would be lots, but there isn't even room on the pretty open shelves to show the whole Company's Coming collection!  There wasn't right from the very first.  Next kitchen I am going to make sure that the designer sees my collection of books before she talks me into something that isn't going to work!

I do have a number of the other Company's Coming books.  I did think about collecting them all at one point, but I had to knock some sense into my head.  Of all but the original series, I buy only what interests me.  I admit though, - how shall I put this - I am really interested! 

Anyway, as it happens, Company's Coming is still producing great cookbooks.  I don't buy them every time a new one comes out, but every once in a while I stock up and buy whatever titles I don't have.  

Now that some of the early ones are being republished and updated for modern tastes, I am not so sure I will keep up, but I am not sold on it.  A collection that is not complete is just a pile of books.

I have a spreadsheet to track what I have and what I don't have.  I find this pitiful, but there are so many.

Anyway my newest batch arrived yesterday.  I'm thrilled.  

If the knitting output goes down it is because I am reading a lot of good stuff!  

And maybe cooking. 

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Also Purple

Used to be that a sweater was a sweater, a scarf a scarf,  and a shawl, a shawl or that pretty lace shawl.  Since Ravelry, or maybe even earlier, since Knitty, your projects and patterns have got to have a name.

It was kind of nice to be able to talk about a pattern and call it a Liesl and have everyone you were talking to about it, know exactly which sweater you meant.  

Now however if you said a Liesl, they wouldn't even be able to tell if you were knitting a garment or a fancy little haeadband or if you name was Liesl, which must be really hard if your name is Liesl.

Its bad enough with pattern names, but now, because I put my projects on Ravelry, I feel compelled to give my project a name.  A sub name.  A name to identify it among the other 10,000 projects, or to identify which of two my two of that pattern it is.

Though I have never knit with Seduce before and I have never knit a Shape It Scarf before, I keep having this very strong sense of deja vu.  I submit:

a very lovely Bitteroot (see?) knit out of the stunning Flaxen from Handmaiden in a lucious purple.  The more I wear this, the more I love it.  The flax and silk just get better and better and better.

I submit item 2.

Also purple made of Seduce, which everyone says just gets better and better and better.  Also linen and silk with significant parts of rayon and a little bit of nylon.  

Not the same at all, but both neck things, fairly similar in texture, and in colour (The second picture is really dull.  The yarn is not), different patterns, and yet, this one is going to be called Also Purple.  

Because, as you can see, it is also purple.  

Did I mention I struggle when I have to come up with cool names?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Again with the starting

After spending a bit of time looking at various Revontuli's I realized I had to start my wee proto shawl over.  The needles I was using were just too large.  Sekku is such a delicate yarn, with its loosely spun delicate bits, and I don't want it pulling itself apart with its own weight.  So, back to the drawing board on that one.

Which leaves me with nothing simple to knit and hands that just absolutely want to knit simple.  I am a desperate woman.

What do I have for patterns, and what do I have for yarns (already pulled out) that will do in really simple knitting.  Brainless simple.

Well, there is the Seduce.  And there hiding behind my chair is the just peeking out corner of Sally Melville's The Knit Stitch.  That's it!  A Shape It Scarf.

With it's simple simple shape and Seduce's drape, it ought to be just right.

I sure wish it were a little closer to baby time.  I know.  I hate the idea of rushing time, but its just too soon for baby knitting and I have hands that are craving baby knitting.  

Monday, 18 June 2012

Faitful for a week

And that is as far as it goes it seems.

We weeded the garden on the weekend.  It is a subsitence sized garden. A very, very large garden and even with two of us working, we did not quite finish in the 6 hours we put in. (Out of practice.) I'm going to have to go out and finish the corn and carrots in the evenings.  Its picky work, cleaning the rows so that each tiny plant can be the best it can be, but if we do it now, our returns from the garden will be so much bigger, and every year after we will reap the benefits of a cleaner garden.  As back breaking as the work is, I appreciate every moment of it.

If you buy from a market garden or CSA, remember food comes at the price of a lot of labour and you are getting off cheaply, no matter what you are paying.
Remember to say thank you.

The consequence to knitting is, first off, that I did not have time to do a whole lot of knitting.  Second, my hands were aching and tired.  Holding and swinging a hoe  took everything out of my hands.  I couldn't do anything heavy or large, and certainly no cotton/non wool yarn knitting.  There just wasn't enough there to give.

So I worked rather desultorily on the wee gray that might be a vest bling thing.  But even that soft smooth yarn became too much.  So, what is a knitter going to do?

Clean house or clean stash?  You got it.  I played in the stash.  I also cleaned house, but that isn't finished yet either - an unfinished weekend all around it seems.

It was time to go through the boxes and really have a look at yarn, and make sure everything is good.

For those of you unlucky souls who do not have a stash, going through the stash is the single best reason to collect a stash.  Digging in it, pawing through all that yummy goodness is reinvigorating and rejuvenating.  I feel younger than springtime with a newly kindled fire in my soul.

What I really need is some nice light new small shawls in pretty colours and yarns that are light in weight but stunning enough to offset the very very plain summer wardrobe of almost t-shirts that are my under a sweater wardrobe the rest of the year.  So to the digging was not just the usual digging. It was directed digging.

There are a couple of things in my special things collection that are going to come in play.  I have some very pretty Ruca in soft colours, that is going to be a Blossom shawl or some other budlike lace pattern, something that will handle its soft but frequent colour repeats with style and grace.  I have no photos of this because it went back into its easily accessible box.  It sits right behind my head though.  I'll not forget.

And then these were pulled from the bottom of the bottom of the closet where all the not a sweater yarns are.
Seduce, lovely Seduce from Berocco.  A pretty drapey something, I think.  A Berthe Collar perhaps?  

Then there is this pretty slinky skein that I kind of ended up with when buying a bag of other yarn that I coveted.  This was totally an accident but a very very pretty one.  A single 400 m skein of Yarn Pirate's Merino Tencel fingering weight yarn.  Small shawl country for sure.   

Then oh my coveted, longed for something from Classic Elites Fresca.  I love this yarn.  It develops the most delicious halo with its angora content.  It will be a Clockwork or a Daybreak, but until I sit down to buy the pattern I will not know which. I suspect Clockwork, but don't put Daybreak out of contention just yet. 

And then these.  Oh my precious.  These are almost too pretty to knit, but If I don't knit them the magical Noro colours will remain forever hidden. 

And that would be a crime against the universe. Noro Kiramecki above and Sekku below.  I have only 1 ball of the Kirameki, but two of the Sekku.  One of them is going to be Citron  and the other is going to be Revontuli huivi or translated,  Northern Lights .  Either shawl can be made with 1 and both can be as large as you want.  I cast on the the Revontuli with this one, but the knitting seems very fine.  I might change my mind yet.

but then again, when I look at all the projects in SekkuThis pattern speaks to me in this yarn.  

I'm under a spell.  Bewitched.  Let the good magic flow. 

Saturday, 16 June 2012


I love putting the garden in. That is just playing in the dirt fun.  

Now it is weeding season.  We were out this morning for 3 hours and are going back this afternoon.  We need to get it done before the next batch of rain hits tomorrow.

But weeding is hard work.  Weeding makes you wonder what the heck you were thinking when you put it in.  You weren't of course.  You were just playing in the dirt.

Weeding is hard.

I will persist because in the middle of winter next year, I will still have wonderful delicious vegetables to eat, grown with help from warm soil, sun and a little bit of rain.

That makes it all worthwhile. 

Friday, 15 June 2012


Even with all the progress on the pink sweater, I haven't been very faithful to it.  I've been playing with other things that happened in the stash.  

One sign of an unfaithful knitter is other knitting has to be the next half finished project.  Now you might think that had all my efforts gone to pink, pink would be done, but not so.  This was knitted when my hands were tired of the very sturdy non stretchy nature of Remix (after about 6 hours of knitting)  or tired of wee garter stitch and when my head just needed a little something different.  It isn't much of anything and has a long way to gob before its life as a project can be confirmed or denied.  It may not be anything yet though I am generally aiming for a vest.  I have 864 metres and it is a worsted weight, so I'm seeing just how far it can go.  There should be enough for a something.

I'm knitting it out of Flicker from Berroco which was given to me by a friend. It is different than my usual choice of yarns because of the tiny bits of metallic shine in it.  I'm generally not into bling in my yarn but it is very subtle, and I can see how one can easily fall for its incredible softness.  There is much here to love.

Flicker is a tubular yarn.  It is constructed by a strand (or 2 or 3) being knit into a tiny tube and they yarn you work with is that tube.   That construction makes it incredibly light.  It almost feels as if you are knitting nothing but air. Like any tubular yarn and like most things with a non-metallic sparkly fibre component, it is catchy so you do have to do each stitch with a little care, but its baby aplaca makes knitting it a pleasure.  The best part?  It gives a fabric with the most amazing spongy light interesting texture and feel.

The pink thing will likely be finished this weekend, and who knows.  If it keeps up raining and I can't get to the garden,  the choice for weekend tasks is housework or knitting. All of us know just which thing I am most likely to do!

Thursday, 14 June 2012


June is a month that marks time for me in a way no other month does.  Every day as I wake, the sun is farther and farther to the point where it will shine straight into my northeast facing room.  And then one day, it does and for about 20 brief and glorious days, I wake bathed in sunlight. Its is a countdown as old as earth itself, relentless, following a pace in time and space that the universe sets. Seemingly immutable, and tied to the very core of who we are.  It reaches a crescendo at the summer solstice.

Sleeves knitted last on a knit from the top down are kind of like that.  You pick them up, and forward, forward relentlessly moving down to sleeve hem to the grand crescendo of a completed sweater, a great journey that reaches the height of glory in the finished accomplishment.

Or it would, if those overly grand poetic thoughts weren't like something out of a movie. In my study, sitting there with the pink before me, I catch myself thinking, 'there are two of them.  Two.  I'm never going to finish. These little tubes are going to kill me in their mind numbingly endless knit 3 rounds decrease the next.  Over and over and over again.'

Sleeves are relentless. The only reason I keep going is because there really is the grand crescendo of a completed sweater.  It makes it all worthwhile.

So I sit and knit, and keep focused on that deliberate path, step by step,  forward. 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012


The sleeve nemesis strikes again.  I hope I caught it in time.  Unfortunately, I'll have to knit a little more till I can be sure.  

2 needles sizes bigger, dummkopf.  2 not 1.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

And back to Pink

Foolishness aside, the pink sweater is moving along nicely.  I'll be starting sleeves today.  They will be long fairly fitted sleeves, as in the pattern.
In the mean time, here is how it looks so far.
I'm pretty pleased.  On Ms Dummy, it flows just beautifully.  As I am just a touch girthier than Ms Dummy, it is a little less so on me, but that same drape and flow will come on wearing and if not, I suspect with the addition of another completed v of the lace.  
I am really pleased with the way the lace has turned out.  It is just the right sort of flash under the arms, for a non flashy dresser like me.  A sort of bling light of the sweater world.
And this is my contiguous shoulder.  I.  Am.  So.  Pleased.  Gregales original pattern has a very wide neckline with raglan sleeves.  That isn't really a good look for me.  Knitting the upper body contiguoulsy keeps the raglan-simple knitting but results in a completely perfect set in sleeve.  

So far so fair.  Now lets get these sleeves done.

Monday, 11 June 2012

A little something to take the edge off

I did a substantial amount of work on the pink sweater on the weekend.  I bound off the bottom edge, though I won't call it done till I can see what it looks like with sleeves.  It might need just another inch or two, to be in that proper place between too long sweater and too short dress.  Its a very thin line for someone as short as I.  Its such a thin line that I am not 100% sure that it exists.  In my mind it does, but only time shall tell if it exists in the world of sweaters.

In the mean time, just to take off the edge a little.  What edge you say?  Well, I got up and knit on the pink sweater till noon and my hands begged to stop working on the heavy project but my heart still itched to knit (ever have an itchy heart?  ya)

I have an overflowing basket of sock bits, and it was past time to get it down below overflowing.  I had cast on 15 stitches midweek last week, just fooling around, when my brain was overloaded.

Then on the weekend it grew and round 2 is completed.  I managed to sneak a little photo shoot in as I was working.  It will never be one of those splendid creations that make you hold your breath when you see their pictures, but it will be useful and washable and light.

There is an unusual amount of yarn in my sock basket that is yellow.  I was more than a little surprised at how many yarns laid side by side had yellow as a binding component.

When asked what my favourite colour is, I usually say red, but I know that yellow holds a very strong second.  I do have a stunning yellow study, brilliantly stunning, if I may say so myself, blindingly so to some.  But yellow is a much harder to wear colour, so I usually default to reds. Or so I thought.  The truth will out.

As it works up, I expect there to be other surprises, like how much rust and orange there is and how much blue there isn't.  I also think there will be only a very small amount of primary colours, though I have always thought of jewel tones and primaries as the things that spoke to me most of all.

Maybe it changes as you age?  I know that there is a physical component to the colours that attract us, that changes as our retina and optic nerve age.  Primaries are most easily identified by our childhood eyes and as we age our choices slowly move to tones and shades.

Maybe the choice of sock yarns shows this.  Or maybe not.  Maybe I am just plain in a loves yellow mode since I took up sock knitting.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Looking forward

One of the biggest changes that knitting brought to my life is the constant focus on forward.

That isn't my modus operandi.  No.  My usual is to take everything out and turn it over and over again, an epic seeking of right and wrongs.  There always are imperfections and I tend get mired in the wrongs.  

Knitting isn't like that at all.  Oh you can make mistakes, but it forces you to choose what you are going to do in an unthreatening way or you can fix it and move on.  Knitting is unforgiving  enough to teach you what happens to people who choose to just keep on without fixing it but it does it so gently that the only pain you could possibly feel is when you step on the needle as you walk past the corner you tossed the thing into.

But even when it forces you to go back and fix it, it then proceeds to be all about the forward motion.  

I still have a lot of my current pink sweater to finish but I am focused forward.  There may yet be days when my work goes backwards on it, but still, my mind and heart and soul are focused forward.  

What is next?  I've been thinking about Undercurrent  and I am sure that will happen before winter rears it head, but I also have been thinking a lot about something lighter, less causal, and maybe just a tad more conservative.  

OK a lot more conservative.  Its another of those 'my wardrobe could really use a _____ 'garments.  I need a good simple ordinary cardigan.  Think twinset and pearls for the general shape and fit of it.  These days the look gets consigned to 'vintage' and perhaps that is so.  It could very well be an old fashioned look.  Still it is a cardigan style that has no dates and is classic and suitable for every possible occasion.  

I want it to be classic in shape and plain in the knitting except for a tiny element of ...well...something.  I am going through the various stitch dictionaries with great vigor searching for the perfect little element.  It is completely possible that the perfect thing is simply an eyelet every once in a while, maybe with the eyelets becoming more and often in Hanami like glory.

Maybe what I need is a Hanami sweater.  Ah well.  I am looking for just a little something.  

This is the time in a knitting life of the big dream.  It is where your hands might be in the day to day work, but your mind is free to wander forward, ever forward, searching for the next interesting thing to know, to do, to work on, to play with.  Even when you are mired in ongoing things, your heart will be looking forward.

That is one of the things knitting taught me.  Always focusing forward and when you do look back, it teaches you it is OK, that it is normal and will be over in the blink of an eye. 

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Ahhhh much better.

The repairs are done.

Well. Almost done.  The bind off is half done.  Then I just have to get   Son2 out to try it on and to stand still while I take a photo.  The standing still part is going to be a lot more painful than knitting the sweater.

The only other exciting stuff is this.

The next thing?  I'm not so sure about that, but it will happen pretty soon.  

I splurged on some Madelinetosh Tosh DK. I love those soft colour changes and variances.  I love the way that kind of thing looks in stockinette.  I don't know what pattern but time will sort that out.  

Its pretty, I will grant you that but I won't really know how these earthy yarn loving hands will feel about the fancy stuff till I knit it.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Sound knitting

I got in a nice chunk of good sound knitting this morning.  The re-worked ribbing on the Son 2's sweater is almost done.  Another 4 to 5 rows and it should be back where I started.  

As I worked, I pondered what I should do next.  I'm not quite ready to start on baby things even if my hands are very ready to knit said baby things.  I haven't quite got what I want to knit for baby down pat.  There will be a blanket, but which one?  Which pattern?  I'd love to do a sweater, but which one of many many patterns?  I would like to knit a hat but should it be the one with the sweet peak in the center, or something with a delicate girly edge?  I anticipate knitting for a very long time for my sweet wee thing, so there is no sense in doing too much at once.

But that leaves me with a few awkward weeks.  I could knit all sorts of things, but the bottom line is do I want it to be something that I will feel driven to complete in those few weeks or will it be destined to be an unfinished object, still hoped for but not something I am driven to knit. 

The trick is to avoid that.  My WIP basket can't take any more.  The sensible thing would be to finish a few things from the WIP basket.  

That is the real question.  Am I sensible?     

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Mildly distracted

I'm a little distracted this morning.  I have no idea why.  Perhaps it is that I had not more than three minutes of sleep last night.  Perhaps it is the fact that  I could really use a coffee, but I suspect it would taste wrong this morning.  

I don't know, but I am distracted.  Disorganized, fuzzy headed, buzzy but not in a good way, exhausted and distracted.

It is knitting day here.  I miss the long afternoons where I could sit and chat and idle away an afternoon knitting in good company.  I do go now but just for one precious hour.  It kills me to come back to work at 1.  It just plain kills me.  

On the upside there is knitting tomorrow evening as usual (at the library this week correct? - I have gone to the alternate week place and wondered why no one was there) and they are just getting another day time knitting group up and running.

Way back when we were all first meeting on Ravelry and then off Ravelry, we statrted a group on the north side.  That group spawned several other groups including my regular Tuesday group and my Wednesday group. That group of northside knitters has grown and grown.  It is a wonderful group but it is so successful that it is almost too large.  So a few of the usual suspects, by that I mean ladies who live east and a few who live south have decided with the price of gas going up and the city getting so cotton picking busy, they would rather stick closer to home.  

So the northside group is spawning again.  There will be a Friday group at the usual location starting about noon and going till whenever you go home!  I will show up for my one hour lunch.  I am so pleased.  Beats sitting in the car and knitting.  

So even though I am feeling distracted and a little fuzzy around the edges, I have something happy to contemplate, somewhere pleasing to go, something to focus on.  So that is what I am going to do this morning.  

I am going to practice focusing on the really fun stuff in my day and am going to pull it together enough to knit on my pretty pink sweater.  Lots of stockinette and an easy lacy.   

Monday, 4 June 2012

The doctor came

And he gave up.

Son 2's sweater needed just a little more length in the front.  I guess instead of knitting short rows in the back, what he really needed was just more rows.  Everything looked great but for a wee bit more length.  

since I just needed rows in the front, I was hoping to be able to split the ribbing off, just in the front, slip in some short rows, and graft it closed.  I don't mind long grafts so long as you take you time and pay attention to how tight you are pulling the grafted stitches.  I was sort of looking forward to it.  

When it came right down to it, the trouble with that sort of thinking was short rows.  I was a little concerned about whether I could get the last stitches of the graft melding seamlessly with the rest of the stitches.  I decided this was no place to try something new.  Had it been the back, I probably would have, but not on a sweater front.  

Yesterday evening, I took the bottom off 

and now am a few rows into the ribbing.

It was a weekend of finishing.  I also finished the blue sweater.  Well, almost finished off the blue sweater.

I forgot to make those adjustments to the sleeves but I will do that this evening.  It will be interesting to see if they still are needed after a day of wear.  Still I am very pleased with the way it turned out.  The hemmed edge is just the right sort of finish for it.  It gives weight and consequence to its simplicity.

I put its completion into my Ravelry page as I usually do and realized that it took me only 1 month to complete.  In the same time period I also knit a good portion of the brown sweater and knit a whole bunch of the pink.  That is a lot of sweater knitting in one month.  Which means little to anybody else but is pretty interesting to me.  

I am once again, thinking about what next.  Its not quite time to do baby things.  A wee bit early in the game for that.  There might just be enough time to squeak in one more sweater.  Or maybe I ought to just finish some stuff.  That work in progress pile is fast becoming the forever pile.

Or maybe I should just knit something garter stitch.  A little garter stitch might be just the thing for waiting. Or there is a quilt I want to stitch. And...and

Friday, 1 June 2012

Doctor Doctor, where are you?

No surgery was performed last night.  I didn't even get home till 7 pm.  If there had been a reason I'm sure it would have been fine.  No I just stopped for groceries and everything was so slow and crowded.  Everybody else had the same idea.  Let us get this task done so we can catch up at home this weekend.

Well, alright.  That is a little bit of a lie.  I did get groceries but I was home by 6:40.  I was just having such a good time on the pink and didn't want to go where thinking was needed.  I'm hoping you will forgive me but the pink is pretty compelling.

It sure doesn't look like much does it?  Still, I am very pleased with everything about it.  Its contiguousness.  Its pinkness (I think I am falling in love with the colour all over again.).  Its lace.  Its mindlessness.

Not a lot of the sweaters I knit are ever mindless.  My height and all the short row shaping I like to do means that a sweater is a piece that looks plain, but isn't

This one is.

Now that I understand this lace properly and so long as I keep increasing on 4, it has become a nice little lace pattern.  I was starting to wonder about that regular line of shaping.

Would it be too much?  Might it need a small section near the waist where it should just be straight so that the bottom doesn't flare out too much?  The answer, I think, is no. By the numbers the skirt, if you will, is very wide.  The schematic shows it to be 45 inches across, which means 90 inches in circumference.  The bottom skirt is very wide by design. What I am going to do is move my needles sizes up just a bit.  I started this with 3.75 mm needles at the top.  I wanted the shoulders to be good and firm so that down the road, when it is settled into the bases of each stitch, as non wool fibres do, It will still be a nice firm fabric.

Just this morning I upped it to 4 mm needles and when the next ball of yarn goes on, I will up it again to 5mm.  I don't normally get to use this tactic for sizing garments.  It isn't enough of a change in gauge to fit the sort of change I need, but this time, that 90 inch circumference by design has already given me all the room I need.  This time my quest is for drape and flow.  By going up to 5 mm needles, I will get the softer fabric and drape that I think this sweater will demand.

It occurred to me this morning that as much as I like the sweater, and as strong as the urge is to knit it, I really need to finish up the blue one.  Its going to be hard to pull away but I must.  There is a lot of stitching of hems on the blue, and knitting of the sleeve hem lining to do on that one.  I'm not looking forward to that, though I am looking forward to wearing it.

The morning will bring surgery.  I want to get it done so you can all see how very nice the Brownstone turned out.  I'm going to try to get him to model it too.  He looks awfully nice it, if I do say so myself.