Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Doing what comes naturally.

We drove to Saskatchewan last weekend, and because we had Sweet Thing and her parents traveling with us, there was a lot more playing with baby than knitting.  There was some knitting though, and that was great.  A find balance.

I am a sock knitter. A plain vanilla sock knitter. I play a bit with heels and toes, but other than Earl Grey and Monkey socks, I haven't knit patterns.  Plain socks are endlessly entertaining to me, even in plain yarn.  Clearly, it does not take much to amuse me.

I do have sock books.  More than I thought when I started to pull them off of the shelf, if the truth be told.

I've not really knit from them, but they are a valuable source of information and ever an inspiration.  I do hope to knit from them one day, just not yet. Maybe.

I do have one sock book, that I have always known was something I could knit from., something that I would knit from easily and freely. 

The patterns in Nancy Bush's 2005 Knitting Vintage Socks are interpretations of patterns from Weldon's Practical Needlework. They are updated for the yarns we use today but stay with the vast array of vintage heels and toes and techniques.  I like that. It appeals to me aesthetically and historically and needleworky.  

But most of all, I like that they are knittable, doable designs for any age.  So, even though the book is relatively new to my library, it is one that was on my list of must needs.

I think my plan is to knit my way through the book.  There are a variety of ribbed socks at the front of the book.  I will leave those for when I just need something more plain but for today, for right now, I am knitting the Gentelman's Shooting Socks.

 Its a nice textured design, not one you need the pattern for, beyond getting you going.  My kind of pattern.

On this inaugural sock, I am doing a toe that is my usual toe lately, a garter stitch square toe.  I may or may not do my usual heel.  I'll worry about following the sock pattern heels later, but this felt like the right way to start.  Loosely translated, that means I had one toe square ready and on the needles.

So here I am doing what comes naturally, but still knitting a pattern, following someone else's design.  Its really quite illuminating.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Clapotis Redux.

In 2010 I started a Clapotis with 2 balls of Wendy Happy Sock yarn.  It was working so beautifully and I loved the way it draped.  

Clapotis is done as I had hoped. Apparently diligence and project monogamy works.  

I met my target of having only the smallest amount left over, about 10 inches.  It was rather thrilling.

But when I took photos...

It seems that when you just do what you are sure the pattern says to do, and only skim the pattern for confirmation of your belief, but don't actually read the pattern, you get two different ends.  

Back to the drawing board.

Friday, 26 April 2013

Closing out a very good week.

Its a long time since I felt this good about a weeks worth of knitting, about life in general.  It was lovely and warm and the snow is going at an amazing rate and some of the poplars are making their long tasslestoo!  Spring is here.

Wrapping up the week, here we have the last two puppets!

They will be delivered today, on the run to knitting.

I've been working really hard on Paulette's scarf too.  I thought I had just the border, but when I looked this morning, I have one chart row and the border. I'm not going to make the wide Laminaria border.  It was all or nothing for that edging, and I preferred the flowery part of the pattern.  I am going to take one of the borders from Knitted Lace of Estonia or my Haapsalu scarf book.  Both will have something, I am certain that will be the perfect finish. 

And Clapotis?  Clapotis is counting down almost as we speak.  I am well into the decrease section, and before the weekend is done, I hope to have it finished.  

And the, after Clapotis is done, I shall work on socks for a bit. 

Something from in this pile of sock yarn.  Something bright and springlike.  I hope to get some work done on socks.  I need a few pair to replace ones with holes awaiting darning.

But before anything else happens today, I have to deal with this.

Puppet guts. Lots and lots of puppet guts.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Some things are done!

I would like to run around and declare shenanigans!  Or commit them!

The puppets are very very close to done.

The oldest two, the ones based on a sock pattern, are ready to go.

I spent a lot of time sorting out her hair, the bangs in particular, but like everything knitting, you want to know it, you check Ravelry.  There is a toy group and that led me to some great doll hair tutorials.
 And this guy.  I have debated making his rill larger, but I kind of like it this way too.
 His eyes worked out so cool.  The base of his eyes sit right where the heel sort of puffs up above your hand.  He looks perfect.
And these guys.  Not done, but I know what I have to do, and even better, I know how I am going to get there.  

It feel pretty darn good to have something finished.  I love that. And now, I can justly move on to that cool project that my daughter wants for Sweet Thing.  

I'm moving from puppets to bead making.  But not till the weekend. The weekend is soon enough.

Moving along

It recently came to my attention that this Grandma has nothing in her house suitable for small children to chew on.  I have no plastic cups. I have no tupperware lids (no tupperware)  I have no wooden spoons.  I have some spatulas, but they are getting peretty ratty looking, not at all fit for children.  So Grannie decided to go shopping. 

 And if Sweet Thing gets stuff, it seems wrong not to get a little something for my little guy too.
One thing I do have is lots of stairs.  

I also had to go to a craft store to find some wooden balls.  I've been asked to make some beads for baby to play with and the chew on
My daughter showed me pages of pictures.  Stunning stuff and fun for babies too.  

Yarn?  What yarn?  Now how did that get in there?  Sigh. I am weak when there are walls ofyarn to be had.  Weak.   

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

How slow a shawl go

Way back in December of 2010, I started a shawl sized Clapotis out of fingering weight yarn, Wendy Happy, a bamboo sock yarn.

In July of 2012, I wrote about not wanting it to go into 2013.

Yesterday I made a corner.  

It's all downhill from here.

Monday, 22 April 2013

A Clean weekend

I did some cleaning of a small chest I have in my study. That it took the better part of a day, will tell you how stuff was crammed in there.

Anyway, I was putting stuff back in the drawers, and was wishing for some of those handy little divider things that Ikea has.  I stopped and had a coffee and realized, that since the ones I was thinking of looked like crochet, and surely these could be crocheted.  In fact when I thought about it, somewhere in the deep archives, I have an old Bernat book on things for the home that has all kind of boxes in it.  And with the stuff for puppets out, I knew I had the cotton.  

I took a Dk weight cotton, Amazon, I think it was called.  I have had this since long before my knitting days, long before Ravelry.  I made a really nice little hooded top out of it.  I digress.

I took this generic cotton and held it double and crocheted a square for the bottom, nice and firm.   

 Then I picked up around all sides just as if I was knitting a garter stitch sock toe, 1 for each stitch on all sides, and just worked till I thought it was tall enough.  When it was tall enough, I crocheted in a row of double crochets, and then a couple more rounds of singles. 
 and voila.  In less than an hour, using what I had on hand a very fine box for keeping little things.
The double crochet row eases the turn down of the top edge to help reinforce the standing sides.

It was a very interesting excersize.  Only one problem.

I need more boxes.  

Friday, 19 April 2013

More weather stuff

The funny thing about the 'spring' pictures is that this is just my yard and my subdivision.  Though there are big banks where it drifted out and about, the rest of the snow is pretty much gone.  

This photo is from one of the highway cams just south of the city, but the scene is pretty representative of the whole area.  ALmost no snow.

It makes things even worse to know that all I have to do to have winter is to turn into my subdivison.  

Completely unfair.  

I would usually be going to knitting with friends this afternoon, but my Sweet Thing is coming to visit me, so it is going to be a stay at home day.  I expect a little knitting, a little coffeeing and then a whole lot of playing with my favourite little person, till both of us are just pooped out.

In reply to the comments:  Yes sister, it is the price we pay.

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Flashing Spring

All sorts of friends are posting signs of spring in their yards.  Dainty delicate snowdrops and grape hyacinth, stalwart daffodils, masses of mushrooms.  I love seeing these.  It is hugely encouraging.

Till I look outside.  

Because this is what my yard looks like this morning.  

Back deck

East side, this side gets a fair bit of sun, so it isn't looking too bad.

West side.  Gets almost no sun.  It takes a long time for this to go.

  This is about as springlike as it gets around here.  The grass really is green.  True fresh green. With a fresh topping of snow.

I'm not even showing you the front yard.  Much too depressing.

And that is spring in Saskatchewan and Alberta.  In truth, in comparison to many parts of Saskatchewan, Alberta can't even hold up its head.  Saskatchewan is going to have to melt out double this, or more.

In keeping with the season, I am knitting something appropriately spring like.

Rowan Cocoon.  Small warm scrunchy thick scarf.  It will do many wraps around me neck for extra warmth.

I know spring is out there somewhere.  That was green grass after all by the spruce tree.  And the geese are here even if the water is still covered by ice.  And I have heard a crow or two.  I know that winters back is broken, but it is going to take a little time till it really feels like spring has arrived.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Me and my Minions.

After an exhaustive search, oh alright, it took only minutes, I found the yellow I was looking for.  First bag of generic yarns, rather than the carefully sorted general bags of stash yarns.  Once the right stuff was in hand, it was on to knitting. Two minion bodies are complete but for the arms and the faces.

It also needs the straps on the pants, which will be knit after and sewn in place and the black band holding the goggles on.  

I might make one of the bodies longer (imagine a neck), but I won't really know that till I knit the arms.  There has to be enough room on the head for the googley eyes, but I don't want it too tall that the head flops on the kids smaller hands.

Generally, I think the sock type puppets are going to be easier for kids to play with, and might make these guys a few more down the road.  

But these guys are going to be cute!  

Cute counts.

Tuesday, 16 April 2013


I had been working on puppets for my nephews kids.  They are turning out nicely, but for the ones that were supposed to be bears.  I don't like how the heads are working.  It is past time for these puppets to be complete, so I am starting them over.

But not bears.  Minions.  and a link in case you are not familiar with the modern minion.  Instant minion love.

I started over with some doubled up Wendy Supreme Luxury Cotton DK.  That shoulod balance with the yellow Cloud Cotton that I have...somewhere.

There have been two skeins of yellow cotton have been lying around the study for a couple of years.  I kept thinking I'll put them in the dishcloth cotton box, only when I would get to that box, it seemed wrong to put it in there.  Its a really great yarn. I might use it for something nice.  There is 300 metres after all and long after they should have been, they remained at the bottom of the yarn basket.

Only now that I am looking for them, they aren't there.  I cannot believe that I put them away.  Would I have stuck them with the other cloud cotton?  Maybe in the box with the baby yarn?
Cottom and linen yarn wall?  I may never clean the study again.

I am going to have to rip my whole study apart to find it and it has to be soon.  I want to deliver these puppets this week.

In old cartoon parlance, foiled again.  I wish I had minions to help me find it.

Monday, 15 April 2013

How odd

It has been some time since I wrote a blog post from home. Almost all of them in the last year were written at work, in what I might call my coffee time. It wasn't though. It was just a very quiet job. It feels odd to be writing from here again.  Odd, but good.  I guess I will have to clean off my desk if I am going to live here for a while.

I have some appointments and then Tuesday morning, I will be starting my job search once again.  In the mean time, we had a nice snowstorm this weekend and it made for a do nothing weekend, so I sat and knit and knit and knit.  And guess what happens when you knit and knit.

Funny how that happens!  

I am really pleased with how the lace is going.  I switched colours at the beginning of the transition chart.  Because of the construction of this piece, I could come into that chart in the middle, right at the base of the flowers.  I was a little worried about how that would look, not knowing that I could skip some of that chart.  This works out perfectly for colour, better than I hoped for.  I like how the lace looks too.  It isn't always as showy as it could be, but I think this will be fine.  I hope Paulette does too.  It will look lovely on her dark hair.

The faux blocking also shows how very pretty the star pattern is. A person could easily entertain a cardigan in that little pattern.  

Not that I am right now.  I am sticking virtuously to knitting socks and my Clapotis.  The intensity 0f the lace demands a break, and Clapotis is the perfect offset project.  

Anyway, that is what is happening here at Chez Needles.  It might have been crappy weather, but it sure was great for knitting!  

Friday, 12 April 2013

A final day

This is my last day at this particular job with its oodles of time for meandering through Raverly, and writing long posts while I am working, and general goofing off because it is quiet.  I'm glad I am done.  

So if you are just getting used to my posting schedule, sorry, but it is about to change.  Before I took this job, I was posting in the evening just before I crawled into my jammies, and I suspect that is what will happen now.  But then, you never really know.  It could be a little up and down till I am settled into a new position.

Till I land that new position, I am looking forward to some good knitting time.  

Do you know I haven't finished a major project yet this year?  Do you realize that I haven't finished a single sweater in 2013?  I have completed two small shawls, one baby sweater and one cowl.  That is it. Ooops. One pair of socks too, but they were more than half done so it hardly counts as a major anything.  

No wonder I feel a little drippy about my knitting.  I have always known that finishing is much of the fun, and starting new things is even better.  No, this year, I haven't done zip, not much starting, not much knitting.  There are a hundred and one reasons, but mostly, I am just bored to tears in this job and it is affecting everything.  

So, no more boredom, no more lackadaisical knitting, no more forever projects.  I must finish Paulettes scarf and then one of the sweaters, but after that, I will knit whatever my little heart desires.  And what it desires changes daily.

I feel energized and oh so ready to zip to the next big thing.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Paying it forward

A while ago, wheatfran on Ravelry sent me much more yarn than I paid her for so I would have enough of one dye lot to make a very very nice Bridgewater shawl.

And today, I can finally settle that cosmic debt of kindness.  

I was contacted on Ravelry by a lady who was looking for a little bit of Louet Mooi, the yarn I made this lovely shawl from.  

I'll post the unfinished picture first.  It shows off the marvelous drapey quality that Mooi has.  It was such a stunning yarn.

  And in all its glory.  Its Icicles Shawl from Susanna IC.  Anyway, The raveler is 5 rows shy of her shawl and is out of yarn.

As anybody knows who has ever been out of yarn on a very pretty project with that much to go...a little part of you want to curl up in a corner and wither away when that happens.  With Ravelry, we can see who else may once have had some of this precious, now discontinued yarn and maybe ask.  So she did.  

She didn't have to hardly ask.  I worry about running out of yarn to the point of obsession.  I checked if there was a source midway through knitting that pretty shawl because I worried that I would run out.  There isn't any.  Anywhere.  I knew exactly what she was up against.

And once asked, I knew that I had to send her the yarn.  I couldn't remember how much I had, but it seems I left notes.  I had about a third of a ball, according to my notes. And I do.  24 grams to be very postal scale precise. I recall thinking that a pretty little lace scarf, some small neck thing could happen with what I had left.  

This is so much better.  I get to contribute to someone else's delight and that  pleases me much more than a small something for me.  

So Debilla, it's on its way to you today.  Enjoy it.  WheatFran's kindness moves forward.  I love this about knitters.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Busy week.

As I mentioned, or maybe I did not, my job is coming to and end.  Friday is my last day here and I am thrilled.  I don't mind a job that has a lot of work in it, but this job has been downright goofy.  Way to slow to suit.  

I am not going to lie.  I will miss poking about at everything, but I won't miss the part that comes after you are done poking about with interest, that part where you have to sit here and stare at the screen to look occupied and yet stay awake enough to see when people come to the door.  Don't like that part of it at all.

Anyway, somehow or other I have assembled a lot of personal stuff here and packing it up seems to be taking up most of my time this week.

I look forward to the next thing, but I have no idea what it will be.  I am looking forward to it though.  

So, there might be a lull in the posting, depending on what is happening day to day, but I will see you bright and early on Monday for sure.   

Tuesday, 9 April 2013


My nephews wife posted pictures of their kids on facebook playing with a puppet theatre that they had made.  Nothing fancy but a real honest to goodness puppet theatre.  And no puppets.

I figured I could knit some.  So I am.

I'm using Karen's Puppet Recipe.  Sometimes the archive is available and sometimes it isn't, but essentially, this is a big sock with a small heel and a split foot.  Nothing fancy, but it makes the sweetest puppets.

Puppet one.  Monsieur Dragon.  He is a little faceless, but he has already sprouted his spiny backbone.

 Then there is Miss Daisy Mae.  She is inordinately proud of her hair, though

I think she doesn't have reason to be right now.  Perhaps later.  (I have about 30 more strands to attach)

They still need some eyes and a little mouth work, but those will be embroidered on felt, I think, and then attached. Felt will give a nice stable surface without any of the usual problems with rough edges.  I had no felt at home, so today is going to require a short trip to a store for supplies.

And they have one small friend, but he isn't quite ready yet.

He will be a teddy bear, and all that is ready right now is his sweater.  Kind of appropriate coming from a knitter, don't you think?  I would have done him last night but there was the spinning. Plus there is one other entire bear to do.  

Pushing deadlines as ever.  They are due to be delivered this weekend.

The other big thing that this evening is going to bring is a new colour on Paulette's scarf.  And moving into a new pattern.  I've worked it a couple times and pulled back but I think I have it now.

Monday, 8 April 2013

Monday is for spinning?

Really?  It is Monday again?  I did have a moment when I first woke this morning that it was just Sunday, but a quick check on the clock showed me that no.  Not at all.  It was Monday.

So what the heck happened to my plan of spinning a couple evenings last week, and getting some serious quantities of this last yarn I am working on done?  Because so much as I remember, that bobbin on the wheel, looks exactly like this

I haven't even looked at it since last week Monday, so I am just guessing here.  I did watch Rumplestilskin spin straw into gold on TV for a bit last night.  Does that count?  No.  I thought not.

This morning, I knit on a sock and got a good bit done.  Because it is just a plain sock, no photos, its nothing fancy and it looks just like last time I showed it to you.  ( I have so many projects like that right now)  I was up early and feeling really good about it!  And this evening I am going to work on the spinning.  I hope to get a nice bit done.  

I'll leave my weekend knitting for tomorrow.  Cuteness abounds.  Wait till you see it!

Friday, 5 April 2013

Two Steps Forward and One Step Back.

I'm still envisioning knitting with that new bouquet.  Ah to dream...

Well, moving along, and yes I am.  I have not worked on Paulette's scarf.  I have to start the new lace pattern and its going to take a little thinking to get the patterns triangle fitting properly into my straight.  I also have to set up for the side lace, which isn't hard, but I'm going to need the right number of stitches to set up proper lace placement.  

There will be a bit of charting in my future.  Its a good challenge.  

Meanwhile back at the ranch, I have been working on my Clapotis.  I did 2 inches the other day, and was thrilled with myself.  Yup, I felt pretty darn good, right up until I tried to drop the stitch.  I worked it closed.  Sigh.  
The needle tip is pointing right at it.  Instead of dropping the stitch I worked a decrease.  You can just see the dark purple v shaped base of the stitch, sitting right there where it isn't supposed to be.  

I am pretty sure I have done this before on this project, its such a nice basic screw up that I can't see me only doing it once, but I don't remember at all, how I resolved it.  Did I rip back or drop some stitches down and fix it?

I am going to try door number two first, to drop stitches down along the edge till I get to where the error is, fix it, and reknit those stitches.  Piece of cake...?  Maybe.

It really helps when I look at these things as an adventure.  

Thursday, 4 April 2013


Yesterday, a lady in the office received a big bouquet of flowers.  Not just any flowers, but a bundle of calla lilies.  Somebody likes her a lot.

But it started me thinking of a perfect world, where somebody could call up YTD (Yarn Telegraph Delivery though I suppose the more modern name ought to be Yarn Transworld Delivery)  and send a big bouquet of perfect yarn to their sweetie, or someone who did some great work, or someone they were courting or their mom.  Wouldn't that be sweet?

I imagine getting a big basket with some green alpaca and silk blend hanks, like stems of a flower, topped off with something with a sheen, some shiny smooth silk or a really glossy cotton, (Its my vision, I like cotton, work with me) in a rich cherry red interspersed with sprays of white linen laceweight and tiny brilliant yellow stitch markers accenting the whole.  There would be a card held in the center of the bouquet with a pair of bright green signature needles (Its fantasy.  I can have anything I want!)  and the card would read...Well, you just insert what you think appropriate here.  

Wouldn't it be nice to be sitting at your regular office desk, doing your regular work, and suddenly there is a delivery guy giving you a basket of yarnie goodies?  

It wouldn't work of course.  Its a little too much of a niche market, and local stores would have to stock particular kinds of yarns but wouldn't it be nice?

Of course, I would take the flowers too, who wouldn't.  That is pretty nice too.  Still, in a perfect yarny good world...

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Moving ON!

Well, the first lace pattern that is!  

As you can see it looks just like last time even though it is now a full 8 inches unblocked.  Perfect for what we plan for it.  We?  Me and Paulette.

Its a good thing that I don't judge projects by how different they look as they go along.  Oh all right, I do, but I am so glad to see this part done, even though I enjoyed it.  Its a lovely pattern and very similar to another that is on my to do list, Rhytidome.  Its a great pattern for multi coloured yarns and I have a few that really want to be this variation on a theme.  More stars!  All stars!  But not right now.  Now it is time for the next part of this scarf/wrap.

On to the lace that looks like lotus blossoms to me,  and on to a different colour of this stunning BFL 2.8 From Fleece Artist.  

I can't wait to see how this looks! And how it looks in lacey goodness.  I think this lace patterning is strong enough to bear it and I think having a fingering weight yarn is going to help make it happen.  

Moving On.  YES!

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Taking a long explore in the woods

That is how Tigger from Winnie the Pooh would say it.  (Winnie the Pooh is on my mind because of Sweet Thing of course.)

For certain, you have all noticed that I am not quite myself lately.  There seems to be so little progress on the knitting front, that it is non existent, and for that I am sorry.  I don't know what it is.  Possibly connected to job change.  Even though I am really looking forward to this one ending, it is stressful to have to go looking again, to be starting over.  

And poor Paulette is not getting her scarf as quickly as I hoped and for that I am so sorry.  She is such a patient lady.  I did knit yesterday on it, 3 long rows, so my whole weekend plus yesterday was 6 rows, but I still need a few more to be right.

I didn't knit on it last night though.  I scratched the other thing that I have been trying to fit in the last while.  

I spent some time spinning with the Vic and some pretty green (but aren't they all)  and golden brown fibre.  I am trying to teach myself to control what I spin, rather than just getting what I get.  After reading a little more in the Alden Amos book and watching not just the hands of the spinners at the retreat, but their feet and treadle speed and how they prep fibre or not, everything really, I have learned a whole lot and I might get it.  This pretty green and brown, will, I hope, be a worsted weight, not too tightly spun, that will make a nice warm pair of mittens.  That is the goal anyway.  We shall see.
Much thicker than before.

I do have a default setting when I spin.  I seems to produce a sportweight sort of yarn to a dk weight (somewhere in there) and until now I have always been working on getting it finer.  I've come to realize that wanting to make it finer is about wanting to gain control and to spin with a certain product in mind, and that understanding that I can spin what I want, when I want, has to go not just smaller, but bigger and loftier too.  Knowing only small fine yarns in spinning would be like only knowing garter stitch in knitting. Good and fulfilling in some ways, but leaving ever so much more to be explored.  

That doesn't mean I have a hankering to spin art yarns.  No, I can't see myself spinning something like that, but then who knows?  I didn't see myself knitting blankets either in that long ago time before.  Sweaters?  Yes.  Lace?  Oddly, yes, even before I knew how to knit.  Socks?  Of course.  But blankets?  Not at all.

And yet I did.  And there are several more in the wings.  Heaven knows I have the yarn for it.  

There might be art yarn in my future, but if there isn't, I am still certain there will be lots of other good stuff to explore.  

Monday, 1 April 2013

Wishing I had good pictures

I sure wish I had good pictures to put some punch in the blog today.  But I don't.  It looks exactly the same as last time I showed you and I haven't been knitting anything else.  Just that lovely green scarf.  

Heavens to betsey, its going so slowly.

I don't know about anybody else, but spring is aptly named.  I just feel like bursting out and doing something, anything, different and clean and new.  I want flowers, I want sun, and I want fresh clean air and bird sounds, and rain.  I'm awfully tired of these dirty piles of snow.

Way back in the deep archives of yarn, I have some of this, which I pair with the brightest, hottest pink out there.  Like the pink on the very right side.  Its blinding, and stunning and I love it.

I want to knit with it, just because it is spring.  

The only way it would be more spring like is if I knit some green, brilliant bright strong clear limey green.  

Now wouldn't that just knock my Sweet Things ears off?