Wednesday, 31 July 2013

If the blog goes dark for a bit, don't worry.  I am still here, I am still knitting and I will get back to it.  It is just that some days, I don't have the energy to write.  Or the time.  

I will be back to it, because it has saved me before and will save me again.  It just might be a while till I have the chance to take the time to be saved.  Sigh.  That is what the world is lately.  Just sighs.

Monday, 29 July 2013

Aiming to Spin

If the last few weeks have taught me anything, it is that I can exist without a schedule, without a routine, without any underpinnings to a day.  Not well, but I can survive.

Now that things are a little steadier, I am going to try to establish a bit of a routine.  And it is going to be more than last weeks, get up, shower, visit with Mr. Needles, go home, go to bed.  I am so over that schedule.

This week, I mean to make coffee in the mornings.  This week I mean to do a little knitting before anything happens in the day.  This week I mean to eat a little more normally.  

This week, I also mean to make a little time to spin.  It might not happen before I go to see Mr.Needles, but it will happen even if I have to drag my sorry butt to sit in front of the wheel each evening.  I might have to make it sit in front of the wheel with a glass of wine and spin so that it comes to pass, but I do mean to see it come top pass.  

Surely in this nutty world, somewhere I will find the capacity to find some order and some routine.  Sigh.

Friday, 26 July 2013

Just a normal day

I woke p this morning, thinking, ah.  Today is going to be a normal day.  

It has been a pretty tough week here.  Tough in ways that I did not know there were ways of being tough. Tough over and above the word tough, yet still, you get by, you know.  Somehow instead of getting stuck in the awful parts of the days, each day resolved itself and we made it through.  I just want to say to the world, I already knew that.

So if I say that today, when I woke p, I feel like it is going to be a normal day, you know that it isn't going to have to try too hard to be normal.

I knit about 4 stitches on a sock yesterday.  Well, 16 and then 4, but that was it for the whole day.  It might have been it for the whole of two days.  Today I hope to make it to my knitting Friday.  Which is a normal thing.

That might be the only thing of the old normal in my day, and I may not make it there yet.  Who knows what the day might be though.  It takes just a moment to go off the rails, but right now, sitting in my chair, it feels like it is going to be just a normal day.

The sky is pink and blue in a normal way. The coffee is hot and just right.  Not too strong, not to weak.  I am listening to a Knitmore girls podcast.  I am blogging at a regular time.  I will knit shortly and knit for at least an hour.  

Normal.  Don't forget to relish the normal in your life.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Putzing about

There has been precious little knitting the last few days and what there was, was mostly sock knitting.  

Which looks like this, though this is sock one and I am knitting on sock two.  It is a really nice pattern.  I have seen it used to some great success on scarves too.  It gives a pleasing pleated look so long as you don't block it.  Because sock two is about half done, and because there seems to be a lot of time right now to do sock knitting, I shall probably have a completed pair of socks in the very near future.

I have also been knitting on a sweater, let me see if I can find a picture.

Here you go.  Here is the last one, and though it is a smidgen longer, it too looks pretty much the same.  Its long stockinette body just needs time and it too shall be done.  

So there is lots of knitting to do but not a lot of pictures.  Or rather pictures that are interesting.  

Monday, 22 July 2013

Where the Magic Lies

Well, there hasn`t been a single stitch knit on Pogona.  Not a single solitary one.  And I am glad because that means I had time to knit on my Daybreak.

Now isn`t that just the most fantastic thing.  That symphony of searing eye popping colour.  

The solid red and orange are Classic Elite Fresca and the wonderful multi that makes it all work, is Cherry Tree Hill Possum Sock in the colourway Sugar Maple.  It is exactly what I needed to get from it.

Needed to get, you ask.  That is how it strikes me sometimes.  That there is something that I must have from a yarn or set of yarns, and I know when it is right and I know when it is wrong. 

In this case, I knew very early on, that this combination, and this approach to the colours were what would be best for this pattern.  I never, for a moment questioned my choice of pattern.  Daybreak was something that these colours and this yarn asked for, needed to be.

An artist has her palette, a musician has his score and though I only interpret the patterns, whatever art there is from me is in this sureness that this was right.


Friday, 19 July 2013


No, not just practising for Talks Like a Pirate Day either.

I was reading the pattern over last night, the Pogona, and I think I am doing it wrong.  I'm putting an extra set of increases where they don't need to be.    

Sure would be nice if I would learn to read the pattern before I spent two days knitting.  Sheesh.  

Maybe there is a garter stitch blanket around here that I could knit on safely.   Sigh.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Itchy Fingers

Having finished Granita, I was overcome by a bad case of itchy fingers.  No I don't want to knit sweaters.  No I don't want to do what I am supposed to do.  Yes, I just want to knit.  It is the can't sit still of knitting and right now, I can't sit still.

I decided to look at some yarn and see if I could figure something out. I came across a lovely ball of Madelinetosh Pashmina, in Jodphur, and the lightbulb went on!

I have had the pattern for Pogona by Steven West for a long time.  I wanted to use this yarn but I was concerned that using the two
colours, two rows by two rows, with Pogonas interesting increases would be bad.  It was just not something I was prepared to try my first time working the pattern.  And so the pattern sat.

I think I have the right combination of pattern and yarn now.
Pogona has such interesting folds and texture even though it is just knits and purls.  It is showy but it is the kind of thing that lets a yarn speak.  And Madelinetosh Pashmina speaks.  Clearly.  Eloquently.
I am just about to start the third increase section.  It seems like it went really fast, but this section is where the rows start getting looooooooong.  There is much knitting to be done, attention is required but it is not complicated thinking and that is very good. The perfect pattern for this kind of day.  

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Done and Doner

I finished up my Granita last night while watching Miss Marple. There is something so perfect about that in my mind.  

As you can see, it is substantial.  Blocked, I suspect even further substantialness.  And when you consider it is Loft, I think it is going to block large and soft and beautifully.  I am almost looking forward to blocking it!

I did knit as much as I could.  I really wanted to get 7 striped sections but I didn't think that I would quite make the full 4 stripes of the toast colour, and even if I had, I was pretty sure that I would run out of the garnet before I finished the lace.  There is a touch more garnet left than toast, but not enough to do it fully or right, and I needed this to be right.  I needed this to be just so.  I think that need plays into everything else that is going on.  I need something to be normal.

Chez Needles is going through some health issues.  Mr. Needles is not well, and while we are adapting to this new normal, blog posting might be a little wonky.  I still intend to post daily.  That is one normal that I really want to hold on to.  It gives some structure to my daily thoughts and plans that just isn't in the rest of my world.  The timing might be different than usual but I will be here.  

And there will be knitting.  Lots and lots of knitting. LOTS
Going to hot tub with hubby.  Will post a little later.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The continuing story of yarn

Chapter Two

Or ten thousand.  Hard to say.  There are some things I just don't want to know.

A while ago, I saw 4 Jahreszeiten - Herbst.  (Translates to 4 Seasons - Fall) I swear by all that is, I am obsessed by this pattern.  Or the yarn combination.  I don't know what it is, but I was compelled to have it.  

So I do.  I bought the pattern right out.  I never do that anymore.  
I now have the yarn.  

 Two EV skeins showing their range of colours

And two EM.

These four skeins are the other part of my stash-much-fest.  Plus one more.  A little something plain. 

That is for another shawl that has just captured my attention.  I have the green and yellow Kauni in my stash already and just needed the cream to set it off.  (You know, though I have only knit a little with Kauni so far, it is a yarn that I could knit the rest of my days with and never tire of.)

Back to the Fall shawl... The only thing I have to do is find my longest needles in a small size and I am good.  I worry that I have to finish a project in the WIP bin before I can start this, but well, what will be will be.  Maybe that is a good thing. 

It might not be an itch I can scratch immediately by starting knitting, but soon.  Very soon.  I have a baby thing or two and a sweater or two to work on but it is within sight.  

Did I mention I see long into the future?  The long view explains my stash, doesn't it.

Monday, 15 July 2013

Just to take the edge off

I don't really need anymore yarn, but I desire it, so walking into a yarn store can be a real minefield.  I go in prepared to be strong, like the other day, when I needed a new purse/knitting bag.  I was going for the bag, I just did not mean to fill it up.

My LYS had some Namaste bags in, and I love these from the bottom of my heart so, that was taken care of right off the bat. I sat to have a cup of tea with the ladies and ...

And then...well they had Madelinetosh sock.  In tart.  I was powerless before the tart. 
And then a couple other skeins just jumped into my hands...
Trust me, that green in front and even the blue are something so much more than this picture shows.  Brilliant eye popping green Grasshopper and strong clear blue and red and purple and so much more Spectrum.  Just stunning.  They really do have to be seen to be believed.

And then some lace.  I stood a long time looking at Prairie.  Such absolutely lovely colours, such soft and inviting yarn.  I choose Jade.
Even this is washed out here in comparison to true life.  It is rich like the real jade I have in the front hall, with a little bit of brilliant green tossed in on top just for fun.

The bag I bought, which is a large bag,was full.  Not stuffed but full.  It was a wonderful day.  

And then I got the mail...but I think I will talk about that tomorrow.  I feel a little weak right now and I know there is some good stuff sitting in carts at my favourite online yarn stores, where I sometimes play fill the cart and run.  (Way more fun than bejewlwed blitz!)  I sometimes worry that those wildly extravagant fun carts will fall into my wallet.  It might be safer away from the computer.

Weak.  I am. So weak.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Please Sir, Can I have some more?

That has been my debate the last day or so.

I have done the 5 pattern repeats that the patterns asks for.  I could do the lace rows and the finishing, but I'd sort of planned to use up as much yarn as possible.  This is what I have left right now, about half way through the lace repeat (the garnet red is the only colour used on the lace section).

I've only been into the second ball of the garnet colour for a little while and I have plenty left to do another repeat of the toast stripes, maybe even two sections of stripes.  

So taking into consideration how long that last lace section took to knit properly and how much frustration I had with it, and considering that each row gets longer by several lace repeats thereby giving me many more chances to screw up, should I move ahead and knit the stripe sections till the brown is gone, taking this small shawl to something large and cozy?

My answer is yes. Even though the lace bites back.  Yes, because I am not yet done with the yarn.  I really love knitting with it and who knows when I will find more in my stash.  Yes, because I am not yet done with the pattern.  I really mean to vanquish this lace.  Yes because I like stripes?  Yes!

So, don't mind me.  I'm keeping on with Granita.  I know that it was designed for sock yarns, but seriously, you guys are missing out if you only make this with sock yarn.  It is just so perfect for Loft.

It should be noted that I really do love knitting on this shawl, even in the face of fierce competition from other things that have been calling my name.  

For details on just how fierce, you will have to wait or Monday!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

I do not like this new normal.  

These are sad days in this house and I am sorry, today it just leaked out.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Better things

You would think that with all the trouble I am having with the lace on the Granita shawl, that I would drop it like a hot potato and move on to other things.  Not so.

I feel very compelled to work on this and need, need to finish it.  Where this is coming from, I do not know.  I just have to finish it. It is just not my usual.  Maybe the stripes?

I am 3 rows from another lace section, but I know that I have to work more carefully.  This is not a pattern where having the stitches fit means you have the lace right.  It requires constant checking.  It is really the perfect pattern prep for a larger lace on both sides preparation.  It might also be where you consider lifelines in depth.  

I prefer to learn to read my knitting to relying on lifelines. I feel you learn so much more about the true scope and depth and breadth of knitting when you can read what is happening on your needles.  Like learning everything, you have to have a primer, you have to know the basic framework of the language in front of you before you can really read it.  That is the stage I am at with patterning on both sides lace.  

A B C  See Spot run.  See Dick and Jane have fun.

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


Yes, things are going that way with my knitting.  

I spent an entire weekend knitting this little lace pattern.
Looks kind of benign.  Innocent even.  But I am here to tell you that it is not.  There have been moments where I have been convinced it is from the deepest darkest corners of hell.  

This is the fifth time I have repeated these 5 rows of lace and it should be in my head now.  It is not a hard lace.  It might be a knitting on both sides sort of lace but even then the problem is not that it is worked on both sides.  No.  The problem is if you forget one thing, you will not see it until it is far too late.  

I knit it and realised one whole side was off by one stitch.  I ripped back the whole thing and re-knit, and was off 2 stitches on about 2/3 of one side.  I ripped back and was careful.  I re-knit. I counted after every pattern repeat. I watched and took my time, savouring every little stitch, making sure it was all going right.  

It was perfect.  I was moving on back to the blessedly simple stripe section.  I was really really really looking forward to the stripe section.  I knew that heaven was in those stripes.

And then I saw that one little place where I missed a stitch.  I had dropped the under stitch of a decrease, and even though Loft is a sticky wool, it had moved down two rows by the time I found it.

It is one motif, one repeat in the row.  I ought to be able to repair it, even though it is double sided lace if I just take time and care.  It is just a few stitches, right?

First time?  Epic fail.  I missed a stitch so the whole was off.  Second time?  Off by two.

Third time.  I don't know yet.

I'm working on Daybreak.  
It should be easy, right?  Not so.

First thing I had to do was rip back 8 rows.   

I am not defeated, darn it.  I will knit.  I need to knit.

I am thinking of working on garter stitch squares.  No pattern, just squares.  Not even dishcloths.  Dishcloths are looking just a tad complicated right now.  Maybe a garter stitch scarf?  Yeah that sounds just about right.  


Friday, 5 July 2013

Because there is not nearly enough knitted poetry

Because there is not nearly enough knitted poetry.

In my craft or sullen art, indeed.

Thursday, 4 July 2013

A Tale of Two Greens

Our Wednesday Knit Night is more than just a knit night.  We have all sorts of crafters who come, yes mostly knitting, but we have seen weaving, we have regular embroiderers, we have regular crocheters, we have spinners.  It is wonderful that way.  It is always interesting to see what people are up to.

Yesterday we we treated to two embroiderers.  Not cross stitch though we do see that regularly too.  The two ladies were working on stamped projects and it happened that they were both working on green. 

Paulette has been working on this project since she first started coming to the Wednesday nights.  

It is a very large tablecloth from a Mary Maxim kit from a while ago.   Since she first came, the green around the outside has been completed, as well as some of the middle.  Right now she is working on the second green on the outside.  I love watching her progress on this and I love that somebody I know is making this.  
It is just the prettiest red and white tiny floral design.  Delicate.  Perfect for a summer tea and yet absolutely right for dinner at Christmas.  

In my opinion it was the prettiest kit MM ever offered and I wanted it.  Badly.  Still do and I keep watching MM to see if it is back on their list for sale.  

Which brings me to the second of the two greens.  

Karin, who just completed first year university, has a passion for vintage and handmade and so do her friends.  This piece is a dresser scarf and will be a gift for a friend.  

This is where I started, oh so long ago, with a fascination for my auntie's work on tea towels and learning to embroider with some weekday ducks on tea towels.  Such as journey those little ducks led me on.  A lifetime of small joys and really, how often can we say that of things in this world.  

I love that after all these years, hand work like this is viewed as Vintage and therefore, a trendy accessory by the young ladies around.  I love that.  I love that they are smart enough to see what people my age cast off long ago as hopelessly old fashioned, has a charm all its own and they they work to revive it and keep it whole.  

No doubt this fashion for Vintage will pass, and they will find something else to love as we did, but buried in their hearts and in their memories is the skill of it.  Somewhere in the future, some other young person will find these treasures and be charmed and will find out how to do it.  And so it goes.  

Craft, carried on the shoulders of those who have worked it before, carried forward to find a place in the modern world, carried by the hearts and souls of those who love to do.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Cool laces for a hot day.

Do you ever think about how really hot is just like really cold for Canadians?  In really cold weather, we hunker down with a nice blankie or shawl, a nice hot cup of cocoa and a good book or your knitting or family movie night.  In really hot weather, we hunker down with a cold beverage, a fan and some serious shade or the basement, our knitting, a book or a good movie.

Yesterday was a basement day for me, though in my chilly basement, hunkering has to happen with a blankie.  Seriously hot and muggy like we rarely see on the prairies.  There are lawns to mow and weeds to weed, and it just is not reasonably possible.  I hunkered and knit.

All day.  It was lovely.  And my hand seems to be fine for it.  I know that my problem did not come from knitting, but rather from the mouse for my laptop, so I avoided that like the plague for the last few days.  I still have to be careful with the mouse, but knitting is back.

Much progress was made on the pretty little Granita shawl.  Oh how I do like this combination of pattern and yarn.  And my friend picked the perfect colours.  

It is just where the rows start feeling long now, the span just a little bit wider than the length of the needle cable.  The rows aren't long yet, but they are getting there.  It is that happy middle of the shawl, that very merry middle and I am as pleased as a piggie in a puddle of yarn.  

Piggie in a puddle on a hot summer day?  Just about perfect.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Found: Old Stuff

When you start looking at the deep archives of the morass of stuff that you collect when you have lived in a house for more than 20 years, the one thing you can be sure of is surprises.

I've been cleaning out a few things lately, just odd corners where stuff gets stuck when you mean to deal with it but just don't have time right now.  One of the corners I cleaned was my front closet.  It was getting to be a disaster area, the kind of place where the shoes and jackets come out to meet you and where the stuff does indeed fall out of when you open the door.  

There was a pair of shoes in there that fit Son 3 when he was in grade 5.  Son 3 is almost 30. I cannot for the life of me explain why I kept them except that they almost fit my feet and well, you can't throw out a perfectly good shoe.  

I also found this.

I have a feeling that I showed you this scarf before.  It was knit for my then 2 year old Son 2.  He is over 30 now and the scarf really is only long enough for a 2 year old, but I think I kept it because you never know when you need a good scarf.  

I'm not even going to try to explain Mr. Needles' jacket situation  Suffice it to say, I am not allowed to ever toss out that old stuff. They aren't jackets.  They are a collection.  I respect that.

I wouldn't be cleaning if there was anything more interesting to report such as knitting accomplishments.  With a little bit of luck, I will be back to that soon.  

Blog forecast for tomorrow?  A scintillating conversation about weeds of Alberta.  It's past time to weed in the rows and generally tidy up the garden at the farm.  

Please knitting, come back to me.  Oh knitting.