Friday, 31 October 2014

A long debate

I have a very special auntie who asked me to make something for her.  A few years ago, I made one of these for her.

The Fan Neckwarmer by Tania Marshall.  I made a few of these several years ago for her and my mom.  Sadly, my auntie is allergic to wool.  The real kind of allergy.  I made hers out of a silk and wool blend, and she said she uses it because it does such a good job of keeping her warm.

But she would like some in a fibre she can tolerate without hassle, and she would like a few different colours.

I would love to give her an army of them in a lofty silk, but that would be hard to afford, and really, I am not so sure that silk is the only right answer anyway.  I am going to make a trip to the yarn store this weekend, to see what I can find, but I am also looking at some of the wonderful Prism colours  from Mary Maxim.

I'm thinking some Simply Soft too.  That is such a nice soft yarn and it has always had that little bit of sheen.  It looks like Mary Maxim has a whole bunch of other new yarn blends so I will have to spend some time looking there too.

If anybody can think of a really good, non animal fibre yarn, that will be snuggly and hold up to the dramatic shaping this project relies on, please let me know.

Your help is much appreciated!

Thursday, 30 October 2014


I love books, books of all kinds.  And I have a lot of them.  I know this from the shelf building and box hauling of books that I did earlier this year. These are my knitting books.

Well, not just my knitting books.  There are also crochet books, embroidery books, miniature books.

A lot of them have been looked at lovingly, but not worked from.  Some of them were only ever bought for the pleasure of looking at, if I admit the truth fully to myself.  Its kind of like my cookbooks. 

There is another full shelf and a half that you can't see here. All cookbooks.

 Use them?  Nah.

I can live with most of the books being just for pleasure, but it sort of irks me with the knitting books.

A while ago, I decided to knit things from my books rather than buying a pattern.  for everything I want to knit, there surely is a pattern somewhere here that will be quite perfect for any imaginable yarn.

So these days, when I think about yarns that I would like to work with next, I start thinking about my books.  

I know what sweater will be next.  Its a pattern from a Lopi book.  
Darn, I can't find it this morning, and I don't remember the name.  H something.  Anyway, that is the sweater that is up next.  

But the shawl?  I haven't sorted that out. And I keep thinking of the books and all those lovely patterns in books.  That is my plan for this weekend.  To pull out some books and see what strikes my fancy in my books. Cheryl Oberle's shawl book.  Victorian Lace, Estonian Lace.  Lopi Lace, Shetland lace.  And all the bits in between.

Lovely shawls, pretty yarns, challenging knitting. Or not as the case may be.

Realistically, the knitting of this shawl won't begin till after Christmas, but still, its nice to plan.  It will be interesting to see if my choices are guided by my chilly office. 

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Sleeves, Part Duex

You wouldn't think there would be a part two with sleeves would you?  But there is.

As I was meandering about the house on the weekend, I kept moving two balls of yarn around.  I moved them at least 3 times as I was doing everything but knitting.  it struck me that I really needed to put them away or knit the blessed things up.   

It was two balls of black London Tweed.  It belongs to my basic black sweater

which no longer looks like this.  I took the overly heavy collar off and added length to it and I thought it was fine. I still had these two balls of yarn left and I have decided to add long sleeves.  Or if not long, whatever I can get out of 1 ball for each sleeve, sleeves.  

My office at work is really chilly.  I am kind of wishing I had the heavy too warm collar again.  But it is much more versatile this way, for the long haul and will serve me better with just a plain band.  

The longer sleeves are just because I can and it is still cold at work. Saturday, after I knit 3 and a half sleeves on that wee red sweater, I needed to work on something different.  So I worked on making these sleeves longer.

Yeah that's different all right.

The first sleeve is almost complete.  It doesn't take long with a bulky yarn and bigger needles.  Plus I know exactly how to decrease these puppies so they fit right.  

Nice easy knitting.  But still sleeves.   

Tuesday, 28 October 2014


I knit sleeves this weekend.  Lots and lots of sleeves.  Over and over again.

I think because I enjoy knitting the same thing over and over again, I avoid doing the math and just wing it. (Please note that this is said with heavy sarcasm)  It is easy when it's my sweaters.  I know what to do if I want a really well fitting sleeves.  I know exactly the number of rows to leave between decreases and it hasn't mattered the gauge.  Yet.  On kiddie sweaters, not so much.

This pretty red sleeve on Cassie's current sweater, took 4 tries to get right.  First I used needles that were the same size as what I knit the sweater on.  This is a no brainer for me.  Go up one needle size.  All those socks make a difference. I forgot.  

Second, it narrowed too fast. A healthy third would have been a straight tube. 

Third, I forgot to add the extra stitches I use to close up any funky holes on the first round.  

Fourth time was the charm.  I had the needles right.  I had the decrease rate right. I did all the stitches.  

Its lovely.   And it only took the better part of Saturday.

Sunday morning while watching 1 episode of NCIS and 1 of Gracepoint, no commercials, I knit the second sleeve.

The knitting is complete on the pretty red sweater.  

Next button bands and a collar and the embroidery.  I am looking forward to this!

Monday, 27 October 2014

An Honour

I had a really great knitting weekend.  I worked on so many things and made great progress all over the place. In order not to dry up by Thursday, I am not telling you about it!  Bahahahaha (evil laugh)

So I have been working on that blanket for the coffee shop guy.

Completely repaired and it looks just as if it never been undone and that is what I was aiming for.

Just one stitch that was not firmly caught, one stitch that did the large decrease dropping down and affecting 8 stitches below. Isn't it always like that.  One thing affecting so many others. I didn't have any white acrylic in my stash.  I have cream and golds and rusts and orange and red and a deep rich black brown but not anything that would work with this.  I did have some white cotton and a strand of that now anchors the uncaught stitch and is woven deep into the threads of the blanket, almost disappearing as it goes. It won't be loose again.

In between all my knitting this week, I took breaks and I am so pleased to tell you that though I can tell it was a really intensive knitting weekend, it doesn't hurt or even feel over extended.  And that is every knitter's goal, isn't it.

In some of my meandering, I spent more time looking through my stitch dictionaries.  I enjoy looking through these once in a while.  Its such an inspiring thing, to think about.  Collecting these over decades and then knitting up each pattern to see what it would be and then being smart enough to publish them.  and then to think of all the knitters who developed and created these things.  Such lovely combinations of knits and purls and increases and decreases.  
I found this.
I found it.  The blanket is the Lucina Shell pattern.  Page 267 I think it was.  In BW Treasury One.

As I was folding up this heirloom belonging to another family, I thought about how this very large blanket had been knitted by a grandmother who is no longer here and it would now go on to a new great grandchild who may not know their great grandma, but will know comfort from her. I hope that the mom and eventually the child understands how much Grandpa gives when he passed it on to them.

I am so pleased to be part of this blanket.  And even more that you can hardly see I was there.

Friday, 24 October 2014

A perfect kind of day.

Last weekend a couple of my knitting friends came, for tea.  It was really quite perfect for several reasons.

I had to tidy my house and tuck away the things that were nutsy.  there still is a very large series of piles that need to find their proper home, but each time I clean, that pile gets smaller and more things find proper homes.

The work I did in my wool room the last while, has made a real difference.  I could tuck everything into the wool room and it still looks ordered.  It might be crowded but you can walk to the far end.  Perfect.

I managed to find decent muffins without having to go into Cobs Bakery.    Some things are better left unknown.  It is way to close to me for comfort.

I have realized I should probably have a tea kettle.  Pouring from a pot is just weird.

We knit and had tea and then went to the yarn store down the road.  That is also too close for comfort.  But I have already been in there and really it is quite perfect.

And then I knit a little on what I picked up the yarn store.

This isn't stash.  Honest it isn't.  I needed it to work up a nice warm chunky vest.  I had 4 packages of Prairie Wool, the really chunky stuff that works wonderfully for Cowichan sweaters from Custom Woolen Mills, but not enough for what I wanted.  

I had to laugh at myself over this.  My chilly office is really really driving my knitting.  I hate knitting really chunky things, it is so hard on my hands, but I could not stop myself from starting this.  I am going to work this a few rows at a time so my hands don't get hurt from working on it.  Its going to be one of those sweaters that just magically is finished and I don't really feel I worked on it at all. 

Perfect day.

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Searching for something different

Every once in a while I change up how I look at things on Ravelry.  You find the most interesting things when you play that way.

Sometimes I go to my stash and click on a yarn, and then look at all the things people have made with that certain yarn.  Its gives you a really great idea of what a yarn is really good at.

I only recently started searching how a friend searches.  She goes to the people page and looks at finished objects or at favourites.  Another of my favourite ways is to look at the activity of some of my groups,  You can search there to refine what you see too.  I love seeing what other people favourite.  It sends me in directions I might otherwise not go and you can find the most amazing things this way.

And then, for a little illumination, well really, a lot, go to the pattern page and search a project tag search.  For the sheer overwhelming beauty of it, you cannot beat the search by using the colorwork tag.  You might not even enjoy colourwork, but you still will enjoy this search.

side note:  I won't tell you how long it took to write this simple post.  I got waylaid at the colourwork search.  It is page after page of page of forgetting how to breathe good projects.  Breathtaking!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Warding off evil.

If you detect a sense of lacklustre on the blog today, you would be right. I am just not in a happy place this week.  It should get better very soon and I can't wait for the day when that happens.

In the meantime, these are the things that keep me going.

The red yarn is coming with me today to ward off any evil.  I'd take the kids know.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A blanket repair

Ok.  Here we have the blanket I am repairing.  Pretty pattern, isn't it.  Simple too.

And here is where the problem arose.  It is one side of the design, one of the decrease stitches forming the top of the stockinette bell section, that wasn't knit totally through and appears to have let go.

And the bottom of the work, 4 sections below.  Its relatively stable.  It is loose enough that the stitches don't have any tension on them, so even with some very rough treatment, it seems to have lived and been used in this state for a very long time.

And here we go.  One section done.  It might not be perfect, but it's going to be better.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Rushing Along

Oh dear.  I seem to have hit the snooze button one too many times, a rarity here, so no photos till this evening but I am doing the most interesting thing.  Besides red knitting of course.

I meet with my knitting friends on Wednesday evenings at a small community cafe.  A couple of weeks ago, the gent who usually serves us, brought us a large bag with an afghan in it.

It is a lace pattern, and two sections of it have managed, over time. to drop.  There are no strands that are broken so it appear that the original knitter just missed catching a stitch.  

I have gone through every pattern book I have and I haven't found a stitch quite like this. I have found dozens that are close, but all of them appear to be worked in the opposite direction of this one.  I sat down yesterday to see if I could copy it.

It went well, but I am not quite there yet. What I produced isn't quite like what the original is, though if its the best I can do, it will suffice for the repair.  I just think I am missing some small quirk that gives it its character.

Photos and a little more contemplation this evening.  

Thursday, 16 October 2014

CBC Radio Two, my regular in car radio radio channel, sadly, no longer has my favourite radio guy of all time, Tom Allen, on the radio in the morning drive time, and the drive home sounds more and more like regular radio, except for less talk, better news, no asinine games, and  a lot more music than an average radio station.  If it still played classical during drive time, it would be the perfect radio station.  

More and more often, I listen to dvd and yet, I have to remember and remind myself that keeping an open radio can be illuminating. The most amazing thing happened last week.  

You know how, when you are driving along listening to the radio, you think, 'I have to remember that song so I can look it up'.  Invariably, you forget it and never ever give that song a thought again.  

Well, that happened to me last week.  Only I remembered the song and looked it up. And it stays with me still.

I didn't catch who the singers were. It really didn't seem to matter. it touched the heart of me and I could not stop listening to it. I watched the video a dozen times.  It captures something so clearly, something I could not put words to, so clearly and effortlessly simply.  

After a stressful morning at work, I turned it on and played it at lunchtime.  In order not to weird out the whole floor, I played a couple of the other videos that were sitting there at the side. And that is when it hit me.

Pink.  I am listening to Pink. I only know her from general pop culture where she looked pretty edgy and those ads for makeup where they play on that edge.  I knew she was a singer.  That really was it.  Music?  Nada. Now?  I am a fan.  Big fan.  Of Pink.   And whatever alter ego she wishes to be.

And City in Colour.  At least I knew some of these songs and know the voice.  A fan?  Not really, just something I heard on the radio. Or his former band, Alexisonfire.  Knew them but not really familiar with the music.  Just knew it was Canadian. Nice enough I suppose. Now a very big fan.  Big fan.  BIG FAN.

So, there you have it.  Keep the lines open.  Look and listen.  You never know where inspiration, where consolation, where that thing that illuminates who and where you are, will come from.

You + Me   Rose Ave.  Dallas Green and Alecia Moore

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Red Phase

I must be in a Red Phase because all I can think about is this.

Its a red silk.  Its hanging around my study.  I have no idea what I will do with it.

But I can't wait to try!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Its a red, red, red, red world.

Not only do we have my big red sweater to work on

We have a tiny red sweater to work on.
My granddaughter needs another sweater.  She has grown out of all the sweaters I have knit her.  She is still wearing the white cabled one I knit her last winter, but its sleeves are getting short and the body is looking like a bolero.

This one will be red.  And fancy!

A friend gave me a some embroidery patterns that I just can't wait to use, and they will be used on the collar of this sweater.  It will be made on cotton and I am debating making the collar removable for cleaning.  Collars just don't get dirty as much as the front of a sweater does, Or sleeves.  And there is also the red bleed factor.  I have a feeling that the yarn is going to bleed when it is washed.

The yarn is a lovely little undersung combination of wool and cotton, Sandnesgarn Mini Duett  I love how fibre like this feels.  It is warm but not heavy, and I think it is going to make the loveliest feeling wee sweater.

Mini Duett is a very fine fingering weight. I debated about using it singly, but in truth, its winter.  A sweater needs to be warmer. And I didn't want to be knitting this wee thing till kingdom come.   The yarn is held double and I love the weight that it creates.  It's turning into a really great DK weight and I am getting wonderful mileage out of the it.

I have a few more inches of the body to knit, and then sleeves, which will feel speedy in comparison to my own red sweater.  Then the embroidery! 

Looking forward to playing with some of my favourite stuff!

Friday, 10 October 2014


This weekend, I will give thanks for what I have, and remember with a grateful heart the things that were in my life and will look with joy and a peaceful heart at the future.  

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Warm Cocoons

My bed was so cozy and warm this morning, I had a very very hard time to get out of it.  I would go back to bed right now to be cozy again but that would be very very bad. I might never get out of it again.

There is work to consider so I will be a responsible adult.  Grudgingly.

I knit on my sweater last night.  Not too much more and the body will be done.  I knits 2 cable twists last night and I was thinking I needed 4 or 5.  

I will measure against some of my other sweaters though and go with that.  This is the point where I have, on occasion, 'ruined' a sweater because I did not knit long enough.  The black sweater is a good example of it.  
Needed another couple of inches.  The extra couple of inches on the bottom mean this is fast becoming one of my favourites.  And I still could knit the sleeves longer.  It is a very warm sweater and I don't want it to be too warm.

The blue sweater is another example.
It is an absolutely perfect sweater and I wear it a ton.  It would be even better if I had used up that last ball of yarn to make it just that little bit longer.

On this Red sweater, I really want that little bit longer.  I might even go a little bit longer than that little bit longer.  There is a point though where it gets to be too much of a good thing and I don't want to go there.  what I am looking for is a length where I feel like I am wrapped in a good warm blankie and I never want to come out of it.  I don't want to feel  like I am overwhelmed by the blankets piled on top of me.

I am sensing a theme this morning.  A warm and cozy cocoon.  You can crave that like anything else.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014


If you had 3 colours of angora ish yarn, in strong clear red, (400 m), a soft medium gray (200m) and a deep dark black (600m). what would you knit?

If you had 3 delicious soft delicate colours (200 m each) of Shilasdair , what would you knit?

I am so strongly drawn to stripes.  Back when I knit this shawl,
my stripe thing was well under way.  Its been several years and I still just love knitting the simple complexity that are stripes.  This is one of my most worn pieces and one of my most commented on.  It really is that good.

There isn't enough of the Shilasdair to do something on this scale, but there is of the angora wool, and I would love to swath myself like this in angora.  It would be a cozy warm hug that would defeat the worst of winters cold.

I am pretty sure I am going to need it.  My office is cold.  Really chilly.  It takes till 3 p.m. to warm up the space enough that cold doesn't hit you when you step out of your warm office.  My open door, move the air around personal preference means that those layers of shawls and sweaters that I wear are needed most of the day, just to stay comfortable.

I am not sure what I am going to do with either of my newest yarns, but there will be something done fairly soon with it.

As soon as I get that purple and orange hat knit for a little boy who is waiting. And get that sweater done.  In good time.  In good time.

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

A Chaos Theory

I got home and picked up my mail and found a package that I had forgotten about.  So I unwrapped as I ate my dinner and just had a lovely time.  I didn't really feel like knitting, so I took myself off to my study and decided to do a little work in my stash.  Its a little nutty in here since I last went stash diving a few weeks ago, but it is comfortable to sit among it.  I love the feeling of all the yarn around me.

My package contained yarn from Elann.  I loved Elann for their speedy service and I liked a lot of their products.  I loved their bag sales.  But as everyone knows by now they are going the way of Amazon and are closing the Canadian operations.  Amazon,  the company that lets their shippers drop mail in snow banks on the street where anyone and his dog could pick up whatever you ordered.  That isn't the way I want my yarn handled.

I used my last credits to get something just for play.  I have looked at the Wool and Angora mix, the Dk weight one.  I wanted to see how it felt in comparison to the lovely stuff I have from Elsebeth Lavold.

I do love the way it looks, but I am not I can describe how it feels.  It is unusual. It says it is 75% wool and 25 % angora, so I would have thought it would have a bit more zip to it.  Still the lack of zip, the solidity, the density, is what I adore about the Elsebeth Lavold.  This yarn is woollen spun and that might play into how it feels.  I do love a woollen spun yarn.  It creates a lighter warmer yarn so this combination should win in two ways.

I don't know that I would pay for a sweaters worth.  Its is fairly pricey at 14.50 a ball, but I have enough yarn to make a really stunning shawl.  Angora, with its some haze of warmth will be a perfect accompaniment to something much simpler, like a plain sweater or a basic black or navy wardrobe - like I have.

So it is all good in all ways and I look forward to trying it.

By the end of the evening, I had tucked enough things away that you could walk easily through the room again.  This new yarn is sadly, not tucked away.  

No it is starting its own new pile.  A new pile of yarn.  Surely a good thing. Tidy isn't always what it is cracked up to be.  Sometimes chaos is good.

Monday, 6 October 2014

Knit Much?

Yes.  Yes I do.

The sweater is now looking almost like a sweater.  No more increases on the body so that means we have just a few inches to go before the sleeves. This is the so close I can taste it part of the sweater.

This is where just a few minutes of knitting makes a huge difference, these last few hours of taking a sweater to the finish. It will seem like I am never going to get there, but having the cable switch every 6 rows, means that there is a marker, something that is an easy to knit to mark to make these last long rows feel less endless. 

 I am kind of thinking about taking the little detail, the cabled edge, 

around the front corners and across the bottom.  I am only thinking about it.  I don't have a cable trimming the neck,  I wanted to finish that part with a simple rolled edge, so I might do just the rolled edge across the bottom.  I think it depends how I feel.  Lazy?  Rolled edge.  Energised to knit more cable?  Cable.

It made sense last night when I was working to wonder about the cable, but even as I sit here and type, I realize that yeah, it was a nice idea but it is such a small element that what the sweater gains by having it isn't really a lot.  I will probably go with just the rolled edge.  All bets really are off though, till it happens.  

You just never know what comes off my needles next.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Friday again.

I so look forward to weekends where the knitting is just free and easy and lots.  I seems to spend a lot less time knitting now that there is no one to share the daily chores of operating my house.  At the same time, I seem to spend a lot more time goofing around.

I only had an hour to knit last night but I used it fully and got 4 more rows done on my sweater.  only a half an inch but every half inch counts.  I am going to have to go through my projects tomorrow and find my longer cable.  It is almost to the point of not comfortable to work on its getting so wide in comparison to the short cable I have it on, and I have quite a ways to go yet and a lot more stitches to add for the A line shape I am looking for in it.

Red, Red, Red, Red, Red and yum.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Not a knitting day.

I've not got any knitting stories today.  It wasn't that sort of a day.

What I will remember of yesterday, for all the rest of the days of my life, is balloons and the joyous giggles of a two year old who is figuring out how momma made static electricity.

My Cassie is two.  How fast time flies.
From this to these.
My Cassie is two.

PS, these are my daughter in laws photos.  Grandma never seems to remember her camera anymore.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Way more interesting than anything I am doing.