Wednesday, 31 December 2014

The end of a year, the close of a book.

There should be some kind of post saying what a grand year it was, listing all the accomplishments, listing all the good things.  

And there have been many.

I have two sweet little baby boys added into my life.

B. Carter, named for his grandpa
And wee Marcus who looks so much like Grandpa.

I started a new job, I moved, I packed and cleaned and sorted the house.  (I have great kids or I would still be doing that) I almost built a life of my own.

That is a lot for this year.  It hasn't been easy.  It isn't easy.  I am not sure I will ever find easy again.  I think the best I can give you is this.  Still standing, after all these tears.  It might not be what people want to read but it is honest and in that honesty there is hope.

Welcome 2015.  I look for more and better.  

Not sure how the the girls are going to top my two sweet baby boys though.  They might rebel at more babies. And there is just nothing better than babies.

2014 has been a grand year.

Saturday, 27 December 2014


Fun is an odd concept, if you look at it.  What I find fun is probably not what other people will call fun.  

But I had a lot of fun the last few days.  A lot.

I finished a couple of things that were in my WIP basket for a very long time.  FUN.

One was the red sweater.  Very very fun.  and a nice sweater to boot.  
And under the indoor light, you almost cannot see the subtle dye lot difference.  It needs a good blocking and that will happen later.  It needs the ends woven in and the closures, a single hook and eye too. Later.

Then I finished a blanket for one of my aunties.  She is stricken with Parkinson's disease and is now in a home.  My sunny sunny auntie with the ready smile and quick quip is sad and depressed. who wouldn't be?  The blanket is supposed to be just a lap blanket that she can think of all of us out there who think of her fondly.
 It is made out of one of those super giant balls of acrylic yarn that will never end.  I swear, this 42 inch wide, before blocking, lap blanket hardly used any yarn and I think there will be a whole pile of things from that giant ball.  

It wasn't a great yarn to work with, it is a coarse fibre and my fingers would feel overstimulated if I worked too long on it, but the first thing I did on finishing was to toss it in the washer with my hot water wash, and then into a good hot dryer.  it came out wonderfully soft and now just needs a fine tuning to soften out the edges of the various patterns and the edges of the ripples.  I am a little disappointed that more of that didn't happen in the killing and might do the wash and dry again before I pull out the iron board and steam.  I am a little disappointed but I ever live in hope.  Sigh.

Not all fun is immediately apparent.  Still it was fun.

And then this.  FUN

 The pattern is a Frankie Brown pattern, Mini Doll Christmas, that I knit using a cheery sock yarn. Very cute little pattern.

 Deep in the buttons, I found some teeny tiny hearts.
 And for shame I am showing off the ultra cute underpants, of shame, on me.  To note, though you can't see it, the underpants have side seams, and if I might say so, they are probably my best seaming job ever.
 Adorable!  And Fun.

Today I am giving my hand a rest and an doing actual housecleaning. Not fun, I suppose but my mum will like it.

This evening, though, I reserve for more FUN.  There will be some knitting.  I am pulling out my Lett Lopi and am going to work up swatches for Hun, and Icelandic whole body colourwork pattern that I am going to convert to top down knitting.  I don't have the exact colours, and I have 2 possible ways I can go with the colours the design asks for, so a little swatching is in order to set out the way my colours should be used.

Fun.  Its is glorious fun.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Always and Forever

I said last year that I wasn't going to use this again, but seriously, it was the perfect day, and the perfect picture.

Merry Christmas from both of us, always and forever, we are both of us.

Sunday, 21 December 2014

A Hundred and one everythings.

I knit a lot this weekend.  I knit when I should have been making turkey cutlets and cooking meantballs.  Oh well, at least the knitting is all done.  

I knit a hat for my boss out of Malabrigo Rios.  I love, love love the colours of this yarn.  Cahrcoal and gray all at once and all over and yet not.  It suggests that it is carefully hand dyed without shouting and it is stunning.  

It is also wrapped and by my bag so I don't forget it in the morning.  No pictures.  Sigh.

I finished Mrs. Bob too.  And I am really really pleased with it.

 Cute huh?  I like it.  If I do this again, I think I would make the loop smaller at the end by decreasing the number of stitches before I start the i cord.

For this on, I just worked across and sewed it closed.  I tried to graft but what actually happened, NOT grafting.  sigh.  but it looks ok so i went with it.

And I did all the finishing on the little red sweater.  Zipper is in and looks great.

I love this way of putting a zipper in.  Its takes a while but it is such a tidy finish/  Even I can make it look great!

And that is what I did thsi weekend.  

Now I just have to make a bird into cutlets and make some ground roast into meatballs, and I am ready for the holidays.

I am going to be taking some time off till the New Years.  I might post and I might not.  This week is going to be less for sure, but we shall see how I feel and what I am up to next week.

Till I see you all again, have a wonderful happy very Merry Christmas and my wishes for all the good there can be for this holiday season.

Friday, 19 December 2014

Lat rushing weekend

Still working on Mrs. Bob.  Hoping to finish up the main scarf part today and the ruffle in the morning. Then there will be good time to finish my Cassie's red sweater and collar before the weekend is done.

Boy do I love weekends.  

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Knitting, Knitting, Knitting

I am just busy knitting, knitting knitting.  Mrs Bob looks lovely.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Mrs. Bob

 This is Mrs. Bob.  She is going to be one of two things.  She will either be 34 inches long with two ruffled ends or she will be about half that with a loop to pull the ruffled end through.  I haven't made my mind up yet.  In fact, my mind might be made up by the amount of time before I want to give her to Mrs. Bob.

 Isn't that just the most splendid ruffle?  Cast on eleventy billion stitches so long as there is an even number.  Then purl back, then knit tow together and repeat these two rows till you have 1/4 of the stitches you started with.  And, if you are like me, and find that eleventy billion stitches meant your scarf was too narrow, then you knit a row, increasing once in each stitch before you start the rib.  It is working out just right.

 And then, knit in a one by one rib till the scarf is the length you desire.

The pattern is a variation of Ruffled Roses, a scarf that Annie Modesitt designed for an early early version of ruffle yarn.  It had a yarn end using the ruffle stuff, and then a nice ribbed scarf, and when you folded it in half and wrapped the ends through the loop, it formed this most delightful little rosette.

If I have enough time, there will be two ruffly ends.  the other side will have increases and a very long cast off to match the extremely long cast on.  sigh.  Oh the price of beauty.

If not, then a loop will hold and suffice. The ruffle is rather dense and crisp and I think it will hold its shape and stay put if the loop is not too long.  Illiman Royal is rated as a worsted weight yarn and I am knitting it with 3.5 mm needles.  The fabric it makes is really just perfect.

And now I am going to tell you all a little secret.  Someday, somewhere, somehow, I would love, almost above all other knitting things, to knit myself a green worsted weight alpaca shirt style sweater.  I don't know why, but there it is.

Meanwhile, I will pet Mrs Bob and Bob till I have to give them away.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Get ready, set, Goooooooo

Or maybe not.

I did not work on Cassie's sweater today.  I really ought to have, but the weight of Mrs. Bob was on my mind.  What do I do for Mrs. Bob?

I started to cast on.  First I cast on 300 stitches.  But, is 300 stitches the right length for a scarf you don't want to be a simple rectangle and where you are thinking a crescent shape with a border would be great, but you want it to be more firmly knit that Bob?  

I had no idea.  I took the stitches off.  

A shallow triangle seemed like the next step.  So 2 garter stitch border?  One?  Increases open or closed?  2 row stripes?  Or a gradient, light to dark?

Gauge?  What gauge?  Those needles looked to big, even though they were exactly what I knit Bob with.  And the next set?  Too small.  Just because.

I took those many tries off.

I played with these 2 ideas a couple dozen more times.  The end of the yarn was getting pretty fuzzy and the two shows I planned to watch this evening were well under way.  I did not want to run out of time and I wanted a good start on the project tonite.

So.  I thought.  And thought.  And thought again.

And thought about what things I have seen in the past out of the softest of alpaca yarns.  What did it do well.  What did it not do so well.  

Well, this stuff is almost too soft to hold any real structure.  Even a single rib is going to be iffy. The fan of the scarf I was thinking of? This is really the wrong yarn.  The fan would collapse and the scarf would pull through in a instant.

I also thought about what my goal was. This is a scarf for a woman of a certain age who, like me probably gets a chill from that little bit of open at the top of her coat collar and down the back of her neck, but not so thick as some scarves that push the collar out of place.  It didn't have to be long.  In fact, short is probably better.  Like a lot of women of a certain age, she might be bossomy.  Hey, some of us get that way as we age.  Everything just thickens and sits... different.  Yeah, that is what I will call it.  The last thing we want is a bunch of extra thickness at the front of a coat pulling things tighter than we prefer, no matter why things are...different.  Short is probably the way to go.

So, something to cover the front neck gap and still be not too wide on the back of your neck so jackets sit right.

Aha.  I found a solution.  But I will tell you about that tomorrow. suffice it to say, I knit a start, it looks fantastic and only the cold light of day will tell if I am going to keep it.

but I live in hope.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

A very knitting weekend

Made myself sit down and finish everything.  Except for the pretty red sweater for my Sweet Thing.  That will be this weeks adventure.

But today was finishing day here at Chez Needles.  The study smells wet and wooly.

I finished my vest out of Prairie Wool.

Washed and laid out to dry as it will be whenever I need to clean it.  There are a few thing I might do differently, such as make one extra set of short rows on the fronts to give it just the smallest bit more ease, but oh well.  It will generally be worn open anyway.

I finished Bob.
That is what I am calling this scarf for the guy I work with.  Very very Bob and I am so pleased with it.  Mrs. Bob is going to have to wait though. Sweet Thing first.

The Big Garter Stitch Cowls are blocked.  They are wonderfully dense and sink your fingers into it good.

I blocked the Bracket Form today too.

That had to go down over the edge, but it will suffice.  I don't really like to block garter stitch shawls too hard.

And while I was making a mess with a tub full of water and spinning things dry, I washed an old sweater that needed it so I could get it back into the wear cycle.

Oh yeah.  Besides all that, I knit a little something for the last person on the list for the hamper.  

The Skyping Beanie  An odd name for a hat, but a very nice hat pattern.  Very guy, if you know what I mean. A nice change from all ribs but still good and stretchy.  It will fit a lot of heads.

A busy weekend, but i had a really good time.

Friday, 12 December 2014

Have you ever met...

Have you ever met a person who simply personified a certain kind of yarn?  I work with just such a gentleman.  

He is an older gent and valued at my workplace because of his contacts, built through a lifetime of business in industry in and around Alberta.  I value him as a co-worker because he is the most caring soul on earth.  

And the very minute I met him, I knew exactly what I would knit for him someday.  I didn't think I would have time this year but I do!

My friend Bob is a Illimani Royal  alpaca kind of guy. 

He just exudes caring and kindness and has the softest sweetest heart, just like this yarn.  He even kind of reminds me of the heathery looks of these soft grays.  That part makes me laugh a little but I showed it to my co-worker who has known him for a long time, and even she thought it was just perfect and completely Bob.

There should be enough for a little something more feminine for Mrs. Bob, whom I haven't met but who has sent many kindnesses by way of Bob. I think I will aim for a nice ribbed scarf maybe a two by two rib, or a 3 x 2 rib for Bob and one of the cute flared end scarves  for Mrs. Bob.  

It is 600 metres of delicous knitting and its going to keep me busy for a bit.  First up though, there is a Cowl to finish.  That should happen by the time the movie ends tonite and then onward to a busy knitting weekend.

Thursday, 11 December 2014


I had just finished knitting with the dark grey on that big cowl I am working on, when I took a short trip down the hall.  And then I went to the study at the far end of my home.  There was something clinging to my ankle.  

It was a perfect double strand of the dark grey.  All the way across my house.   

I know it has been done before, but I untangled myself and made sure the ends were on the appropriate pile of fibre.  I did not count on the forces of static electricity.  The must have touched my pants as I walked by and clung.  I tried picking up the strands and that was fine.  

Till I tried to put the yarn down.  Did not want to leave me.            I had to take my wool sweater off.  I worry that as I sleep tonite the yarn will come creeping down the hall and come and cling to me. So...

If nobody hears from me for a couple of days.  Come and save me.  I am stuck in a pile of static filled yarn.  

With all the knitting before Christmas planned

With all the knitting before Christmas planned, I forgot to mention the pretty little red sweater.  

It sits quietly waiting.  I have not forgotten it and I do hope to get it done.  It took weeks to get to a zipper and the embroidery hoop I needed.  

This quick knitting has a delivery date of Monday next week so the sweater work will happen next week.  That has a delivery date of...

Well, you know.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Chunky Spunky!

I Have just a bit of Christmas knitting and it is, as usual something that just kind of popped up.   But it is doable and I am determined to get these small things done.  

Thing one!

 It is styled after the lovely things that are being knit with an Outlander series inspiration.  Somebody in that costume department knows knit wear because if you watch even little bits of it, there are some great knits.

The yarn is from the very handy tub of Berocco Comfort Chunky, cream and black and is knit 30 stitches wide and garter stitch. It is the perfect yarn and stitch combination.  Deep thick and sink your fingers into it good.  That is what these do together.  No twist to the cowl, as there is in the series one.  Yet.  That might change before they are given.

Thing two!  This second  cowl is going to be exactly the same, but for stripes in a deep rich gray.
The cowls are coming out just great and I hope the giftees love them!

Monday, 8 December 2014

A finished Bracket Form

I have been working on Bracket Form for months.  Since July, according to Ravelry.  It did not seem to take that long.  

Originally I was going to use both balls of my lovely Candy Apple colourway of Adam and Eve from River City Yarns but things have come up and I need it to be a gift.  Only the first ball and about 20 feet from ball 2 have been used. 

 Its such a simple thing and, I think, for the intended recipient, large enough.  She is always warm, so the slightly smaller size is really perfect.  It still is a very good scarf size and it feels delicious.

This is, as usual, a pre-blocking photo, so it looks a little loosely goosey but it is really lovely.

Now I just have to make a double button clasp for it and the gift is good to go.

Still sitting here in shock.  A finished object?  From me. The second in as many weeks.  What is this world coming to.


Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A Life in Stitches

My mother in law passed away this morning.  I never appreciated how much I shared with her until it was too late.  I am not sure that she would have been comfortable knowing how much I admired her and her work. 

I knit her a scarf a long time ago or so it seems now and she loved it.  She was still wearing it when I saw her at Thanksgiving.  It was just a simple simple lace, out of a glittery yarn from back before the trend of glittery yarns.  It was the prettiest blue and complimented her alabaster skin and her snow white hair.  I was surprised and pleased to see it still worn and still appreciated.

 After she went into a home, I was asked to go through a few of her things, her craft things.  I found most of the yarn a new home but I kept these things.
The pink yarn above is a remnant of something very 1940's and is so slippery it is almost impossible to keep on the spool.  It is nylon and very vintage and I have never seen anything like it before.
Tucked in with the fibre was a hand written pattern, the Easter Bonnet, as the picture shows.

The white crochet cotton in the top picture is the last remnants from her table cloth, started in the 1940's and finished in the 1980's  with a couple of modern balls of cotton.  She worried that the white would be different but it was fine. That table cloth decorated her table under a sheet of plastic.  Yeah, many might see that as tacky, but would you willingly wash and block a 100 inch long table cloth made of small spiral motifs every time someone came for dinner?  See?  Plastic.
 I am not sure what these tiny motifs are for but it must have been a big project.  There are 10 or so small balls of size 30 cotton.  For a time I thought they were old, but then I realized the spool was plastic.
 These are tiny motifs and oh so delicately done.  When I crochet, things tend to be loosey goosey but Dorothy's are crisp and firm and tight.
 And tiny.  Did I mention that?  Tiny. Size 30 crochet cotton.  A .75 mm needle.  Tiny.

One of her granddaughters, above all the others, spent so much time with Grandma.  She lived in the same town and often was there after school and on weekends.  Without a doubt she was the first to note Dorothy's slow slide into dementia. I remember the sometimes very confused look of a teen who just really couldn't understand what the heck grandma was doing.  

I think this tiny strip of delicate work will be given to her. She doesn't crochet.  She doesn't knit, but I think she will understand it best of all.

God Speed Dorothy.  Heaven knows how much I wish I had made the time to know you better.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014


I don't know about you, but I get these things in my head and it is hard to be content till it is resolved.  The funny thing is what gets to be obsession and how often, it is unexpected.

My friend, SweaterRae,    is a fantastic knitter.  Some time ago, way back when the yarn store was downtown and when I was still working there and so was she, she brought in a stunning shawl that she had knit with a very special yarn.

It was Dawn, a pattern from Grace Anna Farrow's lovely little book, The Fine Line.  The yarn was Isager 1.

I felt the yarn my friend had and just fell in love.  I had noticed the book earlier but it didn't strike me as something to need urgent.  that changed after seeing the shawl knit up and hearing her talk about the yarn and what it was like to work with.  Deep and obiding but patient obessession.  At the start the book was out of print.  Or everybody was out of it.  Anyway it wasn't available.  I played yarn games for years and looked at the shawls people did on Ravelry.  I would play buying games and obsess over the yarn and the combinations that were possible.   

Till today when I saw the book now has a e-version.  The book is mine.

And the yarn will come soon enough. 

I would love to work with the yarn, but I would also really like to use up some of the yarn I have.  I have tons of laceweight and a lot of it doesn't have a specific pattern to be knit into.  These are lovely  simple designs using many colours, at least 4 per shawl, and I could use some of the many colour combinations that are possible from my stash.

Or I could just order a little more Icelandic Einband.  It would be a very different creature, but I think it would be a really great yarn for these shawls.

Dreams and maybe one day soon, reality.  Till then, I have an ebook to dream on.  A small obsession easily filled.

Industriously Working

I am working on those pretty little gloves again but there is a problem.

 Right at the center of the hand it moved to the cream/white and I was going to miss the red completely.  I decided to shorten the cream section but then it became a solid line no matter how I worked it.  Plus, I really did not like just the red and the green.  Not the look I was going for at all.

So, I will finish the glove with the part that goes to blue.  That meant that I had to go buy another ball of yarn.

I see nothing wrong in this.

There will be plenty left of the cream and the red sections to make another pair of gloves!