Friday, 29 August 2014

A visity sort of weekend.

My best buddy Toby has come to visit me for a week or so.  He is good company, though it does rather change the nature of my days.  I will have to come home for lunch just to give him a break once in a while and I will have to stay home and give him a chance to run.

But not on Wednesday night.  Wednesday night I need to go knitting.  

Anyway, in other news, I have real people company coming this weekend too.  Since the shelves didn't get built last night, I will build them on the weekend with her help.  And since she is much handier than I, with a tool, I expect it will go faster than if I was doing it alone.  I am looking forward to visiting with my sister dear.  They all have been such a pleasure to know and spend time with.

With luck, I will get a chance to knit the second leg and make wee sock feet for my baby pants.  But if that is as far as it goes, well, know that I will have had a lovely time doing something else.

I can't wait till the weekend is done and life settles down.  Work is going particularly well.  I have defeated all the demons that beset the early part of the work.  The fine stuff, the stuff where I really shine comes now and I am looking forward to that.  I have a new grandbaby imminent and I am just as pleased as punch about that.  I have sweaters to work on, particularly the pretty red sweater.  

And in another week, some interesting books will arrive on my doorstep, and then shortly some very nice new yarn for an Icleandic sweater.

I love fall.  I love September.  Sweater weather, with the wait for it punctuated by visits by people and puppies I enjoy spending time with.  

Thursday, 28 August 2014

I got nuthin.

This morning when I woke, I went to my computer and tried to write.  I got nuthin.

I seem to run out of writing steam by Wednesday.  I don't remember feeling that way longer ago, but then my concerns now are so different. Sort of.  I think I understand the Wordless Wednesday thing a lot of bloggers used to do.  

Wait. It is Thursday, not Wednesday.  And Thursday means a quiet day.  Today I have a bookcase to build, some books to sort and unpack and then to cap my evening, dishes.  

And knitting. I would really rather just knit and the heck with the house!  I am pretty sure this isn't a surprise to anybody. 

I might do that.  Skip the housework and knit.  I could talk myself into that so easily.    

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Days end. Days beginning.

I went to bed at 9:30 p.m. last night.  That is pretty much normal for me but last night, instead of waking 2 or 3 times in the night, I slept right through to 4 a.m.  That is rare and unusual.  I put it down to finishing a Miss Marple novel and to talking with one of my kids right before bedtime.  

I can do quiet and alone during the day. In fact, I kind of like that.  I always have.  Quiet just before bed time is really hard.  That was one of the places where our days connected.  It was one of the places where we talked and planned and dreamed.  I am slowly developing strategies to get through these times.  I go down the hall and get ready for bed, turn on my movie or tv or music or whatever in my bedroom, and then go back down the hall and turn off everything in the front room, or the big back room.  It keeps some noise in the house around me.  Silly but there it is.  One small coping mechanism.  One small way to get through the day.

So this morning, and up early, I am just sitting knitting and I am planning to watch the sun come up. That doesn't sound too bad does it?

It really is the best way to start the day.

Monday, 25 August 2014

Groceries and cooking for one.

I loved cooking when the kids were all in those 'there isn't ever enough food' years.  A big pot of stew could cure all ills and we lived for soup of the week.  Well I lived for soup of the week, a massive post of soup that we would have with grilled cheese one night and then several nights later, with hot dogs or something like that.  I love making massive post of something delicious and rich and aromatic.  It kept the chill of on those long winter nights.  

Cooking for two was hard.  I never quite got the hang of managing a meal that was gone after only 1 sitting.  Mr. Needles had that down to a science.  2 chicken breasts and some grilled veggies?  Voila.  Dinner for two with no leftovers...unless I didn't eat all my chicken.

 But cooking for 1?  Just plain ridiculous. Son2 says you have to buy less and go to the store more often.  Just buy for one meal he says.  

Yeah.  Right.  I went there tonight with that thought in my mind.  That worked until I picked up the cherries.  I picked up the cherries first s it didn't really get past the front door.  I think I will always be a live from my freezer, cook from the pantry sort of person.  The fewer times I go the better off I am.  It is crunch time though.  I so sick of eating in my car at lunch.  It is take lunch to work time.  Sadly we don't have a microwave at the office, but I might just do something to fix that if the boss doesn't fix that for me.  

To that end, I am trying to set up some menus, so that I will force myself to eat a variety of foods and ensure that I get vegetables and fruit in there in decent quantities.   

I am not going to lie here.  I am completely inspired by some cookbooks.  They have been packed away for a long time and I only recently brought them home.  Some cookbooks you say?  Not just some.  

Welcome Home my dear books!  My entire collection of Company's Coming original series cookbooks.  I have them all.  Well except for the new ones from the last 2 years.  I kind of missed those.  I was busy.  I have been wanting to try some new things, only I can't seem to figure out what. I will find something in there somewhere, I am sure.

Of course that leaves me with our perennial problem here at the new Chez Needles.

I seem to be short a bookcase.

That place

I arrived at that place last night.

That place where I worry I will run out of yarn and be short a leg on my wee pants.

I am pretty sure that I am going to have to add in my extra yarn, but I am also pretty sure that I will have enough yet I know I will run out.  It is the constant play like that, back and forth, that runs through my mind and it makes me nuts.

The last pair I knit, was with a skein of Dream in Colour Smooshy.  I ran out just at the feet so I knit little white socks on to it for feet.  I knit the 'sock' at the base of the foot and made it look like a wee cuff overtop.  Alas, I have no really completed picture but it was very cute.  

The first pair I knit, was Smooshy with Cashmere.  I had two skeins of that and I think I barely broke into the second ball.  It is hard to tell by eye, because I worked with two balls all the way through to avoid any colour pooling.  I should weigh what is left, I suppose but it looks like most of a skein.  

My best guess is that I will run out near the feet again.  I have the option to do the different colour sock thing again, but I have also been looking at some of the other choices out there.  I could snip it just below the ribbing and add a sold blue stripe and graft the body back together.  It sounds worse than it would be to do it.  I could also just add the extra skein of blue Gems fingering weight as stripes throughout the legs.  I could search out another ball of yarn. 

It is a really cute pattern and I do love the way it looks with a big solid stripe at the chest but my lazy bit says, oh go on.  Do the sock feet.  Still we shall see where we get and then make a decision.

Or have it made for me by lack of yarn.

Friday, 22 August 2014

All the things

Earlier this year, I was introduced to Hyperbole and a Half, Ali Brosh's inimitable blog.  The phrase All the things, comes straight from there and is well on it's way to becoming a catch phrase for the times.  

A friend gave me a sample card of Einband, the Alafoss laceweight.  I want all the things.  

Just sayin.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

It's come to this.

I am busy knitting away on the wee pants.

I have another bit to go before I can start the crotch, though strictly according to pattern, I could start the crotch stitches in another inch.  I am going a little longer because my little prince is a long baby.  Whether he stays long as he grows, I don't know, but for now he is long and I intend to knit to fit.

Also, because I am perennially worried about running out of yarn, I went out and found a yarn that will coordinate with this, just in case.  Its is a single skein of Gems fingering weight in that lovely deepest blue.  Though I think I will have lots of yarn to be getting on with, I just couldn't feel settled till I had backup.  Silly me.

I caught myself doing something the other day that made me laugh at myself.  

My new home needed some curtains.  Window dressing really.  Not required.  It just looked a little bare and unfinished.  I found the perfect thing the other day wandering around a store and my mom helped me hang them.

I am pretty happy with the way it is coming together.  There is a lot of the old things for comfort and a few new touches here and there.  What do curtains mean in the grand scheme of things, the knitterly scheme of things?  

Well, curtains, from many vendors, come in nifty little bags, sometimes with a sticky type closure but if you are lucky, with a zipper closure.  I now have 3 new little zipper closure bags.

I tucked those aside before mom could ask any questions.  I was pretty tricky about it, and I made sure she didn't see.  And that is why I had to laugh at myself.

Subterfuge over a couple small zipper closure clear bags.  It's come to this.  


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Early to Rise

I got up early this morning to close my windows.  There is a very, very light rain falling.  The air is fresh and there is a crispness to it that has been long missing to our summer.  

I made some coffee and I think I'll just sit back and knit until I have to go to work.   

Fresh air.  Fresh coffee.  Crisp green yarn.  Can't go wrong. 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Only a couple hours more

My mom and dad came up to visit this weekend and they did their usual stuff, making everything better, fixing all the little stuff I never quite get to.  I have a good mom and dad.  My kids all came over to visit with them and I played with little ones enough for any grandma to love.  Babies were held.  Diapers were changed.  Life is pretty good.

And then they were gone.  I thought they would be here for a few more days but mom had to work so they were off and running before noon and I ended up with a very quiet afternoon and evening in which to knit.

Fronts and backs are joined and knitting the long body has begun.  Carter is a long baby.  He was 22 inches when he was born and he has grown inches.  As long as he is, he is a wee thing.  He has his mommy's fine bones, so he seems big and small at the same time.  It was a good day to take his measurements to make sure that these pants will fit him at least till Christmas.  

They are kind of one season wonder pants, I suppose, but then, most baby knitting is.  These cute pants are aimed at that in between season that is on our horizon, that time where if you are in your car, you use the heater in the morning and the air conditioner in the afternoon.  They will keep baby warm but not too warm.  

I am half way to where I have some stitches to add at the lower back, the 'diaper' stitches. Another evening of work and I will be there and then a few more inches to the legs.  The wee legs go so fast.

And then it is time to get his little sweater finished.  Do you recall this wee thing?  

 It needs buttons and a few more ends woven in but it is almost done.  Time to go on a button search. And there is the wee hat to wear with it.  Sweet soft cotton chunky yarn.  And then to a couple hats, one for each of my kiddies.  

I love baby knitting but it sure can cut into a persons sweater production!  Still, just a couple more hours. It goes fast if you stick with it and I do hope to stick with it.  Kids first then sweaters for me.  Soon enough.

Friday, 15 August 2014

And speaking of September

After yesterday thinking about the pleasures of shawls that are not wool, I started thinking about sweaters and what I will knit to be warm this winter.  

I know there are several on the go and yes, they will get finished first, but what else will I knit?  

I have so many lovely yarns in my stash.  I woke up thinking of iceland this morning. There is enough Lett Lopi for a lovely sweater.  I might have to purchase a few colours though that can wait till I decide on the pattern for sure.  

I also have enough Plotulopi plates for a couple of sweaters. Again, I might need to buy a few other colours once I pick a sure pattern.  I have a friend who loves this non spun way of knitting, and I am looking forward to trying something with unique fibre.

And If I wanted, I have enough Einband, the laceweight loveliness of Iceland, for a sweater that would be light and dressy and warm, only I don't see a sweater out of my Einband.  I see large shawls to wrap and curl into, large Icelandic shawls but this makes me smile too.

I also woke thinking about a granny square afghan.  One of the boards I read on Ravelry was talking about them last night.  I made one a long time ago, during a long session watching Ken Burns Civil War.  11.5 hours and one big, one great big granny square and I had a blanket, not a heavy one but a very serviceable one.

I have a couple of yarns in excess, and you know, a new afghan made of something wool, something cozy but not overwhelming, might be very nice for snuggling under on cold winter evenings.

These last few weeks have been really hard in so many ways.  I will focus on knitting and yarn and the little things I love and I will get by.  Just thinking about yarns to use this winter makes me feel better. It soothes the rough edges of my soul. Thinking about the treasures in my great big wool closet makes my heart feel a little lighter and makes me feel warm and comforted.

The hard days of summer are done, and I am thinking of September and September looks pretty good.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wear a Shawl to Work Every Day

My work office is hot.  Very hot.  We have no air conditioning and it has been hot and stuffy all summer.  Since I started knitting, I have made a point of wearing something knit every single day and there were few days where wearing some knit didn't happen.

Till this year.  

I am not wearing socks right now and most of the time, the days are too hot to wear my collection of pretty shawls.

What I am getting a lot of wear out of, is my small collection of shawls that are not wool.

 A collection of patterns knit in Aurucanica Ruca
 A holden shawlette knit in Drops Lin, now discontinued.  Sadly.
And a Bitterroot shawl knit from 2 skeins of Flaxen, that lovely lovely stuff.

It occurred to me that I need many more of these non wool shawls so long as I keep working at this office.  I was wearing the Holden at the time, and the yarn brushed my bare shoulder as I went down the stairs.  It felt cool and crisp when I was not.  It was the end of the day and I was sticky and hot and I had a little bit of a headache from stale air and to feel something cool and crisp just put the wind back in my sails.  

I would drop what I am knitting on right now, the red sweater, the wee baby pants, the pretty red shawl that reminds me of candy apples.  I would put them down in a flash and knit them right now, but for one small thing.

Its mid August and that means September is right around the corner, and my office is also freezing in cooler weather and I know that I am going to need layers of warm things to make it through winter. 

I will be better prepared for next year.  I really can use just a few more shawls in lovely non woollen yarns in order to hit my stride again, so I can wear a shawl to work every day.  

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

And we are off

I find such such satisfaction in knitting.  I sat down and slipped some yarn through a couple of loops of itself and then did it over and over for a while and here we have it.  The beginning of baby overalls.

It is more than just the accomplishment of making a thing though.  In this instance there is the satisfaction of watching the colours play out from that big ball of yarn.  I have absolutely and completely fallen for these colours.  It's one of my favourite combinations though so no shock there for me.  You will see it many more times here and you have seen it before.  

Look at the way this yarn slowly slips between colours, sliding ever so gently from that crisp green at the start to strong clear blues and farther to brilliant vibrant limes.  Sigh.

Complete satisfaction from such a small thing.  Isn't that grand.

Monday, 11 August 2014

Little Baby Pants

It is high time I knit my sweet little fellow a pair of little baby pants.

The yarn.  The pattern.    I've done this before, but it is such a good pattern for little ones.  My daughter 1 says it was the perfect thing for the between seasons, when it wasn't really time to put them in a winter thing but when the easy clothes of summer just couldn't quite do it anymore.  Tonight, after tea, I will work on this.

And then, a hat.  My wee prince
has outgrown his little hat and they want another.  Easy Peasy.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Finally doing it right again.

Last winter, the day I decided to purchase this wee home, I saw a small elk along the fence of the national park that my house is near. In the 20 years I lived near the park and thousands of trips down that road, I had never seen an elk, Mr. Needles spirit animal.  I had seen hundreds of buffalo and uncountable deer and a couple of moose.  But never ever an elk.  It felt like Mr. Needles soul out there in the world approved of my purchasing my new home.  
The intervening months were empty of animals and full of the business of preparing for a sale.  I stopped driving that road because of how empty it felt without the animals.  What if it was Mr. Needles disapproving of selling? I couldn't bear knowing so I avoided the question and the road.  

I was under enormous pressure.  My kids were under enormous pressure and I couldn't see any let up till way late in fall.

Yesterday, sitting at work, doing the easy invoices, it came to me, that I didn't have to sign and I didn't have to accept anything if I did not want to.  The ball would go back into their court and they could do what they would. As much as my realtor was pushing to close the sale, as much as the vendors were working to close it, there was nothing on the planet that said I had to accept, nay even put up with any of it.  Everybody was pushing, pushing, pushing.

The thought that I had a choice to sign or not to sign, that the choice was always mine.  It seems so simple that really, how could a relatively bright person not know this?  Months of long slow pressure made me listen to everybody else and it didn't matter what I did, I wasn't doing it right, or fast enough, or good enough.


The very worst thing would be that the deal would fall through and I might have to put my wee housie up for sale. I would lose the dream of this place and what that meant to me for a while longer and I would move back in with my kids and get to see my sweet things everyday.  

For someone in my shoes, particularly on this weekend of all the weekends in the universe, this weekend marking the first full year of being without him, that loss of a wee small house felt bearable. 

So that is what I did.  I said no to an offer that went where I really couldn't afford to go and ended some pretty significant misery.  I took control of my life again, and freed myself of a burden.  The deal fell through and a few other things ended too, and all I am left with is the feeling of being lighter than air.  

Last night when it was all over, after a wonderful, good, deep, thoughtful talk with my kids, I drove home.  And I felt strong enough to face my fear and accept whatever Mr. Needles soul and the universe had in store for me.  I drove that road along the park.

I saw three deer.  I did it right.

Friday, 1 August 2014

The long hard summer

I am going to give myself a little bit of a gift next week.  Next week marks the end of long hard days of last summer and I am just not really up to saying a whole lot to the world.

The things I need to say, nobody really wants to hear and like every widowed or grieving person out there,  it isn't what you think it would be like, the journey is uniquely my own and the bottom line is pretty simple. 

So, the blog will go dark for a bit, but will resume in a week or so. there might be occasional surprise postings if I feel like it but I will take each day as it comes.