Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Lunchtime Knitting and Great Yarn.

Though I am knitting to beat 90 on hats and sweaters, at lunchtime, I am working on something else.  

I have an hour and there isn't a lot to do at the office other than work.  I don't like to Ravel from the work computer and my ability to enjoy stuff on my phone is limited by the size of the screen.  And I have a really large screen.  (Samsung Galaxy Mega)

Anyway, I use the time more productively to knit.

My shawl is coming along beautifully.  I am nearing the end of the first ball of yarn so last night, I decided to wind up ball 2.

I held that hank of Adam and Eve in my hands and just played with it a while.  It just flows like water in the hank.  Only not cool, but warm and encompassing.  The drape of this yarn is just superb. 

I know this about this yarn and yet for just a minute, I stopped and just revelled in the pure, simple pleasure of it.  I had to play with it, just flipping it through my fingers, running it over the back of my hands and my arms.  In the rush of ordinary living, I had almost forgotten how fantastic some of these yarns I have, are.

There is always more good stuff on the horizon, but it pays to remember the wonderful things I have in my stash.  It pays to shop there.  its a pretty darn fantastic stash.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

End of the weekend

I Love weekends.  Really, who doesn't, but I particularly like Sunday evenings.  It's such a great knitting evening.

Those last few hours there isn't any point in starting another major household task. Not enough time to finish anything new. All the really big stuff is done and the hours are not pushing you or pulling you anywhere. Nobody makes demands on Sunday evenings.  It is the ultimate free time. 

And I have been taking advantage of it.

I needed a break from kiddie things, though kiddie things are up for tomorrow evening, I think.  I do have to get it going again to see how my big guy reacts to the next go at a hat that he will like. But I digress.

The red sweater came to hand the other day and my goodness I have been having fun.  The last time I worked on this I was ripping it back.  I had knit the fronts too poorly and I really need this one to be a nice sweater.  It made with Briggs and Little Regal and this is the kind of yarn that will last forever, I think.  I hope.

This third instance (the first was a bottom up try that I was not enjoying) feels just right.  It fits very nicely and the sleeves are much much better.  It feels as if it is moving along very fast because of counting for the little red cable switching every 6 rows.

 Anyway, this is going to be a good basic sweater, with an ordinary sort of button band. Nothing fancy here.  And yet, I have a feeling it is going to be stunning.  

Just stunning, I think.  

Friday, 26 September 2014


Yesterday I had the overwhelming urge to knit a sweater.  I spent a couple of hours scrolling through my favourites on Revelry.  surely there was something quick I could knit there.

I know two quick sweaters, shalom and Leisl, but i didn't want either of those and I didn't seem to want any of the favourites list.

I sat myself down and gave me a good talking to and asked me what I really did want.  

I wanted wool.  Woollen spun wool.  I wanted warm.  I don't know if that is because it is supposed to be cold this weekend or not but it sure is on my mind.  I wanted something I already had on the go it seems.  

My red sweater.  So I sat down and knit that.  It will be my weekends knitting too.  We will see just how far along we can get this sweater when I have chores at the house and a birthday do to go to.

But I will knit.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Oh Dear

Oh.  Dear me.
I took the hat with me to babysit the kids and let me tell you.  there is nothing sadder than a 5 year olds face when he sees his hat and does not like it.


Grandma needs more orange.  And luckily, with all this weeding through the stash, I found some solid orange that will work very nicely with these other colours to knit 2 x 2 for the main part of the hat.  And red.  Apparently I forgot the red that he wants.

Knitting for a 5 year old is hard.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Lovely Things

So.  Let's take a little closer look at that package from a good friend.
 Yarn and a good book.  It seems so simple when you just glance.  And I suppose it is.  But it is kind of special. It comes from far away.  My friend picked it up on her travels, and a visit to Loop, but you can get it too from its online home!
 Shilasdair - Flag Iris  a yarn from the island of Skye dyed in an ancient way with natural materials, local to the maker.
 Madder and Mushroom and Cloud, each spun on and dyed so far from here and yet, here they are, sitting on my table so far from Skye.  Isn't the modern world wonderful?  We get to see and be transported there with a click of a button, going places our forefathers couldn't imagine going to, by a means that wasn't in their dreams at all.

I'm not a big traveler.  That was Brian's forte, but ever since I was a very young woman, I wanted to go to the islands of the North Sea.  Shetland and Orkney, the islands of Faeroe and Iceland.  Greenland even.  These places have always been in my dreams, my if I could.  And maybe some day I might. These are the places where if I went, I might never come home from.

There will be something very special from this yarn.  A shawl to show the simple natural beauty.

And then a book of good yarns.  I had not heard of this recently published book, Knitting Yarns, Writers on Knitting.  Some of your favourite authors are in here.
 Barbara Kingsolver, Ann Patchett, Sue Grafton and a host of others, including a name very familiar to many knitters, Ann Shayne.  Perfect  shorts for my brain, which cannot seem to concentrate or large long books right now.
And to cap it all off, a lovely little card from an artist with a special and treasured message inside, just for me.  

All these are the perfect thing to have with a cup of tea.  And that is what I am going to go do right now.  Have a nice cup of tea, and to pet these lovely things and have a quiet moment before yet another busy day.  I don't always get that before work, so I really treasure it when it happens.  Then work and off to see some babies and my knitting peeps tonite. A busy day to be sure, but one I really really love.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

All the things I didn't know

I don't know why the sadness of this widowhood strikes me some days and not others.    It is never quite when other people say I will find things get hard, not the big celebrations like Christmas or anniversaries that are hard generally.  It is the days between where I am just doing my normal stuff where something stirs a reminder of something and I am awash in missing him.

The approach of fall brings some of that to me.  He was always so eager for fall.  Just the smell of it, the smell that arises from the old grass starting to return to earth, of leaves piled up, of the crisp morning air.  These marked the turn of the season for him and came to mark it for me too. 

This weekend wasn't tears and sadness.  It was wonderful in so many ways and yet it was tinged in sadness.  Sadness seems to hang on and cling like burrs on the side of my socks.

I went to get the mail yesterday and found a parcel card in among the piles of useless things.  I hadn't ordered anything so it took a while to recall what it was.  

A little house warming package from a dear friend.  I will talk more about it later this week.  And then I cried.

My heart felt so full, so completely overwhelmed with the warmth of her caring and her sweetness. It was a hug from far away.

I sat down and had a cup of tea in my one classic tea cup, good sensible black tea, the kind that my friend would like, the comforting kind that one reads of in British books, where it is served with milk and biscuits.  

I put on an episode of Miss Marple and I read my book a bit, sipped my tea and petted these lovely soft wonderful skeins and let the warmth and comfort of my friend wash over me.

The sadness doesn't go away. It sits quietly there in the center of everything, colouring the sweetness and comfort of friends and complete joy with its own tones and shades.   It isn't particularly dark. It isn't particularly bad.  It just is.  I did not know that they could walk so closely hand in hand that you don't remember where the joy starts and the sadness ends, that these things don't have edges, that they blend so to make the whole. 

Some days I seem to focus on the tones and shades of the sadness and some days I focus on the warmth and comfort of friends. And sometimes I do both.

These are all the things I did not know.  But I am learning.

Please don't worry about this sadness.  It's so nice to be able to understand it and have a place to put it.  It's a relief to know that it belongs.   

Monday, 22 September 2014

There you have it.

I didn't feel like sweaters this weekend.  I didn't feel like much of anything so I worked on bits and pieces and I am really glad I did.

I did a ton of knitting on the current hat.

 Purple and orange and yellow and black was asked for and purple and yellow and orange and black it is.  though if it was me, I would skip the black because the purple would look great right up to both the orange and the yellow.  Its a simple ribbed Reversible Watch Cap   which I made just a little smaller.  I want it snug enough to fit close for warmth this winter.

After about 4 hours that got kind of boring and it was time to rest my wrists anyway, so I made ears and sewed in ends on this.

It is so impossibly cute and I can't wait to see her in it.  It is however, large enough that she will be able to wear a second cap and the hood of her coat inside it.

And then, with this cute hood finished I thought I had better sort out a wee hat you haven't seen before.

I made this to go with Marcus sweater

but I didn't like the back.  I knit it straight and didn't take into account that human heads narrow at the neck.  I debated about redoing the whole thing, but it works but for the back.

So, taking a page from memory and the wee hats my sisters wore when they were kids, I gathered the back
Its turned out quite nice and I am very pleased with it.  Sadly it isn't really washable except by hand.  I made it because it matched so nicely with the blue in the sweater.  Its Ambrosia from Knit One Crochet Two.   I received three balls with a purchase from Elann, a treat for being such a 'good' customer!

I dug deep into the stash this weekend too.  Deeeeeeep.  I was looking for the yarn for the next project and I also wanted to get all the superwash yarns out so I can see what I have.  All these kiddies and both moms would like superwash and I knew I had some, but the question was where in there was it all.  The boxes are reorganized and sorted and I had a wonderful time.

And then one of my boys came and installed my new programmable thermostat and I cooked dinner and we shared a bottle of wine and when he left, Miss Marple was on tv.  I do love Miss Marple so I picked up and worked on something for me.  I knit on the pretty little red scarf that reminds me of candy apples and warm fall days.

And there you have  it.  The weekend that was.  Only thing wrong with it was that it is that it ended.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Heartbreak and the Sweater Chest.

I need to do some serious work on my sweaters.  I was planning on wearing this one to work the other day

but no go.  In its last wash, this lovely superwash yarn felted just enough to make it unwearable.  It is such a little bit too.  The body of the sweater is ok, but the sleeves, which always fit nice and closely, are not doable.  No way to stretch them that much.  So, I will recover the buttons and send this one to it's final resting place. That is the thing with superwash.  Depending on how it was created, it can lose the property and then you are hooped. No way to know when the change will occur.  

On the upside, there is a pattern I can use again!  And yeah, this one will be made again.  It is just such a nice pattern to knit and it works up quickly because the lace is easy and has the loveliest rhythmic feel as you work.  Music!

And then there is this sweater.
 There is a place where the yarn has just worn thin.  I am really distressed by this one.  It is one of the things I wear all the time. It works with so many shawls.

And then my black shawl collar became a plain black sweater earlier this year, and just needs buttons.  And possibly sleeves, though only what a single ball of yarn for each sleeve could give me.  I am still debating the sleeves. I changed the collar because it was just too warm and adding sleeves might put it right back to too warm territory.

There is also the lovely Noro sweater.  

It is finished but for the closures.  I have some big hooks for it but I need to do something to give the neck line a little firmness so that it doesn't grow as I wear it.  I am thinking of using a crochet chain of Kidsilk haze on the inside just to give it that wee bit of something.

It might be a whole weekend finishing things.  Or not.  We shall see.  I could also clean house and play in the stash.  

I love weekends.  I love my sweaters.  I love wearing my sweaters.  sigh.  OK.  Sweaters it is.

Heartbreak is when suddenly, your sweater chest looks a little bare. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Foggy Mornings

It was foggy yesterday when I went to work.  Not a solid fog but a thick and thin fog.  One of those hazy damp mornings where everything is shrouded in peace and tranquility.  

I love foggy damp mornings.

It was one of the mornings where I wished that everything was slow and that there would be time to take a picture while driving.  
The sun was a big orange disk in the sky all the way in.  I used to wonder how west side people managed with the sun in their face everyday on the way in to work.  

I ought to have been wondering about what I was missing, not seeing the sun in the sky every morning as it rose. 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

 I love it when you deliver things and they fit!  My cutie!

My little Carter looks really uninterested in being a fashion plate.  In fact all he really wanted to do was go to bed and sleep.  I have never seen a kid with a more clearly defined I want to go to bed stage.  He laughs and smiles and giggles one minute and then, whammo, I need to sleep and I need to sleep right now and if you don't put me to sleep you are going to pay, grandma.  Or mommy and daddy.  He is an equal opportunity need to sleeper!

The fashion parade would have been over faster but for a certain big brother, who kept sticking his head between camera and kiddie the moment the camera was set up for a flash.

Still my sweet prince fell asleep eventually and Isaac and played a kiddie Monopoly that was really really well done for young kids.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

When you order from Iceland

you might as well order a really full box.

 This isn't all of it.  This is just the lace.  It makes me happy.

I have plans.  Big plans.

That brilliant green and teal?  Courant from Twist Collective.  That pattern makes my heart sing.  And these colours will make the completed work sing.

And then, yarn for two gradient shawls.  Last time I ordered books and one of the things I ordered was the almost iconic Three Cornered and Long Shawls.  There are some lovely gradient designs in there and these almost natural colours are perfect.

I ordered the gray gradient and the brown.  

I could talk for hours about this but I have to go.  It is quarter past 7 and I have to leave in 5 minutes and I am not even dressed yet.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Two Little Ears

The Failynn Fox Cowl is a long pattern. 7 pages.  I am more or less done the knitting

but I am still only on page 4 and a half.  Most of this is because of the number of sizes she is including, but she also writes very very clearly, without being overly 'slip markery'.  Slip Markery is my term for those patterns where they write out the words slip marker every time you are supposed to slip the marker as you come to it for each and every row of knitting.  That drives me batty.  Still, there are two pages of ear instructions.

Anyway the ears are up next and I suspect that these will be finished this evening, along with buttons on the things that need buttons, for delivery this week to all the mums and babies.  

Only one hat remains and that is the purple, orange, yellow and black hat.  I have the yarn assembled but I don't think there is anyway to finish it before Tuesday, my planned delivery day.  
I'm just not that fast a knitter. 

Friday, 12 September 2014

I remember

I was working on this project yesterday evening.  I am on to the section where you would normally have just started knitting straight.  Since I am knitting straight from the get go, I'm just knitting.

 The only way to see my progress is to look at yesterdays progress and compare.  The edging that goes around the face is being worked as I go and that tells me that I knit about 3 inches last night.
It is a hooded cowl for a little girl, so there are only 10 inches to knit but I can tell it is going to go slower than I planned.  

This project reminds me why I prefer to knit with circular needles.  It.  IS.  Heavy.  I simply couldn't knit for long.  I find what I am having to do is set the carrying needle on my lap.

It reminds me a little of when I was knitting in brownies and I adopted the fine old tradition of sticking the needle between my legs and working off it.  This is not the sort of knitting I would call show knitting.  

Even so, I simply adore what is happening with the yarn.  Berroco Comfort Chunky is an acrylic and nylon yarn. It isn't anything fancy, fibrewise, but it is such a comfortable yarn to work with.  It is soft and light for a chunky yarn. This project is double stranded and it still feels like an airy project.  Just not on my wrists.  

I am a little concerned about the gauge though.  I am knitting to gauge and it looks great, but if this is supposed to be warm winter wear, it might need just a little bit more something, particularly on windy winter days.  It is a little more open than works in this climate.  If I had enough of the copper to do a third strand, it would have been better.  To fix that open quality, I am thinking about knitting a lining out of a single strand of the yarn in cream and knitting it at a nice tight gauge.  

I think too, that a lining that is a little more firm is going to give this project the look everybody loves about the pattern, that open faced standup quality as it sits on the little model's shoulders.

Anyway, enough for this morning.  I have to get on my way to work.  I would rather sit and chat but I don't think I get to chose that and still get paid.  

Darn that.  I am looking forward to a nice quiet weekend of knitting and finishing and good things. 

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

And back to work

I took an evening to get my head back to work.  And Oh.  Wow. 
Did I find stuff.

Of course a stash dive in a search for inspiration, has some unforeseen side effects.

 Unforeseen is probably the wrong word.  I knew full well that it would happen.  I just dream sometimes that I would be one of those people who would put stuff away. Not going to happen.

I find comfort when there is yarn at my feet,
 and in front of the tool and cool yarn storage drawer unit,
 and in front of the doll and music box display case.
 The upside is that the wool room looks quick splendid.

I listened to the most recent Savvy Girls podcast.  Well gosh darn it, it was the latest cast earlier this evening when I started listening.  I was listening to the UnIronic Acrylic Love episode.  I just love listening to these guys and it has been a while.  I highly recommend this podcast for the sheer joy that spills out of these guys,

My stash dive came up with fantastic forgotten results.  I knew I had a really big stash of Berroco Comfort Chunky, but I had forgotten that I had it in the colours to make the Failynn Fox Cowl.

I am a little stunned that it all came together so well.  I knew I was going to work up one of these gorgeous chunky cowls but that I had everything to make the cutest one of all?  

I don't have circulars in this size but I do have straights.  Here we go, about half done.  Cool isn't it?

I love stash diving.


I've been busy

Well, I haven't really.  I just stood around offering moral support.

Markus Oscar Yuriy

Monday, 8 September 2014

A sweet Baby sweater and the real end.

I knit this sweet sweater for my wee prince, Carter, a little while ago.  The pattern is Baby  Sophisticate by Londen Down.  It was a little big for my Carter, so I wasn't in a real rush to finish.  I thought, for fall.  Well it is fall.

Now how did that happen?

The last several days, instead of knitting, I have been finishing.  First I finished wee baby pants.  Well, except for the buttons, and those just need to be sewn on. I am hoping before this post is finished, to have a photo of my wee fell in them!

Or not as the case may be.

And since then, I have been working on finishing the sweater.  the knitting was long done, but there were ends to weave.  Striped sweater.  Chunky cotton yarn. How to weave them in without giving the thing unattractive extra bulk.

 Each colour change means two thick pieces of cotton which each break down into three finer strands of cotton singles that need to be to woven in.  Thankfully, Wendy Supreme Cotton is a sturdy mercerised yarn and it is easy to split and sews pretty nicely.
It is just a matter of hiding that single strand in among the other stands of fibre.It isn't perfect, but I am very please with the way it turned out.
 I could title this post Tails of a Sunday Afternoon, but that would be just a bit cliche. There is a huge piles of yarn tails though.  Huge.
I worked all Sunday morning till I just couldn't stand it anymore.  My brain had the life sucked out of it before I was finished. I still have one arm to weave and trim to add to that pile.  

I did a little knitting, just to take the edge off. I'll show you that tomorrow.  Gotta save up my posts.  There is another wee one about ready to be born sometime this week I should think, unless he isn't going to have any mercy on his momma and makes her wait some more. It may interrupt with my usual chatter.

In the meantime, I am taking the rest of the afternoon, to go digging in the wool room.  There are hats to be made and sweaters that need finishing and this house is soon to be awash in wool and patterns and things that are not baby things. Babies are wonderful but Grandma needs some new sweaters too.  

PS. The movie is the Odd Life of Timothy Green.  It remains unwatched.  Maybe during the week.   

Friday, 5 September 2014

A few new things

I ordered a few things recently.  It started with a movie and ended up like this:

 A friend pointed out this book.  I hadn't been looking much lately at books, but this one intrigued me.  So often, when I wanted to play lace and games with a design, I would stop because I didn't want to go through the effort of thinking a stitch design through. Plus I just like stitch dictionaries.  To really understand if the book is going to be what I hope it is, it is going to need to be put to use on a project though I am pretty impressed with the read through I gave it.

And then, this.  I have been interested in a dictionary of ons and offs for a while.  There were two that came out close together a few years ago and I think either would be a really great addition to a knitting library.
My choice was this one and I am very pleased.  I know a few of them, but there are so many new to me casts on in here that I think I am going to look forward to playing with them.

I really was just going to buy a movie.  But if you give a girl a movie...

she needs something to knit with it.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

Thursday, 4 September 2014

It's just a toe.

I have only the toe decrease rows to go.  Heartrending that I couldn't get them done last night but it might be a good thing.  

I was looking at the other toe last night and it seems really short.  Because I want this to fit for a few months, I want to make sure there is room.  In fact when I held it up to show all the ladies last night, I looked and the whole thing just seemed so tiny. 

Carter is just 5 months and he may have started out as small and been in the low end of the percentile scale for kids his age a couple of months ago, but gosh darn it, he is growing like a weed and has the cheeks to prove it.  

What seemed so wide to me as I knit, so wide that I seriously thought about ripping it back, now looks almost too narrow.  The only reason I didn't rip back (remember how I was so worried about running out of yarn?)  is that I am fundamentally lazy.  

Sigh.  I wonder about me.  I really do.  If anyone who wasn't a knitter really knew the angst that went into these things.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

But really, what is up next?

I don't know.

I will admit there is a list and then there is always a most recent current obsession.  And my most recent current obsession is...

The Pre-wrapped wrap from Purl Soho.  I love the unstructured look.  I think I have been looking for this since they started doing wraps with sleeves (this go around) several years ago.  This is even simpler than a wrap with sleeves.  Its just a wrap sewn to make sleeves.

I am busy thinking about yarns.  

I have some Harrisville Silk and Wool in a creamy natural that would keep the rough and ready look of the original yarns.  This not smooth yarn might work really nicely for it.

I am also thinking of blowing gauge out of the water and making it out of a heavier than recommended yarn.  I have some Naturally Alpine in a deep green that would work nicely for it, if I dared.

I have some Berocco Ultra Alpaca in a rich lovely rusty colour or some tomato red Filtweed, good tweedy richness that would maintain the unstructured look in its own unique way.  

There are tons of other yarns and they would all give different looks to Pre-Wrapped.  I don't think I will decide till the moment I start to knit.  Its nice that way.  Excitement to start the knitting.  Excitement to see what ends up in my hands.  It is all good and I can't wait.

So do I work on something already started?  Do I start something completely new?  Do I work from the list of things I want to knit before Christmas? (eeeep)  So many choices.

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

One Tiny Foot from done.

Two heels are done.

Only one tiny foot to go.  About 20 rows in the round and a quick little round toe.  Then a few ends to weave in and a graft at the crotch and some pretty brilliant blue buttons and done.

I am pretty pleased with the way the colours worked out too.  

One of the things that happens with these self striping yarns, even the long colour ones, is that when you work the small rounds after some bigger rounds you get dramatically different width of colour sections.  That doesn't always look great.  

This time though the wide is on top but fits well with the rest and I must have gotten into shorter sections of colour when I did the feet and legs.  The width of striped sections are not all that much different.  Or they look balanced at least.  

I did play with the colours on both feet a little.  I wanted darker feet and had two sections of dark green and dark blue.  Beyond that, I did not do any other messing with colour.

But, I am pretty pleased with how it is all coming along and I can't wait for my wee fellow to return home next week so that I can try them on him!

Next up, a hat for my big guy, and then one for my wee sweet one, and by then, a new baby should have arrived.  

And then maybe grandma gets to knit for herself and their mommies.  Not enough hours in a day.  Not nearly enough!