Thursday, 31 December 2015

Some years

Some years are good years, some years are great years and some are years where pictures tell the story best. In no particular order.  Kind of how life seems to work.


Wednesday, 30 December 2015

It's time for NaJuReMoNoMo!

It's time, once again for NaJuReMoNoMo!   Or National Just Read More Novels month.   I participate with varying levels of success.  A take off of Novembers Write more Novels, a friend once posited that there is no point in writing them unless you are reading them.  So that is it.  The challenge in a nutshell.  Just read new to you novels this month.

I do intend to do some reading though, this year.  All this thinking about keeping only what you really love has made me look hard at some of my books.  I have some old ones, collected some time ago, classic novels, like Rebecca by Daphne duMaurier.  How will I know if I love it unless I read it?  So that is what I intend to do.  Read them.  I also have a couple sitting on my e-reader that await me.  The second Poldark Novel and the second novel in the Matthew Shardlake series by CJ Sansom.  And then, there are a few things I have been saving to purchase.  There is a new Geraldine Brooks novel, The Secret Chord and another, All the Light We Cannot See by Anothony Doerr that I am thinking of getting as audio books.  

The audio books are critical if I intend to get any knitting done and there is always knitting to be done.  I want to start Isaac's sweater, a match for the little blue denim one from last fall that I knit for his brother and then a sweater for his mom, Pole from Joji Locatelli in a can't wait to work with it batch of Madelinetosh Tosh DK.

But I also want to start a project that has been lingering for a while.  I love the twisted stitch patterns from the Twisted Stitch Knitting by Maria Earlbacher.  Those lovely patterns resonate with me, the detail, the crispness.  I have yarn and am ready to start a sampler shawl of these fantastic patterns.  I have no idea which of the many designs I will use, but that is half the fun, dreaming of them!

The other thing I have been dreaming of doing is to start a very large lacy light shawl for me.  I have knit several for others, but only the Icelandic shawl was for me.  I have a large stash of lace yarns and I would like to see me knitting some for me, just me.  I have no idea which pattern, but several are in my pile of dreams to knit.

This is going to be a kind of selfish year.  I have told myself, no kiddie knitting.  I have vowed no knitting for everyone else this year.  Less small things, more large things need doing.  

It's easy to sit here and dream of days to come as an old year winds down.  It's easy to dream in the days between.  I might plan and dream, but who really knows the roads ahead.   I just look forward to traveling it.

Updated to add this!

I used exactly two balls of Impressions and that felt like enough knitting and since this was really just about something different as a palette cleanser, I decided I was done.

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Christmas was

After all that angst, Christmas happened and here we are.  

I debated on a palette cleanser and ended up with something completely different that has been on the plans for heaven knows how long.

A couple of years ago, I decided I needed to work from the books I have rather than buy single patterns.  I have done so in some ways and I have not done so in others.  I planned projects for sure, to the point that my plans match my stash and there will never be enough time to knit it all.

One of the things I planned was to knit Sally Melville's Shape It! scarf from her book, The Knit Stitch  The yarn I had set out for it was Louisa Harding's Impression.  It isn't my normal kind of yarn and yet here it is in my stash, for years.  I think it was originally purchased for my mom before I knew she was particular about the fibre she wore and itchiness.  Mohair was a no go.  

Impression is a tape yarn made of nylon with a mohair threaded alongside.  It feels quite yummy, smooth and slippery and it is interesting to work with.  It is a completely different feel from everything that I have been working on and a 100 percent palette cleanser.

In the skein, it has a soft greenish mohair haze, but worked up, it is quite different, much more yellow in colour overall than I expected.

I am very ok with that.  I used to wear a lot of yellow and it is time for some bright spots of yellow in my wardrobe, though there are enough other colours in this for it to be an every colour sort of project.

I will finish the scarf up today I expect.  The long ends are about 2 inches wide so far and another 4 inches width across all the stitches that should be just about right.  I have enough yarn to do more but I am aiming for the right scale and proportion in relation to the wide triangular section of my scarf, rather than following the pattern exactly.

Yes, even on a scarf.  Winging it.

As the New Year approaches and the Christmas that was fades to memory,  it's good to be knitting, completely without any self imposed pressure, to be knitting just because there are days and yarn and I can.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

3 inches on a sleeve.

Not as much knitting happened as you would expect.  I think that is because I am getting a little weary of small diameter green rounds.

I sure would like something more exciting but I have no idea what.  I need a palette cleanser.  

It really is still that there are too many things from the rest of life that intrude.  They are ugly fiscal things and I am having a very very difficult emotional time getting through these them.  Fiscal things should never have an emotional toll, but this one thing does.

It's about the things that make a marriage work, about the kind of cooperation that it takes to make a marriage and about the give and take that keeps you strong. It opens places that I made my peace with in my marriage and it reawakens some pretty strong negative feelings about certain people and the way things were then and the way things are now. It opens up questions about so many things that are unanswerable.

It is a thing and a place I simply cannot deal with and stay rational and sane. I am going to ask my brother if he will clear it up for me.  I need to put some space between it and me.

I would really rather be working on a small green tube of sleeve.  Even more, I would love to be dreaming of palette cleanser knitting and what that might be.

I'm thinking of some Shibiu or maybe some Superior Cashmere.  Possibly some lace.  Maybe some lovely Eden or even better some Adam and Eve.  A nice soft silvery gray Adam and Eve.

I feel much calmer just thinking about it small good things that I can touch and feel and that I understand.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Well. Will you look at that.

Well.  Will you look at that.  Actual knitting content.  

I have been knitting on things, it is just that everything I am knitting on is in the long swath of the same thing.  Bridgewater is still in it's center square of garter stitch, getting smaller, by one stitch each and every row.  It takes a long time, 204 rows to be precise to get back to just one stitch.  It's not really photogenic.

There are socks happening.  But they are plain socks in cool fabric.  Stockinette.  Plain knitting.  Good for all purposes but a kind of boring photo. You might see that later this week though.

And the Still Light tunic.  

A couple of weeks ago, I finished the body.  It didn't look like much.  Last week, I kept myself busy knitting small round tubes of stockinette. For pockets. Each of them is only 6 inches long, but oh my what a difference 6 inches of knitting make.  

 The small 6 inch tube that forms each pocket, gives the shape and drape to this amazing tunic.  From a weird thing with these holes at the edge of this oddly wide center, you have this amazing drape and that simple elegant shape that is the essence of this design.

Look at the flow of that pocket.  To me this is simplicity and simplicity is elegance.

It may be hard to see what this will look like in this messy unblocked state, but I have always been good at seeing beyond the reality to see the bones of a thing. It drapes without needing to drape at all. As soon as I completed the first pocket, I knew that I was near understanding it.  After binding off the the second pocket, I felt as if I uncovered the secret of the universe and all I saw was light and air and this magical elegant drape.

The original is designed with 3/4 sleeves, but the owner of this garment has requested longer sleeves.  I have 4 balls and a very little bit of a 5th left of my original 11 balls, so I should be able to knit them longer than either of us wants.    

I am feeling really, really good about my knitting this morning.  Sleeves are hardly any work at all...I might be underplaying the work to knit two sleeves, but still.

In the rest of the world, my house had Christmas yesterday.  Little boys slept as they needed to, puppies slept as they needed to and everybody opened gifts and watched the magic of small, squirmy, noisy, happy, healthy children.  We ate simply and well and aided by a couple of very nice bottles of wine, one from a local wine maker, we toasted what is good in our lives and left our cares at the door.

After the kids left, I tidied up the leftovers, did my dishes and sat down with the remainders of a bottle of wine and a piece of fruitcake to sit and knit.  Today is my day, just to knit and that is a lovely thing.

Friday, 18 December 2015

It feels like my whole world this last while has been about sorting and ordering and going through.  Two years, in fact, of sorting and ordering and going through, but most of it hasn't been about going through my own personal things.  It was about going through the things of someone I loved, going through the things of a life I loved, always always about going through what just is not there anymore.

I have always carried a lot of things with me.  I have a lot of books.  Yes I read them over and over and over.  I have always had my trinkets to surround myself with to make me feel instantly at home no matter where I lived, but these last few years, I don't feel at home anywhere, even with all my things.  I feel mildly unmoored.  Not unsettled but unmoored.  I am a boat that never sets anchor or ties up to a dock.  

I came across this on Pinterest.  The KonMari method of organizing your home and decluttering your life.  Or the actual title of the book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

I read a little about that over the last while and have thought about all the things here at my wee home and about what will be next if there is to be a next.  (Since I wake each morning, I surmise that, yes, indeed, there will be a next.)

I completely understand the concept of only keeping the things that bring you joy.  Even more I understand the concept of not buying anything but what you know will bring you joy for the long haul.  I did not always know that, but I do now. Not buying has been pretty easy in most ways for a very very long time, long before life changed so much.

But I wonder, if I did the KonMari method with all the things that make me feel at home in the world - lay it all out, assume I am getting rid of it all, pick up each one of the things and ask if having it brings me joy, and only keep it when the answer is yes - would I feel better or worse than this unmoored self I am now?  Would it open up a whole new world to me or would I lose myself even more?

I am not sure that I am in any state to make that kind of decision right now.  It is an interesting idea though.  Applying that process may happen without any actual letting go.  Perhaps it will lead me to understand how to get past the unmoored feeling and how to figure out and sort what the new moorings will look like and just where they will be.

I am sorry I am such a debbie downer this week.  Obviously there has not been enough knitting to keep me sane and without anyone here to talk it through with, you blog, are where it will get sorted and ordered and put to rest or resolution.  I actually don't feel like a debbie downer.  I feel better writing all my questions out, sorting out the words to make some sort of sense of it.

So, now that I have that worked through and said out loud, I am going to make some coffee and go sit and knit a spell, just to give my questing heart a rest. And then I will go and get the ham, and the tatter tots and all the accouterments of a good brunchy dinner for my kids for Christmas.  

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Still not

Still haven't blocked the sweater.  Still haven't iced the cookies.  Just generally wishing I could lay in bed and sleep.  My whatever it was turned into my usual head cold which makes me cough and keeps me up all night.  If I don't clear or otherwise unblock my sinuses, it closes off my airway and I choke.  It's fun.  And I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy.  I used to whine to Mr. Needles but well...there it is.

I have been given a day off babysitting.  Papas work is slow and he is home today.  I hope to take this bonus day and do all the things that I haven't been able to the last few evenings and get stuff done.  

There is the rest of the wrapping to do too and planning for Sunday brunch. My kids are all over this year at Christmas, so we are getting together on Sunday and since I do a way better brunch than dinner, we are having Christmas brunch.

Much to do and lovely time to do it in.

Monday, 14 December 2015

This is going to be short

Really short.

I baked my heart out today.  Tons and tons of cookies for my kiddies and their Pappas and Mommas and their Uncle too.

I wish I could do more, and had planned to but, this babysitting gig is getting in the way, as had the almost cold/sore throat that I seem to be carrying for days and days and days.  It never quite gets to be a cold, and it never develops into anything else but it also never goes away.  It interferes with my sleeping and as a result of the combination, I am tired. 

But Christmas is coming anyway and what is baked is baked and what is not will wait for next year.  And so it goes.  My Ripstick is not yet blocked.  Tomorrow night, though, after a very long day with little ones, there will just be enough spirit left in me to block it.

One step at a time.  And so it goes.

No more Ripping.

I am sitting here this morning in Ripstick.  Ripstick is my take on Joji Locatelli's fantastic Lipstick sweater and it is finished but for buttons.

The sweater would have been completed much sooner but for some truly awful button holes on the first try at button bands.  While it was sitting for a spell, I came to realize that every time my pullover sweaters were clean I wore them rather than a cardigan.  I have caught myself thinking about how long my Icelandic Overblouse takes to dry to so I could wear it on a regular basis.  It isn't that I don't wear all the cardigans.  I do.  Tons and tons, but I really seem to appreciate the pullovers more.  

As I was pulling back to offending button band, I was thinking about how I was going to knit the button holes.  The buttons I found are not overly large, just a nice solid glorious red.  But I wanted to be sure that the buttonholes were crisp.  

And then I remembered about the pullovers and thought about how I would wear this sweater, and when, and realized I did not need buttonholes at all.  what  really wanted was something I could wear without buttons popping open all the time.  A second plain buttonband was knit and the final act of working with the yarn was to sew the button bands together as if they were buttoned.  All that remains of it is to sew the buttons on.

I am so pleased.  So very very pleased with the way this sweater turned out.  I would take a picture but it needs blocking and I need to be dressed.  

If I was to make it again, and I do think I will, I would do a few more short rows for the back to make the shirt tail hemline more obvious, and I would make the sleeves a few rows shorter.  My guess about the way to stay as close to the pattern as possible while making a well fitting sweater for my body seems to have worked out.  The fit is really, really nice, with ease and flow that makes this sweater so perfect for all body types.  

As much as I like the sweater pattern, I love the yarn.  It was a delight in every single way.  From the first moment I saw Rios at my LYS, I knew I wanted it.  And now?  I want it more.

There is always a moment when you try on a sweater for that first time, where you hold your breath because if it isn't right, you have spent a great number of hours making something blah.  There is also that moment when you stand, looking at it all for the first time and the first thing that comes to mind is 'I did that' and then you turn and say 'wow, I really did that'.  Self affirmation of the first order.

On to blocking but right now, I am just sitting here in the glow of a project done right.  I know, pictures or it didn't happen.

Friday, 11 December 2015

Sweet Lovely time.

When I first started knitting I saved and bought patterns willy nilly.  Everytime a sweater came out that I was sure I was going to knit, I would stop right now and buy it so I had it when I was done what I was working on now.

And then I never knit them.  Some of them, I know I will never knit at all. Some of them are still maybe's but honestly, the way things go, I would forget I had the pattern and would buy it again. And shawls?  Even in shawls, my tastes have changed somewhat, though I still hope to knit the ones I bought long ago, just not tomorrow. 

Things change and I came to realize that there is always another sweater or shawl on the horizon to love. About 3 years into my heavy knitting career,  I stopped pre-buying single patterns for anything. I did buy books, though over time, even that turned into a tendency to buy books that were more technique based or historical rather than just be a wonderful grouping of patterns.  

When I sat down to gamble through Twist Collectives collection of patterns, I really was intending to look at things and dream of more hours in the day.  But the more I started thinking about it, the more sense it made to me to purchase the things I already had yarn for. Like this wonderful sweater.

I would put photos in, but since this blog is written on the fly, there hasn't been time to ask the designer if I might use the photos.

And then, well, then there is this shawl.  Trousseau.  I have loved this shawl from the moment I saw it.  I love how it changes directions.  I have a skein of particularly precious skein of Alpaca with a Twist Fino that was given to me by one of the friends who kind of led me to knitting. It has taken a long while to decide on a pattern.  It took a longer time to understand that it was time to knit up the really precious stuff so I may have the joy of wearing it.

It only seemed right to purchase Celestarium too.  I have 3 skeins of Zitron Filigran in a soft dusty denim like blue.  I originally bought it to make a Shipwrecked Shawl, but I know me.  I would give up knitting the lace at the end when I was tired and lose the whole purpose of the shawl, which is, the flow and drape of the end lace.when I saw Celestarium, I knew it was really the shawl the yarn had been wanting.  I already have the right beads too, and plenty of them due to a mega "gosh these silver lined beads are cheap and who know when you might need a gallon of silver lined clear beads" purchase years ago. Celestarium and a shawl of the night sky will be mine.

And then I had yarn bought on a whim for Courant.    My good friend, Frazzledknitter, loves Icelandic Wools and Einband and led me to it kicking and screaming.  Kicking and screaming because I could not get there fast enough.  Once I knit with Einband, and particularly, once I wore Einband, I was caught.  About the same time the pattern came out, she had a colourcard of einband, and I saw two colours that just had to be together a teal and a kind of mustardy yellow green. The yarn was in my hands almost before I knew it, and all I am waiting for is the time to knit it.  Why not get the pattern now?

Yesterday was pattern-a-paloozza here at Chez Needles and I can't wait to work on each and every one of these.  I have the needles.  I have the yarn.  All I need is time. Sweet lovely time.   

It is all well and good but I also need time for 4 Jahereszeiten - Herst and the Dancing Reindeer Shawl both of which I also have they yarn, specifically purchased for the pattern, and the patterns, so like I said, time.

I wonder if Santa will bring me time in my stocking this year.  It is really what I need most of all.

Thursday, 10 December 2015

the Lorigami Gloves

I don't really have anything to say this morning, but I do have something I would like you all to see.

My friend in real life and on Ravelry. cdn, knit the most amazing this this week.  You can follow her progress on this thread from the Edmonton Knitter's Group.

It's really fascinating to watch!

What an interesting way to knit a Glove!

But besides that, I have been looking at things and wondering if one day they will just disappear.  I don't usually buy patterns till I am ready to knit, but I am starting to think that there are some where I already have the yarn, where I should buy the pattern.  These tend to be shawls or specific sweaters with features like colourwork.  I have been wandering through the pages of the many issues of Twist Collective this week when I have a minute.

Looked at that, all in a sitting or three, my sweet heavens what a magasine!  You are shorting yourself if you don't look there for things to knit.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


I may have shown you my doilies before but I guess you are going to see them again.  Just because they are out and I think of them lately and for a very specific reason.  And because digging them out yesterday meant they were there.
My mother in law made this one for me.  She loved spirals.  Her tablecloth was made of little ones.  she was a very tight crocheter and somewhere back in time I washed this, and it shrank just enough that I cannot block it decently at all.  I tried to save it but it really isn't possible.

the rest of these are all my work.  Loosey goosey.  That is me.  I have washed them many times and after the last move or wash, they were set aside and not blocked again.  

 This had a ruffle edge which made it hard to use, but I sure did like the center of it.  It might get to be a pillow top someday.

 This very large round one is my favourite of all time.  It is a very good condition and though I doubt that I will block it right now, I will keep it just because.
 This poor tiny one is one of my favourites from a book on small doilies by Elisabeth Hiddleson.  I managed to buy the book online a while ago, so I have no hesitation tossing this broken version away.  I can recreate it if I want to.

And then my angel.  I love this angel.  I made her so long ago as a table top piece.  She sat on our tv back when tv's were large cabinets taking up whole corners of your room.  Then she became a tree topper.  she had a little wreath and a light strung through her hands and a halo of gold.  

I blocked her for stiffness using glue, which was probably the dumbest thing I ever did.  I don't know if she is all glue though, but I know her hair is certainly glue.  I remember how much I hated doing that part and how difficult it was to get her bun at the back of her head to stay in place.  She needs a good cleaning and I am debating trying to get the glue out.  The internet says a vinegar soak and scraping might work.

So, I am debating giving it a shot.  Or I might just try to recreate her.  The pattern is long, long lost. but she would be easy enough to recreate using the item itself.  

I think about doing one or the other of this so she could top my pretty red and white tree.  She might be too big for the skinny tree in my study, but she could certainly handle the tree in my living room.

A someday project for when life is a little quieter.  Hahaha.  I laugh at this because I am not working, I seem to be more or less retired and I feel swamped just with the babysitting I do a couple times a week.  I need an attitude adjustment.