Friday, 27 February 2015

In dreams

I dreamt of knitting for a bit last night and then every other dream I had, had a very fine thread of yarn running across the landscape.  Across hills. In rooms.  Everywhere that fine delicate thread.

I'm dreaming of Vijante and that small ball of mostly green.


Thursday, 26 February 2015

With me

Since my journey in knitting began, I have always carried some knitting with me.

At first, I carried all my knitting in a large beer cooler bag.  I still have one that I could use but it is currently storing linen.

After the second of these wore out, I started buying bigger purses and keeping up to 3 projects in my bag at any given time. 

For the last many months, I carried a couple of socks and my Viajante.  And since I have working so diligently at home on Viajante, and with the last scrappy sock completed (they were a 'in my bag' project) the last few weeks, all I have with me is a single pair of socks. 

It does mean that my socks are getting knit on, though, but it isn't very interesting.

I'm going to keep hacking away at it because I really would like these done.  I am not really liking them but they will be socks and will get worn. Even I don't look at my feet. It isn't inspiring knitting though.

My bag knitting, my on the road, going places knitting, is a little grim.  I think my weekend is going to include some searching for some nice yarn to work on something pretty, something light and springlike and fun, that I can keep in my bag and spruce up my day to day knitting.  And I am going to find a much prettier skein of sock yarn for the next pair of socks.

Before I put 3 projects back in the bag, I need to clean out the bag.  Cleaning out my purse.  The weekend is looking up.??

Wednesday, 25 February 2015


I'm pretty sure that I had something to say, but now that I sit here to write, I got nothin.

It was about perspective and Stephanie Pearl McPhee's post about what was at her feet.

I think where the post takes me isn't fully thought through yet.  It might be that I will share it and I might not.

In the meantime, knitting on Viajante continues. I watch that little ball shrink.  It shrinks and shrinks.

But it never seems to end.  What's up with that? 

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Pretty things

I've been sorting and making my bedroom look nice.  It's high time.  To that end, a friend sent me the loveliest poster.

I finally found a poster frame that I could afford and away we go.  It is ready to hang in my bedroom.  Light and floral and something that soothes my trampled soul. It is really quite perfect.

Then I took something I have shown the blog before, 

And put it in a frame.  I used to have a narrow back frame on this, and at some point painted it white, but that frame was damaged in the move.  I like how this looks though I think it could look even better with another mat to give it more depth.  I could only afford the one in those long ago days.

Micheals, the source for quickie frames at a decent price, in this neck of the woods, also had some simple frames for photos of my grandkids. 

Small touches make home and my wee house is finally feeling like that.   

Monday, 23 February 2015

A little Epic

On sunday morning I finished my pair of mittens. It is plus 2 outside according to the Weather Office.  Oh well, I will wear them today.
The tops are slightly different.  I think I skipped one plain knit row.  I zigged when I should have zagged.  Ah well.  I love them anyway.

I wasn't sure what to do then.  It was just after 2 p.m. and that is a lot of day.  I didn't feel like knitting anything in my WIPs basket.  I didn't really want to start anything new. I was feeling a little lethargic and iffy in general, though I think that came from too much mid-morning napping.

I decided it was the right time to wind the other skein of Gracie Lace for my Viajante.  
Hand winding lace takes a long time if you want to keep a excess tension off the ball.  And I do want that.  I much prefer to have the yarn a little more relaxed in a ball of lace.

I started about three and took a break for dinner and finished up about 7:30.  
The ball on the right is where I am.  The ball on the left is where I am going.  To the world it doesn't look like much, but if you ever wound a skein by hand, a skein of lace, it is epic.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Just sitting, knitting

There are times when you have to choose between two simple things.  What do you need more?  To knit or to sleep?

I chose knitting yesterday.  My other option was sleep.  It lost out as I worked on a project I started on the weekend.

I was having a cup of tea and had been sorting through the knitting stuff on my side table and coffee table and sofa and on the floor by my feet where I sit.  It was now ordered, and everything was in its place and ready to go back to the wool room.  

There was a bag with a skein and a half of some blue Briggs and Little Regal leftover from some sweater knitting.  It had been kicking around all winter because I could really use another pair of mitts for in my car.  My current pair is looking really ratty.  My stock of double pointed needles was at my side.

Sometimes, your hands pick up and start a thing before you know it.  An Emily Ocker cast on happened before I knew it, and mittens were off and running. It looks kind of long and skinny,  particularly the thumb,
 but the advantage of knitting a top down mitten for yourself is that you can knit it to fit for an absolutely perfectly fit mitten, trying it on all the way.

 You can make the top to fit your stubby fingers.  No empty top here.  You can knit the so it fits short from the thumb join to your wrist because that is how your hands are.  And the thumb!  Its really quite right.

I love that about knitting.  My mittens. Exactly right.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Sweet things

My sweet prince is a plague you know. How his big brother gets by so easy, I don't know.  School immunity or is he the source?  This sweet little B Carter has had a runny snotty nose for two weeks and there is only so long I can go without kissing those cheeks.  I am paying the price.  I stayed home today, sick as a dog and very tired.  Between naps I did an easy job.

I was going through movies today as I was moving tv stands and getting my coffee table out of the way.  So many good memories in that pile of movies.  I loved them far more than he did but he was a good sport about it and enjoyed many many movies.  And travel videos.  He loved the travel videos we collected.  

And then the outstanding March of the Penguins.  

One year on our vacation miles from anywhere up in the mountains, that was the only movie we had along for the player in our camper van.  We would crawl in bed and I would put the show on and be lulled to sleep by Morgan Freeman's voice.  And he would watch the whole thing. He swore he watched it all 6 nights we were up there, all the way through.  When I asked him why he didn't reach up and grab the remote to turn the player off, he just smiled and said he didn't want the cold to come in to his warm spot.

Which for Brian was just the silliest thing to say, and a complete 180 from what he really felt. He enjoyed it and just didn't want to say. I think that is why I remember it.  It was just the silliest thing really, but it makes me feel warm and fuzzy.

And on the other side of my family, it was just the saddest day.  After my wee Marcus was born, they got a dog.  He was a beautiful thing and so very well mannered for small kids.

Max has been sick the last couple weeks and sadly there just wasn't the spare money to keep him going.  They put him to rest this morning.  If there is a heaven, it is the lake, and Brian is there waiting for you.  He will teach not to bark at the deer. Farewell Max. Wee Marcus and his big sister are going to miss you.

What really counts

I had such a lovely weekend.  And such a sucky day yesterday.

There is nothing I can do to fix the day today so I am going to focus on all the things I know I am good at and that I enjoy doing.  These are the things of life that matter to me.  All the rest is just chaff in the wind and I will leave it be and call it done.

I am a good Grandmother.  I might not be a traditional grandmother, but when my grandkids ask me to play hockey or to play super hero, I am the best possible grandma.  I cannot play hockey so I lose honestly and if called upon, I do a really great death scene when it is my turn to die in an epic battle with a superhero who just happens to be 6. Plus if drama is called for as the dinosaurs are attacking,

I am the grandma to call.  I kiss and hug and snuggle my sweet babies even when they are snotty and runny nosed because they need it more then, as do I. 

I love my my big boys and girls too.  Nuff said.  And I knit to soother my soul.  These are the only things that matter.

I don't know that this is enough in the grand scheme of things.  Maybe it wouldn't be for others.  Maybe others of you would list a hundred other things you do that are worthwhile and great about you, but at the end of the day, when we are all dust and gone, these are the only things that count.

All the rest, I will be let go and let it be blown away like the chaff that it is.

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

About an inch

I mentioned Viajante yesterday.  Yes it is here and it is being worked on.

After I finished the socks yesterday, I picked it up since it was falling into my lap from the pile beside me on the couch.  That is as good as the project telling me that it wants to be knit.  So I knit it.

Its kind of neat.  For a very long time, the ball of laceweight yarn was huge.  I knit and knit and it did not change.  then one day I noticed it was a medium sized ball of yarn.  And it stayed that size forever and a day.  Since I started working on it this winter, it has become small and it gets visibly smaller each time I work on it.  I am only a round or so from the very very end of this ball of yarn and it is kind of exciting.  

Half done.  

One more skein to go and I don't know why but it feels like this skein is going to knit fast. Winding will happen tonight.  Or maybe tonight and tomorrow.   

Monday, 16 February 2015

i woke early today

and let me just say, Monday is so much better knowing I did not have to go to work.

I got up early and finished a little something I dug out in Saturday's sock yarn digging and tossing.  I am in a bit of a funk, and didn't feel like knitting much of anything, yet my fingers were crying to knit.  My brain needed to knit.

I don't know how many of you recall last years big bag of sock bits a pieces.  You know, the ends of all the sock you ever knit accumulating till they were ready to take over the world.  I knit several pairs and made a huge dint into the leftover sock yarn but I left all the bits behind once I moved houses.  There was one pair still on the needles, with sock one only part ways complete.  

When I was digging and sorting, I came across that bag and I thought now here is something kind of fun to work on, and knitting in a completely non threatening way.  Everything has a problem right now.  I must rip back the sweater, the brilliant little Icarus based shawl has a problem, and Viajante needs another ball of yarn wound.  I didn't need to do any of that kind of work.  I needed to knit.

So I knit.  

In the inimitable style of things with stripes or things where you are constantly changing yarns and you never know quite how it will be, it took no time at all.

(Please forgive scary looking appendage. Tree Trunk ankles never look gracious in socks)  

Saturday, 14 February 2015

But first a little knitting

Socks, yes and sock yarn, and some work, but first a little knitting.

I have been puttering with the bits and pieces of the vest I made out of Prairie Wool.  I was thinking about making a hat, but I am not really a hat sort of person.  

What else to do?  Mitts?  The yarn seems a tad thick even for really beefy mittens.

A tea cozy was the answer.  So what is step one of a tea cozy?  

Knit it.  Done.

Now I want to felt it just a little bit, not so much to shrink it, but rather just enough to make one amorphous fabric that will completely seal in the heat.  

Of to do a little felting.

Friday, 13 February 2015

Sock goodness.

It's very busy right now.  I have taken on a small second bookkeeping job and like everybody, he left everything to the last minute and needs the data entered with an almost impossible deadline.  

Thank heaven for lunchtime knitting. At least I get that.  Its just sock knitting and I am not really deeply connected to the colours or the yarn of it.  But it is something.  It is also the only thing that I am working on right now that doesn't have a problem.  I will appreciate this plane jane sock for that.

I have 2 days to play this weekend (one to work this long weekend) and I do mean to play.  I intend to go through my sock yarn with a fine tooth comb.  There is a lot of the yarn that I bought for Mr. Needles socks and some of it isn't something I would use for myself.  time to sort that out.

Then there is yarn that I like, but that I know will not stand up to my rigourous, and lazy, washer and dryer demands for socks. If I won't use it for socks, and I don't think I would use it for mittens or other small projects, the it is out.  

Then there is the class best described as the 'what the heck was I thinking' class of sock yarn.  That doesn't mean it isn't good yarn, its just not a fabric or type of blend I really want to work with.  I am certain I had a reason for it, but if I can''t remember it...  

I think this must be a stage of stash.  It is certainly a stage of the life I am living too.  I think it is the stage which might be called the ' if I won't enjoy working with it, why the heck do I have it' stage.  Or maybe it isn't a stage, just a fact of a tiny house.

Anyway that is the plan for the weekend and I can't wait!  I love playing in piles of yarn.  I love being reminded of the yumminess of yarn, of the lovely things that lurk inside boxes and storage containers.  

Sock yarn is a small thing in the grand scheme of life, but socks are big and good socks out of good yarns is the goal.   

Wednesday, 11 February 2015


I put my knitting on a longer needle cable last night.  I am getting very close to the point where I like to try it on and check the depth of the work to see if the yoke is deep enough.

It is almost deep enough.  

It is also distressingly conical.  As in, when I try to lay it flat, it doesn't. 

I went back and counted rows and increase rows and looked at their placement.  It appears I skipped two increase rows.  Back to the drawing board.  Tomorrow night I will rip back and restart from the point where the first missing increase row ought to be. 

This isn't a bad thing.  I have learned some very good things by getting so far and realizing such a major structural error.  I know that the patterning numbers will work out very nicely and I know that the increase rows and numbers will work fairly seamlessly now that I have sorted out what I need to consider transition rows and patterning rows as I try to meld Huns patterning and the book I am using to help me sort out the yoke. 

I also know that my colour choices look really pleasing together and that the colour work patterns look wonderful.  

It might be distressingly conical at this point, and ripping back almost to the beginning might feel like a loss to some, but it feels like a win to me.  And that is the magic of what knitting has taught me.

Failing is winning.  It is just spelled a little differently.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

A Christmas story

There has only been a little sock knitting happening here at Chez Needles so today, you get a story.  

One of the things I did while sorting out my room, was that I hemmed my curtains.  I had a set of long heavy white cotton ones, that I put up on moving here.  These were a healthy foot too long and the sheer lightweight flowery ones I used underneath, were almost 2 feet too long.  I hemmed and as I sat and hemmed, I was reminded of this story.

Mr. Needles was not the kind of guy who thought a lot about Christmas gifts.  Many times, because things were tight, we agreed no gifts.  But when there were gifts to buy, he was usually stumped.   On occasion, he would farm out the task.  I have a really lovely porcelain Santa music box that a sister in law helped him choose.  Once in a while though, he blew it right out of the water.

One year in mid fall, while waiting to pick something up at Sears,  he was stuck wandering through the section of vacuum cleaners.  I know, you are thinking, what not to get your wife for Christmas.  but he did spied a pile of velvet boxes on a shelf.  

He had never seen anything like them before, so curious, he picked one up and opened it.  The clerk in the department asked if  she could help him.  He asked about these things, and decided to purchase it, and took it home and he felt pretty good.

He went out and purchased a red ribbon to tie around it, and a huge bow, and when it was time, that velvet box went under the tree.  With no name on it.

I figured it would be mine, but for the life of me, I could not figure out what it was.  I thought and thought.  The only thing I could think of was pearls.  In movies, pearls come in boxes and I wasn't sure how I would feel about that. I like pearls, but I am more of a costume jewelry sort. I did not think pearls that came in lovely velvet boxes would be something we could really afford or that I would ever be really comfortable wearing. That whole Christmas was torture with the box sitting there.

And Christmas morning, I was, quite simply blown away.

A house of boys and men don't think about the sanctity of your sewing sheers.  They really don't.  A scissors of any kind is for cutting anything and saving one pair for cloth?  Whatever for?  

But to a sewer and crafter, such a thing is sacred.  Over the years there was a lot of shouting, 'What scissors are you using?' and 'It better not be my good scissors.'   These have stayed safe and replaced in their safe velvet box after every use.  They have been much, much used.  To the very best of my knowledge, only once, did they ever cut paper and yes, I yelled at the guilty party.

Over our Christmas morning beverages, Mr. Needles told me how he came across them, and what the clerk told him and wrapping them.  He didn't claim the privilege of  forethought.  He always said that he just recognized something right when he saw it. 

Each and every time I use them, I think of that and I think of him. He scored and got me something so exactly perfect and sweet that they still make me smile with pleasure, even now, almost 20 years later.   

Sunday, 8 February 2015


Friday, I thought I would work on the shawl this weekend, but it seems that isn't what my hands wanted.  Of course it didn't help that somewhere along the line there is an error and I cannot find it.  Part of me wants to bind off and call it good, but I am not to the dark blue, almost navy yarn part and I am going to get there.  Darn it all.

It was a very busy weekend here. It was major clean in my bedroom this weekend and I am quite sure that your rooms weren't as messy as mine.  I have suffered here from too much stuff (or at least it seems that way) and the excess stuff usually gets tossed in my room when company comes.  In truth, it isn't too much stuff, it is severely bad organisation.  I have closets that are almost empty and the stuff is in the living space.  I hate it but I also know that it took me 20 years to get the house organised and though small, it would be foolish of me to expect perfect organisation before I really know the place.  

Till I put up hooks behind my doors, I had sweaters in under bed boxes.  I did not like how that worked. The only time I could get to a different sweater, or put them away was if my room was free of anything (see paragraph 2).  It just made a bad situation worse. The hooks are not the ideal solution but it will do.  Now that the sweaters have a different home, I had empty under bed boxes.  I also had bed linens without a home and sewing and craft fabrics in 3 different storage places.    

So, fabric stash in the under bed boxes with a little room for growth, not that that will happen, and excess bed linens in the now empty drawer under the day bed.  

After all that, I just crawled to bed.  This morning, though I got up and knit and knit.  It was quite the loveliest day and the knitting was very, very good.
 That wee bit of black at the bottom is the collar of the sweater and I have had a few adventures getting the black and creams sorted.  I am knitting the patterns upside down, if you will, and it can be just a bit muddling as I wrap my mind around things.  The patterns are working out quite well with the stitch count I have, using 'Need a Circular Yoke' from Cabin Fever.  Overall, I am very pleased.

The best part though, is the yarn.  My Lopi experience has been knitting and wearing Einband (it will make you a believer in wool) so this is my first go with Lett Lopi.  All I can say is that it isn't itchy as some might call it.  Its cushy and really quite wonderful.  I can feel the wools stretch like in no other yarn before.  

And the colours?  Not at all too bright.  Really just the perfect knitting experience across the board.      

Friday, 6 February 2015

Is it Friday yet?

Its been busy lately.  Not overwhelmingly so and yet I find myself overwhelmed.  This week I have been home only 2 evenings and both of those evenings I was asleep by 7:30, once just happened, and last night on purpose. I'm tired.

With all that, other than the knitting at lunchtime, there hasn't been any knitting at all.  It is Friday and I am so looking forward to a quiet weekend.  I am not going anywhere or doing anything this weekend.  I am going to knit myself silly.

It might be shawl knitting, though I am starting to feel the urge to knit Hun again.  It's been too busy to knit a colourwork sweater, and I think my fingers are ready for the challenge!

If you need pictures, check out this! or search Ravelry for Fox Paws.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Beginnings and endings

Or is it the other way around?

On the frame post, oh how I wish it was a mat problem.  Sadly, I was measuring against the backing material that fits everything cleanly into the frame and holds it in place.  Still not sure what I am going to do.  That is a problem for the weekend.  Might just do mats at this point and skip framing till I win the lottery.  I have done that before and so long as you have a good sturdy backing material, it works ok and would suit my more modern Ikea bedroom furniture.

I didn't think i had knitting for today, but I do!

I have been working on this pair of socks since the day I moved to my new home, last spring.  New home, new socks.

 And, since it is now February, you know exactly how much knitting I did on sock one of this pair over the past many months.

Not a lot.  It has been my lunchtime knitting the last few days, because I have the lace things at home.  And you know what.  I am glad.  I pulled out the sock and it was time to turn to the ribbing and then a quick decision to make them short so I could get a second pair, and voila!  Ready to cast off sock one.

You might think I was just looking to get them done faster, and seriously, you would be right.  But then it is February and it is an entire year since there was any significant sock knitting and you have not seen the state of my sock drawer.

For the number of socks with heel issues and the knitting required to fix them, I am voting for entirely new socks.
Several pairs.  As you see, I have a good beginning on sock two and I expect to be wearing them very shortly.

Be aware, there will be more socks very soon on this blog.  The need is great, and I need bright clean colours to get me through the rest of winter.  I picked this yarn because I really liked it last year but now that I look at it, is pretty darn plain jane and just a tad dull.  It did reflect a lot of where my head was at last year. And I could find it.  The small box with the cheery yarn choices was hiding last year (aka buried in a pile of moving stuff)

So ending because this pair is almost done (half done and I am calling it!) and the beginning of new socks, beginning of the light of spring, beginning of cheerier colours.


I had lovely mail yesterday!

A friend is taking care of a collection of posters that were lovingly collected and she offered them to her friends on facebook.  
I fell in love with one but what with shipping costs, didn't think it would be mine.  But they sent it! So sweet of them.

 It's an old Smokey the Bear poster.  Really stunning.

 I wanted it for my bedroom where I have curtains, and a quilt top (which still needs quilting) that are flowery and springlike.

My plan was to put it into this frame.

but as things go, the poster is about an inch too short and about 2 inches narrower than this frame.  The length isn't a huge problem, but the width is a concern.  I haven't quite figured out how to deal with this yet.

I am going to see if I can find a frame that will fit it better, but that won't cost an arm and a leg. Failing that, I will figure out how best to display it in what I have.  

In any case, there is a great deal of fun stuff on my horizon,  but then isn't there always!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

I didn't get the time to knit last night.  I was playing with my kids.  I have moved from being mabo to Gwandma, said with the sweetest little whine and e sound in the middle.  When grandma plays tickle games she plays them back.  It is the sweetest tickle in the world, those tiny fingers gently and softly ticking my neck.  And a new thing.  She climbed on her desk and then would launch herself over the arm of the sofa, to land in my lap.  then she must, of course, escape Grandma's clutches.  Lots of laughing and giggling.  And my wee boy is as squirmy as ever.  He is getting past baby seats because he has figured out that he can wiggle free.  He is so young to be so aware of what his wriggles make happen.  I love all my kiddies so much.

There will be time to knit lace tonight.  Good enough for me.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

Lace, Lace, Lace

I've been working on lace this weekend.  I didn't get quite so much done as I had hoped (I had hoped to finish)

but I did get enough to that I can see the end.  Literally.

There is a green to Turquoise section left and the turquoise to dark blue and then it looks like it thinks about going to the turquoise and just a hint of the green again.

I think, because of the visual weight of the dark blue, I am going to play some colour games with the turquoise and whatever else is there and finish off the shawl with the blue.  It just seems like the right way to end and use up all of the yarn.

I am going to need every bit of the yarn.  A lace edge on something of this scale needs to be nice and wide and I think mine is going to be just a little bit shy of the way I would prefer it to look. 

Of course that doesn't mean I am going to reknit it to get that wider look.  Not at all.  I love the way it looks.  That wee bit of a wave, that smallest bit of a roll and sway. Points to finish off the long columns.  I love the way it is finishing up.  You can love an imperfect thing and accept it as it is.

And that is how we roll over here at wee Chez Needles.