Thursday, 30 April 2015

Lush knitting

Exactly a week ago, I went on that lovely lovely road trip with my friend Frazzled Knitter.  
I haven't shown you all the good things yet.  I was waiting for a day when I haven't got much to say.  That hasn't happened yet.  Its been non stop knitting!

This is where my modified Wool Peddler shawl is at.  Three full balls or the lighter fawn colour and while I have two of the darker, I doubt that I will need both.  My intention is to knit with the darker colour till the edging is balanced just so with the rest of the shawl.  Its sort of like how there is a right place to hang a picture, that in between that just works right.  that is how wide this border will be.

Its just marvellous knitting with this soft natural earthy yarn.  Look at the gorgeous heathered brown.  Its exactly right.  Even if these colours aren't really mine, who cares.  Naturals are more me than any other colour and it feels lush and rich to me. 

There has also been more knitting on little things.  It is so charming it deserves a whole post of its own.   

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Perception is everything.

I would like to shout out to the world, how can such a tiny sweater take so long to knit?

I worked on it all day yesterday and finished the front yoke.  Today I worked on it again, all day and got this far.

Though it doesn't look like it over on the far side by the needles, I have finished the decreases and am just knitting a straight tube.  Not too far to go on sleeve number two, but I think I am done on it for today.  

It isn't really fiddly but there is a lot of turning of the project on very short rows and that just seems to suck the life out of a day.  All those turns accumulate into a lot of time not knitting.  

I am sprinting to the end now though.  I have the entire body to knit but that is a quick pickup and knit me a tube and then add a navy garter stitch bottom.  I see the end but still...

Its feels like it is taking me a long time.

As consolation, I am knitting on the Wool Peddlers shawl.  That just sings along.  Its as fine a combination of yarn and needles as ever was.  And after a very few rows, you can see the hole forming in the ball and it just stands.  Its most rewarding because it takes very little knitting to make a large hole.  Reward for lots of turns.

Isn't it funny how perception affects what we are doing?

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Whats this?

 It sure is the prettiest yarn.

It will be a sweater for my wee Marcus who is being baptised this weekend.  Or not.  Late breaking new is that once again, the baptism is being pushed off.  (This is the 4th time and it is courtesy of the people who do up visitor visas for people.  She applied months ago and she is a Ukrainian citizen who lives with her family in the US.  Her husband isn't able to come with her so the visa is only for her and their son.  She is to be Marcus's godmother, if the government will ever get the process done.)

The pattern I am using is Ysolda Teague's Wee Envelope.  I first heard about this pattern on the Knitmore Girls podcast and I agree.  Its a really cute pattern...

that is sized for DK weight yarn.  I am doing it in Alegria from Manos Del Uruguay and I am adding a little plain navy sock yarn for the edges and for the garter stitch cuffs and hems.

Its looking good so far, but once again, I am playing gauge games and we shall see how it turns out.  I think it will be ok and I have a backup dk weight just in case.  I have till Thursday to play with this before I have to make up my mind if it is working well enough to go on. (So it seems I have longer to work on it now, which is only great news as it relates to sweater knitting, not baby baptising.)

I hab a code

I hab a code with an awful cough.  I am dealing with the tap that my nose has become but the cough is really bad.  And deep.  Just going to sit and knit on the sofa today.

Have wool.  Have groceries.  Have movies to watch and pillows and blankies to curl up into.

I will survive.  

Monday, 27 April 2015

Busy Weekends are

kinda crappy.  I am not working.  Why is the weekend so busy?
Actually, I was trying to sort out everything for my taxes.  and in between that I was avoiding doing my taxes.  I have a remarkable capacity for putting off and avoiding things I do not like!

Which meant there was a fair bit of knitting.

I am well into the second ball of the Alpaca Wool blend Mule Spinner
You can see the third ball sitting there too and I am pretty sure that I am going to want to knit up the 4th as well.  Plus the edging.  Isn't it cool how this yarn, with its very low processing, sits so perfectly?  It makes for tidy knitting and smooth hands as I work.  The yarn is not stripped of every bit of lanolin which is part of what makes it so good. 

And then there is this.
Once I had finished the springtime socks, I was left with the realisation that I did not feel like working with new yarn.  I was also full of the recent realisation that I had many more bits and ends than I thought.  My hands wanted to knit something just as much fun as the springtime socks and I wanted to clear out some more leftover yarn.  I ended up staying up way too late last night playing with these.  Two row stripes are a lot of fun.

And those springtime socks? My sister sent pictures!

Just a sweet treat for your eyes and here is hoping she enjoys them as much as I enjoyed knitting them.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Prairie Things

There is just nothing like garter stitch.

It's a little thing but oh my, what a thing.

This yarn is Custom Woollen Mills Alpaca and Wool Mule Spinner 2 ply.  I have had this yarn for a while now and you know what?  I sure wish I would have worked with it sooner.

It's awfully nice.  Its very prairie.  

The prairies never jump up and hit you in the face like a mountain range or the rocky majesty of the east with waves crashing where ocean meets shore.  Prairie is space.  Prairie is open and light and air and wind and the sound of rustling grasses. It is stalwart and steadfast.

Prairie is hidden corners and small beauty and quiet kinds of richness.  Prairie is roots and wings.

Alpaca and Wool 2 ply Mule Spinner is kind of like that.  Its looks simple in the skein.  It's like the prairie is.  It speaks to light and space and wide open knitting in a plain sort of way.  

Till you knit it and it realize that it has hidden corners of beauty it is quite content to wait for you to discover.  It does not need to shout to make its splendour known.  It is content to wait for you. At peace.  Quiet.  Stalwart without being stodgy or harsh. It moves along your needles gently, no pulling or clinging yet it moves smooth and free.

While the yarn speaks of these things, I am not content till I shout it to that wide open prairie sky.  Don't wait.  Go find some.   

Friday, 24 April 2015

A truly perfect day

I really did have the perfect day.  We drove we shopped, we ate lunch at a fabulous bistro.  Roasted carrot soup.  Just delicious and I must find a recipe so I can taste it again and again.

One of the things I came home with will do very nicely to be an accent to a long desired project.

I've had these 4 fawn skeins of yarn for a while.  I think I started with 3 skeins and then purchased a 4th, and then changed my mind about what I wanted them to be.  

I have also thought about knitting a Wool Peddlers Shawl.    I have some red yarn, the remainder of the yarn from the red sweater I knit earlier this year that is earmarked for the lace edged version straight out of Cheryl Oberle's wonderful book.  That plan for a massive warm wonderful red shawl has been in the works for years and remains and active and fond desire.

I debated simply changing my plan to the fawn yarn, but the vision of it in red just stood in the way. 

The Wool Peddlers shawl is a good basic shape and a few people out there have made a magical and very modern version with a simple, very lightly ruffled edging. I first noticed the variation on the Mason Dixon blog in 2009, when Kay Gardiner knit several stunning versions.  I think that is what this is going to be.  Fawn main body with a warm heathered edging to wrap it up.  

I think this is going to be cast on today.  There are so many other choices, but this might be the one that deserves my today.    

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Cue the Perfect Day

Perfect Day

What makes your perfect day?

Mine?  'Road Trip' also from Legally Blonde, in my mind at least.  

I am taking a road trip to Shuttleworks today.  There will also be a few other stops along the way at Custom Woollen Mills and to Crafty Lady, a small but very nice shop in Lacombe, Alberta.  

Like I need more yarn, but then again, it isn't really a buying trip.  Its an exploration of interesting places and I will come home with a few souvenirs just like any other vacation.  

It's my kind of trip. 

Its also to assuage me for the simple fact that I cannot afford to go to the Knitters Frolic in Toronto or the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and I don't want to be left out of the fun.  

Va-cay!  Wait.  Is that from Legally Blonde?  I would hate to mix my movies references.  

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Do you recall the other day, when I was knitting spring?

Well, I finished the pair this morning.  Speedy feeling knitting because you were always watching for a cube to be completed and then knit a few rows and start a new cube.  It was be the perfect pattern and yarn combination to take you out of the doldrums and put you into a happy place.

I gave the socks to my visiting sister as a gift to take home.  They fit her perfectly and it was small return for the pleasure of her company.

And so off she went with a lovely new pair of socks...

that I don't have a photo of.  

I will bug her this evening.

Saturday, 18 April 2015


Like everybody, there are things I live with, that are tiny irritants to my soul, and yet the irritation is so small and irregular that I live with it.  I resolved one of those on putting my study into order.

I had a lovely piece of felted fabric that began life as a test of gauge for Brian's vest and I used to use it as a pad for my coffee thermos on one of the jobs I worked on.  

Since then, it has been floating here and there and was more in the way than it was ever used.  

Most of my tables are wood and I want to keep them in good shape if I can.  I have been using cork coffee coasters but if the cup is the least little bit damp or sweating on the bottom, the cork sticks to the cup.  When you take a sip, the coasters ride along and more often than not, ends up in your lap.  Irritating.

It occurred to me that I like felted coasters and they never ever cling to a coffee cup and that this large and generally useless piece of felted knitting could be cut into nice coaster sized sections.  

So I did.

Its silly how much resolving such a small irritation pleases me. 

Friday, 17 April 2015

What happened to the day?

I don't know about anybody else, but since the day I moved, what with working full time and all the stresses related to that past, I have not had the time to settle.  

Sure all the boxes got unpacked, and everything was on the shelves, but there was so little order and no place in my home was finished.
A couple months ago, I more or less ordered my bedroom and I have felt an urgency about finally settling in and organizing things since then.

I did not knit at all yesterday but for the 2 rounds while the coffee was being made.  I headed straight to the study and set to work.

I worked on my swatch board.  All the swatches have been piled in a storage bag, stuck between the wall and the treadmill, set aside, never looked at, unloved.  They hold much meaning for me.  Its a little like a map of where I have been and I missed that evidence of personal history.

I had some sheets of styrofoam from the TV stand I bought when I first moved here, so I dug into my boxes of fabric and covered a nice large piece and there we are.  Swatches out.  The swatch from Brian's vest is there, top right and his gansey sweater, just below. The little 3 fingered mitten hidden at the top left and the swatches from my search for the right stash yarns for a Tempest sweater.  The swatch for the Agatha shawl.

I hung my clock in its permanent home, and a caricature I had done for Brian of our boys when they were young.

I organized the library.  Crochet books with crochet, embroidery with embroidery, knitting with knitting, lace with lace reference with reference.  I took some stress off a couple of shelves by putting some of the tall books on the narrowest of the shelves.
I began to put the blue and white collection into a proper display again.  It was so lumped together that I almost forgot some of the pretty little things I had.

I made a shelf for the tools.  They were mashed in bags and tossed on shelves and I couldn't have used them if I wanted as buried as they were. They are now in easy reach.

And I made a spare shelf a nice place for the my pretty bead display and mixed it with the carved quartz bookends from our honeymoon, and the Yarn Harlot books and tossed a little blue and white in there too.

There is a little more to do.  The lacewight yarn is out on the shelves and it looks mashed and untidy now that everything else is crisp and bright and happy. There is space in the wool room and there are some smaller empty tubs around somewhere that could be pressed into service for lace.  Who knows what the day will hold.


Thursday, 16 April 2015

Top of the bucket

Not a bucket list though.  I am much more of a 'live in this moment,  occupy it fully, no matter where I am or what I am doing, explore the small pleasures of right now' than a bucket list kind of person. Living in the moment is a hard thing to master, but I do work on that skill. No I mean this bucket.
The one I crocheted a while ago.  (Which is another project I mean to make more of)

I use this bucket (its what it looks like most)to hold things that I am seriously thinking of working on.  Doing this often helps me direct my project planning and keeps my focus on the next thing.  It doesn't always work and there are always new directions, but this happens after every stash dive and the bucket usually gets knit.

I have been thinking about knitting more warm shawls.  In my thinking this is a whole class of shawls though the words come from the Estonian way of naming heavier warmer shawls. 
This is a alpaca/wool blend from Custom Woollen Mills.  I bought it while on a yarn crawl around central Alberta and I think of knitting it constantly.  Its a wonderful thing knit up, keeping its very prairie wool roots but having the lovely soft slippiness of alpaca.  Its such an interesting thing and very different from the mills more usual all wool Mule Spinner yarn. Each skein has 226 metres so the plan is for a nice large shawl. I am thinking a Hap shawl.  I might just go one colour but I do think about adding another of the lovely natural colours for the edging.

Down at the bottom of the bucket are some very nice skeins of Silky Wool.  We used to play skein and colour matching games at the yarn store on quiet days and I have some wonderful combinations of Silky Wool

to make another Northampton Neckerchief.  3 skeins makes a very  nice sized shawl, though when I do it, I am going to just do a half size version to be a little larger.  These may or may not be the final colour choices.  The colours are much more subtle in the real world than this picture and work really nicely, but I am less sure of the colours as pictured.  I  do love the feel of this yarn snuggled close though and this shawl plan will happen shortly.

At the top of my bucket are some wonderful new things.  Bright cheery, and bought on one of my very worst days on a mid day escape from my desk.
Two skeins of Alegria from Manos Del Uruguay. Whatever else this yarn might be, the range of colours is absolutely stunning.  I know that one on the right will be for my Sweet Thing.  I will add another plain colour, navy I think, and make a nice little stripey cardigan for her that mimics Undercurrent or Tempest.  I originally bought the one on the left for something for mamma, but you know, wouldn't it be cute as a striped sweater for my littlest wee prince and wouldn't they look a pair if I used the same plain colour yarn?

I am past the heel turn on my current sock obsession and I am having the absolute best time with them, but you never know when one of these projects will pop up.  

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Knitting Spring.

After finishing the knitting on a sweater yesterday, I had the urge to start something new, but I had no idea what to knit.  No ideas.  None,  I spent part of my morning scrolling through my favourites list on Ravelry but nope.  Zip.  Nada.

Hard to believe but there it was.

After my very quick dinner this evening, I sat down at the computer again on a quest for inspiration.  What with one thing and another and I landed on the Mostersocks forum, looking at pretty pictures of mixed up but very pretty socks.  I knew there was a pattern thread out there so I went looking.

And voila.  It feels as if I am that brand new knitter, sitting on her porch swing giggling to herself as a funky looking tube developed that first tremendously bad heel turn. It is such a rush of funky, new energy and the ideas of what else I will do this with just will not stop coming into my head!

I was not a big fan of mosaic knitting.  I've seen the books, I thought that there was a little too much emphasis on mosaic patterns in the Barbara Walker Treasuries but oh how wrong I was.

I could not stop knitting this.  I thought I would just get a row or two of the squares and then once you could see what was going on, I would take a picture and call it good.  Ha.  I couldn't put it down.  Its very like a good two row stripe scarf out of Noro. Completely impossible to set aside. 

The pattern is the Ugly Duckling Socks, a pretty, simple mosaic knitting pattern but gosh, golly and gee whiz am I happy with the way this is turning out.  This pretty, mostly turquoise yarn end hadn't found a home with any other yarns in the bits and ends box.   
It's broad range of strong colours means it doesn't play nice with other colours but this is just about perfect for this pattern with the cream plain yarn.  

Oh I know the squares don't show up with its bits of white scattered in there and the tightness of my knitting on these, means the little white dot that should be in the center of each square is completely hidden by other stitches, but, be still my beating heart.  Is that lovely part sock not the epitome of spring? 

How can you possibly feel down when you are knitting spring?

Myliu Lino

The knitting is complete on Myliu Lino 

This is where I really miss my old dress form. 

I loved every bit of knitting this.  It was a little like stripes.  If you made it to the lace bit, it just flowed so fast and there were so few rows between the lace bits.  Much faster than the calendar shows.  There were really very few hours put in to knit this,

I did switch to large needles as I knit down.  At the underams, I started the next lace section with a 4 mm needle and then knit two sections with that and switched to a 4.5 mm for the rest of the bottom.  My gauge is pretty much on target with the pattern gauge at the bottom and I have the more firm that the yarn requires at the top.  I have side seams to sew and underarm seams to graft or three needle bind off, and then ends to weave so the top itself, has a ways to go, but the knitting is done.

I tossed it over my head for a minute just to see how it would drape and look and I think i am pleased.  The drape is what I imagined.  It is a great blending of yarn and pattern even though it is very different from what the pattern calls for!

Monday, 13 April 2015

Making sense of it all.

There are going to be some changes here at Chez Needles to resolve an issue that has been in the making for a while now.

Once that change is accomplished, there will be more knitting time for a while, till I find something new to do.  It might make no sense to the larger world, but in the place I am in, this step is the only thing that makes any sense at all.

This is what makes sense in life.  

 I keep this centered in my heart and in my head and it will come out the way it is supposed to.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

A letter to Laura Aylor

Dear Laura Aylor,

Ok.  You can stop now.  Because really, I have only one lifetime to live and there are only so many knitting hours.

You became famous in my world with Lizard Ridge.  I never noticed it but back when I was working at the yarn store, everybody and their sisters cousin would come in and say, 'well, I can always used it for that Lizard Ridge Blanket' and walk out with single balls of Noro.

And then on my own, I came across this.  All the Shades of Truth. Oh my.  Breathtaking simplicity and utterly stunning. Tove worthy for those who us who have a treasured stash of Tove.
That's when I really started watching you.

Ok.  That sounds just a bit creepy.  I mean on Ravelry.

And then there is Faberge  and Sunstruck and Shalimar and Tuck and Dunbar  and...and...and

I could go on.  And on. 

And then today I saw Rorqual.  

Honestly, If you don't stop...don't ever stop, I am going to be a pretty darn happy knitter.  I couldn't ask for more than that.



PS, computer monitor repaired, audio visual components all set up all thanks to Son2.  Action shots:

Instead of a pile of components and a strangle of cables and cords, I have order and gosh darn it all, it works.

I need to knit for him more often.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Here's hoping

I'm checking out my phone as a posting platform.  Just a test.  

I drove the camper van to my brother's house this past weekend.  He will clean it up and sell it for me.  Much as I dreamed I could keep it, the practical me says I really don't need it.  The cost to maintain it is ok if there is somebody around who knows how to manage it but I sure don't.   I really don't need the insurance cost and none of the kids fits it as a camping unit.  Its time to sell.  So I drove it to Saskatoon and had a lovely long weekend with family.

And returned to my home on the bus.  That was interesting.  Not bad.  Just interesting.  I thought I would knit more and I might have if I had a better seat.  If I ever take the bus again I am going to pay the extra to seated first.  

And then there were all the corners the bus driver took just a little too fast and how sometimes you had to grip the rail in front of you and firmly plant both feet to hold yourself on the seat...yeah.  Less knitting than I thought there would be. 

I was hoping to use the trip back as a 'will I like bus travel enough to do a long trip' tester.  I would love to do a fall leaves trip through the eastern trees.  Or go to  Maryland to the Sheep and Wool festival to see sheep and non sheepy friends who live just down the road a short ways.  

I am not sure that one trip was good and fair test. It sure was interesting and I hope fore better to come.
Minor technical glitch.

My monitor or something died on my computer at home.  Technical genius currently working to resolve the issue.  (Technical genius because he knows what to look for and how to resolve. I don't beyond starting over)  I'll be back once it gets sorted.

Friday, 3 April 2015

And now for the continuing story...

Remember the voice over guy who used to introduce soap operas?  That big voice?  (Boy am I dating myself)

Anyway, the hand issue of yesterday is gone completely and I have been knitting all day and will knit a bit more before I am done.  

I am having such a good time knitting this.  It's like knitting two row stripes or self striping sock yarn.  It just moves fast.

Plus I am far enough past the shoulder seam that I can hold it up from the shoulders and see how it drapes. And it does.  I did change needle sizes as I knit down the sweater, and O. M.G.  It is just beyond what I hoped for. Even now the weight of the yarn is doing exactly what I counted on it doing in just about the nicest possible way.

I am so very very pleased. 

Thursday, 2 April 2015

The weather unhands me

As time goes forward, and as I age, I find that sometimes, my hands, give out on me.

It is part arthritis, I think.  When the weather is bad, no, that isn't it.  It is more when the weather is about to change, that my hands play up.  They used to feel as if they got stupid.  They couldn't grip things tightly.  They felt puffy and swollen, even when they weren't or did not look it, externally.  The weather has been particularly harsh and changeable this last couple of weeks but more than that,  and worse than that, some of it is stress related.  Stress  makes it worse and my stress levels right now are pretty high.  

When I can't knit long evenings away, my stress levels are higher.  Its kind of  a self reinforcing problem.  

I knit a little last evening on my pretty top. The weight of the fabric makes the time I can work on it less, but it is what my hands are interested in working on.  So small knitting, but knitting.  I worked a little on Viajante too.

But it has been a few quiet knitting days.  Rewarding days, but quiet.  Days need more knitting.