Friday, 30 October 2015

Good Morning!

My granddaughter Cassie always asks, 'Cassie good morning?' to see if she can come out from her room after her afternoon rest. Sometimes she is telling you she is ready to come out of her room saying the same with but with a firmness that implies she is coming out anyway.

Today this.  Grandma good Morning?

Yes.  I could be carving pumpkin with the neighbour ladies, but I had to make a decision earlier this week in case I was needed to stay with kiddies today rather than yesterday, and so said no.  I might pop across the street with treats a little later.

But for right now, this Grandma is having her good morning.

Cassie, practicing her knitting.

She is interested.  She came and snuggled under the blob when I pulled it out to start working on it, and then watched carefully what was going on.  She watched a few minutes and quite seriously asked, 'Grandma, what you doing'.  Small moves.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Version 2.1?

Almost.  So very very close.  So close to done this puppy.  All that remains is to put up the curtains. which is where I started.  I have piles of curtains and rings sitting out in the study, waiting.  Talk about starting at the wrong end of a thing. Oh well.

My installer had a headache from the kind of cramped position the shelf put him into and as much as I wished it, it wasn't to be.  I am just tickled pink though at what we did do. Okay, what he did.  I just picked up the screws he dropped and handed him shelf brackets.

 Before the install.
After the install.  I know.  

It doesn't look like much but in my eyes, it is huge.  64 inches of straight across storage on a 32 inch deep shelf up to a height of 3 feet.  It doesn't take much to tickle my fancy, does it?  The other little things were just busy work.  The water connection on the washer, which had always been wrong, are in order and it is clean and dust free behind the unit.  And the unit is back in its place square after sitting crooked in its space since I tried washing a pillow in it in the summer.  Bad move, that.   

Why this storage?  Seriously, how much Christmas stuff can you need and why the artificial tree to store when storage is at a premium?  These are really good questions asked over and over again the last years, at the house long before Brian's passing and since. It became urgent last year.  I needed a different sort of tree.  The 2 other trees were far too big for this small house already so filled.  I debated for months about artificial versus real. I even debated the merits of no tree at all.  The quest was filled with a great deal of anguish that really doesn't make a whole lot of sense out of context. Bottom line is there is nothing for the soul like a real tree and nothing near like its scent but the convenience of artificial can't be beat.  I like the tree to be up the first week of December and I like to keep it up to Ukrainian Christmas.  Real trees need constant and regular watering.  They just don't last that long with a travel break in the middle while I go visiting.  

That was what made the choice in the end.  I knew the storage would be an issue, but knew it could addressed. I originally envisioned it would go outside, in my small storage box behind my deck but it was impossible to get to it once the snow came.  I did not expect finding the solution to take this long! 

I spent a very little more money than I planned when I was out, but it was very, very well spent.  

I have a little Ryobi battery powered screwdriver.  It does the job but the batteries don't last long enough to complete even a small shelving project and it just doesn't have enough power for occasions I might want to drill. And yes, I do on occasion. Like fixing my front screen door or remodeling existing shelving that could use a reinforcing extra screw on the side, into a shelf  to hold up the heavy burden of my books.  I needed a girl drill.

Girl drill defined as so cheap and weak that Mr. Needles would only use it if no one saw him, if I never spoke of it, if the batteries of his tools were stone cold dead and it was a desperate emergency. the kind of tool that he would never take out to the shop and commandeer for himself.  I had to be tricky with little tools. Stubby screwdrivers?  I lost a lot of those to the shop till I figured it out.  Don't buy the good kind, buy the ones he wouldn't enjoy using. 

His own tools in the shop, with which he did all the marvelous things he did for me, were quality tools, but had heavy batteries. I did not like managing the beasts.  I wanted something to fit my hand and my wrists better, something lighter which did not need to be powerful enough for construction just for ordinary household work.  I found a drill today at the right price. It has a cord, but I don't see me walking all over the house for days on end, drilling stuff.   Plus, I needed something that could be used right when I needed it without worrying about battery charges and is it dead yet. The cord is a bonus in my eyes.

I also did a wee bit something silly, but I am enormously pleased by it.  That is something for another day and till then, I feel energized and alive.   

Which is a good thing, because I will be spending part of tomorrow with those swift moving little kiddies of mine again.  

The Many Levels of Adventure 2

My wee house has only 3  closets.  The wool room is a superb 8 feet by 4 feet.  The closet in my room is not.  It is pitifully small, a mere 30 inches wide as is the hall closet.  Besides the wool room, there is a 60 whole inches of storage space.  That is it.  Zip. Nada anything else in the entire house. Apartments have more.     

When I moved here, I changed out a full sized laundry pair in the laundry nook, to a stacked unit.  The result adds another 38 inches of storage space. I bought a massive, sturdy resin shelf,  2 feet by 3 feet.  It fits reasonably well and the price was right.  The high parts hold the Christmas stuff, the deep, things I don't need very often, but wanted to keep and the fronts...

The fronts became a place for piles of small stuff.  Piles of small stuff meant that a bunch of stuff that should have been on these shelves, had no place to go.  

Like the tub full of cords and assorted things. Like that ironing board cover that kept falling off.  Like the stuff I used to keep in the junk drawer.  I have no junk drawer and as a lifetime believer in the necessity of a junk drawer somewhere in your home, this one really hurts.  

Where do you keep the glue gun?  The picture hangers?  The wall anchors?  The leftover bits from building all that Ikea furniture?  The shoelaces you keep for emergency ironing board cover repairs?  Stuff like that got tucked on the shelf in an assortment of bags and little containers and threatened to cascade down every time I walked by. A mess like that breeds mess.  Pretty soon you start leaving the small screw drivers there instead of putting them in the nice and way to full tool box. You start to fear impalement from a cascade of little things!

If you don't have a broom closet, where do you keep your cleaning supplies? ( Always always keep cleaning products out of reach of small ones, even if you don't have a wee one in your home.  I shudder every time I see an organiser blog that keeps them under the kitchen sink.)

All that stuff went to the shelves.  It isn't what I want to see, right across from the main bathroom, right in the middle of where I pass a thousand times a day.  It isn't a mess any more,   
but it isn't really what you want sticking out in public.  (Particularly the cleaning stuff.  Best where the wee ones cannot see it too.)

A friend linked me to Spoonflower, where you can custom print the most amazing fabrics.    That link should take you to the Spoonflower page for a book printed fabric.  Wouldn't it be lovely to turn an ugly view of  open shelves into books?  Perfection.

But, at Chez Needles, we are all about making do, and using up.  Besides, a print of that nature is a little dark for my only corner with no natural light.  

What I do have is this.  
 Acres of it.  Silvery green in colour and heavy.  It was from the back wall of the fabric store,  75 cents a meter and I think I bought as much as I could carry.  It is linen I suspect and quite possibly a little raimie.

It was once meant for my master bedroom for curtain panels, some pillows, and little accessories for an elegant bedroom that never quite happened. All that ever was completed was this. It now hangs on my display rod in my study, a sweet reminder of pretty dreams and a kind of stitching I love to do.  

I made a cover for the shelving. A plain straight hanging curtain like thing that I am going to fix to the shelf with the sticky back velcro, accumulated while making dolly clothes. Once again, the most marvellous thing happened.  This fabric is wide enough to go around the two exposed sides of the shelving.  It will be tidy, right to the wall!  That meant what I allotted for the wide side of the unit, is left over, at least another 4 feet by 60 inches of fabric...which got me to thinking about the space I haven't recovered yet.

That 3 foot by 4 foot space from the top of the shelves, over the dryer and all the way to the wall.  That space that goes from plenty high to store bankers boxes to 3 feet high over the front of the dryer.  Lots of delicious storage space for things like the Christmas tree.  (digression alert)

I love Christmas, and am so sad that these last few years have left me bereft of Christmas spirit and decor.  I am very much looking forward to Christmas and have all sorts of plans, but at the same time, I recognise the fundamental problem of Christmas.  Where do you put it all? Currently, the tree is in that hall closet and I still don't have any outdoor decor (I mean to fix that this year.).  There is zero room for coats in a closet traditionally intended for coats, and which I, personally, could really, really use for sweater storage.  (end digression)

I mean to recover this space by putting shelving up there over the top of the washer/dryer.  It will go all the way to the other wall and will sit on the top of the shelving, making the space on that last top shelf 6 feet wide and 3 feet deep!  Masses of storage for all kinds of things. Why, there might even be room for the guest pillows and the down duvets I have (a project plan for another day).

I thought about expanding the shelf for a while now, but honestly, I didn't because having all that stuff, all those things, even stored in tidy containers on an organised shelf, open to the world, just becomes clutter. It's like having your basement in the hall.  Clutter and feeling crowded breeds stress and angst. It detracts from an otherwise very nice home.  

That large piece of fabric left from the shelf cover made this storage recovery happen.  I intend to curtain that off as well.  Again a flat plain curtain, hanging from a tensioned curtain rod or a shower rod, whichever is cheaper.  There are only a few things to purchase to make it happen: a single piece of pre-finished shelving, some 1 x 6, a couple of brackets, a pack of wall anchors and the rod. And then I will sit and wait for my assistant to arrive.  (The assistant is tall and he can reach all this stuff.  He can also move the washer and dryer.  The price is a nice chicken stir fry.  I got it covered.)

I intend to knit. And rest.  I chased grandkids yesterday.  I'm tired.  I will contemplate why our creator made small children move so fast and grandparents move so slow.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Adventure 1.

Before moving to my wee house, I had a good sturdy built in ironing board that Mr. Needles built me. I loved that thing, but there was no reasonable way to take it with me and no where to put it up here.  So as a matter of course, one of my first trips included getting an ironing board.  

For convenience, I bought one where the pad was included.  This was a fatal error as far as ironing boards are concerned.  The cover was not worth 2 cents.  It was too short and too narrow to stay on. (See that edge of the board?)

 When it was put into the closet before ever using it, the top fell off. Ironing never happened.  It was too much hassle to get it to stay on.  I stopped wearing things that needed ironing. That ironing board more or less stayed in the closet till I was prepping my quilt top. I ironed on it but I said bad words many, many times.

I promised myself that I was going to fix it.  

When I sat down this afternoon, I planned to add extensions to the existing cover and move the tie to the new casings so the cover could stay in place as it should.  As I was starting to pin the extensions on, it became clear that the fabric was bad.  It did not look sturdy enough to withstand the good hard pull of the a properly tight string.  I debated buying a new cover but darn it, this whole thing had been used once and I was not about to spend another penny on something I don't do that much of in the first place.

A quick dive into the fabric stash revealed a substantial piece of fabric left over from my quilt top.  I think I originally bought the fabric as the backing for my quilt.  I remember that it cost 50 cents a metre.  Yes it is that ugly, but it is a good sturdy 100 % cotton. There was enough of it for this.    

I used the original top to cut out the pattern for the new one, cutting about 5 extra inches around the outside.  Room to get under the lip of the board, and plenty for a good casing for the string.  About halfway through the sewing, I found myself thinking of the thin foam padding from the original board.  

It would have been smart to have had this planned out before I put everything back in the wool room.  A couple of wool batts would have made fantastic padding.  That container was at the bottom of the back of the room, and no it isn't coming out this soon.  I promised myself that I would pull some out when I pulled out spinning stuff next time. Till then I would go with the foam. 

But the foam did not work. Being more firmly tied in place with some extra central lacing made the padding buckle.  I tried to straighten it out but each time, it buckled.  Then I spied the solution.  There was a light weight cotton quilt batt tucked on my bookcases near the lace weight yarns. It was unused from a planned baby quilt and it would be perfect for this.  

I folded the cotton batt into quarters and measured it on the ironing board.  It was perfect.  No cuts required.  I obviously bought this not for a quilt but for ironing board padding!  There was a tiny bit to cut off to shape the narrow end of the board, and I sewed it around the edges to keep my quarter folds nice and crisp and then this.

 Far better results than I thought when I sat down to do this after lunch.  I think this over powering flowery pattern is great for a cover.  It is sturdy and well tied in place with just the right amount of padding.  This is the kind of cover that will last a lifetime.  We shall see if the board last as long.

Call me slightly less curmudgeonly.

I am stuck in that Movie and I can't get out

Oh yes, the blob has completely taken over my life.  I can't get out.  I haven't started dreaming about it yet, but I probably will.

I spent the whole weekend knitting on front one, hating knitting it, and avoiding knitting it.

It isn't really that I hate the project.  I am looking forward to the project in truth.  I am excited for it to be done and am energized by the idea of the project.  But I hate, hate, hate, truly, deeply, loathe working on big needles.  There is a whole other way of knitting with needles this size and it just doesn't feel natural.

I can knit for a couple hours on it and then I have to have a break.  In that break time, I decided to start some of my bit of Christmas knitting.  

I haven't finished it yet because I am debating whether I like the way I did the decrease section.  They call for a 6 set decrease and I did 4.  I might go back and redo.  There is also a fair bit of yarn left and I was thinking of using it all up and making the hat so that you could flip up the brim.  I can gain more wear time for my kiddies as they grow.  This one is for my sweet thing, and she is going to love that orange stripe.  It is a soft yummy feeling stretch of yarn.

By early Sunday morning, I had half the green section to complete, which I did, and then I gave myself  the grace of not starting front 2.  I gave myself the rest of the day off of the blob.  It was lovely.

Its funny how irritation in one part of life can bleed into the rest of things.  Mine sure did.  As the last week knitting on the blob progressed, I found myself becoming more and more discontent.  Angry almost.  Unsatisfied.  Generally grumpy.  Curmudgeonly even.  What to do when you feel all out of sorts and dissatisfied?

It leads me to all sorts of adventures, only they are not done yet.  Those adventures will be saved for another day.

Friday, 23 October 2015


I finished the back before I left for another day of kiddie play, one of the benefits of getting up really early.  

Today is going to be front 1 day and I am excited!  

Still fully keeping in mind that this may be an utter failure of a project and yet completely convinced that no matter what happens, I win because I knit.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

The blob

You are all thinking again with the blob and so it is.  

The blob grew to 4 feet and it is now officially like knitting an afghan.  It covers me well past my toes when I am sitting.  By the math, I have another 20 or so rows to go and I am going to stick strictly to the math of the thing.  I 'feel' it is long enough, but if you start a project like this, where the result is going to be felted and the plan is for it to fit, then you have already crossed to the darkside and made your deal with that devil, math.

I sure hop I can start a front today.  I am kind of looking forward to it!  Where this part is getting slow, the front will feel like speed knitting.  

I tell you, people think I don't live on the edge, but the suspense of this...

In between knitting the blob, I am knitting lace on another old project.  I think I will switch that out for the Still Light tunic I am working on.  That way I might still get all the things done that I wanted done before Christmas.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

I spent the day chasing kiddies

I spent my day chasing kiddies yesterday.  I love spending whole days with them like that.  You get to see an entirely different side of them than when you pop in for a few hours .  Cassie is really starting to play with her imagination.  It was so much fun.  She would stop in a freeze motion way and not move till I tickled her.  I had taken along some of the green yarn to wind and she loved doing it.  The balls might be a little squidgy from being wound with a mildly uneven tension but they will be perfectly servicable.  I was surprised that she made it through the first of these giant balls but she was really fascinated by it.  I know that one of her favourite things is treadling the spinning wheels, so maybe we have a burgeoining handmaker in our midst.  

I got home and I was exhausted.  Completely and utterly. I knit for a while on the giant sweater, making it almost to the end of the third ball's allotted yarn amount of about 100 metres.  When I was writing the other day, I forgot to take the collar into account, but a third for the collar is set aside as well.  If you knit a giant coat, do keep in mind to knit it in winter.  Its like knitting afghans!  This shouldn't surprise me but it kind of does.

As I cleaned the wool room the other day, I pulled out yarn for the next couple projects.

Socks up next.  Plain vanilla but striped plain and multi.  I originally chose the soft grey Sisu to go with the green Kroy, but as I was mucking about with yarn, it looked better sitting next to the charcoal Elann sock yarn.  The gray looks really great in person with that multi blue brown gray Kroy even though it looks a tad washed out there.

And a few sweater yarns.

 Yarn for three new sweaters, one for me, one for my oldest grandson, and one for his mom.  The last two will be made first.  His because I don't want him to grow too much that I run out of yarn (!!! like weeds they are!) and his moms, because I hope to get there before Christmas.  And mine because I look at the tiny swatch that remains of Mr Needles Cascade 220 vest on my swatch board, and remember how much he liked and wore it, and want to feel that kind of warm too.

And then a bag of good stuff.  

That cotton you see on top is to make a duster end for my Swiffer.  I have high ceilings and I am just not going to go all over my house on a step ladder to dust the high bits.  I would kill myself falling off the darn thing.  The Swiffer will make it possible to reach it all standing on the floor but they don't make duster sheets for swiffers.  No.  They only make them for dusters and though I have a long handled one over at the house, it still wouldn't reach my highest peaks.  So the obvious solution is to make some dusters that do fit.  I am almost to the end of the sweeper sheets too so it is time to make some dust mop style covers for floors too.

The rest of that mass of yarn is shawls.  My very special Shilasdair, some wonderful Briggs and Little and some of the newer wonderfully soft Custom Woolen Mills Sock yarn are all going to make suggly warm yummy things to wear.  Then there are some bits for mitts and toques for little people I know and love.  It is a sweet mess of yarn and I am looking forward to it! 

And one more for granny.  

I came across this from long ago.  I had started a Wingspan but kept messing up the counts.  I was not using markers and I guess I needed to. It had all been pulled apart and is ready to knit again.  Lovely Noro Taiyo and delicious Tove. I love the way the yarn looked as a Wingspan it and it just felt right to pull out this simple knitting that makes exciting things happen as you go.  

Anyway, off for a date with the blob to count it's rows to see how I am doing.  And Poirot.  Maybe some Lewis on tv.  Possibly an audio book.  I don't know.  What I do know is this.  It's going to be the most knitterly day of this week!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Knitting Lite

Yesterday was a day of not much knitting.  A day of knitting lite, if you will.  But I was very very busy.

It started Saturday.  All the wool came out of the wool room.

 Each and every container.
 The room was swabbed within an inch of its life, cleaned, tidied, washed and otherwise put to order.
The entire wool room.  Nice isn't it. It came out over two days and went back in over two.

And then everything went back.  In steps and after a thorough reorganization and dusting and airing.  Every box was inspected and gone through and dusted and handled.  I love that part and then it was all put back.

I found out one thing for sure.

I am not allowed to buy a single solitary ounce of fibre until a good portion of this is spun.  This is just the fleece, dyed fibre and specialty fibre.  It doesn't include the fibre I got when I bought my second and now principal wheel.  That is all stored in cooler type bags that are at this moment, under my sewing table.  They have to be gone through and dusted before they are done.  

If you look carefully, the bottom is quilt batts, as is half of the second tub.  I used half of one tub when I assembled the quilt (which I don't work on nearly enough) and filled that lovely empty space with a half fleece that had previously been in a separate tub.  

That is the best part of all of this moving and merging and playing in the yarn.  Merging containers.

My pile of empty containers keeps growing.  The only small ones left in the wool room are where fibre has been prepped for spinning, a small box of dishcloth type cotton and a box of sock bits and ends. The rest of my entire collection of small boxes is empty.  

I am pressing a few of these into service for my storage shelves.  I need some kind of sensible corral for lightbulbs and a few oddments that make my storage shelving a mess. The plastic bags needed a desperate tidy, as you can see above.  They clearly needed better storage than the large Trader Joe bag they were stuffed into.  I think they were stuffed into that bag a while ago when I had company coming and I knew there couldn't possibly be that many good ones.  There weren't.  

Order restored.  Now that the wool room is tidy, I have to clean my study thoroughly. Odd how cleaning a place makes others need doing. 

And after all that was done, I sat and knit for a bit.  I got to the end of the gray on the back so today's job is going to be winding.  I am taking this with me today.  Skeins, ball winder and swift are all packed and ready to go.  I am off to play with my kiddies and am so looking forward to it!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Wild Optimism

So this is kinda how my weekend went.

I swear it is about to eat me alive.  

It.  Is.  Large.

The very hard thing about this project is not the knitting.  The knitting is loose and easy and is moving along swiftly.  I am surprised at just how fast.  I have the back about half done and I didn't knit much this weekend at all.

The hard thing is trusting the math.  My gauge is worked out based on the after felting results so in order to knit the right length (particularly length), I must knit forever.  The sleeve depths seem to go to my waist.  I expect the torso section to go almost to my knees.  Maybe longer so there still is plenty of knitting to do.

I might be ripping back some of what I did today.  I think the increases are happening too fast at the rate I am going but in order to be sure, I have to count rows, and I am going to sleep on it before I do that. I don't want to be wrong. A clear head is critical for the math.  I guess you could say the project is at the thinking stage.  Is there a thinking stage in projects like this?  There should be.

I am pretty sure my jacket is going to have green on the bottom in the way of colour blocking.  I have almost used up all of two skeins, and I haven't got nearly the length needed.  I have 7 skeins of the gray: two for the back, two for the sleeves and two for the fronts and one for...well, I will split that one to use evenly on the fronts and backs.  Even with that, there is just no way that I have enough yarn for the length I need.  

The goal is for colour blocking like this but with sleeves to match the blocking of the body.

It's a very dark green and I think it would look great with the charcoal of the rest of the jacket.  This jacket above, isn't quite the shape I hope to get.  I want a little more swing to it, a little dressier with a more substantial collar.

Or I will take whatever I get I suppose and I remain very aware that it could all be for naught and this could be a really stupid idea, and I could end up with a really seriously fine felted bag.  Cat bed maybe? 

Wild optimism continues.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Completely Foolish Fun and Games

I need a new winter coat.  A jacket more like, to replace my red jacket that is so worn and keeps leaving a little trail of feathers everywhere I go.

I would buy a jacket, but honestly, I am so sick of jackets that make me feel like I am being swallowed.  I have two in my closet that are wearable, I suppose, but I feel like I am drowning in them.  The newest one is the worst.  The fabric is stiff and sits there like armour.  If I have to turn in it, the whole garment turns.  But the worst, the very very worst is that in order to fit decently at the hips, the top is so over sized on me that I look like a kid in my mother's coat; the arms are too deep, the shoulders too wide, the collar sits and I peep out, like I have a shrunken head.  My older coat, one I have worn for a great many years as my dress coat is very worn looking and while the fabric moves with me, it isn't and never has been very warm.  After a year of wear, the polyester felted fabric started looking like the fleece it probably started out as.  To top it off, these awful coats are not cheap.  I am just not going to spend 2 hundred dollars and be so desperately unhappy with what is not warm in the first place. At least the great red feather thing was warm.


This looks very like the fabric of my older coat.  I am playing with felt.  This has gone through the washer and dryer twice and the fabric is about right.  It has a very few tiny, tiny holes if I hold it up to the light, but the is still nicely pliable and that counts too.  The swatch used two strands of yarn on 8 mm needles, a gauge I hate knitting at.  Still, it will knit up fast even given the percentage of shrinkage.  

The yarn I am using is Naturally Alpine.  I purchased masses of it, 7 skeins of each colour, to make some nice outer wear sweaters for both Mr. Needles and I.    

 Each skein is 200 grams and 333 m so there is a lot of wool available.  My original plan was nice firmly knit cabled gansey type sweaters. I wanted lots of yarn so that no matter how much cabling I did, I would still have enough yarn.  What with the original plan being defunct, I am just pleased that I still have enough yarn!

I won't start knitting just yet.  I am happy with two washes, but I have another load of laundry to do, so I am going to see if this swatch gets even better on a third go round. 

If this doesn't work, I can still have a great outerwear sweater in the other colour, knit firmly as in my original plan and round one can become a really great felted bag.

Dreams, but not the good kind.

 I am sure you remember this yarn and basket-a-palozza.  I do.

 You remember dishcloths and woven toppers and shopping bags too, right? and how I feared there might be more somewhere in the stash?

 I was digging in my stash for a new something and there it was.  My nightmare.

I girded my loins to steel myself against it, lest I decide I need more baskets, and gave it away to my neighbours where it can be appreciated as it deserves.  It was a good yarn but...

Thursday, 15 October 2015

I dreamed of pins

I dreamed of t pins last night. I don't recall what I was doing in this dream but as happens in dreams, I found myself with a pin box in hand.  There were a  bunch of t pins in with dressmakers pins.  Dream self found this greatly disturbing because all my pins were out of order.  I recall thinking very seriously, OK, then I guess I need to organize my pins, and off my dream self went to check what happy people were using to store their pins on the internet.

Just to make it clear, all my t pins are in one box.  I have several boxes of dressmakers pins and a couple of wheely things still filled with the pins they were purchased with.  My pins are in order.  I have been using t pins to pin out shawls this week, so I guess we know where that part of the dream comes from, and I am constantly on the search for things to make storage more efficient here.  Clearly, what I really need is more knitting.  MUCH more knitting.

Yesterday, I pinned out my pretty little blue shawl/scarf.

I fell in love with this Kauni colour in 2013 when I purchased yarn for several Kauni dreams I have.  (What you don't have Kauni dreams?) Those dreams are still unrealized but one day...

I loved this colour then but did not order any.  My local LYS carries some once in a while, though it is not a staple yarn, but more, one os the special things they bring in for fun. And not too long after, they had a large basket of Kauni with this lovely soft blue sitting waiting for me.

I think it is a blue and white thing, a Delft and Willowware thing, but soft blue and crsip white just make my heart beat faster. I wanted a very shallow scarf, and that is exactly what I knit.  The beginning of each row has a yarn over increase before the first stitch and the first stitch is a kfb increase.  I finished it with the edging from Nancy bush's Truly Tasha's Shawl.  I had thought to use a different one, but in the end, this is exactly right for it in spirit.  Simple and just the smallest touch of lace.  Not dainty but still very feminine.

 I have about 10 grams of yarn left, owing to plans for a different edging, but it is about 5 feet across and really, that is just fine for how I want to use it.  Its just to fill in the neckline of my coat, so smaller is better.

That was a Friday night knitting event, and book ended the start of a lovely long weekend where Mondays knitting book ended the other. 

Today's task is one more shawl, my Margrathea, to block, and then this block-a-palooza will be done and all will be ready to wear.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Where have all the flowers gone?

Where have all the Flowers Gone?

I am asking myself this today.  But not about war or any of the things that the song came to mean.  For me, it what has come and gone, all the dreams that fell by the wayside and the new reality that is my world now. That there were these tremendous changes means that I am alive and that life happens and shifts and changes and the world goes on, in circles, just like the song.

I was digging in my WIP box today and pulled out My Icarus shawl, the one that remains of the two I once had on the go.  I first posted about it in March of 2010.  That was so long, long ago.  Life times ago.  Seasons and reasons and dreams I did not even know I would have long ago.

I finished Icarus today.

It is really quite perfect.  The changed edging I chose is exactly right to complement the yarn.  I am so pleased that I had to pull back the original lace edging because of an error.  This much simpler edging works for the yarn and just gives Icarus' grand columns the finishing kick to really show it off.

Hardly any lace left either. 

Its off to blocking right now.  I'm blocking the pretty little blue scarf too.  Oh dear.  I guess I didn't mention much about the pretty little blue scarf, now did I?  

Meantime, just so you know that even though I cried for a bit as I faced those long ago days and their dreams, these are the things that I did not know I needed. They are my world now.  Very different, but really good, none the less.

All photos of children stolen shamelessly from my daughters' newsfeeds.  Bad Grandmas never have their cameras.

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Whole Bunches

There have been times since I left work, where I feel as if I do nothing on the planet but knit, as if that is my whole and sole purpose for still being on this earth.  The last few weeks has not left me feeling that way at all.  There was the dolly making week then the cooking week and now I can rest.  I am so looking forward to this week,  where in I plan nothing but knitting and cleaning my house.  And I am only cleaning my house because even I can't knit 12 hours a day.  6?  Yes, easily.  8.  On occasion, but not the 12 to 18 waking hours of the day.

After the rush of getting Thanksgiving on the table, and the lovely crush and noise of all my kiddies running and screaming and having a wonderful time doing what little kids do, Thanksgiving Monday was a blessing of quiet and rest and knitting.

I started by knitting on my first daughter in law's Still Light tunic.  I started this in October of 2012 and it's past time to get it done.

I am, thankfully back again, just past the point where I had to rip back an entire ball and a little to go back and knit like the pattern says.  I am about 3/4 of the way through the pocket increases now.  I love the yarn and pattern but its a big project for the very fine Drops Alpaca.

I knit for hours on this yesterday.  Hours and hours till I just had to stop and save my fingers and hands.  In my heart of hearts, I could have knit more.

I tried to occupy myself.  I wound some wool for the next small project.
Remember the Sweet Fern mittens?  Restarting in this luscious yarn from Colour Adventure.  I just could not get past the creamy section of the gradient in the original yarn. that took a whole half hour.

I played on Ravelry looking for the right pattern for one of my treasures, a yarn from Estonia.
 I think I lean toward Knitted Lace of Estonian and the Lehe shawl or possibly Maikell   or perhaps Queen Silvia.  Its a lovely fine yarn and is quite different from regular lace.

I spent quite a long time dreaming.

I still had day to go.  You just cannot realistically go to bed at 6 p.m. when you are not ill.  No one would understand if you said you went to bed because you couldn't figure out what to do when you were done knitting for the day.

So I picked up and did one side of the button band on Ripstick.  

I hoped the very different yarn weight would be easier on my tired hands.  It was.  I did the other side, but I am going to redo once I have the buttons.  I was not happy with my button holes.  I can do better.

So I picked up this.

Sock one, well done. Sock two underway.  I only knit a few rounds on the sock.  By this time, my hands and my brain were well and truly done.   

It seemed like a mixed up day, but it really wasn't.  It was just a nice full day of knitting and other than those moments when I wondered what on earth to do without knitting in my hands, was completely peaceful and lovely.

A rare kind of day.

Friday, 9 October 2015

Of a morass and bits and ends.

I was baking buns yesterday.  Many of you would call them dinner rolls but at my house and in my world, they are buns.  Buns buns and more buns.  

And in between, I did this.

I keep the dpns in a vase that is supposed to be with all the others in the study, but it more often found by the rest of my knitting tools.  I spent way too much time searching through the morass of needles and I often felt like I couldn't find what I was really looking for.

What kind of surprised me was that I don't have more of a few things and that I have so many of others. 4 mm needles I am looking at you.  for some unknown reason, I have 4 sets.  I am sure there was logic to it when I bought them, but...

In other seriously fine news, I finally located the missing needle for Ripstick!  It was hiding under some documents on a table it shouldn't have been on.  I now anticipate a speedy completion!

My knitting for the day was desultory.  I knit a bit on the socks.  I started an edging for the pretty little Kauni scarf I am working on. I'm having a lot of fun with that.

Have a lovely Thanksgiving, everybody. 

Thursday, 8 October 2015

It has spoken and what did it say?

It has spoken and what did it say?

It said this!

I love the way this yarn is working.  And no it would not have been a good candidate for Geek socks.  Ah well.  The fuzzy edges have their own way of being great.

As you can see, I am still on a sock kick.  I still can't find the needle for Ripstick, and the other thing I should be knitting on is black.  I think it is the black that is keeping me in sockland. this will probably be it though for a while.

Sock heels.  I will gladly discuss sock heels.

I started doing afterthought heels when I had a lot of socks and was trying to knit some socks for my sisters.  The Yarn Harlot had a sock that she ended up using the technique on and I had to investigate.  and its been a great addition to the heel library.  It is based on Elisabeth Zimmermann's afterthought pocket, where you don't insert a strand of waste yarn but cut a single stitch of knitting at the point you want to insert the pocket or in this case, heel.  For me, it was a way to knit for others almost to completion and let me free to gift any pair to anybody.

I also use it whenever I just feel like knitting and need to find a not thinking place. I use it when I have enough socks and just need to knit socks, such as right now.  I use it when I am knitting for someone and I don't know what size shoe they wear.

This past year, I have knit several different kinds of heel flap heels, short row garter stitch heels, and made socks for afterthought heels.  Some of the last bit are worn as a tube sock in the end, particularly monster socks, from all the leftover bits and pieces.

I like varying it.  It keeps things fresh.  It's interesting technical fun to understand how the different heels fit, even when the variation between heel construction is very small.  I have tried the sweet tomato heel and plan to get to the fish lips kiss heel sometime soon.  Plenty of heels and socks in the sea still to try, even though I have been knitting them and wearing them exclusively since 2008.  Its just interesting.