Monday, 31 August 2015

What a guy gets up to on the weekend.

Sometimes you go out and do stuff on the weekend.  Sometimes, you stay in and have a nice quiet weekend at home, where the biggest thing you do is knit.  And then there are times when the sorting and ordering just goes a little bit too far.

I started my day, goofing around with what was at hand.  Sadly there still is a lot of 'that yarn' at hand.  I did this.

There might be one more basket in me, but not today. There certainly is another basket in the remainders of this yarn.  I have a small and private nightmare that the next time I go into the wool room, I will find two more skeins of this.  Sweet Heavens, I hope not.

Because there is so much yarn remaining, I also started this.

It's the base for a grocery bag.  I didn't go looking for a pattern yet, but I have a good part of a base started.  I like a solid bottom on bags.  I think I am going to wing it and use and old 'purse' stitch from my old Stichery book, slap a sturdy top and some handles on it and call it good.

I was watching a movie so I decided to do a little something till it was done.  I have one of these for all my bits and pieces. 

Trouble is, there is so much in that middle drawer that looking for a single stitch marker when you really need one is a pain.  The middle drawer is out right now

because the plan is to put all those things that I need less often into this,

things like point protectors, and tip covers, and cable needles and extra scissors and so on.  I am pondering going back to get a couple more of these for my traveling knitting kits.  The box would be much tidier than what I have now and could fit everything I routinely take along.  

Mission accomplished.

And then the urge to organize just took off and went nuts.

There were times through the afternoon where I couldn't even get out of the living room at all.  I worked till close to midnight and I am still only half done.  Every book has been taken off the shelves and been dusted.  Every surface has been wiped.  Every corner has been vacuumed.  Furniture has been moved.  Now all the bazillions of books and movies need to go back onto the shelves.  A knitting corner needs to be re-established.    

It will all settle eventually.  I have no idea if I am going to like it or if it will work in this house, but it feels different.  Maybe that is all that matters.  That it feel different.  

I don't know when I have had had so much fun all on my own, messing about in my stuff.  There will be further sorting and ordering to do.  There are some books that need reviewing.  There are some boxes to shift and to go through.  There is a stack of papers too. Plenty to keep me busy, but there will still be a little time for fun.  Maybe even some time to knit too.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

After a day of big, I do little

A little crochet that is.  

I spent the morning knitting, but then had just kind of had it with that.  There is always a point in a sweater where I just want to turf the whole thing, that point where I am done with it.  I won't leave the red sweater because it is quite stunning, but I did set it aside today for something a little different.

I picked up some of the detritus at my feet.  The accumulated number of projects and yarns by my knitting spot is getting out of order and that kind of bugs me.  I am in an order producing mode and I just needed to get some things out of the way.

So I picked up a small project that has been nagging me to finish it.  I don't know that I have ever shown it before.  If I did, it was merely a flat almost square piece of bottom fabric.  It sat as a sober almost square for a very long time.  According to Ravelry it has sat that way since May 9, when I started it immediately after finishing the large crocheted basket I made, shown below.

The remainders of the yarn and the partial bottom took over a large section of this same basket and I just really want to get these bits and pieces of things cleared up.  Plus, in organizer mode, I really wanted the baskets for socks so that my dresser drawer has a prayer of staying tidier.

So I picked up that bottom and finished basket number 1.  Square base of single crochet, singles on the sides till it was tall enough, and then a row of double crochet and a couple rows of singles to finish nice and firm.

Let's see if I can show you the sides.

I am very pleased with it.

However, when I went through those boxes last week, I found another skein and a half of the yarn.  I could also use more baskets for sorting and since there seems to be a lot more of this yarn,  I did another basket.

Hmm, this second basket needs to be firmed up a little on top.  I planned to have the top folded over but it isn't quite tall enough for that.  It will have to go back to the drawing board and get another row of double crochet and then a couple of single rows to firm it up before folding or I am going to have to give it another firm row where I decrease a few stitches to make it sit a little better.

Still, it looks great from the side.

This basket base was the same, a single crochet square, and the lower basket is single crochet all around.  I did try to give it front post crochet corners to make it more decidedly square but that only worked marginally well.  Even so, warts and all, it is good enough to be a sock drawer organizer basket.  

Most distressingly, I still have yarn enough for at least one more basket.  Not that I am getting tired of this yarn...much.  I am tired.  Seriously tired.  Deeply desperately tired of it.  Note to self.  If you see large quantities of cotton yarn on a huge sale a major chain store, ignore it.  You are giving yourself permission.  

I will measure and see what will work.  It has to fit in the drawer and the dresser drawers are not that deep. I think what I have will do the trick.  Maybe grocery bags?  Somewhere out there, I recall seeing a large grocery bag that tied up and stored itself into it's own little bag.   Knitty perhaps?  Oh well.  Another day, another basket. Or bag.  Not a bad way to end a week.

Doing stuff

and not getting done.  

I did stuff yesterday.  Not knitting stuff though.  Not even sewing stuff but stuff did get done.

I repotted two plants.  I enjoyed my outdoor plants so much this year, that I decided to give some indoor ones a try.  I am a very long long way from the young me who once had 40 plants in a small apartment living room.  I have lovely light here and deep window ledges and I mean to make use of them! Just a what seems to be a small variety of fern and a dracena, the kind that you can cut shoots and repot endlessly to make a large bushy shrubby thing for indoors.  I am also going to try to bring in an ivy and see if I can get some of my geraniums to sprout too.  I have the pots ready for that even if the time isn't quite right for it yet.  There is another couple of weeks growing season outside and I miss when the posts are empty.

And then I put up a cabinet in my bathroom.  I knew it was going to be a pain, which is why it sat so long undone.  It was and I ended up needing the help of one of my boys.  I cooked dinner for him in return.  He also fixed my card reader and it's working just fine.

About as close as I got to knitting yesterday was the 2 rows I knit first thing in the morning while the coffee was brewing and then later in the day I did this.

 I had the Noro from Prairie Lily out to play with too.  

It was my whole summer of yarn.  I just played and dug in it and petted it.  I can't wait to work with it and the thousands of other metres in my wool room.  

the one thing I do know is that this summer of yarn was all about the golds and reds.  I must be in search of rich eye catching colours.  

Next up in knitting for me, is a little topper for mom's dress.  She picked up this fantastic dress a few weeks ago, and needs a light little bolero topper for with it.  I have a couple of swatches to do up for a test of texture patterns but in some ways, plain stockinette would be better, That is up next in the knitting front.  

Ripstick moves ever along.  It just doesn't change a lot in looks right now.  Another few days of knitting and the hemline gets interesting but till then, its just a lot of pretty plain knitting.  Good knitting, but plain and not very photogenic.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Staying quiet today

Finally, today, I get to stay home.

I have loved the last few days, charging here and there, traveling willy nilly, surprising people and having good visits along the way.  I have loved that.  But today?  Today is going to be just for me.

At home.  Alone.  I intend to address a few things that have been building or sitting for too long.

I intend to get this done.

In truth, that one is done.  It's the other one that I mean to get to.  When I first moved my wheel to the front room, I spun everyday, but in the last two weeks, things have just been too crazy to really spend anytime at all on the wheel.

Then there is the monster in the back.

I have only worked on this one day since I set it up again.  Needs to be worked on a whole lot more if I intend to sleep under it this winter.  And I do need to sleep under it.  The comforter I am currently using is a nice warm thing that was left after my kids grew up and moved out. It is ancient and the fabric is shredded at the ends. It desperately needs replacing.

And then my pretty pretty Ripstick.  That is the only thing that seems to get worked on and even that is only a few rows the last couple days. It would take decades to finish a sweater if you only knit a row or two a day. I need to have a good sit down solid getting it done sort of day right across the board.

I can't seem to settle or sit the last few days.  Just too many interruptions and not nearly enough recharging time.  Today will be a day to address these things that are overwhelming and then I can address the things I would rather do. Recharge.  Resettle. that kind of day.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Something wonderful

I am still working on my Ripstick sweater, though I haven't had to rip back at all the last few days.  I did another try on and remain just as pleased as punch.  I love how it is turning out.

I just moved o n to the last pair of skeins and have only 1 left.  It is going to have to do because I was away on the weekend and my hold till date passed on the last ball that the store was holding for me.  What I have is going to have to do.  I think it will be ok, but it is going to be very close.  After the length is reached there still are short sleeves and some finishing details.  

It will be what it will be. Even if this is not the way I like to work.

While I was away, I did stop at the lovely little Prairie Lily Knitting shop in Saskatoon.  Everytime I go there, something beguiles me and jumps into my arms.  I would show you but again, no card reader recognized by this machine.  Ah well.  Try this.  

Diamond Yarns  Noro Silk Garden, colourway 349.  Sigh. My batch seems to have more of the purply burgundy  and the grey almost heads to blue.  Truly stunning.  7 balls, so not enough for an entire sweater, but it is enough to do something wonderful with.

And that is what I am about today.  Something wonderful and new tires. Because there is always life intruding.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Pie Bee?

I don't know what the right word for it is, but this weekend, I caught part of a pie bee.

My mom, aunt, sisters and nieces get together to make apple pies from the apple tree in my brother's garden each year.  Story goes, that last year, they made 78 apple pies, apple crisps and other assorted apple things.

To a regular joe, like me, standing alone in my kitchen, the idea of peeling enough apples for 78 pies makes my back hurt and my eyes water.  Now that I have attended the great pie fest, I get it.  They cheat.

Excuse the blurry picture, but if you look, you see two apple peelers.  All along I have thought the yearly exercise was a test of the fortitude of womenkind, but quite clearly, they cheat.

Having all my notions firmly set down, I watched this group of women get together to do what women used to do on a regular basis, have a work bee.

Everybody has their job.

 Glenda and Kathy peel.  Kathy in the blue shirt, and Glenda, who you can only see here a bit (she shows up later better) in the white shirt cleaning her peeler, and grabbing the next apple.

My Auntie Doris in the pink blouse, who likes the cute little flared scarves, and sister Gail in the rust cut the long strips of apples into tidy sections.

My niece, Kristen who is in charge of the cinnamon and sugar and all the good stuff that makes pie that little bit more. Kristen is really good at this part.  Just the right amount of sugar.  Just the right amount of spicy goodness.  I know.  I tested at this stage.

This is a second shot of Kristen filling pie shells and pans, because her cousin Micki was working and couldn't make it to the Pie Bee.  It is also a second shot of Kristen just because.

An action series of mom and her job.  Well part of it. She makes all the crusts and usually starts the night before.  This year she did it right before the rest of them showed up but the pies are going to be splendid even with the bit of rush thrown in. 

Everybody has a job. Even dad.

Supervisor.  Dad brought up the pallet of apples.  Yes it was a pallet of bags, pails and boxes of apples.  If you had a shopping cart, it would have been heaping and you would have had two carts. He is in charge of making sure the apples get picked and brought to the factory.  This year, he, Auntie Doris and Kathy, had to pick a few extra apples at a second suppliers house.  They worried there wouldn't be enough. (pallet of apples) Dad is also in charge of equipment repair and maintenance.  He sharpens blades and repairs peelers. He has a product line job too.  He is the guy who has the tough job of quality control and product testing.  He eats pie. 

Its a dirty job but somebody has to do it.

In an incredibly short time, there was a counter full of pies and crisps and pies topped with the crisp topping.  Before they were done, I would bet the floor was covered with pies.  Everybody goes home with pie.

Next year, I will arrange to stay for the whole Pie Bee, so that I can do my job, dishes.   I skipped out on that but I don't think they will let me get away with that next year.

It was great to surprise them all for breakfast in the morning and take part in a fun afternoon.  

Friday, 21 August 2015

And a little something

I finished a little something the last couple of days.  Just a little here, a little there knitting can make a huge difference in small things.

It's been my carry along knitting for the last few weeks and it has been a great little thing for that.

The yarn is a cotton/acrylic mix.  It is soft and lovely and really was great to work with.  I hope auntie likes this one.  I have one or two more of these waiting for her before I am done. I have done one in blues and greens, now this very green and would like to do a nice red one too.  And then I have to start a nice little thing for my mom.

Always something new to think abut, new to knit. Knitting is always moving onward opening new worlds and keeping my spirit fresh.  Even with little things like this, or mittens for my kids.  Always always something to learn.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Because you can't do it all in one day

and because I wanted to see if this would work,

and it does!

I took this picture sitting in my computer chair and as you can see, there is plenty of room.  I have the back end of things sitting and held wide and in place, by the back of the daybed.  It has little uprights that are just about meant for a job like this.  There is going to be a bit of a wrinkle when I work the last row of squares, but if all I have to do is the last row when the frame is sitting on both legs, eating up all the floor space in the room, I win.  I will move it as needed.  One of the best parts is, that it can be easily adjusted and shifted along the back of the daybed frame to get at my books and the lace.  Which, as you can see, still needs to be moved. The lace, that is.

Because you can't do it all in one day. And because by the time the cleaning was done, my fingers wanted to do a little stitching.  So they did.

My daughter in law is just returned from visiting her family in Kiev and she was sweet enough to bring me a little something back.

Its a beautiful bag made out of a linen, with a brilliant spray of flowers embroidered on it, a great large sized shopping bag. It is far too nice for something so mundane as shopping, so it is my new sweater knitting project bag.  It is home to my Ripstick sweater and is just a treat to work from.

After the whole days work was done, I sat down and knit on good old Ripstick till my hands decided they were done. A glass of wine and a bit of reading and it was time for bed.

I feel energised and refreshed again this morning.  Maybe if you can't do it all in one day, you can do it in two?    

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Sorting and Ordering

The card reader is still not being picked up by the rest of my computer so I have been waiting all day to take pictures with my phone,  which was, as ever, deader than a door knob.

I feel wonderfully energetic today for absolutely no reason at all.  I am taking advantage of it to put some order to my big back room.

When my sister came to visit, we wound the quilt top up and set it in a more or less, unused bathroom.  It is so lovely to be able to get in to this room without being hindered by the very long quilt roll and I haven't been in a rush to put it up again.  I really wanted to see if there was a way I could set it up, that would work better, without having it take  up my entire workroom.

In order to do this, I have been putting and tidying.  While I have a garbage bag by my side, I have also been going through a few unlabeled boxes and combining bits and ends so that all the sewing stuff (zippers, buttons for covering, elastic etc.) is in one place and that all the tools (scissors, needles, pins) are in one place.  There is more to do to get it really in order, but at least the unlabeled stuff is labeled and the bits are well on the way to being easy to find.

I have also been tucking away all the books I pulled out since spring from my knitting library.  I am sure I mentioned it before, but I do have a very lovely knitting library.

The bookcases are the basic Ikea Billy, and if it was only books and they were only on the wide bookcases, there would be 2 and a half full bookshelves of just knitting.  Then there is about a half  shelf of crochet books, and a whole shelf of various other lovely things: embroidery, quilting, miniatures, costume and clothing history, doll making and clothing, sewing to name a few.

It is a lovely library, though and I wish I had more hours in the day so that I could do it all. Lovely thoughts don't change reality.

Reality is this,

the lace yarn stash, which I intend to move to the wool room very shortly.  Enough has been knit over the last few years, that there are several empty medium sized containers to move it into. And there is room on the top shelf for those containers to fit.

I'm just about to head into the lace moving now.  If you don't see me before Friday, you will know I am living the dream of knitting lovely lace and I am too bemused by it to pull myself out of it.

Or the wool room boxes fell in on me and I smothered.  Either way, I am looking forward to it.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Geek Sock Choices

I think I mentioned a bit ago, that I really want to make a pair of Geek Socks from and that I had to pick up some yarn just for that.

 The pattern requires a strongly striped yarn.  This is the one I picked up on a jaunt to one of my local yarn shops a couple weeks ago. Because honest to heavens, though you would think in a stash of yarn as big as mine, that there would be something of everything, but no.  There is not and surely,  this lovely skein should take care of that particular itch, right? 

It surely did not.

Isn't this pretty?  Itch not scratched at all.  I am awash in utter delight in these marvelous colours!

I had to go to the yarn store and pick up just one more skein of yarn for Ripstick.  (I think I am going to need that extra bit and possibly even one more after this.) Anyway,  I step in the store and am confronted by a whole bowl full of absolutely stunning striped sock yarn.  It was a lovely kind of confrontation! The kind that makes you want to stay in a store forever.

There has been a lot of that going on lately.  Yarn store adventures have been somewhat perilous because they all have confronted me with truly stunning displays of yarn.  To all my local yarn stores, Bravo and to the yarn stores along my path this summer, Bravo.  Your lovely things revitalise my sometimes tired soul.

I suspect that one or the other of these are going to be popped onto some needles in very short order!

Monday, 17 August 2015


I knit for hours on the pretty Lipstick sweater.  For hours.  I knit.  I knit a lot.

And then when I was tired I knit again.  Right there, that was the problem with the entire weekend.  I was knitting when I was tired.

On Saturday, I was knitting along and discovered I had dropped a stitch at the edge where I switch skeins (to stop any possible colour pooling).  Should be an easy fix right?  Yeah.  Not so much.  I have no idea what the heck happened but every time I took back two rows to get to the error mysteriously created when the dropped stitch was fixed, the error moved down.  Two rows.  I was almost beside myself.  I had tinked back 4 rows and the error remained. I tinked back 6.  I set it aside for a while and let it think about itself.

It seemed to me that whatever the heck I did was not going to be resolved until I got that weirdly moving error out.  Sunday morning, I decided to pull back 3 rows at one time,

to stop the error from yet again moving down. I was sure that as I did that, I would see just how the error came to be.  Not so.  I have no idea what caused it, though I think I can see exactly where the error began and what it is on the first picture.  Why it behaved the way it did?  Who knows.  I only know that it is gone, as mysteriously as it came.  The moral of that story is never do anything when you are tired, not even tinking back.

Thankfully that worked and knitting proceeded again.

I am pretty darn pleased with it.  I tried it on yesterday afternoon and I am so very very happy with where things are and how it looks.  Knitting with this yarn and this pattern remains a complete pleasure.  The only flaw in this ointment (the ointment of a perfect pattern and perfect yarn) is me.  As I was thinking on the nature of my error and linking it to knitting tired, I was pondering naming the project the 'Ripstick' sweater on my Ravelry project page!

I have to pick up two more skeins of yarn though.  The extra ease is really doing a number on my ability to judge how much yarn I am going to use for a garment.  On the upside, all those sweater quantities in my stash where I thought I purchased way too much?  Maybe not.  I have enough yarn for whatever the fashion trend may be.

At this point, I will take success wherever I can.  half done sweater or too much yarn.  Success!

Friday, 14 August 2015

You know how you can knit along and be working something and you have a feeling something isn't right but when you count everything is OK, and then suddenly when you count, it isn't OK?

Yeah.  That was pretty much my day yesterday.  I had to rip back because not only was the count off on the second front, it was off by 6 stitches.  You cannot hide the extra width 6 stitches gives you at all. 

Still, after knitting hard all evening, I am right back to where I was when I discovered the grievous error.

On the upside, eveything from the boxes I went through the other day is now put away in a new home and my sewing supplies are where I can reach them.  That counts for something.  

Thursday, 13 August 2015

It's the little things.

I am thankful this morning.  Thankful that yesterday I was blessed with the time to knit and rest.  The last few weeks have been hard in so many ways and busy in so many ways. Yesterday was the first day in what feels like forever where it was my time, beholden to no one.

I knit.  And knit and read about lace edgings. I read an old favourite novel and had coffee on my deck.  I priced out kitchen cabinets and flooring to remind me why this is not the time to do kitchen renovations here.  I played with pad and paper and dreamed of the yard and garden  I want my home to have. I read and had wine.  What a lovely day full of wonderful little things.
My sweater is coming along nicely.  I spent a lot of time knitting and though I did not quite reach my goal (set pretty high), I did get close enough to goal that I can see this sections end in very countable rows.
I'm just about to start the neckline increases on the right side so there is about 1/2 of the second front to do before I move on to the underarm join.  I am very pleased with my progress.  I am sticking exactly to the pattern so far.  Exactly!  I never do this!  It will change on the bottom section but for now, exactly to pattern!

Lipstick is a pattern of details.  It is the little things that make this such a great pattern and Joji Locatelli such an interesting designer.

For instance, there is a twisted knit stitch combination right where the design changes for the front detailing.  It follows the very interesting twisted stitch rib at the shoulders and on into the sleeves.

These are the sort of quiet details that make a good design great.  These are the details that separate people like me from people who design and make people like me, who don't really need a pattern to knit a sweater, buy patterns.  I am having an inordinate amount of fun knitting small details.

Let others have their epic adventures.  I am glad that they do, but my quest is to find the simple joy in all the little things that make a life worthwhile.  The day to day mundane.  The normal. The everyday.  The ordinary.  The little bits of day that are of no consequence in the grand scheme of life but are everything.  I live a small life.  It is rich and full of sweetness and goodness all coming a little bit at a time.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Other knitting

I spent almost the entire day yesterday not knitting.  No wait.  I did spend the entire day yesterday not knitting.  Not one stitch.  I hate that.  And no morning coffee either.  I had some errands in the morning that ended up taking far longer than they ought to have taken and when I got home there was just time for a snooze before it was time to go to babysit.  

Today looks a whole lot better.  I am going to sit and have a coffee and I am going to knit and knit and knit.  I am hoping to get the very pretty lipstick sweater to the join at the underarms. Or at least really close.  We shall see.

I did think of something that I haven't shown in a while. 

I love this Kauni colourway.  The soft blues and white.  Its just so pretty.  I am getting close to the finished size I wanted before starting an edging of some sort.  I guess that will be my fun for today, and my reading when I am not knitting.  Choosing an edging. 

I have so many good books to work from that it is going to be a challenge to choose.  However, I have Barbara Abbey's Knitting Lace and Matha Waterman's Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls, I think I will have lots to choose from.  If I don't find what I want in those two, then there are all the rest.  I have some wonderful books and only the most jaded knitter on the planet wouldn't find something to please them from my library.

Time to get knitting. Bring on the day.  Bring on the coffee. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

The flotsam of life. And a golf ball.

I am waiting to have some blood work done this morning and am on a 12 hour fast.  It is relatively easy to do a 12 hour fast if you count overnight except for one thing.

Morning coffee.

I am sitting here utterly uninspired by the world because I have to wait to have my morning coffee till after the blood tests.  It's not like I never skipped coffee first thing in the morning before.  It's just that because I wait, that the need for coffee is stronger. The want for coffee is greater.


I keep thinking about ends and bits and bobs today.  I am surrounded by boxes of bits of every description.  When I packed and moved before, I had everything sorted and ordered.  This time, not so much.  I have been here about a year and a half now and  slowly I am getting through things, but even so, I was amazed at what were in these boxes.  I know where in the house the bits came from (usually) but why on earth they were put together is a source of wonder.

I opened the first of two boxes that I recently dug out of a corner.  
miniature baby buggy not to scale
 leather from an old jacket for mitten palms
 miniature toy horse
 the cover for my sewing machine, never used (why did I need to pack it?)
 bags for washing delicates or things I want to felt.
 sewing bits and ends.

For one reason or another, these bits and ends were tucked in a single box that must have filled as I cleaned the shelves in my laundry room off.  Easy peasy.  I get this collection of stuff and I know where they belong here.

I am mystified by the next box.

 My handmade Japanese kimono, kept in my bedroom
 a drawing from one of the boys, spare bedroom closet
 a selection of small handbags, stored in my dresser in my bedroom
 yarn from the red chest in the family room
 Two pairs of scissors from the bathroom off the master bedroom.
 Miniatures from Mexico, from my bedroom closet.
 two doilies that I know had not been used in at least 15 years, from the laundry room
 our alarm clocks
loom instructions and an afghan pattern from the laundry
 a veritable nest of scissors, jewelry pliers small screw drivers and the flotsam of life. Also, more yarn.
a golf ball?
Seriously, these things were not kept together and yet here they are, packed together.  How did things like doilies unused in a decade, get stuffed in a box with our alarm clocks, used every day and the cache of scissors that came from a kitchen drawer? I wonder.  I wonder a lot.

Obviously, I did not have coffee that day either.

The flotsam of life.  And a golf ball.
You didn't think there was going to be a golf ball, did you, but yes, yes there was.

I will get back to knitting today.  But after I have coffee.