Friday, 26 May 2017

Ten More

On or about May 26 or 27 of 2007, I started to knit.

I have been knitting for 10 years.  I have knit for almost every single one of those for 3650 days.




In those 10 years, I have knit slightly more than 300 projects.  For several years now, I have listed all my sock knitting as one sock parade but only count them as one on going project on Ravelry, where I track my projects. I knit between 8 and 10 pairs of socks per year so added to Ravelrys 279, plus the socks, I feel pretty comfortable with the number.






In 10 years I have accumulated enough yarn to keep me knitting for the rest of my life.  I could knit 10 sweaters a year for 10 years and 10 pairs of socks and 5 shawls and I would still have a bit left.  Incoming yarn doesn't quite keep up to outgoing yarn, and that's ok.  I can knit as much as I want and I will still have yarn.





I have a library of wonderful inspiring books about yarn and yarn things.  It keeps the creative juices going and the dreams going even when I can't knit.





It changed my life in a hundred ways, and I am thankful.  

Thursday, 25 May 2017

And back to our regularly scheduled knitting!

I've been pecking away at the red sweater and really am pleased with where it seems to be heading.  It might be a good day today to sit down and really blow out some inches.


It is near waist level so about half done, and overall I am pretty pleased.

I love the stitch pattern I have used, Lace Wings from The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan.  

 
It's just the right amount of delicate and exactly what I was hoping for.  It is the perfect little stitch for a fancy cover up for the wedding but not so fancy that it is out of place with the rest of my wardrobe.

I also love how the edging detail is turning out.


It rolls and then stays put exactly so.  Beats an applied icord edging yet still give you that nice crisp edge.

And I love how the increases look at the sides.  

Isn't that neat?  After all the fuss and bother I had working the lace as the stitches increased, I left this area plain.  In a perfect world, lace would just seamlessly flow out  of the increases.  I can see it in my head, but just really didn't flow so easily out of my hand.  Smarter people would have graphed it out on paper to give themselves a pattern to follow.  If I was doing it again, that would be done.  For this top, c'est le vie.  

There aren't quite enough stitches being added for a nice looking fit at my hips.  I knew that going in.  I don't want the top to pull back so I will be switching out to a larger needle shortly to add what I need.  The bonus to this, over faster increases, is that the bottom of the sweater will drape and flow just a little more softly than the top.  Upping needle sizes worked so very well for me on my version of Myliu Lino and it seemed right for a sweater where adding increases across the back is not an option such as this is.

The only sad thing is that this red is so hard to get a good picture of so you can see it's true deep cherry.  It's called Persian red if that helps any.  I have tried switching out background colours and daylight versus flash, but it never quite captures the depth and intensity I see in front of me. 

I am so pleased with the way it is coming together and might make one for my mum.  I have some lovely yarn from Hemp for Knitting for a top for her, but I don't think it is quite enough.  It would make a shortie  cover up but as fashionable as my mom is, shortie is not an option.  But this pattern would be exactly what she wanted when we first talked about the design.

So knitting on going and knitting future. Always something to play with and I am going to take every advantage of single minute.  

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Still Standing






'I'm still standing 
Better than I ever did
Looking like a true survivor
Feeling like a little kid
I'm still standing after all this time
Picking up the pieces of my life'

That song was stuck in my head this morning. Of course in my head, what I hear is the original version but I thought you would appreciate how you will hear it on the movie soundtrack, Sing.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled joy.

I have yarn.

Yes, I know you know this.  But I have new yarn and I love and adore it and I have a purpose for every metre.


This is a lot of yarn.  Each skein of Sport is 430 yards, a whopping 393 metres of yummy goodness.  There are 9 skeins.  It is a lot of yarn.  But I have a reason and an excuse.  

I made a wonderful shawl a few years ago the Fir Cone Square Shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls.

 It was knit for my daughter in law's grandmother, who gave me a set of sheets of linen when we were in Kiev.  This is a woman who understands shawls and who has appreciated it for all these years.  But old buildings and moths and pretty constant use and wear means it is in need of replacement.

I have some of the same yarn left, but not enough for a shawl of this size again and my finances are not what they were in 2010.  Buying the quantity of what I believe this yarn to be, to make a similar shawl, is just not in the cards.  

Brigg's & Little Sport has a lot of the same qualities as the original yarn though it is a bit heavier.    I think that's a plus.  Knitting will go a little faster and on a larger than sweater project, time to completion is no small thing.  It is also a warm yarn.  It is airy and superb at making you feel snuggly wool warmth  in a way that a smooth soft yarn is never going to do.  The loftiness of it is exactly what I want in a yarn for a big warm shawl. Plus it is soft.  It isn't soft in a Madelinetosh way.  That just isn't it's character at all, but it is soft in a 'proper' wool way.  Proper wool - a term from a British Canadian friend who was looking for the right kind of yarn for a shawl.  She used sport for a truly lovely version of Miralda's Shawl from Nancy Bush's masterful Knitted Lace of Estonia. 

I do have several sets of Sport for various shawls and other projects in my stash already, but they are already spoken for.  By me!  For this shawl for Grandma, I wanted a gradient as a starting point and I don't want to run out.  Plus, I would like to have enough left over for a simple hap for me with these colours.  There may be colours added from my stashed Sport, but it would be used as an accent, not a major feature.  

I don't have a pattern set for it yet, and there is inspiration for ways to use gradients everywhere I turn.  Lovely Haps in the Sheltand traditon.  Inspiring colour gradients for the Icelandic tradition.   I know the yarn, but the pattern is going to take some work.  I am looking forward to this.  I just love to work this yarn and love the play the soft grays play off one another.  

It needs to be done by November, and while that may seem like a lot of time, we are already almost half way through the year and there are several other shawls to knit too.  Lots to do.  Lots to work on. 

Not only do I feel as if I am still standing after all the things that have been, I am standing with inspiration, with good yarn, and with joy planning the days ahead.

  

Friday, 19 May 2017

May 22, 2007

On May 22, 2007 I did something different.  I started to write this blog.  

I had worked at the same desk in the same chair since 1992, and the best thing about it was that I had a boss who didn't mind those times when I had to stop active work and take a break at my computer.  

 At the time I was a really active crocheter and made some wonderful sweaters and was starting to get really adventurous with my craft. When I wasn't doing that I embroidered a lot. A lot. I was starting to get really adventurous in that too because I had just found the amazing Nordic Needle store online, which led me to all kinds of new to me techniques. I was at an adventurous, creative place in my life, and I was ready for more. 

I was also socially isolated.  I worked more than full time in a small office.  I was the only female at my company, and there were only 2 other females in the building.  My kids were out of school and because I worked, I had not formed any close bonds with people through school.  I had two other friends who lived close to me.  And of course, family, my mom, and sisters, all of whom lived in another city, and my sisters in law.  I did have a large and vital group of online friends, both men and women, whom I love dearly still, but that was my entire circle, the sum of all the people who were a regular part of my life.  I had very, very few close friends. 

Sometimes it felt like I wasn't really there at all. It felt as if I was invisible, as if no one knew me.  My decision to start writing was a way of stating my existence in the world, a way of marking my territory and drawing my line in the sand.  

And so I wrote.  I am not sure if, on that first day, I ever imagined that I would still be writing 10 years later.  I don't think I could have possibly understood how large a role this almost daily scribbling would play in my life, nor how it would come to sustain me and support me in my darkest of days.  

Most days, the writing is about knitting.  Some days the writing is about what I am doing instead of knitting.  Some days, the writing has been fluff, and occasionally filler, to make sure I kept the habit up.  Some days it is about things and little people who bring me so much joy and laughter.  Some have been so raw that reading them still makes me cry.  It is a record of a life, out where others can see it and read it if they choose.

Readers mean I am not alone. I am grateful that you stop by, glad that many of you became friends in that weird way the internet has.  I know parts of you and you will not be unfamiliar if I meet you in real life. I am glad that some of you have become friends in real life, and am thrilled that some of my childhood friends found me again on the internet, grateful that my sisters occasionally pop by and cheer me on.   
 
I didn't start writing for you.  I did it for me.  I chose the format because it was popular, and because it was a little bit cool to be blogging about a crafting life. Occasionally, I think about stopping writing it but it always comes back to the start.  
     
"I need to have tracks, so that I have a honest record to explain the dirt between my toes. And my ears. And my hips...I read, I play with string, I work, I have a family, I am, I exist."

These are my tracks.  This is my dirt.  Thank you for playing in it with me.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Thinking About Socks

I find myself thinking about socks this morning and wondering why.

I started thinking about socks a couple weeks ago when I was digging in the WIP bins and my thoughts have run the gamut of sock knitting.  You could refer to every sock post I ever wrote over the years, if I had bothered to keep up the practice of tagging posts when I wrote about them, to know the course of  my thoughts.

Patterns.  Toes.  Heels.  Fit.  Love of.  Hate (occasionally). Sock yarn. Love of. Need for. And so on.  But the last few mornings I have been thinking of this.

Why am I worried about repairing all these


when my sock drawer, such as it is, looks like this?


That small empty corner is usually full of socks that are temporarily missing a partner, but today, I have all the socks washed and paired.  This alone is worth contemplating in wonder and awe, but it strikes me that if I make too many more socks, I need a bigger sock drawer.

I have plenty here to get me through 2 weeks, which seems to be the maximum time I can go between laundry days. At 2 weeks I run out of pants and skirts. It is enough socks.

Or so you might think.  Yet still, I knit socks.  This pretty little toe and it's partner sock should be given away, but since I knit a heel, I'm probably going to keep it.


But the full volume of all the socks and my need to repair and repair again before sending socks to the sock bin in the sky, does make me wonder why.

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

On Spinning and Sunlight and Bright Spaces

After a couple days of no pictures, today we have pictures!

As always, Tuesday was spinning day.  I am pretty pleased with the quality of my singles,


though I still have work to do on plying to get it to where I would like it to be.  What I have done so far is ok but I struggle with it.  I am thinking of trying to tension my lazy kate and see if that doesn't make it feel more natural.

But this roving is so pretty.


I love how the rich rusty orange tones melt into soft weathered grays. There are a couple more spinning sessions left with the first half of the braid and then I must decide if I am going to fractal it or if I simply follow the colours and chain ply it to preserve them.  Both are good options for this braid,  Right now I am leaning to chain plying so I don't muddy these magnificent waters.

It is another sunny morning here.  When I first got up today, the sun was onto the big bookcase over there, deep into the room.  In order to turn the TV on, I have to shade the TV!


It is very bright and I quite simply love it.  First morning sun is such a joy to me after all those years living in a forest.  I loved that forest too,  but everything has a place and a time and the forest places time is done.  I love where I am right now and I love where I have moved on to.

In a way, that is what yesterday was about.  Moving on.  Son 1 and his family took possession of their new house yesterday,


where they will also have the most marvelous light from the eastern facing bay windows in the dining room and as you can see, they will have great all day light from the south facing living room bay windows!

What a lovely way to spend a day.  Morning spinning in my bright sunny living room and something wonderful for my family in the afternoon.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Verklempt

Inspiration comes from many places.  I have previously mentioned that embroidery gives me great inspiration, not just to embroider, but to knit.  I have talked about how inspiration from all kinds of sources whets my appetite to simply do something, anything that will soothe this urge, this need to make something with my hands.

I was wasting time on Pinterest today.  It may be a little passe to be a pinnner, but it does have a place for all kinds of things that inspire me in some way or other.  And if nothing directly on my Pintrest page interests me, following links to other pages or just typing a word will find me in places that just blow me away.

Today I came across something on Pinterest and you just have to see it.  I will put up several links for you in case you have trouble with one or the other.   If you can't see it google the artists name and look at the images.  Mind blowing.

 Try here on a Facebook link, or try my Pintrest gallery here for a few views of her work.


Verklempt.  No possible way to add more to this.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Contemplating a Knitter's Room

My living room is where everything happens.  

The swift is on the floor so that I can wind up the red cotton for my sweater.  It's been there a couple days.  No biggie.  It isn't in the way.

There is a stack of books by the chair.  I took them out when I was searching for lace.  Most made it back on to shelves, but I seem to have a small problem that there isn't quite enough room for them as the shelves are currently arranged.  I keep telling myself that this is fine.  It will get sorted out when I organize my books but when I really am honest with myself,  I don't think organizing is going to fix my problem. I love problems like this, where you have too many books for the space you have allotted them, particularly when they are knitting, embroidery, spinning, and miniature kinds of books. 

There are three storage footstools filled with WIPs.  No problem there at all.

There is a yarn bowl on the coffee table overflowing with sock projects and some spare yarn.  There is a yarn top right beside the TV with a ball of lace weight yarn on it, all attached to the needles and a proto shawl. My current project is in a bag on top of one of the WIP stools.

There is a small box with 3 drawers for all the little knitting accoutrement's a knitter needs.  Needles, markers, scissors, tape measures.  There is another much larger box on the shelf of the coffee table with the rest of the tools of knitting.

This is a knitter's living space.  As it is also filled with books and blue and white china, and a host of dvds and blu-rays, it proclaims itself to be not just any knitters room, but mine.  It is everything I want to surround myself with.  And I do like it.  I love it.

But some days I am also struck by the elephant in the room.  That it is only mine.

Good and bad always walk side by side. And so it goes.

Thursday, 11 May 2017

Friends Again

I made peace with my red sweater.  I did have to drop all the stitches for the problem sectiont and redo, making it match all the others. I think I even know what I differently on this one spot in comparison to all the other increases sections.  It worked out and all is well.

We are once again back in the land of magical knitting.  I'm a little late posting this, because I knew that it was just a wee bit more and I could show you this!



I have just separated for the sleeves and that means...

I am one third done this sweater.

I don't intend on long sleeves.  A summer cover up really doesn't need that.  What it does need is just a few rounds and then a rolled edge similar to what I am doing on the button band.  I think.  

The only significant amount of knitting that remains is the body of it and that isn't a difficult thing at all.  Only a few increases down the side, not even one per lace repeat, so it will be much easier to stay on track.

So there it is.  The world is unfolding as it should.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

This was yesterday summed up succinctly.  I finished sock one of this pretty skein of Kroy.  I have just enough left for a double stranded afterthought heel.  Doubling the yarn has become my go to technique for a longer lasting heel.


Even better, a quick look through the all the yarn that seemed to be sitting in my WIP boxes for no reason, and I found the matching skein for the second sock.

As you can see, I stopped at the yarn store yesterday on my way home from west side appointments.  I was sort of looking for something, but I wasn't too worried.  I always find something at the yarn store even if it isn't what I was looking for.

I was hoping to find something with a twist that better suited these pretty skeins from Sweet Georgia.  I plan to make Laura Aylor's First Point Of Libra Shawl with these for the colour gradient.


I did purchase a gray sock yarn, but it was a pretty plebian commercial yarn and the more time passed, the more convinced I became that it was not OK.  The twist  gray was so different.

As I was doing my stash update on Ravelry, I realized I had nothing that I would use in place of that gray, and that a remedy was in order.  And done.  Two skeins from River City Yarns Hat Trick Semi Solid series.

 
It is a deep rich gray, dyed for them by Ancient Arts out of Calgary and it is just lovely.  As much as I love the way this yarn's twist is going to look with the Sweet Georgia Gradients, I love the gentle semi solid too.

And bringing up the yarn collecting for the day, is another great big ball of Kauni in Ecru.

I have a shawl pattern, the Dancing Reindeer shawl,  ready and waiting for these stunning green to yellow skeins of Kauni and a single skein of Ecru Kauni.


I am really worried that I don't have quite enough of the ecru and as we all know by now, I hate to run short.  So, another skein of Kauni.  That is my story and I am sticking to it.

And that was my day.  Yesterdays regularly scheduled spinning is going to be todays lunch time spinning , so there is lots to look forward too.  But first coffee and to see if I can sort out my red sweater problem.  I have high hopes for the coffee.  The sweater, high hopes, but tempered with just a touch of skepticism.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Putzing

I am just putzing around this morning.  No serious knitting, spinning has been moved to tomorrow and I have just enough interruption in the day to mean it isn't going to be much of a knitting day.

But it is nice and sunny.


That is a very good thing.  There is some gray cloudy stuff haunting the low edges of the horizon, but I will cross my finger that it stays away.

Till then, I will knit on a sock and perhaps later today, I will see if I can sort out my lacy sweater, one more time, and if not, I will rip back.   And so it goes.

Monday, 8 May 2017

About Average.

And just when I think I have everything under control...

I screw up.  At the raglan increase lines, I stopped letting those 7 stitches build up in that pretty little arrow shape they made.  I have no idea why I did this other than to allow myself to pound my head against a brick wall.  There are 4 increase areas and 3 of them are absolutely great, but one section is a ...well I am just going to not say what I think of this section.  The words I am using inside my head are not at all ladylike.

I am very close to ripping back to where I made the change.  Meantime, it is in a bit of a time out.  A short one, for sure, because otherwise, I am having so much fun with this knit.  It is lovely and rhythmic and just a delight.



Today is not the day that will happen.  Today I am going to knit on found things.

When I was trying to decide what would be up next, I thought it would be a good idea to dig in my new WIP bins.  I must stop and say that these work wonderfully well for me.


 And I love, love love the bright yellow.  It is such a cheery colour.  (Bosnas from Ikea)

I went through them, looking at what was in them, and pulling out all the yarn bits and ends that need to be put away.  I came across this sock in progress.  I think I had these on my blog but I had completely forgotten them.  Which was rather silly of me.  I love these!


The bands of blue and speckled and green make me giddy.  This is what I am knitting on this morning.  I am also really enjoying how there are 2 very different sizes of needles being used here and how it doesn't seem to matter. Bets on that I couldn't find a 5th of the same size when I started the pair and just knit anyway.

So today, one screw up that works and one that doesn't.  And that strikes me as a good average in the land of my knitting.

Friday, 5 May 2017

And Again

Just like the song, I began again.

Though I liked a lot of what was going on on my needles in the red yarn, I pulled it all out and started again.  I cast on another 30 or so stitches and I like where it sits now at the neck.  

Starting over also gave me the opportunity to rethink the edges and what I wanted that to look like.  In a lot of ways, the other start was really just a swatch and a sweater deserves a little more thought that that. Instead of the 4 stitch garter stitch I did on the first try, I changed to a 2 stitch purl column and a 4 stitch stockinette band.  

 
I am hoping for a nice little rolled edge.  If I don't like what is going on, I can drop the stitches and fix it.  The purl column is there so that neat little roll stops.

I changed the increase I was using at the raglan lines.  In the first go round, I used a simple knit front and back.  That gave me a large and very nice looking solid stitch area on each side of the raglan increase line but...everything else about this sweater is lacy and light.  A yarn over increase is probably more to the spirit of the rest of the sweater. 
 

I think it is a really good choice.  There are sections which grow to 7 stitches before I start the pattern and I really like the way the seem to butterfly out of nowhere.  I did debate doing the pattern right up to whatever number of stitches I had, but this is a detail I kind of liked.  It stays.

I also did something that is harder to see, but it makes the neckline much cleaner and neater.
 

I started the neck edge and did only 2 rows of garter stitch to give a narrow, almost invisible beyond the lace look to the neck edge.  The lace is the player here, not the edging. I did that the first time too, but this time, I did a plain knit row and a plain purl row before I started the pattern stitches.  It just seemed to tidy up any wonkiness as the pattern was establishing itself.  It allowed the narrow neck edge to stand clean, on its own.

If anything can be said about this slip of a sweater, it is that what is going on on my needles now is even better. 

And now, time to knit!


Thursday, 4 May 2017

There was an old man named Michael Finnegan

He kicked up an awful dinnegann Because they said he must not sing again Poor old Michael Finnegan....Begin again.


And that is what I did.  Begin again.  This is the story of an entire day of thinking about beginning again.

I went looking for projects. With a purpose.  I need something to wear to a family wedding this summer and if I put it off any longer, I will be going without.

I had been contemplating a colour block top but I just didn't feel the love. I did sort out a pattern, or perhaps, more of a way that I will knit up the intarsia for that top, but I really just didn't feel the love.  I pulled out the yarn for it and played with it, but yup.  No love.  There isn't a point in starting something that I am not feeling the love for right now.  It's going to be a busy next 6 weeks and I need to feel love if I expect to finish in time for a late summer wedding.

I did think about just going out and buying something, but honestly, where is the fun in that?  I used to tease Brian that I didn't have stash, I had pre-clothes and I do think of my yarn that way. It only makes sense to use what I have.  I have a black skirt and a camisole top or a black dress to wear.  I don't need more dressy clothes.  All I need is a bit of a coverup.  

I meandered through patterns and thought about summery weight yarns that I have in my stash but I really just couldn't get the two things to mesh.  Ravelry is almost too big sometimes.  I get distracted so easily that sometimes, when I am struggling, I want less to look at.  Whenever this happens, I go to Knitty.

Knitty has such a great range of patterns.  It is a wonderful source of inspiration when I get stuck, without the overwhelming awesome of Ravelry.  All of the Knitty stuff is on Ravelry, of course, but sometimes things slip by you just from the sheer volume of patterns. And so it was yesterday.

Searching Knitty, I came across Annette from the Summer of 2009 issue.  It's a cute little pattern, perfect for summer, but I wasn't sure this was the lace I was looking for.  It did give me an idea.

There is a little lace pattern in The Complete Encyclopedia of Stitchery by Mildred Graves Ryan that I used before.  I have been trying to find a good place to use it again, because I enjoyed knitting it so much.  The Lace Wings pattern, Dutch in origin, is the perfect lace for a summer coverup.  Only one small problem.

The lace repeat is a different number and that means reworking the pattern.  Since I rarely stick word for word to a pattern, I pulled out Ann Budd's Knitters Handy Book of Top Down Sweaters.  By starting fresh, I also get to look at my entire stash for yarn.  I ended up pulling out my 5 skeins of 3995 Persian Red Butterfly Cotton. It will be the perfect punchy colour against my dress wardrobe's all black.  

So this pretty thing happened.

 


It is mindless but not really.  It is a 4 row lace with purl backs between the patterning rows.  The patterned rows are different enough that you don't get them mixed up easily and even if you did, the lace has a strong column that carries through all the way. You know if you are off before going too far.  I am not sure I started with enough stitches at the neckline and may have to restart to sort that out, but I really do like what is going on on my needles.

So, it looks like a good day.  The forecast is for a warm sunny sort of day.  I have some chores outside later that I am looking forward too and right now my coffee is hot and just right strong.  Time to knit. Always.


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Endings and Beginnings

Yesterday was a day of endings and beginnings.  

Over the weekend I finished the knitting on the striped sweater.  I am generally pretty darn pleased.



It worked.

It needs a good wash and blocking and while I have the buttons chosen, they still need sewing on. I wore it out to spinning yesterday to check one small trouble spot to see how it would perform while wearing.

I think I got a little overly excited by the german short rows and knitted too many.  There is a pouchy bit at the back of the neck.  While wearing, it forces the collar to stand up.  Well, maybe not stand up, but it does sit weirdly.  Before it gets a wash, I am going to have to fix it.  I am debating taking the entire collar off and reknitting it. What with all the ribby goodness of the collar, that will mean that there will be a half stitch off where the collar joins the knitted in button band, but I think that this will be a small price when comparing it to the thought of grafting two such grabby yarns.

And they do grab.  I would have been finished at least a day earlier had it not been for yarn strands grabbing each other and going along for the ride, as I did the stripes.  

Don't get me wrong.  I even enjoyed all the yarn untwisting I had to do.  I enjoyed this whole sweater immensely.  It was a great yarn combination for me.  There is a little textural interest because the yarns, Noro Silk Garden and Briggs and Little Regal do have a slightly different weight.  I think that slight difference will only last till it gets a good bath.  The Regal will bloom just the right amount.

After wearing it out and about yesterday, I can tell that no matter what, this is going to be a sweater I treasure.  The full length sleeves are perfect and it was cozy and warm and oh so snuggly for my kiddies.

And then, the big win of the day and the end of all my horrible stress.  

My oldest and his family has been living in my house with me and without me since Brian died.  I couldn't have done it without them.  There was just too much work for me in that big yard and long hill up the drive.  It meant everything to me to have them there so I could go and sort out all the things I needed to sort and have the space I needed to decide what I need and want. I promised to help them buy a home of their own when it was all done and now I can say I have done that.  Meet their house.


It is an older home, built about the same time as my house was, with all the big upgrades complete upstairs and a basement that is finished enough for them to upgrade and work on as they can afford it, but usable as is.  Alongside their home is the walkway for the neighbourhood to the elementary school.  The kids won't have to cross a street to get to the school and mommy won't have to drive them at all.  She just has to throw her coat on and walk with them till they are big enough to go on their own, something mommy is completely thrilled about. The small town it is in is only 10 minutes from one of Edmonton's satellite communities and daddy's drive to work is only 6 minutes on a very good highway. I am completely thrilled to be able to help them.

They take possession in 2 weeks, so moving day is coming fast. That may be a little stress yet, but my job is mostly to stay out of it!  

So the days have been of endings and beginnings and that is exactly right.  And now I have to go decide what I am going to knit next.  


Monday, 1 May 2017

It was a really great weekend.  I feel like I accomplished a lot and I went and had a successful movie night with Isaac where in I did not fall asleep before the movie started.  I did fall asleep in the after movie cartoons but so did he.  I got to play with my farther away kiddies and my Carter up in the morning to play.  A wonderful time was had by all!

Plus there was sufficient knitting to wrest any latent fear that knitting might not save me.  Both sleeves are now complete.  Full length sleeves, I might add, and a healthy portion was added to the length of the sweater.  When last you saw it, I was a mere two colour sections past the white rows on the left side of the picture.  I'm not quite as long as I desire, but it is getting there.




I am going to make it the same length as my blue sweater, which I don't think I have a full shot of, but it is a length that works for me, about the length of a nice coat.

I have one skein of Noro left and I am about half way through the 4th skein of the Brigg's and Little Regal.  Lots of yarn for what I want.

Anyway.  It was a good weekend.  A little bit of stress for the short haul, but it is bearable now that it is out of my hands and that will be done tomorrow.  One more day and we will know what the next couple months hold.

Busy is as busy does.

Friday, 28 April 2017

Little Victories.

I have knitting.  I was sitting trying not to think yesterday morning, and I picked up something different to knit.  I picked it up because it was there, not for any reason other than that.  And you know what?  It worked.

All week, when I felt stressed, I would pick up the scarf or the sweater and it just didn't happen and I would put the knitting down.  There was no relief, no escape.

This sock was on the gusset when I set it aside for a while.  The first thing I had to do was to look carefully to re establish where I was in the decreases.  It only took seconds, but those seconds and the small bit of concentration needed to decrease every second round made me focus just enough on these pretty socks that it took me into a world where that was all the stress there was.  A world where the only thing I had to worry about was getting that simple thing accomplished in the proper time and space.  And there was no paper work to it.



It is such a little thing and yet, by the time I headed out to spend the day with my kiddies, I felt so much stronger.  I could reason the stress away.  Life won't end if this one thing doesn't work.  It is only one thing among many and there are choices. It made it bearable.

And so, in honour of that little knitting victory, that little life victory of being able to set aside something that was trolling my mind, I finished this little sock.  Now I just have another one to do, just like it, and I will have a good summer pair of shortie sandal socks for those chilly rainy days where I might want to think about digging out the other shoes.

Little victories matter.


Wednesday, 26 April 2017

This blog

This blog is going to be a dry hole this week.  

There has been knitting, but not huge amounts. I have done a few rounds on the pretty purple and gray scarf.  There has been carrying of the spinning wheel to the car and back to the house.  There has been fondling of the sweater.  But that is about it.  

I feel like I am in limbo and it really is quite out of my hands.  It will be.  Or not.  And that is that.

Sorry.  I wish it was better, but till Friday, it is just going to be stressful here at my house.  I am doing things I never did before and really hope I never have to do again.


Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Such a day

I am too tired for anything.  And it is stress, not other things causing it.  Just plain old fashioned stress.  I can't find all the papers I need, and while most of them are replacable, some won't be replaced in the time frame I currently require.  

It makes me sick to my stomach. 

Sunday, 23 April 2017

There should have been more knitting

But...

I did finish sleeve number one.  Or at least I hope I have finished it.  Once it is washed and laid out to dry after it is complete is when you really know if you are, indeed, complete.  Otherwise, it really is a maybe.

The sleeves are indeed narrow.  But they will be fine.  I did add extra stitches at the underarms, but it still is a fairly narrow sleeve.  Still the top of the sweater fits quite nicely so it is what it is.  That part I am not doing over again.



Sleeve two is about half done here.  and though I could have watched a movie and kept on knitting, I am mentally tuckered out.  It was just kind of stressful getting all the details of my house sale complete.

And yes indeed it is sold.

I thought I would be happy/upset, but in truth, in my retired state, it was more of a burden than anything.  Big old places like that need young people and I just really did not want the effort of it all. In so many ways, a big part of my heart left it when I fell in love with the farm, and the rest of me left it once Brian was gone.  It wasn't my place.  It was ours.  Even in all the paperwork of getting the sale done, I had to stop myself from writing ours instead of mine. Mine was the wee house.  Mine is this new life.

But I loved it there.  Every day for the 25 years we lived there, I thanked my maker for giving us such a place.

    
It will always be in my memory but it stays not so much for the place as the people I shared it with.  A house is built with bricks and stones, a home is built with love.  It really was home.

And so that chapter closes, or very nearly so and this new one truly opens and begins.  The feeling of limbo is gone and I only look forward.  And it is all very good.

Friday, 21 April 2017

That place

I knit a fair bit on my sleeve yesterday.  Hours and hours I thought.



About noon, I tried it on.  The sleeve was 3/4.  I was pleased and decided to go out and do some general exploring.  When I got home, I did some chores and then knit some more.  About 7 p.m. I thought to try it on.  And the sleeve was 3/4.

Yes.  That place.

So instead of that, I am going to knit on the purple thing today.  Take that sweater.

PS,  Stop a minute to admire the inside of it.  Even the wrong side looks great!


Thursday, 20 April 2017

A whole lotta sleeve

Well some sleeve anyway.  It wasn't a knitting day.



It was enough to remind of the other factor to why my sleeves tend to be 3/4.  I hate knitting sleeves on small circular needles.  And I did not switch to my dpns because they are so awkward till there is a little bit of room away from the body of the sweater.  I am switching very shortly, though.  Looking forward to it.

Most of the day I dithered away, not doing much of anything. The dithering was accompanied by high stress.  Really high stress. I was waiting all morning for word that my house had really sold, that the deal was done.  It is and what I thought would be feelings of a little bit of ease are not.  I just feel numb.  There is a lot of work to do between now and the new owners possession date.  A lot.

But this too shall come to pass.

I am going to try and do better today.  It would be nice to get a something accomplished.  Even if all I do is getting the sleeve on to dpns.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

How do I spend today?

It is really starting to come together.  All the increases are done.  All that is needed now is a little legnth.  I am at 11 inches under the sleeves now, so it isn't all that far.





I am thinking of knitting the sleeves when it is time to start the next ball of Noro.  It isn't that I am worried about yarn this time.  I am about two thirds of the way through the fourth ball of Silk Garden, and coming up on the last quarter of the second ball of Regal. I have 5 more skeins of Regal and 3 more of Noro.  No way I am running out of yarn.  Ha.  Still, it is a while since I have knit full length sleeves.

My go to is a three quarter sleeve.  I want this sweater to be a walking on a cool day sweater, a morning outdoors sweater, a traveling companion sweater, a something snuggly when it is chilly sweater.  I have always knit from the perspective of wearing a sweater while working and the shorter sleeves meant I didn't have to always be pushing sleeves out of the way.  I want this sweater to be more.

If I had more regularly knit full sleeve sweaters, I would know how much Noro I needed.  This way, I only think I know.  I would really rather do the sleeves now, while the sweater is a little lighter and easier to turn and flip and then I know just how much more of the Noro I have and then can feel free to knit the body as long as I could possibly want or need and I could use up every possible ounce of this lovely Noro.

I expect to use up all of the Noro, but I will have a substantial amount of the Regal left.  All to the good.  There will be plenty of Regal left to use in in an adventurous way with a bit of another yarn for a sweater of some kind.

I have a sudden day open today.  I had expected to be with my kiddies after lunch, but their mom's client is on vacation in Europe so no work for mom today.  And Grandma gets an extra day off.  Which is fine by me.  I don't work tomorrow either.  Two in a row means I have a big chunk of time.  I do want to work on the sweater but there are other things I might tend to with this amount of time to focus on something.  I have a box of clothing that needs repair or hemming or waist adjustments.  There are curtains to make for my bedroom too.  It might be the perfect day to pay attention to some plying to free up some bobbins so I can spin some more.  And my quilt!  I could pull that out and get it set up to work on again. Oh my there are so many choices.

But first another cup of coffee and a wee bit more knitting. There are still stripes I want to see before the day is begun.




Monday, 17 April 2017

Well, that's interesting.

With all the busy Easter prep (all the kids and my grandkids came for Easter) about the only thing I could focus on knitting was the very simple striped cowl knitting.



But I came across something interesting.

I had two packs of minis and a skein of sock yarn that were very close to equal yardage.  I figured that if the skein of sock yarn and the minis were close to the same length, by the time I was done the stripes, I would also be almost done the sock yarn. 

And then this.


All the purples are done and yet I have a significant ball of grey left.  One of two things is going on here.  The gray is either a lot longer than I thought, or the minis were shorter.  I am voting for the minis being shorter.  

I do recall that when I first picked the yarns, that the cowl would have a long stretch of plain, and that this is what I wanted.  I am positive that I asked how much yarn there was in a pack and I am certain she told me, only I have no memory of what that number was.  I decided it was 240 yards from the information I found on Ravelry. 

I did buy these at a special event, at Interweaves now long gone Knitlab.  It is completely natural for a vendor to have something special for an event like that and for this, I will assume that the skeins were slightly smaller than what she winds off for minis now.  

That was almost 4 years ago and it is completely possible that there is now a more common mini length where at the time, the standard was shorter.  Who knows really.  The land of knitting is mystical and anything is possible.  

So, just how much yarn did my mini packs contain?

Well, each set of 3 stripes has seven rows for a total of 21 rows per colour and the scarf is 8 inches wide , therefore each row is 16 inches wide across the stitches. 21 rows of 16 inches each is approximately 336 inches per colour or 28 yards.  I have a couple feet of each colour left and when I add that in, I suspect that each colour was originally 30 yards or very close to it.  So each of my colour packs had 180 yards, not the 240 yards I originally said I had. I had 2 graduated sets of yarn so I had a total of 360 yards of graduated colours.  

My skein of the gray was 400 yards.  It still seems like I have a pretty large ball of yarn left for a difference of 40 yards.  Maybe the purples are 160 yards?  Maybe my measuring is off, or my math.  I don't know.  

In any case, I had always planned to knit till the yarn was gone.  So I am.

 
Whatever there was, I am pretty darn ok with it.  It is what I was looking for and I remain really pleased with it!  Good to go.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Nutty

These yarns are driving me batty. They are sticky and clingy and get all knotted up together.  The unworked yarn hugs the working yarn and piles up alongside, forming this mass of twisted loops.  


 They cling and they twist and every second yarn switch, I have to take a few minutes and untwist , untangle and unloop.  I have even tried to put the balls on separate sides of me, but they seem to reach out and grab on to one another.  It is as if they were meant to be.  For all the grabbiness, I love working with these yarns.  There is just something about Noro in combination with other yarns.

I have combined Noro with other yarns before and earlier this evening, was contemplating those combinations and how successful they were.

I combined Noro Silver Thaw with Custom Woollen Mills two ply Mule Spinner and it made a really great sweater, one that feels so warm and cozy while looking all business like. 

Silver Thaw is a wool, angora and nylon blend and the Custom Woollen Mills a pure prairie wool.  They work well together because both have a very homespun feel to them.  It is part of the charm of this sweater. 

It was great in my chilly office in summer, which is what this sweater was designed for, but now the lack of slightly longer sleeves means it gets worn a little less often than some others. I do have some of the discontinued Noro yarn left, 

but at this point, I might be better off using it to make another sweater.  I know I can get the Custom Woollen Mills Mule Spinner easily, but I also have some Berocco Remix that might be a really interesting, and I think, successful combination.  It starts as a colour choice, but the Remix has a sturdy sort of character.  There is something earthy in the way it wears and performs that might work well with this leftover Noro.  I have a gut feeling about it.  

I also combined a bulky Noro silk, cotton and wool blend, Karuta with Rowan Pure Wool Worsted, a superwash, of all things. I fell for the inimitable colour combination I could get using these 2 yarns together.   It shouldn't have worked and would never have been recommended by a yarn store, but it worked. 

It worked and worked well because the entire yoke of the sweater is in one yarn, the Karuta, and the entire body is in the Pure Wool Worsted.  The gauge difference, from 4 stitches to the inch, to 5 stitches to the inch, between the two yarns, was managed because of that construction.  When the Karuta yoke was done, all I did was add another round of increases to get to the number of stitches I needed for the Pure Wool. It worked perfectly, no odd stitches, no fudging. I doubt that it would ever happen so perfectly again but oh my, it was magical.  It is the sweater I am most likely to get compliments on. Oddly enough, I don't have any photos of the finished project.  It went to wear immediately after finishing!

That the Noro looks so good and is working so well with the Briggs and Little Regal is no surprise to me.  

When I first picked up this colourway at Prairie Lily In Saskatoon, she didn't think it would work.  Regal seems to be a loftier fuller kind of yarn. She felt a better choice would be Kureyon.  She is probably right that Kureyon would be a really great combination with Regal, but this works too.  

Silk Garden has a slightly different finish to it and the row gauge might be slightly different than the Regal.  The stitch gauge is the same though, and since this is knit to fit, rather than slavishly following a pattern, it works.  The Silk Garden is quite thin in some places but, I think that is part of why my winging it approach to combinations with Noro works so well for me.  Because Noro yarns are not just one thing.  They seems to be a whole bunch of things in one yarn. If you adapt to what is before you, somehow magic happens.

So if you see me doing wild things with Noro in the future, and think I am nuts, you may be right.  But nuts works for me. If nuts means I get to play with magic, I'm going for it.