Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Whistle, Whistle

This blog needs sound effects.

It is tomorrow and I am here, but it was also Tuesday and I don't seem to be collected enough to post Tuesday mornings.  I need to work on that.

But I am sitting here almost knitting.  Yes.  That is awful.  I seem to be doing a lot of just sitting staring and less knitting than I ought to do.  A lot of it is moving stress, and the rush of kiddie sitting and a lot of things.  It is getting better because as late as last week, I didn't even get to the point of thinking of knitting. 

I haven't shown you my current sweater yet.

The more I look at it, the more I like it. And the more glad I become that I made a choice to knit two rounds of the colours.  There is a gray in it that is different than the all gray, but not different enough to  be able to see it clearly.  Even now there are places where rounds charmingly merge. 

I love this yarn too.  It is really a very satisfying knit.

And that is that for today. 

Monday, 27 February 2017

Serious Knitting

There was knitting.  Serious knitting.  Knitting to the point of hands hurting knitting.

I had the best time.

My sweater is moving along quite nicely. 

I'm already planning the next one!

I am with my wee kiddies today, so much more tomorrow.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Storage Wars? Not Quite.

I have played around with storing my wool and my wool things so much these last few months.  From that lovely wool room whose only flaw was that I wish it had been larger, to the very very tight fit and overflow at my house to this lovely home with two closets.  In each case, I had to come up with a slight adjustment to the way I store my wool things.

The large containers are still the mainstay of my storage, but only for yarn.  It still is a pretty awesome pile of yarn, which I am really glad I assembled.  It would be tough to knit much if I could only on what I could afford now. 

Looks like every other closet out there stuffed with yarn.

My sweaters are all kept in what was once my pantry.

It's one of the nicest, most difficult to construct Ikea pieces ever. (They really skimped on tools with this one.  I hope it is better now) It's nice and deep and has 3 good shelves to hold stuff.  A truly lovely sweater chest.

And then scarves and shawls.  They are such a difficult thing to store.  The sweater cabinet is full, and I don't really have anywhere for the hanging shelves that I had at my wee house and at my big house.  I did have room under my bed, so that is where they are going.

There is a small underbed chest with a few seldom worn clothes and this much larger one which holds all of the shawls and scarves that I kept.  I did go through things before I moved last time to weed out the ones I never wore.  Others could use them more than I.

This is actually what I am doing this morning.  Nothing ever fits into one place when you move.  There is always a box or two of things that straggle along and become a mish mash of weird stuff lumped together.  I found a bag of scarves and shawls with some bars of soap, a half bottle of shampoo and my scale yesterday.  It had been tucked behind my quilt frame!  Putting them away properly was a nice quick bit of work.

As much as there was a quick morning task before I head out for the day, I did come across something that is going to get knit again sometime.

The Oscilloscope shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborne.  I love the little details of this shawl.  I adore the yarn I knit is with, Manos Silk Blend.  It's a lovely puffy blend that just calls you to snuggle into it.  The only problem is, it is a little small.  I had only 3 skeins, and I used every bit.  I would dearly love a much larger version to swirl around me.  

Storage battles appear to be done for now.  Now is time for coffee and nice hot bowl of bracing oatmeal porridge and a few minutes to knit before I am off.

Thursday, 23 February 2017


Inspiration is a funny thing.  It doesn't always come when you are expecting it or hoping for it.  It doesn't always come from things you expect to inspire you.  Sometimes it just comes.

One of the blogs and crafters I have long followed is Karen Ruane, a UK based artist whose chosen field is embroidery. Her blog has been on my sidebar since the beginning of time.  This is the perfect example of why she inspires me.  Colour studies and details and, oh my, just looking at her pages of stunning work makes me feel so alive.  

Another is Dances with Wool.   Her writing is deeply felt, so carefully composed and thought out, so very well written.  And still has knitting and embroidery and crafting of all sorts and kinds.  I am so blessed to be invited in to read her work.

I have a couple of treats for me that I picked up recently.  They make me believe that there are many possibilities out there to explore.

I love the delicacy of this. It feels like such a quiet rich thing is captured in these stitches, such depth.   Depth and complexity enough I think, to take you where ever you want to go.   I give you The Embroidered Garden  

Delicate and yet, in a lot of ways, I think very doable and accessible. I am pretty sure I can accomplish this.  I seriously doubt that I have true artistry, but this book makes me feel that I might get close.    

And then this.  This source of incredible uplifting inspiration. I feel completely exhilarated by this book.  

 It is just filled with things, views and techniques that make me want this so badly.

The backgrounds are all done by layering organza.  It is such a lovely, soft effect that produces a hazy sense of distance, 
 overlaid with embroidery to bring close details into crisp definitive textures.

It takes my breath away really.  She takes a very complex thing and makes it feel so simple.  

I know that I will never get there.  It takes a real artist to make this sort of beauty.  An artist with much better vision (sight rather than insight) than I have.  An artist with a much better sense of proportion and far more skill than I dream of having.  That really isn't what this is about for me.  

This book excites me and stimulates my heart of hearts.  It makes me feel alive to know that such things are possible.  It makes me feel just as I do when looking at El Greco or Van Gogh.  It touches that same place that Bach and Mozart do.

All of these people noted here, who approach to their particular artistry with such passion, each so unique, each with a distinct vision. That inspires me.

I must go knit now.  Almost finished projects beckon.  Stripes call.  And that inspires me too.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Step Back and Knit

There are times when my modus operandi feels like a practise of running away. In a way it is, but I don't know if it really matters, but retreat can sometimes be a good option.  My granddaughter reminded me yesterday, when you are frustrated, take a step back and ask for help.  Taking a step away from a thing is good.  It gives you time to think about it.  Most often the answer is there, buried under your frustration.  So I am going to wait a bit, settle my frustrations, and my spinning wheels are going to sit and taunt me till the weekend.

I retreated to knitting, which is going nicely. Not quite the usual way of asking for help but it works.

I think.  The sweater is ready for a try on and that will happen this evening.  If I know that the top works, the rest is easy.

I love how it is coming together.  It is the Elfe  by Astrid Schramm.  The original has only 1 row of the multi colour yarn, but I am using 2 rows in each instance.

I am doing this because I have 2 skeins of the plain grays and 3 of the lovely multi coloured.  It is complicated by the fact that these are not normally my colours.  There is a little too much orange tones gold in it to really work close to my face.  Using a doubled striping sequence, will also, I hope, even out the strong gray element in the strong multi.  I was concerned that a single line of it would get lost.  The other plus is that I can work as long as I need to in the lovely colours.  Plenty of it.

Elfe is a T shirt style garment and that is what I planned at the start.  I am debating sleeves should there be enough of the gray left.  I am not 100% sure I want them, but I hate to let yarn go into the miscellaneous stash if I can use it up.

I am also thinking seriously about knitting another in cottons.  Spring is close and I do have some really great linens and cottons and other yummy blends.  The simple lines and relaxed shape of this t shirt make it a great project even without the stripes.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

When you Aim to Misbehave

But you cannot, in fact, do so.

I had my wheels all set out.

I was so happy to be ready to get working with my big wheel again. I didn't  have access to my Julia wheel these last few months.  It had been stored.  That actually worked out pretty well.  My little wheel and I  were not that well acquainted at all.  I struggled to find my happy place with it.  The Victoria is so similar but they are different.  Braking and wheel ratios are just different enough to confuse my hands.  These last few months we have become good friends.

But I do love the Julia.  In a perfect world she is all I would need, but for her lack of portability.  She is just too big to haul around.  I was so looking forward to spinning on her again.

The first thing I had to do was take out some of the excess twist on the last bobbin I had spun.  It should have been easy.  But...

It was a struggle.  It pulled painfully hard.  The wheel crept cross the floor.  Heck, it practically ran.  I couldn't find any place it would work easily and happily.  I got the first spool done, but by the end of the first, the wheel was practically falling apart.  I tightened up all the screws.  I changed the string on the brake.  I did everything that seemed to be wrong, but the wheel wasn't happy.  Later today, I am going to sit with it and baby it to try to figure  out what the trouble is. Maybe it just wants to spin. Maybe it doesn't want to play plying games with me.

My living room is cluttered with tools, and chairs that belong elsewhere, and things taken out but not used and not finished with.

So, though I tried to play, things weren't ready.  And I have a full kiddie week.  This evening.  Maybe. 

Friday, 17 February 2017

I Aim To Misbehave

Over the last few days there has been a lot of not knitting.  Some knitting but much more not knitting.  A lot of time went into getting my small second bedroom organized.   For a bit there, it was the empty box room and the spare second mattress room, the furniture I did not know what to do with room, the boxes I couldn't unpack till I could get to the spare furniture storage place.   I did not want that room to become a dumping ground and it was becoming much too easy to let things lay and close the door.

Part of my work was simply to get the spinning fibre organized and to make a clean and easy path to its home is in the nice big closet.  It was becoming very important to me to get to the spinning fibre.  I have lots at hand, but I wanted to find the flyer for my Julia wheel.  I wondered if the flyer still had a bobbin of spun singles on it. I have a strong feeling I am missing one since moving from my wee house.

No, I did not.  Strong feelings can sometimes be misleading.

So, I had to sit back and submerse myself in some Jane Austen.  

This charming book was given to me at my usual spinning morning.  Frazzledknitter, you are a value beyond riches.  It's perfect.  It consoled my weary spirits while I sipped my tea.  For a book of 10 words, there is a lot to absorb!  If you haven't seen these books before, it is well worth your while to pick one up.  They are adorable.  It is probably the only way I will ever finish War and Peace.

With the settling is well in hand, I think it is time that I take a little me time.  I really need some time to play.

I spun this lovely green last fall as a bit of an experiment.

I wanted to try spinning something loftier and I wanted to try for a 3 ply.  Its been sitting here for a while now and I have to say, I am a little leery of my plying abilities.  The singles turned out very nicely and I would hate for them to be ruined by poor plying.

My goal for the weekend is to get past my small fear and ply.  If it goes well, I might have a plying party of sorts and free up all my bobbins!  If it is a really bad job, I can always take it apart again. A nasty prospect, but possible.

 I am going to prepare by watching The Gentle Art of Plying by Judith MacKenzie.  There are lots of other great videos out there, but I have this one, and there is so very much to learn from it.  There is also a good Abby Franquemont video out in the ether.  I want to watch that again too. I have a little reading to do as well.  I am hoping my spinning books will have additional hints and tips and tricks.

I am a desperate woman with time on my hands and an almost clean and organized house.   "I aim to misbehave." (Firefly, Joss Whedon)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

On Flaps

On an airplane, a flap is used to lower the minimum speed that the plane can be safely flown at and they also increase the angle of descent for landing.  On a sock, the first part does not apply, but a sock flap does indeed prepare your knitting for the dramatic change in angle that is about to happen.

And this sock flap is now done.

Now isn't that just the prettiest thing?  A nice turned heel?  I still have to pick up the gusset stitches and do the cuff, but from here on in, it is nice comfortable knitting.

Till the second sock, that is.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

The Flap Flap

As any of my sometimes readers know, I like socks.  I like all kinds of sock knitting.  Top down.  Toe up.  Side to side?  Got to get to work on that. I am pretty sure I have a pattern. But socks?  Oh yes.  Every time, all the time.

Even so, I did slowly find that I enjoyed knitting socks in certain ways more than others.  Over time, as many people know, I found that I used tricks for sock knitting that made everything faster and easier by my estimation.

Last year, for the first time in the almost 10 years I have been knitting, I started knitting sock patterns.  This is a huge departure for me.  My vanilla socks take me a long way to contentment but I felt stale and a little empty.  So patterns it was.  I have several on the needles and I like that.

With all these slightly unusual for me socks on the needles, it reminds me just why and how I came to be a very plain sock knitter. I like my afterthought heels, and even the odd short row heel.  And my good old garter square toe.  I love the way it fits me.  And I love how simple it is to work while you are sitting with little people around you.  Helping.

I hate heel flaps.  Heel flaps are deadly boring knitting. No getting around that.  I really do dislike the flaps.

I have two heel flap socks on the go right now, the two that you have seen this last week and a bit and was at the flap part on both of them. 

Thankfully I got past it on one, but as I was working to do so, I realized it didn't matter that turning a heel was still just about the coolest thing in knitting.  Did not matter at all.  I just do not like knitting the flap. I would prefer to be flap free, if you will.

Still, I am not going to give up on knitting other kinds of heels and toes and dive back into a pool of only afterthough heels.  I am made of sterner stuff and I can handle it. Diversity is the name of the game.

But I sure am going to plan it better next go round.

Sunday, 12 February 2017


I had a really lovely weekend.  Two whole days just to play in my stuff.  Big changes happened and knitting and a little something else too.  It was so good, it didn't even matter that the power was out for the better part of Sunday.

 So first, in the settling department.  The sewing station is ready to use.

  I reorganized the yarn closet. I took out a shelf and restacked everything and it all fits quite nicely.  I sorted through all the many small boxes and ordered things to fit the current space and shelves.  I put my mass of elastics and all the sewing bits and pieces in my little metal Ikea chest.  

The second' station is set up  and things are set out.  I have a short folding table that now holds the drum carder, the ball winder, the scale and the swift.  No pictures yet because while things are set out, they are not in order.

While I was setting out the embroidery hoops to use as display by the sewing station, I took a few minutes to finish one small project.

I picked this up once in a while and did a bit and magically, towel one of three is done.  Still needs a wash and  good ironing, but it is going straight into service.  We sure do need the dish towels. 

And some knitting too. 

While I did find the sweater I want to finish up quickly, these socks were at hand and were what was knit on.  Thankfully I am past the heel flap.  More on flaps tomorrow.  This pattern continues to be fun to knit, and when a thing is fun, everything just goes better.

And that pretty much covers my weekend.  It was wonderful.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Socks du jour

So with one thing done and a sock repaired, I am ready to feel good about my knitting life again.

Do you remember these socks?  I think I was trying to forget the trauma.  I can tell I was under stress because sock 2 was knit pretty tightly.  It was also short 6 stitches.  How I did not figure that out at the start of the sock, I do not know.

It's a great pattern, Nutkin by Beth LaPensee.  I wasn't sure that it would fit as I wanted it to, so I added a stitch between each pattern repeat, , a knit between the two purls .  I forgot that on this sock. The other two stitches?  I had only 1 purl between pattern repeats in 2 sets.

I took this pair of socks along because Marcus would love to help take it apart.  Turns out he wasn't interested in helping for a change, nor was he interested in 'helping' with knitting.  I got quite a bit done in the time I did work on it.

As you see, the pattern is well established.  This pattern is a lot of fun to knit.  It ranks right up there with Cookie A's Monkey Socks.  There isn't a lot of intense brain work required.  It is fairly intuitive once you get going.  And there is a lot of pattern bang for your sock knitting buck. 

Sock one is done.  Sock two, well underway.  And that is a fine thing for a Friday.

Thursday, 9 February 2017


My how things can change on the turn of a dime. 

I was feeling tired, and under pressure and as if I was never going to be inspired by anything again. And all it took was a little knitting and some time to just sit.  Well, that and  finished project.

I do have to even ends of that messy fringe and attach it to make the loop, but the knitting is done.

I was just using up yarns that looked nice together.  There isn't a pattern really. I just cast on 300 stitches and went. I am much less  in love with the fringe.  Not going to do that again. I could have cast off anytime really, but yesterday I was inspired.

 It occurred to me, that yarns like this, may look wonderful in a Wurm hat.  It has the right kind of squishines, perhaps saggieness is a better word, to work with this mix of yarns and weights, so long as I keep the gauge the same, it would make a really fine addition and complete the set.

I didn't know I was making a 'set'. Everything changed and that is all to the good.

Updated to add the yarn information.

Starting at the large blue ball, A Lang soft single that is discontinued, name long forgotten.
Peter Rabbit from Fleece Artist
Beige in the centre from a local alpaca producer
and down to the very soft brown   Elsbeth Lavold Angora
the very bottom ball, a Fleece Artist sock yarn but I am not sure which one
the  delicate blue, Schulana Angora ( is this the one?)  very soft and delicate
a creamy lace weight from a local supplier
and lastly a yarn with some glitter from a local spinner and fibre artist.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

A Beginning

When you have a big job to do, it is best if you start one bite at a time.  I started working on that very large pile of socks that need repair.

I worked one heel last night.  I couldn't find the sock yarn left overs, but I could find a bag with 2 full skeins of black yarn and two partial skeins.  Those partial skeins were destined for the leftover box anyway so there you have it.  A nice solid,  yarn held double and knit very firmly, new heel.  This one is going to a last little while longer than the first.

It isn't much for knitting for a day, but it is a beginning and really, beginnings shouldn't be big.  They should just be.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Off I Go, Spinning

I could show you the same sock project yet again bur I won't. I could talk about my sweater, which needs a try on before continuing...if I could fine it. 

Instead I will show you pretty pictures of yarn. Because that is all I have this morning.


Spinning this morning.  Off I go.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Blue and White

This was a weekend of setting and sorting and dreams of what I could do.

I took some time to dream among my books. 

 Cross stitch is such an accessible craft and the results are so lovely.  I really want to do this pretty Willow design.  In blue and white of course.

I took time to sort and and set up most of my pretty blue and white china pieces.  My living room is where these small things reside, offset by  the crisp white of the furniture.  Eventually, the upholstered furniture, which is not blue, will have a selection of blue and white cushions.  All kinds of colourwork patterns could make wonderful additions to my room. An assortment of peeries.  Any number of choices from my Kaffe Fassset library.  Perhaps one day a blanket too.  

In  any case, I do have one new thing to add to my pretty blue and white things and that is my lovely yarn bowl. 

It sits on my coffee table right where I can use every day. A quick test shows it works really great with this sock blank. 

Things are slowly coming together here.  Life is gradually settling down. This afternoon there will be knitting and tea.  The house is clean, the dishes are done.  With no other pressing chores, it is time to sit and enjoy.  I am looking forward to it.

Thursday, 2 February 2017


I took a leap yesterday and found some yarn that would be knit-able while taking care of the kids.  They are so excited that I am knitting something for them, that they wanted me to stay knitting.  Except that Marcus wanted help setting puzzles.  He always wants someone to play puzzles with him.

The yarn is Lana Grossa Meilenweit Cotton Fun.  This has long been one of my favourite sock yarns and it is without a doubt my favourite sock yarn blends, cotton, wool and nylon.

I would have a little more done but I had to pull back the first.  I want to rib the cuffs of these, but I realized I had started ribbing right from the toes. Kids sock they may be, but no kid is going to wear them if they aren't comfortable.  Silly me. Still it is a kiddie sock, with fewer stitches than for my own socks.  It knits up fast.

If my day were headlines, it would read, Took Leap, Landed Safely.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Dark and Light and In Need of a Third Option

When I moved to my wee house, it took the better part of two years to get things just how I wanted and then, it was time to move.  I don't want it to take 2 years this time.  I want to be settled fast and to have my home in order as quickly as possible.  Babysitting the kiddies is making it slower than I would like, but because I am so much healthier now, it is going faster.  Hard to explain, but the bottom line is at my wee house, I physically needed frequent knitting breaks.  One medium task per day took a day to recover from.  Get groceries?  Need recovery day.  Put books on shelves?  Physically unable to do more till recovery day is done.  Better living through chemistry* means that I can do a morning of laundry and moving furniture, babysit the kids and then come home and unpack some more boxes and put things on shelves.  *Better living through chemistry means I am taking medication to deal with the things my body doesn't want to do anymore. It is most amazing.

There was knitting, but not a lot of it.

 This sock, as bright as it seems here is rather dark, and knitting it at the kiddies house is difficult unless I am in the dining room where the chairs are just high enough to make my back ache at the end of a day.  I used to keep my feet up on another chair back in the day, but the kiddies make it impossible.
Plus Marcus, who is hardly wee anymore, likes to help.  He is fascinated by the little wiggles and how he can pull and make it straight and then relax it and it goes right back to wiggles.  Amazing!

I had this with me as well.  It is a much lighter colour knit, but the problem with it is that the yarn catches easily on the very sharp needle it is on.  It is the only needle I have in that size available right now, so changing it isn't and option. 

My huge pile of heels isn't really a good fit either.  At least not until I have a heel begun. Once begun, they would be great.

I need something light coloured and simple.  

What I really need is vanilla socks.  The kids, both Marcus and Cassie asked me for more socks, so I guess I need to take a trip to the sock yarn box.  I know just where some bright cheery kid happy sock yarns are.  And I can see the box the dpns are in from here.

I am going to have to keep more than two projects in my purse for a while.  Socks for little people are a great addition! Dark.  Light.  And a little something else.