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.

Thursday, 13 April 2017

To sock it or not

I have almost finished my stash project.  It took a lot less time than I thought.  It really just was a filler task for about 3 days, all done between knitting and chores and stuff.

A shot from the alpaca box


Almost the only thing I haven't uploaded photos of yet is the sock yarn.  Honestly, that is a little daunting.  I mean I know what yarns they are, more or less, but there are just so many skeins.  I did debate about not finishing it but the mass of empty squares irritates me.  I also need to do photos of all the Knitpicks Palette I have so that when I use it for colourwork, I can plan from a chair instead of only being able to do it when I dig.

After that, the next big job is to go through all the older projects and link them up with yarns that are still showing in the stash, and then setting those yarns to all used up. There are a lot of empty squares and so many things that are not connected that I would like to be.

Giving myself the ability to plan more effectively for projects is what this is all about.  Will this work together?  Why is this a silly idea?  What amounts do I have and is that a colour I feel like knitting now?

It was a big job and it feels good to have it mostly complete.  It reawakens me to all the possibilities in my stash.

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Colourwork

Today is going to be a busy day for me. And stressful or not.  Maybe.  Wow.  That is almost as smart/stupid as my life seems to be right now.  Every turn is good/weird/not awful but stressful.  The stress will come to a finish, but I am not so sure when.  Meanwhile I shall knit. 

The scarf goes with me today and what with all the sweater knitting, nothing has been added of any significance. I did just start the last little ball of colour.  The sweater only had 8 rows added yesterday, so nothing new there.  

I want to show you something I found as I was taking pictures of all the deep stash.

On occasion, I come across something, a pattern something, and I go a little off the deep end over it.  That was the case with Taiga , a really lovely vest with the most interesting middle section. I want to knit this vest.  Badly.

I have several different yarn choices for it, but the one I thought I would knit it in is this.


Queensland Kathmandu.  I really do love this yarn but I am not sure it will give me what I want.  And here is why.

No punch.  They kind of blend into one another and the colourwork effect will probably just whimper away.  There is a difference in tone but is it enough that this simple colourwork of Taiga will be the wow it was meant to be? Will the punch of the tweedy bits in the green carry it?

When I was knitting Brian's colourwork vest, I had a friend show me this trick.


Yarns in colour and

yarns no colour.  I used this trick to wind up with this final 4 yarn choices and it worked marvelously.  They were each distinct yet very balanced in the no colour picture.  No one yarn colour packed too much punch or too little. His vest was even better than the pictures show


 though I must say, they do show pretty darn good.


My yarn choices for Taiga might be okay.  Only the swatching will say for sure and I am a ways from that. But I find myself here contemplating colours and choices and why I become obsessed with a garment. And I find myself contemplating what to do if the colours don't work.  

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

If a heart was in charge of knitting.

What a day!  I am completely enamoured with this sweater.  I.  Just.  Can't.  Stop.




It is quite some time since I had this much fun doing anything.  Except perhaps babysitting my grandkids.  Fun is the nature of little people and mine are pretty special. And seriously funny.  I digress.

It wasn't all a bed of roses.  I keep missing button holes by a couple rows, so I have to drop down and redo and knit back up properly.  So far so good, but this is surely a huge pitfall even when you have stripes to help keep you on track.  I am very pleased with the fit.  I think.  It looks fine with the needles in and without the weight of the whole, draping it properly.  Good bones for where I am though.

And then this.  I was working along, and it just popped.  I have broken the cable at the join before but I haven't popped one out of the base before.


I am pretty sure I can fix it again with a little epoxy, but there is no rush.  I have lots of cables of all sizes.  I suspect it will go in a nice little pouch in my needle case and be noted for repair in an emergency.

If you are ever in a slump, if you ever feel like your knitting mojo has completely left the building and gone walk about, knit some kind of two row stripes with at least one colour changing yarn.  It is life changing.  If you are not into sweaters, knit a two row scarfor a vest, or a hat.  

Knitting stripes makes me feel like this:


I feel as if I could have knit all night.  My hands weren't with me in this.  They were done, but if a heart was in charge of knitting...

Monday, 10 April 2017

So how is that 3 a.m. thing working out?

Well since you asked, rather nicely.


By this lunchtime Sunday, I was this far along.  I had hoped to be just a little farther, but I was baking bread and doing laundry so really, it is quite acceptable.  And by bedtime, voila.


I did a first try on and I am pretty pleased so far.  My uncertainty about the large solid black section just under the collar, comprising the short row section that give the back and fronts of a contiguous knit sweater their shaping, and my worry that it was going to look goofy in a striped sweater have no foundation. The solid black sections are almost completely covered by the collar.  I suppose I could have striped that area, but it would have been awkward and would have meant a lot of ends to weave in.

It is zipping right along.  A few more sleeve increases and another couple inches to get to a good underarm depth and the top of the sweater will be done.  I hope to do that tomorrow.  

It was an all around good day.  Knitting was good.  The sun was shining in the windows.  I napped for a while.  My bread turned out.  I slept so much better than Friday/Saturday night. Deeper, longer, and I feel much more rested.  The old ways are the best ways.  Waking up and doing something works much much better than staying tucked under the blankets watching something on TV.  That early morning nap from about 5 to 7 is just what the doctor ordered for me.  

And the big plus, so far is 3 a.m. sweaters are working out just fine.

And this morning, it is warm enough that my window is open.  The early birds are singing.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Old Habits

I am not sleeping well lately.  It feels like time to take back an old habit.  For years, when I couldn't sleep, I got up so I wouldn't disturb Brian, who was a light sleeper. I would read till I got tired and then crawl back to bed and sleep well and deeply.  It made more sense than worrying about insomnia. Since he has been gone, I had no reason to get up.  I would turn on the movie player and eventually fall back asleep.  Lately, that second sleep simply eludes me. I brought out my old habit.

It was 3 o'clock in the morning and I decided to start another sweater.  Surely, this can't end well. ?

I have wanted to knit another Undercurrent sweater for a while now.  I have several sets of yarns in appropriate amounts ready to go.  I knew which yarn I wanted to work with and I knew right where it was. Briggs and Little Regal in Dark Grey and Noro Silk Garden, colour 349, which isn't looking very inspiring in this photo, but is, in fact, deeply inspiring.



I went to read the pattern again, and you know what?  I didn't want to knit an Undercurrent.  I wanted to knit stripes and have a wide flowing collar, not a hood.  I also wanted to knit contiguously.  At the same time, it was 3 o'clock in the morning and I just did not have it in me to figure out how many stitches I should start with.

I decided to look at contiguous patterns and see what I could find and I think I found a winner that will meet all my wants.

Meet Romy.

I was looking through all the sweaters people have done with the pattern and a striped one caught my eye. I then saw a longer version without the very emphatic abdominal ribbing that is characteristic of Romy and I had my pattern choice.

And so it begins.


I won't be following the pattern details with respect to personal fit.  The sleeves seem rather narrow.  I will adapt them to fit me.  Bottom ribbing?  Nope.  Bottom length?  Nope.  Knit to fit?  Yup.  

The sweater is begun.  I didn't think deeply about it, and I do think that I can sort out whatever adaptations I need to make as I go.  But not now.  It is 5:30 a.m. and I am ready to go back to bed. 

Thursday, 6 April 2017

And then it was...sort of.

Not the spinning.  I remember that now.  But I did completely forget to post to the blog yesterday morning.  Completely and utterly.  I usually think of it everyday, debating what to post, even weekends which I have always considered days off.  Posting this morning was a no go.  The dishwasher repair men were coming and I couldn't hear the bell from my room.  I had put all thoughts of it aside till I came in this afternoon, to find the blog, most remarkably, unposted.  It is a rare thing indeed and just shows the state of my mind.

I do have some knitting too.  That is what I was up to yesterday morning rather than writing, so I guess all is fair.  The last time I showed it off here, was with the third colour just begun.  I've just completed the fourth now and you can really see how soft these lovely gradations are.

  
It's about half the length of my coffee table, which means it is going to be a little shorter than I would like,  but it will be what it will be.  I am knitting till the yarn is gone and it ought to grow some when it is washed.

And hot on its heels, you can see the golden brown and green gradients patiently waiting their turn.

The other things I am doing today are just silly.  I am just doing general cleaning, but there were a couple pads of grid paper in a folio.  I thought it time to go through it and get rid of what I don't need any longer.

Rachel is going to be 20 in a couple weeks.  I can probably get rid of the charting of her name and pertinent details for her birth sampler.


And this newsprint?  Kind of yellowed with age, isn't it.  There was a stack in the back of my childhood grade 4 classroom and teacher always said take as much as you want.  So I did.  I never took tons at once.  Just 5 sheets or so whenever I needed some.  I might have made mistakes or not, but I needed to have some on hand just in case. Seriously needed it.  I never threw it out or wasted it. It sort of became stockpiled.  I have used it over the years as the pile is much smaller now than when my kids were small and much, much smaller than when I was young.


I even debated if I ought to be tossing it now.  And yes.  I can toss it.  It is a little fragile and with the yellowed edges a little flaky.  A lot like its keeper.

I collect stuff.  Even silly stuff.  And now is as good a time as any to sort out the silliest.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Almost forgotten

It was spinning Tuesday morning, and during my show and tell,  FrazzledKnitter asked pointedly if I had blogged about my finished item.  I hadn't.  Nor would I have.  This was finished so long ago in my mind that I had almost forgotten it.

There was also that part where I wasn't sure if it was worth talking about.  I think I avoided it in every way till but for wanting to show it to Christine.  

Part of my trouble getting it out into the world was that when I finished plying it, I couldn't find my niddy noddy.  I took it off the bobbins using my hand and elbow.  This works fine in a pinch, but it makes for a stumpy little cluster of yarn that doesn't really show off what you have. It felt cushy and nice, but you really couldn't see much of it.  I took no pictures.  I posted it nowhere.  Or I don't think I did. This morning before I left, I put the yarn onto my swift to make longer hanks to show her better...

And I got the surprise of my life.

It's not what I was aiming for, but once it was freed from its small diameter, it fell so elegantly that I could have cried.

No unbalanced twisting on itself, no weirdness, other than what is without a doubt part of what makes me love it so well.  

My goal was a chunky yarn.  I wanted something pouffy and airy.  I missed airy by at least 50 miles, and pouffy is almost that far off too, but what I got was rather charming.

The skeins seem to have a life of their own.  They bounce.  They shake. They drape.  I did not get pouffy but I got the most marvelous skeins of art yarn that it will ever be my pleasure to spin.  

I had brake issues, flyer guide issues, and there was even a point where the footman connection came flying off the wheel, the bolt part, not the plastic connector.  I unplied some of it but was having wheel issues on my Julia and so I sort of chickened out and just started plying.  All did have some un-twisitng but only the longest of the bobbins was really untwisted completely.  The two shorter bobbins were just eased.  It was a big job and I just got bored. OK. Fine.  I got mad and just plied.  I'm glad now. Because lookkee at this.


Among this mess is something truly special.  It is thick and thin and coiled and soft and lightly spun all in the space of inches. For much of it, there is a softer ply around a really tightly coiled ply.  I suspect that this is where all the bounce comes from.  All that excess ease makes it lively!

  And that is my finished object.  Gosh darn ugly at first glance, but like all things, you have to look under the covers to feel the frivolity within.  I have absolutely no idea what to do with it, but whatever happens to it, I am going to remember when I unfurled it for the first time, for the rest of my life.

Someday, I might end up with a yarn I planned.  Today is not that day and I am glad.

Spinning Day!

This morning is spinning day and I am so excited.  I didn't spin last week.  Just too much to do so it feels like it has been forever.

I am working with a small pencil roving in a bright coral. It is a wool and silk blend and it just moves so smoothly.  I will take some pictures to add to this post later.  But it is just such a different thing than what I have been working on.

I know it isn't a lot for today but really, that is it.  That is all I got.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Where in Space and Time

It was one of those weekends where I needed to be a couple people to be all the places I wanted to be at.  I needed more me's in space and time that what there is in reality.  It was the weekend of our Strawberry Creek retreat and it was my moms' 80th birthday and it was the weekend where the Fish and Game was dedicating the Elk Trophy to Brian.

No possible way to win that list of choices at all.  I went with this.


My mom at 80.  She still cleans two condos full time.  She has more gumption and grace and charm than I ever will. She has always been younger than springtime to me.  Happy Birthday mom!

I did have a lovely weekend and it gave me a chance to stop in at Prairie Lily in Saskatoon.  There is always something interesting there.  For a change, I came away without any Briggs and Little!

I did find delicious though.


This is Rowan's Fine Silk.  It is a blend of silk, wool and viscose that is wonderfully soft and has a really lovely sheen to it.  These are only 25 gram balls with 164 metres but with 2 teal and 2 lime, I have enough for a nice small neck shawl.  A better than jewellery summer accessory.  

I must be having a thing for this slight variation on my blue and green fixation.  This is the second set of yarns I have in these colours.  The first set is Einband for the Courant shawl from Twist Collective.

I am sure I am having a thing with this limey green colour because this was the first thing I carried with me around the store.


My perennial favourite Meilenweit sock yarn.

I picked up one other brand of sock yarn.  It is a new one for Prarie Lily but it looks great and she had a wonderful selection of it.


She said she got it in because it had a really great price (12.99 CA per ball) .  At that price you cannot lose and there were some great long striped colours, multi's and striping.  So many choices. I choose sspring sky colours but if you look close, you will see a hint of that green!  More fool me.  I did not see it till I took the pictures!

The green makes sense to me.  The snow is all gone here except in shaded places.  It is a little early but this limey green is the colour of leaf buds just as they pop.  Once they are out a bit everything is apple green, but the first colour that very first burst of spring is this limey green goodness.

The world is waking up and I guess, it is where I am in space and time and that is a pretty good thing.