Thursday, 31 August 2017

Getting the Mail

When I was small, getting a card in the mail from someone was a pretty serious pleasure.   As I got older, mail became a place to get the bills. The charm of getting the mail was gone.  Till I took up knitting.

Since I took up knitting, mail is a lot more fun.  Since I moved to a very small town outside of the city mail is even more fun (the post office is two blocks away instead of being way out of my daily path, and 20 minutes away from home).  Today it was really big fun.

A friend that I met through the yarn store introduced me to Isager Yarns.  She showed me a yarn she had just bought and I was pretty sure I needed some.  Later, she showed me her finished project and I knew I had to have some of the yarn and the pattern book it had come from.  For years, Isager Spinni Wool 1 was what I always promised myself would be my someday yarn.  I promised myself that when I sold the house, I would have some.  

I had also watched the book, A Fine Line by Grace Anna Farrow which is where the pattern for my friend's finished project came from.  I watched as it disappeared from the radar when the print run sold out.  At that time, you couldn't buy the patterns individually as I recall and I was heartbroken.  I still checked out the shawls from the book on Ravelry, to dream.  They are such lovely things.  And then one day, magic.  The book was available as an ebook, and I bought it right away. 

I stalked the yarn at Jimmy Beans for a very long time, but it looks like Jimmy Beans doesn't have The Isager Wool 1 anymore.  Or at least it did not the day I went shopping.  I went straight to the source.  Which is, more or less, in the US.  And got everything I wanted and perhaps, a little more.

I love getting my mail.

I still am not 100% sure which shawl I am going to knit with this.  Some of the shawls use more than one skein of a colour, so I may have to order a bit more once I decide. I debated for a very long time, and couldn't settle projects, so I decided to order for the range of colours.  That was a much easier choice.  I love each and every one of them. Possibly together and possibly not!  But no contest.  Off the deep end in love with the colours.  

I'm off the deep end in love with the yarn itself too.  It is a sticky grabby yarn.  This yarn is not going to run unless you want it to.  If you drop a stitch it is going to be right there waiting for you to pick up when you get back to it.  It would be what some people call rough feeling in the skein, but I say, you go right on ahead, thinking it is too rough.  That means there will be more for me.  It is substantial.  When I say that, I don't mean bulky.  More that when you squeeze the yarn in the skein, you can feel it's presence.  Yet, I know from my friends project that when you knit it and it is washed and blocked, it is lighter than air, and a thing of such delicate beauty that it is hard to imagine.  

I am very sure that many other wonderful projects have been knitted in this yarn besides the ones in A Fine Line, but to me, the yarn and book were to each other, the ultimate that could ever be found in a knitter's craft.  

Simple shapes, ethereal yarn and a thing of great beauty.   I love getting the mail.

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Deja Vu

The shawl is what I am working on, but there is almost always a little something else.  The shawl looks like a slightly larger triangle than its debut post on the blog.  It's garter stitch and at this point, is not really all that interesting.  Don't get me wrong, it is fun to knit, but a triangle is a triangle.  It will soon be on its way to being a square though.  I am close to the end of the first skein.  

That little something else might give you a sense of deja vu, but that is ok. 


It is that you have seen Cassie's socks, which are similar.  


It is in fact, a completely different.  These are socks for Marcus.  His foot takes 11 stitches and is a different length than Cassie's and with the different cuff, I am hoping mom can tell them apart.

We measured against Marcus' foot length the last time I babysat him and the first sock was complete shortly after that.  It's always funny because as much as Marcus is interested in what I am doing, and always want to help with my yarn, he really doesn't want to get too close to all those needles when I want to measure things.

He's is not quite three.  I can still trick him into it.

And that is it for today.  I have a bit of tidying to do so I am ready for a sleepover at Grandma's house (mommy and daddy are going to see Guns and Roses) and I have to catch up with my laundry.

Which only feels like deja vu, but is more of a do over.    

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Making Things With Bits and Ends

Ah yes.  I mentioned a finished thing yesterday.  And indeed I did finish.  But the whole project was deserving of its own post.

Since earlier this summer, when yarn kept falling out the the box of ends, I have been knitting Monstersocks, so called because they are cobbled together from other sock yarns left over after sock knitting.  I just wanted to knit up the yarn so that the box could stay closed, but it was so much fun to do and to watch happen, that in the end, it became one of the most enjoyable things I knit so far this year.

I posted about each of these before, but as a group, they are spectacular.

The first win, out of a range of yarns with blue and oranges in them, striped with a plain black.  These are a little short and are absolutely going to need heels unless I give them to someone with very small feet.

And the greys, which have been the most exciting pair.  They were unexpected.  I thought all the grey and relatively dull colours would be a good sock, but nothing to write home about.  That yellow, so dull in comparison to many colours, popped among all the grey and made magic.

And then, the most recent finished object, the magical red socks, where I used up all the yarn.  Well on the first sock anyway. On the second, I had small bits left over of 2 colours, plus enough for heels. The second sock is the darker of the two.  It seemed as if all the balls of red were heading off to their grey sections or brownish sections.  Still the strong pop of that yellow keeps them a very very pleasing pair.  I did run out of yellow 2 rounds from the ribbing, so the red did a little pinch hitting.

I think that is it for me for Monstersocks for this year.  I do have another set of mostly blues that I could do, but the urge is gone and there is room again in the bits and ends box.  I have a few pairs on the go that I would like to finish up before starting more socks of any kind.  

Plus there are mittens to knit for Carter and Isaac and that ought to keep my urge to knit with small yarns satisfied for a while. 

Monday, 28 August 2017

End of Summer Things

In every way, it is the end of summer.  Gardens are almost done, kids are back to school this week, the days might be hot but it gets plenty chilly at night.    

I was looking at projects on the weekend.  I finished a thing and then couldn't decide what to work on.  The little red sweater that I knit for a family event was not needed because in the end, I did not go.  No rush to finish it's sleeves and knit it longer now.  The gray sweater?  I've been a little too faithful to it.  I fear I am a bit bored with only that texture in my hands.  I went through the vast pile of WIPs and didn't feel like any of them.  Of course that means only one thing.

I started something new!

A few months ago, I piggy backed a bunch of Brigg's and Little Sport onto a friends order. 

It did not get tucked away in the last stash dive.  I did not want to tuck it away because I meant to knit it right away.  And right away is now.

I bought it with a project very much in mind.  I may have bought it with 2 projects in mind, actually.  it's a lot of yarn.  One project, will be out of the leftovers of the first and will be for me.  The main project is for Olga's grandmother.    

Olga's grandmother is a woman who understands a shawl in a way that is hard to imagine for me.  She was born in a place and a time when shawls were worn regularly particularly by older women.  I knit one for her a few years ago, and she loved it.  Sadly it has been worn and worn and is getting a little ratty and moth eaten.  That happens when you wear something almost everyday.  This is such a honour, to have something you knit be worn out because it was worn so well and enjoyed so much.

I have known about the need for another for a few months and took some time to think about what I would enjoy knitting and what she would enjoy wearing.  I wanted the shawl to be square again, and the Brigg's and Little Sport was a given because it is so lovely warm and it is a purely Canadian yarn from sheep to mill to me.  It also has this marvelous range of gradient heathered greys.  How could I not?

Pattern was a little more difficult.  Originally, I thought about one of the lovely Icleandic patterns from the iconic Þríhyrnur og langsjöl / Three-cornered and long shawls by Sigridur Halldorsdottir.    I hemmed and I hawed, but couldn't settle.  One of the problems is that I would have needed all the gradient browns to do the ones I like, the way I wanted and gosh darn it, even I have to cry 'uncle' sometimes.  

The pattern I decided on is Hansel by Gudrun Johnston .  I love the way she sets the colours in her border and while gradient is more what I am interested in for this project, it will look wonderful with the in and out flow of dark to light.

I am using the Sheep's Gray, the lightest grey for the centre and keeping the darker greys for the lace border.  It hardly seems like I started, though I did a fair bit of knitting on it over the weekend.  I have all day today and really nothing other than spinning, going on till Wednesday, when my wee kiddies are coming to me.

And closing off on that point,  kiddies!  Because I love them so.

My Superheros each and everyone of them.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Gone Adventuring

I didn't get out to Crafty Lady in Lacombe like I planned.  What I was really interested in finding was spinning fibre and Crafty Lady doesn't carry much of that, if any.

I did get out to Pam's Woolly Shoppe though, always an adventure.  I had a really wonderful time.

Really wonderful.

I did get the spinning fibre I was hoping for.

I found some rich deep blue Colour Adventures Falkland Top.  It beat every other colour in stock by a mile.

And some West Coast Colour Biffle.  I have a sneaky suspicion that it's the same colourway as my spinning friend, Frazzeled Knitter worked with a while ago. I know for certain she had this lovely lofty put up.

It was the only colour that there were 2 hanks of in this line.  I much prefer to purchase two braids or about half a pound of fibre if I can.  It expands the range of what you can do with a fibre so much.  Mittens and a hat or a serious shawl or the yoke on a sweater.  All this could be done with the fibre from two braids.

I did some yarn adventuring too simply because of the fantastic colours.  It was just too good to pass up.

It's all Colour Adventure Yarns, Merino Light, which is the loveliest base.  With the passing of the inimitable Elena Nodel, founder along with her husband, of Colour Adventures, A Twist of Yarn  has partnered with Colour Adventure to continue these lovely yarns.

My haul is seriously fine.


Birch Tree

Rainy Day

Sour Cherry

The colours are deeper and richer than my basic camera could ever capture.  I already have a couple projects in mind for these.  I plan to do some striped shawls, pairing the Birch Tree and the Wine, and Sour Cherry and Rainy Day.  But really who knows.  There will no doubt be a while, till I can knit these marvelous things up.

And then some sock yarns.  

The top yarn with that delicious green and blue is Tiptoe by Diamond Luxury.  Some thoughtful shopper before me paired up the yarns and left them sitting side by side in the sock yarn cubes.  I think for gloves for Isaac and Carter.  I knit mittens for Marcus and Cassie last winter, but never quite got there for my other house of grandkids.  Time to address that. then again, there might be gloves for all four of them.  Gloves. The new socks?  It's an adventure thinking about it.

Everything in knitting is an adventure.  Gone Adventuring.  That is me. 

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Sweeto Granito?

You know how when you are working on something and it feels so right?  Yeah.  This.

I'm having an enormous amount of fun with this knit.  Yes it is miles of  stockinette.  Yes it is pretty much the same all the way down, since I am not doing pockets.  At least I think it is.  It's probably time to read the pattern again just to be sure.  

According to my stitch counts, I have another 30 increases to do and that will put the end of the increases right where they ought to be.  I know that the reason I love this pattern is the way it sits and drapes and I know that I am knitting increases in a way that the pattern doesn't ask for, but I also  know that my body isn't designed for this pattern. There are no patterns designed for these hips!  According to all the fit charts out there, I don't exist.  I am unique, as are we all, so the things I do to make the pattern work for me, are only ever best guess till I have a finished knit and try it on. 

It could be depressing if I had to reknit.  But that is the chance I take on every pattern I knit.    I'm willing to take a chance for a couple of reasons. 

The design has a couple elements that have the same feel as Joji's Lipstick.  Both have the fitted yet slightly dropped shoulder.  Both have a strong vertical element.  That similarity in the vertical element is what made me me feel this design could be a fairly intuitive knit.  The drape is different, but the way my version of Lipstick turned out, gives me great hope for something at least as successful as that.

The second and more important reason is that it is all knitting and that just makes me feel happy.  Yes, I am very product oriented, but even when a product turns out like crap, I find something of value in it.  Nothing teaches you more than failing.  Even if I had to reknit half the sweater, I would be okay with it. 

Am I worried that I might have to?  Maybe.  Yes.  The way I am doing the increases, the vertical ridge, that I so love, stays the same width apart on the front, or very close to it.  The sides sections are where I am putting the vast majority of the extra increases that I require, but the back, between the ridges is getting some too.  I'm a little concerned that the back ridges will look off because they are not straight, but rather get farther apart through the middle of the sweater.   I am hoping the scale of the ridges stays correct.    If it all looks horribly wrong on the backside, I will probably wear it anyway.  I don't have to see it after all, but the next time I knit it, I would probably leave the ridges off the back. 

Anyway, time will tell.  When I get home I will have to give it a first try on.  Did I mention that I didn't do that yet?  Yeah, that is barely this side of stupid.  The body is at my waist.  It moved so far the last couple of days...What can I say.  Living dangerously, trusting the numbers.  It's a little scary, but kind of fun.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

On the Road Again.

On the road again today, but not far away.  I'm just doing a bit of house sitting while one of my kids is away.  It does get me closer to yarn stores.  Today I am going to venture down to Crafty Lady in Lacombe. 

There was a massive amount of knitting on my Granito yesterday and there was spinning.

Spinning first.  I purchased this massive ball of fibre from River City Yarns a year or so ago.  It might be 2 years.  Its ...its... wow.  I wish I had more.  This will be chain plyed to preserve the fantastic colours.

After this, I am going to do more practice on long draw spinning and spinning from the fold.  I have that bag of gray Shetland to play with and it's going pretty well. 

And then I have got to get my carder out and play with it.  It was such an off the wall purchase but when the chance came up I knew I wanted it.  I love the idea of playing and making batts. 

The first thing I have to do is work on the fleece. that are taking up space in my spare room closet.   Sitting here, I can't even recall what I have.  Those details are in the boxes.  I know I have the very lively Clun Forest.  That is not one I'm working on with the carder, but rather is getting a flick carding treatment.  I had a box of fibre prepped but gave it away to others who were interested in working with it.  I knew that I wouldn't have time for it, and I knew I didn't have room to store it.  It's my turn. 

I know that one is of the others is part rambouillet, but that is all I know other than they are perfect for the carder.

So time to play!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Saving the Knitting

One of the things that happens when you are mostly living alone, not by choice, is that evenings can stretch long.  That couple hours in a busy day that everyone else looks forward to, stretch and drag on and many nights, I cannot wait till it is a decent, early but decent, time to go to bed.  Some nights, I start clock watching before 7 p.m.  

One of the ways, I'm trying to deal with this is to leave some of my knitting for evenings. I think I also mentioned that I signed up for Audible Books.  I use Librivox too.  How lovely it is that I can put on a book and somebody will read me a story and I can knit.  I have difficulty settling down to books in the daytime, but in the evening, it is wonderful.

In order to save knitting for later in the day today, I picked up something that I meant to do all last winter.  The chilly air of the last few days reminded me about it.

I knit an Argo last fall and wore it all winter under a vest.  It did not have buttons.  I used and lost some of my favourite pins trying to keep it closed.  Today, I decided it was time for buttons.

The buttons I planned to use on this sweater are heavy.  

Heavy buttons meant I needed more than the usual sewing on of the buttons. First up, the Gros Grain Ribbon Tutorial from the Knitmore Girls followed by the Coture Button Tutorial.  It seemed like a really smart way to support these heavy funky buttons.

So, after a couple hours of work, I have this.

All buttons securely on board!

I love these moosey buttons.  It's such a great blend of button and fabric/fibre.  (The sweater is made from Custom Woollen Mills 2 ply).  The combination of grays looks wonderful.

And here are the support buttons, secured well on the opposite side, though, not even remotely neatly.  Still they are fixed in place and do exactly what I needed them to do, which was to hold up the heavy front button. I do have one small thing I should have changed.  I should have left a little more space between the buttons.  I should have inserted a match or small dpn between the two to give the fabric room to slip under the button.  

I should also note that I did not use the Gros Grain ribbon that Gigi Knitmore recommends.  I have red, brown and cream but nothing that looked right with this sweater.  I did find this bias tape in my supplies, and have use it here doubled for a little more firmness.  It was a fight to keep it in place and it was a little stiff and hard to get my needle through.  Gros Grain ribbon would have given me a much neater finish and would have hidden the stitches almost completely.  This does the job.  But that is all it does.  I will do it right next time.

An afternoon, more or less well wasted.  And now I think I have earned myself a wee nap.

Monday, 21 August 2017

Vocation and Avocation

I knit for a couple hours Saturday morning.  It was great.  It's a long time since I sat still long enough to knit that much.  

And then Stash Dive!  Everything is in good order.  Everything is safe and secure and sigh.  I sure do have some lovely yarn.  It was hard not to keep all of it out, just to have it close to me.  It is more than just wool to knit.  

Make no mistake.  The stash dive is a serious job.  I had serious expectations and I meant to make them happen.

The number one thing I wanted from this stash dive was to reorganize the yarn.  There were several containers that weren't as full as they could have been and I wanted to get some of my more recent purchases into proper homes.  Mission accomplished.  I emptied 4 containers of stored yarns.  Two were larger 50 litre boxes and two were the smaller boxes, a twenty five and a 15 litre, and they are now packed more efficiently into other boxes.  I also properly stored yarns from a couple other tubs, but since they are now full of job 3, I didn't think it was fair to count them.  Mission accomplished.

The second thing I wanted to do was to reorganize the yarn closet.  When I first moved here, everything fit in the closet but for the sock yarn and one other box of yarn.  The last time I dug in the yarn, I ended up with about 8 smaller boxes that I could not get back into the closet.  I hadn't added significant yarn, but something in the way I packed it, meant it do not fit.  Tada!

All the yarn needing storage, including the sock yarn and the lace yarn is now in the closet.  For the first time since I moved here, no bins will live in the study proper, but for yarn for job 3.  And to top it off, if I moved a couple of those top boxes around, I could even fit job 3 in the closet.  Job well done, I say.

I might even have room to set up my quilting frame here in my study.  I always thought that would be a miracle, but who knows.  I might get back to that yet.

And then there is job 3.

Job 3 may have gotten a little out of hand.  It's hard to say.  Job three was to pull out yarn that I might feel compelled to knit.  It is also yarn, that I think about all the time and would love to knit. Some of it may just be out for inspiration and some of it is out because it is a task I promised to someone else.  Not a lot of that, but I did just promise my neighbour a hat because she has a fabulous garden and seems to be sending us garden veggies as much as we can eat!  Deserving of a hat to be sure.

So job 3.  I took a few pictures to show you what might, or might not be in the running for this falls knitting.

This odd assortment of yarns is one of my most precious treasures.  The bulk of it is Sirdar Eco Wool DK a really lovely but discontinued yarn.  River City yarns carried it for a season and I purchased a bunch of it and knit  my favourite sweater.  I had 6 or so balls left, but not enough for another sweater.  Over the years, I purchased other yarns with a similar twist in an effort to make my paltry supply be enough.  I just never had quite enough and then I found a few balls hiding in a corner at Crafty Lady in Lacombe.  Suddenly I had lots of yarn!  I was waiting for the right inspiration to come along and it did.  Laekur on the cover of Knitty Deep Fall 2016.   It is exactly right for my mix of grays and brownish gray and marled gray and natural.  I will used the red for the colourwork and the black only in an emergency if I run out of all the others.  I do not expect that will happen.

Part 2 of Job 3 is some luscious stuff,

Harrisville Silk and Wool.  I love this yarn.  It is soft and strong and warm and light and just a little bit decadent.  This is going to be a Keynote Pullover.  by Mary Lou Egan.  I saw this pattern and knew I absolutely must knit it.  I am so enamoured of this sweater, that I bought the book.  For one pattern.  Yes that much.  Funny thing is that this is not the yarn I thought I would knit this sweater in.  Once I saw it there in my stash, once I felt it in my hand, I knew that its time was now.

Part 3 is another bit of leftovers from other good things.

I knit an Undercurrent in these two yarns several years ago and it remains one of the sweaters I reach for on chilly days when I have to look business like.  I always planned to knit a vest with the remains.  I am leaning toward an Elizabeth Zimmermann Waistcoat from Knit One, Knit All.  I  really want to knit this one.  After reading the pattern over many times, it just needs to be knit for the fun of it.

Part 4 is a brown yarn.  Sort of.

I don't wear brown.  It has never looked very good on me and even now, with my salt and pepper hair and my paler skin as I age, it isn't a really great colour on me.  I love this though.  It is just the most splendid mix of gray and blue and rust and heathers that I had to have it. I picked this lovely Briggs and Little Sport up at our last trip to Shuttleworks (mourned by many).  I think it is going to be a vest too.  It is going to be something delightful from Folk Vests by Cheryl Oberle.    I am leaning to the Clock Vest  but it would make a great looking XO Cardigan and would be very nice as a Chinese Red Vest too, despite not being red.  Whichever it turns out to be, I am looking forward to this.

Part 5 is a very inexpensive fingering weight yarn I purchased years ago from Elann.

I bought it to make some plain utilitarian work sweaters back in the day.  It isn't a fancy yarn and at under 2 dollars a ball was not expensive at all.  It does have a really great colour going for it, a rich deep teal, but that is its only significant feature.  I don't feel any real urge to knit it but what I do feel the urge to do is wear these buttons.

I picked up these fantastic buttons at A Twist of Yarn in Vernon but you can see more of the amazing work of 2 Good Claymates for yourself.  I must wear these buttons.  I think about them all the time, which is just the silliest thing.  I am knitting a plain sweater to show these off and I think that is just how it ought to be.

Part...where am I again.  I stopped a bit at that jewelry and button place...ah yes, part 6.

Part 6 is two yarns that I purchased a very long time ago.  I played with them for separate projects and then played with them for a variation on a Tempest.  I swatched eons ago, and it worked, even though the yarns are slightly different gauges.  It is Berroco Ultra Alpaca and a medium weight Socks that Rock in heaven only knows what colourway.  I don't recall but if anybody knows, post it.  I found while playing with it, it could work, so long as you kept the gauge the same.  We will see if the sweater turns out or not.  I think it could be an interesting challenge.

Part 7

One ball of Manois Del Uruguay's Clara in  the sunniest of yellows and a ball of Noro Kureopatora in bright shiny colours.  There are 385 metres of Clara and 270 metres of Kureopatora.  I have no idea what this will be.  I don't even know if it will be for me.  I only know the time to knit it is now.  The front of a vest or sweater maybe?

Part 8

Some plain socks, maybe.  Or mittens.

Part 9, the last part,

I've talked about this project before.  This is a whole bunch of Kauni 8/2 Effektyarn in the green EK and cream.  It has always had only 1 job in my stash despite its long history living in my yarn closet.  It will become this, the Dancing Reindeer Shawl.  I have spoken of knitting this before and I haven't done it. For a while, I worried about running out of the cream but that would be impossible now that I have 2 balls.  I decided not to knit it last winter, and I thought I meant forever,  feeling the subject matter was not me anymore, but once I settled down here, the pattern spoke to me again.  It wants to be mine.  I love it for itself both yarn and pattern.

Job 3.  Very well done.

Too much?  Only heaven knows.  It is right for me right now.

Knitting sustains me.  Yarn sustains me. It is my safe place and my consolation.  I love when I get to play and remind myself of how good it all is.   Stash diving days are vocation (knitter) and avocation (yarn collector) all wrapped up in one.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Game on.

Yesterday there was no further knitting than what you saw.  Just the sock.  I had a special event happening and it was a wonderful day.

A friend, someone I have known as part of a group of online friends for more than 10 years, just happened to be in town and I had to be in that part of the city, so we managed a quick visit before his flight.

I had online friends before online friends were cool, long before facebook, before myspace was a thing.  We came to be friends in the internets happy place, Achenblog.  What of lovely group of people they are.  And it is such a different feeling when someone you know so much about is met in the real world for the first time.  It was grand.

The rest of my day was spent putting the finishing touches on my room.

To most of you, it must seem that I have been doing that for months.  It is months!  But I guess the thing is that once it is done, it will probably stay that way for almost forever.  Or forever with only a few small changes.  I don't need a lot of changes around me, but I do crave order and sense in the things around me.  When stuff stays in piles it is because it doesn't have a home and that is when I become overwhelmed.  It makes me feel almost claustrophobic.  

Up till now I unpacked.  Getting everything into it's home takes longer.  

The last part of the great clean is going to be to mess it all up again.  It is time for the seasonal wool dive and closet clean.  It will also be me pulling out yarns I want to knit up in the next little bit.  And to put away the things I thought I might might knit last time I played in the yarn.  There is always some of that. 

Up today is some knitting this morning and then playing with some of my kiddies.  The landlord is bringing home supper, so I don't have to worry about that. This evening I am going to watch an old movie, Renaissance Man and knit and knit and knit.  

Let's see if one of these sweaters is ready to finish by next week.  Game on.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

The spirit of the thing is the same.

When I got up yesterday, I was pretty sure I would be working on one sweater or other.  It didn't quite happen like that.  I had a busy day with other things and when I did knit, I picked up the sock, which really remains fascinating.

This is what's going on.

I am using the same yarns in the same order, but because most of them are faux fair isle yarns, the socks that are being delivered are quite different.  

For all the differences, there is so much that is the same.  It's as if they are the same in spirit but not in detail.  The yellow stripe is making sure of that.  It might be that the spirit of the pair is yellow, and what with all the yellow in my home these days, that suits me just fine.

It's a lot of fun watching this fraternal pair knit up.  I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that my tiny balls of yarn that are making up this sock have the same much yarn on them as the balls that made up the first of the pair.  I'm looking forward to using up all the yarn again.

I dearly love this pair of socks, but I think after this pair, my monstering will be done for the year.  There is only the blue set left to go, and my heart is ready for sweaters again.  And shawls.  And wraps.  And a hat.  And mittens. And more socks in the WIP bins.


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Morning has broken and is pretty much the same temperature it has been first thing in the morning for most of the summer.  And yet everything is different.  Morning, instead of it being at it's early summer peak of 4 a.m., is now at 6 a.m. .  Each day morning happens just a little later.  11 or 12 C at 4:30 a.m. is a whole lot different than 11 or 12 C at 6:30.  It's chilly in a very much fall sort of way.  The back of summer is broken and everything will feel just a little bit more fall every day.

And in so many ways this pleases me.  I love fall best of all so this little beginning of fall is when I think of serious knitting.  Not that I am not thinking of knitting all the time, but this is when it really gets interesting.

I spent time yesterday, while not knitting, looking at my Ravelry Sweater bundle.  I keep thinking I should weed it out, but I still like the sweaters in there, even if some of them were my favourites from eons ago.  

For a long time now, I have been thinking that what I need to knit is some simple basic sweaters, a cardigan, a hoodie, a simple pullover, but as I think on it and review my favourites, I am not so sure.  The idea of simple may have arisen over the last few years as I sorted through all life's things that needed sorting.  It may have been my minds way of putting resolution and respite into life when I couldn't have it so immediately.  I am not so sure that I need resolution anymore.  That part is over and things are settled and done. Why stick to simple when I can have divine.  

But then, I have to have to think about what the definition of simple is, what my definition of simple is.  What is the picture that pops in my head when I think simple?  

I want something that is really wearable, that I can wear just as easily washing dishes as I can wear it out and about.  I don't really want a sweaters for home and sweaters for out division in my sweater chest.  What I would rather have is sweaters that are warm, warmer and warmest.  Why can't the warm ones be lacy.  Why can't the warmest ones be elaborate colourwork?  I think I have been defining simple as something plain and that is just silly.

If I go back through my favourites, I can see the slow change to this more modern, less fitted shape.  I love that. I think that the part I love best of many of them is the drape and flow.  As I knit some of  these more relaxed shapes, I am going to have to be careful to keep that.  

I am attempting to in my Granito

It is going to be a little more challenging in a garment where I want to keep the fit at the shoulders where I am a regular large and still have the ease through the lower part of the sweater, where I am most decidedly on the high side of the X's that denote Plus sizes.  Still it is a challenge of shaping that worked really well on my Lipstick cardigan

even if I have to reknit it because my size has changed enough to make the neckline too wide.  The shaping on it turned out really great.

All the things I have learned about my body shape over the last years as I knit sweaters, means that I am no longer as worried about attempting some of the lovely things designers do.  There are ways that I can make the little details I so admire work for me.  

Or so I hope.  Still, as much as I want sweaters with interesting details, that fit well in the shoulders, I want this too.   I want shape and size and drape and flow.  Yes it is plain, but it has elegance and style that I adore. I simply want it all. 

I think that is where my head is at this morning.  Knit where your heart is.  It's good when head and heart meet and it's fall to boot.  Morning has broken in a most grand way.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

There was knitting yesterday and I am so glad.  Mostly the sock, but I did find myself wondering around looking for the sweater.  Or the little red sweater.  I do have to finish that too.

Every once in a while I wonder if the urge to knit, the compulsion to knit will fade away but it never does.  Thankfully.  It would be a real shame if I didn't feel like knitting with the closet full of yarn.

Even if I didn't feel the love anymore, I would still need sweaters and I much prefer sweaters that fit.  I would still end up knitting. 

I like that. It's ;like sewing.  I don't love sewing, but I do it on occasion so I have nice clothes.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Now I get it.

After that nice little break from writing, I almost had to force myself into sitting in this chair this morning.  It isn't that I did not want to write, but more that it felt like I had nothing to say.  I never say anything very important and that isn't any different than usual.  So watch out.  It will probably be long. 

I did do a very little bit of knitting the last few days.  Very little. The last photo of this sock on the blog was at the first section of yellow and that was all the way back to August 2.

Note to self:  Clean table before photography.  Not a lot of knitting happened the last few days.  I just didn't have the urge, not even for very interesting sock knitting.  I could not settle or sit still.  

With the loom set up finished,  I had time to contemplate other things that were bothering me.  Specifically storage of books and movies.  I had made more room on my living room bookcases when I moved the miniature books into my study, and that made me very happy, but as one room fell together, the other things sort of fell apart.  With all my dvds in the livingroom, it became very clear there was no room at all for anymore.  That was a serious problem because I had just ordered 9 more.  Piles were surrounding my TV and it just made everything feel messy.  I moved forward with a purchase to resolve that.

Three of the smallest shelves that Ikea has.  I had been thinking of this for a long while, and time came to just do it.  They came with a fabric purchase and were set up last week.  It was the one place in my living area where I could expand. At the bottom of each unit is a couple shelves of books.  Light ones for these very thin shelves to be sure, but ones that are nice to have well within reach.  Then comes a couple shelves of dvds each.  You can see one of the empty spaces for this newest stack of dvds coming in, but all the other spaces are filled with my Christmas music box collection. It gives me much happiness that these have found a perfect home here.

And then in an effort not to think last week, I went out and bought more furniture.  I really wasn't going to but the single large dresser I had was weighing me down.  Clothes were pretty stuffed into it and as I fix the box of clothes that have long needed small repairs, it just gets worse.  I don't have a lot of clothes in the first place.  That one dresser was it, but for two dresses in under bed storage, so getting rid of some isn't an option.  As the weeks wore on I went through various options for resolution of this, but I could never quite sort out what would work the best.  Wardrobe?  Chests? What would fit?  I have a huge room here, but I am using part of it for my study/sewing room.  That needs space to work well too.

On Wednesday things came to a head.  I did laundry, and everything was full and I just cracked.  I couldn't stuff any more into the dresser and the dryer was full with a load and the washer was doing a load.  So I measured, and made a decision.  And the last couple of days have been busy and my arm is a little sore  and I have a proto blister in the palm of my hand. 

This part is best described as construction complete but there landscaping to be done.  

Sitting amongst the debris of building, it struck me how clean and fresh this all feels, how renewed I felt without that heavy piece of furniture sitting there.  I had meant to paint it, and use it, so I did not have to buy more.  I had even picked out paint and had spent time looking at handles.  Sitting there, with that dresser gone, I finally understood.  It's not just about having things that fit a space right or about things that work.  

I am not sure the way I have been feeling has come through when I write but I have been absolutely frenetic about everything for months. I think my landlord is about ready to turf me.  It abated when the house was gone, but it built strongly again as that August anniversary day came.  For the last two weeks, I haven't been able to sit for any space of time at all.  I can see it in the socks.  I can see it in my spinning.  I can see it in the endless search for new recipes, in the frantic way I am reading various books.  I can see it in way, way too much time spent on Pinterest.  I can see it in my last Amazon purchase!  This frenetic way I have tried not to think wasn't quite what I thought. It wasn't about wanting a past I cannot have or even about letting it go.  

It is about this different me I am without him in my day to day life.  It is about this new framework and structure that I have around my day to day and about this new me I see in the mirror in the morning.  It is about finally feeling at home in my self again and about feeling like I know who this person is.  It has been about building this new inner life.   The new outer life is a symbol of that.  

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Not Thinking.

 It's going to be quiet here for a couple days.  I need to keep really busy and I need to not think.  Writing even this small sort of writing that I do takes some thinking so I am just not going to go there.  

I am going to knit and sew some curtains, and bake a zucchini pie and do some housecleaning. Busy.  Not thinking.  Tomorrow I am going to go for a drive around the country just because I can. There might be pictures.

There will be knitting and there might be thinking but I am going to do my darndest to keep thinking to a minimum. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017


What can I say.


It is a little bit big once the skirt is all attached and her mommy and I feel it needs a little something for support.  I'm going to add some elastic at the waist to help keep things in place and I think I will all a bit of seam tape around the neckline too, just to help it hold up a little better. The skirt pulls much more on the knitted top than I thought it would and by the end of the visit, was pretty much slipping off her shoulders.  

Still she loved it, and knew just what to do with that skirt!


Monday, 7 August 2017

Socks are best of all.

I did something this weekend that I have never, ever done before.  It felt weird and marvelous and a little surreal.

I used up all the yarn.

Sounds weird that this should be such a thing doesn't it, but honestly, it was kind of cool. It also turns out that my yarn usage was just about spot on, because each colour only needed a slight variation in the number of rows to finish.

I ran out of black on the last stripe about 8 stitches short of 7 rows.  That one felt like running out, rather than using it up.  I debated finding a bit more black but decided not to. It really didn't matter if I was short that bit.  No one would ever notice it at all and the sock was plenty long.  

Letting go of the idea that I had to start and finish at the same place at the end of the sock changed how I looked at what would happen in this last section.  I decided to just knit and let it happen.  That was pretty freeing in and of itself.  

In the last large section of red, two yarns were used up entirely. Each of those finished with just more than 6 rows. Not quite my usual 5 or 7 but you just couldn't plan yarn usage better than that. Finishing those first two yarns was life changing.  Finishing, not running out. There is a difference.

Up until then, I had no real plan at all other than doing the ribbing with the blue, red, and white yarn that I had the most of.  Once I finished those two bits, it felt right to keep going and knit till it was all gone.  That small difference between running out and using up felt so good.

So I knit up the yellow, but there was enough left that I knew I would be fine for at least one more three strip section and possibly two. At this point, I had only that mostly brown ball, a bit of yellow, a tiny scrap of a red and the larger blue white and red yarn. I debated putting the red in with the brown to make that section fit more cohesively with all the other red sections but that just wasn't really important anymore.  The point was no longer about making a cohesive monster. The point was just to let go and let it happen. So I used it all up.  I knit three more yellow rows and then used up the last itty bitty bit of all the reds. And lastly, I knit up the remaining yellow.  I think there are 5 rows of yellow at the very end.  I finished off with the yarn I had the most of, reserving just enough red, white and blue yarn for the heel.   It's a longer sock than I usually knit, but it was kind of fun approaching it so differently and yet the same.

And yesterday evening I started the toe of sock two.  I am so looking forward to repeating finishing up the yarn again.  It will look quite different, I am sure but then I am not married to perfectly matching socks and never was.

No one in the real world will understand this at all.  Not the socks in the first place.  Not my everlasting fascination with them.  Not my pleasure wearing them.  Not the endless variety that can be found in this one small category of knitted goods.  All they see is just a sock.  Not worthy of a thought at all.  But this sock and all the things that happened along the way were so much fun.

Just a silly little quirky detail that will make me smile every time I see this pair of socks.   I will smile when I see it in my sock drawer.  I will grin when I put it in the laundry.  I will pet it as I fold it up. I will sometimes stifle a bit of a giggle as I put them on, at the sheer lunacy of it all.

Knitting is full of these quirky little details, things that months and years later, just make me smile. I can remember laughing at the little pops of colour the first time I knit the red with those pops of green, blue and yellow that you see in the sock above.  I can remember the amazement I felt when I wear the first lace scarf that I knit.  I can remember the thrill of putting on a completed sweater that first time.  I remember the delight of seeing that first shawl knit out of Einband blocked out, pinned on the back of my sofa. those little bits of pleasure are what keep me coming back to knitting. It is like nothing else I have ever done in life.  Over and over again, tiny pops of satisfaction that just makes life shine.    

Knitting is good.  Socks are best of all.

Friday, 4 August 2017

Meandering to the Point.

I bought a new fangled printer the other day.  I had a good one, but the cartridges were prohibitively expensive.  It needed 3 toner cartridges immediately but would take 6 weeks for them to come and they would cost over 200 bucks.  For not much more money, I bought something much more manageable for me, a supertank printer.  They take more cleaning and maintenance but will be much cheaper to use in the long run.  The old printer will be perfect for Keith.  He seldom prints and find inkjets dry up before he uses cartridges up.  The laser is a much better choice for him. Plus, he doesn't mind the pricier toner cartridges.

I don't print much anymore.  There is almost always an electronic device that can handle patterns charged and ready.  I did do a fair bit of printing through the house sale process and with tax time, but those are done, one forever and the other for a good long while.  The only thing I print regularly is photos of my kiddies.

I've never been much for posed portraits.  I love action shots.  They reveal so much about people.   Like Isaac's pure joy.  The shots of him are in the sprinkler, on the soccer field, climbing the tree. I hear his laugh in every one.  And Carter at the bottom of the slide.  He was going to catch mom, but ran away giggling instead.  Completely in love with that little boys laugh.  He is the little fella at the bottom with the yellow pants and up close, the look on his face, quite clearly expresses 'Seriously mom?'.  You can see his impish sweetness in his eyes in the backpack picture too.  And my Marcus, who is always running somewhere. My Marcus who was at the beach this summer and finally got over his fear of that big water.  He cried when they had to leave.  My Marcus who is so good about his glasses and his eye patch, and doesn't let those things stop him for anything and who expresses the world in one eye and then two.  I want blue glasses like he has.  And Cassie, my princess.  That picture of her sleeping on the floor?  She is wearing Spiderman gloves, because she isn't just a princess, she is a Spiderman princess. The photo of her in the blue shorts and top?  She is catching a giant bubble and the look on her face is just everything. And down to the bottom, her walking stalwartly through the new fallen snow.  She knows what she likes and she means to get it. 

It should be noted that I have stolen these from my daughter in laws feeds.  These pictures of joy and happy little and not so little people mean so much more to me than anything.

Today I am finishing up my dress project for Cassie.  I know I talked about it last week, but it took a long time to think it through.  The top was completed a few weeks ago, but it has taken me some time to get the skirt clear in my head.

Cassie asked for sleeves and when she has tried the top on, she said I did it just right.  Which gives me just a little pressure to make a skirt she really likes too.

Even after I had my sewing station cleaned and tidied and ready, I had to stop and think about it.  I read and pondered and debated over the details.  How to get the gathers to sit smoothly at the empire waistline? Do I need gathers? How long should it be?  One layer or two layers?  The fabric is quite lightweight.  Yesterday, I worked up enough gumption to start.  

And with two exceptions, it went remarkably well.  I chose to do a full circle skirt.  I could avoid gathers, at the join.  Gathers could so easily make the bottom of the knitted top look wonky and messy and fussy.  Cassie doesn't like fussy at all.  By going with the full circle skirt, my princess gets full twirl skirts she wanted and still keeps the clean lines she seems to prefer.  Twirl factor is important when you are 4 and soon to be 5.

The only thing left is to join the skirts to the top and then to hem.  The joining is a bit of a problem, and I dearly wish I had the time to get a copy of Mason Dixon's Knitting Outside the Lines.  This dress is inspired by their sweet little Jane Austen Dress .  It would be nice to read what they advised for joining before I start but my local library is very small and doesn't have any knitting books and I just don't think it is important enough to drive all the way to the city to pop in to their library for.  I checked to see if this book is available digitally, but it doesn't seem so.  I've always wanted the Mason Dixon books and while the first was done in audio format, the second is pretty much out of print.  If I want it, I am going to have to get second hand copies, it seems and that is going to take a while.  It would have been a great resource to have right about now.  Oh well.

Today I finish this project for my Spiderman princess.  It's such a delight to me that she is really looking forward to this.  The boys don't put any importance on things grandma makes, even though they do like it the scarves and mittens and socks.  This dress is awaited and that is sort of cool.

And is, I guess, the point of  this whole post.  That this whole project has been sort of cool.  

Thursday, 3 August 2017

All the things I want to do

There are so many things I want to knit.  I keep looking at my favourites lists on Ravelry, hoping that there are some things that I have fallen out of love with, but no.  I just end up adding more.

Like Everything in my Home bundle.  Some are just to love, but many are things I have yarn for like the Delft Pillow by Euny Jang.  Or the Night Before Christmas from Frankie's knitted stuff by the inimitable Frankie Brown. Indeed anything made by Frankie Brown.  I love her fun stuff.  

There are some beautiful Dandelion Pillows that I dream of making using KidSilk Haze to make the puffy dandelion seed heads.  Or the Esstonian Hand Puppets and Norwegian Sheep

So many sweet things that I just never seem to get around to doing.  I dream a lot and accomplish little or so it feels to me.  

I sometimes feel mired in socks and sweaters, but when I wake and start to knit, they are the things that feel right in my hand.  I don't worry about it a whole lot.  I don't worry about it at all, in truth.  

What I do wish for is 48 hour days so I could do it all.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

Monster Sock Three

This morning felt like the world snuck in on misty feet, and tried to slowly wake me.  I resisted and lay in bed for the longest time snuggled in the warmth of my covers.  I had such a good sleep and I am energized and ready for whatever the day holds in store.

As I was sipping my first coffee this morning, I did a little knitting.  It is really the best way to start any day.  They just go together.

I knit a bit from each of the colours so far, and while I am pretty pleased with the result, I think I have to go find some gray or other small dark ends.  Part of my aim making a monster is to have all the yarns be present all the way up the sock.  Because I have used all the yarns each once, and because some of the balls already seem awfully small, I am worried that they won't make it all the way.  I might not be particular about having identical socks, but the possibility of having to finish off in colours not related to what I started with, kind of irks me.  

So, that is the first task of the day.  Find more small balls of something dark to use with the reds. Curtains.  Dress.  Knitting.  Lots to do today.