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

...it 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

Twirly!

video

What can I say.

Twirly!

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!

Twirl!


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. 

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

A good plan

The dress was a good plan.  A really good plan.  That did not get done.  How very like me.

But I am thrilled with what I did get done yesterday.

I have a really really inexpensive bed from Ikea. That really inexpensive bed used to come with hard flat slats to lay the mattress on.  I know, because I previously had a double of the same bed frame.  New and Improved bed bases are now the thing at Ikea, and for the last 6 months I have been sleeping in various degrees of discomfort and occasionally downright pain.  The new arched base may work for some, but not for me.  I tried everything.  Thick mattress. Thin. Memory foam mattress. Other firmer foam.  I switched out as much as I could but all I ever had was a sore back and it was getting worse.  

So I went out to the lumberyard and purchased 1 x 4s cut to the 38 inch inside dimension of my bed and pulled out the new fangled base, put in the flat board and voila.  Two nights of much better sleep and no more back pain, just the usual older person stiffness in the morning.  That last part is nothing that a good stretching session can't fix.   

But that left me with something to get rid of yet again and I just hate that.  The birch slats really are very pretty and have an elegant curve to them.  So what to do?

Well, I was also having a problem that my pillow kept slipping between bed and wall which led to the bed slipping well out of place every night, which meant that when I blindly grabbed for my glasses on waking, I was reaching through thin air and the glasses were on the night table, well out of reach. 

I had been thinking of making a button tufted head board, and was heading in that direction when I looked at the slats yesterday.  It struck me that they might make a really nice headboard.


They look a little wonky right now.  They are only screwed in at the top and every time I move the bed, they move too.  Keith is going to give me a hand and nail the bottom slats into the base and he is also going to nail the last slat horizontally across the top to finish it all off.  They don't look particularly even here, though they are.  Or they were before I started putting the screws in place to hold them.  

I am pretty pleased.  The finish on these slats is lovely and is much fancier than the bed itself.  It looks much nicer and it hold the pillows in place just fine. No moving bed from pillows slipping out of place. 

You can also see the uprights that I have attached on one side of the bed.  This is an enormous room.  It echoes and feels empty and lonely even though it is stuffed to the brim with stuff.  I am putting up a curtain between the uprights, some of that pretty dandelion fabric from Ikea  to give me a bedroom of a more comfortable dimension and to give me a bit more of a study in the study part.  

I made another trip to Ikea today and once again, their fabric section blows me away.  I picked up some really lovely lightweight cotton for 3.99 a metre.  I picked up enough for living room curtains (since I am now using the dandelion fabric in my bedroom) and enough to have on hand for other things that come up, like lining for handbags and for an underskirt for little girls dress and such. They may not have every colour but hey, all I really wanted was white.

And now, I must pop off to bring in what I hope will be the last furniture for a very very long time.  I need more room for dvds.  I have two in my living room and needed more. When everything is tidy, there are still two healthy stacks of dvds that have no place to go.  It feels untidy and disordered even when the room is spotless and that means something has to change.  The likelihood of me never buy another dvd is pretty darn slim so... 

Anyway, have a lovely evening!