Tuesday, 31 July 2007

First afghan of the year

Enough with the construction. Time for some serious needlework.

This is a picture of the 2 different squares I'm using for Blanket 1. A nice simple fully filled, warm granny. As basic as a double crochet.

This is Square 2, called a Russian Square in my pattern book.
You can see fairly clearly the 4-half double crochet groups. They leave a nice flat open effect that pairs well with the fully filled in square 1. I'm moving along quite nicely. I'm able to do 6 squares in an average hour, so I don't think it will take too long to complete.

Which is good. I've already found the thread for Blanket 2, and for 3 I only picked up some varigated yarn to give a break to the blue 3 will be. If I looked at the blanket yarn stash, there would also be enough to make blanket 4 and 5. If I admitted to the full truth, I could probably swing 6 too. I'm making myself feel better because I did put some yarn back on the shelf when I was out yesterday. Considering that I only planned 2 blankets this fall, I think I'm doing just fine in the accumulation of stash, not so well on the use thereof.

All this gratuitous yarn shopping was caused by the need for a needle case. Those little dpns are really hard on the corner of my workbag. I was really looking for a little zippered clear bag, but there don't seem to be any anywhere. I tried the comsetics area, crafts, school supplies. No luck. I had to stop at Canadian Tire on my way home, and was wondering around when this caught my eye.

A tall, skinny water bottle in a nice bright green. It's perfect. Now all I need is a little something to hold the other bits and peices, and my work bag will be completely organized.

I have made some really great progress on dad's socks. I'm working on the heel in a partridge stitch, which is interesting, but is taking a longer time than simple stocking stitch would. The Jaggerspun yarn has a small spool of thread to reinforce the heel, but with the partridge stitch, it might be just a wee bit much. I'll try and take some pictures for tommorrow. I wanted to wait till after the heel turn. I'm expecting a little trauma while doing it, I've only really done it once before. I have got to find time today to watch the heel turn video at Knitting Help's website. Maybe that will help.

Monday, 30 July 2007

Man Toys

Occasionally, the Needles household does things that have nothing to do with needles. I know, its hard to believe. This weekend was all about man toys.

We ignored the problem with our upper deck because there were other more urgent things to do. And then one day,it was the decks turn.

First you bring in man toys.

Then you find a skilled operator, who works for beer, in this case, Mr. Needles brother.

Then you close your eyes, because you really don't want to know how bad it is.

The deck support column is hanging above the ground about a foot and a half. (I felt a little woozy looking at this. I have plants I watered up there. Friday...)

Then very skilled husbands, do something about it. One down, three more to go. I'm pretty lucky that Mr Needles has a complete background in construction, and has access to all the cool toys.

I was in charge of keeping out of the way. I'm very good at this. Its a skill I learned a long time ago. I had my own work anyway. Its a dirty job but someone has got to do the needlework around here.

Friday, 27 July 2007

I'm working on it. Reeeeeally

See? Progress. One sock done, the toe started for number 2 of the pair, there is some black ribbing on the other needles. You just can't see it against my black desktop. In my mind its even bigger than it looks.

I also worked on the squares for the afghan, decided on 2 squares, and did up several of them. I am working them together as I go, but the squares use single crochet for the final round, and I think it would be an easy thing to set them up so I can do the last round and work them together at some later point . I'm looking for portability, and that is the one way to get it.

For the fancy square, I'm doing what the pattern book, or is it this one is calling a Russian granny square. It uses 4-half-double crochet groupings. These have a softer look than a bobble, and are not fussy to make. The plain square is a good old fashioned granny, only open on the corners.

I will have some pictures of a section really late today. 3 squares doesn't show the project off very well. As I played with squares last night, ripping a few clunkers, and figuring out the stitches, and getting into my crochet rhythm, I knew instantly which pattern square was right, and what the accompanying square should be.

Crochet is such a natural form of work for me. Nothing tops a double crochet, or single crochet piece for ease of work. Even the fancy patterns form a tune in my head that hums along as I play. By the end of a round, or series of pattern rows, its rooted, and I can put the book aside for a good long while, till I need to change for the underarms, or shoulders or till the blanket is done. Mr needles, does a really funny take of my hands moving as I crochet. He flaps his hands and his elbows fly... things wave and weave according to his way of seeing it.

What I hear in my head as I work though is very different. Almost mystical. Its a song of sorts, a rhythm, a not quite melody of movement, of string. Maybe that is what keeps me going back to crochet, maybe that is what keeps knitters going back to knitting. The endless rhythm, the patterns of our hands. String work is a lot like music. It surely is a melody.

Thursday, 26 July 2007


I am perfectly capable of counting to 2. Knit, purl, just should not be that hard to get right. And yet, the sock for my dad that I started on, had to be frogged 2, yes 2 more times before I had a simple ribbing properly begun.

After that solving that problem, and feeling very devastated, I sat down and worked on my confetti sock, (go down a picture or two)and got to the ribbing. Don't ask. But I worked through that fiasco, and managed to get a fair bit done on that ribbing too. I should have sock one of that pair complete after lunch. I'm kind of looking forward to a nice simple cast 12 on, and knit blindly for a while.

I think I could be good at knit blindly. Its only when I am forced to think about this knitting stuff that it all falls apart.

To make myself feel better, I did the foundation row for an afghan. Its in a sort of gray green colour, and the wool feels so bulky in comparison to the sock yarn, bulky, but nice. Its really cheap acrylic but I believe all yarn has a place in the world. The acrylic is really only disappointing to work with after the lovely wools. I began the blanket with 156 chains, and then 5 or 6 rows of work in a crumpled griddle stitch pattern, and you know what? Yeah, I'll be frogging that tonight.

The afghan will be to give to Blankets for Canada and I want it to be nice a warm, so I picked that griddle stitch knowing it will give some texture, and yet be easy to do without carrying around the pattern book. But a blanket also should be something I enjoy doing. I'm need a project that is simple enough to do while walking slowly on my treadmill too. On reflection, when I frog, it will probably be a good thing. In my head I think I see a strip or granny square construction, maybe alternating a plain granny, solidly filled in with a lighter lacier granny or a granny made with puffed stitches. I need to think more while I work on the socks at lunch time.

When I look back on the last few days, and all the frogging, I am comforted that I had the wisdom to leave the lacy project alone.

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Book reviews

Waiting for mail always makes me anxious. Where is it, what's happened, did they deliver it wrong and some other person will get my yarn/ books/ other assorted things I order? Then one day, you stop at the mailbox, and magic pours forth. I got my books from Hampstead House. My very first knitting books for my library of many things, and something cool to crochet.

Knitting in the Round, edited by Jeanne Stauffer has some very nice patterns, and has already done its job. I read how to start those nice tight little centres that I see on pillows, and doilies. The broad range of patterns is interesting. A few really neat ideas for home, lamp shade covers, and the like. They might not be everyone's cup of tea, but a book shouldn't just be about making the patterns. A book should open our eyes to possibilities, and this one has many, many possibilities in it. A myriad of patterns, and I'm sure there will be many more things to learn within.

Quick Knits to Wear also edited by Jeanne Stauffer, also very good. The Amazon Reviewers sound a little harsh to me. For beginner knitters (sort of like me), or knitters without patterns, like me, this is a great book. It has basics, it has quick to knit, and it has some patterns that are down right delightful, and I can see myself giving them a go, if I ever get over the weight of larger than sock weight yarn on my wrists. If someone says knit me a tank, I have the tools to do so. The book might not be trendy, it might not expand your boundaries, but there are times you need the comfort of a simple easy project, without all the fripperies, and detailed constructions of the trends of the day. The book gets my thumbs up.

And finally, most wonderfully, Classic Crocheted Vests by Nancie M Wiseman. Ah such a book. I love this book as much as I love the books by Jane Snedden Peever , Crocheted Aran Sweaters and More Crocheted Aran Sweaters. These books are the kind of books that will help you expand your craft in very wearable ways. And as all we crocheters know, good sweater books, good wearables are a very new concept.

In Classic Vests, I instantly found at least 2 things that are already on the going-to-be-made list. The bottom of the pictures here made in Noro (I linked to only one of the many Noro yarns...Sorry, got side tracked looking at yarns and colourways for a minute), a wondrous project for some seriously wondrous yarn. The second vest that will be made is the first vest featured on the cover. I don't know what they are making this in, I don't think I care. But I am going to make it in something from Blue Moon . Almost every colourway would work, each giving a different look to the vest, so really its going to come down to a discussion between me and my LYS, as to which colourway is going to show off the tremendous vitality of the Blue Moon colourways best. Or maybe 2 colourways. Or more. And then again, that vest would look great in...

Could someone call me when my feet touch the ground.

On more practical matters, I started and restarted dad's socks, only to start again. sigh. This morning, before getting ready for work, I tried again, and this time I've got it! (patting self on back) I'm so glad that's over.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Too Hot

For northern peeps, like me, yesterday was too darn hot. I melted when I stepped out of the air conditioned office, I melted when I had a simple supper of bean salad, I melted right up until I made the very wise decision to go into the hot tub.

At first glance, the hot tub seems an odd choice for a very hot day, but we lower the temperature down to just slightly below body temperature, and its wonderful.

But that did not lead to a lot of needlework. I did try to cast on a top down sock last evening, but I recall why I really enjoyed starting at the toe. I hate casting on. I hate how the first couple rows take a lot of thinking till the ribbing is established. I'll be starting over later today. Sigh. I'm starting my dad's socks, so I want them to be just right, and there is a tidiness to a top down, flap and gusset sort of sock that I have not yet figured out in toe up socks. I am thinking about toe up with a short row heel, but I think for his first pair I will do it the way I know I can get good results.

Sitting in the tub did allow for much garden contemplation. Its a riot of colour right now. Bluey purpley colours, pinkey reds, bright orangey peachys, some strong yellow, and softer airier cerise. Its a little wild, It's a little floopy (not a spelling error) and I like it. It needs work, it needs some fill ins, and some moving of plants but there is a wild loveliness in the hillside even so.

Monday, 23 July 2007

My team lost, but...

things came together fairly well!

See the tiny little Green and white socks? One of the gents at the table on seeing the knitting, said Issac (his son) could use a pair. He said this as a joke, but I took it as a challenge. Beverage consumption and chatting slowed me down, but by the end of game time, I completed half a sock. Next morning, I finished it, and did up the other one, and lay them in the sun to dry after blocking. So here you have one tiny sun soaked pair of Saskatchewan Roughrider game day socks.

And the next day, I completed Son2's socks but for the blocking. I love this boy, don't get me wrong, but he has big feet. There was a point where I was pretty sure they would never be done. There was acres of socks being knit. I knit feet I tell you, whole yards. Even so, there were points along the way, where the ribbing simply did not grow, where length seemed to be consuming itself. Finally, yesterday late in the evening, I managed to get the last heel done.

My fingers are itchy for the next item, and itchy for my lacy project. I'll have to work hard to get something done at work for daydreaming about that lace.

Friday, 20 July 2007

Yarn Hunting

I have to go yarn hunting today down at my LYS.

Mr needles has issued a challenge. He is taking me to the Edmonton Eskimos Green & Gold room tonite for dinner and football. He says I should knit something in geen and white because we are both from Saskatchewan and we have religiously deep ties to The Riders. So I will. While watching the game. Then again, I might crochet. The goal is to have it complete by the time the game is done. Hopefully the evening is not too stinking hot.

I have to get me some needles too, since I left the work bag at home. (Is that a transparent excuse to buy that other set of dpns I've been needing or what?)


I seem to be in full aquisition mode.

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Back to work

And that's a good thing. No, not paid work, unpaid work! You know, fun stuff. At lunch yesterday I worked on socks. They are the perfect quick pick me up during the day. Mrneedles was out for the evening, as was the rest of the crew so I had the house all to myself. I picked up that tiny lace project and worked on it.

Its very hard to see just how beautiful it is, by these pictures. The only way to get a real sense of it is if you check out the size of the pin heads.

It's so dainty and delicate and fine, that I can hardly believe it's me placing the stitches on the needles. Now that I am completely comfortable with the pattern, and the delicacy of the yarn, I am having a very, very good time. I am coming to understand why lace knitting becomes addictive. Using this fine yarn, lace knitting makes you feel you have accomplished something as light as being, and you cannot help but rejoice in it's lightness. ( A little Zen to start your day.)

The pattern is a purse stitch, Knit 1, yo, purl 2 together and the needles are 1.75 mm dpns. You can see how I turned them into straight needles using the very classy and very workable poking-through-some-elastic ends.

After working on it for an hour or so, I find myself making little errors, like catching other threads or not pulling yarn through properly, so I am forced to put it down. I came up with something else to play with.

I picked up some cotton yarn for dishcloths a couple of weeks ago. I figured it would be a great way to play with some fancier stitches. This one is a horseshoe pattern. The second picture shows the pattern upside down. According to my old needlework book this is a basic Shetland lace pattern.

Back in May, I had pretty much given up on knitting, and yet here I am, knitting my heart out. Stephanie Pearl McPhee at YarnHarlot.com, Amy Finlay at KnittingHelp.com, I salute you, and hope blessings are heaped upon you for leading me down this particular garden path.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

The Hotel Macdonald

The Hotel MacDonald is such a beautiful, nay grand hotel. From everything I heard from visitors, the beds had pillows that almost made sleeping the best thing about the place. If you clicked the link, you will see the Wedgwood Room pictured.

This was my best shot of the ornate mouldings.

The next shots are Lobby shots.sigh. Nice huh?

The doorway to the lounge.

And inside the lounge.

And finally trusty hotel employees. These guys are the cleanup crew. Even the cleanup crew dressed better and had better manners than I do.
If you ever come up to Edmonton, they do tours on Sunday afternoon's. I am going to have to take one soon.

The Wedding

Like all things you plan and worry over and think about for hours the wedding is done. There was a look of utter delight on the bride and grooms face as the vows were prounounced. It looked like that through my tears.

Here are the Bride and Groom.

Right away the bride's new brothers started getting her in trouble.What you can't see is the little flask of butterscotch schnapps the bestman is hiding. The bride is laughing because she already had her share.

The other bestman, was a lot more laid back, and way less sneaky. (His flask was long gone by this point). He's the fellow with the jacket casually slung over his shoulder. The groom and a bridesmaid are trading jokes.

And here is the groom with his new sister, a lovely young lady.

The entire wedding was lovely, the facility so wonderful that it's hard to beleive they let ordinary people in there (more on that later), the meal fit for kings. They did things with salmon that they should be knighted for, and there was a blueberry desert with a crust infused with berries that ... well there are no words.

And now I have to come back to work. There is always that. I wish I had more days off, I wish that there was more time to just sit and do something restful, but back to the grind. I'm going down to the river valley at lunch to work on simple socks, and get my feet back on the ground.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Hidden projects

Tidying up around here means that you find all kinds of neat things. Projects that you have hidden tend to just show up. I came across this yesterday, and I had to show you.
This is a Christmas tree garland. Its old pattern from Leisure Arts magazine dated sometime in the early 1990's. I made my mother-in-law one, and I loved the way it looked on her tree. One day my Christmas would look like that too, I vowed. Its really very simple.

Get a cheapie string of beads and you crochet around them. Its 4 rows, maybe 5, in whatever weight thread works with your beads. It looks benign, but after hundreds of thousands of feet of beads, you start getting a wee bit testy. There is a time when you will be certifiably bored to tears with it, but if you can hang on, if you can just get past that long row and its very simple pattern, you will be astounded by the beauty of it.

The look of this lacy decoration is not going to suit everyone. and for much of my life, it wouldn't have suited me. There was the Kids handmade decoration stage, which was my favourite of all, but over time, they have become to fragile for use. There was the gosh-darn-it-I-have-nothing-on-my-tree-without-the-kids-decorations stage, a cold and empty looking tree, that led me to determined correction for 2 or 3 years. It's finally arrived at the dear-heaven-this-amount-of-Christmas-tree-balls-is-surely-nuts stage. Somewhere along the way, I collected 2 huge tubs of balls, one silver, and the other red, along with my favourite jewel toned ornaments. Christmas tree ornaments have become just a bit of a problem for me when the sales are on right close to the holiday. A couple of years ago, I caved, and I now have 2 trees.

One is red and silver balls and bells and white crocheted and tatted snowflakes. That is the tree that lovely beads belong to.

Why would I find these beads in a drawer of my coffee table in the middle of summer? If I put them away with the rest of the ornaments, then they would never be blocked. I've already revealed my starch issues, so I feel ok about showing you the way it really looks.

but someday...

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Tiny Moments of Sanity

There are moments when things just overwhelm. I have another day and a half before I take off for the wedding, and it's all I can do to hold on to my sanity. So many things not done. The windows are not washed. The walls are still spotty with hand prints, the rugs need work. Its not really all that bad, its just the details. Sometimes some of the details get glossed over.

I know I have my priorities in place, because last night, instead of doing anything to prepare the house, I knit a little on socks. It was calm and restful, and I need that right now more than I need a perfect house.

As usual, knitting, crocheting, all those things leave just enough space for thinking. And its this time of year when I start thinking afghans. There is some acrylic yarn, bought on a really good sale, that I plan to use for blankets, good warm blankets, and highly washable, and large enough to help keep someone warm when things are not going so good.

A few years ago I knit scarves with yarn donated to the volunteer centre here, and I really enjoyed that. The prospect of doing something I love, using my time for someone else, gave me a really great sense of satisfaction. It gave me a chance to try some new patterns, and new stitches and to play with things and have some fun. They've not needed that service again, and there are plenty of people who make prayer shawls for people in need, so I'm just going to make blankets for the homeless.

To me blankets are love. When you wrap yourself in a blanket someone has made you, you are in their arms, wrapped with love. It helps right the minute you are cold, right the minute you need some comfort. My kids have enough blankets, and throws. They will be grateful to have the break. They are sort of swamped with handmade blankets, you see. Making them for charity just makes sense. I have a need to make, and someone out there has the need to receive.

I hope to get 2 completed before it gets too cold. I hope then to keep one on the go on an ongoing basis. Just for fun, just because I can.

Monday, 9 July 2007

Ruffles completed!

The ruffly edge magically completed itself on Friday and Saturday, I finished the pillow. Just when I was about to give up, it was done. That is the best kind of project. The ruffles suit the pillow, they look really nice, just pressed and steamed, but be darned if I am going to starch them the old fashioned way. I might think about spray starch. The soft floppy edges work for me right now. I really am pleased with how the finished product looks.
I also did a bunch of work in sock land. Sock one of son2's socks are complete, but for the heel. At first I was a little disappointed in the patterns the yarn was making (Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock yarn). It seemed tame. The calf has a 4k, 2p rib and that's when things got interesting. As the calf worked up, the purl stitches created a break between the slowly rising green patterns, and made this really neat stair step. If sock 2, which is already on the needles, works out half so well, I will be very pleased.
Since I had an open set of needles, I cast these on with the sale yarn from a few weeks ago. This is not a real softee smoothie sort of yarn. Its a good, firm, lots of cotton blend. I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it, but then it started doing this.
How could I not enjoy that? I did a couple more rows on my special project. It's challenging but I am really getting the hang of the stitch and a real feel for how this little thing is going to go. By the next sitting, I think I will feel entirely comfortable.

I have a confession. Friday I was weak. I ordered yarn from Redbird Knits. Some Shepherd Sock Pewter, some Romney Sock Yarn in Cornflower, and then some Meilenweit Cotton Fun will be in my hot little fingers shortly. I also spent way to much time looking at the Romney colourway called Babyface. and then there is Prague. And the two Forests, and well darn it all of them. I can't wait to try these. The first two yarns are for Christmas presents. Really. Honest.

And I ordered books. Hampstead HouseBooks had a bunch of knitting books this month. My library really has nothing on knitting so it seemed right to take care of that.

I spent my lunch hour on Friday looking at patterns for some really nice crocheted sweaters. I have one ready and waiting to work on at home, but I want something a wee bit more dressy for work, too. I have a pattern in mind, and I spent a fair bit of time while knitting dreaming of colours and textures of yarn. I'd really like to try something out of Blue Moon's range of yarns. I am enchanted by their colours. Or Sea Silk. Have you ever felt that? It could make a girl weak at the knees, its so lovely.

Friday, 6 July 2007

Wedding verging

A moment ago, or so it seems, my son and his girlfriend announced they were getting married. Great thought I , I have lots of time to do something special for my new almost daughter. She is my first daughter, and I thought a year was plenty of time to make her something lovely and soft to tell her how much I treasure her. I was going to make a little something for me too. I planned for a special dressy handbag with the tatted edge in black to carry with whatever I wore. That was July last year.

Could someone please explain how it is that the wedding is next weekend? Could someone please explain what I have done with all my days? Frittered. Frittered ,I tell you. She is just going to have to wait for Christmas. Or her birthday next year. I mean really, I do indeed love her, but it seems unless it's socks, or maybe a doily, it's not going to happen. Maybe some cabled socks in undyed wool? River City was carrying some last time I looked. Maybe I should have bought more yarn when I ordered this morning from Red Bird Knits? There was some great Romney wools yarn there. I'm certain I've fallen in love with Baby Face.

I don't mind deadline work, but somewhere along the way, this whole event just snuck up on me. I would feel overwhelmed but I won't be able to fit it in till a week from Tuesdaay. Yeah that sounds good. I'll save feeling overwhelmed till then. The yarn order will be in by then, and I'll be able to take the edge off starting a new pair of something.

PS I have not told my mom, I make socks, not even the crocheted ones. I have some surprises to show her!

Thursday, 5 July 2007

The Ruffle

I worked on the ruffled edge pillow top last evening and this morning. I have to say, ruffles are daunting.

I remember those doilies with the big ruffled edge. They were very fashionable for a time in the 60's and 70's in small town Saskatchewan. I couldn't understand what people saw in them. The edge had to be starched to show any of it off, and when it was, It stuck out all over the place, impedeing the setting of anything on it. The only job it had at all was to be a show piece. And to top it off they were and are a bugger to starch. You never ever washed them and when you had to, well, let's just say, washing them didn't happen a lot.

Doilies as some of you might know had a purpose. In the 1870s and 80s right on up to about 1960, men used a hair ointment called macassar. Small doilies, made out of very washable cotton fiber became to rage as a way to protect your better furniture chair backs. Women being very sensible creatures, and seriously into lace, realized these little doilies could also protect furniture from rings made when you set tea cups on them, and so we were off. The modern doily rage was born.

On the prairies, doilies were a were a way to bring the feminine touch into homes when there wasn't a whole lot of time or money for fancy decoration. A generation of women through the 30s hung onto those little doilies as a reminder of pretty things that they could no longer afford. So what the heck was the ruffled doily invented for?

It was invented just because they could, but it says more. It says I have time to sit and crochet hundreds of thousands of mind numbing chains. It says I have the peace of heart and the strength of will to complete several thousand mind numbing chains. I am a woman of industrious leisure. I have the time to starch and stretch and dry these ruffles. My table is a place of leisure and fineness too. These are just some of the things a big ruffly doily said. In 60s and 70s Saskatchewan, ruffly doilies were a sign of changing times.

Most towns and farms had pressure water systems by 1970. Gone were the hand pump households of my girlhood. Women did not have to haul water from a well, or pump and heat water for washing clothing or dishes, or children. And when you were done with all that water, you could just pour it down the drain, because by the same time period you had septic systems rather than the good old fashioned catch and carry and honey bucket systems. Your house had arrived and women put that time to good use, making and displaying ruffly pouffy doilies that were a symbol of leisure and womanly grace.

This pillow top is not a doily, but the simple center embroidered medallion said, ruffles. Since I have a lot of crochet cotton, and am not into doilies, it seemed a good idea. It is, except for that whole mind numbing chain stitch part. In my sincere and very humble opinion, women who enjoy making these are tougher than I am, have more perseverance than I do, and I admire them heartily and I haven't even gotten to the starchy part!

Generations of women, whoever you might be, I honour you. When that ruffly edged pillow is done and is tossed elegantly on its little seat, in my study, I will contemplate your pasts, I will remember what those ruffles really meant, and I will revel in its little hidden history.

**Note: this is not really history, just my version of it.

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

Lace and Merino

I've crocheted a lot in the past with very fine threads. We used to use size 30 crochet cotton for doilies. Anything heavier was just plain lazy. Using size 10 was unheard of for anything but bedspreads. My preference was always for size 20 thread. It suited me in a lot of ways. I like the fineness and detail that 20 gave me, but it wasn't so fussy as the 30. 20 displays my little streak of laziness.

To work with an old fashioned 30, you had to use minute little hooks. I found one of those a while ago, whilst cleaning drawers. Who knew kitchen junk drawers contained 0.60 hooks? Its so tiny that it used to cause little fissures between the ridges that make up my fingerprints on prolonged use. I've looked around for a couple of months, and no one seems to carry anything this small anymore. Mary Maxim seems to carry them, but what was a British 0.60 might no longer actually be what is now sold as a 0.60. My rusty little treasure is in the process of being restored and polished with some auto polisher stuff the guys use on car parts. Anything for a teeny tiny tool that might very well be irreplaceable.

The size of the lace weight merino I am knitting with reminds me of working with size 30 thread in a way. Lace weight merino is not sturdy. Its probably stronger than I think it is, but as it runs through my fingers, it feels like I am working with fairy wings. Delicate. Good old mercerised cotton threads are strong, even the finest of them. Even with a 30, I never worry about it breaking, or catching on an edge. This merino is a whole other ball game. Parts of me are entranced by this game, and parts of me know its going to be a while. Just like baseball, lace weight merino has shades of the past in it. Working with this yarn makes me feel like I am in an long ago time, where moving fast is unheard of. Its an antebellum sort of piece.

My lunch time work is going to go back to my ruffly crochet pillow edge (I'm already contemplating starch for this project - I hate starch) or son2's sock (his is the green, and blue Lorna's Laces sock). Much though I might want to, the lace weight merino project is not for working on in the river valley at lunch.

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Stuff I did on the weekend.

Some weekends are just for lazing around(with needles) and some you are actually forced to do something. Like weed, and clean. This gets in the way of things on needles in a big way. That said, I did finish the lace socks. I did find out that even simple lace must be knitted while fully awake (I did a lot of ripping), and no matter what, you use your biggest needle to cast off. For a toe up adventure with peasant heels, it worked fairly well. Not sure I'd do toe up with a peasant heel again though. It seemed counter productive. The whole point of toe up is that you just keep working till you run out of yarn. A peasant heel is done after the rest is done, and you must, of course have yarn. When I thought they were high enough, I had to stop, do the heels, and then restart for the ribbing. I have to figure out a short row heel or a toe up gusseted heel to get a sock I can work on without thinking about it. There ought to be at least one project in the work bag that can be done without a whole lot of thinking about it.

Speaking of work bags, Mr needles did not want to buy the beer on sale with the cool new insulated beer backpack (his brother told me about it), but he did go to the garage, and came up with these.

I was really thrilled to see the long one. Mr needles said I had previously pooh-poohed the long one. That was before I was knitting. With longer needles and larger projects that long flatter shape might just be the ticket.
This means that I am going to have to go out and find some little clear zipper bags to organize everything that is not yarn in the work bag.

While I was playing with my new bags, and cleaning out and sorting the big behemoth yarn basket (only the cat liked it), clearing laundry and sewing area shelves, I came across this.
For any of you Avon aficionados, this is a little kitty is an Avon Cream Sachet. It dates from the early 60's and I think I would have been about 8 or 9 when it was given to me by my mom. The really funny thing was that when I opened it up, it was full of these. Well there was only 5 or 6 in there - I put in the rest of my supply. These date from the 80's, when I last tried to break the spell that was knitting.

I finally put the lace on the needles. A few false starts, and possibly a few more on the horizon, I have no doubt of that.