Friday, 31 December 2010

Checking up on my goals

If you never check up on the goals you set at the beginning of the year, you will never really learn from the process.  Today is my day of reckoning.  So, to 2010 goals.

I did well in the National Just Read More Novels Month challenge. I think I made it to 5 full novels.  The snappy new Sony Reader I got for Christmas is going to make it easy to read even more this year. The ability to make the print larger is beyond great.  Those little shifting letters can shift all they want.  I shall make them bigger! BWAHAHAHA

The Knit Meter challenge of 5k? Blew that one away.  I feel satisfied that Ihave knit a nice round 15 k.  There are a few small projects that I have not listed there for want of time that probably add up to 500 metres.  I knew I knit a lot, but I am stunned and thrilled at the reckoning.

Learning Russian or Ukranian.  One complete fail is not something I am pleased about but there it is.  No excuses, but if you don't work on it, you cannot learn it. I shall do better with it this year.

Today is a work day for me, but a short one.  Just noon till 4.  The shoppers at this time of year are so nice.  It makes for a lovely work.  

No one is stressed, no one is rushed.  No one is doing anything urgent.  The only thing people are looking forward to is a nice party at whatever level they choose to mark the turn of the page.   The only knitting they are doing is for themselves with no deadline.  It is such a short time till the regular workday cares and stresses return next week and they, and I, will revel in this time between.

It really is a wonderful way to mark the end of the old year and to bring in the new.  

As for me, my level of partying at New Years has been having some nice wine in the evening and falling asleep well before midnight.  I have been working hard for a good long while now and think I am ready to make my final goal for 2010.  To stay up till midnight.  

I think I can do it.  Might even set the alarm to make it happen.  Or not.  MMMV (My mileage may vary)

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Life without alarms

Mr. Needles has the days between the 2 holidays off so we have turned off the alarm.  Normally, this isn't an issue, but today it meant I slept in and have time for nothing more than to say I'm running late. 

I did get buttons for Elysium, but they are not installed yet.  I am wearing it to work tomorrow and I will get the girls to take a photo then. 

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Feeling pretty good.

No problem.  I finished Elysium with time to spare.  I really didn't think I would get there in one day, but, in the end, no problem.  

It had a good soak last night and is busy lying flat drying right now.  It looks like nothing lying flat.  Just a big unshapely black thing.  But when you put it on, it looks really great.  So no pictures yet.  I'll get pictures after it is good and dry and after the buttons go on tomorrow. Might even be a picture of me wearing it.  

One of my goals for this year was to knit a pattern.  I have a bit of fear about knitting patterns. I usually get stuck in the train wreck of numbers and words, and all thought shuts down.   But I have come to understand knitting enough, and come to understand fit for my own body enough that I don't worry about it in the same way.

I still worry though.  If I wasn't sure just how and where the best place for fit adjustments were on a particular design,  I would knit one out of an ordinary yarn first.  Then, once I understood the particular shaping of it, I would knit my goal.

Elysium is a great sweater if you are a curvaceous sort.  Knit sideways as it is, in simple garter stitch, it is a thing of ease to add a little shaping with short rows below the waist.  Short rows for waist shaping were my only adjustments, at 35 stitches and 40 stitches.  I made 2 sets of short rows on each side front, three sets of short rows under the arms, and 4 sets across the back.   These were exactly right to fit me perfectly.  

In another pattern, say something that was colour work, adding shaping like this would not work out at all.  There is still going to be a lot of work before I am really comfortable with patterns that are a huge departure from what I have already done.   

And yet, without departing from where I have already been, growth as a knitter would be impossible.  In my short time as a knitter, I already have comfort zones.  Simple socks are it.  Knitting without patterns are it.  Knitting with patterns?  Not so much.

That will be part of my continuing goal.  To do things that are different than what I have done before, to look for designs that will challenge me as I work to make them fit. I will do a bit of sitting in my comfort zones too.  Comfort zones are the down time of my knitting.  Everybody needs a little down time.  

The coming year will be a continuing adventure, a search for balance, for growth, for challenge, for rest.  I love this point of a year.  I love feeling good about where I have been, and even better about where I am going to go.    

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

A Personal Goal

I have a bit of a personal goal to get to before the end of the year  

I really, really want to finish the Elysium so that I can include it in my yearly knitting total.  Right now without that finished project, I am at 13, 903 metres this year.  If I can include it in my knitting total, then I will be 826 metres which would bring my total up to 14, 729 m.  And then I would have to have only a very very little bit to knit, 300 metres to get to 15000.  

I'm not to worried about reaching the 15.  I have probably forgotten to add enough projects to cover the difference, but this thousand is vital to get close enough to the total to call it done.  I am going to work really hard to get the Elysium completed for two reasons.  A. I really want to get close to the 15, and  B.  I really really want to wear it.  It is going to be grand.  I can tell.


I'm not much of a technophile but I am not a Luddite either.  I am simply aware of how tied to a technology we can become and that sometimes the weight of technology, like everything else in life, can become a burden.  

 I usually try not to burden myself too much.  I have a basic phone.  I have an ordinary small laptop.  

My kids got me a Sony Reader, the little Touch model, and I find I am quite enjoying it.  I have loaded a bunch of free books, classics and good old standards, Some Agatha Christie,  a traveling library of sorts, that I could read and entertain myself with no matter how long I am stuck in a place.  

The very first thing I loaded was something dear to my heart.  The Ladies Work Table Book by an Anonymous source, a wee compendium of needle techniques published in 1844, a Lace making manual form 1891 and Beeton's Book of Needlework from 1870. 

There is something so right about loading these very old things onto such a new technology.  

Friday, 24 December 2010

Dear World,

It is the day before Christmas.  This day has always been our day to celebrate Christmas at home.  So it was when I was a child, Christmas day being reserved for Grandma S and Boxing Day being reserved for Grandma D.  For my children, it was much the same, Christmas Day being reserved for their dads mom and Boxing Day being reserved for their moms mum.  

A whole host of traditions arose from this.  The big meal was served at supper time and as much as possible of the feast was pre-prepared and in the freezer as possible.  All that is really left for the day was getting the stuffing made, cooking the bird or other meat and cooking the potatoes. 

Over time I have come to stress less about this.  Roasting a big turkey is the easiest thing to cook in the world.  Ask me what my opinions are about how turkey came to be the chosen food for the big meal and they will be a lot like my previous meanderings about how knitting evolved and the smart development of styles of knitted goods.  Same thing.  

Women - who generally cooked the day of the feast were smart.  They too wanted to celebrate and made a very simple to cook and delicious meal.  Turkey of size not only provided the food for today but provided food for the next several days.   

Anyhow, when I shop for turkey, if we are having turkey any particular year, I just choose the biggest bird.  

I was just in the kitchen, looking at the label to so I could hit the turkey cooking manual (Otherwise known as the Canadian Cookbook by Nellie Lyle Pattinson, sadly unavailable now, but put your comment on the review list so they wise up - best basic cookbook ever)...


That bird sitting upstairs in my kitchen is 12.62 kilograms.  12.62.  KILOGRAMS

Biggest freaking bird I ever had.  According to my reference cookbook, the bird will go in the oven (or on the BBQ as Mr. Needles enjoys and has mastered the art of the roasting the bird on the BBQ, his contribution to the big day)  at 11:00a.m.  It is a darn good thing that work is closed today.  

Anyway, Dear World, next year when it is time for me to buy my Christmas bird, please send me eyes that recognize freaking huge rather than just a big bird, OK?  Let my head recognize that if I can barely lift the sucker (because, trust me, Mr. Needles is doing all the lifting and carrying), it is a sign that it is a very very large beast.   Because really, I may have just gone a weeeeeeeee bit overboard on the 'big' side this year.

May each and everyone of you have the best and brightest day.  

Merry Christmas.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Subime, Ridiculous. Sublime, Ridiculous.

That is the rhythm of life.

Because it is too beautiful not to.

And just for fun!

Which may or may not be a Christmas Carol, depending on the words sung to the lovely melody, and the sublime, 

And lastly, for sheer the goofy of it,

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010


Yesterday was the first day of winter.  Climate-wise, this has always struck me as just a little goofy.  Where I'm  from, in an average year, winter arrived some time ago.  In a practical weather sense, the solstice falls about a third of the way through winter.   

Most societies, most cultures through human history have associated some sort of celebration to solstice.  For some cultures, solstice was a time to mark and fear the dark time, for some a time to mark an end to dark and to celebrate and rejoice in the coming light.  

That is how I have come to think of this time of year. From this point on, the days get longer.  We face 6 months of days getting longer, of more and more light.  

That is what I celebrate. The coming of light. Over the next few weeks, I celebrate with family and friends and good food and wine.  I celebrate endings and beginnings, old days and ways and new ones.  Celebrating these things make me feel very good. 

Sadly, the earth is going to take a few months to catch up.  As  joyous as I feel about the coming long days of light, its hard to get past the barren truths that are the coldest days of winter.  

I shall knit a few more sweaters to staunch winters chill, I shall spin in front of a warm fire and mark the days till winters end.  I shall fill my days with yarny things and dreams of my spring garden.    

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Clapotis Number 2

The really observant among us, or those who have knit or obsessed over it more than once, recognized yesterdays photo as the beginning of a Clapotis.  

The first Clapotis I made

was just a scarf.  It was an 'I like Berocco Bonsai' moment.  At the same time, it was an  'I don't want to pay 80 dollars for a shawl I am not sure I will like' moment.   What a wonderful thing to wear!  I knew I would do it again in a bamboo sourced rayon yarn.  

I guess that is how I got to The Wendy Happy sock yarn.  It is a sort of funky sock yarn, but it feels quite lucious.  From the first moment I noticed it sitting on the store shelf, I thought it was just too darn fine for socks.  

No, It isn't just its niceness that makes me say that.  It is a fundamental property of rayon.  It is not a strong fibre.  Not even with 25% nylon.  It would absolutely make lovely feeling socks but they are just not going to last a season.  Rayon fibre is at its weakest when wet, so on sweaty feet inside a shoe?  Not happening here.

But it was lovely and the stash, qutie simply, needed some. Two came home that day and I think that day was the day a second Clapotis entered my head.  It is drapey and soft and all the things a yarn for a Clapotis ought to be.  

It is all set up now and the knitting will be straight till I have a mere 25 grams left of two balls of yarn.  Then it will be time to do the final decrease section and finish off.  Perfect for holiday knitting.  Great visiting knitting.  There will be a little of each of these over the coming week.

I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This last busy weekend before Christmas was just that.  Busy.  And yet, there was a lot of sitting around.  

I decorated cookies with little kids at a kids Christmas party. It was wonderful in so many ways.  

And then came home to follow Son 1's progress across the world to Kiev.  He is 30, and yes, I still worry till I hear from him.  Currently he is one of thousands whose flight was cancelled by the massive snowstorm.  Last we heard he was taking a train across Germany to Berlin, where he will board a train for Kiev.  He will get there, but he missed their anniversary.  Darn it all.

And so I knit.  I knit a little on the black sweater.  It is still black.  It is still all garter stitch, and it is still fun while you knit on it but monumentally challenging to think about knitting on it. (Todays work will be working on it, not just thinking about it.)

I looked through all the books and magazines I had laying around to find the next thing.  I looked on line and decided.  Maybe.  I pulled out a yarn and gave it a swatch.  

Maybe swatch, but also a possible sleeve.  And it appears to be right on gauge.  I was tired yesterday so a double check will happen this morning.  

And  then just for fun...
Hmm, that looks distressingly orange-red.  But a lot of fun.
 Purpley-blue-red goodness.  I think this is going to be travel knitting.  I have 2 skeins of this marvelous sock yarn.  Plenty of knitting and an easily accessible pattern and not even close to socks.  

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Darn it all.

A friend gave me a lovely spicy rose scented bath gel for Christmas. 


I sure could have used the halo.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Tweedy things

I love tweedy things.  As long as I have loved yarn, I have been looking for the perfect tweed.

Too often, a yarn company adds wee wit bits of a single colour to a nice yarn and proclaims it tweed.  That is not what I am looking for.  

What I like is a tweed with many coloured bits.  One of the nicest that I have in my collection is this one.  

It is called Fil Tweed and of course, has been discontinued.  It is an ordinary yarn, a wool with 30% acrylic and just a little viscose.  I have about a half a ball of green and enough of a warm red to make a sweater.  

The green is being turned into a nice big...shape.  I have been waffling about what to make with this undetermined amount, about as long as I have been wanting to knit with it.  I started just a shawlish shape, but it just didn't want to be a shawl.  Frogged that, and just sort of sat wanting to knit it.

In my travels through my library I came across a little mistake rib stitch vest. I wondered how this stitch pattern would look in this yarn.  

Most pleasing.  And besides, mistake rib is a lot of fun to knit.  You get a fantastic look without a lot of effort, without any stress, and very little time.  The perfect combination so long as you like rib.  

I don't know just what this will be.  That is going to have to wait till  I see just how much fabric I get out of it. Its most likely end is going to be a cowl.  I need one, this is soft and stretchy and warm and will likely be the right amount of fabric.

It feels right, though, to simply sit and knit on this shape.  No end in mind, no particular goal, just pure process.  Just to knit.

Perfect for a very busy time of year.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Just in case

I get all my tv and internet signals by satellite.  We don't lose them often but when we do, it sure makes you consider just how tied we feel to them.  

I still have my Internet signal, but the tv signal is down.  It is likely covered in snow.  The wind will probably clear it before morning, but if it does, it may just clear it over to the internet sat dish.   

If you have to be out a sat signal, the tv is the easy part.  We have a really great movie library and can pop in all sorts of things.  And we don't mind watching a good movie over and over again.  Or at least I don't.  Mr. Needles usually falls asleep anyway, so I am not sure he feels the same.  

If a the interent signal goes out...I feel lost and just a little isolated.  It isn't that I spend tons of time on some site or other, but I the times I spend on the net are the framework of my day.  Morning wakeup coffee = internet.  Coffee break = internet.  Mid afternoon stretch  + coffee = internet.  Last thing before heading up to bed = internet.

So if I am not here in the morning, you will know eactly what is going on. Knitting.  Plain knitting, with the occasional curse at the snow up on the roof.  And the occasional sigh and mournful howl.  It won't be a coyote choir, mind,  just one lone me, all alone, internet-less and feeling really sorry for my self. 

While I was out Christmas shopping, I came across Susan Boyle's new Christmas CD.  I bought it.  And yes, I am a fan.

There are few You Tube videos more stirring than her original appearance on Britain's Got Talent.  I've watched it more than a few times.  With absolute belief in herself and her ability, with a belief in all her possibilities, she dreamed her dream and captured our collective hearts.

From  her new CD  

Without a doubt they have perfected her, but I know what I hear.  I still hear the heart of her, that sweet and strong heart of her, throwing caution to the wind, letting a sophisticated cynical audience see and hear who she really was, daring to be all her possibilities.

This spirit of belief in possibilities reminds me of yarn.  Yarn sits there with no questions and all a knitter needs to do is believe that they have the power to turn it into something wonderful.

And so we do.  In knitting, on occasion, our dreams don't match the reality and we frog.

And then once again, we have a pile of endless possibilities.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Knitting Black

I've been knitting black the last few days.  When the light is good.

If you are not seeing well, you might as well knit something you can't see anyway.  It's garter stitch, the pattern is painfully easy to remember, the shaping is magnificent...

And I want to poke my eyes out.  Which should say exactly how I feel about this black sweater at this point in time.  It is just so black. Sigh.

Black for all that it is just black, is in many ways a very intense colour. It is dense and deep and it takes everything into it.  Dyed black isn't at all like night, it is more, it is thicker, it is warmer and colder all at once.

It is still black, and I still want to poke my eyes out.  And I am so close to done.  

If I am diligent and stick to it, I might just get this one done today.  It really isn't that many more repeats.  I only have one set of lower hip shaping to do and a little more of the regular shaping, and the final button band.  It is all garter stitch.

So why does it feel like I have to gird my loins and head off to battle when the only battle is in my head and I am just a little tired of all this black garter stitch?

Monday, 13 December 2010

Slowed Paces

Sometimes I think that I love knitting so much because it slows my whole world down.

Face it.  We all live varying level of a rat race.  We are tied immutably to the clock and its relentless drive to get to 12 and 12 again.  We wake in the morning when it tells us too. We have lunch as it hits the lunch hour.  We eat dinner when it is dinner time.  Our life is a seemingly endless round of getting there on time.

It strikes me as a little sad.  We have invented every sort of labour saving, time saving device we could imagine in our search to give ease to our lives, yet all we seem to have created is busy.  In our desire to make our lives easy, we have taken out every moment of the day where we might have pondered the great and the small.  We have left ourselves with lives so full of busy that there isn't anytime to stop and think.  

Knitting is my slow time  Taking that needle and placing it through the loop, gathering a strand of yarn, and pulling it through:  that small action, that small set of movements with very simple tools is measured in a way that I can comprehend, perhaps in a way that I can control and manage in a world where everything else is off kilter.  

This week with its forced  slightly slower than usual knitting pace has reminded me of these things.  And in reminding me of these things, in taking out a whole class of what I could be knitting on, magically, logically, I am getting a whole lot more knitting done, and I am feeling even better about being a knitter in the modern world.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Two sides.

Though my problem this week was ultimately small, it would be a lie to pretend that I was not very conflicted by it.

At one point, one of the doctors said I was still seeing very well.    When she went off to consult with the other doctors, and left me alone for a time I had some moments to mull that thought over.

At the time, one eye was very hazy. If I looked through only that eye, all I could make out was shapes. I could see the shape of a head, but no features, no eyes, no faces.  I could see the difference between dark and light, I could see there were things on the back of the door, but had I not known they were signs, I would have decided they were mere discolorations.  My vision was nothing if not unbalanced.  

In the midst of that sharp and dark short time before diagnosis and my speedy cure, I wondered at her statement that I had pretty good vision.  I worried that 'pretty good vision' was all I would end up with.   

My mind wandered through all kinds of things.  The first thing I thought of was 'damn, and I am going to have to learn to like audio books'  That bothered me.  

Then I thought about lace.  What was I ever going to do with all my laceweight yarn?  I love my laceweight.  How could I let it go?

And my unfinished embroidery?  I would never finish those.  

And tress.  Was I ever going to see and be able to appreciate new leaves coming out on the trees at the farm?  Would I ever really be able to see flower buds progress from green bud emerging to full flower?  Would I see my garden grow?

These are small things really.  I'm sure that is what her comment about still seeing pretty good was all about.  Life would not substantially change.  And yet, these small things are the colour and spice of my life.

My time to worry about these things was short and I know I am blessed and lucky.  Very very lucky that the stars were on my side, that the doctors could see me when I needed them before it got worse, that for all its faults, we still have pretty good medicare system.  

I know that I will, with time complete my embroideries, that I can still read books, that I will knit my laceweight, that I will see the garden grow come spring. I know I had a really good day.

And I think of those who did not have a day with a good end. I'm thinking of them a lot.  I'm thinking of those who had to tell them too.

Rejoicing and sorrow.  Two sides of the same coin, always, in everything two sides.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Small things

As I mentioned yesterday, I spent an evening at an emergency unit.  Following that up, I spent yesterday morning at the eye clinic.

I developed a wee small tear in my retina.  With the wonders of modern medicine and having the tear happen on the right day, the retina specialist was in and I saw, was diagnosed and was repaired all in one day.  

But it means that small things, reading in particular is going to be more difficult.  The eye without the problem does fine at big things, but not so much for small things. 

So, if this blog has more than its usual amount of errors, is just a little more flaky than normal, if The editing looks like it is completely lacking, please excuse.  

The knitting content is going to be lower than usual for a while too.  Anything complicated, or that involves a lot of reading, is just going to have to Wait.  Fine yarns are going to be out for a bit.  Of course that means I might get the Elysium sweater done, and the Shetland style shawl doesn't require a lot of reading, so I can knit on that too.  But socks are going to have to wait.  

Wait a second, I do have some Big Fabel in my stash!  Big Fabel socks ought to be just right for this time of year!   There.  The earth just righted itself on its axis.  I admit to being  bothered by the idea of not being able to work on socks.  Even when I am not knitting a lot of socks.  

Which is just plain silly, but there you have it.  I'm just plain nuts about knitting simple socks.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Last night I knit a hat

This matches a little scarf I did the other day, just for fun.  Some days yarn literally falls off the shelf at me and then, it seems, I am compelled to knit it.

I knit this to the most amazing running conversation.  
'Bruce, you can't get up.  Last time you tried you fell'
"I want to get out of here"
'Bruce no, you have to stay there till the doctors see you'
"No I have to get out of here and live my lifestyle"
'Bruce, you have to stay in bed.  You fell last time you tired to get up'

I had occasion to spend the evening waiting in emergency, nothing serious, mind, but something that needed looking at.  So I knit to the almost hilarious sounds of Bruce's little adventure.  It was funny.  He tried to cajole them, he tried several times to escape, but the nurses would not let him go. They quite simply charmed him to stay in the bed. 

Bruce had a badly broken ankle but was too drunk to feel anything. Which is beyond sad, but... Methinks Bruce is going to be really glad the nurses kept him in the bed when he wakes this morning, and I absolutely must applaud the nurses at the Royal Alex.  

They dealt with what could have been a bad situation with a great deal of calm, with equanimity and a great deal of class and charm.  Nice work ladies.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010


So very little knitting over the last few days but the trees are up and the house is done.  Not full bore decorated, but it's more than has been done in a number of years.  It was fun.

I love Christmas, but I don't love the rush associated with it.  I love sitting looking at the tree, and when the kids were younger, playing 'I spy with my little eye' with them.  You could spend hours on a lazy Saturday afternoon trying to figure out which ornament they were looking at now.  

I loved holiday baking. The solidly built fruit and baking gum rich light fruitcake that we favour around here.  Spritz cookies, with a layer of chocolate icing between two ribbon thin cookie layers and white icing with chocolate cookies.  Cut out cookies, soldiers and rocking horses and angels, with painted on icing trims and reindeer, another kind of angel, and christmas tree shapes, iced, with sprinkles on top.  Little Christmas wreath thumb print cookies with the jubilant red jelly center.  And the little tiny poppy seed rolls with their flaky moist pastry and their lightly sweet poppy seed filling just touched by a drizzle of icing on top.

I enjoyed making these things, but these last few years, it has been a choice of 1 or two and sometimes none.  We don't need the volume around here and the boys have long abandoned their childlike ways and don't want to take cookies home. Traitors.

This time of year, now that our household is a Christmas of adults, I concentrate on cooking ahead.  If it can be done ahead in any way, I do. The turnips are cooked and ready to bake in their rich cheesy sauce, the meatballs are baked and are in the freezer ready to finish.  Before too many more days are past, the cutlets will be ready and the potato casserole will be done too.  On Christmas Eve, the only heavy work will be the turkey and stuffing.  All the rest just needs finishing.

It is comforting to prepare for the great feast.  The good food and feasting, the long preparations, the cheer and joy, all have their place in the modern world, even if you don't celebrate the day.  The long preparations take our eyes off the simple fact that it is dark out there, and getting darker every day.

I'm looking forward to the holiday this year in a way I haven't for a very long time and I am even looking forward to the post Christmas lull and long no rush days of knitting and eating leftovers.

I love this time of year.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Yarn from the desk

Don't the colours of this thing make you just want to dive in?  I'm not a mohair person.  I don't think it is my sort of thing to wear and yet...

it is in my stash.  

I think something simple, like this little thing.  Or maybe this little thing.    I don't know for sure.  I like the idea of beads, rich and orange, or maybe gold beads, to pick up the warm reds and oranges in this yarn. 

Still simple knitting is the way to go.  In part, this is a reaction to Christmas.  All the excess of the season, all the bustle. I work hard to keep it simple, to keep the rush out, but even so, it is hard to do it.  Simple projects, simple knitting will keep the weirdness away. It is lovely to contemplate simple.

I am going to be working on the black sweater this morning when my eyes are fresh and the coffee is strong.  It is imperative to have strong coffee when knitting black in winter.  In the future I will plan better.  Black knitting ought to happen under summer's generous sun.

There is a tree to finish and a wee bit more holiday stuff to get out for round the house.  Getting out these bits and pieces is a treasure.  Each wee thing has a story attached.  I love that about Christmas things.  It isn't so much the things, but the stories attached that charm me.  

For now, it is time to deal with that strong coffee part of the day.  It is either that or crawl back to bed for a nap. Come to think of it, napping charms me too.

Monday, 6 December 2010

My pair of mittens are complete.
 I'm not a ruffly person.  I don't wear frilly things.  Usually. I am not sure I can bear to give these away.  

 If you get the chance, knit a little with Elsebeth Lavold Angora before it is gone.  Its is a joy to work with.  That the Fleece Artist is a marvel is a given, but the Angora was one of the unexpected marvels.  There are so many good things out there to work with, but I confess that my head and my heart are swamped with visions many many more pairs of mittens of Angora.

 There is dream knitting, and then there is real life knitting.  Fade to black as it were.  This is a shot of Elysium in progress.

I really ought to be knitting on Mr. Needles vest, but this weekend is tree weekend, and any knitting I get done is going to be knitting in between.  Of necessity, this knitting in between must be simpler.  While Elysium might be simpler, it is not just garter stitch. In its own way, the simple garter stitches with the 6 row, short row shaping has its own sort of simple magic.

There are other things happening today that require simpler knitting.  I may spend more than a few hours rip snorting angry and knitting something simple is going to keep me sane.  Saner.  OK, at least not so gosh darn angry. My daughter in law did not get her visitor visa and I shall knit my head off today so I can understand the attitudes which now will not explain what the problems are that we might resolve them.

Friday, 3 December 2010


The other day, my boss gave me a wee stress ball in the shape of a brain.  We made a few jokes about how good it would be because now we had an extra brain and no matter how bad it was, we had backup. I would love to find it and take a photo for you, but I cannot find it here in my study.  The universe has a weird sense of humour.  

The brain is from an Alzheimer's fund raiser that my boss went to.  The cause has great personal meaning to her.  The brains are a wee bit of silly because sometimes when you are involved in Alzheimer's, all you have is bits of laughter in the corners.

Mr. Needles mother has it. He was back home to take his dad hunting last week, and to celebrate her birthday.  Over the last year and a half, she has been in a seniors home, and we are all glad that she has full time care.   She has slipped ever farther from us.  

Alzheimer's mean you leave long before your body does.  The day my mother in law passes will only be the day her body dies, her soul has long preceded her.

And yet there are times when she glances and you see everything she was and will always be, inside her, and you know she is there, all of her, the impish twinkle, her sense of humour, the baking and the boundless energy.  You know she is there and you want to jump and shout for joy and you look again and she is gone.  

The real tragedy of Alzheimer's is that we remain and remember and miss her.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


I forgot to blog this morning.  I am not sure what this means, but I do know, I seem to have lost my mind.  


Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a Mitt

 The plain side

There should have been a lot more knitting on this pair of mitten, but, well, sigh, there wasn't.  I'm ready to knit the next 2 ruffles.  Beads are ready to go.  Yarn is ready.  Needles are ready.  But I wasn't ready for the knitting.  

I think I was enjoying wearing mitten one just a little too much. I spent an awful lot of time with it warm on my hand, just petting the cozy fuzziness of it.  

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Wading through paperwork

I'm here, helping wade through paperwork for my daughter in law.  Dear Government of Canada , your forms are confusing enough in English, much less if English is your second language.  How about a copy of the how to guide in all kinds of languages?  Huh?  How about it.  Heck, it might just give the applicants a fighting chance. Sheesh.  And how about a person at the end of the phone?  Huh?  Couldn't there be people in this process?  Cause you know, I have some specific questions....

So I have not knit yet today.  I am feeling a little cranky and off my feed, as it were.  Which begs the question, am I addicted to knitting?

1.  Delay in getting next fix causes stress.
2.  Need for source increases over time.
3.  compulsive purchasing.
4.  Unable to sit still till need is met.  Excessive twiddling of thumbs.

Yup, I am addicted.  Or maybe it isn't an addiction, maybe it is just a compulsion.    

Either way, it could be worse.  At least at the end of this addiction there is a sock, or a sweater, or a scarf.  I think I am OK with that.  

Monday, 29 November 2010

Fuzzy Wuzzy was a...


I have had a few good yarns hanging around lately, and finally, there was a lull in my knitting.  (?? Lull?  In the knitting?  Inconceivable.)

The soft creamy brown is Elsebeth Lavold Angora.  This is a funny yarn, a quiet yarn.  It sits there, on the store shelves, peacefully resting.  Rather like its source, the Angora rabbit, it sits quietly, not hiding, but just waiting for someone to notice it.  

For all that is is a quiet yarn, it is not insubstantial.  It is solid, stalwart yarn, though as I wear them, the soft soft soft feeling may grow stronger.  I expect the angora will bloom the more these are used.  It will be a really nice mitten.  

The rest will be made out of this.  
More angora, this time Fleece Artist's Peter Rabbit.  

From here on in, the mitten will appear more like a Mrs Beetons wrist warmer than a mitten cuff.  Because the cuff is knit from the ruffly bit to the upper cuff, the mittens ready had to be ready.  When the 2 ruffly layers of cuff are knit together, the mitten need to be right there too. 

There will be beads.  Simple, clear glass, silver lined beads, to add a bit of sparkle and flash, but in a classy, ladylike sort of way.

I think that is it.  That is what I have been looking for from these soft fuzzy yarns: a delicate ruffly ladylike air with a side of practical.  



Friday, 26 November 2010

Quick post today

I have to gather papers to send some stuff off to my daughter in law.  It means I will probably arrive at the store late and short of coffee but with luck, not tired and frustrated. The office is open much earlier than the store. And I need to get it off today.  

Now that I think of it, maybe if I take coffee and donuts to Mr. Needles office, maybe it will all go smoother.  Gee, I wonder if I could find a flower shop open at 7 a.m.?  That might help...

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Riddle Me This

What starts like this,

and ends like this?



I'm thrilled to finally have them.  I had knit with a pair of tips from my bosses set (given to her as a promotional item during a business trip to Seattle) and I fell in love.  That was April and they were due to be released in mid May. It is now November.

Skacel, the makers of Addi Turbos spent the time between, working on their brass lace tip formula.  They tried all sorts of things, and could not get rid of the coating issue with the brass.  Sense finally reigned and they have issued them in nickel, good old rock solid, just like the regular tips nickel.  

And contrary to earlier reports from the reps, all the tips and cables are completely interchangeable.  There are some cables in this set, the very short ones, that can really only be used with short tips for circular knitting, but they are all completely interchangeable.  

The regular tips have been a huge hit with any one who has invested in a set and I anticipate that these will be too.

I love these stubby little tips.  I always used to worry about needles that were too short. I now think that if all I had for implements were forks, I would find a way to knit with them. If these were forks, they would be the finest platinum forks from the greatest makers of utensils.  And these are so not forks.

Nope.  These are Cadillacs.  They are Rolls Royces.  

Addi Turbo Lace tips. Ain't life grand?

And before I forget, a Happy Thanksgiving to all my American visitors! 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Seed Catalogues

As we go into the deepest darkest part of winter, there is one thing to keep you looking forward, to keep the dark wonter night at bay.  Seed catlaogues!  The first of mine has arrived!

Way back when I was young and growing my first gardens, I found T & T Seeds in the adds in one of the farm papers.  They sold pea seeds in large quantities at half the cost of anywhere else.  In those days, cost was everything.  I was hooked.

I have always kept up an association with them, though in this yard,    there was always a strong focus towards the shade plants.  Hostas, 
and ligularias and all sorts of lovely plants that thrive in sheltered, dense shade.  

Now, with the farm ready for next year, I will think of sunflowers 

and Four O'clocks

I shall think of  plums

and red and golden raspberries
(all but the first photo are from the T & T Seeds catalogue)

This time, I got too look at it and know that come spring, I will be planting for the sun. I can take that wee fact out and think of it, any time I feel the dark long winter setting itself just a little too firmly in my soul. 

Tuesday, 23 November 2010


I checked the thermometer this morning.  That wee little red stuff?  Its gone down into its ball and is running home to momma.  Well not quite.  It is only -28 or -29C this morning.  Running home to momma would be -40 and it is a long way between this and that. It is thinking about it though.  

No going out to knitting for me.  It is just too darn cold.  I was really looking forward to it, after all these weeks, but it is just too cold.

I shall hide down in my cave today instead. I shall be knitting and listening to an audio book.  I downloaded Jane Austen's Lady Susan, an unfinished novel.  Oh what we lost when she died so early.  It would have been brilliant.  In it's bare essentials as the exchange of letters, it already is.  

I am going to work on what I picked up again yesterday, Mr. Needles vest.  I really do like colourwork.  It has been too long, but I was right to set it aside.  It takes a lot of brain power.  I did a couple of rows - my version of a good time - and then needed to take a break.  

I made a really big decision.  

I am going to make me a bigger copy of the chart.  One I can... you know... see.  

Yup.  Really 'going to town' with this one.   

Monday, 22 November 2010

Foolin' around

The pity party is done, though I am still wishing and hoping that paper can fly.  Instead I shall focus on the knitting.  Knitting is always a consolation.  There is always something to knit around here.  And always something new to cast on.  This is new, but it just replaces something I was unhappy with. Therefore, it is not 'new' new.
The fir cone pattern for the center of a Shetland shawl from Cheryl Oberle's Folk Shawls, knit from a cone of unnamed yarn that looks suspiciously Shetland like. It looks a little stringy and gray right now, but once washed after it is knit, this yarn blooms and becomes something very fine. I am looking forward to the finish!  And the gray is not so gray.  It really is a soft heathery green, perfect for a Shetland style shawl.

This is being knit instead of that lovely Onerva, for my daughter in laws Grandmother.  I love the Onerva pattern and will finish it for myself, but I just was not happy with the quality of my knitting.  The reverse side of stockinette is always the true test of a knitters skill, and I am not there yet. My skills are not ready for that challenge.

So here I am back in the land of Shetland, with a slightly bigger yarn, and a much faster to knit pattern.  Well maybe not a faster knit, but surely a more fun knit than a large centre of stockinette (and yes, there is a wee bit of wussiness involved here). It is a stockinette lace but the pattern hides my knitterly flaws.

I am not going to knit the same border on this shawl as what is shown in the book. I like the border from another just a few pages farther on better, so traditional without all the traditional parts.  The goal is to make a beautiful shawl for a sweet lady.

I have a trip to town and a hundred errands but this afternoon is reserved for knitting on Mr. Needles vest.  I'm looking forward to it.  

Sunday, 21 November 2010

A Shout Out to the World

I am the mother of sons.  While I loved being the mother of sons, and was probably best suited to being the mother of sons, I have always longed for a daughter.  

Sons, on occasion, bring daughters into your life.  My eldest did.  

My very treasured daughter is still in Kiev, and we are still waiting.  This is so hard for me.  I can barely begin to imagine how hard it is for my son, Tony and Olga.  Married but not together, trying to build their life together, but just waiting.

I am sorry.  I am having a wee bit of a pity party today, sitting here wishing that government paperwork moved along faster.  Wishing that the good paperwork fairy would clear the visa process faster for us.   

Please world, wish for me my daughter.  Wish for my son his wife. Here.  In Canada.   Cross your fingers and toes.  Send Canadian Immigration a pack of pencils so the stuff that needs doing can all get done faster.  Please world, if you can spare a moment, think of my daughter and wish her to us.

If wishes were horses...maybe it would all happen sooner.