Friday, 29 April 2011

A Very Good Day

I woke a little early today.  Not to watch the wedding mind  Just because it seems to be what I am doing lately.  The way things go I usually sleep through these things. It was fate.  

So I was awake at 2 and got to see all the hats go into Westminster, and saw the bride and heard all the speculation about the dress and all the fanfare.  

What struck me most though, was how it didn't feel like a big spectacle or a fairy tale.  It felt very real, so genuine.  The fairy tale was still there of course.  

It wasn't in the dress, or the music, or grand church. The fairy tale was in the way she looked at him and he looked at her and the smiles and the comfort between the 2 of them.  Which is just as it should be.  

A marriage shouldn't begin in a big fairytale. It shouldn't begin with so much emphasis on just the beginning of the thing.  A marriage is really all about the forever after.  May they have the very best forever after.

On a much more delightful note, just as the royal couple headed down to sign the papers, I had some very, very good news.  My kids finally, after missing papers, after the long wait for bureaucracy, have been approved.  Now it is just the steps to get the visa in place - the medicals, the interviews but my sweet daughter in law will be here.    It won't be long now.      

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Finishing up

I did spin yesterday and made really good progress but like everything, there is a point where I have to just stop lest severe errors creep into my work.  About the only thing I can just work on without stopping, is socks.  And very large blankets.  

So in between the good spinning sessions, I knit and finished another of the projects on my list.  You remember the list right?  The projects I have to finish to keep my New Years Goals?  Well, in between I finished up another project from the list.  

I finished a scarf to match the FuzzyWuzzy mittens.  

Not an identical match, but I'm not too worried about that, since the mittens live in Kiev now.  Instead of a Mrs. Beetons ruffle, this just has a nice long single layer ruffle finished with an open work pattern on the ends.  

I'd work on the Shetland shawl today, in between spinning, but first I....ummmm, have to find it.  I know it is in here.  


Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Falling in love all over again.

I've never forgotten the moment I connected to spinning.  I was looking for something new to learn and one of the River City ladies said ah, I have just the thing for you.  She showed me a spindle and how prepared wool fibre slips when you pull it.  

Magic.  I'm still convinced of it.  I've never forgotten that moment and I have aspired to be a better and better spinner ever since.  

Except that I have not really spun much.  At all.  

I've played and practised a little on some Shetland.  I spun up one entire 225 gram bag  of top and produced about 150 (only) metres of horribly overpsun, badly plyed fibre, most of which is really only good for sitting in a wee skein in a box of things that are markers of the days of my life. 

The best part of it was made into a small short scarf, a mere 3 inches wide and about 30 inches long.  It isn't notable in anyway except for how much it weighs.  

I've been spinning regularly with a friend the last few weeks and the magic is there.  Its kind of like falling in love all over again.  

I'm in the reddish section of the fibre.  Pretty yes?  I'm spinning a fairly fine single and it is turning out really nicely. I am pleased.  *see note below* .   

So much so, that I kept waking last night, to check the clock to see it it was morning so I could spin again.  I can't wait to see it plyed with its other half.  

**I'm not just pleased.  I am beyond pleased.  I am fair dancing pleased. I am overboard, beyond elated pleased. I am euphoric. I am enraptured.  I am Colin Firth feeling like dancing on winning the Oscar pleased. Way, way better than chocolate.     

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Easter Bonnets

There is an old Irving Berlin song about the Easter bonnets his sweetheart will wear to the Easter parade.  Well I am not a hat person, but come Sunday morning, I had a pair of Easter socks.

They look a little like brightly coloured Easter eggs don't they? 

The April socks had a wee bit different heel.  I did a basic toe up gussetted heel from Maia Spins, but rather than doing a modern heel turn, the heel turn was square and straight.  Without taking that stitch after you knit across the gap, a square heel shape rather than the usual triangular heel cup is made.  By working across all the heel stitches to form the heel flap, in concert with this deep squarish heel turn, you get that nice straight edge a little farther up the side of your heel and  in this case, a very short gusset for a more old fashioned look.  Had I knit the foot just a bit shorter and the flap a bit longer, I wouldn't have had any gusset stitches.     

Which means that I had a bit of April left, so I started on my May socks.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do, but I choose a nice rich red from the basket, Lana Grossa Meilienweit Cotton, which has a wee bit of stretch to it besides the cotton, wool and nylon.  
I may have to rip this one back a bit.  I'm attempting Cat Bordhi's Upstream architecture and I don't think I knit the toe section long enough.  I have enough stitches around the circumference of my foot, but no way is the beastie long enough actually fit my foot if I were to start the heel turn now.  Good thing I have the few extra days in April to play with it.  

About the yarn.  Up to now, I have not been a really big fan of elastic in my cotton socks yarns.  I am certain that this dislike came from working with Patons Cotton Stretch.  It isn't that Stretch is a bad yarn, it is just that the colour was so mind numbingly putrid, I could not complete the pair. 

This rich saturated red is fantastic.  It made me buy this yarn in spite of my bias about stretchy cottons.  And the red is colouring my working with it.  I am having a fantastic time.  You can tell just how good of a time I am having by how much of this sock I did yesterday and you will understand it even more if I tell you I already ripped back to the toe once because I did not like the way my increases looked and then reknit the whole shebang and more.  

Nice yarn.  Funky thinking.  Interesting and a lot of fun while I wait for the snow to melt.   

Monday, 25 April 2011


What an absolutely gorgeous day we had yesterday. We sipped margaritas on the back deck.
Though the snow pile is still distressingly large, the sun was warm.  Really warm. Whenever we have a big dinner around here, the back decks  serves as the big fridge.  It normally works great but this year...
We had to keep the sun off them.   

We tried to have an Easter egg hunt. 
Hint:  look for the dark spots in the snow.  

A little bit of a closeup.  At first we thought wow, this is really silly,  but because the eggs were dyed darkly, and the sun was very warm, the eggs rapidly sank out of sight and serious digging went on to recover the eggs in time for dinner.  

It was so warm that after a short debate, we decided to get out of the sun and away from the ants (who have no source of food right now but  our food) to eat our Easter brunch.  
The two missing members of our family are sitting right there, kind of quiet in the chair in the corner.  See the picture taped to the chair? They did not eat much but they were great listeners!

While we were waiting for brunch, we noticed this.  
 For all the snow is still here at Chez Needles, the poplars don't seem to care.  They will make leaves anyway.  

Friday, 22 April 2011

The pretty bits.

This is a week of finishing things.  Oscilloscope by Kate Gagnon Osborne,
and another way to wear it.
I've very pleased with this shawl/scarf.  Perfection would have been if I had 4 skeins, but I had only 3.  I knit one skein and weighed the second, and knit to eactly half the skein by weight and then began the decreases with the intention to knit till the yarn was gone or the pattern was done, which ever came first. 

As I went on, I worried.  I worried a lot about midway through the third ball.  In fact I worried so much that I contemplated sitting and knitting till it was done, no matter how late that might be, just so I wouldn't have to worry anymore about it.  Thankfully the end of the pattern came first and all I have left is the smallest bit.
The yarn is Manos del Uruguay Silk Blend. Its warm and cozy and is going to be wonderful to wrap around my head and shoulders on windy spring days.     

I'm not sure how other knitters deal with their bits and pieces, but I always think them as classes of yarns bits and recently divided them up into separate boxes.  

There is the sock box, for socks bits.  Eventually or maybe sooner, I will knit some Monstersocks A lady in one of my knit groups is doing a bunch of these and I have been inspired.   

There is the ordinary bits box.  They are bits of yarn from sweaters, from mitts, from scarves, from mucking about knitting. There isn't really enough to do anything with, but some day I might need just a bit of colour for a flower, or a stripe in something.  Who knows?  There might be monster mittens from it some day.

Then there is the bits of beautiful things box.  
There is a beautiful ball of cashmere in here and the most beautiful bits of sock yarn I ever saw, and the bits left over from the shawl I knit in Kiev, bits from my sweet Olya's bridal shawl, and way in the top right hand corner, a bit of my very first handspun.  There is a lot of silk in here.  Silk alpaca, silk mohair, silk wool, Silk Garden, just bits of lovely things.  I am not sure what I am going to do with these but sometimes I wonder if they should just be wound into small balls and put into a large glass jar, to be pulled out and looked at occasionally, like a special a box trinkets, or an old photo album.  They are my fond memories of knitting.   

The bit of yellow Manos will go into the special bits box.  I will keep it as a reminder that worrying didn't do me any good, that I have to learn to trust the numbers, that I have to learn to just let it go and let it be.  

I have a special jar, a big clear glass cookie jar, that is being used for new stash yarns (there is some wonderful stuff in it) but really, it might serve me better to show off the pretty little things, the bits and pieces of my knitting history to remind me of how far I have come in the land of knitting and how far I have yet to go.

A jar of pretty things?  Yes I think so.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Good Deeds

The other day, I came across an interesting article about a debate that is raging about the origins of altruism.  I'm not so sure I care why people help each other at their own expense.  I'm quite sure I don't care how it arose in human populations.  I only care that is is there within us, and I wish that we used that part of our nature more.

Yesterday while gadding about, I saw a bike rider, standing at the side of the road, big green garbage bag at hand, picking up the windblown garbage freed from its icy snowy prison.  No one asked the biker to do this.  No one compelled him.  No one forced this biker to pick up the spring roadside trash like all those people who are doing their community service, or like all those community groups who do it.  He was just doing it.  

Mr. Biker.  I like you.  

Some things exist in our modern world just to toss away.  We need a lot less of that.  And we need a lot more of us to act on our impulse that leads us to do for our common good.   

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Dawns breaking

I woke a little later than usual this morning, about 5:30.  I could see the shapes of trees.  Soon enough, well perhaps not soon enough, but soon, 5:30 will be the right time for sitting on the front porch sipping coffee, dressed in warm woolly things to protect from the early morning damp chill.  

A finished photo of the blankie.  Its the perfect size for snuggling under, bowl of popcorn in hand, while watching a good movie on a chilly evening.  Not too big to have hanging around the living room, not too small to be cozy under. It came out close to what I predicted, 40 inches by 50.  Perfect.

Brenda of Brenda Knits is right though.  When you work this long on a project this big,you become attaches.  There is a little lull after that is hard to fill.  I expect it is going to take a few days to really settle into something new.  

In the meantime, I am knitting on small things.  It would be a great time for socks, but I think my socks are at River City and so they will remain till at least next week.  The last time I remember seeing them, they were sitting on a small ledge beside the table.  I could have sworn I picked them up, but they are not here anywhere.  

Not having socks around to work on means I am forced to knit on other things.  I would like to finish the pretty little yellow Ossilloscope scarf I am working on and then there are some spring tops which it would be nice to finish up before spring is done.  I will choose to look at forgetting as a blessing.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


I popped in a movie yesterday afternoon, and just sat and knit and knit.  I still wasn't done.

I organized dinner and then sat and knit and suddenly, I was done.  I have ends to weave in but I am done.

I'm tired. My wrists are not sore, but they are just a wee bit numb,  like any muscles overused and over excersized. And though I have been thinking about it, I am not sure what is next.  

I have some ideas and there is a sock and that pretty new scarf to be knitting on till I sort it out.  And there is sadly, still a very large basket of WIPs to finish.

*42 is the number of ridges I needed to finish that section and is according the The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,the answer to everything.  Works for me.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Will it ever end.

As the last few weekends have each approached, I was filled with optimism and was sure that I would finish the blanket and be free.  Each time I was brought up short by the reality of its size and how my hands feel after knitting on it a while.  This weekend is no different.

I worked on the blanket yesterday.  A LOT.  I knit 16 garter ridges, and now my hands are kaput.  I did do 3 ridges this morning, but I had to stop.  Just too much.  On the upside, I have only 12 ridges left.  Hardly nothing. 2 days at most.  Famous last words.


I discovered a screw up.  

I thought about trying to correct it but I tried a few rows and it seems you cannot correct the twist in intarsia. If I went down all the way to the spot where I did not twist the two strands, could I correct it? (please advise) 

The other thing is do I care?  If I can't correct it, would I rip it back? Ummm, no.  Will the owner of this blanket notice?  No.  Will he care?  No.    So unless it is easily correctable by dropping stitches, it is going to stay.  1 screw up in an otherwise stunning blanket.  And it is on the backside.  Good to go.

The other thing that might interest you is this funky photo of what happens to Berocco Comfort Chunky. Once knit, the fabric created is fantastic.  Is dense.  Its warm.  Its soft.  Just a great fibre blend.  But knitting with it can drive you batty.
These strands are not twisted to make these knots, they are actually lying side by side, and just kink up into one massive knot all on their very own.  I think the ply of the yarn is part of what is causing this to happen.  It isn't an inside ball/outside of the ball thing, it just is. It isn't so bad when you are only knitting one colour.  At least then it only wraps around itself.  This last section is intarsia and what with ends and tails of previous balls, and two strands hanging off the work...I'm going just a little batty here.

For all its flaws, I like the yarn well enough to accumulate enough for another blanket beyond the colours I showed you the other day.   This next after the next will be red, black, cream and grey.  

And then, there is the other 'original'  of the 2 I actually planned to do, a red and cream one - patterned this time.  It is  from Comfort Knitting and Crochet - Afghans, and is named Ukrainian Tiles
Its a lot of blanket knitting I have ahead of me.  It might be just the thing to get me through the summer if I do it in squares and sew them together.  When I think about it if I don't...well my hands ache.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Something New!

There comes a point in every knitters knitting life when you just need something new.  Today was my day.

I might have resisted but the weather is playing havoc with my hands. Early early in the day I knit on the beastie, (the last section is half done.  It may be forever till the rest get done.  Or Sunday.) but then my hands just were not cooperating. The weather with its highs or rather lows and the muck in between them, is making my hands stupid.  I decided to wind some yarn and that is when I ran into some trouble.

I wound a skein of 100% cashmere. Trauco from Araucania, the deep rust red in the bottom right hand corner.  I pullled it out the other day because I think it is going to be the perfect yarn for Sivia Hardings Victorian Shoulder Shawl.  Yet, I resisted. It was difficult, but I managed. 

Then I wound the skein in the top right hand corner, a skein of Madelinetosh Wren in a colourway called Absinthe.  This was a gift to me from one of my wonderful friends and co-workers.  I might have fallen there, I teetered, but I couldn't decide on a pattern.  It needs to be pretty special to live up to the yarn, the colourway and the giver of the gift.  I managed to get by it by the sin of my teeth.

And then I wound 3 skeins of buttery yellow Manos Silk Blend.  I knew what this wanted to be.  I knew the moment I saw the yarn what it was going to be.   I bought the fall 2010 Knitscene just for one pattern.  It is the Oscilloscope Shawl by Kate Gagnon Osborne.  I love the work this designer does.  So well thought out.  Such crisp lines.  I never made it past the Silk Blend.

It took very little time to get this far  I have the 3 skeins and I want to use up every buttery good inch, so am just going to keep knitting it till the second ball is half done by weight, and then will start the decrease sections.  If I plan it out right, if the weather gods don't wreak havoc on my hands, then I will be well into this shawl when I see you next.  

I didn't mean to start anything till the blankie was done.  I really meant to just knit and knit on it, but I just needed to do a little something else.  Its not even going to slow down the blankie at all.  

It will slow down the myriad shawls I am supposed to be working on.  It will slow down Aprils socks.  It will slow down that lovely soft blue top I am knitting too.

If there is a snowstorm just when the snow was really starting to go, surely I can give myself a break and a treat.  Something new, and it is very good.

No links today.  The internet is really sluggish.  Sluggish like dialup sluggish.  Xplornet used to be so much better.


Summer in Canada - when you put away your cold weather gear unless you go to the mountains.  Sometimes you regret it.  Fall in Canada - when union suits start to look attractive.  Winter in Canada - wool weather unless it isn't (you have to live here to understand that).  Springtime in Canada - total crapshoot. Keep your sandals and your parka ready.

It is cold and windy and miserable today.  Weather forecasters are telling us to expect snow.  Right now, there is just a flurry of thin fine flakes. They are thin small flakes, like we usually get when it is very cold up high.  Not a good sign.
Its a great day to stay home, sip tea and knit.  So I will.  That darn beastie blanket could come in very handy today and might even get finished.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


40 inches wide  Plenty wide.  I predict it will be about 52 inches long when done, but I can adjust the length till the bottom sections look right.  

Though this bottom section is the largest section, it seems to move along fast.  The colour switch always gives you something to watch for and to work towards.  Its kind of nice too, having these colour sections uneven.  That slightly different width seems to help.  

It is times like these I know I have a really simple brain.    As I go along, my head says 'Ooooo, short section' and 'Oooooo, I'm at the switch already!' on the way back.  

I'm pretty pleased with the whole process.  I'm pleased with the colours, pleased with knitting in sections, pleased with the way the yarn turned out depsite my earlier doubts. Pleased at how little yarn this seems to be using.  Just pleased right across the board.  

The next one is going to look like this.  

Tis a season of blankets, me thinks.  

Monday, 11 April 2011

Gardening and Knitting, hand in hand.

Someone asked me the other day about my garden, if it was just flowers or vegetables.  I understand the question.  For some people, there is only one way to garden, and just what that way is often depends on whether you live in the country or the city. 

Just as I love to see something pop of my needles, I love to grow things.  To see something pop out of the ground because you placed it there is so rewarding.  Beats the heck out of the joy of a clean kitchen or a pile of tidy laundry.  These are fleeting victories at best.  Growing things is a whole season of victories and fills the whole year.  Even on the darkest days of winter you can plan your garden.  And you can plan it while knitting!

I’ve always had a garden of some kind or other.  Mr.Needles and I have worked out buns off to take our plain, scraggly grassed, sloped yard and turned it into an oasis of gentle green beauty.  I love it the same way I love knitting shawls and fancy scarves.  They are challenge and beauty and delicacy.  This shade gardening and delicate knitting are things that touch and uplift a soul.

But vegetable gardening is staple.  It is a nothing fancy sort of gardening with solid results.  It doesn’t fill your spirit but rather your tummy.   Vegetable gardening is the sock knitting of the gardening world.  Simple. Prosaic.  Pedestrian.  Just the ordinary things you need every day.  And we all know how much I love sock knitting.  Plain simple April socks sort of gardening is what I am after.

I love my sock knitting but if it was only socks or only shawls, forever, it would eventually feel just a little empty.  To fill only my spirit in my gardening leaves me feeling just a little empty too.  I have filled my spirit with my gardening but failed to  know the joy of feeding my household. 

This new garden is going to restore some balance to the equation, gardening and knitting, hand in hand.  

Sunday, 10 April 2011

The Beastie Lives

The Beastie Blanket still is a Work in progress.  Sigh. and sigh again.

It isn't like I have not worked on it.  I have.  It still is something that I can only do so much of in a day.  I did have one startling revelation with respect to it though.  

I was sitting under its voluminous folds, knitting on the second last section.  That was when I realized that it was voluminous and that I was bumping into my chin with my needles and at the same time, that my toes were very very cozy.  It occurred to me that I was knitting width and that this blanket was huge.  

I paused for a bit to consider the matter.  What would it look like if I only knit half of section 8?  (Section 8 is at the very bottom of the photo)  Would it destroy the scale of the thing?  And what would happen to section 9, which was two squares across the entire bottom (the right of the screen)?  Should I keep to the square or keep the original split and have two different sized sections?  

Did I adopt the changes shown above?  You bet I did.  This blanket is big. (If I was doing it again, I would start with fewer than 50 stitches and 42 rows but keep the same ratio.)  It is more than wide enough and without section 9 is more or less, a square.  With the modified section 9 it ought to be just right for a casual living room throw.  Any bigger and it would be a bed cover and just too big for snuggling into while watching TV.  

I knit on it till I could not knit on it any more. I'm several rows into section 9.  I wished I was farther.

There were other happenings. 
March is done!  Applause, applause. 

But I still seemed to have a lot of time to knit.  Curling was on.  The Sci Fi mini-series Tin Man was on.  I watched both.  This happened.

What can I say?  April. All caught up!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Finally, something

This last week has been a real adventure.  That mobius problem on on project, still not resolved, the needles cutting the yarn on the other top...

Oh wait, I didn't talk about that did I.  Yes, the pesky connectors on the Knit Picks needles would not stay closed, no matter what I did and as I knit the other evening, the needles split and mangled the yarn so much that it chewed right through the yarn.  I'm going to have to take some time and look carefully at that set of tips and that cable and see if there is some sort of damage causing it.  

I put the knitting on a different set of needles and the work is safe.   

I'm still just letting it happen without a whole lot of thinking, and so far it seems to be good. There doesn't seem to be any residual damage from bad needles.  Here is hoping none shows up as it is worn!

I also turned heels on the March sock.  Not long now till that sock is done.  It is distressingly far into April though, so I know that even on the plain ones that follow, there is going to have to be serious butt busting effort to get caught up.  

In a roundabout way, that is what I was meaning to write about today: That finally, it feels like there is forward movement in my work.  It feels like something is being accomplished.

I haven't done any knitting on the biggie blanket for a few days, the tops were not moving, the socks were not moving...everything felt very stalled.  Everything was just hanging, waiting, on edge, but never falling over, slipping out, never ever moving.  Not stuck exactly, just not moving.  Maybe it is a spring thing, but I just needed something to happen.  Finally it has and it seems to be sound.  

This weekend, the knitting is going to be all about that beastie blankie.  I really really want to get it done.  The only thing better than feeling some advancement in projects, is finishing.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Girding my loins

What with one thing and another I ended up working today at the yarn store.  They have a bit of a flu bug going around and were very short staffed.  Since spring is sluggish here, I have nothing much planned and was happy to give a hand.  But...

Yes, there is always that.  That whole yarn problem.  It's worse than you could possibly know. The yarn budget has been spent to 2012, and there is not one iota of yarnable space in this study. 

And then... yes then,

Artyarns arrived.  Art yarns are currently making a special guest appearance at River City.  

Be still my beating heart.  If you have never been in the presence of a reasonable quantity of of the wonder that is Artyarns, do consider making a trip just too see it.  There is Da Vinci and then there are Artyarns.  Sigh.  You cannot possibly imagine, no photos really show the beauty of this stuff.  It must, quite simply, be seen to be understood.  

But remember this.  If you are vulnerable, consider leaving your wallet at home.  Trust me on this.  You will be seduced by it.  It is good, but you know...if you are vulnerable...

I managed to leave without any, but only because faster people than me scooped the red mohair silk with sequins and beads before I got there.  There was a green skein with lovely copper beads and sequins but I sold that by simply touching and petting it.  (Darn customer.  I let her touch it and she would not give it back.)  The grey was not so urgent a desire, though the grey cashmere...whole other creature, level and kind of desire!  I did not find the purple with the beads and sequins till just as we were leaving at the end of the day. The till was closed.

If you do stop and falter and find yourself in need of a few rationalisations  about why this yarn is going home with you, please come and see me.  I have been working on excuses and full blown rationalisations all day.  (For instance, two skeins of cashmere and one skein of the beaded mohair silk will be enough for a size M fitted top with enough leftover for a stunning scarf.  2 projects! A bargain.) 

There will be a small fee for the excuses and rationalisations service, but how else am I going to be able to fund my purchase? 

Pray for me.  They asked me to work again Friday.  It will be a bonus day working with my favourite people, but pray that the purple beaded wonder and the grey cashmere are gone.  I am not sure I can withstand another day of exposure. 

*I make it sound like Artyarns is beyond pricey, but the truth of it is, the plain mohair and silk is a fantastic deal.  285 m of a stunning classic hand dye for 25 dollars.  Plenty of yarn for the most stunning Wisp you will ever see.  If you want the full meal deal, add one skein of the beaded mohair silk?  Heaven and so very worth it. 


Wednesday, 6 April 2011


I love to spin, but I don't do it nearly enough. 

It looks OK from here, but a single is only step one on the road to making a yarn.  The proof and truth of this will come when I ply two singles together. 

This is my first attempt to really create a yarn with a certain look.  I want to capture the multi colours, so I separated the one very long and lofty roving into two long rovings.  I labeled the boxes so I know which one to work from and I have been working very carefully from the same end, so that the two singles will be as alike I can humanly make them. 

When I ply, I plan to ply like colours to like so that the browns will be golden toasty brown, the golds rich and warm, the soft yellows will be butter and the creams will stay creamery pure.  There is an occasional shot of green in here too, and I would like to capture that shot of green among the golds. 

I have not spun enough to feel confident in what I am doing, but I no longer worry that I am doing it right, or that my technique is up to snuff or that people will come to me and say but you are doing it wrong. I don't think that there is any wrong way or right way but I do know that there are better ways and I mean to learn them.

I highly doubt anything I ever do will win prizes, but I really don't care about winning or being the best at anything.     These things have never been my goal. In anything. My goal is to understand it, to know why certain things I do on the wheel make certain things happen when I knit, to be able to use these qualities at will rather than letting karma be the driver of my results.  

It isn't a race or a contest with a prize at the end.  It is just a journey to knowing and that, just knowing it, is enough.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Entertaining myself

It has been pretty busy here at Chez Needles these last few days.  The schedule isn't going to plan, but the tasks I have set myself are still getting done.  

So is the knitting.  The March sock is speeding along. I'll get the heel done today, and then it is just a few cable sections.  But yes, it is the March sock.  I am a little disappointed in that, but the April one is going to be plain with a strong patterning to carry me through.  I am really looking forward to plain.  It is't that I don't enjoy the fancy socks.  I do.  It is just that I like plain ones, where the yarn is doing the talking, more.

Then there is my pretty new thing.  It is a top of some kind.  What kind will be determined as I knit.  Its working well, going along without a real plan.  I don't have to make any decisions till it is time to do the first set of decreases for whatever shaping I do and that is a couple inches away.  

The blanket is moving along.  Right now I am working on the toast section on the bottom.  The entire time I have been working on this blanket, I've been finding I have only been able to knit 6-8 rows a day.  My hands would cramp up and that would be it for the day. The yarn is Comfort Chunky and the ball band says to use 6 or 6.5 mm needles.  I'm using 4.5mm.  Generally that would be the number one reason for the hand cramping - needles too small for the yarn - but these last few days, no hand issues.  I have no idea if I am holding the project differently and it is relieving the issue, or if it is just that even now, when it is huge I am still really enjoying the simplicity of counting garter stitch ridges.  Marker of sanity:  I am enjoying it, and will enjoy it even more when it is done.  

But mostly, these last few days have been fun for the other things I am doing.  The other things I am doing is cleaning.  I don't generally enjoy cleaning, but this is different.  There was a time when our family moved 4 times in just over 2.5 years for Mr. Needles' work.  By the time we arrived here, at this house, there was nothing extra, nothing that we had that did not have meaning to us, or that did not get used regularly.  We still had many boxes of books, boxes of rocks (don't ask), boxes of little collections and toys but there were none of the things that accumulate when you have been in a place for a long time.  

Things like the boxes of National Geographic that you saved in case your kids needed them for research in school and haven't bothered pulling down off the shelf because they are not in the way. Things like stuff that gets tucked into closets and then never ever looked at again. (I would say what those things are, but I have no real idea of everything in some of them.  Not deeply connected to the stuff in the closets at all.)  I am going through all the things that accumulate when you live in a place for 20 years, and I am having a really good time.  

Every book on every shelf is getting looked at and pondered over. Every paper is getting looked at and tossed or saved. (The toss pile is way bigger than the save pile!)  Everything is dusted and and cleaned and washed.  I am reading little notes from times long past.  Odd bits of things that the kids once wrote or gave me and notes from our ordinary lives, like "gone to town, will bring KFC home" (which usually meant the house got tidied by the kids so they could eat as soon as I got home) that lived on tucked inside an anonymous pile of literature that has not been read in 15 years.  

Day to day cleaning is tedious, but this kind of cleaning is fun.  This deep cleaning and sorting is more like an archeological dig. It takes you back through all the places you have been and the many little things that have happened that make up a life.    

So I am just going to keep right on doing this.  I'm going to keep on entertaining myself, digging through, cleaning out, tidying up.  It is all accompanied by knitting and that makes my days very very good. 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Strange happenings

Friday, after a goodly portion of my chores were done, my new boss (me) let herself go outside for a bit of fresh air and some sun.  There were strange sounds emanating from the roof line, a strange tinkling sound against metal.  Yes, indeed, it is finally melting and sunny.
It has a ways to go, though.  I expect this is going to take a while. 

This is how it is on the prairies in the spring.   Everything comes, but slowly and on no ones time but the suns and mother earth.  

Everything waits on her whims.  Everything.  The buds on the trees.  The deer. The clouds. And me.  

I struggled not to start new things, to wait with patience till the big blanket was done but I failed and the knitting gods bit me back.  I did not conquer the mobius on the Leafy sweater, so I began something different.  It wasn't working out, so I ripped that back too.  I started yet another thing.  And changed my mind.  And then decided to keep knitting anyway and just let something happen.  

Strangely, this seems to be working.  Perhaps this has more to do that the knitting gods are watching the progress on the blanket and see that I am diligently working on it and are gifting me with just a hint of new knitting. 

As I knit these things and the shawls, I am thinking and feel just like the buds anxiously wanting to burst out of their winter confines.  I am about ready to burst forth with new knitting.  I am eager and those trickles outside just make it harder to sit still.

It isn't going to be easy with the trickles of spring outside the windows.

Friday, 1 April 2011

Knitting Flat

The lovely Leafy Glen shell remains looking like this.

Not for want of trying.  I decided to forgo knitting in the round and knit the thing the way it was designed, as two seamed pieces.  

Not going to work.  Or at not with the same results as I was looking for in the first place.  I wanted single rows of colour to dull the impact differences of their many hues. Carrying all these colours, keeping my planned sequence, is much more difficult than I imagined. Not really difficult, but surely a bigger pain than I bargained for.  There are strands of yarn everywhere and it is driving me mad.

I am about to take the flat apart and begin again, hoping for, praying for, one last shot, one successful shot, at  knitting this in the round. Sans mobius.  

I've started this thing so often that I know the first rows of this pattern by heart.  If knitting is music, this is going to be a lovely tune.  I love the feel of the yarn.  The smooth soft seacell and wool mix of Seawool has to be one of the nicest blends to work with. The colours from Fleece Artist?  Unadulterated play.  I know that if I ever get this thing going, I am going to love knitting this top.   

One more shot.  One more try.  And if this doesn't work...

I guess if this doesn't work, then I will try it again.  Its a lovely pattern and I mean to have it in this lovely yarn and I mean to have it now.