Monday, 31 October 2011


I'm doing a few shifts at the yarn store the next couple weeks.  Sunday was one of them.  I was feeling weak, so I went with a plan of attack.  

The plan of attack was that if I bought yarn, it had to be pre-planned and it had to work with something I already had in the stash.  It couldn't be a whole project on its own.  So, the thinking began.  What do I need want in my wardrobe that I did not have yarn for, and that I had a reasonable chance of finding in the store on any given day.  And the deal breaker was that if they didn't have exactly what I was looking for, I could not get anything else.  

Ever since finishing Mr. Needles Lichen vest, I have wanted a colourwork vest made with Cascade 220 for me. 

There were a couple of lovely things in Folk Vests, my recent constant companion.  

I checked out a favourite, Scandinavian Star.  I checked Ravelry to see what others had done.  Right there, without looking any farther, I saw perfection.  A lovely blue and white version.  Sigh.  Breathtaking.  

I have a bunch of white Cascade 220 in my stash.  I have the the book and pattern.  All I needed was a nice icy blue.  

Cascade 220 is a fast moving product.  If you see what you want, buy it and buy it now.  It isn't going to be there the next time you go in.   I knew the blues that I didn't want, but was a whole lot less certain of what I wanted.  I wanted really soft blue.  I wanted cool.  Not pastel.

I winned!  Planning worked so well, I think I will do it again.

Perhaps a plain sock yarn?  No.  Too easy.  


Ahhh there it is.  I have a lone ball of Fritidisgarn in a soft oatmeal colour.  I'll use it with some of the Cascade Eco on hand.  A gradient sweater perhaps?  The New Zimmermann book has one that is firing up my imagination.  I don't have quite enough Cascade Eco to get on with, but with the addition of a couple balls of oatmeal, it will be just right.  The price is right on Fritidisgarn too.  Under 5 dollars a ball.  Perfect.  

Here is hoping they have the oatmeal colour I want.   Otherwise I am toast.  

One down

One sweater down.

It doesn't look like much in the picture but lying flat in its, dampish state, it hardly looks like a sweater.

What an adventure knitting it, though.  I followed EZ's design for set in sleeves and knit them simultaneously.  I did adjust a few things.  

EZ worked off percentages, but since I had no idea and could only take a wild guess at the number of stitches before I started working sleeves together, I fudged it.  By the numbers, I think the sleeves and upper body would have been a little too short.  So as usual, I followed what felt right and it worked.

I did have a bit of a stop and consider when I got to the top of the sleeves.  I wasn't sure how I was going to approach that.  Again, I felt that if I followed her instructions implicitly, I would end up with too little room on the shoulders.  I did the knit and attach sleeve caps across the fronts and backs all the way up to where the shoulders needed joining.  When both the fronts and backs were done, I did a three needle bind off.  I considered doing the bind off in the usual way, so the ridge was inside, but I like that little ridgey look.  I did it on the outside.  Easy peasy and it looks great too.  

I kept making the poor fellow try it on.  I wouldn't have needed to do that if I was knitting a gansey.  I'm comfortable with the fit he would need with those big open sleeves, but this, with its closer and more defined fit, left me feeling unsure.  But I think, when you see a picture of him in it, you will agree, it worked out very nice.  

So a very good weekends work.  Better pictures tomorrow.

On to sweater 2.  I'm knitting this one bottom up as well.  The pattern shows raglan sleeves, but I may or may not do that.  I might do this sleeve again, and give Son2 fitted sleeves.  I know the fitted sleeves look great on him, and I am not sure the raglans do.  I suppose it isn't a concern on a big broad shouldered guy know me.  I will worry till it is done.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Fridays File

We are still waiting for my daughter in laws paperwork to go through and its getting so very close.  Her medical stuff is back in Kiev and we are just waiting for the final decision.  If the world works the way it should, she should be here before Christmas.  I'm so excited and thrilled.  

Its hard enough to move cities within the same country, much less leave and come to a place where the language you hear, where the words on the page, where the TV is so very different.  Every facet, every minute of the day will be so very different. 

I wonder at my son's wait, and I wonder at my daughter in law.  My son is working as much as he can so he doesn't think.  My poor daughter in law, my poor sweet girl.  Everything is about the wait.  When she sits in her home, she thinks about packing.  When she sits with friends she thinks about the leaving them.

As you can see, I'm setting myself up to worry for my sweet daughter in law and like all worries, it is energy spent foolishly.  My time is better spent elsewhere...only I don't know where.  Or how. I hate when that happens.  I hate the not knowing what is needed, what will be needed.  I'd much rather know and then do.  I'm better at doing than I am at not knowing. This waiting to know place is almost impossible to bear.

And so I knit. Its the doing part of knitting that makes it mean so much to me.  I can do this and keep occupied.  I can do this and not lose my head.  I can do this and think about everything else other than the waiting.  And so I knit.  

I knit from the minute I get up till my hands give out.  Then I do other stuff.  Yesterday I made a bunch of apple strudel for the freezer and a great huge apple crisp.  When that was done, I made a huge batch of chili, some for dinner and a bunch to freeze.  

I don't know what I will do today.  It might involve housecleaning.  

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

I didn't get a whole lot done yesterday.  A few rows in the morning a few rows at night, and that was it.  Today though, today, my name is knitting.

I intend to move this one forward.  It shouldn't take too long, really.  It is after all down hill from here.  

After knitting a very large part of the sweater without knowing just what kind of sleeves I would do, just what I was doing on the shoulders, I have finally come to a decision.  It will be bottom up, simultaneous set in sleeves with a saddle.  Of course, at this point, the saddle is still negotiable.  That is part of the fun of not following a pattern.  I can change my mind as I go, depending on what I feel like doing the moment I need to start doing it.  Sometimes, it blows up my face, but that is part of the fun of it too.  The adventure of the unknown.

There will be a point today, when my hands are going to give out.  I know that already.  When they do, I am going to be working on this.  
I have had this quilt topper on the go for at least 10 years.  There was no rush on it.  I worked on it in batches of time when I had nothing else to do.  Its the style of quilt topper from when quilting meant sewing the layers together and elaborate patterning in the stitching was the focus as much as the sewing the top together.  I was doing it for the stitching not sewing the topper.  The white squares will eventually have a stitched fan across the corner topped with an elaborate spray of roses.  The stitching on the white squares will be done in soft dusty blue thread.

Or that is the plan.  Its always been the plan.  It stayed as a plan for a very long time.  Till one day last week, when my hands needed a rest from knitting.  I had knit a ton, had wound as much laceweight as I could bear in one sitting, and I still needed to be doing something so I wouldn't drive myself nuts. I dug in the cupboards till I found the quilt top and decided now was the time.  Up till now, only half the squares were sewn together and it is time to move this puppy along.  

At the time I started it, I meant it to be a quilt for my bed, a queen size.  Now I mean it to be for the guest bed, a double.  The half done top was magically a 3/4 done top.  Its plenty large now, so the only sewing left to do is the plain blue borders.  

There has never been a rush to do this, but things change.  There is a sort of rush on it now.  Remember these?
Taking up a lot of room.  It would really be nice to put the 'turn down the furnace, sleep under wool quilt' part of that plan into action.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Looking good.

There is always a place I get to when I am knitting a sweater, where I feel like my nine year old nephew riding on a roller coaster, in the dark, at Disneyworld, screaming "I'm gonna die, I'm gonna die' every time we were headed down.  (I was right there behind him.  I thought it sweet of him to say exactly what I was thinking.  It was in the dark.  Big D dark.)

I get that same gaping hole in the pit of the stomach feeling just before it is time to try a sweater on.  What if the fabric looks like trash when it's on him?  What if the yarn won't hold together?  What if I discover an error in the pattern an inch from the bottom? What if it doesn't fit?  

This year the answer  is I would have spent an entire month of my life knitting... badly, that's what.  It would put a real kink in the 3 sweaters before Christmas plan this year.

It's fine.
Math strikes again.  And wins.  Funny that.

If it looks like Mr. Needles is standing there a little stiffly, it is because he is gripping the sweater with his armpits to hold it up and is saying testily 'what's the camera for?

He gets the blog part, but the need for a headless shot of a sweater during a fitting is beyond him. He'd rather have this kind of photo.

So I'll give him one.  After all, he did hold the sweater up rather nicely.

Little Red in the City

I have a lot of books.  I love my books and I read them through as often as I can, though since the knitting thing became a factor in my days, I read somewhat less.  It should come as no surprise that since the knitting thing came along, there has been a massive accumulation of knitting books.  I keep thinking that surely, I have the really good ones and yet...

available in paperback and digital copy or a combination of both!

I like her work.  I have knit several of her Liesl sweaters, and firmly intend to knit that marvelous little pattern again.  (I'm going to wait a few years though.  Don't want to flood the wardrobe a single pattern no matter how much I love it)  I've knit her masterful Ishbel and have a second planned.  I'm working on Damson right now.  I have the Coraline pattern and it sits at the top of the sweater queue. Her wee baby shoes are the cutest thing out there, bar none.  But Ysolda has so much more in store in Little Red in the City.  

If you have ever needed to alter a hand knit for anyone, get hold of a copy of this book.  It has some of the best and most comprehensive photos and drawings of how and why and where to adjust.  She doesn't just tell you this is a good place to adjust, or tell you how to do it, she tells you why. 

She tells you why you want to do it here rather than there.  Her drawing on one of the garments in the book (pg 55), while discussing short rows, answered a long pondered question.  She includes a section on how to calculate the number of short rows you need that takes you far beyond the usual ' add some short rows for bust shaping'.

She not only shows specific things but shows you what the difference looks like on samples.  She doesn't just say that colourwork in knitting works better in woollen spun yarns, she shows you why.  Her samples (pg 12) of worsted spun birdies and woollen spun birdies side by side clear up the why for even the newest colourwork knitter.   

Ysolda isn't afraid to take you on her journey understanding why either. By showing and disscussing some of the things that she didn't think about while working up the designs, she teaches us how to examine our work, how to see our own failures in the way they should be looked at, as lessons.

Sitting, reading the book last night, it felt as if I was sitting in a knit group and having coffee with her.  Her warm and chatty style makes the massive amounts of information she gives, easy to take in.  You get an overwhelming amount of information without being overwhelmed.  

It is a comfortable book, written by Ysolda, a knitter among us, who is right smart and clever, who lives just round the corner.  (In this instance, the globe is the corner, but where friendship and knitting are concerned, that just isn't that far.)   Not at all intimidating, not at all inaccessible, just warm and friendly and good.  

And then there are all the patterns.  I didn't even get to the patterns! 

My kind of book and I hope yours too.  Get hold of a copy.  Well worth it.

Monday, 24 October 2011

6 ridges, 12 rows

I've done less knitting than I planned this weekend.  I'd hoped to get Mr. Needles sweater joined, body to sleeves, and the sleeve decreases begun.  But I didn't. (These sleeves have been dreadfully slow.)  For the life of me, I don't know what I did.  

I didn't knit a lot on anything but the sweater.  A little on a sock while I cooked my dinner and lunch, a little on my other sock.  Not a lot of results there either.  

I do know that at the end of Sunday my hands were aching.  I know that the weather plays in this.  I know it plays in how speedy my knitting is.  I do know I put in what felt like a lot of knitting hours.  Still, it is what it is.  Not a lot of knitting.

It is 6 ridges or 12 rows till I join.  Not a lot of knitting.  Small rounds.  Not much.  We'll see how it goes today.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Going to have a quiet day

I'm going to have a quiet day.  I accomplished a lot this week, but I am still behind my target.  So I'm going to have a quiet day and just work on  getting to that target.  

There was knitting yesterday.  Much knitting.  I did work on a sleeve of sweater number 2, and I think its going nicely. I haven't checked gauge on the knitting yet, but I will.

Oh I will.  Several times. Gauge is a stern mistress.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Sneaking off

I'm sneaking off to town today but before I go I have some stuff to finish up.  I have a section to finish in my upgrading.  I have a couple of loads of laundry to deal with and I have to figure out what to knit when I go.  The first 2 are easy to do.  Just sit down and do it.  The last one, not so much.

I did move forward on the second sleeve. I didn't get nearly as much done here as I thought, but I did get a lot done in other things, so the balance is probably just right.  

The sensible thing to do is probably to keep working on this sweater and get the sleeve knit, but I don't think I can do it.  Even this simple pattern takes a fair bit of counting and it is very easy to get off track.  I don't like the idea of having to fix it all later.  

But...I do have that other sweater in the wings.  The Gray Remix is calling and starting work on that project might be just the thing.  Son 2 has chosen a Brownstone Pullover from Brooklyn Tweed.  It would be lovely if I could do it in Shelter, but  Son 2 is not a wool sort of guy.  He was, a very long time and about 5 feet ago, the sort of guy you had to cut the feet out of sleepers for.  So Remix it is.  

I have a swatch worked up.  
I have no idea what gauge is yet, but I do know which needle I am going to use.  The bottom small section of the swatch was done with 4.5 mm needles and the top with 4mm.  I'm going with the 4.  It is just right for this yarn.  The fabric is stable and soft and just about perfect.  There will be a little gauge hinkying around, I think.  I haven't counted it yet, but it seems just that wee bit smaller that is the difference between working out perfectly and needing tweaking.  I have a feeling it is close to 20 stitches per inch, rather than the 18 the pattern requires.  

I'm not worried about it.  It's a basic guy sweater.  I can gauge hinky in a straight body, no shaping sweater with my eyes closed.  

Big talk?  Yes.  Overconfident?  Yes and as we all know, Mother Kniture likes to bite back.  Hard.  As much as I would like to simply sit down and knit, I am going to take the time and do the math. Twice. Its worth the effort and the time. It might be a simple pattern,
 and it might be mostly stockinette, but a sweater is only as good as what goes into it.  I intend this one to be good.

I will be ready to start the sleeves when I sit down for coffee this morning but I am not going to rush it.  I'll be checking my gauge as I knit just to be sure. And to stay sure.  

Wish me luck.  Say a prayer to Mother Kniture.  It can't hurt.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Little Knitting

I was a paragon of domesticity yesterday  At 9:30 I went up to work on the apples.  If you know someone with more than 1 good apple tree, you know that they are giving stuff away in the fall.  Its been a great season here for apples.  Late frost and warm fall meant that they just got better and better.

Because the variety of these apples was unknown to me, I erred on the side of caution.  They reminded me a lot of my Uncle Victor's good eaters.  Crisp and juicy to eat but they have a different sort of texture when baked.  I made a couple of the pies and made some mini strudels to test just how they performed in baking.  

While they are not quite juicy enough for pies, they will be wonderful for strudels.  The apple gets mushy rather than staying crisp and developing a lot of juice.  For instance, the pies did not really develop that sort of juice that bubbles up from under the crust and soils the bottom of your oven. 

Once the pies were done for the day, I turned to bread baking and that took much of the rest of the day.  I put on a pot of stew for supper, topped it with dumplings and ended my day with only a little knitting done on the kitchen sock but a lot of good things for my freezer.

Today, there will be knitting.  May it be as fruitful as yesterday.  I'm aiming for a sleeve.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011


I'm knitting away on sweaters here. Mr. Needles is my focus right now. One other has been swatched and a third in the dreaming of stage.  

My question is directed to myself this morning. 'Self', I ask, "self, what on earth are you about when you buy yarn?'

Yes that is the question isn't it?  My stash is proof of my fear of running out of yarn but really, this is quite ridiculous.

This sweater is a perfect example.  Body

and sleeve.
and so far I have used 2 and this much of a third.
Using this as my guide, I would guess that I will use two more skiens of yarn.  

I have 8.  

So ?????  

I wonder if I should change my Ravelry name to something like 'nevergonnarunoutofyarn' ?

Monday, 17 October 2011


In thinking about lace, I am reminded of patience.  You have to have a lot of patience to knit the stuff, but even before that, lace requires patience.  

I was playing around in the big box of lace yarn and realized a skein of Merino Silk was in peril.  It was looking ragged around the edges.  Its softly folded ends of the skein were looking disordered in a way that usually means knots rather than knits.  So I decided to sit down and deal with it.

I know a lot of people who wind this sort of very fine lace by hand rather than on the ball winder.  I have done both but this time choose to do it by hand.  And it is a good thing too.  The messy looking ends meant that there strands were out of order all along the way.  

You can get through almost anything in yarn and have the outcome be beautiful if you take your time, don't pull anything tight and accept that it will take just exactly as long as it takes.  

Lace is in every way, at every step, a metaphor for patience.  

Saturday, 15 October 2011

I fell asleep last night to the sounds of "Serenity'" playing on the DVD player and promptly fell into dreams of Victorian Lace.  I have no idea how or why that happened, but I thought the juxtaposition was interesting.  Perhaps it is the two sides of me, the lace loving wishing I would grow up and be a lady one day side and the adventure story loving hope I never have to grow up me.

With morning, an early morning, came a powerful need to continue.  I turned the movie back on and languished in bed watching it and reading Victorian Lace Today.  It was my first lace book bought when I barely understood what knitting was, what its mysteries were, what the different decreases could do and how, goodness me, yarn overs could possibly figure into it all.  It was always where I dreamed my knitting journey could take me.  After re-reading that lace masterwork, its not a wonder that I have accidentally accumulated so much lace yarn.  Its early influence has prepared my stash well.  

Still, it is time to leave the dreams aside for a bit and face the work of the day.  My house is surprisingly tidy. Even the kitchen is clean - by my standards - and yesterdays work work is more or less done.  

I slayed the demon that was slowing my progress in upgrading (just a matter of terms that relate to absolutely nothing else in the program) and am now 1 module away from completion.  Of step one.  (There are many steps yet to do).  It would have been grand to get that last module finished but 4:30 is a good quitting time for work on a Friday afternoon.

In knitting, I would have had the front of the sweater done but I realized part way through knitting it, that I was doing it all wrong.  My intention was to knit this one the EZ way, her hybrid or saddle shoulder.  The sleeves need to be ready t attach once you get to the underarm of the body part.  So I ripped and am working on sleeve one.  After the long round of the body, the sleeve is clipping along quite nicely.

Because there is nothing demanding my attention but for a leisurely drive to the farm later today, I anticipate that the second sleeve will be begun, and maybe by the time this weekend is done there will be progress on the yoke of this sweater.  That is when the fun begins and I get to follow Elizabeth and her innovations. What suits me most is the intensely practical, prosaic Elizabeth and well thought out common sense leading to great beauty and inspiration.

The work of the day is sleeves, and "Sense and Sensibility"is on TV.  Common sense and a little dreaming.  That just seems right somehow.

Friday, 14 October 2011

At Loose ends

I'm sitting here contemplating loose ends.  Not knitting lose ends.  Heaven knows there is enough yarn here and more desired projects than I can begin to list, and I have a sweater to finish before Christmas and a bunch of other stuff on the go too. Plenty to knit.  Plenty of Knitting ends, few of them loose.

I'm at loose ends because I had a plan for this week and it isn't happening because of my faulty memory.  I thought it was supposed to happen on Thursday and my whole week was built around it. Week went just right till Thursday.  Even Thursday was going right till about 10 a.m. when I realized that Wednesday had been the 12th, and there was no possible way Thursday could be the 18th.  No.  It happens on Tuesday the 18th.

It was a little deflating. I really don't want to drive in to town and I don't have the mental capacity to work using my slow home internet.  I likely will do one or the other, but I am not sure I have the mental capacity for it. If my capacity is small and my network is slow, I ought to deliberately go slowly forward and tackle the things that are giving me trouble. It sounds a little counter-intuitive, doesn't it.

Its like when I am trying to work through a challenging instruction while knitting something.  If I go slower than seems possible and take it one instruction at a time, if I focus one one small stitch over and over...

I will peel off the icky parts, struggle through the slowness.  All the more time to really absorb it.

I figure that if there are frequent knitting breaks through the day, I just might survive. If I get the sweater front done today, that means the breaks were about right.

There. I feel better now. Loose ends defeated by a plan of attack and couple simple goals.  Plow through the parts I am not having fun with in my work and a knit goal to reward me and save my sanity.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Really good day

Yesterday was one of those days, those days that were just so darn good that you sort of wished everyday was like that.  

It wasn't that everything was going my way.  There were several times through the day where I faced my inability to remember a thing for more than 5 minutes, there were several times where I had to wonder about the general level of my intelligence.  To top it off, I spent very, very little time knitting. It could have been the kind of day where going to bed at the end of it, was the best thing in the whole day.  

Instead, all the less than positive things are put to their proper place.  None of it was critical bad, and none of it meant anything to anyone but me.  I will do better tomorrow.  (maybe)

I met a friend for a beer and a nice chat about everything under the sun.  We've known each other for several years.  We live in the same city.  For the past few years we worked just a stones throw from each other but we have only met twice.  We talked about all the friends we have in common, who we have also not met, and all the silly things we have talked about and the people that we miss and how conversation and our differences enrich us all.   That is how it goes with imaginary friends.  

A little later I met up with some knitters at the library. Our knitting might bring us together and there is always talk about knitting and hand work but it is the general conversation and camaraderie that keeps us all coming back. It is a place to get out of your real world for just a bit and step away from being mom, wife, employee, whatever other hat you wear in your day to day existence, and can just be, sharing or listening as you wish.  Some times the chat is only knitting. Sometimes its impromptu how to sessions and technical skills.  Sometimes it is silly giddy fun,and sometimes it borders on philosophical and warmth and kindness and is so rich and warm that you feel your heart is going to burst with the goodness of it.  

That was the kind of day I had.  A day where at the end of each little thing I did, I felt the smallest bit bereft that it was done and that there wouldn't be more till the next time - except for that part early in the day wherein I faced my intelligence and found it to be lacking (I could have done without that I suppose). It was the sort of day, where it was so good, that facing the sorry bits was small in comparison with the goodness of everything else around it.  

And then I came home and picked up the mail and faced the kindness of other good friends who I have never met.  

Curlerchick went out of her way and picked up a copy for me, went down to the post office and sent it on its way.  I appreciate the time you took to do this so much. It capped a day filled with warm memories and good friends.

And so I headed off to sleep, surrounded by the good thoughts and happy moments of my day, reading the silly, the ordinary, the sometimes profound and moving thoughts of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. A good writer illuminates the human condition and Pearl-McPhee is a good writer.  

I couldn't have asked for more.     

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Bitten by the lace thing

Oh yeah.

After taking all my lace books upstairs for bedtime reading, after playing in the lace, I am ready to dream lace again.  

Last night I was reading Gossamer Webs.  I've always been just a bit intimidated by Gossamer Webs and delicate things that are Orenburg shawls.  But reading carefully, paying close attention to the details of construction, there are a couple things I noted that make me wonder if its all in my head.  

They are knit on small needles, 1.75 to 2.00 mm and no bigger than 2.75mm needles.  That is pretty small as far as needles for lace goes.  Most lace shawl patterns on Ravelry are knit with needles somewhere in the range of 4 mm and up.  (Not counting for personal gauge, of course)

Orenburg shawls rely on very simple stitches.  Yarn overs, knit 2 together and Knit 3 together.  Yup, that is it, all on a garter stitch ground.  Like anything else in knitting, this very simplicity is the heart of its mystery.

One of the things that intimidated me was that Orenburg lace is noted for having patterning on both sides.  But...the patterning that happens on both sides is no more difficult than what I did on the Watershed (which wasn't so hard once I found my rhythm.)

Orenburg lace won't be hard to do, but it will be intense.  Its beauty is in the very fine fabric created by tiny stitches, and the sheer number of  elements worked to create these stunning shawls.  Add to that the very very fine yarn and you have created a masterwork.

Knitting lace isn't a mystery, it is just mastering your fears. And then doing it.    

Makes me think I will finish the pretty pink thing.

The pink shawl isn't related to Orenburg at all.  Not in its structure, not in it's patterning.  It is related in the things I have chosen to make my version of Icarus  with.  I've used one of the finest yarns in my collection, Skacel Merino lace and I am knitting on small needles, 2.75 mm.  
If I ever want to knit Orenburg lace, I am going to have to be able to finish this relatively simple to knit shawl.  

Its kind of pretty.  And I do have those many, many kinds of pink beads.  I might just be reconnecting to it.  

But not till after these sweaters are done.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Playing around

I did a lot of knitting this weekend, but I wish I could have done more.  My hands always give out before my heart does.

So I tidied the ever messy study, and had to put away a lately come to me skein of Centolavaggi.  I've had a long love for this yearn...let's just pretend that was a spelling error, OK?  It was my first laceweight affair before I knit and it tipped me over the edge.  

I've collected some lovely lace yarns.  There was a show of it last year during camping season.  The show starts on June 7 and goes all week.  I've picked up a few pretty things since then.     

It occurs to me that though I love lace and have a large stash of beautiful things, delicate things, bright strong things, delicate dainty lacy things, there hasn't been a whole lot of knitting with it.  

This past year, I sort of promised myself that besides the WIPs, I would work on sweaters.  Maybe this coming year, I will work on shawls.  Concentrating on light lacy delicate shawls of elegance, daring, and loveliness unsurpassed sounds really interesting. 

Might be the yarn fumes talking, but shawls and lace are definitely going to be on the menu.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Giving Thanks

There are dozens of things to give thanks for this year.  I have a wonderful husband, some great kids, a wonderful daughter, who heaven and Canada Immigration willing, will be here soon, and so much much more.  

But mostly, I am thankful that this is done. Done zippering, done blocking, DONE.

Years and years in the making.  The first idea of it was in 2008!

Friday, 7 October 2011

A Penchant for Little Things

For anyone who has hung around this blog long enough, it will come as no surprise, that I have a penchant for small things.  I have a few books I have spoken of and many more that I haven't.  I am pretty sure I have shown a few pictures, though in my searching, I couldn't find a time when I did.
 I love little things.  I have them hiding in a box, because I have no where to put them.  While I would love to have a huge cabinet house,  in all my years of searching, I haven't found anything that would work at a price I was willing to pay.  But now I think I have.
A local raveler was looking to get rid of a small cabinet leftover from a bathroom renovation.  See that wee bottom shelf?  Garden.  Inside there is plenty of space for some wee rooms, a living room, a dining room, maybe a bedroom. Might be space for an attic too, if I had another shelf. It won't be huge and grand, but it will be a wee slice of miniature.  I just have to convince Mr. Needles to put some glass in the center of the door panels.

The cabinet inspired me and has had me thinking small lately . To that end, new knitting needles arrived yesterday.

Let's give it a little context.

The yarn in the picture is Misti Alpaca Laceweight.  The big needle is a 1.5 mm Addi Turbo. The middle needle is a .75mm needle or an 6/0 in US sizing and the wee one is a .5mm or 8/0 US.  I have not lost it completely, though.  As evidence, I submit that there are 3 sizes of needles available for order that are smaller. I'm not sure I could even see a .25 mm needle.

The two wee tiny needles are from Althea Crome, the hands behind the tiny sweater from the film Coraline.  Check out the things she has on her website,  Needles, patterns, and a gallery of itty bitty treasure.

I'm contemplating knitting wee soft treasures for in my rooms.  A wee kitchen has to have dishcloths and tablecloths.  A wee living room needs curtains and a blanket to cozy up under tossed across the sofa, a bedroom needs wee garments hanging at the ready and some socks under the bed.  And garden rooms need wee blooms and greenery and quite possibly cats and chickens too.

Right now, I have two sweaters for large men on the go.  I have another blanket on the go too.  All big stuff.     Contemplating itty bitty is the perfect antidote.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sweaters biting back

I did not have an internet connection this morning.  In a series of internet kerfuffles, this bugs me most.  Not having an internet connection isn’t going to kill me, but it sure impedes life as I know it. And like it.  Please ignore the early morning whine you hear in my voice. It really is related to the knitting.

I’ve worked a little on the sock, a little on the Damson, and a little on Mr. Needles new sweater over the last few days.  I have not had a chance to finish the last few stitches of facing on Mr. Needles vest, and the likelihood of getting to it is almost zero.  I need a little bit of my brain left to do it and my brain, after working at the yarn store, is just not used to intense thought every single day.  

Because Damson, sweet thing though it is, is in the plain garter stitch part, and the sock is just a plain funky coloured sock, I wanted to talk about Mr. Needles new sweater.  

The plan is for a very simply knit sweater. Above the arms it will get interesting, but the bottom is pretty plain. I wanted to do a little something to relive any tedium so I planned for a garter rib pattern for the body.  I’ve had a real bugger of a time getting it set up.

First, I erred on counting the stitch gauge from my swatch so I cast on too few stitches.  This was rather inconvenient since I already had the whole of the bottom ribbing done. I decided to think of this garment as an EZ percentage system garment, so all that needs doing is to increase up to the number of stitches I needed.  Sounds easy, right? 
 It wasn’t easy at all.  

First I divided my stitches for front and back unevenly and I did not discover that till at the end of the second sides increases.  Undid that and redid them correctly, but I forgot to do them on the second side.  I redid that and then finally knit merrily onward.  I had about 4 inches of body done and I realized that  the first plan of 6x2 garter rib did not look as nice as I hoped.  Somehow that simple pattern looked busy. So I ripped back to the ribbing and started over again. 

All the numbers had to be rejiggered for the 9 x 3 count that I am now going to do.  I sat down and merrily knit errors left right and center.  Once again, knit a little and back to the ribbing. Rinse. Repeat. 

I think I have it now.  I have the same number of stitches on the front and the back.  I have the stitch pattern all set up, the 3 stitch garter ribs stitches off setting the panels of 9 stockinette.  I don’t know if this is the perfect look, but no matter what happens I am not redoing it.  

And yet, I have this feeling... 

It feels as if the sweater is trying to tell me something.  Maybe the sweater really wanted to be plain stockinette but is letting me make the garter ribbing...and is sitting tight till I have put at least another ball of yarn into it. And then it is going to bite me.

Sweaters can be like that, you see.  Not vindictive.  I don't think a yarn thing could ever be truly vindictive but yarn things are not about to try and convince a bullheaded moose type that her plan isn't going to look right.  

Nah, a sweater usually sits back and lets you go on till you have invested heavily into it and then it will bite back.  

Not vindictive, but hard enough so that you get the message.  No.  Not vindictive at all. Whatever gave me that idea?    

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Significantly different.

Contrary to what the title implies, there is nothing significantly different in the knitting today.  I worked on the pretty little Damson shawl a little yesterday, and a wee bit  - two or three rows - on a sock and that was it.  Some days just end up not being busy with the knitting sort of days.  It was a working on the computer day and in this instance, that didn't mean spending hours on Ravelry looking at projects and dreaming.

Its going to be a little like that today too.  There are going to be a few days like that in the next week or so, but then I should be back to my normal knit all day self.  So, in advance, if the knitting content seems sketchy, well, my bad.

On the very upside, I have been asked to knit a sweater by one of my boys.  Granted he passed boyhood long ago, and he is a rather tall and broad shouldered man, he asked for a sweater.  

We had a disscussion on Facebook about colour (he did not care) and fibre (he wanted cotton, but substantial cotton), and we came up with this.

The warm yummy goodness of Berroco Remix.  I like it for several reasons.  Its completly made from recycled fibres.  Its got a significant  natural fibres content.  It feels good in my hands. It has a tweedy casual look. The colour is one of their new grays, with a warm brown undertone.  Its really quite striking.  Dressy an casual at the same time.  Manly.

I can't wait to knit it.  Had I been smart I would have taken his measurements when he was here last.  I could be knitting on it had I been smart.  But I wasn't, so I have to wait till I see him again.  What I can do is knit a swatch and I can do that today in the corners of the day. I'm a little excited. I'm a lot excited.

Someone very important to me asked for a sweater and that is significantly different.  

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Weekend Cool

I'm not sure if I mentioned it, but I was at a wedding this weekend.  It was a nephews wedding to a lovely small town Saskatchewan girl.  

There are certain things that happen at small town Saskatchewan weddings. The food is amazing and homey and just like your mother made only you don't have to do the dishes.  You locate all the venues easily - just look for a large number of cars and the hall is across from the water tower.  The bar is down at the end of main street and someone knows which door is the right door - they've been there after a football game.  The hall is small and friends of the brides or the grooms are manning the bar and two cute girls man the guest book (hey, I watch stuff like this.  I have two very eligible bachelor sons, and I am in need of grandchildren - you never know when inspiration will strike them).  It is typical and the weddings are all the same.  They are warm and wonderful celebrations of friends and family and all the people in the place knows everyone else, or if they don't, they farm or the rest of their family does so there is always something to talk about.

And then, if you were at this wedding, there was a big band for the dance.  I know.  It is rare at all but the very biggest wedding to have a live band these days.  And when you do have a live band, it is an old fashioned polka and waltz band because those are the inexpensive ones.  But a full 16 piece orchestra, with horns and a rhythm section?  Never happens.  It was wonderful and unexpected and a lot of fun.  Stone Frigate Big Band  Way Cool.

So was the knitting.  There was the ordinary and expected sort.
They are comforting and fun and nice and stripey and just waiting for some afterthought heels.  

And then there is the little bit out of the ordinary.  

I expected the strong bright colours.  I choose the yarn because of that shot of yellow.  What I didn't expect was the little lozenges of fun and
I didn't even see the bright bands of clear primary blue till I took the picture this morning.

It was and excellent weekend.  

Monday, 3 October 2011

Sluggish of Head

I attended a wedding on the weekend and find after hours of driving and knitting and celebrating wedding and knitting and eating, I am a little sluggish of head.  

I should have linked to the video or better yet...

What I did was merely add the garment to the step where you are making the zipper knittable.  If I had not already had the bands done, I would have approached it differently.  The second side goes in today. I dearly hope I can repeat the sterling experience and results from the first side.  

The whole thing is very neat and is going to be the way I install zippers from here on in.

I did get some socks done and worked on yet another pair on the weekend. They are still in a bag in the front entrance.  I am entirely to lazy to go get them for photos now.  I'll get to them later.