Thursday 31 May 2012

Moving Along

The pink sweater is moving right along and the increases are working!  I would show you.  I had planned to show you, but I left the camera at home.  

I will say once again how much I like Berroco Remix.  I have been wondering which colour to use next.  I have no idea what I would need more for after 2 sweaters, one after another in this yarn, but I absolutely love the way it works up and love the way the fabric looks knit.    Sort of upper crust New England comfy casual, like the sort of things LL Bean sells.  It has 'the' look and I want more.

Till I worked in the yarn store, I was not acquainted with Berroco except for their advertising in magazines but they have the most remarkable range of yarn.  And the colours.  

No one touches the density and richness of their colours.  Stand in front of a wall of Ultra Alpaca colours and tell me you won't be moved by the sight before your eyes.

I could go on.  Heaven knows that after having missed a couple of weeks of the knitting groups, the ladies who were there last night can attest that I can talk nonstop for hours about yarn.  (Sorry about that.)  Generally, if you are reading this blog, you already know that.  And probably feel the same.

Tonight I am going to perform surgery on the brown Remix sweater.  I've settled on what I am going to do and I've sorted out an emergency next step in case my repair isn't going to work.  I'm keeping my toes crossed, because as Brenda of Brenda Knits says "Fingers crossed except you can't knit like that."


Wednesday 30 May 2012

By Dawns Early Light

Everything looks better once you have a good nights sleep on it.  I got up half an hour early and sat and pondered, corrected and knit.  It works.  I think I have it now, and have moved on to start the patterning on the sweater.  

We'll see where the day takes me.  It is such a relief to have that sorted out and my path clear in my mind.

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Weeping and gnashing of teeth

This is a tale of weeping and gnashing of teeth.  It will be short because I am going upstairs and I intend to have a good stiff drink. 

And then I will have another.

I am ready to start doing the lace panels on Gregale.  The lace panels will very cleverly hide all in increases I need in the patterning.  Or they will kill me.

I tried to simply chart it out.  It is a really simple pattern and you would think that charting it to increase should be easy peasy.  

Then I knit the pattern from the bottom up just as written so that I could get a feel for how the increases worked in.  That went OK, so I tried the increasing.  that would be the middle.  The direction of the lines is very very important and with the conversion to my continental knitting on flat work, I have to switch the chart for the back to knit on the first side I come to and the chart for the front to the first back section. (edited to explain the problem correctly.)

If that sentence doesn't make sense to you...well it is indicative of the way this is going.  I knit and reknit that center section a bunch of times and was beginning to see the light.  

Then I had to stop and go to work.  I started again and changed out the charts and it seemed to be going on.  It looks pretty good in the picture but I have to go back 3 rows because there is something different between the two sides of the work. I get the general layout of the lace patterns, but I tell you the increases are making me nuts. 

Just when I think I have it and am ready to write out a quick to follow chart, it doesn't work out.

So, think of me while you knit.  I'll be the blithering idiot in the corner writing on the wall, I love knitting, I love knitting.  If you get a minute, I could probably use a pat on the back.  

And if you could see yourself clear to sharpen my pencil, I'd appreciate it.  

So much to tell

Every once in a while, it seems there is so much stuff to tell, that I just don't know if I could possibly tell it all before I forget.  Sometimes it just bubbles over.  Today it's like I'm a fountain of champagne bubbling out over the top of the bottle, bubbling merrily along.  It was an extraordinarily good weekend.

A wee bit ago, I started knitting to replace a basic wardrobe piece, a black turtleneck.  I am still working on it. 

I am loving the yarn.  Its just a very inexpensive black cotton from a South African company, Elle.  I suspect it was a discontinued line because the place I got it from was selling bags of it for dirt and I do mean dirt, cheap.  I have 3 bags of it, so I am just thrilled that I like knitting it.  Wouldn't it be awful to have 3 bags of something you loathed?  

Though I confess, its hard to imagine loathing any yarn unless it was that stuff that grannies knit slippers out of in the 70's.  I loathe that still.  

This project sits on my desk.  Its kind of in the way, sitting here buried under pencils and paper pads and a Russian dictionary.  Its kind of crowded by a couple glasses from the weekend (time to clean this study again), but it just sits here dark and quiet.  Its really well mannered, I must say.
I take it out every now and then and knit a few repeats of the pattern.  I have to finish a repeat though.  Each time I leave it sit mid repeat, I mess it up.  I have decided that it is so busy that no one will notice.  I didn't, till there was photographic evidence.  I submit to you the evidence.

I've messed up more than once and will likely do it again.  There is no fighting it.  I will live with it or rip it all back and just do a rib.  There is merit in the thought.  The debate rages on.  Ribs would be fine, but this is kind of fun.

There was much knitting this weekend, much much.  I worked very hard on the rose sweater and I am so pleased.  Contiguous is working out very well, and oh I love this yarn.  More on that later. 

And Son 2, tall, tall man that he is, came and tried on his now complete sweater.  It looks really good.  Almost to good to believe that I knit it.  From the back.  More about that tomorrow.  

I'm mulling how I am going to proceed on it.  I don't think it will take long to get the fix done, but I am kind of debating how I want to get there.

Anyway, busy busy weekend, and busy week upcoming.  So much to tell.  

Monday 28 May 2012

Knitting is like that

I made good progress on my pink sweater.  

Oh my gosh.  I'm knitting a pink sweater.  I thought it was coral.  I have to be careful how I wear coral, but pink I can wear, no problem! Seriously, it was not till I put in on to see how it would fit, that I realized how pink it was.  Not pastel pink, rosy pink!

Please don't ask me what I was doing with a bag full of Remix in a colour I was not sure I could wear.  I can only say in my defense that it looked more pink in the store?  I am feeling a mite silly since I have been worrying about how I was going to use a whole bag of coral.  I am in fact, knitting it now so that I would use the colour while it had a little bit of a fashion resurgence.  But a nice rose colour never is out of fashion. The joke is on me!

I digress.  Sorry.  I was knitting away and really enjoying it. I tried it on, and the fit will be just about right.  I love it when knitting math works, when numbers and gauge match and make sense on the needles.  Anyway, I was cruising.  I knit a whole bunch and decided to take count of my sleeve stitches.I didn't want to end up with sleeves that were too large again.  Its a little bit of a beginner mistake and I have done this a few times now.  I know better.  

So count I did.  By stitch count I was 10 increases per sleeve from where I would want to knit straight.  

Whoa Nelly.  I'm only about a third of the way down the sleeve. That should not happen till about 2/3rds of the way. Something is seriously wrong here.

An enthusiastic knitter mistake. Sigh.  I really ought to pay better attention to what I am doing.  See that dramatic bell on the inrease line?  Yup.  I'd been increasing every round.  Sigh.  Its supposed to be every other round.  Every round isn't going to produce a nice fitting sleeve. Every round might be pouffy looking.
Back to the drawing board.

There.  That looks so much better!  hahaha

It does look a little pouffy here, but the shoulder is squished up on my needles.  When it is sitting flat it has a really nice tailored look which is what I am going for.  The line of sleeve increases is much better and that is what matters here.

It does seem to be moving along nicely, though the knitting is never going to go so fast as I want if I keep having to re-knit.  But getting it right is completely possible in knitting.  

I'll take my mulligan and move on. Knitting is like that.  

Friday 25 May 2012


Every once in a while, genius spontaneously erupts.  This is true of every human venture, but it is particularly true in knitting.

The first knitter to figure out that you could take one long strand of rope like material and pick it up through the other one on the needle, over and over again, to invent knitting out of what most likely was a nalbinding or netting technique.  Genius.

The first knitter who realized that if you did one little thing different, you were not knitting wrong, you were purling.  Genius.  

The first person who discovered if you just kept knitting around and around, you would get a tube.  Genius.

There have been hundreds of flashes of genius in knitting that changed our lives right up to and including Barbara Walker, Elizabeth Zimmermann, Judy Becker of Magic Cast On fame, and Jeny Staiman of Jeny's stretchy cast off fame.  Genius.

I would like to add another name to the list because really.  Genius. 

SuzieM invented a way to knit a top down, set in sleeve that starts with the cast on row and is knit all in one peice.  She calls it Contiguous.  It does not replace the genius of Barbara Walker's simultaneous set in sleeve, but rather builds upon it.  Serious flashes of genius here.

The technique has ample room for different looks, from single stitch shoulder 'seams' to saddle look shoulders right down to no 'seam stitch at all, just an interesting patterning.

I picked up my yarn and needles yesterday to begin Gregale and contiguous is what happened.  It isn't the lovely blue bamboo tape I was contemplating, but another round of the gorgoeus Remix, from Berocco, this time in a soft coral/ pink/rose called Blush.  It wasn't a decision I seemed to make, so much as my hands seemed to take it on themselves.     

By evening I was ready to separate for the sleeves. I knit a few rows and then realized it wasn't going to work.  
It would be too pointy and narrow for my rounded, chubby shoulders. If you look above, you will see what a lovely little triangle it is forming.  It needed to start with more stitches, but it also needed to grow wider faster for a good fit.

So back to the drawing board.  I pulled back and reknit doubling the first few increases on the sleeve.  Its making a much more pleasing line that I hope will look just right.  A little time will tell if I have the rate of increases right.  I have to get below the neckline to where I join it and begin knitting in the round.  Then I can have a quick try on and check.  

I'm trying to keep the long shallow slope of the neckline.  That was a little challenging because on Gregale, as designed, the shallow neck slope begins midway on the sleeve, right about where a seam would sit had it not been designed with raglan sleeves.  (I wasn't quite ready to try getting that width on a contiguous knit foundation.  I think I know what I would do if I wished to restart, which I don't)     

Anyway, with the rain this week, the garden and more work in it, is going to have to wait.  There will be ample time to move  this sweater along.  And if the weather forecast is right, I'll be able to work on it sitting in the sunshine on my back deck.  

SuzyM, I think time will prove me right. The flash of genius that sometimes happens in knitting popped in your direction, you caught it, and ran with it.  Genius, SuzyM.  Pure genius.

Thursday 24 May 2012

To be or not to be?

I can't finish the blue sweater till I have a good clear head on my shoulders, so I have spent my time these last few days thinking about what is next.

I really wanted to try a contiguous knit.  BrendaKnits linked to the Contiguous group on Ravelry and I passed the link on to my friend, Knittydee (on Rav).  She finished  a Romy and oh my it is gorgeous.  

I also wanted to use a really great summer yarn, some Rowan Bamboo Tape that I have in my stash.  Its a yarn that is a smooth as butter in a colour that is the softest of soft blues.  Stunning stuff.  But the yarn is a grower.  According to everyone who knit it, it grows width wise and it grows lengthwise because of its tape construction, so using it for a garment can be a challenge. I knit a sweater once with the yarn and by the time it was done, the project was much much too large for the intended recipient. That was so long ago and so early on in my knitting skills.  I am much more able to knit to the yarn than I was.  I'm not a hundred percent sure that a solid stockinette garment in it is going to be a good idea and I am not ready to knit contiguous and to try to get a pattern established. That is just a little too much challenge right now.

I thought and thought and by the time I was ready to knit it, I had lost my gumption for that plan.  So what next?    I really don't know for sure.  

In the meantime, and because I can always find more space for unfinished objects, I am casting on for a Gregale   but it will be top down and all in one piece.  It looks nice and simple, and it will be so, once I get going, but there is enough challenge in the shaping of the neckline to keep my wanting to learn new stuff part of me busy for a while.  

I'd knit it contiguously but it is a raglan, and part of what I like about it is the raglan shaping. I go.  Into the wild blue yonder.  Or should I say Blush?  
If I can't sort out the raglan shaping to my satisfaction, then I will change the sleeves and go contiguous.  Who knows?  I might go there straight away.  

Because contiguous still sounds like a really really great way to knit a sweater.

Wednesday 23 May 2012


If this doesn't look misbegotten, 

I don't know what does.  The neckline hangs funny.  The sleeves look goofy.  The shoulders are square.  It droops.  This is why finishing was created!

I think it will be ok and what isn't ok, I think I can adjust.  

The problem is the sleeves.  As I was knitting the sleeves, there should be a point about 2/3 of the way down the armscyce, where I stop increasing.  I didn't.  So the sleeves are a little wide.  I think I can tuck in enough fabric on the sleeves that it will be fine.  Two small seams in an otherwise seamless garment.  

This sort of adjustment isn't for this morning.   It for a good fresh brain ready to tackle a little innovation.  

Once the sleeve adjustment is done, there is a small matter of the fancy schmancy hem trim and a little blocking to sort out its current oddities and we are good to go.

I am really looking forward to this.  I have a wee blanket made from this yarn that has been more often a shoulder cosy than blanket.  Thing is, it has been washed and machine dried several times, and it is just a great fabric. 

I know how this yarn performs, I know how it feels, and I know how it drapes.  Everything here was done  taking these things into account. I can't wait to be able to wear it!

Tuesday 22 May 2012


I've got the blue sweater done but for the finishing and the finishing

is going to take a while.  This is 1 full ball all around the neck and botton edges and it has taken hours to knit.  (Well not that many but it sure feels like hours)

All of this edging will be folded back and sewn to make a flashy little lining.  I don't have enough of the blue to do it in blue and the brown is not quite right to have it really show off.  As a lining, though, well it makes me think of years and years ago, when Merv Griffin would flash his suit jacket lining off to his viewers.  It will just be a quiet sort of flash as I walk and move through my day.

The last time I tried it on, the sleeves seemed wrong.  I don't know if it is that they are truly wrong or if it just the time in all my projects where I am convinced that I have knit the ugliest thing known to mankind.  

What I am not looking forward to is that if I have to reknit, I have to take all the brown edging off.  Common sense tells me to take the brown off and try it on again and if it needs fixing, to fix it. 

I'm just going to keep working on it.  Another row or two and I can pin this mile of brown edging back and then find every needle of length in the house and see how it fits with and edging and the finished details attached.  Details can make a big difference to the way it hangs and fits.  

So onward to what might very well be futility.  

Monday 21 May 2012

Tired but rewarded

I am tired.  To the bone tired.  But I know that in a few weeks I will reap rewards amply.  If the weather is good that is. 

We put lettuce, radishes and carrots in one evening last week.  Then we put in a few rows of peas.  Then on Saturday we finished up the peas, put in the corn.  We did something else but I don't remember.  I know that yesterday we planted dozens of things.  I really don't remember it all, but I know there was roots of all kinds.  And potatoes.  Tons and tons of potatoes.  

We have a little more to do before it is completely done.  Today we have some rhubarb to put in, some raspberries to fill in spots where last years did not come back, a couple of blueberry bushes to try, and some strawberries to move.  If it all goes well, I would love to move a few roses and the lone Saskatoon bush that made it through.  

I am tired but Mr. Needles does all the hard stuff.  I know that I could not do a lot of this without him.   He does the digging and gets the water to the garden. He is working things up and does it all in very straight rows.  He is tuckered and done. 

It needs to be said.  The farm would not be any fun at all without him. 

Friday 18 May 2012

Back in the Garden

Way back in the mists of time there was a song with that title.  Crosby Stills and Nash.  There are several versions on Youtube if you need to check.  This is neither here nor there, but last night I was truly, back in the garden.

I love my garden.  I love the end result.  I love having stuff in my freezer all winter long.  I love bringing stuff up and knowing these were planted by my hand and picked, and stored and to my table without the intervention of any major corporations.  I love the idea of growing my own food, taking care of something so fundamental just me and whatever weather should happen my way.  It pleases me in  every way.

But you know, gardening sucks.  It is very, very hard work.  At this scale, it is between you and a hoe and the ground, or you and a watering can and the ground, but it is all hard work.  And it will continue to be hard work all summer.  With me back working full time, its going to get a little hairy.  When will I get it all weeded?  When will I pick and freeze my peas?  Make pickles?  Pick berries?  Tend to my knitting?

The way I figure it, I will be doing a lot of garter stitch this summer, and a lot of small projects.  That works out ok with the grandbaby coming.  Babies are all about small things.   Wee socks.  Tiny caps.  Itty bitty sweaters.  Little things with feet that are so sweet you just want to snuggle them even without a baby in them.

But I also know that once the garden has been completely planted, which barring rain, will be finished this weekend, I have a couple weeks of open time before things need weeding.  There is always the week or so where you can't do anything because it isn't up yet and another week where you have to let it grow a bit till you can thin it out and weed in the rows (Should they need it.  My garden will need it.).  Free time and I hope to get in one more sweater before the sweater knitting for me must be put aside. 

The question is which one.  It has to be something simple enough that I can speed through the knitting like a house on fire.  It has be be interesting enough to want to keep me at it.  The debate rages on, with at least 2 different yarns and 3 to 4 patterns in contention.  I am really waffly about one.  It is kind of like Miss Congeniality in a pageant show.  She is good and nice, but her chances of winning are slim.  And yet...

I'll run through them over the weekend and try to make a decision for Monday.

Thursday 17 May 2012


It rained at the farm last evening, so no gardening for me.  It gave me the chance to finish up the sweater.

The knitting is now done, unless I knit it a little longer.  I think I'd like to get all the finishing done and then get him to try it on again.  

Those pesky underarm joins will really change the way it sits and hangs.  That will be the real tell if extra is needed.  Does it look right after it is ready to wear?  That is the question.

I'm happy to be done and debating the next thing!  I've a little time, since I have a few more inches on the blue denim look sweater and that one will be done before I start yet another new thing.
It always feel good to finish up a sweater.  Like nothing else on earth.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Dirty. Tired. Sleep.

That was my evening.  Dirty.  Tired.  Sleep.  There will be more of these during gardening season.  We are doing a very big push to get everything done both at home and at the farm, in one fell swoop, so that all we need to do is water and wait.

I will be Dirty.  Tired. Sleep. again this evening, though I am going to try to get the collar finished early to morrow morning.   

Tuesday 15 May 2012

Half Done

Half done is well begun.

I'm well begun.

I knew it wouldn't take long to knit the collar and after just an hours worth of time this morning, here we are.  Half done.  

The collars lovely shape comes from its use of short rows across the back of the neck Those are all done and now I just have a few inches straight to knit for length on the front and it will be done.  I'm working the collar on 4 mm needles and knitting quite tightly.  I hope the collar stays nice and firm and crisp looking. A sloppy shawl collar can kill the look of a sweater.  

The finishing will consist of grafting two seams at the underarm and sewing the collar front edge to the sweater.  I've woven almost all the ends in as I went along so there is just a check of them to make sure they are secure before I snip them and voila, it shall be complete.  Well, that and one other thing.

When the big guy tried the sweater on, it seemed a little short to me.  He thought it was ok, but I am going to snip off the ribbing and knit an extra couple of inches.  He is tall, with long legs, and he really doesn't need a short sweater making him look like Urkle. 

Monday 14 May 2012

A little hampered

I'm a little hampered this morning because I don't have any access to my pictures.  I suspect that my pictures would look a lot like the last time I showed you whatever project.  That is one of the things I dislike about big projects.  There just isn't the opportunity for flinging photos about like there is when you work on small things like socks and mittens.  There is always a point where it looks exactly like it did last time.

It isn't that there was no knitting.  There was lots of knitting.  The blue cotton plain jane summer sweater is down to the point where it is just straight knitting.  It won't be long now till I have to make some firm decisions about the finishing touches.

The big fella otherwise known as son 2, came out and tried on his sweater.  It looks just about perfect.  You will be delighted to know that the sleeves are perfect.  The body is just the right length, and if I do just a few more rounds at the neckline, it too will be perfect.  The only part left is the ribbed shawl collar and I don't anticipate any trouble from it.  

And then there is this.  

 Its a little shawl made from a local indie dyer here in Edmonton, Dandelionfluff. Very pretty on a bamboo viscose wool base.  I've been tinkering away on it at lunch and occasionally at knit night and it is small but the number of stitches is significant.  

I'm thinking about putting the edging from the River Valley Shawl on it.  It is a edging based on an old Estonian pattern.  It is a brilliant edging, but like each clue in the River Valley shawl, there is something new to learn in it and after it sitting so long, I find I am a wee bit intimidated. On the original shawl, I ripped back my error on the edging, and I am ready to for clue 6, yet I hesitate. 

I was wondering if I could get over that hesitation by knitting that edging on something so far from where it belongs, far from that very very challenging shawl. (So challenging that the designer decided never to put it up for sale even though it is stunning).  I am going to take today and do a little math and see if the stitch counts are where they need to be for the edging to work out.  I have to take into account one fussy foolish bit.  I started this as a Multnomah, and Multnomah has that little 5 stitch spine.  I'm not sure how that will work out with this edging, but I shall see what I come up with.  

The math and counting at lunch time, and either finishing the Big fellas sweater tonite or working on mine.  A busy day ahead.  A busy week ahead, but I need to get these things both out of the way in very short order.  

Its gardening season, and for the next few weeks, that will be a kink in all knitting plans.

Thursday 10 May 2012

All the pink I will ever knit.

That isn't quite true.  I have some seriously hot pink in the depths of the stash but these are all the soft pinks I will ever knit.  I like all sorts of colours but not pastels.  They just are not me.  There are always exceptions to every rule.

The Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino is not pastel pink.  It is a lovely dusty soft pink that is usually found in the sky after the sun sets.  Its really just a hint of pink.  

The Schulana is pure pink in all its pastel glory, but surely a hat with a wee flower gracing the side and some pearls scattered about it, is a must for a wee thing.

And the bright pink Happy sock yarn?  Well that is to do some faux isling on the white Kertzer On Your Toes Bamboo ground.  Flowers, If I recall correctly.  The Yarn Harlots buddy Ken did something for a wee girl a long time ago that has always stayed with me.  Pretty faux isle in a pink multi colour on the white ground is not my idea but I will run with it.

My son and daughter are having a baby and just the other day they found out it will be a girl.  I don't intend to swath the wee thing in girl stuff only.  Kids should be who they are and she might be the type to climb trees and be the jungle gym ruler and might even beat her pappa at golf. She will have lots of strong bright colours too, but these few soft pink things.  Well that is just for grandma and from grandma, just because.

Grandma also took care of herself too. 

I'll need a large wardrobe of lace shawls just in case she really likes tea parties and dressup. 

In the Middle

Here I am once again, in the middle.  

I'm still working on the cotton sweater.  Its midway down the bottom, right about where I like to insert some short rows to better fit my backside.  I have in fact just finished the short rows.  You could say it is all downhill from here.  I have a few more increases to my optimal width and then just a few rows for length.  Not far at all.  I will have the main part of it done on the weekend.  

As I have been knitting, I've been thinking about stockinette.  How often have you heard people say that its just miles and miles of boring stockinette?  I am never going to believe you because in my world, it does not happen.  

I start at a woman's large to get a nice fit at my shoulders and at my underarms.  After that I have to rapidly increase because everything below is a whole other kettle of fish.   It is, in fact, far beyond the kettle, rather more like a rather large lake beyond a kettle.  Suffice it to say, when I knit a sweater for myself,  I have a lot of knitting to do.  And yet, I am seldom bored by the volume of stockinette.  

It is more like a challenge.  There are all sorts of things to consider, even in the simplest of  shapes.  There are the increases needed to make the hips fit.  There is the how and when and how often.

The first shaping I need is at the underarms.  I need to get a lot of inches in a very short space so that it fits nicely at the bust.I usually do a split increase.  I do one increase just as I come to the under arm (the flat part where you cast on or off stitches through the underarm) and one as I get to the end of it.  If you do all the increasing so close together as I have to, you can occasionally get a little bit of a wing thing on the side and this helps to mitigate that. It is a little bit of divide and conquer, but it keeps the silhouette more gently sloped outwards. The other thing is that it gives me the option, if I need a few more fast increases somewhere along the way (as in I miscalculated), to put them where a side seam normally would be. Its kind of interesting watching all that shaping happen.

Then on the fronts there are short rows so that it fits my bustline correctly.  That takes some planning.  Too high up and it looks just a little odd, and too long forgotten and oh dear, bad, bad, bad - The sweater wants to do an outie, where I am shaped as a in-y.  Then there is the previously mentioned backside shaping for the shelf butt thing I have going on.  That has to happen in the right place too, plus too many short rows and it hangs low in the back, too few and it looks like its pulling up.

When you consider my height, and that the very bottom 3-4 inches of a sweater should not have any increases, it means that there is a lot going on in those acres and acres of stockinette.

Not boring at all.  For me.

It's a little like anything else.  Perspective and context make a huge difference.  

Tuesday 8 May 2012

A Bag

A while ago, I posted some pictures of some bright yarns that I was making into a bag.  

Noro Wadaiko and some Custom Woolen Mills 2 ply in the most incredible turquoise.

Well, they were knit up and they were felted.  And that was the last you have heard of them.  I have been thinking of them for a while now.  

The bag felted much much shorter than I expected, leaving it looking a little wide and shallow, but still very workable.  

My first design element was to pop some grommets into the sides.  I have no idea why, but I think it had to do with liking the way the silver and the turquoise look together.  They might have a function and they might just be there for looks.  I'll know that once I get a little farther into the finishing.  

My plan for the handle is for a braided handle where one of the strands was a silver chain and the other two were the same fabric as the bag istself.  The chain's job is to carry the weight of the bag and to give it just a little bit of flash.    They will be attached to the bag with some D rings of silver metal  that I have around here somewhere.  If that doesn't work, then I will have to find a turquoise leather handle.  They can be had, but I really wanted this to be an in house project.

I am going to put a zipper in the top.  I can't stand big bags that don't have some way to keep everything inside securely.  A zipper will also help pull my somewhat wide bag a little narrower.  I'm not sure how much I can do, but I know that the stability a zipper will give is something I will appreciate.

It needs a good lining.  With a lining, I can create some pockets for small stuff and I can tuck the zipper in much more professionally. 
Tomorrow's chore for  the bag and I, is to search for it.  I'm kind of looking forward to it.  I hope to find something that echos the Wadaiko colours.  Something sturdy and funky, but conservative, middle aged funky (Is there such a thing?), not teenage funky. Grownup funky.  Well you will see.  If I can't find it, I'm leaning towards granny smith apple green.  

Its kind of fun playing with this.  I haven't done a bag before and I can't wait to carry this eye popping summery thing around with me.  

Monday 7 May 2012


I love collecting. I have often wondered if that is what I primarily do.   I have a lovely little collection of cheap blue and white china.  I have a stupendous collection of books.  I have a linen collection, and then there is the yarn.  Oh and the rest of the embroidery stuff.  I get irritated when a collection cannot be completed.

When I started knitting, River City Yarns (who led me) had copies of   Gossamer Webs and the Lacy Knitting of Mary Schiffman.  I eventually took both of these home with me.  I found Traditional Knitted Lace Shawls at Interweave in their damaged book sale a few years ago.  (IIRC.  My memory is a little fuzzy.)

But my collection was not complete.  I was missing the first in the series, Lace From the Attic.  I looked wherever I went.  I checked out some online vendors but it was out of print.  I even looked at getting a second hand copy, but till you added on postage...well, even my incomplete collection was not worth that kind of money.

 So the other day, when I was ordering a few things for spinning, I noticed a little something on the list of books.  The store had a copy of Lace From the Attic.  I could hardly believe it.  

My collection is complete.  Well worth the wait.  

These are not the 'big' lace books of the last 10 years.  They are small books, with not a lot of projects in them, but rather are published collections from very interesting people.   They are a little bit of history and a little bit of lace.  In their own small way they pack a punch far bigger than their dimensions would lead a knitter to assume.  Its a lot of very unique little bits.

I highly recommend them of you really love lace. 

Just in case anyone else is looking, Shuttleworks outside of Calgary  has a few more copies.  

Sunday 6 May 2012

One of those things

I don't know about the rest of you, but I have certain pieces of clothing that are just vital to my getting through a whole week at the office in office appropriate clothing.  Some of these items of my wardrobe are such that I would feel naked (and may in fact be naked) with out them.

Most of the things I have are old.  I have pants that are two jobs old (if that is a valid way to measure the life of clothes).  I have some tops that are three jobs old, and it is these I am writing about today.  I know.  It hardly seems like something a knitter would care about. 

When I worked at Macdonalds (yes I did as an adult, no less.  It was a great job when my kids were small), I bought one black and one navy turtleneck to wear when I worked in the drive through.  (for some perspective my 'kids' are now 31, 30 and 28).

I still wear them.  I have sewed underarm seams up a few times on both of them, but they have stood the test of time.  They were worn in summer on cold wet days and as many times as possible in winter.  The other day, I noticed a hole in the collar of the black one.  Right there on the top layer of the collar.  Right there, just off to the left front. Big hole.  As if t had been washed so many times, the factory twist of this very factory sweater just couldn't hold it together.  

I was devastated.  My most basic and most long lived of garments is on its last legs.  I thought about patching it, but I have nothing even remotely comparable to patch it with and on the neck, it would show up.  Why couldn't the hole have been in a place where the artfully tossed end of a smashing shawl could hide the flaw?  But nope.  Right there.  No hiding it. 

I knew this day was coming.  In the deep recesses of the stash lurks a bunch of fingering weight yarn for just such an event.  A whole footstool storage cube of it.  It rivals the sock stash in quantity of balls.  I bought a  wool cotton fingering weight, Mini Duett from Sandnesgarn, RCY in red and mossy green.  I also bought a cotton and acrylic that an online vendor had  in black and red, 3 bags each.  Yes I know.  2 reds.  You cannot have too much red.  2 different reds? Two different kinds of tops for sure.

This weekend I pulled out the black.  I need a garment to replace my basic turtleneck before fall comes.  I can do without over summer, but not winter.  So somewhere between here and there....

I swatched yesterday evening.  

A close fitting tubular garment with full sleeves and a mock turtleneck, in black fingering weight yarn.  Part of me wonders if I will be over the whole black sock thing after I am done with this. 

Part of me wonder if I will be blind.  Or nuts.

Friday 4 May 2012


I've looked at knitting one sweater for a very long time.  If ever I had time to spare, time would find me sitting on Ravelry looking at all the variations of this sweater, the colour choices, how they make it work for them.  I spent a lot of time on it choosing my perfect yarns and deciding on exactly how I was going to make it fit.

Yesterday, colour two arrived.  

I will be alternating this with some BFL 2/8 cedar, a rich warm forested green to make Tempest.    There are a lot of desert island yarns on my list and this one has its rightful place.  BFL 2/8 is a wonder.  (Go find some to feel.  You will see what I mean)

But first, I have to finish this little demin looking thing.  Even though it doesn't have the grandness or softness of BFL, it has its own charms. 

So once again, Tempest waits, but this time, I can start it any time I choose,  

Thursday 3 May 2012

Sssssh, I'm being a bad employee

I'm posting this from work so it has to be quick.  There won't be photos because I forgot the camera at home.  I'm waiting for the big guy, son 2, to come and try his sweater on, before I finish it, and I have been knitting on a few things that have been hanging around for a while.

One of them is a bag of cotton yarn, Carezza, that I have started something with at least 4 times already.  I started it as a lace sweater.  I started it as a nice cotton Adeline and as a cardigan, and now, I am starting it all over with the correct proportions for a cardigan.  Starting over for the 4th and final time.  

This time my numbers are better.  I'm working it top down with simultaneous set in sleeves and I am about 4 rows into the sleeve.  

I wasn't sure what I wanted it to be. It would make a great Hey Teach , but I don't think that sweater with it empire-ish lines would work well for me.  Then I thought about that lovely lace confection in little Red in The City, the Laika (go down and click to embiggen) but do you know what?  I don't really care what it wants to be.  I need it to be one thing and one thing only.

Just a plain ordinary cardigan to replace the casual look of my jean shirt jacket that just is not fit to wear in public any more.  

So that is what this is going to be.  Plain.  Ordinary.  Just stockinette.  Kind of denim like. Probably going to have an elongated U shaped neckline. Or not.  I guess I will decided that as I knit.  

So it is off I go again on my simple knitting without a pattern travels.  Bon Voyage to sweater land!

Wednesday 2 May 2012

A Sweater Mostly Done.

The sweater is done to where I have to bind off the neck.  I'd like him to try it on before I do, though just in case the yoke needs to be deeper.  

It does look good though.  Like all things coming from Jared Flood, It is awash in tiny perfect details of scale.

The 4 stitches between decreases is exactly the right size to become a feature on an otherwise featureless garment.  It will be offset by the magnificent shawl collar which finishes things up.  

Two structural details, large amounts of stockinette, tweedy looking not wool yarn.  Perfect man sweater.