Friday, 29 March 2013

Man and Dog

Man and Dog.  All is well with the world.

As you can see.

It is late afternoon, and I have done some knitting, some coffeeing, and some general hanging around.  

I am pooped though, because are watching our best bud, 

Toby again.  Toby is having an adventure.  We are just chasing after him.  Toby goes home tomorrow and then Sweet Things comes on Sunday.

Sweet Thing is a lot of work, but she sits much more still than Toby.  


This house is awash in cute.  Have a great Easter.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

And well you should be

My sister posted in the comments on yesterday's silliness,

"Yes, someone I love associates with knitters and even is one herself. I'm concerned. GD"

So you should be, sister.  So you should be!  I have fallen and I don't want to get up.  :)

I am in the middle of this scarf for my friend Paulette.  I knit, and knit and knit, but it isn't getting any wider.  

It has been this wide for the last two weeks, even though in the last week, I have knitted at least 8 star rows.  Everything I knit seems to go into the little roll of the startup rows, and when I lay it out flat, zip.  Nada.  They are gone, and it looks like I haven't knit at all.  Logic and yarn left on the ball, tell me I am making progress, but it sure isn't looking like it.  

I probably need at least another 8 rows to get the width I want.  Maybe 10 star rows.  No, 8 should do it. I don't want the hooded part to be tight on her head.  It should be graceful and drapey but not be a burden.  The lace edges will be ethereal but the body has to be warm.   

As slow as it feels like it is going, it has to be said.  I am having a wonderfully good time.  I love this star pattern. It isn't that dissimilar from the star pattern that I was playing with on that light lacy steel yarn scarf that I was obsessing over for a while.  I don't seem to have photos of it, but it was this pattern.  Its a really nice thing to work, rhythmic, melodic, and you get to purl back.  

Purling back sounds like it should be ok, but the truth is purling back is awful.  The rows are long and are taking forever and feel like penance.  You have to be pretty careful to get the last made of the 3 stitches knit first and it likes to hide under the yarn over stitch that is supposed to sit in the middle.  I would like to say I am getting better at it, but no.  Not really.  It still feels like I have been enjoying the star stitch too much and I have to pay the piper on the purl rows.

Still, this is a very very nice wool and I love the pattern and I am having a good time with it.  BFL 2/8, I love you much.  Thank you for getting me through the purl rows.

I am starting to focus on the next stitch in the trio of stitches.  It is the one that looks like a lotus flower (to me) and is the showiest of all the stitches.  Its where we switch to the multi coloured yarn and I am looking forward to that.  Knitting where the view is always to the next stitch, the next yarn, the next pattern.  I love it so.

So, sister dear, do not fear.  When you look at knitters, don't look at their hands weaving their webs of magic.  Look at their smiles, look at their shining eyes.  It might look like knitter's are sitting very still, with nothing much going on but how wrong first impressions can be.  A knitters journey is one that carries her through her soul and back again, all the while remembering that a little 'Bjork' along the way is a very good thing.


Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The silliest thing

I came across the silliest thing last night.  If you have seen it before, that's ok but it left me giggling the whole night through.  


Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Still working it, but planning for the next thing

This middle of things is where I start thinking of what is up next.  It keeps me moving along and keeps things fresh.  There is always a lot of time while knitting for this and I have been using it well.  

I have a lot of lovely shawls of wool, alpaca, and various other warm things.  I haven't got a lot that I can wear all through summer, though as often as not, those wool shawls are what gets me through summer without freezing.  It is Canada after all.  

But, ever since I blocked my version of the Holden shawlette

I have been pondering shawls made of things other than wool.

The Holden is made from Drops Lin, purchased from the Saskatoon gem of a shop, Prairie Lily Knitting and Needlework Shop.  Now that I have worn it a few times, and its getting that linen broken in feeling, I cannot begin to say how much I  enjoy wearing this yarn.  It just snuggles up around my neck and gives surprising warmth for a simple bast fibre.  I love that its not a wet spun linen, the slightly rustic look is very pleasing and it completely suits the patterns roots.

I sure could use more Lin in the stash...however, at this time, I am not going to.  I'm going to work with what I have.  So a quick rundown of what isn't wools,or alpaca, hmmm, let me see.  

I have a couple bags of Bamboo Fusion, a cotton, bamboo and acrylic in what it calls a worsted weight.   No way would I use 20 balls to make a top, so I could easily do a shawl out of 5 or 6 of these.  From my swatch tests a while ago, it would have fantastic drape.  

Elle True Blue with Lurex.  I've used just the tiniest bit for Sweet Things wee pants (which are now sausage tight.  Come on gramma, knit some more!)  but wouldn't pure indigo dyed cotton make the most interesting shawl?

There is that interesting Country Silk that |I picked up in Jasper last year.  

(I have heard that the shop in Jasper is up for sale, so check before you go to see if it is still around.  Neat little place if you want to live and work in Jasper)   

I have a whole range of Fleece Artist and Handmaiden.  Silk and Sea Silk abound.  Plus a really really pretty tone on tone red in SeaSilk from an dyer local to Saskatoon.  Any one of these dozens of skeins would be oh so wonderful.  So good.

I have some Lang Mikonos, a rayon and linen blend with a most interesting colour thing going on,  that has a storied history.  I bought this to go with some other linen but I don't think I want to do that top any more.  I might, but I can see so many other things in it too.  With its rayon and linen, it would drape and wear so well as a shawl.

There are a couple more colours of that absolutely inimitable yarn from Noro, Taiyo Sock.  I could do all sorts of things with that.

Then there are real linens in warm steel greys and soft greyed lavenders, and blends of navy and taupe from several companies.  And on top of these are all the wonderful cottons, the ordinary things that are too often left on the shelf when we think of shawls for summer.  Why not some gorgeous sheen filled Butterfly Super 10  ?  It would make a really great casual summer piece.  

And then, not listed by me on Ravelry, but my personal stash is deep in crochet cottons in many weights.  How about a Harebell Fichu in crochet cotton?  Stunning, I think.  White Knitting at its finest.

For me the next thing isn't going to be any of these nice to wear yummy summer things.  I just thought I would show you just a few of the good things that could be used for lovely summer shawls to get you going.  For me, it is back to the WIPs basket for something that I think about at least once a week, even if I haven't worked on it in months.  

I am half done this grand Clapotis, precisely just into the second ball.  After I finish the very pretty scarf for my friend that I am working on, I am going to finish this.  The thought of draping its graceful and long folds over my shoulders pleases me and it is time to get it done.  

I made a bit of a pledge that if local to me knitters see me working on anything other than socks or Paulette's shawl (or puppets for my nephews kids) , they were to chastise me.  

I know.  The state of the WIP basket doesn't bug me and yet with a pretty regular 15 ongoing things, its a little crazy.  I think I need a little public chastising to get me moving along. 

If I don't, how will I ever have room to start anything new like a Sea Wool shawl, or a...

Monday, 25 March 2013

T'was good.

My weekend retreat was lovely.  The food, the Company, the conversation.  Interesting, exciting, stimulating, woolly.  The very best things.  

I have a small compliment of pictures of the very cheery participants, but my camera did not come out till Sunday morning, and most of us were in our jammies.  The jammies that completely stole my heart were the cardinal red snowman jammies with a close second, the knitting sheep jammies. I confess I dressed, but only because my jammies are of the definitely not for company and just squeaking by for home variety. I'll shall have to work on that for next year!  

Though we call it a knitting retreat, it really doesn't matter what so long as you like fibre and handwork.  One of the ladies was making a braided rug.  Though I have not pictures of it, it was gorgeous.  The fibre was interesting, thick wool strips that almost looked as if they were knit and then felted.  The edges did not look fresh cut, and yet... It was a very interesting project.     

Our usual complement of spinners was there.

A weekend like this would be such a great place to try out different kinds of wheels but I just love to watch.  Its so interesting watching the different wheels and so many different ways of looking at spinning.  The reasons why we spin are as varied as the product we produce and the fiber we were spinning with. Some of us spin to know the yarn, some of us spin because when we found spinning, we  found the things our hands most need to do.  There was my beginner trials and masterful 3 ply sock yarn that was so pretty that it almost made you cry on seeing it and a whole range in between of yarns for every sort of project, thick ones thin ones, loosely spun to be tightly plied, tightly spun to be loosely plied.  So many styles, so many interesting perceptions.

I took along my lace flyer and the mighty little queen.  The wheel and I are getting better acquainted all the time, but the flyer and I have a ways to go.  It really made a difference.  Instantly finer yarn, but with that, came the challenges of trying to sort out the best brake setting and sorting out my drafting to match it all.  Timing has never been my strong suit and it just zipped along.  I was close, but I think before I spin up more that fine fine soft green from Abbotsford, I think I want to practise on some plain stuff.  It will be interesting to see what I can do with a fine shetland and the lace flyer.  

I had thought I packed another fiber to spin, but when I arrived, my bag was suspiciously empty of choices.  So much for packing only what you need. Next time, I am going to pack everything and the kitchen sink.  I will keep some of the supplementary material in the car but it will be close enough to get at.

I did knit, some on the lace, and some on the socks.  I did have a fair bit of advancing on the socks but I will save that for tomorrow.  

The only bad thing about weekends like that is that they end.  At the same time, if we did it all the time, we would forget that it was special, and we would not take such joy in it.  So I will take away the weekends lessons and joys and keep those things close to my heart and soul and will look forward to doing it again next spring.  

Really really looking forward to next spring.  I will wait for it as eagerly as a kid waits for Christmas and with about as much patience.  

Friday, 22 March 2013

It was worse than I thought

I did go directly home after work last evening to pack.  I spent a lot of time debating which spinning tings to take along.

the really interesting thing was that I was pretty much on the money with what I had in my spinning stash.  I just didn't realize it was all one colour.

 Everything that isn't natural sheep colours is green.  Wait you say, that top small bag looks like its black.  Au contraire.

I obviously have a thing for green.

In the end, I could not decide.  I took the bag with the teal, gold and green (a Fleece Artist IIRC) and that hank like thing at the front with the softer green, burgundy and gold.

The second one is so soft but I wouldn't want to ruin it with my craptastic spinning skilz, so the Fleece Artist is my fall back spinning.  Just in case.

I was feeling really satisfied about how little I was going to carry, when I realized there were a couple of books I wanted to take along and as I packed those, I unpacked the extra skeins of yarn I had in my bag from the other day.  When I came across the white cotton yarn, I remembered that I have to come up with some puppets this weekend too.  So I dug out the yarn I will need for that, and what do you know.  Another bag.  3 small suitcase sized bags.  sigh.  

Oh well.  It is a lot of stuff and a knitterly weekend away is different than a regular weekend away.

I am off directly after work.  I hope you all have as much fun on this weekend as I plan to have.

Thursday, 21 March 2013

A Dilemma

I don't know why but the spelling of that word looks off to me.  Yes it is going to be one of those days.  

Those days are days where I question everything I do and think and decide and try and it really wastes my time.  If they were big important thought, I could handle it, but these are little thoughts, thoughts about things I am going to work on this weekend.  Foolish things.

The problem is that this weekend is the 2nd Annual (I hope) Strawberry Creek Knitting retreat and I have to sort out what I am taking with me.  I'm sure you remember last year.  I think I am in exactly the same place as last year when deciding what to pack.  

I just caught myself thinking I would pack that same very large bag of yarn!

The knitting isn't too hard to sort out.  I must finish the scarf/shawl for my friend.  That is an obligation for a kind soul who did me favour that I greatly value. Its taking much longer than I thought it would to get the main part done and I am just a tiny bit disappointed in that.  I just haven't been knitting enough, lately.  I've been slugabed and can't seem to adjust to the time change.    

No, the knitting in my bag is what I will take.  Paulette's scarf, The two pairs of socks I've been dabbling on and if I really need a break, I will toss in one project of long standing that I really want to finish.  My Clapotis.  My poor poor Clapotis.  I started it in 2010 and it has been sitting at half done for for far too long, so Clapotis will be relief knitting. One ball of sock yarn shouldn't take so long to knit up. (Maybe it is the bamboo in it?)

The real dilemma is to spin.  That pretty little wheel is coming with me.  I am quite comfortable working with her, and really like what is happening with the Shetland I pulled out to play with.  The real question is what do I want to spin?  

I was going to take the shetland and just keep working with that.  Eventually I do want to spin it all up, but I purchased thjese sades of Shetland with an eye to a handspun gradient colour shawl in all the colours of shetland that I could find.  I think, if you're working on something like that, it might be nicer to spin as you go.  

There are a lot of other nice things in my fiber stash.  I have  plenty of Blue Face Leicester, several pounds of Merino, some Finn, some Gotland, a bunch of other stuff all in nicely combed tops.  I have a little linen blend, and some Black Diamond fibre as well as some corn fibre and some delicious alpaca and silk blends.  Oh and a bunch of silk hankies that one day will be something wonderful.

There really is tons.  All of it natural colours.

See that is the things about my very large stash.  The very vast majority of it is plain natural animal colours.  I have very little dyed fibre.  I have a thing for the natural colours.  Their warm earth loving heart appeals to the ever so easily overstaurated me.

Still, I am thinking that this weekend, I would rather be playing a little with something dyed.  I do have a couple of very nice things.  A wonderful green thing from a lady in Abbotsford, some white with shiny stuff  from Aurelia and a small herd of a particular colourway from Louet.  I think.  There might be a few other balls and good things in that case.  Its been a while.  I really ought to know my fiber stash better than this.   

Tonight, I will have to decide.  And pack.  And do Laundry.  Yeah, but for the fact that I am taking spinning, it sounds just like last year. Silly me.  Someday I will learn.

Or not.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Ta Da A Finished Object!

Ta Da One finished object.

It doesn't look all that impressive lying down on the counter like that, does it?  If I had a model or a photographer handy.  I can just see what people here would think if I said, hey could you model my knitting?  Yeah.  Not cool. But the project  is cool and you are just going to have to trust me.  The ribs open up perfectly when you wear it on your head and the rest sits thick and layerd around your neck.

I cast on 220 stitches so it is nice and long when worn wrapped once, to the waist, and hangs nicely down to chest level when wrapped.  You might even be able to wear it wrapped twice.  I only knit and switched directions ever 5th row.  Sort of.  Technically the change happened on the 4th row knit but as I was counting knit stitches, I switched when there were 4 v's below the stitch just made on the needle, so 5 rows of knitting.  When I reached my marker, I wrapped and reversed directions.  All knit stitches, no picking up of the wraps.  Perfect relief knitting under any circumstances.

 I find it really interesting that the green ribs all showed up on one side.  To me, that means I found one of the yarns sweet spots, that place where like keeps happening on top of itself.  If I blocked it, you could see the effect even better.  But I didn't yet.  This is after all, the blog with bad finished object photos!

But the blocking table was full with one of the blocking pile projects.  But I'll tell you about that tomorrow.  No sense wasting another good days post!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Once Again

Do you ever just want to take  yourself aside and sew your head on a little more firmly so you don't leave that at home too?  That is the problem with this whole work for a living thing. You have to leave the place where you keep all the stuff and go places for a whole day, so you are forced to take stuff along.  Only you forget it.  

I left my finished project at home again today.  I also left the sock I am mostly working on at home too.  But that is OK.  I have other knitting.  I always have other knitting.  Unfortunately no finished project disscussion.  I also forgot some stuff that I had to bring to town for one of my guys.  I swear to you, this is why I do not have a cell phone.  I would only forget it.

I can usually tell if I have to take stuff by the size of my bag.  If it looks like I can hardly carry the thing or that I need another bag for the overflow, I most likely have all my stuff...and a little more.  This bag is full.  So what the heck is in there if I have forgot all my stuff?  

Well left to right, my friends scarf which is my principle work, though I haven't had hardly any time to work on it it seems, and that nice orange sock stuff is the socks I knit as my granddaughter was born and am still working on when I get the chance and need plain knitting. (This is part of the family sock project where this pair is for momma, and the black pair I left at home today is for pappa and baby's will be a combination of both yarns.) Only 2 projects?  Scary.  

And then there seems to be a bunch of yarn.  Now how did that happen?  

Oh you know...if you leave a bag alone in a yarn store, the stuff just magically forms from the fluff in the air.  There are two dark sock colours, a navy and a grey, specifically to act as background for some colourwork socks I want to do after the family sock project is done.  Somehow I don't seem to have any of the right combinations when I look at stuff at home so I have been doing a little judicious down the road purchasing here.  

The white cotton is for something that has come up rather suddenly.  My nephew who lives just down the road has two little gaffers and the two little gaffers have a brand new puppet theatre.  Unfortunately they have no puppets, so stuffies and farm animals and everything else is acting as a puppet.  I decided to knit some for them.  

There is also the purse stuff.  The fat looking wallet.  (It is time to clean out receipts again.)  The bag of essential knitting tools. Hair brush.  You know.  Purse stuff.  

It was all this extra yarn masking itself as knitting that led me to think I had everything when I left this morning.  Had that bag been empty I swear I would have been hyperventilating at the saggy sides and would have gone looking for the missing stuff.

I love big bags that can do it all, but it doesn't work if you don't keep your stuff in it.  Or fill it with stuff that takes the place of your stuff.  Well you know.  


Monday, 18 March 2013

What a weekend!

When I left work on Wednesday, the world was full of good intentions.  It intended to look like spring out there.  You could tell by how dirty everything was.  The dirt that was hidden inside all the snow was coming home to roost and the snow under it was melting.  It was looking like spring even if the weather had turned a little colder.  

Spring had other ideas.  It has been snowing almost nonstop since Wednesday evening.  We've had a good foot of fresh stuff, to the point where Saturday night the front of my car was plowing the driveway and I could not get up to the house. Ah.  Springtime in Canada.  Such a wonder!

I had a lovely long weekend.  Sorry about not posting Friday, but even with coffee, the day started slowly.  Very slowly.  But it ended up really nice.  I finished that big cowl I was working on. I have no pictures - naturally.  I meant to take them this morning, but somewhere along the line, I was just a little more efficient that I planned to be.  I couldn't find it this morning.  Serves me right for house cleaning. Tomorrow then for the knitting.

I spent a lot of time spinning and sorting out a few things in the spinning corner.  The Victoria and I have become friends, and Julia and I have renewed our old ties.  Julie was a little cranky at first, but then she had every reason.  She did sit rather unloved for far too long.  A good clean and tighten up of all the things that worked loose and a wheel alignment and everything was as good as new.  Julie.  What a lovely thing to spin with.

I didn't try anything earth shaking spinning wise, but continued to work towards the fine yarns I am looking for.  I'm still new enough at it that I don't have anything near the balance I want between my hands and the wheel.  It is getting better though and I am happy to say that even from the last stuff spun oh so long ago, there is much improvement.  

I also spent a lot of time reading.  I have several spinning books, but the one I think I will value most is my Alden Amos Big Book of HandSpinning.  Alden Amos isn't for the easily intimidated.  Sometimes Amos isn't for the ever so newbie either.  But when you are looking for something so silly and small basic like how can you put more twist in the yarn and once you have more twist in the yarn, how do you measure it so that you can spin it again and again. 

Intentional spinner doesn't tell you this.  It just says to put in somewhere between enough and too much twist.  The other little spinning book doesn't tell you this.  I read every spinning board I could find and they might tell you how to measure it but nobody tells you how to get there.  Sigh.  

There was a point where I needed to know it and where I needed to understand what the obviously several ways to get more twist into the yarn were and all the fine points and consideration of what where how why and when of twist.  Because he talks about this in detail and talks about why one or the other might be the right way to go for various reasons, and goes through all the reasons too, I knew this fella was my kind of guy.  Detail there when you need it.  And Alden Amos, though he might be negatively reviewed by some, was there for me.  

I suspect that Alden Amos' book is like the June Hemmonds Hiatt book, filled with opinion and detailed information on their most beloved craft. It is as if I was talking about sock knitting.  Detail run amok.  Not bad detail, just overwhelming to a newbie or a not knowsy. You have to know a little to love these two masters, but love them you will.

So ended my weekend.  Well almost.  I did go out Saturday night.  

I will end with that, with someone sweet and cute and his mom. Two someones who are very special to me.  

This is son3 and his lovely girlfriend and her little guy.  A little birdie told me that Lovely Girlfriend and Little Guy are soon to be a formal part of my family.  It was kind of mentioned in connection with other things.  I wasn't sure if it was a slip or even it had been fully discussed with Little Guy it was said so quietly.  I didn't know if it was appropriate to jump for joy.  The last thing I wanted to do was weird out the little fella. I was sure whopping it up inside.  (A note to son3:  get some rings will you.  I've been watching her hand for long enough and getting no result. Watching hands is hard when you are trying not to weird anybody out and I am getting worn out by it.  So fix it eh?  I was sure it would be there at Christmas and it wasn't.  It was very hard not to take you to task for missing the perfect opportunity. Sigh.  Some sons. Sheesh)

I admire this young lady and her way with the Little Guy so much.  She is such a good mom, though I am not so certain she knows how good.  

But she is and I am just so glad.  I have watched them move slowly for Little Guy's sake, even though I have rather been encouraging Son3 to get a move on and make me some more grandbabies.  I don't think he told her that but oh, my these two are going to make me some fine babies!  I'm not at all certain how her mom feels, but there should be dozens, they will be so cute.  Not that I am obsessed much with grandbabies.  Nah.  Hardly at all.  Why do you ask? 

She is finally past girlfriend stage!  Finally, I can reveal that I already have a bunch of yarn with her name on it.  Debbie Bliss Chunky Luxury, I am looking at you!  I will get to discuss colours with her so that the next stuff will be just right for her and not my wild guess.  I have a happy little fellow to knit for, for real!  I am so pleased.  And he likes good old fashioned knit mittens.  Verklempt.  He likes dinosaurs and dragons.  More verklempt.

You ever finish up a weekend where everything just makes you feel so warm inside that each and every corner of your heart is full?  Yeah.  That.

Thursday, 14 March 2013


Some people leave when they need time off.  All I really need to do to feel relaxed and refreshed is stay at home.  I have taken the next couple of days off to do just what I want.  The heck with work, I shall spin on my Julia to warm up my hands and knit and then I shall sit down and get acquainted with my new wheel.  

There will be coffee.  There will be some adventures with gluten free baking.  Sadly, there will also be some deep closet cleaning.

Nothing is perfect.  

I will probably show up tomorrow, but if I don't, know that I am having a really good time.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

So excited!

My household has a new member.  

No it isn't anything cute like this, 

 though Sweet Thing is pretty darn cute,  or even like this,

(Toby isn't too shabby either)  and it certainly isn't anything goofy like this, 

No, not at all like that!  (Mr Needles on his birthday.  His office mates gave him the glasses.)

 No the new thing at my house is quite different.  

The new thing at my house is 

a new spinning wheel.  It is a Victoria wheel, from Louet, what I think is the ultimate in travel wheels.  They are almost impossible to score on the used market.  I have watched and waited and been ever so close, but if one shows up, it is immediately snapped up. They are just that good. Its packs neatly into its case, and is incredibly light to carry.  The case isn't up to the quality of the cases sold with the previous versions, but has the benefit of having a very expandable pocket on the front and lots of nooks and crannies for fibre and as much knitting as your heart might desire, all in one nice carry on suitcase sized bag.

Why another Louet?  Its really quite simple.  Bobbins and parts.  The bobbins from Julia and the Victoria's bobbins are the same.  They use the same high speed flyer.  The brake assembly is the same.  Footman connector?  Same.  They each have their own qualities but I really just love the additional versatility I get in having something so compatible. 

I didn't like what moving my Julia around did to its balance.  Even though we have restored it to perfection, the idea of moving it around a lot, means that would be a constant problem.  Julia is a big wheel, and though I could have moneyed it up with wheels and straps, I love her as she is and chose to go forward and get the Victoria too.

The other things is, I seem to have acquired an absolutely huge spinning stash.  It was a nice stash when I had just a spindle.  It got much larger with a $200 dollar credit for fibre when I bought the Julia.  It got way worse when I met a man at the library and I bought a bunch of unneeded wool batts from his wife.  And then I bought 2 and a half washed fleeces to prep on my own. I've shown my yarn stash, but I have never ever shown anybody the size of my fibre stash.  I need to spin every spare moment just to get the thing down to human levels.  

I have had her 2 days now and haven't had a chance to work on her at all.  I am going to see if I can't scope some time over the next few days.  Mr. Needles is taking his 90 year old dad ice fishing this weekend, and leaves tomorrow, and I am going to see if I can take a few vacation days off to resolve this deep injustice.  

And to knit a whole bunch more on Paulette's lovely scarf.  It is the music in my days and this pretty new wheel is like a sudden upswing of orchestration behind me.   

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

And away we go.

I'm off to the races with my friends scarf.  Once begun, this little star pattern moves along quite speedily.  This project is pure joy!  So far.

I spent the whole day on Saturday debating the rip back.  Thinking and debating and knitting. Entire days could pass this way. It was something simple of course.  Big thinking doesn't lend itself to complex designs.  

I realized that I did not really have any room for some of the yarn purchased in the search for my friends perfect greens.  There might be room at the bottom of the pile in the scarf yarn box, but the thought of dismantling the whole closet just to put 2 measly but large balls of yarn away did not appeal. And what if, at the end of the trip, they did not fit anyway? That left me with no choice but to knit these balls up right away for the down the road, need a gift in a hurry box.  I choose one and thought to start a Honey Cowl. Its such a lovely pattern and I thought this long change colourway would look really great in it.

It seemed like a good idea till it was time to start the slip stitch pattern.  I knit a few inches down the row (not up the cowl) and just wanted to hurl the whole thing in the corner.  I'm doing about as much slip stitching as I can handle on the placemat tester.  Honey cowl would clearly put me over the edge.

So, what to do with a yarn that shouts cowl from the rooftops?  I looked at a few patterns, but I kept going back to a hat and cowl that were not related to Honey Cowl at all.  I love that kind of texture, that in and out.  I first came across it when looking into ganseys, and it just stayed with me.  

I had enough yarn for a nice long cowl, and this type of rib pattern would be completely reversible.  I'm in.  

I think I cast on 160 or so stitches and knit 4 rows first to make an ever so pleasing little rolled edge and then set down to purl 5 rows.  I like purling.  Really I do, but I don't care for big needles.  I found my hands getting tired fairly quickly.  I wondered if I could just knit from the inside so that the reverse stockinette shows on the outside.  Of course you can, but you do have to change the direction of your work or knit backwards.  I reversed my work.  

In order to keep things a little tighter, I decided to wrap on the turns and because the wraps lay horizontal and would look like garter stitch from either side. No picking them up.

You can see the smallest bit of a wobble where I make the turns.  I think they will be mitigated by a little judicious adjusting of the strand and that they will more or less disappear on blocking.  

I am rather enjoying this 5 row and flip it kind of knitting, without thinking but enough to keep you entertained and engaged.  Back and forth knitting but its making a round!

Anyway that was Saturday's work.  Since then I have been pretty steady on the star lace.  Hope to have it ready for pictures tomorrow.

Monday, 11 March 2013

with a gnashing of teeth.

It is with a gnashing of teeth and deep sorrow that I have to tell you...well, its better to just show you.  

The pretty scarf for my friend and I had a good long chat on the weekend.  I suspected that the number of stitches I had cast on wasn't enough, and after a bit of pinning out, it agreed.  So, all the knitting I did, was pulled back.  Oh the humanity.

But only to the i-cord cast on stage.  Once there, I picked up the stitches from the bound off cord, and I cast on another hundred stitches.  Progress has been pretty good for as little knitting time as I had.  It's hard not to move forward with vigor when I am knitting lace stitches. I'm almost back to where I was when I had to pull back.  

I really love the little star stitch.  It makes such an impressive show for such a simple process.  

Friday, 8 March 2013

I'm a little slow this morning

and it has almost nothing to do with the trip and spectacular fall I executed on entry into work this morning.  I am exceedingly glad that no one was around to witness it.  Graceful I am not.  I take my victories where I can though.

I may have fallen but I did not spill one single drop of coffee.  

I was not born with a full body sense of rhythm.  I might look like I am keeping time to the music when I am sitting in my chair, but get me out on the floor and my feet don't ever seem to connect.  That, or there is a signal delay between brain and feet, as if the information has to go through another set of processors before it gets to my knees.

There was that one time in gym class, where the basketball layup shot the teacher was trying to teach us, was perfectly executed by my whole self.  He was convinced that I had finally gotten it, and it took almost no time to prove to him, that no, no matter what I did, it was never ever going to be repeated.  

But, put two pointy sticks in my hand with some yarn, and give me a pattern made of purposeful holes, and I am become music.  

Gosh I love knitting lace.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Cotton Cotton who has the cotton?

Sometime last week in the time of no camera, I mentioned some placemats that I am working on, or rather a tester placemat.  I hope I like it because I have the cotton - 8 large skeins of Georga Cotton from Walmart.  There is enough here for a tablecloth if I wanted to knit one!  What was I thinking?

But I have pictures!

Sort of funky and yet they suit.  The colours don't look really show up quite the way they really are.  The are just a little brighter and more vibrant, without verging into crayon brights.  The rusty orange is a little more vibrant, the brwon spots?  Forest green.  Its really a very pretty colourway.

Andyway this tester is just to see how if I have knit it large enough. Is it wide enough? Is it high enough? How much will it shrink? Should I use a different size needles to get a more firm fabric?  More loose?  Will it look like crap after a couple of washes?  

Anyway it moves along very quickly. The linen stitch is interuppted by a band of ribbing whose only purpose is to mark of where to cut the strands. The rib stitches will be dropped and the strands cut to form some fringes on the side.

It will be interesting to see how this holds up and whether the fibre can give me the tidy casual look I want.    So far so fair and I expect to finish it this weekend.

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Working along on lacy things

I'm working very hard on the scarf/wrap I am doing for my friend.  It isn't going as fast as I hoped but it is going about how things usually do.  

I spent the better part of the last 2 days worth of knitting ripping back and redoing and ripping back and redoing.  

It isn't that the little Star stitch is hard.  By no means.  Its really quite simple and rhythmic really.  Part of it is that the Fleece Artist BFL 2/8 is a wonderfully slippy smooth yarn and in my hands, ought to be worked on wood needles and part of it is that there is one centering stitch for each cluster and if you end up one stitch off, well, mishmash.  

So far so fair, and I am doing a little better, but it isn't a cakewalk.  I'm taking it with me tonight to work at at knitting group so we shall see if I can manage the purl back row while visiting.  

That is one of the very interesting things about this little stitch.  The purl back row requires a great deal of care to make sure that the last stitch which forms the cluster doesn't slip into the wrong place or doesn't get combined with the yo which creates the center stitch.  The knit side pattern row is the easier row!  Whodda thunk it.

I do love the texture of this little thing though.  When you look at all the Laminarias on Ravelry, people talk about the marvelous border lace, and the flower lace, but far fewer talk about this delightful little star stitch.  Its highly under sung.  

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

He done good.

Mr. Needles is back from his annual bromance and golf vacation, and as he has done for the last several years, he did bring me something nice back.  

He brought me some big chunky Jarbo Garn one year from which I made a really great vest.  I love this vest and could use a few more with its uncomplicated shaping.

And he brought me some melon coloured Cascade Pacific the next year.  It was used for a couple of different baby projects, but mostly a blanket by Sweet Things mommy. I tease him that this time nothing took because he had baby on his mind.

Wow.  Is that a baby in there?  Now how did that happen? ;)  The melon Pacific is at the edges of the photo.  

All along I had been telling him 'sock yarn' or 'something light' as he headed out the door.  This time, I worked on him all year long.  Whenever I happened to watch golf for a few minutes with him, I would mumble something about laceweight yarn.  Whenever he talked about the upcoming trip, I would say laceweight, laceweight in an over the top hypnotist sort of way.  I thought about trying subliminal messaging but that seemed just the smallest bit over the edge.  Even for me. 

But it worked.  And in spades.  

He told the lady laceweight and she said she didn't keep too much in stock, but would show him what she had.  

She has good stuff which are not easy to find here.  Fiesta Gracie, colourway Cedar Crest.  It is a rich combination of raspberry maroon, green and rich purple toned black.  There are two generous skeins of 870 m, so with about 1750 metres, there is lots for a lovely great shawl.  I am also thinking a sweater.  I have some deep dark rich blue black that might work really really well with this.

There is more.

 Cash Woole from Trendsetter, a very fine yarn with 1500 m in 100 grams.  As you can see, 2.  He told the lady that it should be enough to make a sweater.  Well, it is, if I kept it simple, but oh my, such fine stuff as this is deserves to be something more.  So much more.  This one, with its very generous meterage and its very fine wool, silk and cashmere soul, deserves to be a Shetland something.  Or an Orenberg something. It deserves to be something from this,

which I already have in my library.  Couldn't you just see it in that kind of lace?  Sigh.  

Or this,
which is one of my new ones.  Wouldn't this make a great Shetland style shawl, something with that marvelous pinetree like lace in it.

It also has the heart to be something from here, a book which I drool over regularly.
This is my bedtime storybook and encourages only sweet dreams.  But wouldn't Rosy Cash Woole make a stunning shawl in the Estonian tradition, with its ornate flowers and nupps and all manner of goodness?

I can't wait to see where it ends up!  

How fine is fine?  Cash Woole states that it is 2/30.  So just what is 2/30?   The best reference I found in a quick and dirty search is from Colourmart, the home of the very fine mill end.  Suffice it to say it is fine.  Very fine.  Cobweb fine.  And yet it is still a 2 ply yarn, so you have to know there is stuff out there spun finer than this.  

Its probably easier to see it in comparison to Gracie, which is a more standard laceweight.  Cash Wool is almost double the metres per 100 grams in comparison.

Mr. Needles done good.  I would say I am verklempt, but well, gosh darn, you can clearly see I am not.  No, I could sit here and sigh and talk lace and delicious loveliness and lace traditions and shawl construction till the cows (which I do not have) come home.  

Not verklempt, but I sure am content.  

Monday, 4 March 2013

Laminaria variations

I started working on the Laminaria that my friend chose.  What a lovely pattern.  I am so pleased she picked it.  We aren't doing a simple trianlge shawl.  She would like to be able to wear it as a hooded wrap in winter and use it as a wrap in summer.  

So that means we have to modify.  Our starting point was a variation done by ScarletAmpersand on Ravelry.  It is started with a provisional cast on, lengthwise, and then the whole design is knit our and around.  Really inspiring thinking behind this one.  This is the one that caught our eye first and is the one that Paulette fell in love with.  Once the pattern was picked, I spent some of the weekend cruising other projects on Ravelry. I wanted to see what other people had done, and if there were any clues to making the beautiful but occasionally complex stitches.  

There are so many lovely knits of this pattern.  I'll start with a variation done by the designer of the original Laminaria, Elizabeth Freeman.  This variation is knit from the center back of the shawl with long ends knit with the very showy border patterns.  

Neither of those were quite what Paulette wanted nor what I had envisaged.  

Then a happy coincidence.  At some point in the last couple weeks, I saw a post linking to the i-cord cast on.  In my ramblings, trying to figure out what would be the best way to accomplish all the things we want from this project, it occurred to me that starting with a nice sturdy edging, like an i-cord, might be just the thing.  It will certainly hide any sign of how we close the scarf up to form the hood and, when it is open and out to be a wrap, it will make a strong edge for the lace to grow from. 

Critical for success on this wrap will be 2 things.  That I have the right number of stitches so it is long enough to lay and stay over the shoulders, and wide enough that the lace on the end fits.   Somewhere between too narrow and too wide.  

I started using the stitch count of ScarletAmpersand as a base and jiggled it so it would work for the more straight edge section of the first stitch. 

So that is where I started this week.  I did not get as far as I hoped as I was pressed into grandma duties, but I have a clear enough idea of what I want to do to begin.  Here we go, taking massive leaps of faith, and hoping it all works out.
I love this kind of journey where you know the general path you have to follow, but you set it up so you can have all kinds of adventures along the way.  

I expect the occasional scream and knashing of teeth.  I expect the ripping back that I am pretty sure we will see. But if we never pushed the boundaries, never tried for more, never reached, we'd still be living in caves and I for one, am glad the human spirit quests for more.  I like my house and my study and my warm and fuzzy stash a whole lot better than I would a dark, damp cave.  Even if I had sheep at the back of it.

Friday, 1 March 2013

An old thing and a new thing but

No pictures!

Last night after I finished knitting on the pretty little Mizzle shawl,  I put it out on the blocking pile with every intention of blocking it and taking photos this morning.  Instead, I seem to have slept in.  Which kind of bugs me because I really want to see how this one turns out.  

Unblocked, it is much smaller than I thought it would be for something with just a hazelnut sized ball of yarn left over. It is wearable, but just plain smaller than I thought.  I know it is going to block out much larger, though.  That has happened each time I worked with a Noro sock yarn on a shawl.  There is some amazing mileage in it.  

What I am most pleased with is the way it looks.  It's just very nice. The colours of the Noro Taiyo sock are just perfect for this shawl.  There ought to be a Saturday morning post to compensate.  

I am also ready to start the next big thing.  My friend's scarf/shawl.  She has chosen the Laminaria stole design and I think it should work really nicely for what she wants.  There will just be a little tweaking required, but I think the changes will be easy and will make it something she can use, not just as a shawl, but as a year round garment.

The yarn she picked was the green BFL 2/8 from Fleece Artist.  I love this yarn and I am delighted to knit it up for her.  There may a little colour stuff happening for the edging lace. We are going to try it and see how it looks.  

The BFL 2/8 was a yarn that I had sort of planned to knit a sweater with.  It was slated for the Tempest sweater, and I had finally assembled all the yarns.  But the longer I looked at it, the more I was unsure if I really liked the green for a main colour.  It just wasn't how I saw this green.  My eyes always strayed to the pretty ones with the blues when I looked at finished projects on Ravelry.  When I looked at this green, I saw lace.  I wish I would have caught this tidbit about the green a little sooner.  Anyway, Tempest will still be knit, but I will have the adventure of figuring out yarns again and the green will be what it always wanted to be.  

I love it when it when it all feels so right.