Tuesday, 29 October 2013

And Away we go

Today is a day of errands and laundry and packing.  And then I am off to Knitlab in San Matteo.  I don't know if I am more excited about Knitlab or San Matteo or if what really excites me is the idea of taking a class from Nancy Bush.

In a lot of ways knitting has been about sweaters knitting for me.  That certainly was what I really wanted to do when I started this adventure but it also quickly became about something more.  

That something more is about learning and understanding those who knit before.  I haven't ever felt that I had to knit a whole project doing absolutely everything they did to create, but understanding why they might have done a particular technique makes me understand the whole of knitting better.  

Nancy Bush was the first writer and knitter who opened that world to me. Her book 'Folk Knitting in Estonia' was one of the very first that I read that took a look at one cultures traditions and  blew my whole world wide open.  When she published 'Knitted Lace of Estonia' I had a friend try to source a copy of the book before it was published in Canada.  I was one of the very very many who waited and waited for a copy when the first run sold out.  (Or at least that is what I think happened. The publisher did not understand the demand)  

She continues to be my favourite author of  historic knitting and I am nothing less than thrilled that I get the chance finally to take a class from her.  

This all started a lifetime ago, back in the very very early spring.  It started long before I knew my world could possibly be so different.  It became a step that would happen, a marker for the days and something to go forward to.  Not look forward to but a reason to go forward and get out and do.  

This last week, I am pleased to say, it has become something I am looking forward to again.  I am thrilled that I get the chance.  

Now, off to make the list of lists.  Supplies, American dollars, figure out how to get more funds on my prepaid master card and how to get it to show up in my bank...

So many details so little time!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Back to the drawing board

My daughter found a cute little hat in a recycle clothing place, and hoped I could knit a new one, just like it.

I gave it a shot.

It is a basic hat with bunny ears with an attached neck so that they stay perfectly warm.  

It worked out fine and fits nicely for the most part but it will be frogged.  Back to the drawing board.  It is too long and that bit too long causes it to gape at the sides of her face.  And since the very first thing you do is knit straight for the length of it, it has to go right back to the drawing board.  

Sigh.  I had such high hopes that I would get it in one.

Friday, 25 October 2013

I know I said I was sick BUT

I know I said I was sick BUT that was before I had tea.  I still feel like crap, but I am so pleased with what I did, I just had to show you.

Little Girl sweater done.  She is past her first birthday and baby though she might be, grandma has to get out of the habit of calling her baby.

I am so pleased with how this turned out.  it is lofty and she likes it and so does mama.

 A shot of that double wide cabling on the back for good measure.  

Being sick might not be so bad.  I am going to wind yarn and then later I might even tidy my living space.

Or I will have a nap and more tea.  We shall see.


I have a beastly cold again.  I thought I was getting over it, but it sprang back to life in the most horrid way.  So I am going to crawl back to bed shortly and I will sleep the morning away.  We shall see if that helps get rid of it.

Meantime, well, meantime, go forward and knit something cheerful.  Because it is way nicer than knitting something not cheerful.  

I know, it is pretty bad, but other than that, I got nuthin.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

What happens when you get to looking at rainbows

What happens when you get to looking at rainbows, is you miss a day.  I had errands to do in town that meant I left the house at 5 a.m. and while waking that early isn't a problem, going out that early is.  Especially when you get your second cold in a month.  When I got home I took a nap. 

The other thing about looking at rainbows, is that it is the perfect time to knit little sweaters.

It fits her just perfectly without blocking so that means she will have enough room to grow once we block it.  Or maybe we won't and will just let wear add the blocking.

I still have to fix that neck and knit the front bands.  I am going to do the neckband and front bands in one piece.  That should happen today, I think,

In the minutes when I needed to knit but could not think about picking up stitches and such things, I worked on a little something else from the deep WIP basket.  Just about a year ago,  I started a Still Light tunic for my Daughter1 . 

I was using a yarn that was nice enough, but that just was not going to have the drape the original yarn had.  I bumped into the original yarn in the perfect colour and found exactly the right number of balls at the yarn store, and, well, there I am.  I have changed yarns and am knitting it the right way. I may have gone back a little but it will be so much better.

The thing about alpaca is it shows off your crappy knitting, but that doesn't mean a lot in the long haul.  Wear of the completed garment will mean the alpaca will weight itself down into smoothness and it is going to be fantastic. 

My fingers had forgotten how much they like working with Drops Alpaca.  I worked long into the evening, far longer than I should have, but it was all just so nice.

And that is what happens when there are Rainbow Connections about.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Rainbow Connecting

This feels right today.  I have no idea why, but it makes me smile.

This makes me smile too.

I am very pleased with the way the colours worked out and once washed, the yarn bloomed very nicely.  The band is thick and is still a little damp, so I am going to toss it in the dryer.  Again.  I can also see that I ought to have done a few more garter rows at the bottom so it wouldn't roll, but then the roll works right along with everything else in this pattern/yarn combination.  Very nice!

And plenty long, using right about 650 meters of yarn which is not quite all the yarn I had, but close enough to be a very good size.

Still knitting on the little girls sweater too.  I am down to the ribbing on the body.  Then sleeves and to fix that neck and add the button band and collar.  There is at least a good days worth of work left, maybe two, but it feels so close to being done if the body is done.  Funny how that goes.  

So, sit back, run the video and knit like there is no tomorrow.  Cause, well you know.  Don't waste the time you have. Think of rainbows.

The Yarn Speaks

You know that little sweater I showed you last week?  The one I am knitting for my granddaughter?  

Yeah, that one. Did you ever get that feeling while knitting a sweater?  That feeling that what you are doing is horribly wrong and you ought to stop it right now?  

This sweater said that.  Over and over again, it shouted, "for the love of heaven, think what you are doing"  These things usually lead to the project ending up in the WIP pile and my WIP basket is full.  Stuffed actually.

It just seemed like the white yarn was capable of being so much more. The sweater was OK, but the yarn is very much more than OK. It is yummy and squishy and soft and lovely.It whispers through your fingers and you just know that it wants to cuddle your baby. All those good things and I decided to knit a sweater of leftovers and ends.  

It took me the better part of a day to come to the realization that what I was doing to that nice yarn was an atrocity.  I ripped it back set the pink stuff aside and just look at what trouble I have been up to.

I wasn't sure I was ready to bother of cables but the yarn absolutely said it needed to be cables.  Once I stopped worrying about what I wanted, which was a baby sweater, and paid attention to the best look for the yarn and the baby, it just sort of happened.  It is just below the armpits and it is all clear sailing from here.  Everything has been established, all the cables are in, all the increasing is done and all I have to do is a cable row in every 4.  Not too much to ask of a knitter, is it.  It is moving along wonderfully.

There are a few problems though.  I wasn't thinking at the neckline and that front is so high it would jump up and bop my Sweetie in the face.  I will redo the neck ribbing and take out a few rows at the front as I do so, to give it that nice soft, lower front that really great sweaters have.

Even so, knowing that I have a major fix on the way, I am pretty pleased with it so far.  The cables have been fun and are easy enough to remember.  The only place I crossed wrong was easy enough to fix by dropping stitches down.  Sure I had to do it twice but hey...

The yarn is quieter now.  It is doing just what it was meant to do.  It is happy and so am I.  

Friday, 18 October 2013

Just Nice.

No baking happened yesterday.  We went shopping instead.  

We didn't do much, but did a few errands for my daughter and then we stopped at the yarn store and I did a little shopping there.  We ran into a couple of friends of mine so we had lunch next door to the store at an Edmonton institution, Fife and Dekel.  This sandwich and pie place recently moved from their original location to right beside the yarn store.  Great food and great yarn in one small strip mall?  A tiny corner of heaven.

I picked up a couple of new treats.  
 This is Souk, a new yarn from Cascade Yarns. It appears to have a very noro-ish soul.  We shall see.  It shall be knit soon.  This might be my upcoming travel knitting!
And number two treat, Jawoll Magic Degrade.  I don't know.  Maybe I have this in this colour already?  If I do, that is okay.  I think I just needed more.  Wonderful fall colours. Deep rich red, and gold and green and maroon and purple and everything in between.  Though it is sold as a sock yarn, I don't know. It is a good sock blend, 25% nylon and the rest wool, but the soft twist?  I just don't see it for socks.  Not that this is a bad thing!

We came home and I knit the afternoon away till it was time to make some soup for supper.  It was a lovely day and it felt just nice.  Nothing was rushed, nothing was urgent. I think I needed that.

Today this house will be filled with good smells of freshly baked buns and a loaf of bread or two. Just an ordinary day, nothing urgent, no rush.  

Just nice.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Something Old, Something New

I was putzing yesterday,  Going through boxes and boxes of stuff that has to be gone through sometime before next spring. When I putz along like that, I tend to think a lot about the state of things, the changes of things and what the heck do I want and need to keep with me, to move on.  In truth, but for the yarn, the books and my little blue cheap china collection, not a whole lot.  The problem, is, you see, that so much of what is here is what we were together.  It isn't that I want to lose that, but that life together lives in my heart, not in the stuff.  Since I did not get the choice to do what I wanted to and keep that life, I have to think about who I will be alone.   I do think about that a lot.

I got to thinking about bedding yesterday and that brought me to mind of something I have long thought about. It brought me to think of this project.  
This great big Blankie is made of Lion Brand Fishermans wool.  I had 2 of each of 5 colours.  It is massive. It is hanging here on the pool table (4x8.  Does anybody want a pool table?) and almost reached the floor on both sides.  It was wider than our Kingsize quilt upstairs and way to massive for the double it was used on.  It was used anyway because it was warm and I loved sleeping under it.  I have long thought about felting it smaller.

So yesterday I did.   

I tossed it in the machine and turned on the towel cycle with its long hot wash and cold rinse and it is just perfect.  It shrunk about 40 %.  It fits exactly how I wanted it to fit on this queen size bed, which is nicely across the bed but not all the way to the top.  Warm for my feet but not too hot on top.  Just right. Perfect for its eventual home on a double.  

Something old, something new all in one nice blanket.  I suspect that is how this process of becoming me alone will be.  The old will be felted into the new.  Not a bad thing at all and nothing to be afraid of. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Before I went too far


My baby sweater is too big, and needs pulling back and making smaller.  It won't bee too bad, but I really hate that when you are knitting along great guns and whammo, you need to rip back.  Tomorrow. (Or today as the case may be.)

I consoled myself knitting on Aethercopter.  Now according to my Ravelry page for this project, I have only been knitting this since May of 2011, which means it isn't all that old.  However, I have tried all sorts of things before I started this with this yarn.  It goes back, project wise to 2009, almost the dawn of my knitting.  The strong colours made pattern choice difficult.  

I think I struck it right this time.

The strong colours keep it busy but the small regular lace seems to work with it.  And, even more important, I have two similar but slightly different colours of yarn.
The ball shades white to light blues to medium blue and the skein shades softest gray to dark blue. I am going to be watching closely.  The yarn is so regularly coloured that pooling is a definite hazard.  At the same time, pooling might be a strong point with this combination of yarn and pattern.  I really won't know till I have knit on it a bit more.   

The yarn is street yarn from Kiev.  I teased Son1 into searching for it the first time he went to Kiev to meet his now wife (and mommie to my Sweet Thing).  It was bought at a street market.  It isn't a fancy yarn.  It is a sound acrylic and is fuzzy and sticky, but that fuzzy and sticky is really part of its charms.  I can't wait to see it once it is washed and dried and draping softly.  I am hoping for something wonderful to happen!

Anyway, while the spirit moves me, I will knit on this, and later, may fix my wee sweater.  But for now, before I go too far, coffee and a podcast or two.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

New stuff to knit.

It feels as if I finished a ton of stuff the last while.  I haven't really, but it does feel good to get some things that hung on the needles forever, done.

So I have given myself the treat of starting a new sweater for my wee Sweet Thing. Since I only started it yesterday evening, I am pretty pleased with my progress.

I found some Cucciolo in the kids yarn stash.  This is a nice chunky yarn from the long gone Needful Yarns.  Even though I have 6 or 7 balls of this yarn, it somehow never got recorded in my stash.  Hmmm, wonder how that happened? Anyway it is a really great yarn for kids and there is plenty there to play with when I have no idea what it will be. Tunic or simple sweater?  I have lots of yarn.

I've added some frilly looking bits, a double strand of Ice Cream, a tiny dainty bobbly yarn from Adriafil.  Just a little fun and to pop in a little something to distract from any stains that may happen as they so often do on kids clothes.

Once this is done I have some mitten knitting to do.  Plain ordinary knit good and tight mittens for my Little Guy (son3s stepson) who likes plain mittens.  There needs to be some spares, in case a guy loses a mitten or two.  I know just the yarn for it too. Nice thick sock yarn. Washable.  Good stuff.  

Gee I wonder if that is listed in the stash?

Saturday, 12 October 2013

The Good Sweater

I've been meaning to write about the joys of a comfy sweater.  

Remember this one?
It is the Icelandic Overblouse from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knit One Knit All.  I don't know if I could possibly say enough about this one sweater, but I can speak to what others should be as they try to be what this sweater is to me.

A good sweater, should be one you can put on and feel good about, even if it is not your perfect style.  A good sweater should be instantly warm around you.  It should never pull, twist or feel tight.  It should cling on certain spots and drape warmly around you in others. A good sweater makes whatever  you wear a significant style, even if the rest of your outfit is comprised of pajama pants. The best sweaters are a little oversized to wear over everything.  It could even be that a really good sweater needs to have just the tiniest bit of schleppiness about it.  It cannot be too fine, it just has to be right.  A good sweater needs to be something to throw on in the very early hours of the morning to stave off the early chill, long before anyone cares what they look like.

Ah the joys of a good sweater.

Friday, 11 October 2013


Now that Pepita is done (but for buttons)  I am considering what to do next.  I have so many things down in the bin and some of them...

Well, it would just be nice to finish them.  I am looking at you pretty little scarf.

And other pretty scarf.

And Icarus which just needs the border lace.

Though I have to confess, I didn't use the right needle for Icarus, and really, it ought to be frogged and done over with a larger needle.  It is going to be really small the way it is.

But mostly this morning, I am working on keeping my Sweet Thing out of what she isn't supposed to be in.  She is pretty sneaky, my sweet thing.  And fast.  I will knit later.  \it is a pretty darn good trade off.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Oh sweet Pepita

I went to my other regular knitting event, evening knitting at the Strathcona County Library and I even managed to make it on desert night. They were part of the light thing too.  They give me so much.  

Desert night is, where after the library closes at nine, we sneak into a restaurant in the same building and have tea and something from their selection of great deserts.  Its a lovely elegant little place, and it is just such a nice way to finish an evening with some good friends.  It is one of my favourite things to do.

So what did I knit on these back to my knitting group times?  Well, I had thought to knit on  Viajante, with its ever so simple shape but in the end, Pepita shouted louder.  Plus, the young miss that it is meant for, is growing so rapidly that I absolutely must get it to her now.

  As you see, the feet are almost done.  I have just passed the heel turn on sock two so it won't take long to finish.  I think I am going to go find a white onesie or white shirt for her to wear with it.  It still needs some buttons too but so close to done, I can taste it.  

Then I just have to get it over to her mommy so that she can wear it!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Sweet Things

Yesterday, for the first time in a very long time, I made it to a knitting afternoon.

It was lovely. So very nice o be surrounded by the cameraderie of good friends.  One of the ladies who was picking yarn for a shawl for her daughters wedding, had it finished but for blocking.  What a lovely piece in silver white beaded and beautiful.  

Some of the others were looking at a variation of a short row sock heel, called the 'Fish Lips Kiss Heel'.   It looks very interesing.  But not today.  

Today I will tell you of a memorial these crazy ladies came up with for Brian.  They purchased a light.  Huh?

The City of Edmonton has a privately funded campaign to light up the High Level Bridge    Brian will now have a light on this bridge and somewhere in the near future, the bridge people will be able to tell us just which light Brian's light is.  Isn't that cool?  And sweet.  It help a very worthwhile cause do something innovative and memorializes Brian in such an unexpected fun, and interesting way.

He would have liked that.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A knitting day

My that was lovely.  I knit.  I had such a good time that I even enjoyed doing laundry!

I worked on Viajante for a while.  

It is a long long way from finished but it is interesting how much this shows about the colours of this yarn.  I am not sure I love it and yet I don't dislike it, I am just in that middle.  I love the feel of the fabric though.  Garter stitch  with laceweight yarn unblocked is just yummy. 

I worked on Pepita till I ran out of yarn but that is a story for another day.  

What I really wanted to show you today is an old project finished many many months ago but not blocked till just recently.  Somewhere in among all the rest of this last few weeks busy days, I managed to steam block this shawl, and oh my do I love it.
It is the Lilia Hyrna from Clara Parkes Book of Wool.  I love the way it turned out, made just a little larger than the book because of the extra rows I tucked into the last red section.  For those few rows, the last black lace needed to be longer but it worked out perfectly.  It doesn't even look to be too strong of colours the way it all balanced itself out just so.  Well not to strong to me but then I like bright things and strong contrasts. But do you know what the best thing about this shawl is?

The best thing is how beautifully the yarn changes when you dampen it or wet it.  It becomes so soft and just clings perfectly around you.  It is the perfect sort of sigh to wear.  While I did not find it scratchy at all just perfectly right, your mileage may vary.  

I think I am in love with Icelandic laceweight.  Big love.  And now that they have flights direct from here to Iceland...well gee whiz.  

Who knows where this might end?  ; )

Monday, 7 October 2013

At rest

Whew.  When a wedding is put on with such short notice as this one was, there are a lot of short nights.  I wasn't the one who had those short nights and yet, I am so very tired.  
Our bride has two sisters and they did a massive amount of work to get things done.  The best men were heros.  The brides mom and dad did so much and it was wonderful.  Best wedding ever.

Even so, I am tired.  Tired in ways I was not sure existed tired.  The vast majority of the important stuff is complete.  So today, I am just going to knit.  And knit and knit.  Might make coffee.  

And tomorrow, if I am lucky, I will be able to show you a sizeable chunk of Viajante.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Off to do some wedding prep

I am off to assist with some wedding prep, or have coffee and run errands.  I don't know which.  I am leaving it up to those in charge to direct my time today. 

And then I have to bake a bit more this evening.  I still have one kind of cake and some dainty cookies that I want to do.  

The cookies are something that shows up in my Betty Crocker Cookbook, the very first cookbook given to me by my mom.  In some ways my copy is out of date.  Old fashioned pictures, all of them small but the recipes are time tested and still are exactly what they were then.  

These are right in the cookie section.  A creamy wafer, (4th photo is the exact sort of dainty) where the simple dough is rolled in sugar and then cut in small circles and baked.  Then they are iced with a rich butter cream icing which has been coloured, according to the book, pink and green, but according to me, the wedding colours.  They are cute as can be and  so very perfect for a wedding or wedding shower.

Anyway, off go do wedding stuff.  I might not have time to post tomorrow and the weekend will be its own sort of wonderful busy - ness.  You will see me hale and hearty and raring to knit come Monday morning.  

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Early days

It is early days yet, but there is a touch of that white stuff out there on top of my car this morning.  And so it goes.

I have to tell you that I did not quite get the sock family done.  I knew I was pushing it, but that makes me just the smallest bit sad.  Oh well, it is just the smallest bit of ribbed cuff and then heels for both mommy and daddy's pairs and then we are done.  I will give baby hers this evening and I will use this time to get the perfect heel placement on the others.  C'est la vie.

Today my plans don't involve knitting at all.  Today I must bake squares for the wedding.  I have pulled out the big guns and plan to work from the Company's Coming first book of all, 150 Delicious Squares.    It stays in print because it does what it does exactly right.  Simple recipes, good tasting. Not gourmet, but real people treats.

Looks like a tough day ahead  

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

My Sweet Thing

From this tiny little sleepy soul to this

What an incredibly joyful journey.