Thursday, 30 June 2016

Kasia is helping me write the blog this morning and she says it is time for silly pictures. 

There was lots of knitting happening too, but it is a little hard to get a picture of.

It's only a sock, but it is knitting.  It was a long day yesterday.  The small people were awake early and Grandma had a long day.  But laughter, silly children and a little bit of knitting made it quite perfect.

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The littles

The little people are back in the house, and though I usually get up earlier than they do, today, not so.  Today they were up at 5 a.m.  I suspect it is a holdover from traveling and being on Kiev time for a while.  There was no knitting yesterday but there should be here and there today.


My little people, the fairy princess and the little guy who likes to get stuck in his chair.  (He can close but not open the strap)

Monday, 27 June 2016

Gosh Darn It

You know how sometime, a yarn is in your stash and it's a kind of a favourite so you pet it and don't knit it. It is always out for kntting, always high on the list, but you never get there. 

Well, this ball was one of mine.

Every time I gathered yarns to keep on top of the pile for quick access to knit, this ball was there for me.  But each and every time, it was the one that did not get knit.

Last evening while waiting for a foot size for these socks

 (the receiver has a size 10 foot so I have been told)  I sat there, desperately needing something to do, and needed to keep avoiding that shawl.  Sp I picked up what was once again to the top of the pile and I just dug in.

And got the surprise of my life.

There is a gray and blue section.  A soft blue and a wee bit of navy too.  I was so busy being distracted by the wonderful combination of turquoise and purple that I never, in all the years I played with this yarn, that I never saw its soft gray heart.

Saturday, 25 June 2016

We are renovating

As I said before, we are renovating.

What was once a really great tv room, with no window and a study, also with no window, is now just one big open unfinished space. And, when we are done, there will be new windows and 2 more bedrooms.

It's like going back in time in a way.  We are putting it back to where it was when we came here. We made it work for the two of us, but that doesn't mean it would work for anybody else. One of the comments when we had it up for sale previously, was that about bedrooms.  We only had three.  Now we will have 5, more than when we came, because we made one in an unfinished area.

We are going to continue using them for a playroom for the kids and a study, but it will be easy to see what they can be even for the most challenged imaginations.

For me, this is all so bittersweet.  It is how it has to be.  I cannot afford to maintain it and I was ready to move on to the next phase of life, retirement, before that awful summer.  Still, we are in what remains in my memory, as the 10 good days, and I find this is all permeated with a touch of loss and sorrow.

All Mr. Needles handiwork is gone.  His study is obliterated.  The room where I can still see him sleeping in his chair, in front of the tv is completely absent.  He loved those 2 rooms.  They were his.

He would be so proud. His boys are doing it all, especially his no. 1 son.  He would be so proud.  They are tackling a pretty big job and are doing it well.  And that makes me a little bit sad too.  He cannot see the men his boys have become.  I will be proud for him.

I really am.

Friday, 24 June 2016

When was Thursday?

My calendar says this is Friday, but what I would like to know is what happened to Thursday.  I am pretty sure when I went to bed, that it was Wednesday.  I am so lost in my days.

But it seems it is Friday. 

I may have sorted out the problem on the lace on my Waiting for Rain shawl.  The charts don't quite reflect what needs to happen.  The charts show one stitch less at each end of every row.  What needs to happen is that you work 2 stitches less at the end of each wrong side row. 

It refers to this in notes above the chart.  My complaint is that a chart should show what happens in each row, accurately, rather than being charted to maintain a certain angle of display.  

I will knit this blessed shawl.  It is such a lovely thing, but the pattern is going to get a poorer rating from me because of the way it is organized on paper, and for a chart that is only 'mostly related' to what you are supposed to do.

I'm not grumpy about it today.  I can work forward now, so I am good.  But I sure was grumpy about it yesterday.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

I'm exhausted.  No knitting happened, nor did I think about active knitting.  I am just tired. 

Not to be a downer.  I did spend some time looking for a sock pattern to knit.  I have some very pretty blue yarn.  It is almost a stripe but in varying shades of light to turquoise like blues.  It deserves something special. 

I thought it would be something lacey, and while that does always look nice, the more I look, the more I am thinking not lace, but rather something with some colourwork or texture.  This colourway looks particularly striking as colorwork.   

So.  There you have it. This affirmed plain sock knitter is looking ardently for a sock pattern to knit. 

Like I said.  I am tired.  To everything there is a season and apparently that goes for sock knitting too!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016


I was off yesterday, spinning and knitting the day away.  I chose my work carefully, because I am getting a little tired of screwing up.  Simple works when you need a break from your main occupation.

So I chose holes.

I am really pleased with how this is turning out.  It is perfect for such busy colours like this.  This shawl allows the yarn you choose to do all the talking.

Yet, like a striped sock yarn, knitting this design keeps you occupied.  It seems to move along almost without working on it.  Each section between holes can be knit in one sitting, and the holes rows are easily managed in a quick 10 or 15 minute sit for just the two rows.  And then you get some lovely simple knitting and your brain is looking forward and watching for the count of rows between to be complete. 

Utterly engaging.

Monday, 20 June 2016


'I am always ready to learn, though I do not always like being taught.'  Winston Churchill

Oh, let's not go there.  Ok fine.

I got to the point where it's time to start knitting the lace short row sections on my shawl.   I got off to a start badly, and had to restart.  Then, I tried again, and again, and it got better. 

And then I remembered the plan was for the lace to be white. 

So, back to the drawing board.

And that was going ok.  Till I realized that I was supposed to repeat the central chart section 5 times. 

So, I am taking a bit of a break.  This was supposed to be something fun to do inbetween, and it is. 

If your version of  'fun' involves wanting to poke your eyes out, that is.

The monster in the closet

I was reading one of the Yarn Harlot's books the other day and came across her essay on the 'monster in the closet' and how we all have one, those projects that we poured our souls into, but that we ought to have let die a natural death.

I think moving for the second time in the last few years has pretty much cleared those from my WIP bin.  There is nothing that I will not finish here.

My mittens from Tuulia Salmela's fantasic Deep in the Forest pattern.

My Bridgewater shawl, which has an error and so little of the lace left to do. The link directs you to the original pattern since you really can't see much of what it will be till it is blocked.

Keith's blankie.

These are the only projects that have been around long enough to even think about turning into the monster in the closet and they are all going very well.  The rest of my things are under a year old.

Purging: How to get rid of monsters in the closet.  It kind of goes for the rest of the things of life that can turn into the monsters in the closets.  I know it will seem farfetched to some of you, but doing this renovation is bringing back so many rich memories, mostly really really good, but it is surely making it clear that it is time to close the door on even the friendly monsters and make them be just the memories they are.

Friday, 17 June 2016

A long and busy week.

I am so glad this week is coming to a close.  It's been such a zoo, but the work is progressing and it will be over soon enough.

I did manage to get a little knitting in.  I needed something to pep me up so I started something I have been thinking about for a while.

Way back in the early spring, I started working a striped shawl with some deliciously lovely sock yarn from Custom Woollen Mills. 

It is their new sock yarn with some nylon for strength.  The nylon also gives it a real boost in softness and I really am enjoying working with it.

I did not like the stripes though.  Well I did, but it just seemed that this yarn could be something so much more.  So I waited and looked and took it all apart the other day to start something even better.

It's kind of small yet, but I am really enjoying it so far.  It has an unusual to me way of increasing at the side.

I am making the Waiting for Rain shawl.  These are large skeins and I do hope that I have enough yarn with 2 skeins.  There are some really lovely projects out there where the garter stitch is in one colour and the lace is in another and that is what I mean to do.  The garter stitch in the gray, and the lace in the creamy white.

The original shawl is lovely and light with a soft smooth worsted spun yarn, and my yarn is a somewhat lofty softly mulespun yarn.  In some ways it is about the farthest away that you can get from a smooth worsted spun yarn but I like the contrast. I can't wait to see what the lace works up like.  You can see the nature of the yarn in the garter stitch above.

It's a study in contrasts.  It is mirroring the way the house is.  I can't wait to see it all done in the house too.

Thursday, 16 June 2016


I finished something!

Completely finished too.  These are the Aladdin heel socks, where the heel flap is meant to be easy to take out and replace come time when the heel has worn.  Finished means that the side seams are sewn up too.  These are shortie socks, worked for a size 7 foot on 64 stitches.  I went into the second ball of Arne and Carlos Regia only for a very small bit of the cuff.  Somewhere down the road, I will make another pair, or someone of my little kiddies will get a pair of these socks.

But we are done and we have a new pair of socks in the drawer. 

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Yesterday afternoon

Do you recall how I was saying that I was going to give myself a little treat?  Something to mark the sale of my wee house?  And how I was contemplating tools but then decided to go for some delicious yarns instead?  Well things changed.

Shortly after I posted my blog item a knitter/spinner posted a piece of equipment up for sale on our local group's 'Garavelry' thread. (local garage sale on Ravelry) I blinked for about 15 seconds and posted a message to her that I was very interested.

We quickly came to a deal and I arranged for pickup, and voila.  It is mine.

I have two fleeces that I intend to card and a couple bags of stuff that I really want to play with, and this little puppy should do the job admirably.  Who knows where that will lead to?

The 2 drums are set a little close together but I shall play, and I am looking forward to it.,  However, before play, comes work.

And renovating a basement is a lot of work.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

And then something happens...

and all the plans are tossed by the wayside!  But this is so exciting, I can hardly speak. News of it tomorrow!!!

It wasn't much of a knitting day.  I worked on socks.

 In between moving and sorting through things in the family room and kids play area (under renovation at the moment) I managed to knit a few rows and am now about halfway up the foot of a sock. This is the pair with that interesting Aladdin heel.  Lots to look forward to, lots to dream about and imagine, such as can I repeat the heel on the first sock exactly?  And the ever popular question, just how many gusset stitches did I cast on?

Lots to think about and yet, while mired in the joys of renovating, it came to me how long it feels since I finished something.  I checked later in the day.  Over a month.  No wonder I feel at odds.  I am missing the gratification of having something complete!

But, just wait till tomorrow';s news.  Lots of interesting coming up.

Monday, 13 June 2016

The Road Out.

I am feeling funky this morning.  Funky not in the cool dude way, but rather more in the gray, dim sort of way, like a cloudy morning when you hoped for sunshine.  Household renovations are the cause.  None of this is nearly so much fun when your heart isn't in it.  Windows and rugs and closets and all manner of things. Yucky.

So when I tell you that in the middle of this, there was very little knitting.  Moreover, I did not even want to knit and yet, my mind was not far from knitting and knitting things.

Interweave is having a sale on it's books and I particularly love their digital book collections.  They are delivered as pdf files, which makes them infinitely transportable and easy to use on any platform.  And the prices just cannot be beat.  I picked up 3 books for under thirty dollars.

My favourite purchase was New Directions in Sock Knitting by a favourite author, Anne Budd.  I have become fascinated by sock patterns lately.  I am just starting to feel the urge to knit sock patterns and this new book has the most amazing sock, by Jeny Staiman, Vanishing Point. 
  I.  WANT.  THIS.  I may even consider using some of my lovely Zaubderball for it!  What is this world coming too.  Knit a monkey sock a few times and then all heck breaks loose!

I also picked up Brioche Chic. When I was in San Fransisco a couple years ago, with my friend, Sweaterrae,  for Knitlab, I took a class in Brioche knitting from Mercedes Tarasovich.  It's such an interesting way to knit and I absolutely  the fabric of it.  The book was out shortly after that trip, and I knew that one day, it would be mine.  There are a couple of garments in it that I would love to knit.  Mercedes steps outside the box and takes brioche to a whole new place.

The third book was pure whimsy, bought solely for the picture on the cover. Vintage Modern, you are mine.  I love that yoke pattern, but more.  There are some very interesting things besides that one must knit.  There is a lovely cabled sweater, two actually, that I can see me wearing in the future, a Roositud technique tam, several pairs of wrist warmers and the loveliest legwarmers in an interesting twisted stitch and embroidery combination.  Interestingly, I also took a class with Courtney Kelly and Kate Gagnon Osborne on twisted stitch knitting at the same San Fransisco retreat.

The other thing I have been thinking about, very seriously is a yarny treat.  I sold my wee house and as I did with each of the properties and things I have sold, it is time to give myself a little treat.  I debated if it should be tools, but I have nowhere to keep what I was thinking about, so yarn it is.  There is always more room for yarn.  And again, the yarn I am strongly leaning to is something I first experienced at Knitlab!  The third class I took there was with Nancy Bush, on Estonian knitting and our sample was being knit with Jaimeson Ultra Laceweight.  Who wouldn't love to knit a  traditional Shetland style shawl with it using all the natural shades?

So no knitting but a weekend full of yarny pursuits.  You know, thinking about these good things that have or will be coming my way has just lifted my spirits.  I think I can look to this weeks adventures in renovations with a clear head and a brighter attitude.  

Friday, 10 June 2016

Merrily knitting away

I stopped to knit with the Thursday night ladies last night.  It's a small group, but it is nice to chat a little more closely with friends. 

As I chatted, I finished the hood on Isaac's sweater again.  Yesterday afternoons try on suggested the hood needed to be longer to account for growth.  It was a little to snug over the top of his head even now and he is growing like a weed.

When that was done, I picked up his mom's sweater to work on and ...

wasted my time.

I completely forgot that I was going to start joining the rectangle again.  Everything I did at knitting needs to come out.  2 good inches.  Sigh

And that is really not what I wanted to have happen.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Not just waiting to knit for me.

I worked on socks yesterday for a time particularly the broken seed stitch socks. I usually enjoy working these socks, but yesterday, it irritated me. I think that is because I would rather be making some new sweaters for myself, or knitting pretty shawls for myself. But I really want to finish this next sweater first. I did eventually pick up the last sweater again and you know what? It's a lot of fun.
I adore working with this yarn. I adore the colour and its smooth softness. I love the needle size, which is really funny, because I normally hate needles above a 4 mm. I am working this on 5 mm and a big part of why I love it is the drape it gives this fabric. And I love the pattern. It's genius. Pole by Joji Locatelli has just enough plain knit rows so you don't get tired of them and then inserts a clever little wedge that makes this sweater be so much more than a circle. This sweater leaves the wearer with shape and a waist from the back which most circle sweaters just don't have. And it is knitting up so fast. The sections just blast by, a little bit like knitting stripes. Perfect finale for my family sweater adventures.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Of socks and sweaters

There is always a little knitting going on here.  Though the last couple of days it has been very little.  With the sweater for Isaac waiting for a try on so I know how the front needs to be worked, I feel a little out of sorts and at loose end.

And when that happens, socks are knit.

Thius batch of socks makes me feel particularly happy.  I love the colours of both of the dark socks and I can't wait to see how the heel innovation works on the blue socks.  All of these are second socks, so it would be, in truth, even nicer, if at least one of these were done. It feels like forever since they were begun.  The blue are recent but the others have been here since Christmas and before.

I need something new. I really want to knit something new, but I have one sweater yet of things I must knit before I take a break and knit only for me.  About the time I start thinking of fall sweaters, I will be ready for me. 

It's time.  Some of my sweaters, my favourites, are looking pretty well worn.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Sleeves Completed

I love sleeves. I know, that seems odd, but I do. I love them when they are done. And that leaves me with one major section of the sweater to do, the hood. Doing the hood means it is time to take off the neckline ribbing that I started with.
It seems scary when you have to cut your knitting, but only the first time. People worry that the stitches will run, but unless you have really slippery yarn, or you are working particularly fast and loose,and sloppy, the stitches will generally sit pretty tidy. Even then, if you are worried, undo a few stitches and pick them up. Another trick I use is to pick up on slightly smaller needles and then switch them on to the working needles. I didn't get much knitting done this week, but the yard sure is looking nice! Well, except for the lawn. There is only so much time in a day.

Friday, 3 June 2016


I am having a slow start to my day.  My grandkiddies are with mommie in Kiev and their pappa has gone fishing.  First time I have been all alone for a loooooong time.

I have 10,000 things to do and no will to do much of it.  I could easily sit and knit the days away watching movies that I usually only watch when I am hiding out from the world, but...

There is yard work to do.  Our easy lawn mower is broken so I am going to have to hack off the lawn a little at a time using the old reel type mower.  I don't think it is going to be too bad though, because the blades are tremendously sharp.  There are tree shoots in every single flowerbed to be trimmed out and weeding galore to be done too.

If I get some of it done, I win.

And so do my neighbours.

Thursday, 2 June 2016

More sweater

And back to the sweater.  I really love how it is working up and I am going to be seriously sad when this yarn is all gone.  I simply adore working with a soft sturdy cotton.

 For all its other sins, I love the way this looks.  There still is significant knitting to do, mostly button bands and hood, plus the zipper, but it really is giving me the feel of what it will be when it is done. 

I love, love, love this part of the sweater knitting process.  You can see it, you can feel it but you still get to work on it a little.   

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Old Things

Most of my WIPs are current.  There are only a few oldies and none of them are projects I want to rip back.  they have just been here a while.

Yesterday, for absolutely no reason on earth, I picked up the old blanket project and started working on it. You know how it goes when you work on something.  There are results!

 I finished up this section of the doubled orange worsted weight.  There one more section of it, but there is a lot of knitting before I get there.

I am so delighted to be back on a single strand of the bulky.  It's just easier.  Easier on my hands. 

 I dream of actual progress on this project.  But not too much.  No point in getting things done too fast after all.