Wednesday, 31 January 2018

That Comfortable Length

As I have been knitting this sweater, and I guess in conversation when I spin with a friend, that 'comfortable' length for sweaters has come up.  

It's really a very personal thing but the goal for any sweater ought to be a length that makes you feel good.  I know that in my sweater chest, length has varied dramatically and will probably continue to vary dramatically sweater by sweater.  It depends how I am planning on wearing the sweater.

My first sweaters tended to be shorter.  I measured this one today, 


I loved this sweater then.  It is 11.5 inches long and it was my favourite sweater to wear when I was still doing office work.  It was warm with its heavy collar at my neck and the short sleeves never let it be too warm.  It is quite perfectly me and I still wear this sweater regularly.  It was perfect then, but I do wish it was a little longer now, another two inches. I didn't want a sweater that dragged under a chair seat back then and I didn't want it to get caught in the chair wheels if it was on the back of my chair but now, they can drag all they want. 

This one, the sweater I wear more than any other, because it is great alone and perfectly wonderfully spacious to wear a vest or another sweater under. Just my favourite relaxed garment ever. 


It is 15 inches from the underarm and is really quite perfectly me.  The only change I would make is to make the bottom curved hem into short rows.  This way of making that curved edge, causes it to roll under a bit rather than laying nice and flat.  I am going to make another of these soon.  

And then this one, 


Which is 18 inches and is much more a tunic than a sweater.  I love wearing this sweater and it is again, very perfectly me.  The only thing I would change is that I would make the neckline smaller.  It is a very wide neckline, to the point of falling off my shoulders wide.  I did a row of crochet around the neckline to stop it from doing so, but I need to do it again in a yarn with a bit less give to make it comfortably wearable again.

My last cardigan, 


is 18 inches long too, which kind of explains why I think it is a little too long.  It doesn't change when I wear it though.  

And my little red sweater, knit for a very different purpose 


is 16 inches.  Which reminds me that I need to take a finished photo of this little topper.  

Each of these sweaters filled a very different purpose in my wardrobe, the first, something to stop the air conditioner blowing on my neck at the office, the second, and every man, every day sort of sweater, the third, a tester sweater in several different ways, one of which was to see if I liked how longer sweater lengths felt wearing and if I like them on me.  Then one, which was just a joy to knit and which strangely enough, was knit to what I thought was my optimal sweater length but that isn't how I feel when wearing it. Last, a little something to wear over top my plain wardrobe to make it a dressier and  give what I wear a little pop of vibrant colour.   

My comfortable length is probably between 15 and 18 inches, which is a pretty large variance.  I do think it is going to continue being something that depends on what I am knitting the sweater for.  

Hahahaha, I just went to measure yet another sweater, the one that unfailingly gets commented on, particularly for colour, which I have no finished photo of.  18.5 inches.  

This has been fun! 

     

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Happy Knitting

There was a lot more sweater knitting yesterday, but I am also very aware of hand strain.  I can knit on a sock almost all day without a problem as long as I keep stretching and take proper breaks, but the sweater requires careful knitting, supported knitting, and leaves me with a fair bit of time for other less stressful on my hand knitting.  Since I really do want my hand to properly heal, I am taking it slow and careful.

Though there haven't been full days devoted to other knitting, a lot of other knitting is underway. It is inconsequential but for one thing.  

Though this one might not be a really great dishcloth, but well, it is a skein of yarn that would otherwise have no use in my stash.  


This is a skein of Eden Madil, a lovely pure bamboo rayon.  I bought this skein as a standby on another project, in case I ran out of yarn.  It did not get used and it ended up in this bin.  It should probably be a cloth more used as a 'spa' cloth but seriously, it will end up in the kitchen.  A yarn with no purpose so I am giving it one, however lowly that purpose may be.  

And yes that is a straight needle and that is part of what I wanted to show you this morning. The dishcloth bin needle is a 4 mm needles.  I did cast on with it, but it was far too loose and floppy to be good for anything. This yarn needed something smaller particularly if I meant to use it as a dusting or washing cloth.  The needle case is out in the living room so I grabbed as set that was to hand, a straight 3.25 mm.  

I may not use them much, but this needle has the perfect tip for soft bamboo, blunt.  The difference in working with the yarn on this particular set of 3.25 mm needles was apparent almost from the first stitch on the needle. Everything went so much more smoothly and I didn't have to be at all careful about splitting the yarn.


This is a very old set of needles, probably dating back to the mid 70's or early 80's .  It's one of several needles from back in the day, with this blunt style tip, in my collection.  It's almost rounded it is such a short slope.  If you look closely, you can see that it is only half as long as the Addi 4 mm needle tip is till it gets to the full diameter of the needle.  

Every needle style, straight, circular, straight shorts, has a place.  Every kind of tip has a thing it does better than other tips.  Every material needles are made out of has a place in your needle stash and every knitter has a preferred blend of each.  No one style is necessarily perfect for every job and sometimes, when you grab something different than you usually use, you are surprised by how much a small difference can change a task and how much pleasure that little change can be.

Whatever else this dishcloth will be, it is happy knitting.

Monday, 29 January 2018

And here we are. Monday.

It is a hold back from all those years of working in an office, with the unrelenting Monday, but  even now that I am more or less retired, Monday remains a day that is about facing up.  Monday in the office world is about facing up to work again for another whole week and for me here, Monday is a day of reckoning. 

I didn't quite get to where I hoped but then my hope was pretty unrealistic.  In my heart of hearts I hoped that I could get the body done.  I would have been thrilled to get it within an inch of the bottom.  But seriously, that is a lot of knitting and isn't possible, not even when I am on a sweater jag where I knit a sweater in a week.  If I was knitting a shorter sweater, maybe, but this one?  Nope.

But it is going well.  I am below the waist and have separated the two sides back into a cardigan.




Coming off the repair of the button placket at the neckline, I was really, really careful to have the correct side be on top.  


While I didn't live up to my unattainable dreams, I did a very respectable amount of work.  It is at 11 inches now from the underarm and my goal is for this sweater to end up about 17 inches from the underarm.  So about 6 inches to go.  It is 6 easy inches though.  I have one more increase set to do, and once that is done, I can drop the markers and just knit madly till it is long enough.

It just occurred to me that somewhere soon, I have to decide if I am going to add a bit of the yoke colour and patterning at the bottom.  I do really love the splash of colour at the top and I have lots of the yarn left but the question is do I need it?  Would having some at the bottom add to the sweater or would it end up taking away from the punchy pop of colour at the neckline?  

If you asked me today, I think I would say no.  As me another day?  Who knows.   There is also the option to do the trim at the bottom of the sleeves.  That could easily happen no matter what I do at the bottom of the sweater.  Lots of choices left in this project before all the deciding is done.

But for now, I'm off to see where the day will take me.  Some chores, some knitting no doubt, and that sounds like a pretty good Monday to me. 

Saturday, 27 January 2018

The Things This House Didn't Have

In this spate of tidying and cleaning there are a couple things I have found.  

No. 1. My house has never been this clean before.  This house, with it's hard floors is extraordinarily easy to clean and keep clean.  Tidy might be another matter, but hey, tidy isn't clean and clean isn't always tidy and right now, mom would be proud of me.

No. 2.  This house had no decent place to attach my ball winder where it worked the proper way. 

Almost a deal breaker.  And I like it here.  Since arriving here, winding yarn has been a sort of pain.  I have had to move furniture, or wind in weird places or off the sides of bookcases, none of which are the nicest easiest places to wind yarn.  I needed to do something but I was never sure just what.  

I thought about making something like this.   The first two rows of photos are marvelous examples of what I was thinking.  But, and this is a serious but, that set of legs costs money and I didn't really have a place where that set of legs would fit. I didn't see how that kind of station would work with what I already had either.  

I have a swift that Brian built for me and no matter how unusual it is, it was what he envisioned after I explained what I needed.  I am not about to get rid of something he made to purchase something with no meaning at all.  My swift, won't fit on a stand like any of those shown.  

My swift is also a pain to store. I never told him that.  The base used to sit in a permanent cross but I took that apart a while ago, opting for mildly less stable performance but much much easier storage.  It breaks into flat pieces of 1 x 1 and smaller, but it still was four long pieces and then the short posts  that the yarn wrapped around.  The pieces sat in the corner of my living room for the last year, sort of out of the way, but always, in every way, in the way, falling all over every time you blinked.

And then there is the ball winder.  I have many places it fits, but every single one of them is backwards from what is optimal, so winding wasn't in any way a pleasant experience, just a chore to be done and I like winding yarn.  

Resolution jumped up and bit my in the face today.  


I recently replaced this unit, your basic el cheapo cube unit,  with something that had more shelves, in my laundry, and I wasn't sure what I was going to do with this unit.  It was in the way the last week or so and I was going to put it in the upcoming spring garage sale.  I couldn't think what I would use it for anymore.  

I was sitting here looking at yarn, and thinking about stuff, and it popped my head that maybe it could  hold the ball winder.  Maybe it needed to be my winding station.  I checked to see if the ball winder would mount firmly on it and yup.  It did.  

I took one of the shelves and drilled holes and screwed it into place at the bottom of the unit to make a bin to hold things in place at the front.  I tucked the other shelf  at the back of the unit, to help keep things stable, after I discovered my swift is too tall to be able to make use of a shelf.  

And voila, a solution to two very irritating problems was born.  
 

Everything fits in quite tidily and even better, I had the perfect place to tuck it between the door and the sewing station in my study. 

Even room for my niddy noddy, yet another tool that was too long and too short and just irritatingly in the way.  Plenty of room for other weird pieces like Kates too, though I am only thinking about that.

I was delighted and thought to give it all a test.  I 've had the yarn out for my Lakeur sweater for a while now.  I'm thinking of knitting it as my Ravelympics project and the games are coming up fast.  Some of the yarn needed winding.


It worked great.  Swift on the floor works well enough, and knowing I have a place to put it after doing so, makes it all the better.  The old cubey thing is sturdy enough to get the job done. 3 skeins wound.  Good to go.

So here we are, yarn laid out and I am sitting here, sipping my wine, making up my mind exactly how I am going to knit this range of colours and yarns.


And that is what I call a successful day.

  

Friday, 26 January 2018

The Secret

I debated titling this post 'The Continuing Story of the Fauxrdigan' but I am not so sure that word should be invented.  It's what I have been calling it in my head.  It sounded better in my head.

But I am tickled with how nicely this is turning out.  I love the way the bright yarn shapes the yoke, and I love the heathered deep tones of this grey.

Short waisted as I am, this sweater is pretty much where I start thinking I need to increase for a nice easy fit over my hips.  If you look closely, you can see a successful repair to the button placket, which is now sitting nicely under the buttonhole placket. I did end up just dropping down to do the repair.  

Now I am going to tell you all a secret.  

I didn't wash the swatch.  OK.  Full honestly.  I didn't swatch.   I have never used this yarn, Paton's Classic Wool before. If I did, it was for a small project and it would have been a long time ago. I know many people who have used this yarn before, but that is a very different thing than actually knitting with a yarn yourself.  I have worked with many yarns of a very similar construction and weight before and that is what I am going with.  I did check my as knit gauge for sizing as I worked but as we all know, for some yarns, that can be a very different thing than the a washed gauge.  Basically I am winging it, with complete confidence that the yarn is going to perform like I expect it to perform. Foolish optimism?  We shall see.

I had access to so many other yarns while working at the yarn store, that, for years, I did not need to go somewhere else to find good basic wool.  It's different now without regular access and I am pretty sure that there will be a lot more of this yarn in my future.  Paton's Classic Wool is a good basic wool.  With my large stash, I could have made this sweater with many other yarns, but what I have, wasn't the colour that the strongly coloured, rich, fiery Felicity demanded.  It demanded an equally strong colour to stand with it.  This rich charcoal does that.  Plus it is heathered and we all know how much I like that. 

When you knit sweaters for a person of size, as I am, you get to know a yarn really well.  You get to know every quirk in it's book and you come to understand it's heart.  A lot of straight knitting goes into making a sweater and it always goes faster if you really like a yarn.  I've knit 6 inches since Sunday so make of that, what you will, but for me, that says I like this yarn.

It was the only thing I knit on the last two days, and I am pretty eager to get back to it.  Let's see how far we can take it on this snowy winter day.


Thursday, 25 January 2018

One of the things that happens when you reorganize a space thoroughly, is that all the bits and pieces that you have lying around finished but not ready to wear or use for one reason or another, pop out.  I looked across my study  this morning to see my sadly neglected Wingspan shawl, which needs blocking and ends woven in.  That made me think of my Shaelyn shawl, which also needs blocking, which made me think of the other two shawls which needs blocking.   

Which made me think of dishcloths.  I know.  No linear thinking here.  Ripple thinking is what I do, ripple as in toss a stone in a pond and see ripples all around.  This completely describes how my brain organizes thoughts. Anyway...


Another dishcloth done and a fourth for the year well under way.  These seem to be my right before I go to bed knitting. Plain dishcloths are perfect for that and with a new shelf right behind my chair, they are sitting right at hand, if I am listening to a book or lecture at the end of the day.  I needed a photo for my dishcloth parade on my Ravelry page.  

Which made me think of socks.    I've been carrying several pairs of socks along with me and have several more on the go.  It felt like a good day to sit and record them all so I don't forget exactly what I have.  It might jog my memory next time I think I need to start more socks!

Excuse me.  I just remembered one more.  (swishes out to take photos)  It pays to do this once in a while and I have been meaning to do this since the big reorganization began. In random order, socks on the go.

Following a pattern more or less, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks, my version of the Lichen Ribbed Sock.   

 One to show you the colour of this pretty yarn blank,


and one to see the lovely ribby pattern more clearly.  It struck me this morning how soft this yarn is.  I am going to have to work a strand of yarn across the heels on the inside to make them a bit more hard wearing.  These aren't being knitted on very fast.  They were part of last springs rash of heel flaps.  I am just not terribly fond of heel flaps.  It is part of why these are going to be shortie socks too.


What surely is my prettiest pair to date, the Brussels lace socks from Stephanie Van Der Linden's Around the World in Knitted Socks .  As you can see from sock number two, this pair is getting very close to finished.  I think I have to pay more attention to them.


Such a pretty lace.  


And my broken seed stitch socks, which are coming along nicely.  Amazing what happens when you carry socks with you.  These will be done shortly too.


Heels from one of the pairs of monster socks I knitted last year.  I've been working on these when I babysit or go to knit group.  These are the longest socks I have ever made and winter always reminds me that long socks are good too.  Knitting them was so much fun.  


This pair for my brother.  I want to make these as long as possible, hence two sets of needles to make a pair.  I want to knit to the end of the heel section of sock two and then split the remaining yarn to do the cuffs.  They would be much farther along, but I reknit the heel for sock one.  It ended up being a rather narrow heel turn, so I pulled back and redid the turn and gusset section.  Much better. 

I was struck at the way this yarn is showing up.  No flash and it reads very blue.  With flash

 
it reads much more green.  Looking at the socks in real life, the yarn looks different still.  It is much more dark green then either of these photos show.  I must get these done. One day, my brother will arrive and I really want to have these done to send home with him.


And then this last pair, which I am cobbling together like Monster Socks, though these are not monsters.  There was only 1 skein of the pretty grey Sisu on the shelf when I purchased it, but I knew I had a single of the Kroy multi colour that would work with it.  I am working a bit of black in here and there to give the whole thing just a bit of punch.  These are not bright socks at all, and the contrast just makes me happier.

And there we are.  That is all the socks on needles at my house.  There is a whole bag of completed pairs that need heels - or not - as well as the one here in this list, so lots of sock knitting to be going on with.  

I still have one more set of my favourite sets of sock needles empty.  Maybe I ought to start another sock?  No?  👍  

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Oops

When I was taking pictures to do up yesterday's post, I discovered a problem.  

The red arrow points to the button hole.






The green arrow points to the part of the placket where the button would be attached.  It is attached beautifully, if I may say so, but it is wrong. 

I would drop down to fix this in a heartbeat but for one small thing.  I was knitting a faux placket because the hope, the plan is that this will look like a cardigan without actually being a cardigan.  I am continuing to knit the placket stitches in garter stitch.  I do fine dropping stitches, making the fix, and knitting it all back up when it is stockinette.  I do less well when it is garter stitch.  It is just fussier.

I am probably going to give it a go this morning and if that doesn't work, there is a good chance that my faux cardigan will be gone and it will just be an ordinary sweater.

This is no bad thing, just a bit of a small disappointing thing.  It is well worth the attempt to see if I can salvage the original plan.  Wish me luck.     



Tuesday, 23 January 2018

After the fun

Lest you think that was all I knit on last weekend.  It was for Saturday, but Sunday was a whole other kettle of fish. 

Once the little Matchmaker cowl was completed, my hands were happy and needed to knit more.  So I picked up my peaceful long sleeved variation on a Shalom  


and took it down below the armscyes.  It's about an inch below that now and is going along just great.   

It got to later in the day and it was getting darker and my eyes were a bit more tired, It just got harder to see, so I thought to start on another new project.  


This is the very, very beginning of  a shawl by Laura Aylor, the First Point of Libra.  I am using my Christmas present to myself from Christmas in 2016, a Sweet Georgia Party of Five gradient kit.  When I first got this kitlet, I planned on using stash yarn for the main colour, but I decided to go with something new and fine enough to be a better match for this beautifully dyed yarn, than a plebeian sock yarn.  I am using 2 skeins of River City Yarns Hat Trick Semi Solids.   Two, but only so I don't run out of yarn. (Sense a running theme in my life? hahaha) It also gives me the flexibility to make the shawl a smidgeon larger if I so desire or I might make ties to tie it around my back.

Sensible people would end the knitting day after working on and making good progress on 3 big things in one day, but my hands were antsy.  I was watching a video on my computer and right along with antsy, my mind started those rumbling along sort of thoughts that do not lead to a good nights sleep.  After a couple nights of rumbled sleep, I had promised myself that I would keep busy all evening. My Julia wheel wasn't quite ready to work on (needs tweaking) and the Vic is in my car so I grabbed what was readily available, knitting.  

I ended my evening with a case of dishpan hands.  ;)


This one was complete a week or so ago, but it needs ends woven in.  With no needle to hand, I picked up and did this. 

Just cottons from the bin of leftover cottons.  The yarn on this is from a cotton sweater I made years ago out of Carezza cotton.   By the end of the year, with a little work, this bin of frumpy left over cottons will be completely gone.  And if I am careful,  that bin won't happen again.  I hope to become a skilled weaver so far as dishcloths are concerned.  

I would have knit more.  I wasn't really ready for bed yet, though I can always fall asleep if I lie down but I just wasn't really feeling like it yet.   It came to a point that my poor hands gave out and I had to stop knitting.  I did debate playing in the yarn stash, but that is a better thing for mornings than 8:30 in the evening.  And so to bed it was. Sunday was done.

It was a long and very knitterly sort of day.  The kind of  full, fun, knitterly day I haven't had in quite a while.  A whole day, just to knit.  How grand is that?

Monday, 22 January 2018

Goodness that was fun

I can't honestly say when I have had such a weekend of utter delight.  I really do think the last time was sitting on my garden swing, turning the heel of my very first sock. It was just such a different approach.  Imaginative.  Bold.  And Garter stitch!  What's not to love!

 
If this project was the defining project to the question are you a process knitter or a project knitter, my answer would simply be yes. 

As much as I loved the knitting, I am so pleased with my choice of yarns.  Kureopatora is a sturdier yarn than Kureyon, beefier, denser, and yet it seemed to knit up just fine with the delicate Clara.  They are just wonderful to wear close to your neck.  Both of them.  Either of them.

I have about 30 grams left.  I worried about running out of yarn for the joining section and could have done another repeat of each yarn before I started the join, but it really is quite perfect as it is in length.  It might have gotten a little long with those last two sections.  I will save that yarn and make some happy hand warmers out of it.

I probably ought to block it to tidy up the ends and smooth it out but seriously, unless I can block this around my neck, not happening.  It is in service.    

Goodness that was fun.
 

Saturday, 20 January 2018

One Saturday Morning

In which we are posting on a Saturday to proclaim that Martina Behm is a genius.  There I have said it. I should probably say it again in case you didn't hear me the first time. 

Martina Behm is a genius.




This is the most interesting thing i have knit, since my very first sock heel.

Like usual I did not read ahead in the pattern and now that I am here, I am really just blown away by her imagination.  It was interesting enough when I thought my quick scan of the schematics informed me of what was going to happen but no.  No.  It is something entirely different and...

Well gosh darn it, go out and try this pattern for yourself.  Because seriously, this is just too cool for words.

Friday, 19 January 2018

Getting there.

I finally have a picture of the little gift wrist warmers.  It took all day for him to remember to send but here they are.


Both Keith and the lady were amazed that they fit so perfectly.  As I explained to Keith, there are only two places he could have got his smarts from and he was looking at one of them: me. 😄  Actually, it is a little bit hard to go wrong with this sort of wrist warmer.  It's ribbed.  It takes more thought to keep your cast on and offs loose than it does to get the right fit in a full thumb slit wrist warmer.  But they work and she was delighted.  I am pleased.


The rest of my day was taken up with knitting this lovely thing.  All of the multi coloured Kureopatora has been used but for what I have reserved for the last section.  I am not very far from the yellow Cara being at the same point.  I think I have 8 grams to go. 

And then comes the really interesting part, the last section.  Which is pure Martina Behm magic.

The hard thing after this is going to be focusing on sweaters again after all this quick interesting knitting.  But I want to get those done to so working on them is the only way.

Point for contemplation:  It is important to knit sweaters only as fast as you can wear them out.  If you knit sweaters too fast, you will need just about as much space for your sweaters as you do for your stash.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Pentoeminoes

I am waiting for a photo to arrive of the wristers.  I gave them to Keith immediately after I sewed in the ends and then realized later, that I had forgotten photos.  He promised he will take some and send them but... Oh well.

In my search for yarns for wristers, I dug out the ends and bits bin.  There was some Noro Kureyon ends in there that I thought might work (and yes, it did)  but as I knit the mostly black and brown Noro, I kept looking at the bins filled with the bags of sock yarns ends.  It always seems that no matter how many monster socks I knit, there are more ends to be used.  I'm not really in a Monster sock mood right now.  Or am I?

I was cruising the interweb last night and came across a picture of some very interesting socks  on Pinterest.  I followed that picture all the way to the socks origin on Ravelry.  Make sure you click this link to Pentoeminoes   because the sock is simply fascinating.  The project socks are fascinating!

It features intarsia in the round.  I have read a lot about this, and practised a little bit of this, but I haven't done a project that would cement the technique in my head.  It immediately was a want.   I pondered it only for minutes before purchasing the pattern.  I never do that.  I only purchase patterns as I start making them.  But I had to have this one.

I thought about colours in my big stash of sock yarn .  There is a broad range of colours in that very large bin but a picture of bits and ends came into my head.

  
This might be a great project to use of bits and ends.  This is just a small amount of the bits and ends I have.  There is plenty for at least a couple pairs of these if it is an interesting and fun knit.

I was looking at the this riot of colours all day and then saw the Pentoeminoes sock? 

 It is meant to be.




Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Wristers

My wristers are working their magical touch.  When I sleep in them, my hands never feel the dreaded cold in the morning but more.  The days I don't wear them overnight seem to be days associated with more daytime hand pain such as I suffered regularly before Christmas.  I still get a bit occasionally, even with the change to my computer height.  A long slow heal as much as anything, I think,  but there is also that it is easier to re injure it.  Yesterday, coming up the stairs, I was carrying a bag which hit the stairs and whammo.  Extreme pain but only for a short time.  I made sure to wear them overnight and voila.  Very little puffiness or pain in them this morning.

They are also working because Keith has asked for a pair for a lady who had a pretty tough Christmas with her spouse's major health problems.  I debated but he told me the whole story and all I can say is I've been in that boat.  He is sweet asking for them, I think.

So that will keep me busy for much of the day.  A spiffy little pair of hand warmers for a son's work friend.     

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Things I can't knit at night

The older I get the more daylight is important.  It used to be just the occasional piece of embroidery that I couldn't do at night.  Now it is starting to get to my knitting.  I hate that.

The things I can't knit at night.


It isn't black.  It isn't navy.  It's just a rather fine charcoal and still, not a good idea to knit at night.


Well not heels anyway.  There is enough dark to impeded heel knitting at night.

But on the upside there are things I can knit at night.  




So I ought to be happy, right?  But it irritates me that I do not seem to have a choice.  That's me.  Always the rebel.


Monday, 15 January 2018

Not that I need anything new to knit

Well, actually, I do.

I started working on Matchmaker on Saturday.  OH.  MY.  GOODNESS.  What fun!  At the end you get something that looks a lot like Viajante but is knit completely differently!


There are 3 formats for knitting Matchmaker:  a fingering version, a DK version, and a freestyle version.  With my two balls of yarn, totaling about slightly over 600 metres.  There is a bit more of the plain yellow Clara than of the sprightly Kureopatora.  Well, really, there isn't anything plain at all about the Clara as you can see from the large yellow starting point.  It's a beautiful variety of yellows, and golds, and light lemons and everything in between.  I'm just getting to the end of that first colour repeat in the Noro.  I loved the way it flowed sometimes long colours, some times just a glimpse.  You can see the next repeat with its gold and yellow, just peaking out from under the edge of the greens.  The yellow in the Noro is so close to the yellow in the Clara that they merge completely.  Even I have to look hard and I knit the thing.  

I am winging it with the stripes.  That first large triangle of yellow was about 20 grams  and the stripes so far, have been about 10 grams each.  This next stripe of  the multi is going to be a bit more than that I think.  As the knitting gets wider, 10 grams doesn't go as far.  The plan is to knit each of my two colours till I get to my magic number and then, knit all of the last section in two row stripes.  
That is the plan and so far, it is working out.  I don't think my cowl is going to be as wide as what Matrina designed, but no matter. I'm already plenty wide to make a good workable cowl and in these yarns, closer fitting is a wonderful thing.  And best of all, no way, you can have a case of winter blues working this up. Nor wearing it.  No way at all.

Friday, 12 January 2018

I think I've got it.

So contrary to my post from earlier this week,  I may actually have a decision for that yarn.


I know.  It's an EPIC day.  I think I have settled on Matchmaker from Martina Behm.  

There are all sorts of reasons why I am going with this pattern over all the others.  One of the reasons I am going with this pattern is that its construction is very similar the Viajante.  Similar with significant differences!  I really enjoyed knitting the Viajante construction.  Just enough to remember to never feel bored.  

The second reason is that I love the multiple ways you can wear this design.  Check out the video on the pattern page.  I really do love the variety of ways to wear Viajante.  It's a great travel piece because it can be on pulled over your head head or not, piled around your neck long in the back or front, worn as a triangle and so on.  It just so versatile. 

The third reason I am going with this pattern is a line from the notes on the pattern page:  "The pattern provides 3 versions: The Pure Version for a fingering weight yarn, the DK Version and a Freestyle Version that teaches you to use a different yarn of your choice, with stripes wherever you want them."    I don't have the pattern yet, but I am hoping that it will help me use my two yarns which are, according to Ravelry, a sportweight and a worsted weight, together to make something interesting and very wearable, without running out of yarn.

That's the thing.  I want something lovely that will use up every bit of yummy goodness without leaving me hanging in the middle of a row in a critical design area.  I'm kind of hoping that there will be instructions that will guide me on using the yarn, by weight.  

It's probably a wild hope, but, just in case, I spent 10 bucks on a spiffy new scale, a nice compact kitchen scale from Starfrit  .  They were all piled at the end of an isle and were marked down.  According to the reviews, they don't measure really small amounts well, but then, most inexpensive scales are wildly divergent.  The trick is knowing how divergent your scale is.  I'm hoping this one is at least giving me the same weights consistently.  

Anyway, something new to try and something in bright wonderful stop the dead of winter blues colours and finally a decision.  So, now that my company has decided it is too freaking cold to come, not that I blame them, I will have something interesting and new to knit on.

Not that I need anything new to knit on, but that is a different story.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

That twisted thing

I did virtually no knitting yesterday.  But I will tell you that I spent my day with knitters doing non knitterly things and I know just how much those things were appreciated.

So, today I will catch up on my sweater.




This Shalom is moving along nicely.  I am very pleased with the way the Felicity, a much more expensive yarn is working with the much less expensive yarn, Patons Classic Wool.  I have just a wee bit, maybe 3 or 4 rows, possibly not even that much, to go before splitting off for the arms.  I have knit several Shaloms, two for me, and one for Cassandra, and this one for me is going to feature long sleeves.

On a regular shalom, stitches are cast off after the third set of twisted ribs, but sleeves for me, mean there has to be a bit more yoke knitting and indeed another set of increases to make it work.  Or at least I think so.  Man I hope so, otherwise I am going to have a problem.  Those things are done and I am almost ready for the debate, sleeves, now or sleeves later.  I honestly do not have any idea yet which way I am going to go.

What I can tell you, is that I have made some decisions about what else this sweater is going to feature.  I had 3 full skeins of the Felicity and I adore the colours, though the strong gold and oranges  are not colours that are usually quite right for me.  Because I have so much of it, I think there will be bands of colour at the hem and at the sleeve cuffs

I know that 'they' whoever they are, say that you should not put a feature where your body is the widest, but you know what?  I'm feeling a mite cranky.  Who cares what 'they' think.  If looking good is connected to feeling good, imagine how wonderful I am going to feel when I am sitting down with my sweater on, some random day in the future and I sit, admiring these lovely hand dyed colours.  Imagine what punches of colour flashing at the cuffs, each time I raise my arm to do something as I go about my day will feel like on a dark winter day.

The sweater is going to be more of a tunic length sweater.  It is being constructed as a cardigan, but I can already tell you that it is going to be sewn together to be worn as a pullover midway down the yoke.  It is also going to be open below my middle so that it wears and looks like a cardigan without actually being a cardigan.  What can I say.  I like cardigans, but I always wear them closed but for day to day wear, I most appreciate pullovers.  Go with what works without fuss.  So cardigan that isn't a cardian.

I am going to close off today with music that means much to me.  Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings. 
This music is such a statement of the human condition.  It describes a loss of innocence so completely that all who hear it know it, beyond culture, beyond language.  It feels like every soul in crisis.

I need to say to the world at large, today more than most, there is so much more. It is easy to feel that your heart will never come out of the sorrow Barber describes, but there is so much more.  And it isn't even so simple as that your soul will ever come out of sorrow, more that you adapt to it but there is so much more.  Just know that there is so much more.  Because Vivaldi.


Wednesday, 10 January 2018

It Works!

Yesterday was an amazingly busy day and I feel so rewarded by every single thing I did.

First up the knitting.  

I was whining about needing wristwarmers.  In real life, I have actually been whining about them for quite some time.  The cold aching hands thing has been going on much longer than just the last couple of weeks. I had a couple skeins of Mission Falls 1824 Wool close to hand, and that seemed to be the right kind of yarn.  I wanted a yarn that was superwash.  I expect hand things, used daily, to need regular washing.  I wanted a colour that wouldn't show too much daily grime. This yarn was black.  Perfect.  

I cast of 42 stitches for my pudgy hands.  The plan was to knit tightly and to rib.  As I finished the first row, I realized that the easy thing to do for these would be to knit this project with twisted stitches.  It's a very natural technique for my general style of knitting and the project moved along swiftly.  Voila, wristwarmers!


These are exactly right.  They are not too long in the hand, just to my knuckles, leaving them well out of the way for practical work, but long enough on the wrist that they cover where your blood runs near to the surface of your skin. Keep that area warm and you will keep your hands much warmer.

And it works.  I put these on when I went to bed at night.  Part of feeling sleepy for me is feeling chilly and sometimes my hands ache.  With these on, no ache.  This morning, I put them on as soon as I got up.  And no ache.  I still feel a bit of a chill but the cold ache in the bones that makes it feel like I can't move them for being cold is gone.  And that is exactly what I wanted. And yes, these are short enough that I am typing with them on.

The rest of my day produced just a good of a result.  The landlord said  something the other day that made me realize how badly I was using my space.  My spare room seemed to be a catchall and really wasn't doing the job it was supposed to do at all.  The original plan was to set my quilt frame up in that room and if I ever got one, a loom. The closet was full and the room was lined with stuff that did not fit anywhere else: furniture, boxes, excess pillows.  Every time I turned around, I found myself saying, 'I'll just put it in the spare room'.  Using the daybed was becoming a pain which meant that the room wasn't doing anything from my original list of needs for a second bedroom.

In one of those lightbulb moments I realized that my old display cabinet from the front entry at the house could hold the china dolls from Auntie Lorraine again, as well as most of the bits and pieces that I'm not ready to let go of.  With a few exceptions, everything else could be used or be put away in the kitchen cabinets till I decide if they are garage sale material. If that little cabinet could  do the heavy lifting, my white cabinet could go back to its first purpose, as a yarn cabinet.  Hooray!


The net result is that I can get rid of the yarn containers for next up projects and the projects that are in the debate stage (to keep or not to keep) and keep it all in one tidy place.  That stack of  easy to get to yarn is now not just easy to get too, but it is pretty too.  Without that stack of boxes, my room feels better too.  You can see the loom just sitting there in front of my shelves blocking my yarn closet.  It won't stay, because...


once the daybed is not set up for guests, there is lots of room for the quilt frame.  There is even a corner for the quilt and frame to sit when guests visit and use the room.  But most of all, once the quilt frame is out of the closet, the loom can sit in its own corner and all of its accoutrements can be tucked into the closet. There will even be room in said closet for the loom to be tucked away when future guests come, which was one of the prime reasons for getting a table loom, in the first place.  The spare bedroom will be what I had hoped it would be, a useable multi purpose room.

January is a good time to do a check to see if your living space is doing what you want and need it to do.  That it happened that I have a completed knitting project at the same time is wonderful.  That all these small changes are making everything else work better is just a bonus.  It Works!

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Staring Me In the Face

Do you ever get the feeling that something, an answer to a quest is staring you in the face and has been for a long time?  That happened to me yesterday.  


Remember this yarn?  I want to work with it so very much.  It calls to me and it is driving me batty.  I decide what it is going to be and then, when I am ready to start, it changes its mind.  

I thought about making a sweater for my granddaughter.  I thought how cute a shortie sweater would be in the lovely Yellow Clara on the right.  The idea died a natural death in my mind when I saw that gorgeous ball of Kureopatora.  I thought oh well, a Shalom. The two skeins look magnificent next to each other. Sadly this isn't really a kids yarn, certainly not the Clara.  It is too softly spun for an energetic 5 year old in school.  For everything else, the yarns are magnificent, but it is a lot of bright yellow.  

Make no mistake.  I love that yellow but then if you go back through this blog, the fact that I have curtains with dandelions on them in my bedroom and a yellow checked couch in my livingroom, is a dead giveaway.  I love yellow and I always have.  I remember a dress I had in grade nine.  I loved that yellow dress then and if I had it still, and it still fit, I would totally wear it now. 

I have thought about making a Daybreak.  I have thought about doing a brioche cowl and trying one of the many new patterns that there are for that technique. Just yesterday I thought of a Collonnade Shawl.  And just this morning, while writing this post, the Matchmaker Cowl.  

And in each and every case, by the time I woke next morning, the idea had changed.  The yarn, sits there on my table, staring at me.  It wants to be knit.  I want to knit it.  What is the problem?  Why can't we get together?  It is staring me in the face and I have no answers.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my hands are cold.  They ache.  It's a bit of arthritis perhaps, or perhaps just age, but if it weren't for my nice warm coffee cup to curl my hands around, I don't know how I would type.  

I know what I really would like to knit (yellow yarn).  I know what I am knitting (socks and a sweater).  I know what I really need to knit (Handwarmers and a sweater that I am not quite sure of. No, not the sweater I am working on).

Until I decide, or till it is time to go start the chores of the day (bread and finishing tidying the spare room), I am going to sit here with my nice warm freshly ground Ethiopian coffee in my Tim Hortons cup from long ago when they were Canada's best coffee, and I am going to think hard about brilliant yellow Clara and bright sunny Kureopatora.

Monday, 8 January 2018

More Than The Knitting Parts

This weekend was all about me.  I spent my time doing all sorts of things that I found really fulfilling.  For one, I worked on my desk and made a keyboard solution for my too high desk without it costing an arm and a leg and from things that were around the house.  The landlord donated two slides from different Ikea builds.  The shelf I used was one that was taken down in the garage,  finished off by leftovers from holiday builds.


It is wonderful to be able to type at a more natural level again and mousing produces considerably less stress on that fragile wrist nerve canal.  I look forward to a resolution for all hand issues in short order.  Let the healing being and be complete this time without reinjury!

So knitting.  I debated which project I would work on.  The sweater yoke is almost complete and it is always exciting to get one significant part done, but then there are those socks.  My brother is coming this weekend for a motorbike show and I wanted to have his socks completed.  Most of my efforts went to that.


I am working in a slightly different way for these socks so I can get the longest cuff possible, without having to worry about how much yarn I have left.  Sock one is complete to the end of the gussets and heel and sock two is underway with the toe and the start of the foot complete. 

I'm getting a little fancy on the sides. 


He is a pretty good brother (cleaned out my car twice) and I know he will appreciate them.

It gives me a little something to focus on to make the knitting feel fast.  Every fifth round a cable.  I love the way a little design element looks as it moves alongside the gusset decreases. I had mentioned the Earl Grey socks by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee.  I was going to use that pattern, but the yarn is wrong.  This yarn is too busy for that lovely little bit of goodness. The lovely little stitch detail would get lost in this busy yarn.  I will use that pattern for the grey socks for Anthony.

Lat night was a new episode of  Discovery, the new Star Trek iteration.  I have really enjoyed this show from the first episode.  It fascinates me how an almost 60 year old television show can continue reinventing itself, and still remain a relevant platform showing off our human foibles and failings as well as giving us hope for the future. I am fascinated by how they are weaving this story line into the greater Star Trek canon and I remain absolutely blown away by the solid performances and writing.  You know right where I will be next week.

And that is pretty much the round up from my weekend.  Today is housecleaning day.  It's ordered more or less, but the cleaning needs to happen so only spots of knitting here and there while I do the heavier work today. All to the good since that is the best way to help my poor hand really heal.

 


Friday, 5 January 2018

Perfect Things

In the fall of 2016, I was sitting in my very small room, and I was chilly.  I saw a really nice pattern and I had some lofty lovely yarn at hand, and I started knitting.  What happened was a sort of disaster.  It didn't look good on me at all, no fault to the designer at all.  It just did not look good on me and the lofty sturdy yarn I had chosen, was all wrong.

And yet, I ended up with something really good from it.  


A decent very wearable vest that is in constant use, even on the chilly days of summer.  It's that extra layer when one sweater doesn't cut it in winter.  It's perfect for wearing on a heavy housework sort of day.  It carries spring and fall just right. It's just so when you have a fever and chills; not too much in the fever part, not too little in the chill part.

It's been a couple of years now.  It has been washed over a dozen times.  It has grown softer and drapier with time.  Everytime I wear it, I spend a goofy amount of time petting it.  Honestly, people are starting to look.  Even my sweet Carter noticed I was petting my sweater yesterday.  

As much as I love it, I may have to stop wearing it because everytime I do wear it, I find myself with the almost uncontrolable urge to buy more Mule Spinner Two Ply.  

I have an enormous stash. Huge. Giant.  There is almost every kind of yarn in there.  I really truly am trying to generally live from my stash.  I have things that will do almost any job I want.  There are dozens and dozens of sweaters worth in that closet.  Except I am completely out of Mule Spinner Two Ply.  

Yesterday, I was cut off from the digital world but for my phone and that was probably a good thing, because I found myself with a loaded cart of Mule Spinner cones in 4 colours and I was looking for a colour to coordinate with it all.  And that was just the Mule Spinnner!  

That cart was also loaded with some of the CWM sock yarn too (incredibly soft, soft delicious stuff) and I would really love to have a cone of their medium gray in a one ply to use for colourwork with the several partial cones I already have of the one ply.  Seriously, the only thing that stopped me was that I don't bank on my phone so I couldn't transfer funds to pay.     

Mule Spinner Two Ply is a sturdy sort of yarn when you first work with it.  You can feel its stalwart nature in every strand.  It is a very prairie sort of yarn, but just like the people of the prairies found long ago when they settled here, the more you get to know it, the more beautiful it becomes.  

I will eventually buy more but first, I have promised myself that I will at least try to use up something from my stash.  And then, when that doesn't soothe my hungry for mule spinner heart, then I will have my way.