Wednesday, 28 February 2018

A Tale of Woe

Today I bring you a tale of woe.  It is a tale brought home to me by my own stupidity and lack of care. 

I have a big popcorn barrel thing that belonged to Brian.  He never ever used it because if you were making popcorn at our house,  it wasn't big enough.  We used this giant bread bowl, that I used to mix up 10 to 12 loaves of bread at a time for a popcorn bowl. 

I recall one time we had company over to watch a movie.  I pulled out the popcorn jar, a large 5 litres jar, recovered from my restaurant days.  My kitchen compatriot started laughing almost uncontrollably.  The gentlemen came from the living room to find out what she found so funny.  And then I took out the bowl.  

They had never seen so much popcorn in one sitting in their life, but like all popcorn in our house, before you could blink, the bowl was empty.  Anyway, a namby pamby pop like the pot of popcorn you buy at a theatre was never going to cut it. 

So that popcorn pot was used for some kitchen knitting.  Till he died, that kitchen knitting stayed in the kitchen.  It was large enough to hold a small project, needles, yarn, and pattern and even the pen so I had no excuse not to mark off where I was on the pattern.  Since then that goofy pot has been hauled around with me and has graced my book case right along with my books and whatever else was on those shelves and it has always been stored open. That pot became a sort of memory of  popcorn times, such good silly sweet memories.  It just always came with me, stored open.

And that is where my tale of woe and stupidity begins.  It was in my room, stored open, during the great moth event that started with my swatch board.  I checked the knitting in the pot every once in a while, and it always appeared in good condition.  When I moved here that pot of knitting sat on a shelf in my study, again always open, being shifted and moved as shelf space warranted.  

But I haven't worried too much about moths here.  Number one, all my floors are hard surface, a bit of laminate but mostly vinyl flooring.  It is so much easier to keep dust free and clean and I became a little complacent.  There was a point in fall where I was caught several moths in the pheromone traps, but I traced that to a large metal vase that was tucked into Keith's closet.  It had an old woolen hat of Brian's in it.  Once I got rid of that hat and cleaned up everything, we were once again, moth free.  

I have been thinking of my pot and my kitchen knitting as I am working on this colourwork sweater.  I was thinking it might be fun to do a post on big and little colourwork and how the big project, the sweater, was actually the little colourwork project and how my kitchen knitting, a small pair of mittens, was a huge colourwork undertaking.  

So I merrily pulled out the popcorn pot and pulled off a doily that had been tossed on top and pulled out the knitting. 

 It wasn't attached to the yarn balls.  

You know how sometimes when a thing is so surprising that it is hard to take in, and how you kind of sit there bemused for a moment before the realisation of just what is going on has hit you.  Yeah.

It was only seconds till I realised that my kitchen knitting had indeed come under attack somewhere along the lines. I haven't seen moths for months but at some point, there was activity there.  I pulled out the needles, and took yarn and mitten cuff and tossed them in the oven to bake for a while.  After a morning baking, I tossed them in the freezer for a couple hours.  That sudden shock of temperature change is as important as any other technique to make sure you have a good kill.  

My kitchen project was a pair of Deep in the Forest Mittens by Tuulia Salmela that I started in January of 2012.  So much was going on at that point in our lives.  Brian had just had his first knee surgery and that spring I started working a full time mat leave temp job that took me through to the our last spring.  I made pretty good progress through that summer and fall.  The project was set aside what with everything else, including my dear Sweet Thing, Cassandra being born, but I always meant to finish it.  It always remained on my radar and was never very far from my thoughts.

I am going to wind the now bug free balls of yarn on my ball winder to see what the damage is on the yarn balls themselves.  Steady tension between the swift and winder and keeping a hand running along the fibres should help me assess whether the yarn is salvageable. If it is, I will restart someday, probably with this same yarn.  If not, well,  I have plenty of other yarn.

One thing I am sure of.  I won't be so careless again, not even in this hard floored house that generally stays cleaner than any place else I have lived in before. Everything in secure storage.  Everything.

But that is my tale of woe for you today, woe and popcorn and sweet memories because of it all.  But not sweet memories of the moths.  No I pretty much hate the moths.    


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

A KonMari Kind of Thing

First off, Thank you for the comments on my Shalom sweater.  Yes, it is a faux cardigan, and it is wonderful and  much less fussy than a cardigan for wearing all day.  I love the gold orange crimson combination of the yarn!  Oranges and golds are not colours I can wear easily unless I use them like this and it is such great yarn.

A family member has a friend who is going stir crazy, in small town Alberta, who doesn't drive and who would really love to knit a few things to keep busy.  She is using your basic yarn that she can get at Walmart, but not driving, it is really difficult to get to local yarn stores for decent yarn.  My daughter in law, asked if I might have something she could have or buy.

Yes, of course, but... My gut reaction is always anguish when I think about selling yarn.  I am rather emotionally tied to it, in the same way that I am tied emotionally to knitting and I can never quite decide if that is a good thing or not.  I do know that when someone I know needs it for a project, I am delighted to contribute. It is such a pleasure seeing how it gets used and if I have learned anything in the last few years, I have learned that it is all just stuff. Even knowing this, my inner voice says, 'but I have plans for it.  I can use it.  I need it.' 

The town garage sale is coming up in May and I have been going through all kinds of things.  Why not the yarn?   Sure all of it was purchased with a project and an intention in mind, but there are lots of yarns that are on the back burner, and will remain on the back burner for a good long time to come.  I did go through a lot of it just after I moved, but it didn't result in much of a pile.  One small box.  But going through the yarn and letting go of what I love a bit less might have a different purpose in my life. Having yarn on a table during the town garage sale might be a really great way to out the knitters in my small town.  So far as I can tell, we are not a force at all in this neck of the woods.

So, all day yesterday, I went through yarns.  I KonMari'ed my way through many boxes asking did I really love this yarn?  Did it bring me joy? The answer is always yes, but I also asked myself if I would use it if I was looking for a yarn to make generic mittens or generic hats or to experiment with something or other.  If the original project is no longer clear in my head and I wouldn't use it for play,  is loving yarn because it is yarn, enough? 

Putting yarns on the pile got easier and easier through the day as I became more confident in my choices.  Morning light is the real clear tell.  I looked at what I had sorted this morning and there isn't anything on that pile that I would take back.  

I have more boxes to go through today and I am kind of looking forward to it.  It isn't a huge pile by my whole stash standards, but it is far larger than I ever thought it would be.  I'm kind of looking forward to see what today's adventures bring.    


Monday, 26 February 2018

Motif Number Two

I knit all Saturday afternoon on the colourwork yoke. Then I knit about 6 more rows on Sunday.  By Sunday at noon, there was a point where my hands said whoa.  Instead of carrying on like my heart's desire, I stopped. Sunday afternoon was long.

Terribly long.
But I am glad I paid attention to my hands because today, they are fine and there will be knitting.

I should show you the knitting.  I am so pleased.

It looks pretty crunched together, but I can stretch it out nicely so I think I am not worried about it.  Well, maybe a little.,  That is what I do, but I think the biggest reason that it currently looks so crunched is the difference in the weight of the yarns.  I think they will be fine once everything is blocked.  Maybe. I'm focusing on that thought.  I already have an innovative way to sort it out.   Let's hope I never have to try out that innovation.

As the title of this post mentions I am almost at the top of this motif.  I think I have half a round left with the red and then only the black is used for a few rows.  Then there is a 4 or 5 row section with a bit of the red, and then If I recall correctly, there is only black colourwork remaining.  

The other exciting thing is that just at the end of this motif, is the first decrease set.  At first glance, it looks like there cannot possibly be enough decreases, being only one decrease per chart repeat at this point.  However, then you look at the number of repeats, and yeah.  There are enough.  And that is really good, since I have already started the second ball of the main colour.  I need there to start being fewer stitches so that I have more rows of this main colour on the body after the underarms.  

I could start worrying about the last of this main colour ending at that awkward place at my bosom, but I won't.   Because there are so many other things to worry about.

Please note, the worry I describe here is part of the fun of my knitting.  Figuring out where all this stuff ends and goes to and how things fit:  these are part of the pleasure of doing them, part of the challenge.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  That is life without a pattern perfectly described all in one simple sweater.

Saturday, 24 February 2018

Finished finished finished

As the Knitmore Girls say, there are levels of finishing.  Finished is finished the knitting.  I have been there for a week.  Finished finished is blocked and ends woven in.  Finished finished finished is buttons on and ready to wear.  

My grey Shalom full sleeved sweater is now finished finished finished, 

and I am wearing it at this very moment.   I love the way it worked out and can see me knitting another one someday.  Possibly soon!

Because you can never have too much Shalom in life. 

"Shalom (Hebrew: שָׁלוֹם‬ shalom; also spelled as sholom, sholem, sholoim, shulem) is a Hebrew word meaning peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility and can be used idiomatically to mean both hello and goodbye."

Peace.  Harmony.  Wholeness.  Completeness.  Prosperity.  Welfare.  Tranquility.  It describes how I feel most of the time and I am not so sure that I can say I ever noticed or acknowledged it in this same way before.  

If I was to do it again at this gauge, I would cast on exactly this number of stitches at the neck.  It fits exactly right.  Not too close, not too loose.  I would however, put another set of increases for 10 more stitches before separating for the underarms.  I knew once I started the sleeves that they would be a little tighter than I like.  The surprise, was that I would have liked those 10 extra stitches even on the body of the sweater.  And for the life of me, I have no idea why I didn't calculate that.  I have become much more comfortable, much more likely to trust the math, but I still appear to fully ok with completely ignoring it.  

The sweater is a keeper.  I love that it pullover rather than actually being a cardigan. It is so much less fussy for wearing all day at home.  For all that the fit is a bit closer than I prefer, it is going to be great to wear as the under sweater for my outdoor layers.  

In the dark times, before I knit, I used to dream of sweaters that were exactly what I wanted and that were comfortable to wear.  With knitting, I get that, every single time.


Friday, 23 February 2018

One Fifth

I checked this morning and I am done one fifth of the colourwork and done one fifth of the yoke. It's a little intimidating if I look at it as a whole yokes worth of knitting, but much less intimidating if I look at it as sections or unique motifs in this colourwork design.  I am knitting the very last bit of the first major motif in the colourwork pattern.  Yay me.

Colourwork isn't something I am fast at.  This patterning is exacerbated by my choice to use two colours.  

I am working carefully to be sure that there are no tight strands across the backside of the work and what I am finding is that I have to work much harder to keep the strands loose on the hand that is my regular tension hand.  I noticed that same thing on the hat I knit for my neighbour last fall: if strands on the backside were tight, it was always the regular tension hand with the trouble.  

Really focusing on the work going on on the sweater, makes the whole process slower but slower means fewer problems and less ripping back.  So it is all good.

I really am enjoying the slow process in this yarn.  I just love the feel of these sink your fingers into it layers.  It is cushy and squishy and thick without any density or heaviness at all.  And there isn't going to be any problem at all with float lengths.  All of these yarns love to cling to each other.  Not to the point of unworkable, mind, but none of these yarns are yarns that I will have to worry about not staying where they are put. The carried floats will cling to each other by the time it is worn and washed a few times. 

So, on to knitting the next large motif in the design, and moving just a little farther up the yoke. 


Thursday, 22 February 2018

Nap time

Our power is going off today while they do some maintenance work on something or other.  It seems to me that turning power off in winter is a stupid idea but hey, it happens and I have wool.  

I plan to nap and crawl into bed if it gets too cold.  All my devices are charged so I can read some audio books during the enforced time out. I also have a couple of movies on my old playbook tablet, also fully charged, which still acts as my alarm clock.  Best alarm ever.  

So lots to do while the power is out.  I'll be fine and I can have a completely normal nap if it gets too chilly.  

Napping, my favourite thing. 

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Two Things

I am sure that I knit on the sweater for hours yesterday.  But my net gain doesn't look like much.  



I accomplished 2 and a half rows of knitting, but I knit many more than that.  Let's just say that it took a while longer than I planned to establish the pattern correctly.  On the upside, it is all good now.

This isn't a deeply complex pattern.  It's a 10 stitch repeat and the only complicated thing about it is that I've put in a second colour.  You can see why I am doing it though.  Because black and red are the most splendid colours paired with this natural toned main colour. I am in love with it even now, when it is still pretty much in my dreams.

The longer I knit this yoke, the more I become aware that this is going to be a very warm sweater.  There will be 3 strands of wool over much of the yoke and that means more upper body heat will be held close.  Held close at the neck is exactly what I need.  I can't wait to be able to wear it.  

Also, today, the Grey Shalom hits blocking.  There are a lot of ends to weave in and buttons to put on.  Today is the day for this because I am off to play with Marcus this afternoon.  Once the ends are woven in blocking commences.  By tomorrow morning it should be dry.  I can't wait.

Two things to look forward to.  One in the very near future, and the other a bit farther away.  Isn't that grand! 

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

A big mess

Knitting this garment in the Icelandic way, sleeves and body, join and do the yoke, would have been much easier than this.

It looks like a big mess.

It looks odd to be sure, but at least it is correct now.  Corrected twice as in did you know you can twist attaching the sleeve?  Twice.  I know that it has to do with having such a measly bit of sweater body knit to attach the sleeves to.  The white base rows plus 4 rows before the sleeve join isn't really enough  to completely get past accidental twisting of the body.  Like a sock, only bigger and more stitches to take out.

The original short cable length of my needle didn't help either.    I originally had it on a 32 inch, which is fairly compact for all these stitches. This longer one, 40 inch, I think, is helping.

And on to colour work.  

First round.  Sadly I have to take it out.  There are three stitches left as I come up to the line of steek stitches, so I have to take out about 2/3 of the round, to make a correction on the row below at the back of both sleeves, and once mid back.  I miscounted and did not decrease the preparation round quite enough.  But it is a simple thing, an almost expected thing, and a not difficult repair.  Once the correction is done the black stitch will sit right where it is supposed to be snuggled up right next to the steek.

Once that is done, there are two colours to carry along in my left hand.  I am looking forward to the challenge with bated breath. 

Monday, 19 February 2018

Knitting is Peculiar

The longer I knit, the more I am aware that knitting is filled with all kinds of weird peculiarities.  Things like counting and how even reasonably bright people can't hold the count of two all the time.  Things like how even washed gauge swatches will lie like a son of a gun.  Things like how memories rise unbidden that just tickle your fancy.

As I was knitting sleeve two, still completely utterly filled with goofy silly joy, it struck me how familiar this feeling was.  I'm often filled with goofy silly joy when I am knitting but this feeling was so strong and so complete. I started to think about things that have given me such complete pleasure as these sleeves.

Like knitting and completing my first big project.  

Like the hat I knit for my neighbour.

Or like this particular pair of socks.


When I remembered these socks, knit way back in 2014 I got it.  I understood it all.  That was an incidental colour thing that just happened as I knit.  I had only one ball of a Kroy yarn and had purchased black to go with it.  I decided the striping would happen at the colour changes and there you have it.   Perfect fun socks.

When I started my version of the Laekur pattern, I didn't know how I would start.   I started with the black and red because it felt like the right way to stretch my slightly short metres.  I did not know that I was going to put a narrow band of black and red between colour changes.  It just felt right.  Even before that, by choosing the black and the red as I looked for what else I could use to stretch the yarn I had to make a sweater, it just felt right.

When I realized that  I had been on this colour adventure before, I knew that it was just another of knittings great peculiarities, come home to roost.  

My knitting today is going to be the yoke.  Traditional Icelandic is to knit the body from the bottom to the underarms , and then join sleeves and body and knit the yoke.  I have yarn issues.  To keep the natural looking gradient going as I did in the sleeves, and to use as much of each colour as I possibly can, I need to knit down not up.  I know that I have plenty of the lightest colour for my yoke and some for down the body of the sweater, so knitting the yoke now and then picking up and knitting down to the end of each colour makes good sense to me.  

All kinds of challenges in today's knitting.  With a little bit of luck, the peculiarities of knitting are going to only be the good kind.    

Friday, 16 February 2018

What Fun Looks Like.

I got home and pulled out my yarn for my sweater.  I had to sort out needles.  They were between the study and the livingroom and then I looked at colours for a few minutes and I started to knit.

And then I went to look at the pattern.  Yup.

Because that is when you look at the pattern, right?  After.  Sure.  Actually, for me it works fine.  I just finished a sweater in a yarn that works up very close to this yarn.  It was still in my head how many stitches I had on those cuffs, so I started there.  

And then I knit and watched a movie.  And knit and watched another movie. And somewhere in there, I had some dinner, but I did watch another movie and I knit and knit and had just the most wonderful time.

This is what fun looks like. Pure unadulterated fun.

You can see the sleeve lying there in the middle and you can see the range of yarn I am drawing this from.  From this far away and in this picture, it looks like there is less colour variation than there is in real life but it generally gives a soft natural gradiation from darkest natural to lightest.  I am breaking colour sections with a section of black and red because I worry - it is what I do - about running out of the other colours.  

I am under the yarn requirement in the pattern by about 100 metres and that isn't counting what I need to give me my fit, just for the run of the mill size.  So natural gradient it is, and then I have lots of yarn to play with.    

My secret is that the yarns vary in weight somewhat, but the vast majority is a lofty DK.  I am just starting on the third colour of the main yarns and that yarn is a Cascade Eco, which perfectly matches the colour of  a lone ball of Sirdar Eco Wool DK.  I can easily knit it to the right size and I can hide that there are 2 different kinds of yarn for this colour, mostly by using the Cascade on the sleeves and the Eco Wool Dk on the body.  

But this is fun.  And such an adventure.  I wish you could share it.  If you are a knitter, go out and try something weird or odd or do something just a little bit differently than you have ever done before.  And just sit back and let it happen.

Mahatma Ghandi said, " A man is but a product of his thoughts, what he thinks, he becomes"  If this is indeed the way it is, I am become joy. 

So exciting!

And the sweater is done, but no pictures yet.  

It was rather strange.  I was just knitting along, counting carefully that the rows between decreases were correct, and I looked up to get a marker from sleeve one for a decrease I had just done and that marker was the last one, I honestly don't know where the time went, it went that fast.  Then 2 sections of the speedy twisted stitch rib and wham before I blinked the sleeve was bound off.

This morning isn't going to be a knitting morning.  This morning is a play with Marcus and Cassie morning and I am looking forward to it.  They always have so much to tell me, and so much to say.  And when they are not busy telling me stuff, they are busy inventing ways to play.

It is invigorating and then it is time to go home.

This evening though, this evening, I should be able to get a start on my Lakeur sweater.  I'm looking forward to it and I am a little apprehensive at the same time.  I'm looking forward to it because I really do love the yarn.  I am going to have to play a little bit of colour games because there are so many different variations of natural tones in the yarns that I have collected, and I am kind of eager for that. I'm a bit apprehensive because this sweater is knit from the bottom up in the Icelandic way.  Knit the body in the round to the armpits, then knit the sleeves cuff up to the armpits, where sleeves and body are joined.  Then the colourwork is done, and then finally, whatever finishing you need to do.

Also, this sweater is designed as a colourwork cardigan, but I think once again, I am going with a pullover variation.  I will probably steek a neckline  placket later, but the rest is just going to be pullover.

It's so exciting waiting for a sweater to start!   I know.  In the great scheme of things, this is not important or big but it is me, plucking what treasures I can from life, and appreciating the small glorious things as they happen. 

Thursday, 15 February 2018

A Pretty Good Place.

Something thrilling happened yesterday.

I finished a sleeve!

I only added 2 rounds of the colour section.  The sleeve, which up until then was taking forever, was going along good, and I was midway through the third when I thought it was time to measure again.  Too long!  So, I pulled back to the second section, knit 3 rows of garter stitch and it was absolutely perfect.

I also did something I have not done with this sweater so far.  I tried it on.  I pulled the neck over once before to see if I wanted to add a fourth colour section to the yoke but otherwise, I have just been knitting.  I'm pretty comfortable with what I have to do on a sweater like this where there might be some pattern use, but mostly it is a knit to fit proposition.  But, not trying it on till you have one sleeve complete is a really silly thing to do.  I mess up regularly and ought to know better.  

In this instance, luck is with me and everything is fine.  Yoke is good, length is fine, sleeves are ok and the faux cardigan looks almost better than I hoped.  I can't wait to see it with the buttons on.  

Today the plan is to finish the second sleeve or to get darn close. I do have a bit of sewing to do today, but there will be lots of time for that when it's time for a break in the knitting.   

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

So Spinning!

Everybody has a routine and with spinning mine has been this for a very long time.

Go to coffee shop.  Pull out large ball of fibre.  Spin.

It was pointed out to me that I only have as much as an average braid left to spin.

Which makes me laugh and laugh and laugh.

The best part is that I am not tired of this big ball of fibre.  Not at all.  The colours completely change often enough that it stays interesting.  I am working this at my fall back weight so it ought to end up somewhere around a DK weight yarn.  The plan is to Chain ply this yarn.  I am in love with the colours and I want to preserve as much of that as I can.  I knew that at the outset.

It's a beautiful fibre.

And this morning, I am thinking of music that inspires and uplifts and I offer this.

It is a toyota commercial that is playing during winter Olympic coverage.  "Stronger than I've ever been" by Kalena Zanders

I may have my new theme song. 

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Grab a Coffee and put your listening caps on.

Because this is such a widely read blog and because me writing and editing can make my point much more clearly, I putting this out there.  I do hope those who happened to partake in the conversation today are reading.
"Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."  

I do not think that word means what you think it means.  And in case it is close to a word that was meant, yeah.  Nope.    

I love words, and while I am sure that what was said that afternoon was not meant to insult or be patently unfair and bordering on rude, it was.  I remind you of a thing that you do not want to acknowledge.  I get that.  But I do have some things to say about it and I hope you will take the time to listen. I hope that you click each and every little coloured word link too so that you understand the fullness of it.

My words today, the mentions of my husband,  were about something that was in my daily life and that remains in my daily life. It is the thing I wake up to and the faces I love.  It is the eyes of my children and grandchildren, their smiles, the way they laugh.  If his name came up today, it is because in every way, he is in my life.  If his name falls from my lips in relation to some silly thing or other, it does not hurt me. I rejoice in his memory and he remains relevant to everything I am.   

I do not see how this can possibly hurt you or cause you to feel at all.  I did not ask anything from you.  I did not ask for sympathy or care, or sorrow. I was just out among some knitters.  I was sharing a story.  About a sock heel and about things in my life that relate to knitting and general silliness.    Like you all did and do.  You talk about fathers and mothers and children and husbands.  The only difference here is mine is not in this corporeal realm, but he is and will always be real. 

But you asked me not to talk about such maudlin things. 

But the word used makes it all seedy and somehow less.  Perhaps you thought my words  over emotional, over sentimental,  mawkish? Perhaps you viewed his name in my conversation as bathetic.  Maybe you more correctly meant insipid?  That word you used, every synonym, every antonym, trivializes everything that was important in my life.   

What sorrow I carry is mine and mine alone.  If I  cry when I just happen to be with you, that is me carrying my sorrow the only way I can carry it in that particular moment, with that particular memory that is in my head and my heart.  Tears do not ask you to participate. If you feel something about it, that is entirely within your baliwick, not mine.  I am not responsible for however it makes you feel.  Those are your feelings.  Got that?

 I talked about my grandkids.  You talked about yours.  You talked about your husbands.  I talked about mine and suddenly, my conversation, at this point free of any tears or sadness or sorrow on my part, is maudlin?  

Now if your meaning was to say this was an inspid thing to add to the conversation, fine.  I'm good with insipid, but not that other word.  I'm not distinctive, or interesting.  I don't have a lot of stimulating qualities. I can see that all my conversation could be termed insipid.  Heck, there are days when I bore myself to tears and I have lived me for decades.  You can fling insipid my way all you like and add a dose of argumentative too, because I agree, I am all those things.  But he is not maudlin and talking about him is never maudlin. 

I knit, and on this day, in consideration of some of the other conversations in particular, I thought that would be enough.  I knit.  I never, ever thought it would be 'knitter yes, but leave your life at home'.  Because that is the message I got. 

Let's just put this one to the #stupidthingspeoplesaytowidows file. Just sayin'.  

On sleeves and close to done.

I don't know about anybody else, but I have been watching a lot of Olympic coverage.  More than in many years.  Well except for that bit in the day where CBC plays Coronation Street.  Which makes me laugh and laugh.  It is just so right.

Andyway, there isn't anything better for knitting than a lot of winter sports.  There is always lots of downtime that commentators have to fill so it feels like 30 seconds of serious tv watching and then 3 minutes of knitting and repeat.

Sleeve one is getting very close to complete.

Sleeve two will be under way tomorrow and if I work it just right, maybe done by this weekend?  Maybe?

I always planned on doing some of the colour at the cuffs, and I think I am going to repeat 3 rounds of the banding, just like on the yoke.  For no particular reason that I think it will be just the right kind of punch I am looking for.

Now that one sleeve is pretty much on, you can get a real feel for this sweater and let me tell you, it is going to be grand.  It has just the right amount of flow in the body of the sweater and it looks just about perfect.

So plenty to look forward to and time to seriously start planning the next sweater.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Little Bites

After Saturday mornings double posting, I went off to shower sweet baby Jane Rose, and had a lovely time.  By the time I got home in the evening though, and after a week of spending a great deal of time sleeping and thinking I had staved it off, I had a full blown raging cold.  Napping was my fall back position and will be again today.

There has been some knitting happening.  The first sleeve on the grey sweater is well under way but it feels like that is all I have been talking about.  Time to show what else I have been working on.

In 2016, as my Christmas gift for myself, I gave me the gift of a very lovely  set of yarn from Sweet Georgia, one of the Tough Love Sock Party of Five sets in Wildfire.  

From the get go, I meant for this lovely set to be a First Point of Libra shawl from Laura Aylor.  And it is now well underway.

I am just starting the second to last yarn colour. and I love the way this pretty little 'scarf' is looking.  It is the first time I have knit with Sweet Georgia and I have to say, it is a winner.  The soft changes of colour intensity within a row is fascinating to see come alive on my needles. 

Laura designed this shawl for a mystery knit along, where clues are sent out weekly and you just knit, never quite knowing what you will get.  I don't generally do mystery projects.  I guess I like to know where I am going when I can, but I sure do love the result.  But I can see how the clues came out in the knit along by the way the shawl is knit and put together.  It's kind of interesting.  At no point knitting this will it feel like it will never end, as sometimes happens.  You are always working on just a small section and that is kind of cool.

It's a great reminder that taking any big job and taking smaller bites of it makes things move along much more smoothly. 

Friday, 9 February 2018

After contemplation comes teeny tiny knitting.

After all the contemplation and word searching fun, there came knitting.  Very rewarding knitting where in I call me a champion of cute today and where I win in every possible way.

 This was yesterday's event. More than that actually.  This was yesterday at the time I posted.  A lot of knitting happened after this photo.  By evening my hands were pretty much done with 2 days of fairly solid knitting. 

Today's event was this sweet little thing. 

Wee Liesl by Ysolda Teague.  Gosh darn it I love this pattern.  It's such a nice lace but much more than that, it is such an interesting take on making increases within the lace so that the whole thing is unseen.  It just magically grows and all of a sudden you are at the sleeves, and then it grows again and it is complete.  

It has a really traditional look to it, like something that your great grandmother would have knit, but it is knit entirely in one piece from the top down.  No sleeves, because these days, it really isn't needed.  What mums do need is a pretty little layering piece so that when you are in public, baby still looks a little fancy but all she needs to wear is a comfy ordinary sleeper.

I have both of these baby things out of Cascade Pacific, a decent yarn, but not something that I would use for much more than baby things.  While that gleam is really wonderful for the ridges of this lace pattern, it is too shiny for me personally.  Even for most baby things, I prefer pure wool, but I feel pretty strongly that you have to go with something mom will prefer, and that is what this is.  

I am pretty certain the young lady whom this is for, has a mom who isn't a big wool fan.  I think this mom has only had contact with wool yarns that itch and doesn't know about how delicious and how easy care real wool is.  If all you have ever known or heard, is that wool is itchy, far be it from me to change your mind with baby things for your first baby and certainly not for this mom who worked so very hard and so very long to have this wee girl..  With a new mom, you give her what she can work with and what fits with what she feels comfortable and safe with. She has enough other things to worry about and fret over right now.  

I have one more thing, a receiving blanket to hem, to wrap this up in and then I have to dig to see if I still have some pink ribbon to tie it all together.  This was a kind of fun little diversion, that was just a such a pleasure to knit. 

Contemplating words

This morning I woke up to watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  I missed about half of them but I did get to see the games declared open and the lighting of the Olympic flame.  The Olympics are fun to watch.  Sports competition is good knitting.  But watching the games made me think about words, and the way we define success, championship, hero, all words that are used often during the games, and how much these things really matter.

Champion comes from the the medieval Latin 'campio(n)'  or fighter, which itself has a root in the Latin 'campus' meaning level ground.  The Oxford Living Dictionary says to look at the source for the word camp, which reveals, that the Latin 'campus'  meant "‘level ground’, specifically applied to the Campus Martius in Rome, used for games, athletic practice, and military drill."

Next up, hero.  Hero is one heck of a word to source.  Hero seems to come via Latin from the Greek myth of Hero and Leander.  Leander would swim across the Hellespont each night to be with Hero till one night he died and Hero threw herself into the sea.  There is a very interesting Wikipedia entry about the word 'hero'  , that is going to tell you more than I ever could about it, which ends with a part about the psychology of the word that says "Roma Chatterji has suggested that the hero or more generally protagonist is first and foremost a symbolic representation of the person who is experiencing the story while reading, listening or watching;[37] thus the relevance of the hero to the individual relies a great deal on how much similarity there is between the two. One reason for the hero-as-self interpretation of stories and myths is the human inability to view the world from any perspective but a personal one."

And then there is the word success, to succeed, which comes from the old Latin  "succedere ‘come close after’, from sub- ‘close to’ + cedere ‘go’."  

I am not an athlete, I never was.  It has always seemed to me that my feet are not connected to my head.  I am a terrible dancer with a good sense of rhythm.  There was that one great curling shot, that one great layup, that one great badminton smash.  Athletics is one long list of one good thing surrounded by a thousand little failings.  If I did yoga or tai chi in public, I would be the person who was constantly being corrected.  I know this because I have been that person.  I walk, and sometimes I wonder even about that.  But give me a pursuit where my head or my hands come into use, and I shine.  Not to say that I reach perfection in hand arts, but those are the things where I thrive. 

So if my way of seeing champions is different than most, if the things I use to define my own success are different, it shouldn't matter.  And yet, no one, in the real world sees knitting as succeeding.  There isn't anything heroic in reading a lot or enjoying stretching your mind just because you can and embroidery is never going to be an Olympic art.  

If my heros are people like Laura Aylor, Martina Behm, and Kate Davies it should surprise no one.  If my truest inspiration is the millions of people who post their projects on Ravelry or people like Kazuko Aoki and Trish Burr, that should surprise no one.  If people I consider champions are not people the rest of the world accredit as champions, that should surprise no one.  

And that brings me to my last word today, important, which comes from the Latin  importāre to be of consequence, weigh, Latin: to carry in., too often ascribed to the wrong things.

There are a lot of ways to be important, a lot of ways to be heroic, the be a champion, to succeed.  I will sit back and enjoy the games, and give them their due.  They are a celebration of  humanity and of possibilities.  But much more important in the great scheme of things, is to accept the many ways people can be a champion, to continue to search for heros in the small ways as much as in the big ways and to always count the smallest of human victories as some of the most important things we do.   

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Small Things

I have a baby shower to attend Saturday so I have been pondering baby knitwear for the last few days.  Pondering baby knitwear is simply one of the most fun occupations ever.

At first I pondered only hats.  A hat is enough of a handmade gift really and I thought I would beef it up with a box of diapers, which are always in demand with a newborn.  But the fact of the matter is that my funds are committed elsewhere this month, and purchasing anything really isn't on the cards.  What I am long on is yarn and time so there might be a sweater in the mix, or something else that can be made with what I have here at home that is appropriate for a wee babe.  

Because I started thinking hat, that is what I was prepared to knit first.  

I looked at several pretty little things (three links!)  but kept coming back to what Scott and Amy felt about the sweet little Aviatrix hat I made for Carter.

Wasn't he just the sweetest little thing?  He still is pretty sweet but my tall little boy isn't so little anymore.  But that is another story.  

His mommy and daddy said that hat just stayed where it was put, that it fit nice and snug and no matter how much he screwed around in the car seat or his chair or whatever, it stayed put.  They loved the wee helmet hat best of all.  So with that in mind, I thought his new baby cousin might like one too.

From its quirky start 

To its ball like middle (I ought to try knitting a ball after knitting this hat), this hat is just a complete delight to knit.  It is a great project if you are learning German short rows which are my go to short row technique, plus, it takes only a very small bit of yarn and the pattern comes with dozens of sizes.

I finished this one with a strap and button, which are still not my preferred closing, but these days, for babies, they do recommend no ties.  A one length strap of the pattern seems to shorten the life of the hat somewhat, so I put three buttonholes on it and made it a little longer.  I've gone through the first and last buttonhole for the picture, just to keep it tidy when she is small.  As she grows, her mommy and daddy will have two other choices for strap length.  Here is hoping that keeps it wearable longer. 

Anyway, big sweaters are paused at the moment and wee things are being knit.  Overloading on cute?  Sure.  Why not!

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Yesterday was about sleep.  I slept soundly till 10 and then spent most of the morning dozing in a chair.  I followed that up with exhaustion by 6 and being back in bed by 7:30, where I slept soundly till 3:00.  7:30 to 3:00 is a lot of sleep and I did go back soundly to sleep for another few hours after.  A lot of sleep for a day, but I feel a bit more myself this morning.  I'm going to take my vitamins and have a good nap again today and tomorrow and with a little bit of luck I will skip whatever thing I may have been getting or it will be so mild, I won't hardly notice.  Keeping my fingers crossed.  

The needle I am using on my sweater has become suddenly short.  Very short.  

Yes, It is a sleeve, which can only mean one thing.

The body is complete!  

I have to tell you though.  The last few inches were a real  struggle.  I know exactly why some of the sweaters I really love are too short.  There is a point where I really have to talk myself through to a better length.  About 12 inches, I get overwhelmed, I think.  It's when all the increases are done and I have knit a few inches of plain, and I am faced with the task of just knitting back and forth and back and forth across the rows.  It is particularly bad on cardigans.  In the round is easier.  That is just like one big sock, but cardigans you have to go back and forth and those long rows of purls, even wrapping the stitches my way,  which is really more of a pick than a wrap, is the second most natural thing in knitting (knitting through the back loop is the first most natural thing) becomes a kind of irritant.  These are really long rows and it is so easy to feel that this sweater is never going to end.  It is so easy to feel like it is never going to get done.  I have to look beyond the hem, beyond this sweater to use that long knitting time wisely, to plan my next project. I take the time to become inspired by marvelous colour searches or fantastic home projects on Ravelry and then dream about what is going to be next for me.  I might start a plain sock or even as shawl as I did this time.  On this particular sweater the Scotties Tournament of Hearts helped, being something else that I could focus on rabidly while knitting.  

Once again, I managed to talk myself beyond that point and all of a sudden, I realized that my ball of yarn was getting rather thin looking and it was time to change over to garter stitch.  I kept watching the the faux cardigan split and every time I looked it still looked too short and then magically, it looks wonderful and just right in scale for a draping flowing bottom of a longer cardigan.  I knit some garter and then all of a sudden it was time to bind off.  

So sleeves.  Just a few short rows to make the top of the sleeve sit nicer in the underarm and then I can switch to dpns, for nice plain knitting.  Once again, I have moved to 4 mm needles for this, where the rest of the sweater is 3.75 mm needles.  Round and around, I tend to knit tighter.  The bigger needles make the switch unnoticeable once everything is washed and blocked.  

All in all, everything is moving along nicely.  This sweater isn't going along as fast as I originally hoped but then again, I did a fair bit of other stuff through the month of January. Sorting through my second bedroom has been a huge benefit for me.  Improving access to my fibre is big. Getting my fibre stash to Ravelry is big.  Getting a dedicated weaving place and a place where I can work on my quilt without taking it down all the time is big.  Getting a better place for my Julia spinning wheel is big.  

It's been a big month of effort and so far in February, it is all paying off.    

Tuesday, 6 February 2018

That fragile place

I'm feeling a cold coming on but I am not in the cold place yet, just in that fragile 'if I could sleep more place it might not come'.  So this morning, I am going to stay home and crawl back to bed.

But, I never did get around to showing you spinning pictures from last week. 

Christines's pretty Malabrigo braid.  It is such interesting colours, strong and clear.  Sharp might be a better word than clear. Sometimes colours seem to soften when you spin them up, but this prep stays rich and warm.

And my forever ball

  On to a second bobbin for me.  You can just see the yellow underneath and I am in a long section of blue greens.  I might be there another week or two.

So back to bed for me to see if I can swack that fragile just before a cold feeling, right out of me.  

Monday, 5 February 2018

Spinning Wheels

For someone who spins weekly rather than daily, I have a lot of spinning wheels.  I was sure I would spin more once I was settled, but not so far.  I might have through fall, but my Julia needed tweaking.  

You really can't spin on a wobbly wheel.  This is the second time it has happened on this wheel.  Both times were, I think, related to a move.  The first time, it took a while to sort out what the trouble was, and I was just getting back into spinning when I moved again.  

I was using this wheel to ply last summer, but the wobble became more apparent and I set the whole thing aside, wheel and all.  Till yesterday.

Yesterday, I tweaked. Really all I do is put a bit of pressure on the wheel where it seems to need it and then test it to check for a nice straight spin.  That is the advice I got straight from Dave at Louet.

There were a couple videos that go between these two, where the wheel became even more off balance, but I persevered.  It took a while to get it just right.

There might be the slightest bit of wobble.  I can't quite decide, but it is spinning nicely again and that is really what counts.  I am going to baby this wheel a bit and watch it like a hawk to see if I can track what is making her go off track like this. I think it was moving but I would like to be sure it isn't something I am doing that puts stress where it ought not to be.  

I would like to do a bit of spinning every day.  For right now, I will deal with today.  A little bit of spinning just for today. 

I also finally transferred some of my old standby movies, to my movie drive from dvd.  And they work!  Which is lovely.  Son 1, Anthony did that for me a few times, but now that he is a half hour away, it was time to get the right kind of software on my computer and do it myself. This means no more wandering around in the dark of night to find the pile of movies. I just have to click on the file.  And with the upgrade to my sound , a spanking new little portable speaker, I won't be disturbing any one when I wake at 3 and can't get back to sleep.

So adulting twice this weekend.  Yay me.  

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Sure as the sunrise, Marcus and Cassie did indeed make my grumps go away.  It helps that they had a new story book about a panda bear that was grumpy and they showed me their Grumpy Cat Calendar.

I didn't go to a new very near to me fibre festival last fall.  With my new digs, I was looking at 4 hours driving .  Add the time at the event and I was looking at a whole day for it, and I just did not feel like giving it a whole day.

I did instead, give myself a treat of fibre instead.  That was back in November and what with the vagaries of international shipping and the Christmas rush, it finally was delivered this week.  

I had to remind myself to breathe.

It is just so lovely, possibly the loveliest thing I have ever seen.

Right?  Breathe.  Breathe.

These truly lovely things remind me of a task I have been meaning to get to.  Because I was a good girl (Yes I do sometimes require the same kind of pat on the head that you would give a puppy) and went to get my groceries and do my drug store run, I have only one task to do today, and that is to clean the kitchen floor and wipe the lower cabinets (There was an incident and I wasn't responsible 😇) . I wouldn't feel bound to do this but then he does shovel snow.  A trade of things we can do if you will.

Once that is done, I think I might go and dig through my fibre stash to photograph and then to load it onto Ravelry.  I have a fair bit,  and one of the things I have learned now that I am spinning more regularly again, is how nice it is to have a record of a fibre project from start to finish.  My green yarn project 

which is the most enjoyable, fun product I have so far, has no starting point.  I never took a picture of the fibre, not that I can find anyway, and I really do regret that. 

I have always known that about me, right back from my embroidery and crochet days, long before Ravelry and the internet, nay even before Jess and Casey (the founders of Ravelry) were twinkles in their parents eyes.  I always wished I had something of all the things I have made over time. Baby things, curtains, clothing for kids, for me, samplers, toys, blankets.  So many things lost other than my vague recollections.  That is one of the biggest reasons I love Ravelry:  that I can  record and track what I was doing and when, such a nice way to record a handmade life and to share that life among my people.

Now that fibre is actually turning into yarn, it would be lovely to be able to see if from fibre prep all the way to lovey usable thing.  And so, because it is eminently doable, I shall.

And because once I get something in my head to do, I am, much to my chagrin, unstoppable, even when I ought to stop, done!  Come see.  

Friday, 2 February 2018

The grumps.

I woke this morning feeling just a tad grumpy.  My hand hurts again, and that bothers me a great deal.  To that end, I ground beans for my coffee this morning.  And I am really enjoying it.  But it isn't enough to pull me up from the grumps.

I think it is that it isn't going to be a knitting day.  It will be a great not knitting day because I am going to go play with my kiddies today, but in a week of a lot of not a lot of knitting, I am grumpy and I need just a little knitting to take the edge off.  

But I guess, I will let Marcus do that for me.  Discontent and grumpy just cannot live around a little boy who lives such adventures so fully as these.

And Marcus' response to his art?  (Check out the letters!  For three he is doing a great job!)

You know how it is when you are three and you get in trouble with mom.  But he is absolutely inconsolable that he is in trouble.  Heartfelt. He didn't quite understand that he is in trouble for drawing on the wrong places, but I am sure that he did shortly after this picture was taken and he is absolutely never going to do it again.

I am off.  If I can be in the moment the way little people are, that really is all I need to banish the grumps.