Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Saving this in case I need it.

Another belief of mine; that everyone else my age is an adult, whereas I am merely in disguise.
Margaret Atwood 

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime.

If yesterday's post could fall into the category of idiotic, today's post would fall into the category of sublime.

I did have to go pick up some more of the Berocco Ultra Wool for Marcus's sweater and now that I know River City has Plotulopi, I stopped to see what they had for a really dark.  They had black and while that wasn't the only dark colour they had, it was the only way to get the contrast I want, without introducing yet another colour.  I also took the time to have a good look around the store.  For a good long while. Which can be dangerous.

I love yarn and I know that a yarn store is a challenging and sometimes dangerous place to be in.  I prepare.  I promised myself one small treat.    One small treat could be small dollars or rather more than I wanted to spend but in this case the small treat choice was easy because that is exactly what it is.  Small.


Lang's Lace.  Isn't that lovely?

A lot of people assume mohair is prickly and will make the itch, but I think that is in part due to the very poor quality of mohair that we had available for many years.  This is just so fine, finer even than the Shibui mohair, which is so much finer than the Rowan KidSilk Haze that it takes your breath away.  

I fell for none of that.  I fell for it's tiny size.  Because cute is as cute does.

When I finally got home, all my parcels and things in tow, I found that my package from Custom Woollen Mills had arrived.  My favourite things!

What a wonderful day!

Only I won't be knitting any of that.  I have a sleeve and pocket for a Chase sweater to knit and a couple amulets.  More than that though, some sewing fabric arrived yesterday too and is demanding my attention or rather, I was waiting for this for a rather long time, and now that it has arrived, I must deal with it.  There is always tomorrow. 

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Here Come Da Fuzz

I am sitting while my company is out for a  walk and was cleaning off a sweater to wear.

It's not a very happy thing to be doing but if I want to wear the sweater, it needs to be done.

And time to go.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Of Sweet Dreams, Amulets and a Blue Sweater.

By Friday evening, I was doing the ribbing on the Chase sweater. And Saturday, I took it out and knit a much longer body.

A certain someone

and his sister

came for a sleepover.  I held the sweater up to Marcus and while it would have fit right now, it wouldn't have made it to Christmas.  His mom told me he is eating big right now, so I expect extra sleeping and then jumps in growth will follow shortly as is the way of children.    

My house is a minor but friendly disaster.  Lego bricks are everywhere, there are toys drying in the bathtub and crayons, markers and colouring books have taken command of the living room floor.  But the sweater will fit Marcus for a good long while to come.  

Sleeve one is just begun.

My work today is going to involve a call to the yarn store to see if they have another skein of blue.  The added inches on the body have taken me right out of my safety zone for yarn consumption and I think I am going to need another half a skein of yarn.  I will know for certain by lunchtime and the end of sleeve one.

I was also informed that the badge needs to go on the side of the chest, not the center and that my plan for the badge was good. He likes the idea of a pocket for his stuff.  I am glad that he came while this was under construction.  From the start, this sweater has been really important to him and I am glad he can tell me exactly what he wants.

Marcus is growing up.  Do you know how I know?  He has never been a real lover of water.  He would play on the beach but he was not a big fan of lake, river, or bathtub.  He liked the spray park but not the spray.  The last time the kids came to the spray park here, he was running through the spray and this time, when it was bath time, he tried the bubbles in uncle's tub and as he told his dad, he wasn't scared and he poured water on his head too.    

Marcus and Cassie have had sleepovers here a few times now.  The first two times were very hard for them and for grandma.  First one and then the other couldn't get to sleep and they would wake with dreams in the night.  The last couple have been much better.  Marcus dreamed of Paw Patrol mountain rescue toys and Cassie dreamed of amulets to keep the bad things away, just like the story from Faerie Knitting. (Grandma has amulets to knit today) The first little footsteps  I heard were at 7 a.m.  We all had good sleeps.   

Because of  good sleeps and sweet dreams and, well, coffee, I am up and about today and feeling ready for whatever the day tosses my way.  Sleeves and amulets, here I come.  

Friday, 26 October 2018

Paw Patrol two or is it three?

Last week, when I went out to an Oktoberfest dinner, I took the opportunity to stp on the west side at River City Yarns and as usual,found exactly the right thing.

The blue yarns that I dyed for Marcus' Paw Patrol Chase sweater were not quite as close as I wanted in color.  You could see striping where there were  two rows of colour in the yoke.  Once I had joined the yoke fronts it wasn't so bad.  I could change on each row and it seemed to be working okay, but it made the knitting go very slowly.  I really wanted to finish the sweater in these pretty hand dyed skeins and colours, but it was taking forever and I wasn't having fun.

I voted for worsted yarn if I could find a superwash blue and yellow, when I stopped.  And I did.

This is Berocco Ultra Wool.  The right blue and a nice yellow in stock in exactly the right amounts.  What a relief. 

Once I got the set up rows complete, the thing just zoomed along.  I took a break to chart out the little badge that the pups wear, but I didn't like the way it was knitting up in the sweater, so I took it out and decided to follow my first option.  I am going to knit the badge on a small pocket.  I can play around with the way I will make the badge a bit, without setting progress of the whole sweater back.  Once I have a badge and pocket I like, I will mount it center front at proper badge height.  Marcus can keep his glass cleaning cloth in the pocket and grandma might even get him a new one to take to school.  

All my little boys are in school but for Emmett.  They are growing like weeds.  

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Incidental Minutes

Hidden among the errands of the last couple days, there has been knitting. It never was very much and it always seemed to take a backseat to the usual tasks of life.  The interesting thing about knitting is that all those incidental minutes add up and before you know it, you have a thing done.

I have two.  I finished Carter's hat.

The hat is, once again just a two row stripe, and the hat pattern is from Ann Budd's A Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  I love the way this design decreases.  It is just the best hat.  I've knit it in a relatively firm twisted one by one rib so that the 4 year to adult small will fit the head of a growing boy.

I am so glad this is finished.  I was a bit worried that I wouldn't persevere.  I never noticed it so much working on his scarf, but on the scarf I was using some short straight needles.  On the hat I was back to my usual circulars and pointy ones at that.  The pointy tip of the addis versus the much more rounded tips of my straight needles made a huge difference in the misery of this yarn.  It took the experience of it from nice on the metal straights to oh my goodness, I can't wait till it is done on the hat.  It made a relatively soft yarn splitty and miserable and almost torturous. 

It wasn't a good match of yarn and needles. I did debate switching to birch or bamboo needles, but my tension would have changed and by the time I hated it, I was too far along to change. I made myself work on it a couple rows every time I sat down to knit on other things and in no time at all, misery or not,  it was done.  

Carter did not ask for a hat, but I am going to tell him that if he doesn't want to use it, maybe his mom could help him find a little boy or girl who could use it.  There is always a need for hats and scarves and other winter things and schools and churches almost always have donation boxes.  It's a good thing for a little boy to learn to give.

All that fussing and moderate stress made a sock the only other thing I knit this week. It is showing progress and results from steady work.

 Funny how that happens (cough, cough)  Sock one, complete.  

And that is the round up on my last couple days work.  I could tell you about the other things I did but you know what? 

Life is too short to think about those things.  I am going to sit back and plan for the next project.  There is a world of options of interesting things to knit out there, and I have a ton of really nice yarns to knit them in.  Sweater?  Shawl?  What will it be?  I can spend hours thinking and debating on the merits of either.  And what yarns?  Answering that will need a quick trip through the stash.   Then winding.  And then being ready to cast on. 

I love this part of knitting, always a new adventure waiting for me.  


Wednesday, 24 October 2018

A Boodle Tale

I made coffee today.  It felt right with what I am thinking of this morning and I feel more awake than I have all week.  Beyond a doubt, I am addicted, but I am still going to try to cut back.  Just not today.

I have to tell you a story today, as I sip my coffee.  It is the way I started my day for many years, on a virtual porch, drinking my coffee, listening to news, telling jokes and stories and talking of the vagaries of this world.  It is a story of the boodle.  What is a boodle, you might ask?  If you have been here a long time, you may recall me mentioning them, but if not here goes.

Back in the dark ages of the Internet, before Facebook, back when you commented on forum posts, and bulletin boards, back when commenting on newspaper articles was just beginning, I became a commenter on a Washington Post newspaper blog written by journalist and writer, Joel Achenbach.  Something different happened in that comment section and a bunch of random people from all over North America became something so much more than random commenters.  We became friends and shared stories of life and family and work and books, bonding over our enjoyment of a writer's work. We were and remain unique in the history of newspaper blogging.  Joel Achenbach is unique among writers because he became part of it and was saddled with a Kit and Kaboodle (as in 'whole kit and kaboodle'), or in short, a boodle.  

Forward something close to fifteen years, and many of us are still in regular contact through email and through facebook and when we can, we do try to get together as I did on my adventures to the east this past summer.  

From out of the blue, one of them sent me a random gift and I am utterly charmed and touched by his kindness to think of me. 

I had seen this book hit the pre-orders at Amazon.  Most of the books that I buy these days are digital or audio.  Only rare reference type knitting books make it to my library.  My friend thought of me because he knows I knit rabidly, because that happened in full view of my  boodle buddies.  I became known for minor obsessions with curling, legumes, and knitting and hopefully not for the dumber things I may have said. I rarely get books for gifts and they are treasured when I do get them.  This one certainly will be.  More than that.  It will be shared with my grandchildren.

In a way, the knitting in this book, Faerie Knitting, written by novelist Alice Hoffman and her niece, Lisa, is incidental to the stories. In exactly the same way, the stories are incidental to the knitting.  You cannot tell which came first, knitting or story. They are inseparable.  And they charm me.  They have the feeling of Hans Christian Andersen about them.  Evil remains a force in these worlds but our hero ends protected.  Something knitted is part of that resolution, sometimes a thing that is done, sometimes a gift but always part of how resolution is found.  They are the perfect kind of stories for a grandmother who love stories and knitting to share.

I will knit from this book and think of the many ways you can become friends.  I will wear a shawl and make a blanket and knit tiny amulets and think of the boodle and how lucky I am to be one of them. I will think fondly of them with each story and every cup of coffee.

Thank you Bob, for thinking of me.  What a lovely gift.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Vanilla Reversed. Neat.

If I had to put one word to yesterday, it would be sleep.  I'm trying to cut down my coffee intake during the week, to see if it would make a difference to my sleeping habits.  It isn't that I cannot get to sleep, it is that I wake through the night and have difficulty slowing my mind to get back to sleep.  I don't really feel an overwhelming urge for morning coffee so it isn't a really big deal, but what is striking is the daytime sleeping on no coffee days.  If I was not retired, this would be much harder.  When I say sleep, I don't mean napping either.  I mean full out sleeping.  I slept for three hours yesterday afternoon and it did not affect my sleep overnight either. 

It should also be stated that I'm not stopping coffee.  I love my coffee.  I am just trying to cut back to one cup a day.  But some days, I end up not having any.  

Still there was knitting.  And it was kind of fun knitting.

I was at the point on my Vanilla Reversed socks where it was time to sit down and face the pattern to figure out the heel.  Only to call it  heel that you have to figure out isn't really what is going on.  What you are actually doing is making the gusset. I had to work through it couple times before I got it.  It was a huge help to have all the projects and pictures on Ravelry.  When the written word didn't want to penetrate the thick walls of my skull, the photos eked their way in and finally it all made sense. sense. It wasn't like what was going on when I did my first heel turn.  Nothing so earth shattering.  It was more like what happens in lace.

In lace, the pattern writers write a repeat of lace at the point where the lace stitches actually do repeat.  They often will put markers there and all the counts will logically flow from that point to point B to point C.  I get that.  BUT  my brain needs to sort slightly differently. My brain sorts in a P Q F kind of way, a more ripples on the pond way of thinking but once my brain starts to see written directions  in a way that works for it, it flows along wonderfully well.  

That's kind of what happened here.  It took me three tries for the first set of rows and then suddenly it was all just right and it flew quite merrily along.

This sock is really quite clever without being difficult.  If you are a true pattern follower, you will like this, or if you are like me and have to sort  of come to understand where the designer is going, you will like this.  It is just a slightly different sort of  way of getting around the heel.  I will  use it again where I know that the socks are for me.  It won't replace my best afterthoughts and their flexibility, but it will have a place.  

So that was my whole day.  That and sleeping/napping/dozing.  Today is different.  Today is errands and spinning. I'm excited for this today.  It's mid project and I can't wait to show you!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Productive in a Different Way.

It is just one day for all my weekend reporting this time.  I had company again this weekend, though they did not come till after dinner Saturday and they left Sunday morning, it gave me an excuse to tidy up my house a bit.  And, weirdly enough, my laundry is all caught up.  Last load to old is in the dryer. I sit with a tidy house, no laundry and nothing serious to do.  

On Sunday I did a little of this and a little of that.

I worked on Carter's hat. I need about 4 more inches of hat before I can decrease for the crown.  That will give him a nice fold back brim and double the warmth at his ears.

I worked on a new plain sock.  This is a yarn and some needles I picked up on a quick stop to River City last week. The debate is still out if I really like the needles.  They are better than 8 inch dpns and they beat magic loop all to heck, but I am just not sure if I like them so well as dpns.

I took my Vanilla is the New Sock Reversed sock to the point where I have to read the pattern.

We shall see how that whole 'read the pattern' thing goes.

I worked on plarn.  

I don't use bags for groceries anymore, but we still get a few coming in.  I am plarning it up by making loops of it and stringing it together to make stuff like mats.  I feel a bit like I have become my grandmother and matron aunts here by doing so, but I hate to see it just go to the dump.  Plarning always makes me sad because I am reminded of the yogurt I love and how I have cut back my consumption of it to only rarely because it comes in tubs of class 5 plastic, which is not locally recyclable. 

And then, in much cheerier things, I transplanted my Bizzy Lizzie and some seedling pansies. 

I have some fabric to cut to start a Christmas project, but with an otherwise open morning, I think I am going to do the footman repair on my S51 wheel and see if I cannot get some plying done.  I  sat down and sorted through my spinning stuff last week.  I have a box for completed yarn and a box for things that are ready for plying.  The plying box is overfull.  Besides, I want to ply the single that I spun in the grease at WWSIP day.  I can't wait to see what happens when it is plyed and finished.  

It was a different weekend than last weeks very productive one and productive but in a different way.  

Friday, 19 October 2018

Goofing off

I am going out to dinner today, and that changes everything about what I plan to do today.  It means I can slack off and be lazy, like starting this post late.   Not that it matters but going out this evening means the afternoon is busy getting ready to go out and leaving early enough to get through rush hour Friday traffic and make it to the venue on time.  That means the only time I will get any serious stuff done today, is this morning.  I can knit during dinner, but I only expect to be working on socks.  There will be beverages beyond coffee and that rather restricts what I am capable of knitting well.  I do not sip and knit even when at home.  In company, indulging in beverages would be a dismal failure, kind of like that time I did short rows at 3 a.m. 

So today, I am working on this little thing.

I finished Carter's scarf yesterday.  I have tons of yarn left.  I only used half of what I bought.  Still it is better than running out.  Carter did not ask for a hat, but I have the yarn, and hats take so little time.

I am using the basic hat from Ann Budd's A Knitter's Handy Book of Patterns.  This book has a bit of everything.  Mittens, hats, a sweater, a vest, all in multiple sizes and multiple gauges.  It was the first of these marvelous books from her.  I keep going back to them over and over and over again, because they just work.  If you don't have any of her Knitter's Handy books in your knitting library, you may want to ask yourself why, resolve to fix that and then get them all.  Because you need them.

This little hat is being made in the same way as I made the scarf, a 1x1 rib.  Carter, being 4 and halfway to 5, is in that place between sizes. I could do a hat up to 4 years or the hat, 4 years to adult small.  I chose the latter.  Carter is only going to grow, and this hat can grow with him.  By doing a 1 x 1 ribbing, I get a fit that will ease up in size as he grows but that will fit snugly now when he is still very small. I am hoping that the ribbing will also keep the hat fitting closely.  This is acrylic and I've never done a hat in acrylic and I worry about it, without the bounce back of wool.

Carter is still a small boy being 4.  It isn't a great age at all, even though being 4 is significant to 4 year olds.  Small is relative.  Isaac in grade four is not really small any more but he has a ways to go till he is a teenger.  Carter, ever my peanut, is smaller, and my wee Emmett is small but growing like a weed and is I am sure, quite determined to catch up.       

Look at my boys!  I've stolen this photo from mom's photo stream and I am not at all ashamed to do so.  Makes my heart melt.  

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Making it to Thursday with Weekend Adventures

I talked about my favourite old sweater a few weeks ago.

I knit it in 2010 and it has been worn in steady rotation since then. More than.  It was a favourite. This past year, it was worn  bit less because it was, sadly, showing its age.

Some of the strands and the underarm and down the side were starting to look pretty sketchy.  I debated doing a duplicate stitch repair but it would have been long,  all the way down the arms and body.  And then, there was this.

At some point in the last few months, the sleeve was torn on the dishwasher.  I am sure it was the dishwasher. There is a catchy bit on the side of one of the trays and everything gets caught there.  That meant this was a sweater that was 8 years old and in need of significant repair.  

This is a problem I am facing with my entire wardrobe.  Most of my things are old, but for a few tee shirts and the things I sewed last summer.  Quite a number of things are 5 years old and I know that because I had to stop and buy clothes when Brian was sick.  At the time my wardrobe could no longer support being out in public every day and it has not really gotten any better in the years since.  I hate shopping for clothes.  More, I hate paying for things that are poor quality and an even poorer fit.  I have spoken of this before.  

Much of my wardrobe issues come from personality quirks.  If I do not have a personal connection to a thing, it is easy to let go.  I've never had a problem letting go of books I wasn't fond of, or decorative items or furniture.  Even selling the house I lived in for 24 years was not a problem.  If I like something or more importantly have a strong ongoing emotional connection to it,  I want to hold on to it forever.   

I've been trying to weed out these silly behaviours when I see them and I am trying to see them sooner than I used to.  So, when I tell you that this sweater has been a hard thing to let go of, you will understand.  But what to do with a sweater that cannot be a sweater anymore?  I was struggling with the losing all that work and that lovely pattern on top.  No. Just no.

When I decided to fix the problem on my striped sweater collar, that seemed to open the floodgates.  I was digging in my sewing things last week and I realized that there were two packages of bag stiffener on the shelves.  The sweater popped into my mind and I knew what I was going to do.  

On the weekend, I tossed the sweater in with towels and started to felt it.  In all I had to put it through the machine, washer and dryer, three times to get the right fabric and size, but here I am.    

My goal for the day yesterday was to do a bit of sewing to turn this

and these

into a good basic useable bag. 

I hemmed and hawed at the fabric store about the kind of bag handles I wanted to attach.  Fabricland,  the local chain fabric store, is carrying a large range of bag things right now.  The handles they had came in many styles and colours, but the price.  Oh my goodness the price!  Forty dollars plus.  I wasn't having any of that, so I opted for  much simpler kind of strap. 

I wouldn't have needed the d-rings, but once I knew I was going with a cross body style bag, determined by the handle choice,  it felt like the right look.  I debated a zipper closure for the top, but opted for a simple toggle closure.  It gives me more flexibility in carrying a large variety of stuff.  Baugette and cheese with wine for a picnic?  No problem.

The outside is complete but there is still lots to do to get this bag ready to use.  I could use it as is, but I want this bag to be a sturdy carry all, something that will last and I would like it to sit better, so a wider bottom is in order.  I am going to line it properly and will be using some of that interfacing that is sitting on my shelf.  

So, lots to do today.  There is some other sewing to complete before the sewing desk is clear to work on linings, and there is a knitted scarf for my peanut, Carter to finish.  Plus there are a couple things to cut out for sewing next week. It will be a good, busy day.  Time to start.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Takes Till Wednesday To Tell

I had such a good weekend that here it is, Wednesday, and I still have stuff to tell about what I did on the weekend. It could actually take till Thursday, but I'm not quite ready to show that and I do have to save some stuff for later. For now I will tell you about the rest of the things I meandered through last weekend.

I started a sock.  

It looks like an ordinary sock but it is special right from the get go.  It was a found sock.  This is one of the yarns that I had pulled out to use for the Sock Arms style Paw Patrol sweater.  I was going to measure out how long the pink section was and found a garter square toe and the first couple rounds complete on a sock.  No needles, no dropped stitches.  Just a found toe.  To not turn that into a completed sock would be a travesty of sock toe knitting, so I put all the stitches on needles and just kept going.  What must have happened was that I needed the needles or found prettier yarn to knit.

But this sock is more than just a plain sock.  The podcasts that I have been listening to regularly have been talking a lot about Vanilla is the New Black socks.  Not toe up you say?  Haha!  Vanilla Reversed!  This is the pattern I am using of course, though I my give a go to the top down version as well. Sock well begun in my books.

Sunday evening I did something else, something completely different.  I pulled out some cotton and warped up my new little loom from Purl & Loop.  (This is a dangerous site.  Very dangerous, but a lot of fun. They have trees.  And ornaments.  To weave.  They have all kind of fun looking little looms. Purl and Loop, you are killing me.)

I wasn't project swatching, but was just giving it a test drive.  I wanted to see how it would work and to see if there were any quirks I needed to understand in order to get a good gauge swatch.  I got this.

It's not perfectly square, not perfectly woven and not at all perfectly finished, but it is a perfectly serviceable little mug rug.  It fits even the largest mugs.

This is one of those Corningware soup mugs, or as I call it, a coffee mug for 'those' mornings.   

Today is one of those mornings.  I woke at 4 and fell asleep again just after 6 as I was debating getting up.  I finally woke at 7:30 so everything is running just a little late today.  No matter.  I have no list of tasks today, no errands. The only thing on my radar is to knit a soft little green and blue scarf and to work on a sweet little blue sweater.  And maybe a sock.  Or a shawl.  Or...      

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Stopping the Chill on the Back of My Neck

All this focusing on shawls and pretty things for around my neck brought to mind task that I needed to do before we get deep into winter.  It is time to give my shaws a good airing.

From the time I started knitting, these small shawls have been my badge of honour, a reminder to myself that I was more, that I could do and be anything.  They were shield through some very hard times.  Through the last couple moves, they were tucked aside and only a chosen few that had been pulled out, were worn regularly.  I had my large shawls tucked in my sweater chest, and that has been enough though I wear something at my neck almost everyday for at least part of the day.  The back of my neck is always cold.  Seeing these pretty things laid out across my bed makes me want them back in service doing the job they have always done..

I currently keep my shawls and scarves, each tucked in a bag, in an underbed storage box and while it works, it is more a pain than anything.  It is an irritant to get them out and put them away so they end up sitting quietly unworn or in an untidy pile on my dresser.  Harrumph.

Some of my favourites, the delicate Viajante, the brilliant turquoise Aestlight, the pretty golden Eye of Partridge shawl made from  gift yarn from Brian.  I will never forget Brian's retelling of his first visit to the yarn store, nor Barb and Marcene's laughing as I told them.  And that brilliant Noro shawl on the end.  

And my first knitted thing from my first real spinning in that soft undulating blue or the Kureyon green shawl that always was commented on when I wore it.  I treasure the memories of that stormy day at the yarn store, matching yarns to make striped shawls and that plain blue lace scarf above?  It remains the only thing I ever won in any contest. It is such a beautiful thing. And way at the back is the softgreen shawl I wore in Kiev to Anthony and Olga's wedding. 

And light summer colours that remind me of friends and my pretty yellow Oscilloscope Shawl that I mean to knit again.  It was so much fun.  And there at the back a treasured prayer scarf.

And that bright blue summer wrap whose colour taunted me daily at the store until I bought it.  The shawl is Tuscany from No Sheep for You and still is one of the most fun knits I have ever done, and the Damson in the blues and blacks and the soft cream to black of my small Multnomah Shawl.

I need to find a better way to store these pretty things, something with easier access, but also where I can see them.  When they are out, they will be worn and I really want to do that again.  They will do much to keep the chill of winter away.  

Here at home, I dress pretty simply but I have to work to keep the painting clothes and pajamas from being my dominant style.  Now that winter is here, with all these pretty shawls in view, I am really determined to wear them...with my painting clothes and pajamas.   Time to turn up the heat on the back of my neck and on my style.  

Monday, 15 October 2018

On the Way to Fiery Red

It was such a lovely weekend.  Our east of the city knitting group got together Saturday down at the coffee shop.  I had the lunch this time.  It was delicious.  Perogies very close to as good as my daughter in laws.  Very close.  And then I just knit.  And did stuff that I wanted to do. 

Getting together with other knitters was a good time to get out my shawl and work on it.  Garter stitch and socks are the very best knitting get together knitting ever.  

I've been picking away at the second section of the First Point of Libra Shawl slowly.  About two weeks ago, the rows started to feel short.  Since the rows started to feel shorter,  I've moved my right side marker after each time I worked on it.  I needed it to keep me going.  It is a lot of gray.  Without that, it felt like I was getting nowhere and that marker was proof that some days, I did a lot of work on the interminable middle.

I am thrilled to say I am out of the interminable middle!

Late Saturday, I picked up the stitches for section three and without blinking, knit four garter ridges in the lovely yellow from the Wildfire colourway of Sweet Georgia's Party of Five Tough love Sock gradient.   

You can see how the gradient flow in this section one picture.  Section three has you work along one long side of the down facing triangle starting with the first colour that you worked, giving you a nice uninterrupted colour flow, a very clever colour construction!  

You continue on, working the rest of the gradients in this section, slowly getting through the warm rich russet and that brilliant fiery red.

I'm about halfway through this project.  The first ball of the grey Semi Solid Hat trick yarn is almost used up and the gradients were about half used in section one.  It is starting to have the lovely draping weight that fingering weight shawls have when they are knit to the size this one will be when it is done.  

This pretty shawl was one of the things I marked as a project I wanted to complete this year on my personal Ravelry challenge.  I had ten projects, some WIPs, some new knitting that I wanted to see completed this year.  Six of the ten are done and this one is not too far behind  and will be completed easily.  I think.  Not that I want to jinx myself.   

Last week I struggled.  That is gone and I have a few tricks up my sleeve this week to make sure it stays gone. Right now, I feel as if all my cylinders are firing and I am ready to go where knitting takes me.  

But first laundry.  Sigh.  Because life.

Friday, 12 October 2018


I did not knit at all yesterday and I am good with that.  I wound yarn instead. 

I wound for anther vest, but this time, I think it is going to be a Shalom.  Shalom was on my mind when I purchased it and I think that is what it will be.  A nice fingering weight Shalom out of very lovely yarn.

It was well behaved on the winder and made for a much more pleasant experience than winding the Malabrigo.  I still do not know what it was about those skeins that was so difficult but it sure was. 

I did wind some other stuff in the morning but my entire afternoon was devoted to this. 

This is a very fine silk and camel blend that came home with me from a trip to Interweave's Knit Lab  few years ago. 

Very Fine.  Very Fine.  It is extremely soft and delicate feeling.  I have no idea what this yarn should be, only that it should be something delicate and light and gossamer.  Not something like the shawls from Gossamer Webs, though this yarn is ideally suited to knit one such  shawl.  I just don't feel I want the struggle of knitting a lace where there is patterning on every row.  That is a level of complexity I am not really interested in at the moment.  It has the potential to become a wedding ring shawl of the Shetland tradition or perhaps an Estonian heritage masterpiece. Winding this did not happen fast.  It took 4 hours of winding.  With breaks, it was my whole afternoon.  It isn't something I am planning to knit right away and I did debate stopping. 

I've been struggling lately, with staying in the moment, with keeping a positive outlook.  It is  function of the season, the shorter hours of sunlight.  Some of it is the deadline knitting and a long list of things people ask for.  I know they would be treasured and I do want to knit these things but somehow, that list takes away my ability to explore knitting simply for the joy of it all.  The list makes me feel as if it is a job, which is just silly.

In one of my breaks, I came across a post from Wil Wheaton on Facebook, that made me start thinking about how very much in my head this is.  Then, a friend linked to something on Youtube and I watched it and others and found enlightenment at the end of my little foray. The start of my journey was the very delightfully silly Two Set Violin Chicken videos.  Just google it.  If you are feeling down, might I suggest 'Pachelbel's Chicken'.   No way can you not laugh.  Eventually I came across this video of three people who are a hundred or over.  And I felt better.

It's just them talking, about joy and life and about just living for today.  The joy just seeps out of them, their eyes, their faces.   

"I'm a hundred and two...and a half",  
'If I'm making a cake and it fails, it becomes a pudding.", 
"It's really a wonderful wonderful feeling"

Hard not to be uplifted by them. 

For now, it is enough of a victory to simply have wound this very fine lace.  It took all afternoon.  I have a small  blister on the side of my finger and my right hand is a bit stiff from holding the ball for the four hours it took to hand wind,

but, I stayed with it to the end.  I now have an incredibly fine ball of yarn ready to knit something wonderful.  And that pleases me. Even in a stash full of yarns ready to knit into something wonderful,  having just one more skein, one more particularly lovely yarn ready to knit, pleases me.

Joy is contagious, even if it took meandering on the internet and a ball of cobweb silk and camel yarn.   

Thursday, 11 October 2018

All I Really Need.

There has been precious little knitting the last few days.  They were days of looking back and pondering life and where that takes us to.  It is time to set those thoughts down now and to think forward.  Thinking forward takes me to yarn and usually to knitting, but since I finished Cassie's purple sweater , I haven't felt particularly inspired to knit. Knitting deadlines do that to me but there is always a fallback activity.  When I don't feel particularly inspired by any project, I  dig in the stash or I wind yarn.

Sometimes skeins do not want to be wound easily and that was the case for three skeins yesterday.  The hanks were kinked up and catchy and it took several hours to get this far. I couldn't just wind from the swift.  I had to untangle, wind, untangle, wind and so on. 

Two of these are such bad cakes, that I am going to rewind these before I wind the last two hanks.  These are Malabrigo Sock and once again, they did not make it into my Ravelry stash.  Everytime I think I have it all...  but I digress.  There are 3 colours here, three hanks of the lovely soft Eggplant colour, which is more a gray with purple undertones, two Poicon, which is a very subtly toned multi colour and the last is a soft green with undertones of gray. This is a Malabrigo sock yarn and is the same fibre as the others, but seems to have a different yarn name and has different labels.   No matter.  It is going to act as the 'in case I need it' skein for whatever I make of it.   What will I make?   I assumed a vest, but ever since I finished the Granito having used so little yarn, I think a sweater.  

What sweater?   That is more challenging to decide.  Part of me wants to knit Tempest  and part of me worries that the geen will stand out too much from the other stripes.  The other option is Shorescapes   or something like that, where the stripes are small, and the green could be blended in as you knit slowly to the bottom.  Either way, I will have plenty of yarn.  Or so I keep telling myself.  

I do want to cast on a sweater for myself.  I have  couple on the go, but I just feel I need to start another fingering weight sweater.  I need another on the go like I need a hole in the head, but hey, when did that ever stop me.  I'm not even sure if it will be this yarn.  I am just winding this, looking for inspiration.

In the meantime, I have a small Paw Patrol Chase sweater to take to the underarms, and a Gekko and Catboy scarf to work on.   There are some socks to get on the needle too, but that is only if it gets really bad.  Socks are the secret weapon that really gets me out of a funk.  Start some socks, find everything about knitting inspiring again.  

Hmm, that sounds like fun.  Socks. Maybe all I really need is socks?    

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

I did a lot of stuff  this weekend and yet nothing at all.

Friday I spent the entire day getting the zipper done and hemming the crazy bouffant doll skirt. I was kind of tired.  Saturday morning while watching F1, 

I started performing sweater surgery on the collar of this sweater, which I really love and could use in my wardrobe.  Not the collar in truth but the short rows I had so much fun doing at 3 a.m. the morning of the day I started this.   Too many short rows mde the collar push up at the back of my neck and bunch in a very bad way.  It has only rarely been worn outside my house.

So I snipped a thread and pulled back to the base of the collar and reknit adding only what was needed.  I am about to regraft so keep your fingers crossed for me.

I was taking it slow on the sweater, reasoning out carefully, making sure I had enough shoulder stitches and back stitches to match the rest of the body.  In between, I did this.

I finished a pair of socks!.  These are the very pretty Brussels lace Socks from Stephanie van der Linden's Around the World in Knitted Socks.

I really enjoyed knitting this pair and cannot say why it took me so long to complete.  It is a lovely pattern.  I think there is a shawl pattern using a very similar lace moti and I my have to go out and find it .  Lovely intuitive lace.

And then, just when the whole morning is settled and I am ready to get my day going to make my spinning as usual, everything changes.  An elderly and infirm uncle passed away a week or so ago, but what with the vagaries of provincial borders, his funeral is tomorrow.  Just waiting on confirmation of where it is being held and I will be off.      

Friday, 5 October 2018

Grandma Had A Good Day

Well, that was a day that went really well.  To the point that I will even have time to make a better sweater for the dolly.

But mostly today, I have two sweaters to finish.  The purple sweater is almost complete.  I just have 3 rows of knitting on the inside trim piece that will cover all the ends and the zipper edge, and finishing to do.  Then I would really like to finish up her other little sweater as well, the one I thought would be purple, but turned out to be more blue.  It too, just needs the zipper put in and then ends woven in before being ready.  I think.  It has been a while.

These two finishing tasks are going to take up the most of my day.

Then there is a dolly skirt.  The dolly skirt is a circle of fabric with a satin waistband, with a layer of blue organza over the white satin.  Everything is finished but for the hems.  I am not sure why, but my sewing machine really isn't liking either of these fabrics.  It tries to eat them down to the feed dog.  Rather than damaging them, I am going to tuck on a little rolled hems by hand.  Diana Prince now has a blouse, a pair of pants, one sweater, a ball gown and will shortly have a fabulous, over the top skirt.  If I get time, I will knit another little vest too, though I can do that later.  She will not go forth naked from this house.

And that blue yarn I dyed?  

Seriously fine.  

Ready to cake and knit.  Grandma had a good day.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

All the Things

I try to set up tasks for the day an usually end up defeating myself with unrealistic expectations of what I can actually accomplish in a day. Longer ago, maybe, but it is different now.  I dont have the same kind of focus and concentration I used to.  I used to perform extraordinary feats of getting things done.  I cannot do that anymore.  I suspect this is a natural part of aging.  That is my story and I'm sticking to it.

I gave myself a pretty fair list yesterday.  It was not accomplished but I got enough done that the rest of the list can happen today.  

I finished up the little sweater.

I could  have done it smaller across the shoulders but you have to get it over her head and a six year old has to be able to take it on and off with ease.  Larger is good.  All in all, for a funky little knit, it is ok.

Then I worked on her dress.  I started with her ball gown, because as a little girl, that is what I always wanted.  In grade 4, I took a piece of mom's remnants and invented a strapless dress that had no closures but stayed in place through the magic of a stretchy polyester fabric. I started from that same point, only to discover that with all the extra movement that Wonder Woman is capable of, her bosom is not able to hold a dress up securely.   

I added little straps and I'm pretty pleased with the end product.

I did add a bit of drama that I think Cassie will like, a big pleat of fabric to form a nice little flare at the back.

I took a more or less half circle and sewed it in place along the back seam.  Pretty low tech for high gain in the dress.  You must excuse puckers here and there.  The dress is not ironed.  I don't do that for doll clothes at this scale unless I must.

I also dyed Marcus' yarn so I can re-start his Chase sweater.  It looks close in colour but I m going to alternate anyway. 

And then I played with zippers.  I was not having a good time so I put it down and hit the hay, feeling that  rest was  good idea.  

This morning, having decided the gauge that I need for Cassie's purple sweater zipper, is too fussy to do using the Techknitter method, I am doing my own thing.

If the goal is to turn the zipper into a knittable object, I think this will work and it has been much easier to keep the gauge than using my little tool.  I am about to start sewing the zipper in to the sweater now.  We shall see if my plan works.

Once that is done, I have a couple of dolls clothes to sew and a wee purse to make. I may be down to the wire, but I think I can get all the things done.