Friday, 29 May 2020

A Wonderful Life.

Well here we are.  Friday morning and I am left sitting here, wondering where did Monday go?  Or was it Tuesday?  I lost a day this week and it has discomboulated me.

I did knit yesterday after my adventures potting all my plants outside.  Once again, I worked on the shawl.  I think this is going to be a project where I mark my starting point so that I can tell I have accomplished something.  It looks just the same as the day before, though I knit on it for 3 hours.  The needles I ordered last week arrived and I moved the shawl on to bamboo tips and it is like magic.  My hands move with much more sureness and speed.  It feels faster but the square or triangle looks the same.  And kind of wonderful.

Today's work beyond knitting is breadbaking.  Since getting the oven repaired, I have made regular things, things that I couldn't do without it, but there are so many more interesting things I want to bake.  I would like to see if I can make a more artisanal style bread.  My bread machine dough cycle makes lovely loaves of fine grained bread but there are other kinds of bread and I would love to explore them.  Bread can have so many different tastes and textures and that is what I want to aim for today.  I rediscovered some bulgur in the cupboard the other day and am going to use that up today. I am looking forward to the taste of something wonderful.

This quarantine stuff is hard on all of us but as hard as it is, there are still so many good things.  Not once have the vast majority of Canadians had to go hungry because food was not available.  We might have been unable to get the particular thing we wanted on occasion, like flour and yeast, the most surprising things not in grocery stores, but there was always plenty of other things.  We had warmth on the days we needed warmth.  We had shelter.  We had our basic needs covered one way or another for the most part and that is pretty gosh darn wonderful.

But it is the part of us, of all Canadians, that are not part of that 'most of us' that concerns me.  Canada is a pretty darn great place to live. It is better than dozens and dozens of other places in the world and yet, as good as it is, we have a lot of work ahead of us to make it a wonderful place for all.  
I could spend hours thinking of all the ways and things that need dramatic changes and improvments and it could overwhelm if I let it.  There are actions I can take and knowing that, doing that, feels pretty good.  Wonderful even.  

Thursday, 28 May 2020

Ball One

Yesterday, I knit on my ever more lovely Shetland hap in the delicious Jaimieson's of Shetland Ultra.  It is a little bit of heaven and heaven is always a lovely place to visit.  It doesn't look like a whole lot yet.  Just a triangle of pretty yarn knit up but it is going so fast.

It took no knitting time at all to get here, to the end of ball one.  It's a nice kind of knitting.  Start each and every row with a single yarn over loop and it slowly grows into something so much more.  Lovely.  Hypnotic in many ways and oh so comforting knitting. 

That first corner really can't tell me much about the size that the shawl will be yet.     I wish it could but only time and more knitting will get me there.  I have seven balls for the center, though ideally, I would like to have some of the natural white in the edging as well, and I am currently debating if somewhere among all of this

I will find enough yarn to make the size I want.  You would think so, wouldn't you.  

I had the whole thing planned out when I bought the yarn.  I had to wait two nights for the store to reopen from their annual holdiay, and while I waited in my comfortable room, I dreamed and planned.  

I know that the number one thing I wanted to be sure of was that it was not too small.  There is nothing worse than a beautiful shawl, no matter its shape, that is only close to right. I have had several of those.  I have a lovely North Hamptom Neckerchief  that used 3 skeins of Silky Wool.  I love wearing it, but it's use is limited because it is just barely a shawl.  It only barely covers and ties as a head gear.  I ought to have had a full second skein of the darkest colour.  I have a lovely Oscilloscope that should have been larger too.  I wear both of these but they need to be pinned to stay on my shoulders and a really good shawl ought to sit nicely open or pinned close. I would far rather deal with a very generous shawl, like my First Einband shawl  than a too small shawl. A shawl of Jamieson's of Shetland Ultra deserves to be a really good shawl.

I am kind of wondering if, in my mind, when I purchased the yarn, I was thinking of making a half hap.  That is very very possible because on that same epic adventure, I bought enough Brigg's and Little Sport to make a nice big warm shawl to repeat what I made for Olga's grandmother.   I may have bargained with myself that I could knit both of these shawls in the same pattern if the one with the very, very special yarn was a half hap.  

I have no idea what I was thinking.  I could go back and see if I left a note on the blog, but I could also just go with it.   When I get to three balls of yarn, I will pretty much know.  If three balls of natural are not wide enough to make the shawl I want to wear then half hap!   

In a lot of ways, this whole process is why I keep knitting.  Here I am, one ball in, and knitting, even a plain garter stitch middle of a shawl still is a huge and unknown adventure.  

Wednesday, 27 May 2020

Looking Up

The first thing I thought when I woke today was how well rested I felt.  And I did.  Then I went out, made coffee, spilled the entire cup, and suddenly felt very tired again.  It can only go up from here.

The immediate plus side of spilling my coffee, what that I got to make a fresh cup, with coffee from a freshly openened can of coffee grounds.  That first cup was the last of the last from the old can of coffee grounds.

I did the big things on my list yesterday but did not get around to knitting.  I dont feel reallly motivated to knit today either.  I might clear off some bobbins and do some spinning because I think I would like to put the spinning of all my winter carding into stash dash.   There is that large bag sitting staring at me in the living room

And it would be kind of nice to sart and finish this all the way right down to the knitting of it and count is for the dash.  

There is also that really really lovely box of long locks sitting in the living room too.

I am so looking forward to try my hand at spinning this.  And to try the inceremntal washing as I go cleaning I have planned for this whole fleece.  

I had planned to plant my pots today and if the wind stops, I might. If not, the day may get some carrot pinapple muffins.  My mother in law had a really delicious recipe for them, and it has been a very long time since  I made them.  Some spinning fun might be had as well, but now that I am thinking about nice knitting again, a really good case could be made for knitting my lovely plain Shetland yarn shawl.  

A bad or off putting start to a single day doesn't have to make you miserable all day.  It is just a single moment in space and time.  The next step can be anything you want it to be.  And so it will be.  The day is looking up in every way.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020


I spent the entire morning dithering about the pattern I would follow for Amy's sweater.  I wanted simple because that is her style.  I wanted flowing because that is her style. But I also wanted that lovely lace detail from Tabouli.  

I couldn't find what I wanted so...

I am winging it.  Because that is the way I roll.  I bought the pattern because the lace inspires everything here and Carol Feller deserves compensation for her work.  I am starting with a simplfied version of her shoulder saddles too, one that I understand the construction of and that I know I can adapt to get the garment I want.  The pattern has a lovely way of fitting the lace into the neckline that I am not going to worry about.  I have opted for a more regular saddle and will have a narrow edging attached as a buttonband. 

The saddle was a great place to start.  It gave me the perfect little gauge swatch to work at the same time as actually accomplishing work on the sweater. 

The lace is worked on every row, but though it sounds intimidating, it isn't.  You do pretty much the same thing on every row.  It really looks odd in it's unopened as knit form but

once it is blocked, it is going to look fantastic.  The other thing to note from these two pieces is that it is a sample of the first two balls and why you always always should alernate knitting from two balls with a hand dyed yarn.  The skeins started out looking exactly the same off the ball winder but there is the smallest bit more white in one than the other.  If you worked only from one ball at a time, you would end up with the darker skein showing a big difference in the depth of colour.  It is fine for these two small saddles, but the rest of the sweater gets the two ball treatment.

So today, I will hope to establish the back of the sweater because I just want to keep knitting this interesting little lace.  The back is going to stay fairly fitted and will have Tabouli's lace design flare to shape the lower back rather than just move apart.

I have no idea what the front will look like just yet.  A little more like Lipstick   I suspect.  Perhaps one section of lace?  Or Maybe like Guidrid?  With Tabouli's lace of course.  Not quite sure.  That will help keep me on my toes!

For the rest of the day, I have stuff I have to do.  I have taxes to file, deadline extended to June 1, and I have to deep clean my laundry area. Time to get to defuzz the vents!  Not my favourite task, but a good pairing for a day when I am doing taxes.  Do the yucky jobs together and get them out of the way? 

I would rather be knitting. And dithering. 

Monday, 25 May 2020

Goal One: Done

I finished up the brown swaeter yesterday!!

This news is so exciting and it is time once again to call it by its proper name.  Flax from TinCan Knits as interpreted by moi.  1189 m down for Stash Dash.

as worn by the landlord.  He really really hates me taking pictures of him so getting one as a try on photo was a huge job.  It's sitting a bit too much to the front causing the ripples there, but hey he allowed the photo.  I winned.

He may dislike the trying on and the photos but he does like the sweater.  I could tell that all along because whenever I needed a fitting he did it.  I think he likes the relaxed nature of it and that it is simple.  I knit one sweater for him before but he didn't wear it much.  It had a large shawl collar that he felt was too fussy.  Flax is kind of like putting on his favourite t shirt.  

The only hard part of any of this is that this is where I have to decide what I want for Amy's lovely Tosh DK yarn.  I was aiming for Dahlia but the gauges are just too different for a sweater with so many parts.  I do like the idea of a back fancy something or other.  But I also keep coming back to how she wears sweaters and when she wears them. She says she is a rather warm body ( incoceivable to chilly me) but she is all girl in a house full of men.  She is a very girly firl. Sweaters are the show over her other simple clothing.

It's gardening day at the ok corall too.  I was hopeful to have a container garden in the backyard this year but what with one thing and another, the containers have been out of reach financially.  We will try a few beans or peas along with our tomatoes and cucumbers in pots on the deck.  Maybe next year for containers.  Maybe not.  what will be will be.  

Isn't that the way of things.  What will be will be.  The thing I most hope for is that I can hug my grandchildren and give them sloppy kisses.  Out of all the things, that is what i miss the most.

Friday, 22 May 2020

Stash Dasth!  I was ready to proclaim my goals at about 2 a.m. but the threads were all locked till a bit later today.  I checked at 6 but Laura of the KnitGirllls was sleeping later than I do.  Or maybe she has a life and I don't?  I am raring to go.

So how is this different than my regular knitting?  Not at all.  Not at all, but still different.  And that is part of the silly of stash dash. I prepped yesterday as I planned and then I spent some time working on the brown.  The Brown sweater is going to be my first project completed for stash dash. 

There is still work to go before that happens though.  This morning finds my constant companion Brown, looking like this.  One wrist complete and the second sleeve begun.  It was looking great till the landlord tried it on.

For all our measuring, sleeve one is short by about a half an inch.  The ribbing is going to come off and I am going to add a full inch to that first sleeve. No namby pamby wiffly waffly half for this knitter. 

That change will happen after the second sleeve is knit.  My first look at the days work on sleeve two showed me I had other problems. 

I realized that this problem was hanging in my mind yesterday.  I just did not recognize it.  As I worked the first few rounds I kept wondering why I didn't remember having so much trouble keeping track of the garter stitch under the sleeves.  I didn't recall needing markers on it. 

That marker is the sleeve beginning marker and you can see that I have the nice garter stitch panel continuing seamlessly.  It looks really nice.  BUT...that is not what I did on sleeve one.  One sleeve one, I knit stockinette at the underarm because there is garter stitch at the top of the sleeve that continues all the way down to the cuff.  To have a  second panel of garter stitch seemed needlessly fussy. 

So the first job this morning was to correct the rows of garter stitch at the under arm.  It is much better now.

I should have dropped one more row to get right to the cast on, but I was concerned that the backwards loop cast on would loosen too  much.  Leaving that one row keeps it stable and crisp.

 Today's task is to zoom down the sleeve as far as I can. I should be able to do it without a problem.  I have a lot of energy today. After a week of disturbed sleep, I finally had a really great sleep last night.  I could almost face the rest of the things I want to do today, like catch up on all the chores that did not happen this week when I was short of sleep and bake buns.  BUNS because my oven is repaired and I don't have to try to bake in some other odd piece of equipment.  Don't tell the landlord yet, but I am going to bake monkeyballs today too for a weekend treat.  And then...and then...

More knitting.  It looks like a great day!

Thursday, 21 May 2020

The Last Day

I prepped for Stash Dash yesterday, looking at every WIP and making sure I knew where the knitting was at on each of them. 

I did start one more thing too.  Because it fell out of my inspiration cabinet.  I knew the pattern I wanted to use.  The yarn fell on me.  I had the needle.  It is that good long swath of just garter stitch that I wanted for one more simple but not boring project for during this Stash Dash.

I do have some swatching to do for two other must do this summer projects.  I want to have them started so I can have project pages set up (my own personal limit for Stash Dash knitting is a project page on Ravelry) and be ready to go, to have them complete before the end of summer, before the end of Stash Dash knitting. 

I had three back burner sweaters in mind for other people for a good long time.  When Mason Dixon put out their Field Guide 12 , I knew exactly what I wanted for Olga.  I wanted the Main Squeeze Cardigan for her and I knew exactly what yarn I would use.  It all just popped into my head, fait accompli, as if I had no say in the matter. Desires burns in me to make it a thing.  I was saving the yarn for myself because it is so very lovely to wear, but when I saw this sweater, I just knew.  Wait till you see it.  It will be perfect.  That sweater is one of the two I will swatch for today.

The landlord's sweater is part of this.  I was just avoiding knitting it for no good reason. With this crazy burning desire to knit the Main Squeeze I felt I could use it as a force to drive me forward.  And it has.  I only started the brown sweater on April 24, just under a month ago. I have only one full sleeve to go.  I would say the motivation is working.

For Amy, I will start with the Dahlia Cardigan.  I love that back motif and I think it will suit her style.  I am only starting there because the yarn I am going to use is Tosh DK in a lovely logwood toned grey, purchased a long time ago just for her.  Dahlia is designed for a light sproweight yarn and the gauge is important.  The motif sets the width of the shoulders.  If that particular motif doesn't work, I may have to adapt it into something else.  I am also not particularly fond of the way Dahlia works in front of the wearer.  It seems a bit odd somehow so there will be a bit of a shape change there too. By the time it is knit, there may be little to call it a Dahlia sweater, but it will be, in every way, inspried by Dahlia.  

And then tomorrow morning, it is officially Stash Dash.  We shall see what I can do.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

Well here we are, evening of the next day.  In the grand scheme of things, waking up at five would have been lovely.  Last night I woke at 2:30 and never really got to sleep again.  I went out to the living room about 3:30 and finally dozed about 5.  I was still asleep when the landlord came up to make his coffee and had a horrid time trying to wake up enough to answer his questions.  However, I felt quite a bit better as the day went on and I am ready for a good sleep tonight.  Crossing my fingers and toes.

But I did a ton of knitting today.  The brown sweater's sleeve it at the end of the decreases and there is only 4 inches of sleeve and a couple inches of ribbing to go.  And then just one more sleeve.

I know many people dislike sleeve knitting.  I don't always like it either, but the nice thing about the sleeves I usually knit is that they start on relatively few stitches and they get smaller as they go.  This last bit feels like speed knitting.

I also oredered the bamboo needles I needed.  I debated about a full set versus just the tips I wanted versus fixed circulars with bamboo tops.  Just the tips I needed took the day and that should keep me good for a while.

Anyway, the day started badly, but it got better and better but it ended up with a picture of my sweet Carter after getting his and his brother's mail from Grandma.  There was a little something for the big guy, a bit for Carter and a wee bit for my sweet pumpkin too.

Best way for any grandma to end the day ever.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

And the knitting

Lest anyone thinks whining is the only thing going on at Chez Needles this morning, I thought I should update my knitting.  I had hoped to do so much more but my hands were just not cooperating and it was not to be.

I had really hoped to be at least half done the second sleeve on this sweater.  On a long weekend, that ought to be easily done.  A half a sleeve is not so much knitting.  My hand was acting up one day, but not the usual way, the next day my arm, and the next my shoulder.  I suspect shenanigans, and that one night I slept goofy.  Or weather.  It is changeable.  The combination of aches made it harder to knit on the sweater simply because of the weight of a whole sweater.  It sits on a stool but you still drag it a bit as you knit around. 

Still, the sleeve is well begun and decreases are established.  It is all downhill from here.

I did a little knitting onmy Shetland Hap (Hap is shawl on Shetland)  I am using the ever lovely Hansel by Gudrun Johnson.  I have wanted this forever.

I've beeen switching needles a bit here and there and it has become apparent to me that I need some bamboo or other needles more and more often these days.  With finer yarns, it makes the ever more present familial shakes easier speedier and easier to knit through.  This is a sticky sort of yarn (Jamieson's of Shetland Ultra) but my slick metals tips make it a bit of a challenge to get a smooth even garter stitch.  The debate begins.  Tips to add to what I already own or just get a whole wood tip kit?

When my hands are too shaky, I go to another cowl, which is, I am surpised to say, is a delight.

I have tried this yarn several times, different patterns and it just never felt right.  But this is perfect.  It begins as a Matchmaker Cowl from Martina Behm.  It may stay as a cowl, but as I found the first time I knit a Matchmaker, I love the shape of this first step.   It could be a great shawl if I just keep doing this!  This time, the pattern feels right for this blend of silk and wool.  And yes, it is on bamboo needles.

And then, as I talked about last week, I started another project I have thought about for a very long time.  I am limiting my Stash Dash to things I already started so if I want to work on this this summer...

It is based on Shalom which I have made several times before, and is, like Leisl, a pattern that can be easily adapted to what you you desire.  The yarn is Tupa from Mirasol, and heaven help me a lovely skein of hand dye that my sister swiped from her daughter's stash while traveling in the UK several years ago.  I started a Hitchhiker with it and it was fine, but I saw it beside the brilliant red Tupa once, and I just knew they needed to be together.  I actually saw them in a shalom, but the hand dye is a fingering weight and Tupa is a good solid almost beefy DK.  I played with stitch pattern off and on, and have finally settled on one that I think will work.  The fingering weight is going to be knit in a faggoting pattern, a yarn over, knit two together on both sides sort of thing.  There seems to be a sort of disparity in the strength of colours here, but once the handdye is surrounded by the brilliant red, well, it looked fantastic in the swatch. 

There Stash DAsh starts officially on the 22 if May and runs to August 22 this year.  There is no doubt that I will have planty to knit with what I already have on hand, but with me, even when it comes to my personal challenge to clear up some WIPs, is still about what I feel like knitting on. 

I love knitting something firece and I never ever want to feel I have to do it. I want to goof off with an odd sort of stash dash personal challenge to only knit things already in progress, I can.  If that means I give me some new knits when I already have a sea of WIPs, then I am ok with it too.   


Everybody, even the most rebellious creative spirit, has a routine, a sort of set list of things they like to do in a certain way.  And when that framework is changed or interrupted, it sort of buggers up the whole day.  Or rather it can if you let it.  That is what I have been  faceed with this spring.  

For the past year, I have slept comfortably till seven.  Seven is such a lovely time to wake.  It is early enough to still have a good bit to contemplate the day before you have to begin but late enough that you can have a coffee, get dressed, start a chore or two and have a second cup of coffee at the perfect time mid morning.  

My brain on quarantine, seems to feel I must get up with the sun.  If it is four oclock, I can successfully get back to sleep for a couple hours.  Four oclock is doable.  Five or five thirty?  Not so much.  I tried and it just seems to lead me to laying there awake and restless.  

So, in order that my day doesn't start to early, and in order that I don't wake the other guy in the hosue earlier than needs be, I may start wrting rambling insensible things, just like this.  But my goodness and bygosh, I hate waking up too early.  If I could still drink three or four cups of coffee in a day,  then it would be worth it and enjoyable, but with a restriction to two, sigh.  

Even with this grump to begin the morning, I made the choice today to stay up.  There is a thing about early mornings.  I love the fresh morning air.  Now that we are in open window season, the outside and the inside share that crispness.  I toss on my warm morning sweater on and suggle deep. I do my usual morning things and I stop and breath deep just because I can.  In the times of pandemic, to be able to say that is no small thing.   

Perhpas tomorrow will bring a four oclock awakening.  If it does, I will lay there and listen for just a bit before I go back to sleep.  Four oclock means you get the early bird song. You can listen to that first single note, and know that heaven is real and it is closer than we think.  Next time, I get to hear the birdsong, mybe I will stay awake and watch the sky as the sun rises.   Still important.  Still precious.

 Four oclock holds less charm as routine. 

Friday, 15 May 2020

Somewhere Between Order and Chaos

I have been doing some skyping, which I haven't really done before.  I don't really facetime either.  These have only been an occasional thing and it is almost always because someone else calls me.  We started doing it with our family some Saturday mornings because my mom and dad, who have really missed getting out for their regular Saturday morning breakfast needed company.  That has been lovely.  I have also spent time with my spinning buddy and that has meant so much to me and I talked with my grandkids occsionally too.

I have had to figure out the best way to do it here.  My laptop would be the best quality video but the laptop resides in my study/bedroom and the shot would include a nice view of my bed and my bathroom and NO ONE needs to see that.  @ratemyskyperoom on Twitter would call that background a complete and utter fail.

The trick is to avoid big windows and this house, even in my bedroom area, is all about big bright light.  I love it but it makes skype a bit tricky.  I have been using this setup to give me a backdrop that is at least out of the overbright light.

The nice thing is, that the view is limited because this is the rest of the room.

And lest you think it bad housekeeping, I have to tell you that I cleaned that room Wednesday.  Clean and tidy are two very different things in my books.  I am clean.  Ish.  I am not tidy. 

On the the twitter page @ratemyskyperoom, American Dr. Fauci has a full room view like this but his space is ordered with stacks of tidy books that overwhelm full shleves in tidy piless on the floor and you cannot help but know tha he has read or used every book in there.  His order among the chaos is the best thing you learn from that full room shot. 

For some people, like my mom and my good friend Deb, cleaning and tidying is their hobby.  They enjoy the act of it and they deeply enjoy  the clean ordered space around them.  I get that.  I love ordered space but my way of getting to ordered space is different.  Order for me is not a result of clenaing and putting away.  Order for me is a result of having a place for  all your stuff in the first place. 

I think that odd way of looking at order drives how I am able to limit my collecting.  I adored finding my little blue and white things, but then one day, I just knew it was done.  I enjoy the looking at it when I am out but I am not driven to have more.  It keeps my yarn stash in check, even though I am certain Mr Needles didn't see that.  (Still makes me laugh sometimes at his reaction/nonreaction to all that yarn) 

I do have a place for my stuff even though the living room floor is covered in it.  It doesn't bother me because I do have a place for it to go should I need it.  There are only a few things that I do not have a place for and I am working to resolve that.

Sometimes it is worse.  Sometimes, even I wish I had never allowed my knitting to come out of my study. Ah well, there you go.

I believe we are our best selves when accept our quirks.  Cleanish but not worried about it is one of mine.  I am just glad I have a corner and that the world of skype doesn't have to see the truth of the rest of the room on any particular Saturday morning.  I can face it.  They shouldn't have to.       

In knitting news, I am delighted that Friday brings this!

I have a few more rounds to go before cast off and then I will move along to the sleeves.  Another week or so and this one should be done.

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

Thinking about Stash Dash

After knitting on the Brown Thing for days, I am probably going to...knit on the brown thing again today.  Probably but I may just take the day and knit on some pretty things.  And I may not knit at all.

I am going with the flow today and am just not going to worry about it.

You see, I am trying to decide if I ought to join Stash Dash this year.  Stash Dash is that time of year where you compete against yourself by setting a goal of number of metres of finished goods you produce between May 22 and August 22 from works in progress or from yarns you have in your stash before the whole thing  begins. Some years I do wonderfullly well and some years, I just suck at it, and keep doing stuff with new yarns and new projects leaving all my WIPs sitting waiting.  Some years, I don't get all that much knit.  Of all the competition things I have ever done, this is the only one I enjoyed even a little.

I am not really driven by competition at all.  It probably goes back to never winning at bingo at Grandmas house but if I can avoid competeing, even against myself, I do and I have always been that way.  

Stash Dash is a little different.  It's just me and only me, knitting along with a bunch of other people and chatting with them in a place where I normally wouldn't be chatting that much.  I think that is very much part of it for me. The chat thread always has something happening on it and there are knitters of all different stripes there.  And spinners too. And it is from things you already have on the go.  I think that is my favourite part, that it is about finishing things and getting your WIP bins enough room to knit new stuff next fall.  

So this morning, I am looking at my WIPs again to see if I could possibly start one more thing before the Dash starts.  Right now, I have 5 shawls, 

7 sweaters,

 and a couple pairs of socks on the go.  And for good measure, one pair of wristwarmers.

You would think this is enough.  I know.  I know, but one of the sweaters is almost complete. Now right there, that is my brain in action with knitting.  In my brain, the brown sweater, which still needs 2 inches of legnth and a ribbing, plus two sleeves is almost complete.  Let me say that in another way.  The brown sweater has just over a third of the knitting remaining, but to my brain, it is almost complete.

I probably won't be starting another sweater, but I was thinking about maybe another small project.  If I get stuck in snit the middle of something, another small simple project might be just the thing to take me out of my snit. I do have a pair of wristwarmers on my needles for bed time but no mittens.  Maybe some mittens for winter?  And I did catch myself thinking about knitting another cowl out of something and a mohair.  I wear the Huj Tub cowl I finished last fall every single day. 

Now wouldn't that be a lovely thing?  A green tube with a haze of softly shifting moahir colour. 

You never know where the day will go.  It may adventure into new knitting and it may stay working quarantine style and stick with what it already has on the needles.  

Tuesday, 12 May 2020


A lot of knitting happened and all on one project too.

The pink is a place marker from yesterday morning.  By mty hand calculations when he last tried the sweater on, I have another three inches and the ribbing to go.

It was cool and cloudy yesterday and it is sunny but not that warm today.  I hope it is another good day of knitting.  After this, there is the sleeves, which in the usual way of things are about a third of the knitting on any sweater, but they always go so fast after knitting a long body with many stitches.

I can tell how much I am enjoying this knit.  It is all my hands reach for.  The normal knitting here usually is a conversation of what do I feel like, but this sweater, just comes to hand and wants to be knit.

I really do want to get this done, because we got word from the appliance repair people and my oven repairs parts have arrived.  They will come today or tomorrow and I will be able to bake in anormal fashion.  I have enjoyed the bread baking and some of the loaves were okay, but there were so many things I couldn't do without an oven, that I was kind of planning to do.  Like pastires.  I would love to be able to do a nice puff pastry from scratch and that foldy kind with its many layers.  I have wanted to try that for decades.

So it is important that I get this knitting complete.  There will always be the next thing, of course, but the next thing isn't going to drive me in quite the same way as this one does.  Most likely, the next thing will drive me to discover its particularities and peculiarities.  Or it will be a WIP.  Not quite sure on that one yet. 

In spain

Monday, 11 May 2020

Nice Brown

I have been knitting a fair bit, but not feeling like I am getting anywhere.  Sigh.

I feel as if I'm knitting a sweater for me.  This is easier and much less knitting than if I was knitting for me, but he is a man's extra large.  It  still is a big sweater and I am in the very merry middle.  

On the upside,  I love working with this yarn and the garter stitch at the underarms really helps keep my mind occupied.  

Between laundry and kitchen chores and knitting , it will be a busy kind of day.  

Friday, 8 May 2020

Fleeces and Intrigue

Our post office is only open after 5 one day a week.  It can be difficult getting packages through this time of quarantine because the landlords work schedule is usually 4:30 but also includes if you are working a problem, finish it, then you are done.  Occasionally, that means that work is later than 4:30.  Sometimes that means that picking up packages while the post office is still open can be dicey.  As it was last week.  I have knwn my fleece from Aspen Grove Farms was here for a week.

Yesterday, It came home!

   I pulled out a lock and opened it up, just to see how it really was.  It was breathtaking.  Even raw!  The first photo is in daylight and the second under flash, so you can see what really is, and then, the clarity that the flash gives each strand of fibre.

I washed this lock using the method that Margaret Stove uses on her Spinning for Lace video class.  There, she washed one lock at a time, rather brutally, with a bar of soap and a bowl of hot water.  I washed this one in the bathroom sink in one dip wash and one dip rinse.

Isn't that pretty?  Sigh.  

Still it is a whole large fleece.  Many, many locks. I am going to wash it differently than I did the last fleeces.  This one is strikingly clean, very oily,  but clean of all but a little bit of straw.  Because of the long long locks, it is going to be easy picking it apart to wash it lock by lock but I think that is what I want from this fibre.  And I think I am going to wash it as I am ready to spin it, as Magaret Stove does.  That way, there will be no day when I have to face billions of years of combing. Prepping just enough session by session might be the way to go.

Today is not going to be the day to start this.  I must finish what I have on my wheel.  I have to sit down and do the footman repair the S51 has needed for months so I can get the backlog of spun singles plyed. (Or maybe not.  They are all on spare bobbins and could stay there.)  

I also would kind of like to spin the vary large bag of carded fibre from last years fleece so I can spin it all up and knit it into something. 

Though there is lots of interest in working with the new, I still feel enamoured of the challenge from that last fleece.  The large large bags of clouds of batts is calling to me.  I have no idea what it is yet and that interests me.  I know what I would like from it, but the yarn really makes that final decision.  The idea that something I have spent so much time on, remains so completely unknown intrigues me.

So lots to do today.  There will be time for spinning.  There will be time for knitting.  There will be time for whatever the day is going to be. I like that.     

Thursday, 7 May 2020

Is there a style called Schlumpy?

All my knitting this spring has been most illuminating.  My favourites to wear right now are the tops I finished knitting this spring.  

It would be hard for people with a normal purchasing pattern to imagine how much pleasure these things bring me but joy doesn't even come close.  Forgive them.  They all look a bit wrinkly, but they live in a full drawer.  If I include the top I made last year, 

 and a little red cardigan I made for Christmas a few years ago,

I can almost get by without wearing any plain t shirts at all.  Almost.  Wearing these things makes me feel fulfilled as a knitter, but more interestingly makes me think about the kinds of clothes I wear.  

I know what I like: the Langelook style.  I love the soft shapes, the unstructured look, the casualness of it all.  However,

I am short.  All the layering that langenlook is about, would make stumpy wide me wider and stumpier.  In the same way that the really wide ease on some sweaters like Boxy isn't a good look on me, the over long layers of some pieces of that look are not good for me.  Too many over long layers is too much if you are short.  Add my width and it just gets weirder.  

Still, there are ways to make it work. Several of my current pants have a langenlook vibe. Unstructured and wide legged, they rate highly with me.  The dolman sleeve look on my latest simply knit top (the green one) is perfect as long as it doesn't get over wide.  The proportions cannot be as generous on me as on a slender taller person, but, keeping that in mind, it works.      

Which makes me want to take a really good look at some of the slightly cropped patterns that have come out in the last while.  

Love Note by TinCanKnits

Water Bearer by Jacqueline Cieslak

Soldontna by Caitlin Hunter

Sipila also by Caitlin Hunter.

I am thinking I will try a slightly cropped sweater to wear over a tunic length top layered over a pair of nice schlumpy soft wide legged pants.  

I like casual, but not jeans and a tshirt.  I like comfortable, but not really yoga pants.  Wide legged, relaxed fit.  Shclumpy.  Not fitting in to what is on offer at stores doesn't have to be a dead end for your own personal sense of style.  No reason to limit what I try.  Any grand failures, just mean I knit it longer!

Wednesday, 6 May 2020

A big decision

I felt deeply uninspired yesterday.  I was facing yet more carding of my  nemesis, the fleece I washed and the day was looking pretty darn awful. I was starting to feel grim.  So I had a couple cups pf coffee more than usual and I  decided not to write and spread my miasma, and then I got down to dealing with my miasma.  It was the fleece.  Just could not go there again.

I looked at the very large bag I have from this latest time carding, plus what I carded previously and you know what?  That is more than enough for me.  Having more really isn't important.  I did all the parts I never did before and I can spin it now and if I knit it I will have done my very own from the sheep's back to my needles competition. 

So I took the last half bag and I put it out. I feel a bit wrong in doing this.  It will go to a landfill but it is entirely natural and compostable and I will let it go.

That helped restore my spirits somewhat.  I am not 100 percent sure I am ready for my new fleece, but I have another day before the landlord will pick it up for me.  I will get with the program.  And I will be ready when it arrives.  

Okay, just thinking about it, I am looking forward to it.  It has been rigourously skirted and was coated, so I am pretty sure it will be a very different thing than what I have been working on.  Giddy.  I might be feeling giddy looking forward to it!

Monday, 4 May 2020

Not a lot of talk

It seems like a hundred years ago since last week.  And last week only took ten minutes.  Time is a funny construct.

It's a little like this sweater.  I love knitting this yarn so it makes it feel fast and because of the two garter stitch under arm sections, it never feels like you are knitting and getting no where.  I stop and look at it and keep being amazed at how far I have come when it seems as if I had only begun. 

And then an accidental photo from this morning.  I love these warm colours.  I just don't really wear them.

And the other thing I have been putting a fair bit of time into is this.  It doesn't look like much, just a small triangle, but it is much larger than it was last week.

And that is my knitting for the weekend.

The only thing I am a little disappointed in myself about, is that I did not do a single bit of carding last week.  I know that the fibre is at the post office, waiting for me.  There was a card in the mail box but the wicket was closed bu.  Still I can tell the new fleece is here.  The plan was to have the old fleece done before the new fleece arrived so...]

Guess what I am doing today?  Yup.  You have it.  It is a carding party for one. 

Friday, 1 May 2020

Picnics in Covid Times

This is how a picnic happens in Covid 19 times.

The only trouble we had was that our 2 blt subs and 2 plain subs with no sauces and no butter changed into three chicken subs.  Cassie ate hers but Marcus went into the house to make his own sandwich.  But they really liked desert, Smarties and had fun with the bubbles and balloons.  They had fun with these and then went to the backyard to get their bikes and helmets and happily rode around the cul de sac.  

The only dicey bit was getting close a few times when we had to remind them, and the almost hug Cassie just had to sneak in against my back.  I cannot say who was more disappointed that I had to say no to it. Hearts broke all over the place in that moment. But I also said that the very minute that I knew I could, I was coming to their house just to hug them.   

This morning reading here and there on Ravelry, I came across a post about squeaky acrylic and the old days and how modern acrylics are pretty good.  

Honestly, this makes me grumpy.  Acrylics have always been a decent fibre.  I submit this

This is a blanket I made for my grandfathers chair in 1978 from Eatons brand yarn.  I did a lot with Sear branded yarn too.  You could order it in the catalogue and they would ship it right to you.  Divine.  After his passing, it came back to me and has been a part of family life since.  It has never been a thing left in a closet and pulled out only for pictures. It has been the one they all fought for, the one that everyone napped under.  It was fought over and with by boys and dogs and cats.  It has been snored on by generations of our family.  and still it just stays soft and strong and nice.  

I made blankets through the 80s, and 90s and started crocheting sweaters late 90s and early 2000s.  I never ever came across squeaky acrylics.  There was a short period where the fibre was kinky and odd and a tiny bit harsh on the hands as certain Chinese mills were starting to make certain fibres, but it couldn't be called squeaky.  And since that time, the market has sorted itself out and acrylics are pretty nice fibres to work with.  

They are not like natural fibres and to compare them is really apples to oranges.  They are different.  They each have their own thing that they do well and are perfect for.  Why compare?  Use. Enjoy. Celebrate the difference!

I love wool.  I love silk and cotton and linen and ACRYLICS.

Just as long as I can knit with something, I am pretty darn content.