Wednesday 31 March 2021


I worked a ton on the blanket yesterday.  I measured and I have eight inches to go before the border.  I  thought it would be four or six but then I talked with the landlord and he says 'sure, but what about covering the bottom of my feet when my chin is covered?"  He thinks a couch blanket ought to be a bed sized blanket.  Harumphhhhhh  We shall see just what he gets.

I als worked on volcano embroidery.  All I can say is I am pretty pleased.  It is coming along quite nicely.

And then at the end of the day, I hit that place where there was day left but my hands and my close vision was done.  My brain went into action and I pulled out stuff that is future knitting.

The yarn for my Starting Point.  I need to set up a kit.

Once my new grandbaby is born, dad is only taking one week of  time off.  They have asked me to come and stay a week, possibly two depending on how fast momma and baby are both settled into the new routine.  I am really pleased to be able to help this way. 

But that means I need some simple knitting and Starting Point might be the perfect kind of thing to knit.  I do not expect substantial brain work to be required and it is a rather large wrap.  Should be good.  I plan to put needles and a printed copy of the pattern into a bag,  ready to go at a moments notice.  I may cast on the first few stitches and work through the first clue but only enough to understand the knitting principles, the increases and decreasees she is using for this design.  Once you have a good feeling for what is going on, it should be simple.  

One of the first things you have to do is to figure out which colour is which number.  She gives you a bit of a primer and here we are, left to right, yarn one to yarn five.  In her shawl she is onlly using one varigated yarn but my fifth yarn is also multi coloured but softly and gently coloured.  It is what I had that worked with the rest of these colours and  it will have to do.

I am going to work on the giant Shetland shawl this morning, and with a knitting zoom this afternoon, I am going to try to keep on working it.  If doing that lace edging isn't a good plan, I will know it quick enough and I have some socks at the ready. Or another project.  There still are lots of those on standby.

Tuesday 30 March 2021

There you go

And there you are.  Just when I thought I had nothing knitting to write about, I do.

My blanket is a farther along than I thought.  Yesterday afternoon I turned the remainder of the big giant ball of Red Heart Comfort into a much smaller ball

I do have to add some from another ball.  This isn't going to get to the length that the landlord has said he requires in a blanket, so a part of a second giant ball will be required.  I took a look at the cream yarn situation, and that is right about where I thought it would be.  I will have just enough of the cream left to work up a baby blanket for my soon to arrive grandchild to match the one their momma loves to match the giant family blanket.

All is good on the embroidery front too.  There be lava flowing.  Also, if you have nothing much to do, check out the live feed from Geldingadalir volcano.

I spent a nice good long while watching it yesterday.  Fascinating.

Monday 29 March 2021

Of Knitting, Embroidery and the Stuff of Spring Storms

There has been some knitting this weekend, but since it is blanket and ordinary sock knitting and since they look the same as last time you saw them, I am not going to worry about them much.  I would rather show you the really exciting happening with my little embroidery.
Picture and stitching side by side.

I have no idea if Marcus will like feel it looks like his drawing, but

I have tried to capture his ebullient colouring in my stitches.

My use of colour is different, but I would have run out of the original purple before finishing it all.  It just made sense to go from bright to dark, deep, rich purple.  Not perfect by any means but it will look great once it is mounted.

The next step is the red.  Now the red was really interesting.  I originally saw it as one large blob of red but there is a river of lava and under the red lava is yellow and peach and a bit or orange.  I have had this picture for a couple years now and this is the first time I really looked closely at it.  Far more complex than i thought at first.

There is also this very interesting bit of birlliance at the top of the volcano.  It's a wee bit of every colour under the sun.

A little bit of knitting, a little bit of embroidery.  Good things to look forward to in a day,

There is a fierce storm going on out there this morning, a good old fashioned blizzard.  I started rather gently after supper last night and is expected to continue for at least another 24 hours.  Points east of us here are going to get more snow than we have from it so far but here, the snow has been only a small part of it.  The wind.  Goodness, the wind.  It is wild and crazy nuts.  It feels  like a great day to put a pot of something warm and rich on the stove and have it simmer all day while I knit and do handwork.  Sipping cocoa must surely be mandatory on a day like today and a book probably should be part of it all.  I have just the book in mind too, They Call me George:  The Untold Story of Black Train Porters and the Birth of Modern Canada. It's a good day for anything that draws my mind away for the sound of the wind.  

Friday 26 March 2021

Ready, Set, Go

Yesterday's mail brought yarn.  

I don't need three, but if I have three, I know that I will have more than enough and I will be able to combine all the bits left over into something delicious.  There are leftovers of each of the colors.  On some extra balls of colour there only inches have been used.  One was not used at all, so having this extra, being able to put these last bits all together in another smaller project just makes me happy.

The new skeins dyelot is very different. I knew that going in, but I think it will be okay.  

One old, three new and I can't tell the difference after I mixed them all up. 

F1 has its first race this weekend.  The first practice session is just starting.  My knitting is ready.  My favorite sport is back for the season.  Ready, set, go!  So have a lovely weekend.  I will.

Thursday 25 March 2021

My livingroom is a disaster area.  Time to put it all back together again!  My sofa covers are clean and i am midway through pressing them, though seriously, I am pretty sure there is a better way.

And I may figure out what that bettwer way is before I die.  Maybe.

When this is all done, I am going to just sit and enjoy my tidy room and clean sofa and chair for a while without doing anything else.  And eventually, I will go back to knitting a blanket and to working with lava stitches.

Meanwhile the coffee is hot and so is the iron.  

Wednesday 24 March 2021

The Land of Purple Lava

This morning I sit in a torn apart living room.  I hauled everything out of the corners to give things a good clean and before you know it, the covers were off the sofa and down for washing in the big machine.  The last of the two loads is in the dryer as we speak.  

There is still a lot of work needing doing on the first set.  Ikea fabric covers need a seriously hat iron and steam to look decent again.

As much as the day was about cleaning, the day was about fooling around with lava. 

For a long time, my plan for this enthusiastically colored lava flow was to give it a hint of the flow.  I thought it would take forever to do it in long and short stitch and it will take a bit, but more importantly, it is the only way to really get the effect of the way he coloured his drawing into my embroidery.  So far so fair.

Grandma's embroidery skills are par for the course for the then four year old Marcus's coloring.  We are a pair.

I am going to have to change the purple colour as I go down the mountainside.  I don't have enough of the first purple to do it in a single colour as Marcus did.  I think he will like it though.  What you see here already has two very slightly different tones worked.  

There was a tiny bit of blanket knitting that happened but not only a few rows.  There will be a bit more today though.  I get to zoom with knitters today, and I have to say, how very nice.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Thinking, Always Thinking

Tis the season for lighter weight knits.  And oncee the blanket and giant Shetland Shawl are complete, my lightweight sweaters will get some love.

Still there are things to think about and decisions to be made, particularly about this sweater, my version of Ysolda Teague's Threipmuir.

All the colourwork is complete and the sweater is a few rows below the armsyce.  It is time to put some thought in about the body of the sweater.

Briggs and Little Sport is a single and singles sometimes bias when yoou knit in the round.  I have knit a fair bit with Sport before, enough that I consider it one of the best yarns on the planet but all my knitting with it has been back and forth or small diametre in the round.  Sport works wonderfully well in both those situations.  In the round would only exacerbate any desire a yarn has to bias.

The question before me is this:  Do I want a project that I really like in a yarn I love to suffer possible failure because I did not pay attention to one of its principle attributes?  The quick answer is no, but at the same time, I am not keen to suddenly start  knitting a front and a back.  I have spent some time here and there reading notes on Ravelry about sweater projects knit in the round and bisasing.  No one comments on it on the project pages.  I think it is likely that people finish and never update their notes.  There are not many comments about it on the B&L forum either.   

I have been debating what  to do but I think I am going to knit it back and forth.  I know it seems weird and it is going to take a bajillion stitch markers to track increases and the like, but if it gives me a better sweater, I have to be good with that.  

The bonus is that the rows will feel much shorter than a round would so perhaps it won't feel as if it is taking forever.    

Monday 22 March 2021


I promised knitting this week and there was and is knitting.

Last time you saw this shawl, it looked like this.  It looked like this for a long time.  Friday it started looking different, but it was Friday. By Sunday afternoon, it looked like this.


It is larger than I thought it would be, much longer than my wingtips!  There is plenty to wrap and have ends hanging at the front to keep it all in place.

I could have done a couple more inches of pure black at the very start of the shawl,

but that would have changed the way I managed the other colours.  As is, I came in with just enough left for a pair of short wristwarmers or cuffs to keep my hands nice and toasty. A pretty good result, yes?  

An angora wrap. I don't think I understood just how much I was going to like this one.  The yarn itself was a test back when Elann was still selling in a reasonable manner and when they were looking at which way they would go with their lines of yarn.  Barb at the yarn store always used to say there would always be more good stuff but this could be one of those blends of fibres and yarns that will not be easily found again.   I wish I had more.  Oh well.

Friday 19 March 2021

Interesting Stuff today! Knitting next week.

That was an interesting day and it was followed by a really really interesting morning.  My brother stopped over for the night. He has done this a few times during the pandemic and while it does go outside the strict rules, we have been very careful and so far so good.  He is on the way to move his son and his girlfriend home after the winter working in BC. While he was driving, he stopped overnight and dropped off a new TV,  and a box from my sister Kathy.

My old TV died last weekend.  One of the boys gave it to Brian as a Christmas gift in 2012, and it has done the mammoth work of providing TV ever since.  This past year, everyone, Lionel, my dad, and all three of my sons have been nagging me to get a new TV.  But the old one still worked, I said.  Why replace what is still working just fine, says I.  And then, last Saturday morning, it died.  Keith brought up a tv to use till the new one arrived.  He and Lionel had been agitating to get a replacement behind my back so they could watch F1 in sharper clearer TV than last year.  They had measured, and arranged between themselves.  I would accuse them of conspiring to kill the old TV but I was there when it died.  It was a natural TV death.  So, now I have a new TV and things are pretty fancy shmancy.

My sister sent up a box with an old Tupperware thing she thought I might like, and some old magazines.  At first I though there was just one but there were three Mcall's Needlework magazines, Fall and Winter 1951-52, Fall and Winter 1956-57 and Spring and Summer 1956.  They are very worn, with some things cut out and most likely passed on to others, and edges curled and stained and the occasional tear, but there is a lot of good stuff in them, things that would still work today.  Like this sweater, knit from cuff to cuff, with sections of stockinette in one colour and sections in another colour in reverse stockinette.    

With its funnel neckline it still is a pattern you could take and work today and not feel vintage.

Or this one.   This one almost has a familiar feel.  At a glance, the lace pattern looks very similar to the lace in Donna Druchanas Myliu Lino from Knitty Spring and Summer 2015.  The feel of the design is very different, but I do think this pattern too, is timeless. 

There are so many things.

Pages of sweaters, dresses for all occasions, skirts, vests, kids things, mens things.  No socks but then I wasn't really paying that close attention.  I bet if I searched closely I would find one. 

There was this, which looks like a lot of the modular kind of knitting many are doing now to create all sorts of things.  

And afghans, pages and pages of them, with adds featuring the Ripple Afghan, knit or crocheted and where to get kits for them.

And doilies, mostly crocheted but a couple knitted.  To be truthful I thought there would be more of them.

There was all sort of sewing for kids, families, household projects and more.

There was a Canadian supplement, 12 pages with Canada specific ads and where to get supplies like this ad for Standfield's yarn, a company with a really interesting history.  and one that still remains a strong and vibrant operation, though no longer in the wool yarn industry.  

There were ads of the times.  Look carefull at the before and after of the first lady.

I am not sure you can read it but the lower blurb beside the picture reads 'which lets her wear youthful, summer style clothes and go places with her husband.' Yah.  I can laugh at this and make fun of it (the points!) but mostly I am glad that we are a long way from that and not just from the points.

I was thrilled to see this handwritten note in one of them.  It is the only place there are notes but if you take this and look at the patterns cut out, you get a sense of who they were and what they enjoyed doing.  These notes may have been part of an Department of Home Economics assignment of some sort.  See the notation U of S?  That is University of Saskatchewan and Home Ecs was a big department there. Contrary to what many believe, there were many careers available to grads of Home Ec in all sorts of industires if they chose to do that.   

But only one lone cover between the three.  One interesting thing to note that in the last two magazines, the ones, 56-57, there had been the introduction of colour.  Most of it was advertising appearing in colour but each magazine had a few pages with colour project photos.

It was a real treat to get my hands on these, a real delight, thanks to my sister!  These will be available at my house for visiting and tea, once this darn pandemic is over.

Thursday 18 March 2021

Off into Other Wild Blue Yonders

Yesterday after the knitting zoom,  I had a lovely chat with my neice, Shasha who is the only other member of my family acivetly knitting.  She is working on the Montana Mountain Cowl by Andra Mowry in some really delicious yarns and she was wearing a stunning colourwork sweater, which is only her second sweater ever.  She is living and working in the US right now and is really looking forward to spring and being able to get around their city to explore. She has found the yarn store though.  First things first.

Around all the other goodness in my day, I pulled all my old cookbooks, to search and find the orange merinque pie recipe which I  have been searching for all winter.  All I could remember was that it was delicious and that there was something different about it.  I did find it.  It wasn't specifically an orange meringue pie as it was an orange chiffon pie, which also explains where my putting the meringue into the lemon part of the pie comes from.  

Bottom line, if you like lemon pie, instead of topping your pie with the meringue, carefully fold it into your lemon custard.  It is delicious and for those who love the lemon part of the pie but take off the merigue, the perfect way to use the egg whites.  It produces a lovely light airy lemony rich tart pie.  And if you have a recipe for the lemon pie from scratch, substitute orange.  It is sublime.

In my search through my books, I was reminded of why I like the books and why the books, and having libraries for all kinds of material matters.  To wit, last year, at the start of the pandemic I connected with a group on facebook that was all about cooking and baking to entertain yourself during the pandemic.  They eventually put out a cookbook, which is great and many many new bread bakers were born.  But the group also showed one of the weaknesses of  relying only on the interent for information.  

In those early pandemic days, there were weird shortages.  As people started baking there were shortages of yeast and flour that took weeks to clear up.  It takes time to ramp up production enough to replace the yeast to fully restock every store every where right across the country.  Sour dough and starters became the way to go.  And then along came new bakers who only ever interneted, telling people they did not have to go through all that work, that baking soda and baking powder were the same as yeast and could be used interchangeably.  

Utterly and completely false, of course and scientifically provable by trying to get a regular sandwhich bread from a product leavened by baking soda.  It took more posts by many longtime regular bakers than I care to say explaining that all levening agents were not equal and that they were not interchangeable if you wanted the same product.  Eventually it was stamped out within the group, but it did show how easily, information could be skewed if you listen to those who only shout louder.  If you only ever use recipes from the internet, please, please go read cookbooks.  In books you find not just the product but the why of the thing, the subsitutions, the thrill of the knowing and the better than even the internet can imagine, the beginning of understanding the chemistry of cooking and food, and wine and all sorts of weird delightful cool stuff. All this means I ought to be a better cook than I am, but well, cooking is only something that I do.  It is not a natural talent like knitting.  

But I have my books to back me up, to entertain and inspire me.  Our supper today is going to be a pot of beef barely soup and I am going to bake some soda bread to go along with it.  I am also going to bake a recipe for carrot cake cream cheese bars that I did find on the internet.  

Goodness is everywhere, books are not the only source, but neither is the internet.

Wednesday 17 March 2021

Round and round...

Big news for me yesterday.  My order for just a wee bit more of the Jamieson's Shetland Lace Ultra is on it's way from Camilla Valley Farms.  With shutdowns it has been particularly difficult for this lovely little store to keep up to the demand for mail orders because everything is mail orders.  I'm just glad, shipping worldwide being what it is these days, that she has it in stock!  Yay for Camilla Valley!  

Win for me!  In a week or so, I will be able to start the last work on my lovely shawl, my lovely giant shawl of forever.  I am about 20 stitches to the corner at the moment but I didn't want tomove forward too much till I saw how well this new batch of  lace will match my batch from two years ago for tones.  It is a natural colour but even so, there can be variations.  If the difference is very visible, then I'd rather carry the odd man out right along, blended in with others a few rows at a time, than have a solid change and a part that is stick out like a sore thumb from the rest.

Once that shawl is complete, the only thing left in the overflow of projects I cannot fit in my WIP bins is the blanket, and the blanket will be done before too long.  It has been in that weird middle where it was too long to hold decently and too short to sit on to hold and work on at the same time.  It is almost long enough.  When it gets there, the knitting becomes easy and it will take only a few days to be done.  And then the box can go.

That excess has been living in my living room in one form or another for two  years.  For a while it was an uncontrolled pile of yarns, and then it was a box of stuff, and soon it will be gone.  This is good.

In other news, I found the loveliest sweater yesterday on Pintrest.  The desinger is on Ravelry but this design is not.  And it is breathtaking.  From Rimmen Design, the Heather Sweater.  Note that this pattern is only in Danish at the moment.  I have absolutely no problem with that because once the patterning is complete, I don't need the pattern much at all, but watch for it.  It appears that many of her designs do come out in other languages in time.

My busy mind had to have this pattern before I forgot about it so I purchased it already.  I have no idea what yarn I will use, though from the way it is desingned, a light yarn looks to be the right thing.  Possibly Einband?  Einband would certainly work, but I do not have the colours I would need. It would be lovely though and well worth the time sourcing the eggplant or lavender colour for the flowers and the green for the leaves and cuffs.  

But I do have another choice.  I have a bunch of white Knit Picks Palette.  I also have it in a light marble grey colour and black as well plus a whole range of colours, greens and certainly something that would work for the flowers.  I could play with the colours...

If you look  at the desgn on the link, you will note that there are a series of embroidered knots on each flower stalk as well as the design knit in, which is where I started when I was looking at things on the internet.  

See how it goes.  Round and round a central idea, lately, the embroidery even when I am trying to focus on what is in my hands, even when I am trying to focus on my knitting.  It jumps up and bites me so I pay attention to it.   Almost time to work on those volcanoes just to get it this particular round-about to stop.

Tuesday 16 March 2021

Cascades of Thought.

Keeping your eyes on the ball.  Sticking to it.  Finishing one thing at a time.

These all sound good.  These are all good.  If.  If and only if you do not have the kind of mind that keeps on turning behind the things you are doing and is, instead, focusing on the stuff ten steps ahead of where you are right now.  And that is when you are lucky.  If you're lucky, your brain is at least thinking about the job in your hands.

If you are not lucky, your mind is off busy thinking about something entirely different that you may or may not want to do, may or may not be planning for down the road somewhere, sometime in the future. That is where my head is right now.  Off and away somewhere else.

Volcanoes actually.  That is where my head is at.  

I have been working on a little embroidery project from a drawing Marcus did a few years ago for my fridge.  

The actual embroidery is about half done.  What remains to be doe is all the fill in stitching on the lava flows, the ash and smoke, and the colour lake at the bottom between the two paths.  I have the bubbles figured out.  Masses of french knots and other kinds of surface knots will be perfect to show the boiling mass of lava.  The rest has been slow because I have been trying to sort out how I will do the flow part of the lava.  Looking carefully at the drawing, he has distinct places where the lava is flowing one way or another and it is important to me to capture that.

I had a nice drawing from Carter too but lost it in a phone update.  I asked his mom if she could think of any other volcano drawings he did.  She said there was a point where he was obsessed with volcano shows and books and drawings and she went to get a book to show me some samples.

He really went to town on his lava!  The lava flows right into the grass and is coming towards you just like it would if you were standing there waiting for it.  The colours in his lava are fantastic.  He puts how lava is not really just one heat, like red hot, but also yellow hot and orange hot accrdoing to Carter.  You can also see how he has textured his mountain side to show rock ridges and places where water has run. The layers of inter connected, interwoven colours are going to be so much fun to do.

My brain has been really busy sorting through things to do these sweet volcanos to put up on my rail for photos and things above my tv.  I think I am going to do some serious time on these next.  

I'd like to finish the Drachenfels shawl just to get it done but then, I want to put in some serious time on these.  After that, I think there will be some very different stuff I think.  The embroidery for sure, to put all my thoughts down about the way I want the stitching to go before I forget my excellent thinking, but more.  

But that is all I am going to write about this morning, lest I start yet another cascade of thoughts and plans for the future.

Monday 15 March 2021

All Good Things

I have been poked and prodded and am now partially covid resistant and if I do catch it, it will not be nearly as bad and it probably will not kill me.  All good things.  I did have a bit of a fever on Saturday, ok, I felt bloody awful Saturday afternoon but I crawled back to bed and kind of revelled in the fact that even my feet were warm for a change with no wool on me or near me!  A little fever, but mostly tired and worth it in the grand scheme of things.  I am one of 58,000 Albertans who took this vaccine and darn pleased it was an option.

What I didn't do a lot of Friday or Saturday was knit. I was back up to snuff on Sunday and spent a great deal of time watching curling and knitting my heart out.  I did knit on the blanket for Keith but mostly, I knit on this pretty shawl.  

My variation on a Drachenfels.  The shawl is knit from one tip and increases along one side and does it's shaping decreases along the other.  When I started I assumed it would result in one of those asymetrical shawls, whcih I am not really a huge fan of, but I thought one in my aresenal wouldn't hurt. Only it isn't asymetrical at all.  The rate of increases and decreases results in a lovely very wide shallow perfectly symetrcal thing.  

And it is quite lovely.  

It is as wide as my open arms now, just a very slightly wider in fact,  and my second ball of black yarn is getting very small but the red ball has lots of knitting to come.  I still have a third ball of black and another ball of red so it is going to be a really nice wide shawl and the perfect depth for wrapping around your neck in winter with a nice warm coat.  I will be keeping about a third of the last ball of black to knit the final rows with and to do the icord bind off but the balance between the red solid on the end of the shawl and the black solid at the beginning of the shawl should be quite nice.

Thursday 11 March 2021

That was quick

I got up this morning and dressed for some serious work.  I have stuff that needs doing.  I have a grandchild who will be born soon and I have been tasked with going into their bubble to keep the small ones busy and the big ones tending to school while momma gets some rest.  My own personal bubble is really small.  My day to day contact is my landlord and even that is limited to coffee in the morning and a few minutes around supper time.  It is also really easy to track where I have been.  No where.  It is ten days since anyone else came into the house and then it was masked contact only.  It was Marcus and his dad, though which was incredibly nice and both of their contacts are very easy to track.  Only momma's are a bit more challenging, but even there, they are checked routinely.  It was a very unusual circumstance that caused the visit and it won't be happening again anytime soon, so basically, I am my own bubble.   

BUT, Grandma needs pants.  So sewing needs to happen.  I think that is going to be the focus of my whole next week, including the weekend.  

There was news this morning that my age group could now book for the Astra Zeneca vaccine if we so desired.  This is something I thought about for a while and it just seems to me that my risk is low, living in small town Alberta as I do.  I double checked on CBC news Covid page,which has links to all the relevant pages on vaccines for AHS (Alberta Health Services).  It explains clearly what and where and when to do based on age and vaccine choice.  Very well done.  So that is what I have been up to this morning.  

I get my first shot tomorrow morning 10 minutes down the road from me.  This is utterly perfect because tomorrow is also my Carter's birthday and his birthday last year was the last day of normal.  That Thursday afternoon last year, formal announcements were made about initial shutdowns here in Canada and by Monday, schools were closed along with everything else.  To get my vaccine on the anniversay is just absolutely right.  

So my coffee is gone and it is time I got to that sewing.  Babies come when they want to, without consideration for grandmother's and their pants.  Time to sew. 

Wednesday 10 March 2021

No way she said.

"No way will I be able to get the neck and armbands knit today, but I may just squeek out the last six inches of the back. "

Bottom complete much faster than I thought.  It didn't need six inches.  

I picked up the neckline feeling pretty good about things and then that was done.

I picked up arem number 1 and that took next to no time at all and done.

By the time my supper was done around six, I was ready to cast on the last armhole so I did, and by the time curling was on at 6:30 p.m., it was done.

I wove in ends watching the first couple ends of curling but it is done and complete and will work very well for a spring thing.

No way she said.  Ha!

** note:  For the eagle eyed among you, there is the tiniest bit of difference in colour between the two batches of the Fundy Fog.  The new, on the neck bands is a bit more reddish looking than the pale cool bluer toned original skein on the body.  Does not matter one whit. 

Tuesday 9 March 2021

It is the Little Things

It is the little things this morning that strike my eye, like a particular combination of blue and green in my socks and the scent of that first little shot of coffee as it comes out from the coffeemaker.  

I have been doing a whole lot of nothing these past few days.  A desultory bit of knitting with my morning coffee and a quick row after supper seems to be about all I can turn out.  This vest is not the quick one week project it was supposed to be.  Some of this slowness with knitting has been from aching hands. Whatever weather system we are in right now, high, low or inbetween, it is the ones my hands do not like so much. If I really get down to it, I haven't been wearing the long wristwarmers at night, only little shorties and my sleeves have been of the shorter variety the last few days.  This probably plays part in how my hands are doing.  As I wrote this, I did slip on my day time cuffs,

 shaggy and ratty looking as they are.  They do the job of keeping my pulse points warmer when I am not wearing long sleeves.  It does seem to make a difference.  

These are made of some really straggler ends of some Mission Falls 1854 Wool from a mitten kit I bought years ago.  A superwash yarn is really perfect for this because these do get washed a lot.  They also get wet occasionally through the day.  They need to be tough.  I could used a few more sets and I know just the yarn to use for them but that is for another day.

Today will be attending to the vest and with a wee bit of endurance and gumption, finishing said vest. No way will I be able to get the neck and armbands knit today, but I may just squeek out the last six inches of the back.  If I can get the back done, I will feel like I finished!!?

The sewing continues here.  I seem to have sorted a bit of routine for that.  I knit or pretend to in the mornings and sew in the afternoons.  This afternoons task is going to be putting together two blouse patterns.  I print the pdfs out at home so it is all pieces of paper that must then be assembled.  It isn't difficult but it takes a bit of time.  I am expecting this to be slow today, bcause while I can just cut out the pants now, I don't really have measurments for my torso so I haven't even printed the patterns yet.  I have no idea what size I really need for a good fit in the shoulders.  You would think I would with knitting sweaters, but woven and knit fabrics are two very different creatures.  They need different ease.  

It is all an adventure isn't it?  An exploration of shape and form and how to get to what I need and even more amazingly, what I want.  There is nothing that makes me happier than being able to choose what I want for clothing myself rather than purchasing what is there.  That would be a third amazing little thing for the morning.  

So colour, coffee, and choice.  That is really a most amazing set of little things to find in a day. 

Monday 8 March 2021

My head is full of stuff this morning, none of it bloggable, not because of content but because of lack of it.  

When I was a child, one of the things I remember embroidering on tea towels was little ducks that were busy doing the days of the week tasks.  I think of those ducks every Monday now because Monday was washday according to the great scheme of things.  Washday needed to be designated because it meant big work.  You had to get your water from the well, heat it, wash several loads starting with whites, get more water, rinse, again several loads, hang to dry and start all over again.  If you were lucky, you had a mangle to get the job done faster.  By the time I came along, if you had a ringer washer, things were pretty golden but it still was pretty big work. I had a little washer spin dryer at the beginning of my marriage and a dryer that could keep up, so long as I dried a load on the line too.  And back then, before polyester and science had made life so very much easier, Tuesday was ironing day, another task that took all day. 

 When I got an automatic washing machine, things changed.  I washed as needed, when I had a load, when the house had a load, every day for long long stretches of time as the boys were growing.  Even then, I used to wonder if having a washday would be more efficient, that you could do all of the steps right down to putting away all the things.  I was working by then though so having a whole day just for laundry was not available.  What was once a big job completed in a day had become a forever job.

In retirement, I find myself doing laundry on Mondays, more often than not.  I don't do it on the weekends unless I really need to, so there is usually a small pile to greet me Monday morning.  The state of my sheer lack of pants usually means Thursday or Friday is also wash day, but I am working on that. I would really like to regain the feeling of finishing the task.

It is Monday and I think of ducks and embroidering and handwork and learning all sorts of interesting things.  

I think of the modern world and how machines have made things easier but also how even in the drudge work of life, they have sometimes complicated things in a way we couldn't have foreseen.   

I think why on earth are those little tasks in that towel set so freakishly happy? 

I think of all the ways that life has improved for so many women in my lifetime, and how far we still have to go to make life good for all women everywhere.

And that is the kind of thing my head is full of this morning. Stuff and nonsense and deeply fundamentally important.

Have a fruitful International Women's Day.  

Friday 5 March 2021

It's a mashup of stuff!

Hey, did you know that Ada Lovelace was inspired by jacquard looms and how they used simple cards with holes to let a heddle move or not let it move in the weaving process.  She saw the looms at work and added that knowledge to her thoughts on what Charles Babbige's Analytical Engine could be, to form the very basis of our modern computer world.  And did you know that history would have passed her by but for Alan Turing? And that those cards were the first example of what we now call binary code?

And that is your what I think about thing for today.  On to knitting.  Or not knitting.

I did a bunch of sewing yesterday but that meant I did not quite make my go through the fabric pile goal.  I am okay with that, since it means that a thing was made, but more importantly that the next thing I make will be even better.  I am going to work on sewing and fabric again today.  If that doesn't happen I will have a problem.  I am trying really hard to resist the urge to buy a fabric I do not need but want.  I caught myself again this morning, looking desiring, and then managed to whack myself upside the back of my head before the fatal keys was punched.  Checkout is my nemesis.  

This fabric problem is just like the yarn stash problem only older and percolating for much longer.

But at the same time, there is cheery news on the knitting front.

I received my package from one of my local stores that stocks Briggs & Little and the deep purple, which will be needed to get down the back of the vest, is a reasonably close match.  They may vary a wee bit but it will be on the back and I won't notice it.  Or it may be that like my red sweater, once knit, washed and ready to wear, I couldn't see the difference at all.  

I did knit just the smallest bit in the evening.  I was watching a doc about Ada Lovelace and it just seemed comfortable.  I have to say, mail reception means I feel much more zippy about knitting.

In this package with my two purples, I also picked up a skein of sock yarn.  This is a very pretty thing, and will be perfect for the vanilla part of the   I Scream Socks  from the Operation Sock Drawer Book by the Knitmore Girls.

There are blue specks and red, and pink and purple.  It is a perfect tweed, and will look like sprinkles on top.  One of our yarn stores in town are doing this sock and while I love their kits of hand dyed yarn, it would mean not wearing the socks when they are done or destroying them in the laundry.  I want the socks, but I am going to find a washer and dryer friendly solution for it.  The only problem is that I have none of these colours in my stash.  None. I did think about using what is on hand, but there is a story connected to this desire.

When I was a kid, we did not go without but I think mom and dad were still pretty careful shoppers.  We had cornflakes and rice krispies to supplement our porridge, but raisin bran was a special occasion thing.  We had vanilla ice cream but never chocolate.  Once in a while we did have neopolitan ice cream though. It was a very special thing to get a pail of anything beyond vanilla and we were all allowed to have just a wee bit more chocolate ice cream on our cones than the other two flavours.     Neopolitan reminds me of dad and the silly things that you remember from childhood and thinking of that every time I wear a pair of socks makes me happy.  

Thursday 4 March 2021

Stealing My Joy

I love a tea that brightens my day.  "Bring me the sunset in a cup" Emily Dickinson.  Sigh.  Plus ginger tea.  Yum.

I moved the marker on the blanket yesterday.  It has been a week since I knit on it and I really do want to see it move forward.  Here in the long middle, there is only knit and there are few things to mark any proegress.  

That was my zoom knitting yesterday.  I really am enjoying it.  It is just nice to talk yarn with people again.

Today is not a knitting day.  I decided that I was not going to knit at all in the hope that that antsy feeling would go away.  I thought that taking a day off of blogging would help and that the knitting zooms would help, but nope.  

Today will be a thinking of sewing day.  It is March and winter is almost over.  There are some nice light tops I want to make for myself as well as a couple of dresses or skirts, maybe an actual outfit.  I started my sewing adventures last year and really found that I like wearing skirted things in summer.  They were so much cooler.  

It is also a good day to go through the old fabric stash.  Some of this fabric is from very early in this century so it is time to use it up. I know that at least three metres of fabric were purchased of each kind, though some will have five metres.  Those were a standard.  I could do a jacket and skirt out of five metres.  Some of the pieces have been partly used though so I need to note down what is what.  

There are some fabrics there that would be perfect for the pants patterns that I have, Willandra, I am looking at you.  A nice twill weave, you say?  Many others are light enough and have the drape that an easy dress or jumper (not a sweater jumper, a pinafore jumper) could be made.  I  also have a couple nifty remnanats of fabrics that need a coordinating fabric for a project and it would be lovely to get those paired too. 

The plan is to pull out fabric, suss out what will work for at least two different pieces of fabric and then cut them out.  Or one. I would be happy with just one new thing waiting to be sewn.  

If I still have time at the end of the day, I am going to spin or weave or something like that.  Or possibly even read a printed on paper book.  I pulled a particular favourite out to reread.  It feels just a wee bit decadent these days to just sit and read and not do something else along with it.  Much as I love the audio books, I use them so I can knit and still experience a book.  Paper will ever be the best way.  Whatever I do, it will be a very purposeful day of not knitting.

I just want the antsy feeling to go away.  It is stealing joy and I am not happy with the thieving.

Tuesday 2 March 2021

A palate cleanser

I feel antsy the last week.  I cannot seem to settle to anything at all.  Perhaps it is the looming end of winter?  I feel like something different.

I did knit something different yesterday.  I pulled out my Drachenfels or perhaps I ought to call this an inspired by Drachenfels.  I am not really following the patterns in it very much at all.  I have a slightly bigger yarn.  

Mine is a DK, the original is Rosy Green Wool Sport.  I don't have quite the same amounts of yarn that she used for her project.  I started with 538 m of black, 358 m of red and 179 m of grey.  The original used 304 m of colour A, 276 m of colour B and 304 m of colour C, which is a much more even distribution of colours than I have.  My goal is to try to keep the design details as close as I can while using my colours to get the best possible look with my strongly contrasting colours.

As you can see, my wee ball of grey yarn is pretty much half gone.  The pattern has one stripe of colour C midpoint in this section, my red. I haven't quite decided yet if this is going to be a single stripe followed by a bit more of the grey and black alternating or if this is going to all three colours alternating for the rest of this section.  Maybe three rows of red?

I really love this little dot detail.  There is a wee bit of it in the last section where the main colour should be red and I will repeat this feature in black.  

A close up detail of the stripes.  I really like it all so far.

Knitting this feels a little bit like I am being naughty.  I fill my world with should be knitting sometimes instead of just taking the joy in it, which is really, very, very silly.  Part of me feels like I should be knitting on the lightweight sweaters I have in progress so that I could wear them this spring and some of me feels like I ought to be finishing the edging on my Shetland shawl.  Sure I should, just like I should be cleaning my house and doing laundry, but none of those things seem to calm my antsy feelings at all.  Sometimes I really wish I were a monogamus knitter, but no. I shall work with what I am.  

I will allow myself some naughty knitting, some winter knitting at the end of winter.  That is what calms the ansty and captures me.  So much of life, you cannot do that.  Most of the time you must do what you must but at this point in my life, retirement, I am just going to follow my heart and knit the things I want to.