Year End Wrap Up

So how did this "Avid Knitter from the 80's just trying to catch up" do against that target in '09? Well let's see now...

Socks x9 +1 pair slippers
My '09 Goal was to try toe up construction and beyond that, explore sock construction in general. Did That! Three pairs knit toe up with afterthought heels and toes. One pair resolable and one pair with a short row heel and toe. The Red and White Ski Socks were also a first attempt at stranded colourwork on socks.
- Ysolda's Grown Up Booties - my first slippers not only turned out well but I wear them so much I'm contemplating making a second pair!

Sweaters x2
'09 Goal was to attempt more challenging patterns - Check! Tried Steeking, all over Fair Isle and Two Handed Knitting in the Round. I also focused this past year on cardigans rather than pullovers. Tangled Yoke would have made it a total of three finished this year. It is close but I won't make it and I'm not rushing. When I rush and I'm distracted I make stupid errors and the whole thing ends up taking longer than if I'd just taken my time. So though Tangled Yoke will end up in the 2010 FO column, its a great lesson learned in '09 none the less.

Scarves x3, A Shawl, A Cowl and a Headband
'09 Goal was to undo the beginnings of "Henry" and resurrect its foundation and the yarn into something wearable for my Beloved. Got that done - (its the red one) '09 also saw me try my first ever circular shawl a la EZ, first cowl and first headband.

Bags x2
Bags are just fun to make and useful too. The Celtic Tote turned out to be a fully functional purse and I get compliments on it all the time - although no one ever thinks I made it because they ask me where I bought it! The Debbie Bliss Pencil case has been my knitting notions bag for months
now and its holding up well and fits in the bottom of most purses.

One Baby Knit...
The Baby Boom around us seems to be easing so only one baby knit this year in the Debbie Bliss Ribbon Edged Cardigan I made without adding the ribbon edging. My love affair with DB Baby patterns continues!


I joined some groups, attended some of their meetings and started using Ravelry as a resource rather than just a data base of my own knitting life. I'm glad I did and I'm looking forward to doing more of it in 2010.


I neglected it, now I'm frozen out - I'll have to get back on top of that whole thing sometime in January.

Blogging and Blogs

'09 was my first full calendar year of posting. It seems to get easier and quicker with each passing month. It remains a fabulous way to communicate and connect with other knitters and as the number of people commenting grows, the whole thing becomes more and more like a conversation, which I love. The whole sidebar thing is totally out of control though - I've got to spend some time cleaning that up and making it more useful.

2009 also held great knitterly fun...

In January...I took a finishing course with Patrick Madden at the DKC Winter Workshops.
In April... I discovered Tanis Fiber Arts Yarn at the DKC Knitter's Frolic.

In June...I took an inspiring and empowering course with Annie Modesitt on Combination Knitting at The Naked Sheep.

In October... I won a sweater's worth of Alpaca yarn at the DKC Distributor's Showcase meeting
AND I meet another blogger in person that I'd previously only known on line (I'd never done that before!) when Brenda came to town AND I attended my first ever SnB at Passionknit with the ladies of the Toronto North Knitters. Phew that was a big month!

In November... 'won my first on line contest - and received my first ever knitterly package in the mail from Cheryl at Acorn to Oak! AND I attended a Knitty Roundtable at the Purple Purl with Cherilyn who always makes me laugh and one of the things I must admit is that I love laughing even more than knitting!.
In December...I entered the DKC in the Work of Our Hands Fashion Show for the first time and modelled my Fair Isle Cardigan to the ever appreciative DKC membership plus my long time friend Craftless Carol who kindly came to watch the proceedings despite being a non knitter.

My Goals for 2010? More time with Zimmermanesque concepts/patterns/formulae. Fewer stupid errors. Mittens. A Sweater for my Beloved - I haven't made one for him in 22 years or so - its probably time. Depleting my wee sock stash as it currently exists to make room for buying more! Maybe more felting. Those are just the ones at the top of my head right now as Number One Son breaths down my neck wanting to get at the computer.

Before I sign off for '09 though - I'd like to tell you all how much I enjoy your company here at Sel and Poivre. This blog feels like a cocktail party where I've just arrived and have been "talking" (through the comments) with only a few of the interesting guests so far but I do hope to eventually get a chance to "chat" with everyone. Some through the comments, maybe others in person at a knitterly activity in 2010 Toronto!

Thanks, as ever for dropping by and Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas!

Last Night, Christmas Eve, we had our annual family get together here after church to exchange gifts and have a few snacks. We didn't open any presents, just "parked" gifts for others under the downstairs tree. (This is the first time we've ever had two real trees and it has been a resounding success on many fronts - well worth the effort by everyone's account)

On the way out everyone picked up the gifts intended for them to take home as they were leaving.

The upstairs tree was then dedicated to our household gifts.
My favourite gift this morning? Its hard to choose one thing but the gift of good fit was right there near the top - check out those ski socks!
If they weren't socks you might even say they fit like a glove!

Merry Christmas! Thanks for dropping by!


"Good News"

A few years ago...

I flipped and rolled our SUV several times down the middle of a local main street. (It wasn't my fault - the instigator was charged with dangerous driving) All windows save the windshield blew out, the vehicle was smashed on all sides but the roof, all who witnessed it were terrified but thankfully I didn't hit anyone else and I was barely scratched in the process.

When police and fire arrived, they found an utterly destroyed vehicle and glass for hundreds of feet all around. The first firefighter to approach my vehicle came up behind the driver's side and peeked into my window with a bit of a grimace, no doubt fearing what he might find left behind the wheel. When he saw a slightly bloodied but otherwise talking, breathing, essentially unhurt driver his face immediately brightened he said "I have some good news for you ... you're getting a new car!"

Those words captured the essence of that day - not disaster but incredible good fortune as I walked away from what should have been a fatal accident. Those terrifying seconds were undeniably among the luckiest of my life. After being observed and x-rayed in hospital to ensure no head or neck injury had occurred I was released later that same day. My Beloved and I bought a chilled bottle of wine (we did clear this plan with the physician) to enjoy a bit of a celebratory little party at my mother's place where my sister had taken our kids when I couldn't pick them up from school.

I had cheated death and we toasted my very good fortune.

This past Sunday...

...'preparing to serve nigh on 20 people Prime Rib Dinner, Darling Daughter and My Beloved were fitting our glass dining table with the temporary top we use to house large dinner parties I heard a percussive bang followed by a spectacular crystalline crashing sound. Interestingly the first thing out of my mouth as I rounded the corner to the dining room was "that sounded like a car crash". What I found in the dining room was the glass table top arrayed in treacherous 10" shards across the floor with needle like glass dust twinkling to very edges of the room, Darling daughter, unhurt despite her bare feet, My Beloved without a scratch and the seating plan for our immanent dinner pretty much in ruins. As they were both standing there gap jawed the next thing out of my mouth was...
"I have some good news! We're getting a new dining room table!"

After the car accident I got a new (to me) car and eventually we will once again have a dining room table top of one kind or another. But again, despite the terrible timing and the unexpected expense, mindful of our truly good fortune rather than our bad luck. everyone was okay and on we went. My beloved spent the next couple of hours running back and forth from the dining room to the garage cleaning up glass and then somehow jerry rigging a table top. To be honest I wasn't paying very much attention - I had my own responsibilities (gingerbread, vegetables, potatoes, gravy, prepping/wrestling a 17 pound roast, appetizers etc. etc. etc.) and bottom line, everyone was okay and that's all that really mattered.

This notion of just how fortunate we are - not only about the dining table but to be living where and as we do, in good health and with happy families is what I took with me out into the shopping frenzy yesterday to help Number One Son purchase his gifts. I plan to do the same in the busy days ahead. I am organized but I know unexpected things will happen. Its not about the "stuff" we buy or receive but the folks we love and enjoy that make the holiday.

Getting the odd bit of knitting in would be nice too!

I'm off the to shops - have a great day and thanks for dropping by!


(My) Eye Candy (This) Friday

Clean as a Whistle inside and out, underneath and behind. (It was really nasty and the huge spill Tuesday night that necessitated cleaning it made it much much worse.) It is self cleaning but that only takes care of the inside and not even the oven door or window. I spent hours on this thing on Wednesday - hours I couldn't afford this week but boy am I thrilled with the investment of time on it now that its done!

The house is decorated, decluttered, and contains all but a very few necessarily last minute purchases. I should be thrilled at all of that but seriously, I can't stop smiling when I think about the stove...I've got a couple of dozen hours at it scheduled over the weekend and I'm going to love every one of them because of that uber shiny interior!

I hope you have a great weekend. Thanks for dropping by!


To Do Tatoos?

I need one of these but extra long - to go from my wrist to my elbow, both arms. If it weren't for the need to wear pants at this time of year I'd probably think about some to run the length of both legs.

Tonight I'm going to be in the DKC Work of Our Hands Fashion Show wearing my Fair Isle Cardigan .

Tomorrow morning - Christmas Coffee with the circle of friends I developed over the time our kids were in Elementary School.

Tomorrow night - Funeral Visitation with the family of a very dear, very old friend. This fellow introduced me to My Beloved. He spoke at our wedding while his ex stood up for me. She also attended at the birth of Number One Son. When we were first married they were our best "couple" friends. We will know all the family in the room. I'm sure it will be very intense on every level.

Friday - Funeral Service early afternoon, Family Christmas Caroling Party at night broken by dinner with kids in the midst of their 6 hours of choral rehearsal.

Saturday afternoon - Christmas concert at Roy Thomson Hall as the kids belong to the Alumni for this choir in which they both literally grew up. (Darling Daughter rose from keen 4 year old soprano to touring and recording soloist at 16 with a gorgeous rich alto voice. (I'm allowed to say that I'm her mother but I'm not the only one who thinks so!) Number One Son sang for a relatively scant 5 years, rocketing through the ranks as boy sopranos must do until his voice dropped 4 voice part levels in 6 months at the age of 12. His colourful baritone can now deliver two octaves and he has a pretty decent falsetto to boot. (Whatever you do don't tell anyone he goes to school with about any of this...I'm told widespread knowledge of this information among his schoolmates would not be good for his social status!) Anyway, this choir thing dominated our lives for a decade and a half (think AAA level hockey) so diving back into it requires no small amount of energy. Plus tradition has it we drop the kids at the hall at 8:30 for their 9:00 call time (4 hour dress rehearsal) and then spend the morning together, having a lovely Christmas lunch just the two of us prior to the concert. By the time we get home afterwards its dinner time. so Saturday is a preparation write off.)

Sunday - Sel and Poivre hosts Christmas for the 18 In-Laws for which will naturally demand a fair amount of the day before preparation that will be impossible to do. (See above note on need for To Do Tatoos.)

Really though its not Christmas To Do's at issue - gifts, wrapping, baking prep, decorations inside and out and two real decorated trees in the house is all taken care of and on track. Its household stuff that's at issue. Not the least of which is whether the new sectional will arrive in time for the weekend and if it does, what do we do with all the furniture currently in the room that we really can't dispose of yet in case the new stuff doesn't arrive. Two large armchairs and a huge chesterfield by the curb isn't really the festive look I'm going for at the front of the house.

And when exactly can I get the week's laundry done because nothing can happen in there until the furnace repair that should have been done two days ago happens today (hopefully, finally.)

And most concerning, I had a big spill in the oven last night that requires a thorough cleaning of the thing before it can be used to undertake the mountain of cooking and baking I need to do in the few free hours I have between now and Sunday.

You don't suppose posting right now is a bit of an avoidance technique do you?

Oh and as for knitting - yup, 'been at that - in fact I've completed two hot water bottle covers for absolutely no reason at all other than to just have the relaxation of doing something - anything unrelated to the unrelenting To Do List. I'll have to post about them but only after I get the oven cleaned, the laundry done, etc. etc. etc....


"Orange You Glad" Headband FO

Pattern: My Own "Orange You Glad" Headband
Yarns: Sheldridge Farm W4 Soft Touch Silver & Nature Spun Worsted "Orange You Glad"
Needles: 4.5 mm Circular
Start:December 2, Finish: December 4, 2009

I wanted this headband to be just wide enough to cover my ears and I wanted it warm so I made it double thickness with garter stitch on one side and stockinette on the other.

I wanted it tight enough not to slip when I'm walking/running but loose enough not to bug me across my forehead.
I also wanted a bit of thickness to it but not so much as to make it tube like because I wanted it to lie flat.
I chose left over worsted that pretty exactly matches the coats I wear when I walk. BTW the shot below is the most accurate as it relates to colour.

Of course any time you want knitting to neatly turn a corner you throw in a purl row right? The last garter row obviously provided that but then I continued into the stockinette section with the grey for one row to ensure a nice reveal of that colour on the orange side.
I'm pleased with how the gerry rigged three needle bind off worked to join orange and grey sides together. The edge is slightly unyeilding which keeps the headband from moving or slipping down as I move...
And its neat and tidy to boot!

For Anyone Whose Interested, here's exactly what I did to produce this thing...

I sized this for 1.5" negative ease. For my 22" head, at my gauge of 4.5 sts/inch I did the following...
  • With grey yarn loosely CO 92 stitches
  • Rows 1-15 Garter stitch.
  • Change to Orange yarn
  • Rows 16-34 Stocking Stitch.
  • Row 35 Fold work in half lengthwise along line where orange and grey meet. Using the orange yarn, knit one orange stitch on needle together with a stitch picked up and knit from one row below the cast on edge of the grey. Knit another pair of stitches in the same fashion and then treat those two stitches as in 3 needle bind off (pass first stitch over second and off needle). Continue along entire length of piece until all stitches are cast off. In this way, top and bottom are joined and a finished edge between the two created. (Since the orange stockinette section will be slightly smaller or more narrow than the grey garter stitch side the cast on edge naturally lies flat on top of the orange section.)
  • Join garter stitch ends leaving 15" tail of grey yarn
  • Join stockinette stitch ends leaving 15" tail of orange yarn.
  • Using contrasting yarn, stitch X's across seam (orange yarn on grey side, grey yarn on orange side.)
  • Weave in ends and enjoy!
"Orange you Glad" your ears will be warm? I am!

And quite frankly "Hat's Off" to Nature Spun for putting the effort into naming their colours rather than just numbering them - it makes using them so much more fun!

Thanks for dropping by!


Eesti Trail Hiking Socks by Nancy Bush FO

Pattern: Eesti Trail Hiking Socks by Nancy Bush
Source: Favorite Socks by Interweave
Size: Men's
Yarn: Cascade 220
Colours: Red #8895 White #8010
Lot #'s: Red #1703 White #1693
Needles: 3.25 mm dpns
Start: October 21 Finish:December 2, 2009
Modifications: Colour/Lengthened Leg between colourwork and Heel/Added Colourwork at Toe

Blogless Barb was right when she predicted in the comments that the colour of the Cascade 220 would run. I did do the vinegar in cold water bath first just as she suggested and there was no running there. Despite that, instantly upon hitting the tepid blocking bath the water turned red. The effect in person does not appear as pink as it does in the photo. I don't think My Beloved will even notice. But if you're anticipating it and looking for it, there's no denying its there.

Nonetheless I LOVE the socks. I'm happy with the longer length provided by adding several rows between the bottom of the colourwork cuff and the top of the heel. (When worn I wanted them to be at least as high as the tops of the ski boots.) I'm also pleased as punch with the little colourwork band I added at the base of the toe which is made by working the pattern above and below the snow flakes back to back.
They are squishy and warm and the colour combination screams skiing - which is when these will get worn. I was working on them at a school parent meeting last week and the dad beside me snorted when I answered his inquiry as to who the socks were for. I guess he thought the red with white snowflake design wasn't sufficiently manly for a real "guy" to wear. Being ski socks I'm the only one who will even know the snowflakes are there. I'll get a glimpse of them in the wee dark hours when we haul ourselves up to make it the 2 1/2 hours to the hill in time for the lifts to open. At that hour and in that context I need all the help I can get to be happy about going out to hit the slopes and these socks will definitely aid in that regard.

I hope the fit is good! I won't know for sure until Christmas morning but for now its enough that I just LOVE these socks and I think My Beloved will too!

Now I'm off for my hateful walk actually happy to do it today because I'll be "test driving" the ear band I mentioned I was starting last week. Hopefully I'll have FO pics of that tomorrow. University Exams have started so time with my primo FO photographer will be even more hard to come by in the next few days than they have been in the last couple of weeks!

Have a great day and thanks for dropping by!


Knit Knews

My Christmas wind up is under full sail but I'm managing to squeeze in the odd bit of reportable knitting activity...
  • 2 Hour "visit" to Romni Wools yesterday - primarily timed to facilitate getting my Mother the 10 or 12 balls of variously coloured worsted to crochet the Blocks Coat by Kathy Merrick (in the linked photo its on the top right). I'm not sure of the actual number because that angel of a woman and mosaic colour work wizard knit designer Barbara Gregory was there and helped mom make her selections while I browsed around the store on my own! Thank you, thank you, thank you Barbara!
  • My browsing yielded some lovely royal blue tweed yarn to make a cardigan designed by Nora Gaughn from VK Winter 2006. I agonized over the blue vs some red tweed yarn but in the end the mirror at the door of Romni - right by the natural daylight told me blue was the way to go. (Why don't all LYS's have mirrors by the door? - its an invaluable tool when selecting colours you plan to wear!)
  • Aaaaaand I got two more balls of the Ultra Alpaca in a darker grey tone to accent the light grey I already have for a cozy Debbie Bliss pullover.
  • I'm getting things ready for post Christmas knitting. Unless and until I get everything done Christmas wise I'm not going to cast on another sweater until after the 25th. That's why I haven't any pictures - I put it all very quickly away when I got home so no accidental swatching or casting on occurs!
  • I did cast on last night for a bit of a head band to wear on my power walks. The cold may have held off thus far but I know it won't stay away for ever.
That's it in Sel and Poivre knit (k)news for (k)now. My lunch break over, I'm heading back out into the fray. I want the shopping done by the time My Beloved and his mountain of laundry and ironing arrives back home tomorrow night.)

As ever, thanks so much for dropping by!


He Gets an "A" for Effort

This is the street down which My Beloved went in search of the yarn shop I found on line and set him up with directions to get to. (The woman on the right reading my little packet of directions and list of possible purchases? I don't know - he did say he took a bit of an international entourage with him of people he ran into on his way through the lobby. One woman, who works for them in Australia went along despite thinking he was nuts buying yarn in Spain when we have so many sheep in Canada.

His jam packed schedule means that one brief window of opportunity to get there Monday morning will be his only kick at the can.
The yarn store is the third one down. "La Bacelana" right there in the heart of Barcelona. He says looking through the windows you can tell the store is about 2' wider than the store front. I thought Lettuce Knit here in Toronto was the smallest yarn shop in the word but its at least twice that wide!

He could only look through the window because yarn stores in Barcelona are closed on Mondays!!

Fortunately, even if they thought he was crazy, everyone who went along with him was happy for the 4k walk in the fresh air. Besides, other than My Beloved I'm sure none of them were exactly disappointed at the absence of an opportunity to buy yarn!

Maybe he actually deserves an A+ !

Thanks for dropping by!


Just Plain Fun

With My Beloved away I have hours of uninterrupted time in the evenings to focus on knitting. Over the weekend I put that time to use on starting some mittens for Darling Daughter.

How fun to be able to grab a magazine and a Knitty pattern for reference, a few balls of worsted and some graph paper, make something up and just start knitting!

DD has very petite hands so I worked this first run at the mitts over 44 stitches after decreasing from the 54 I cast on and worked for the cuff which has a very cute set of yo/k2tog eyelets all around it.
I took it off the needles to try on and I'm afraid its a bit too snug so I'm ripping back to the decrease row and redoing it to leave me with 50 stitches which will be about an inch bigger.

So, so fun! I hope your knitting is fun today too! Thanks for dropping by!