Christmas Magic

My Mom Enjoying Christmas in her teens

I often hear the term "The Magic of Christmas" but this year we actually experienced it as my ailing mother, literally devoting all the energy she could, got dressed up and attended Christmas Dinner festivities at my house.  There were relatives here from out of the country - really for the purpose of seeing her and she didn't want to miss it.

But a false start earlier in the day had me preparing to transport dinner to her place because she just wasn't going to make it. But somehow she drew herself up and with my sister's help, got here.  She visited with our special guests and then lay down for a nap in the guest room.  She had a great rest - I know - I was checking on her regularly but about 20 minutes after my last check the dog started to bark outside the guest room door. Inside we found her unresponsive and minutes later I was riding in an Ambulance with her to the hospital.

EMS, Fire Service professionals and Hospital Staff who work on Christmas are true Christmas Angels. We saw them first hand as my mom received their calm, professional support over the next 36 hours.

So sensitive were the 3 Paramedics and 4 Fire Fighters in our house as the aromas of Christmas Dinner filled the air, the the small children playing in the next room with their new toys barely knew anything was going on.

Once at the hospital the staff of the Acute Care Emergency Department were professional yet so personable they put us right at ease despite our frightening situation through a long and uncertain Christmas night.

In the morning it became evident to my sister and me that nothing more could be done without violating Mom's documented wish for no extraordinary measures so we let the medical people know and in short order she was sensitively moved to the calm, peaceful atmosphere of the Palliative Care Floor where we then spent her final hours together.

Without pain or duress, holding our hands she passed away in utter peace.

There will be time for sadness - and no doubt lots of it - but for now I feel so good she didn't suffer (thanks to those wonderful Angels!) and that with our support and no small amount of Christmas Magic she was able to truly live until she died.

There's now a funeral to see to so I don't know when I'll be able to post next but I will be back. I hope to see you then!


Guilty Pleasures

Like everyone else, I'm in the midst of the "holiday" frenzy. Its obviously swallowed up my blog posting time  but l I'm managing the odd moment to still visit knit blog land where I read pretty much every knitter is reporting being swamped with Christmas projects and deadlines.

Glenna over at Knitting to Stay Sane is even dreaming of what she'll work on Christmas day when her other deadlines have passed.

Knitting for me these days isn't a to do list, rather, its my guilty pleasure. When I crawl into bed with my herbal tea at night and in the morning with my first coffee, hours before dawn, I'm knit on things just for me.

I'm knitting what I want, on items for me to wear - someday - no rush.

Amid the rest of the December demands, knitting like this does what knitting should do for me, in my life.  Calm, engage, sooth and satisfy.

Beatnik's sleeves are done and I'm at the arm holes on the back. Taking my time and working carefully is paying off nicely and I'm pleased with the results.

I'm planning on adding short row bust darts to the front of Beatnik so I set the sweater aside for an evening or so and worked up a Bandana Cowl from the free Purlsoho pattern of the same name.

One skein of luscious Malabrigo and  a few dozen short rows later my short row technique was all freshened up and ready to go on Beatnik and I had a great new cowl to show for it as well.

When I'm too tired to take the necessary care with Beatnik I've been working on my recycled yarn project. Big yarn, big needles, big progress even if only a few minutes are dedicated to it.

As I said, little, if anything else in my Nov/Dec timetable can be described in any such glowing terms but at least  my knitting can and in these all too short, dark days, that feels pretty good!

If you're knitting to deadline though, hang in there, good luck with all of it and thanks for dropping by!


So, So Canadian!

'Just saw this from Winnipeg teen Sean Quigley over at Needles & Things' blog.

To me, this video is so perfectly Canadian! I love how the snow is just there, all over everything but it could just as well not be there. Its just taken for granted.

And his cut offs and runners and open coat, mitts and toque - again in the snow - Number One Son and his friends call dressing like its not really cold out (because in relative terms to how cold it can be, it often really isn't!) "going Canadian".

His little smirky smile and direct gaze and the smiling teens with the multilingual signs - again I think that is what Canada is all about!

Low key, happy, confident.

And what a fresh and fabulous and relevant way to render that old song!

The video's gone viral so I mustn't be alone thinking like this!

I hope you like it too! Thanks for dropping by!


Destruction Complete

The whole thing took between three and four hours to accomplish. (I had imagined something closer to an hour before I started to tackle things like spots where shoulders meet the neck and woven ends muddled things immeasurably.) Now a bit of a de-kinking is in order...

'Off to the bath we go!

Thanks for dropping by!


A "Dot" on the Shore of Hudson Bay

I added Site Meter to my blog to see if anyone was reading my posts. In the early days, Site Meter told me no one was.

Eventually people started to visit and so then my attention shifted from the numbers to a feature called "World Map". because it illustrated the geographic origin of recent visits by marking them with little dots on a satellite view of earth. I still get such a kick out of those little dots! They show me all the far off places from which people drop by.

Australian, European, Asian, Middle Eastern, dots from all across Canada and the U.S., All of them intrigue me. I have to admit they've even helped me brush up my High School Geography!

One dot, though, particularly warms my heart. It regularly appears on the western shore of Hudson's Bay. As such it seems to me to be a true Canadian dot, up north, past the point where roads will take you. My visitor is up there, presumably knitting, through very, very long dark winter months, warding off that Canadian cold.

Cold + dark = Knitting Time

On the face of it, it seems like it would be a pretty blissful situation for a knitter doesn't it?

Maybe that's why the sight of that little dot makes me feel so good every time it pops up on that map. Its as if someone is visiting me from the ultimate knitting destination on the planet.

Wherever you are reading this from, thanks for dropping by today. If you're reading this from the shores of Hudson Bay, a special thank you to you, you lucky knitter!

Have a great weekend everyone!


I Can't Explain It!

I just couldn't wait to tear that sweater apart.

Such destructiveness is really not in my nature. Normally Laurie's comment that the single ply might not be up to the stress of ripping would make me abandon the project altogether. Instead It made me more keen to try it out see what would happen.

Without a word of exaggeration, I read her comment and went straight down to the Laundry Room, grabbed the scissors and started with a sleeve. I ripped out the seam from the cuff up to the underarm and then back down to the hem. Then took it off the sweater and started to frog.

It was a little sticky as the yarn clung to itself a bit but otherwise it was no problem.

Then I undertook the neck.  The seaming there made it more fiddly but its done and today I'll move on from there!

I'm finding the process strangely enthralling. Maybe its because I don't feel like I'm loosing a sweater. Rather, I'm gaining yarn, a knitting project and ultimately a new sweater?

I don't know for sure but as the old saying goes..."If it feels good, do it!".

It does.

So I am!

I'll keep you posted!


Something New

Have you ever found yourself viewing an oft worn and enjoyed FO as "stash"?

I have.

Beatnik has involved the "Frogs" so frequently, I feel warmed up and ready to rip!


A Big Thank You!

What a great end to a knitter's otherwise lousy week with all your kind comments about my FO posts Thursday and Friday! I can't thank you enough or convey to you how encouraging they were in the wake of the despair I felt earlier in the week.

Thursday night I even went to the Yarn Harlot's Toronto book signing downtown - something I would not have done given the dim view of knitting I was harbouring that day in advance of reading your kind words about my shawl.

Then, while at the signing I briefly spoke to a couple of highly skilled knitters about my troubles. One gave great advice on how to avoid big messy loops at the sides of the cable crosses where the non-stretchy yarn yawns and gapes. The other just told me about how much she has learned through making and correcting great big errors.

Surprisingly, all of it contributed to helping me come home feeling ready and willing to dive back in. I did give the cabled sections of the back a rest for the weekend. I didn't have much time to knit anyway so I left the  challenging sections to the side and instead worked on the sleeves and on the tubular cast on/waist band for the front. It allowed me to accomplish more than if I'd been taking my time with cables which, in turn, encouraged me to keep on with things as well.

I'm thinking I might just keep working the pristine new side that's (hopefully) error free and that if I can execute it better than the back, I'll feel good about ripping the back out (again!) .

Without the kind words so many of you left here in the comments, I guarantee I would not feel there were any rosy prospects for Beatnik in this knitter's hands. So thank you for helping me to once again see the bright side of knitting and for dropping by today too!


My First Skirt FO

I've never spent much time wondering whether or not to knit any of kind of garment before...sweaters, scarves, mitts...what's to wonder about? Knit 'em, wear 'em. Easy!

But a knitted skirt? Really? As I posted yesterday, while the knitting of a tube is simple enough, whether it would/could stay up, be too clingy,stretch out of shape - these were the questions I had to just wait until now, with a knitted skirt finished, I would be able to answer for myself.  Here's what I've found...
" I wonder if I actually have the nerve to wear this thing in public?"
Source; Knitting 24/7 by Veronique Avery
Yarn: All of 3 balls Diamond Galway Heather
Colour: Chocolate
Needles: 4.5mm Addi Circular
Start: October 13 Finish: November 3, 2011
Modifications: Lengthened Waist Band, Added 2 strands Elastic Thread

Well here it is from the back...
"Hmmm it looks like my rear end is an almost perfect square"
...from the side...

... 'must perpetually turn so not to expose "The Square" to anyone for more time than necessary, hopefully minimizing their impression of same. 
...from above...
"Hey this is actually pretty comfortable!"

Despite 3 inches of negative ease (why it stays up!) its comfortable to sit in and there's no feeling of binding or that it's unduly stretching while I'm sitting. In the shot below I just sat down, didn't fuss with the skirt at all except to lift it a wee bit in the back so as not to "put a seat in it" as my grandmother used to say.
"I like the way it covers my knees when sitting." 
I added the belt to cover the purple part of the waist band. (Why is it purple? 'Short answer... "I'm cheap". Longer answer here.) I had planned to fold the waistband over, enclosing a piece of elastic but just doubling the band from 1.5" to 3" really made a difference in how well the thing seems to fit.  Just to be sure though, I threaded two strands of elastic cord through the waistband as well.
So the knitting was easy.  The wearing is going to honestly take a bit of nerve.  There is no where to hide in this thing! A proper undergarment is going to keep stretching of the skirt and bulging of the knitter to a minimum but it can't do everything (See note on Square Rear above.)

I heard the Passionknit Skirt ladies made the point in their DKC presentation that...
 ...the style of skirt is very important to the success of the effort because it has to suit the figure of the wearer.
I'm not sure whether this pencil-style is the one for me but on "What Not To Wear" Stacey and Clinton are always telling women to invest in a classic pencil skirt aren't they? So I figured, why not me too? As I mentioned in yesterday's post my wardrobe is one of extremes but a knee length wool skirt is a great middle-of-the-road piece and I hope to wear a lot in the coming weeks and months. I'll have to try it with a more casual top, chunky tights and flats or ankle boots to make it more wearable more often.

At just over $20.00 worth of yarn and a couple of weeks of easy knitting it's the bargain of the century - even with the cost of the belt thrown in!.

Hey I think I might be coming around to see firsthand that knitting a skirt isn't so ridiculous after all!

Thanks for dropping by!


Smocked Lace Scarf by Veronique Avery FO

Pattern: "Smocked Lace Scarf" by Veronique Avery
Source: Knitting 24/7
Yarn: 7 Balls, Sublime Kid Mohair
Colour: Vellum
Needles: 6mm Circular
Start: August 24 Finish: October 17, 2011
Modifcations: Larger Needle/Heavier Yarn to yield Wrap rather than Scarf

I've posted a lot about the details of this knit. It was such pleasure to work up I was sad to see it leave the knitting basket but I admit I couldn't be happier with the outcome.

After buying the yarn to make some kind of wrap and discovering I hadn't enough yardage for any kind of wrap I ended up using a scarf pattern intended for lace weight silk. 

With relatively large 6mm needles I knit one ball for each of the smocked lace ends, each yielding about 11.5" for 23" in total length (blocked).

I used 2.5 balls per side for the saw tooth lace. Together that added 56" in blocked length to the ends for a 79" soft, hazy, incredibly warm, dreamy wrap.

The length is sufficient to nicely drape...

Or wrap cozily around and stay put...

My original vision had been to make something to curl up in on cold winter nights knitting in front of the television so I'm kind of surprised it worked out so well as a bona fide accessory for evening wear! (My Beloved's business requires we attend many such events each year so this will get lots of use. (Sel & Poivre "fun fact"...my polarized wardrobe consists of numerous long dresses for Black Tie events and mud-worthy Dog Walking apparel with virtually nothing in between. Sad but true.)

The diamonds in the smocked lace happen to match the sparkly applique at the waist of this particular dress.
"Matchy" diamonds notwithstanding, I'll be pairing this piece up with lots of other formal dresses. Its such a rarity to go out over the winter in evening wear and not feel chilly but with this ivory beauty I was quite comfortable the whole time.

The Sublime yarn utterly lives up to its name. Soft. Shiny. Fluffy. Substantive. Sublime!

Tomorrow we'll move from "Sublime" to ridiculous...

As in "ridiculous" as I generally thought knitted skirts to be. The "Skirt Ladies" at Passionknit convinced me to nonetheless give it a try so I knit one from the same Knitting 24/7 book as this wrap pattern came from.

Of course the ridiculous aspect of knitted skirts isn't in the knitting but in the wearing right? How will it fit, where will it hit?! I wanted to post photos that would tell that tale - so much more interesting than the story of a glorified knitted tube!

Yesterday Darling Daughter had a bit of time to finally help me snap some shots so I'll be able to at last post  a modeled FO report on My First Knitted Skirt tomorrow!

'Hope to "see" you then! Thanks for dropping by today!

DKC Tonight...

...and not a moment too soon. I need to get among some enthusiastic and successful knitters ASAP and hope some of it rubs off on me.

"Hate" is such a strong word but I find it keeps coming to my mind again and again as I slog away on Beatnik. (Early, early this morning as I tried to squeeze out a bit of clear headed knitting time I found two miscrossed cables about 10 rows back in what I thought was yesterday's significant progress.)

I'm sure you can appreciate how that terrible word keeps running through my mind when this terrible project is in my hands. The Yarn. The Pattern. The way the two of them photograph together in the weak November light. Maybe even Knitting itself.

Yup. "Hate".

The only thing the project has still going for it is Monogamy and Persistence.  If I stray, for even a minute. I strongly fear all will be lost.

EZ says I must be the boss of my knitting yet things keep going off the rails. The knitting, pattern and yarn is bossing me around The only thing I can do is refuse to relent.

I'm sure some of you will be thinking I need to take a break from it and you're right. I will - sort of.

I'll take the seed stitch sleeves with me tonight.  I'll work on them during the meeting and on the subway en route to my pre-DKC meet up. I may even leave a wee bit early to head downtown and so maybe prolong feeling a bit of positive knitting energy.  I'll take a break from the cabling and hope error free progress on some aspect of this knit will jar me out of this funk.

"Hate" knitting? Yup. Today I think I do!

'Fingers crossed a good dose of DKC tonight will help.


"Trying to Catch Up"

Yup, that's the subtitle of this little knit blog of mine...Trying to Catch Up, with these days, a particular emphasis on the "Trying"!

As time goes on and projects are attempted, learning ensues and generally progress is made.

To be honest though, I thought Beatnik would be an easy little blast back to cabling. Ahem. Not so much.

First, I've never cabled something with so much detail within the cables so I'm having trouble memorizing them, hence much more referencing back and forth from work to chart to legend then back to work.  So many chances to glance at the wrong bit of information and loose track of where I am. Concentration is paramount.

Secondly, the Remix yarn, with no wool content also has no stretch. The cable crosses, especially the longer and more complicated ones need to have perfect tension so as not to gape or, conversely, pucker,

Columns of stitches twisted both on knit and purl sides can quickly turn to impenetrable cords if worked too tightly while missing just one leaves a screaming hole that ultimately demands correction despite somehow having defied detection for at least a couple of rows.

Slow down. Concentrate. Work every stitch with visual, not just tactile care. This is not just a project for the hands but also very much for the eyes as well.

Things have been "trying" but I am "trying" not to let that get to me and instead focus on that ultimate goal of "trying" to catch up.

For now, at least, I'm feeling better that as of last evening I have once again caught up to where I was last Thursday before I ripped everything back to the ribbing!

A small victory but critical to see it as a victory nonetheless!

Thanks for dropping by!


Yup. I'm right back to the beginning - just like the marker says. #!%**! Row 3!

'Never should have been all "Ooooo look at me, I'm going to avoid errors this time!"  That post came right back around and bit me. Hard.




Boy it feels good to be working on a big project again!

Its not the stuff of great blog fodder and the gratification of multiple small pieces I've done in recent months is undeniable but it feels like such a luxury to now be hunkered down in the depths of cabled rows and seed stitch sleeves.

I'm trying to get through one 16 row repeat of the chart every 24 hours. If I make that goal with time to spare then I'm forcing myself to work only on the sleeves. My hope is this pacing will both hold me to task and prevent project fatigue from prematurely relegating Beatnik to the bottom of the basket.

This latter condition often comes about for me when I get overly enthusiastic, race on wards, make a stupid mistake I don't catch because I'm too drunk with glee at the prospect of rapid progress, and then throw the whole thing aside in disgust.

The past few years my knitting has been about gaining technical skill. I would say, to date I've got some mechanical skill but the "technical part" - getting the details not only right but exactly right is what I need to put  more effort into achieving. One such detail,  is maintaining steady, error-free progress. Obviously attempting entirely new-to-me techniques will involve more trial and error but straight up flat cabled knitting is the kind of stuff I started out with back in the last century. I know what I'm doing. The challenge is to avoid the distractions that keep me from doing it.

Towards this end my current watchwords with Beatnik are "pacing" and "focus". As I watch the numbers steadily climb on the row and repeat counters it feels like its working!

I hope your knitting is working out for you today too. Thanks for dropping by!


Weekend Progress

 Well the long lingering hours of knitting I envisioned for the weekend were swallowed by gorgeous autumn weather. It demanded time in the garden over time with needles on the couch. I did carve out a few hours though...
That got me through one repeat of the two 16 row charts. The cabling is cleverly enhanced here and there with little surprises that keep you having to pay attention.

Like the neat little thing branching out on top of the thicker cable above. Its a k2tog but then, leaving both on the left needle, you knit the first stitch by itself before then slipping them both off.

Of course that first repeat is always the hardest. Before the pattern is established, I'm blindly following the chart, hoping for the best because there's nothing I can recognize that might allow a visible check of the work.  Trying each of the 18 different stitch treatments, looking back and forth between charts and legend, made each row take quite a while.

I also did the tubular cast on and twisted rib cuffs for the sleeves. Now they're both ready to start seed stitch patterning on one circular needle. As recommended by Ms. Zimmerman, , the sleeves can be my "whenever I've got a minute to knit" project. Working the more complicated fronts and backs will require some concentration and at least at the beginning, attention to the charts and their legend. So I need to keep from trying to knit them when I'm not sufficiently clearheaded to do so without errors. With all the twisted stitches I will not want to be ripping this back!

So since tonight the calendar is clear, you know what I plan to be doing! Thanks for dropping by!


Midnight Blocking

Well the skirt is done - 'got done last evening and then right away, into a bath. I wouldn't normally undertake blocking after the 11:00 news is over but once it soaked and was rolled to remove excess water it wasn't like there was a whole bunch of pinning out to do or anything!

In fact I decided not to pin it out at all. Instead any snugness can remain as a hedge against looseness/potential slippage the couple of lines of sewn in elastic don't handle.  If its too tight I can always just wet it again and pin it out for better fit.

This morning its still quite damp so no modeled shots until next week.

Post blocking, a most disturbing line of wonky stitches has become visible four inches or so from the skirt's bottom edge. Other than looking wonky there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with them and the back of the work looks entirely normal.  I won't spend too much time wondering about this though as there's obviously no fixing it now!

What a spectacular feeling to have a fresh FO and a weekend ahead of me without a million commitments and so the prospect of some time to dive into Beatnik with a clear conscience! I'm done the bottom ribbing and set up row for the cables so it'll just be sitting down to pure knitting fun!  
I hope you're looking forward to a great knitting weekend too! Thanks for dropping by today!


Not Quite Enough

Having powered through the last few inches at the top of the skirt I got to about a row and a half from casting off when I hit the end of the third and final ball of yarn recommended in the pattern

Like a good little knitter I did buy an extra ball just in case but I refuse to break into it for a few yards. I'd rather return it to the shop and exchange it for something more interesting!

Instead I decided to utilize a bit of stashed yarn. It shows at the very top of the skirt. Even then I don't think its entirely objectionable!

It also allows me to add a turning row and then double the waist band sufficient to contain a piece of elastic.

Now I just have to try hard to do the waist band assembly justice and not just rush through it to get the next project. I know this is a classic point at which I might start to cut corners just to be done with it. Doing otherwise will be a tough assignment indeed - wish me luck with that - I'm going to need it!

Whatever the outcome though, be assured you'll be the first to know how it turns out!


Happy Halloween (Felted Pumpkin FO)

Pattern: Miniature Felted Pumpkin by Tracy Batchelder
Source: Ravelry
Yarn: Remnant Orange/Green/Brown Worsted
Needles: 6mm Bamboo dpn's
Start:October 20 Finish October 30, 2011
Modifications: Held Yarn Double Throughout

After puttting some of the remnant orange from my Fair Isle styled cardigan to work in my Head Band there was still a bit of the stuff left over. So when I spotted this pattern on Ravelry in the midst of my current "Use Up My Yarn" obsession I started working them up.

When I ran out of orange I decided to try a "Gourd Style" version to squeeze one more out.

I played around with the stems a bit, with what I judge, are less than satisfactory results. Mind you, I stuffed and finished them between midnight and 2:00 a.m. Sunday morning waiting for Number One Son to come home from his second Halloween function - in his second costume! - of the weekend, so perhaps my hand and eye were a bit less than optimal at the time.

Ditto the results of the felting. I would have felted them more but I was racing to finish before heading out for our fifth evening function in the last week. Things have been a bit crazed.

Nonetheless I think they still do a good job here in knitblogland illustrating my wish, to you, my knitting friends for a ...

  Happy Halloween Everybody!


Post Op Recovery

No knitting post today - 'too busy playing nursemaid.
Neutering was a condition of sale when we bought him. 18 months of age was the recommended time.  Last week he hit the year and a half mark. So today was the day. I'm so relieved its over and he's okay.

One thing's for sure - he isn't in any pain! I put him on his bed and that's the position he just slumped into. I think I'll move him into a less twisted position so he doesn't wake up to find his front leg asleep!


Getting Around

My portable project has been getting lots of mileage. Except for every tenth row where a cable needle is called into use its just around and around in stockinette with a couple of purls thrown in after each marker.

Last week and weekend were busy but I just grabbed the bag up with me wherever we went. Of course it was perfect subway knitting and when My Beloved was at the wheel I was able to knit my way all over the city.

What television I did catch, of course also leant itself well to the cause ('Saw the first episode of the BBC series Case Histories on PBS - 2 solid hours of excellent, commercial-free drama - bliss!)

Then there is the knitting into the early morning hours Friday and Saturday as I wait up for Number One Son to arrive home. I'm generally too dopey to accomplish anything that requires concentration at that hour but stockinette in a circle? Perfect!

So with a dozen inches done, just one more set of 10 rows before decreasing in toward the waist. (One of the great things about knitting bottom up, I think, is that as you get ready to be done with something the rows generally get shorter the closer you get to the top and the end of the knit.)

The substantial piece of fabric all this is yielding also allows me to better appreciate the colours in the Diamond Galway Heather yarn. From a distance its just rich chocolate but then up close, wow!

Of course the word "wow" does not jump into everyone's mind when they get up close to this piece...
I think what he's thinking is more like "hurry up and take the stupid picture, its time for a walk!"

Thanks for dropping by today!


Getting Sorted

First things first...the Mohair Wrap was blocked and worn on Saturday but photo issues have delayed that FO post a day or two. (Good photography help is hard to come by during midterms!)

Over a busy weekend I did manage to dedicate a couple of quiet daylight hours to sort out all the projects I have on the needles as well as work out the next few as well. 'Seems everything was at one of those points that requires a bit of concentration.

"Beatnik" received a tubular cast on - with smaller needles (3.5 rather than 4.5mm), as is recommended to prevent gaping at the edge of ribbing that will be expected to repeatedly expand and recover. Why was that so tricky that I'd put it off? I had to go downstairs to retrieve the smaller needles and the book with my tubular "how to" in it. Yup. Laaaaazy!

The Twisted Mittens, with thumb stitches off the holder and onto needles required additional thumb stitches to be picked up. With that done, how far behind can a finished mitten be?

Anticipating the completion of those mitts I did a bit of math and sorting of pattern for a pair of mitts for Number One Son. I'd picked up a bit of yarn at Passionknit on Friday to enhance a little collection of red and grey sport weight remnants I had on hand. Together it should yield the stranded mitts he's requested once Twisted Mittens hit the FO pile.

I'm thinking mitten work will take the place of socks in terms of "small projects" for me this autumn so I've put together a little collection of Mitten "Kits" ready to go with yarn and pattern combinations assembled .

Getting sorted (when eventually I get around to it) always make me feel good! I hope you had a weekend where your knitting made you feel that way too!

Thanks for dropping by!


Do I Look 57 Pounds Lighter?

'Just got in from dropping the dog off for an overnight visit at the Breeder's.

I feel like I've got a limb missing - a big, bouncy, fluffy, cream coloured, 57 pound limb!

'No purpose for the visit other than for him to romp with other poodles - with no Standards around here we've yet to find a local dog that can maintain the fast and prolonged pace of poodle play with him. I also want him to be familiar with staying in their facility so if and when we do have to board him there for a longer period of time he won't be too freaked out about it. He's going to be groomed while there as well - same reasoning - so he's familiar with someone grooming him other than me.

Anywaaaay, have you been following the saga of the Harlot's Gwendolyn? Heartbreak and hilarity all wrapped up in the story of one rushed knitting project as only Ms. Pearl McPhee can? It got me thinking about adding the pattern to my queue and so I spent a few minutes flipping through the various projects for it on Ravelry yesterday and came across this amazing variation on it.

In a million years I would never have thought to turn that women's hooded pullover into a child's turtleneck! But isn't it fabulous? Never mind the other knits that kid is wearing! He's even a great model to boot!

Other knitters and the work they produce can be so inspired and inspiring can't it?

To that point, what a great bunch of thoughtful opinion yesterday in the comments about blocking my Mohair shawl! I'm still mulling over all the great input but putting off my final decision until I do the deed later this afternoon.

I loved Raelene's comment...
I remember a time when I didn't even know what blocking was... Then I knew but thought who would do that???!!! Now I block everything...
I remember just months ago thinking I would NEVER knit lace.  Then I noticed I was mesmerized by the work that Rae was producing like Jared Flood's Juneberry Triangle shawl and I started considering it....now I'm trying to figure out how best to block the lace I've knit. Knitting can be such a slippery slope can't it?

Well I'm off now to do a big long string of errands to take advantage of not having the dog around this afternoon or evening. (Oh who am I kidding? I don't want to hang around here, it too creepy without him!)

Have a great weekend! Thanks for dropping by!


To Block or Not To Block

I have been see sawing back and forth all week as to whether or not to block the Smocked Lace Mohair Shawl. So I took it with me to the DKC last night  - a hundred and fifty or so informed opinions on the subject might provide an answer right?
The first vote I got was a thoughtful "No" - agreeing with me that the stitches, floating as they do in their mohair haze don't really need to be locked together through a wet blocking and agreeing that the edges are already quite neat and tidy.
Whatever You Want
The next two votes came from knitters who genuinely thought I should just do whatever I wanted with it - it was my knitting, my shawl, my preference, case. closed.
The fourth opinion I sought was a very strong "of course you need to block it...its lace!" It doesn't have to be severe but even a light blocking will flatten out the smocked section so that you will be very, very happy with it!" Now this last woman also added she has worked with Sublime for lace herself, several times in the past.

She suggested blocking wires down the sides to evenly, if only slightly open up the piece width-wise and pins to softly enhance the naturally scalloped edge at each end. Besides, the Three Needle Bind Off, she said, really needed to be flattened right out...

So with no one really agreeing that "Nooooo it shouldn't be blocked!", I'll give it a go today. I just realized yesterday we have a dressy business function this Saturday - a perfect opportunity for the shawl's debut outing so I better have it ready!

Thanks for dropping by!



Yesterday while my sisters took my mom for tests I housecleaned her apartment.
Before I left with her laundry to do here at home, I grabbed an old Mohair blanket from the closet that used to be my Grandmother's and shoved it into the laundry bag thinking I'd freshen it up for mom's use in the coming chilly weeks of autumn.

This morning as I'm packing everything up to return to her I couldn't help snapping a few shots of this gorgeous piece after its bath.

All I did was hand wash it a couple of times in the laundry sink. This was a job that required full on cleaning as opposed to a freshrning up so I used the detergent I keep on hand for delicates. Honestly I think the loft probably quadrupled. Both the following shots were taken from the same distance away, both after laundering but the second after being brushed out...

Not only does this little curry comb, that is meant for maintaining wool blankets, allow the piece to once again trap the air that makes it so warm, as you can see it also removes little bits of lint and dirt, all without damaging the fabric.  That little bunch of fluff is all the material that was removed from both sides of this 5x7' blanket.


Here's a shot the job it did on the fringe - see it before and then after brushing...


Thanks for dropping by and if you're in Toronto, don't forget tonight Shirl the Purl is speaking at the DKC. See you there?


Ready to Hit the Road (Finally!)

I queued this skirt last autumn only picking up yarn from my LYS before the long Thanksgiving weekend this year. I thought the miles of driving that weekend well suited to the miles of circular stockinette in the pattern.

As we headed towards cottage country that Saturday some kind of brain block seized me. I thought I must be misreading the pattern. Three times I knit up two or three inches, decided it was wrong and ripped it back. So much for in-car progress! Things didn't improve with time and attention at the cottage that afternoon or in either of the two lengthy car trips we had the next day. I remained convinced I was in error and arrived back in the city with nothing more than the ribbing done around the bottom.

So last Saturday, I headed for Passionknit, where I purchased the yarn and where skirts are a specialty among the staff. I knew former store manager Tamara would be working in the shop that day and that she has successfully knit up not one but two of these particular skirts.

Within minutes of working with Tamara, using one of her skirts for reference, the lights came on in my brain and I knew how to proceed. (Truth be told, she confirmed for me that I was doing it right in the first place...arghhh...sometimes the truth hurts!)

The completion of my Smoked Lace Mohair Wrap yesterday I was finally free to work, with new confidence, on the skirt again last night.  With the set up round complete I've added stitch markers, attached counters to track row and pattern repeat counts and I feel ready to take the whole show on the road at the drop of a hat.

Even "someone" without thumbs can carry it around! Its going to be a great, portable project!

Thanks for dropping by!


Sublime Binding Off

Up and very busy very early this morning after a huge one-day closing up ordeal yesterday at the cottage so I decided to treat myself to a little time mid morning to bind off my Smocked Lace Mohair Wrap. (Over the course of two very late nights Friday and Saturday waiting up for my socializing son I added about7" to each half of the wrap splitting one more ball of yarn between the two sides.)

This Bind Off is really bitter sweet; I've enjoyed knitting every single stitch with this spectacular yarn.

I hope you can see on your monitor it's almost miraculous nylon-enforced braided structure floating in a halo of mohair while simultaneously somehow also managing to shine! "Sublime" really is the perfect name for this stuff!

As for the Bind Off itself, its a 3-Needle Bind Off but worked with wrong sides together to yield a decorative feature to the right side of the wrap. I took care to ensure I maintained the correct tension so as not to pull at the very stretchy lace edges.

And then it was suddenly done.

There are a few ends to weave in where new balls were joined. I want to take care with this so as not to have them visible in the very transparent fabric. I'll want to do that in daylight so maybe I'll sneak another little knitting break in this afternoon!

The Sublime ball band recommends blocking under a damp towel so I'm not planning a bath of this baby - it should be an FO by mid week. I'll be happy to see it there but truth be told I'll miss it in my knitting basket!

Thanks for dropping by today!