That was so LAST Year!

New Years feels like trimmed ends to me - I don't know what's better about them - the fact they illustrate something that's finished (and hopefully wonderful) or that by marking the end of one thing they naturally point to future possibilities. A little of both I guess - heres my little pile for '08.

My subtitle says this blog is supposed to be about an avid knitter from the 80's trying to catch up. How much catching up did I manage in '08?

Socks x 5 (3 lady's, 2 men's)

I got into the groove of making socks rather effortlessly and building a wee tiny sock yarn stash. I also designed the black men's knee socks using a favourite pair an aunt made My Beloved 30 years ago. Bottom line I now feel pretty comfortable with top down sock knitting. 'Guess I need to try toes up designs in '09.
Sweaters and Vests x 6

I learned about stranded colour work, intarsia, ease, sizing and project monogamy as I cranked out these six pieces. I love wearing every one of them. I'm going to choose more challenging sweater patterns in '09 because I'm now a bit more confident I can handle it.

Toys and Whimsies etc. x 11

Working all these into the lineup kept my knitting life fresh, kept me motivated, cost next to nothing all while providing lessons on either novel stitches or shaping or both! 'Can't wait to see what '09 holds in the way of these kinds of projects!

Hats/Mittens/Cowls/Scarves x4

A bit of a snore here - just practical necessities. I'll make these kinds of things in '09 but I've collected a few more interesting patterns that I'm looking forward to working with.

Babies & Toddlers x 3

'Learned slip stitch colour work with the hat - my fastest knit ever.

Ravelry Notebook - I got one together in '08 I'll try to keep it up to date in '09. Over there I'm "Canadian Eh?". I finally organized and loaded knitting photos onto a Flickr Account -Slide Show's in the side bar - same deal as with Ravelry - 'just going to try to keep it current in '09. Knit Blog - Posting is pretty effortless for me so no resolutions as to frequency. In '09 I just hope readers enjoy Sel & Poivre and if they have a chance, drop a comment. I spent a couple of years lurking on blogs without understanding how wonderful comments are to a blogger. (The first comment I received, left by curlerchik four months after I started Sel & Poivre rattled me into realizing my knit blog wasn't a private on line diary - that someone else might be reading what I post!) Comments make blogging feel less like giving a lecture and more like having a conversation and good conversation seems to me to be utterly in keeping with the spirit of knitting!

So Happy New Year Everyone! Thanks so much for visiting '08. Here's to an '09 filled with yarn and knitting, stacks of FO's (and their trimmed ends) and hopefully great conversations about it here at Sel & Poivre!


At Last a Return to Knitting Content!

I've finished the panel for the front of the Celtic Tote.

Its an interesting knit. I've done more cabling than any other technique but I've never done cables like these! They are asymmetrical and random, its like knitting someones' sketch or some doodles.

See how many colours there are in some rows on the chart (each colour representing a different cable move)!
You have to watch every right side row and even within rows, every cable twist. Sometimes she splits the cables sometimes one moves over two while its immediate neighbour moves only one. Sometimes pairs of cables move towards each other but then another time they both move in the same direction or one moves while its opposite stays in place. Its brought into sharp focus how much the cabling I've done has been all about symmetry and predictability.
On Ravelry I've read how some knitters have opted to knit the cables symetrically. I now realize the "wonkiness" of the pattern on this bag is what really appeals to me. Following blindly and just seeing how the thing turns out rather than anticipating is also fun.

Its forced me to exercise my knitting brain after a couple of weeks off the needles.

I'm enjoying the Ella Rae yarn's "woolliness" while also its pleasant hand once knitted up.

I think its a very handsome, wintery colour of grey. So different from the pure, lighter grey of the Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch I knit with in the summer.

The Ella Rae Classic has a pleasing, woolly colour variation like undyed natural sheep coloured yarns. I'm pretty sure I have too much so I'm already dreaming about what I'll do with the remainder.

I've also been exercising my rather halting Continental technique on the wrong side rows. True to form my tension tightens up when I'm not fully capable - even though continental should loosen things. I can feel it getting more comfortable as I go so I'm willing to put up with the slightly slower pace for the moment.



Dec. 23rd - Christmas Baking Blitz

Dec. 24th - Annual Christmas Eve Party chez Sel and Poivre

Dec. 25th a.m. - Breakfast 'round the Tree (See my new copy of Scarf Style on the floor!) Dec. 25th pm - Family dinner for 12 people (brother and his family not coming) then 16 (brother et.al. coming) then finally 10 (youngest nephew comes down with severe ear infection so his dad stays home with him, my brother decides venturing into the Christmas melée will be too much) It was an exciting ride of adding and subtracting place settings and extra tables and chairs but at least there was never any doubt we'd have enough Prime Rib to go around.The truly exciting bit was just as everyone was arriving the Carbon monoxide alarm started its piercing howl and flashing the word "Gas!" Even unplugging it wouldn't stop it so we set it outside while we considered whether to evacuate. In the end we determined my sister's use of Static Guard on her skirt in close proximity to the sensor is what set the thing off. Celebrating Christmas with the Fire Department ultimately proved unnecessary.
Dec. 26th - Back to some well deserved regularly scheduled programming. My Beloved and Number One Son have gone out to brave the boxing day ski sales, Darling Daughter is still in bed - I'm going to have coffee and leftover coffee cake while I dive into restarting the Celtic Tote!


There IS a Santa Claus!

I coveted a pair of red boots this fall but 'couldn't justify buying them as I had a perfectly good pair of boots along the same vein that didn't need replacing.

While wearing those very boots at the beginning of my errands on Friday I felt something odd when I took a step. It was like I had paper or something caught under my heel. When I checked to see what the problem was I was shocked to find, not paper but a full through and through stress fracture half way up the heel. (I wear heels all the time - 'have for years - I've never broken a heel like this before.) What was I going to do? Getting the thing fixed (if getting it fixed was even a possibility)would have taken half an hour or more that I didn't have to dedicate to emergency shoe repair. Better yet, why not replace them?
A 10 minute limping walk had me at the store where I'd fallen in love with the red boots but there were only black ones left. ;( With little choice and feeling the need to push on with my bona fide Christmas errands I explained my predicament to the sales girl, including my love for the red version. She went into the back to see if they had the black in my size. She returned almost immediately with a big grin and a box that when opened revealed the red beauties in my size 7.5 :o! She said that as she walked into the storeroom she had to pass a delivery guy who had just arrived and was laden with a stack of boxes, the topmost of which held the red boots. And they were half price!
Now who else but the Big Guy in Red could have made broken heel/proximity to store/just in time arrival of me with shoes to said store/50% off sale all happen within the same 15 minutes?
I believe he just wanted me to have them - even if it was a little early. He knew I'd love them and they'd be a great addition to our family Christmas because guess what I'll be wearing to cook Christmas Dinner! (I know they don't look like they lend themselves to cooking or the kitchen but I seriously wear heels all the time so they won't bother me a bit. Besides with my brother's ill health Christmas Dinner is going to be well served with the addition of a fun distraction or two and me tottering around in ridiculous footwear will give everybody something to laugh about!
P.S. To answer Lorraine's question from the comments - depending on my brother and his family I could have as many as 15 or as few as 9 at dinner. I'm even prepared to serve in shifts. We're having Prime Rib rather than Turkey because it will hold better and won't dry out if dinner time moves a bit one way or the other on the clock depending on when my brother et.al. might arrive or depart.


Eye Candy Friday

Mix 'n match linen napkins with mix 'n match ribbon ties all ready for the Christmas dinner table...
I've a million things to do between today, as a winter storm threatens to curtail last minute shopping, and Christmas Eve but it gives me an imagined sense of control to know the napkins will be ready on time!

Have a great weekend everyone - I'm off into the snowy gale!


DKC Work of Our Hands Fashion Show '08 and what I'm getting into now...

  • 180 knitters (by my rough count)
  • 20 models (one a professional no less!)
  • 25 minutes of inspired and inspiring hand knits on the runway
  • Fiona Ellis doing colour commentary
  • A male knitter organizing and modelling his hand and machine knits
  • Homemade Christmas Goodies and homemade punch
  • Yarny door prizes
  • Free admission - which included a ticket for the door prize draw!
And I was home in time to get in some knitting by the tree!

I've gone from the sublime to the ridiculous in moving from the fast and furious pace of the Gathered and then Big Cabled Pullovers to this next project -"Henry" by Mareike Sattler from Knitty Fall 07. I started this the first time last January (when this little blog was nothing more than a twinkle in my eye).

I'm knitting it in Drops Alpaca a very soft, smooth, very strong and warm fingering weight yarn (colour 3650). Its for My Beloved and he's mildly impatient to have it done. With a bunch of projects burning in my brain to get added to my queue I admit I'm extremely impatient to have it done! Knit in a handsome herringbone pattern, lengthwise on 457 stitches - one row's worth of knitting on this scarf is equivalent to what yielded 5 or 6 inches of length on the BCP! Needless to say this project is going to make me slow down big time - not a bad thing over the course of the next couple of weeks!



...a non knitting friend sneered when I pulled out my knitting at a recent coffee gathering
"Yes dishcloths" I said, beaming. I explained they are just the colours I want and the size I want because I was making them to my own specifications in just the pattern I want. I told her it makes me happy to see them draped over the sink, to marvel at their absorbency, to fold them out of the laundry and stack them ready for use again and again and again. She stared blankly back at me, the sneer still lingering on her face.

The poor thing, she can't understand dedicating time, energy or resources to knitting. I know her well enough to know she never will.

Tonight though is the December meeting of the Downtown Knit Collective where members show off their most prized knits of the past year in the annual "Work of Our Hands" fashion show. It'll be fun to go sit with a couple of hundred people who are total strangers to me but who nonetheless if pressed would more than understand how I could get gratification out of knitting dishcloths!

P.S. I've added a number of modelled shots of the Great Big Pullover to the original FO Post (I like to keep things tidy) - here's a little peek...

...there's lots more if you scroll down to the previous post!


Big Cable Pullover FO

I took a holiday from "The Holidays" and preparations for them. After a week of insanity we had a mellow Saturday and Sunday when I sat by the Christmas tree and finished off this beast of a sweater.
Just as the name implies its cabled and its BIG! It wouldn't fit under a coat - its really an outerwear piece that I also plan to wear around the house as an over sized sweatshirt might be worn. Pattern: "Big Cabled Pullover" - Vladimir Teriokhin - VK Winter 05/06
Colour: 21, Dye lots 4548 & 6350
Needles 10mm wooden straights, 10mm Aero Circular
Start: November 16, 2008 Finish: December 14, 2008

The pattern description is very accurate - "standard fitting" with (very) "big bell sleeves". There is some errata. I also used the very helpful posts here to catch those before I started as well as to confirm I didn't want shaping as she did but rather a straighter line and looser fit as the pattern is written. This shot shows the change between dye lots just before the start of the stand up collar. (It falls half way up the last full cable.) Its more noticeable in flash photos than in person. On my monitor it also looks as if the orphan strand only lasts for a couple of broken rows and that above and below that point the colour is uniform but in real life I couldn't get anyone in the family to correctly spot the change in yarns. I did rip back and stagger the introduction of the new dye lot which I think probably did make the impact negligible.
Wearing this knit is like wearing a warm blanket but its surprisingly light just as the pattern promises. I subbed "Eskimo" yarn for the "Yukon" called for by the pattern so it must have been a suitable choice. We're having a mild spell so I wore the sweater instead of a coat last night when I ran out to pick up Chinese Food and then again this morning for the school run. I was shocked to be totally comfortable on both occasions. It'll be a great skating sweater and the perfect antidote to my standard après ski full body chill. The fit is perfect. I'm getting the knack of this "ease" thing and getting better at understanding what I'll feel good in versus what I might find entertaining to knit. Love, love, love detail on the back! This kind of attention really sets hand knits apart from store bought sweaters!
I knit the smallest size without being a "smallest size" person so it gave me amazing fit without any waist shaping. Stitches are added across the shoulder blade/bust area but otherwise front and back pieces are rectangular. (The side slits obviously also help to avoid pulling at the hip.
I appreciate his attention to detail - like the fact the big cuffs are the same size as the garter stitch edged side slits
I was hesitant to knit the cuffs as written because on paper they just seemed so huge but I'm so glad I trusted the designer's eye - they balance the whole piece, add inexplicably to the coziness factor and with the wear I've given the piece so far they don't seem to get in the way.

I could easily have had this done in a week of evening knitting. It flew off the needles at an almost theatrical pace. The kids would remark how much longer the piece would be in the span of a single show. I got held up on a couple of stupid errors on the last piece that I actually repeated causing me to frog the front to almost nothing three times! (Amazingly the yarn didn't seem to visibly suffer from the maltreatment!) Then of course I also ran out of yarn. Bottom line the yarn is going onto my list of favourites. For pure wool its very soft and doesn't bother my bare skin even around the neck.

Considering how busy this time of year is it was still a quick and satisfying knit made all the more enjoyable with a lovely yarn and a pleasing result. Its unlike anything I've knit before and will be unique in my wardrobe. I'm looking forward to wearing it. How fun to have a non-Christmas related FO a week and a half before the 25th - the feeling is reinforcing my resolve not to knit gifts this year!