Another Weekend...

...another U-Haul trip.

This Sunday we headed north east of Toronto to the Haliburton Highlands where My Beloved's sister has just moved into her first cottage. This sister, the mother of last week's furniture recipient in Goderich is in desperate for furniture for the new place so we headed up to drop a few pieces off  Parking cars in our garage is getting closer by the week!

We are quite unfamiliar with the area. As the name suggests, the area is very hilly and with all the trees just leafing out it was a very pretty drive. The hills and turns combined with the rough ride brought on by the loaded trailer made knitting impossible so I did just look out the window and enjoy the scenery

The day started out rainy but eventually the sun did shine.

As we headed home after an early dinner I found myself snapping photos of the sun setting. Not because it was a particularly beautiful sun set but rather because the notion of sunlight has been such a rare commodity this spring it was almost novel to see and feel it!

Although we didn't aim to do so, we did hit the stretch of the 400 Highway right beside Canada's Wonderland Theme Park just in time for the 10:00 pm fireworks show.

We were, however, aiming to drop Number One Son at a party. The "fun" never stops in high school- especially for the parents!

Saturday and Monday were spent catching up in the garden. I should qualify that statement though because we are in no way actually "caught up" - just closer to being that way soon I hope.  We'd better be, our very late cottage opening is a couple of weeks away and once that happens the outdoor work more than doubles!

Thanks for dropping by!


Sally Melville Came to Visit

Sally packed 'em in at the DKC last night. It may well have been standing room only.

One of the founders of the DKC told me Sally was the first ever DKC speaker 15 years ago in a church basement. The organizers had planned for 80 people but 135 showed up!

After that they moved to a bigger location and Sally continued to be an annual guest speaker every January for the first 5 years of Guild meetings.

Last night Sally's talk was about her iconic use it all up approach to knitting with small quantities from stash remnants. She talked about the boyfriend sweater that started it all (yup, right after the knit was done, so was her daughter's relationship with said BF.) and then worked through strategies to sort and store stash for best results as well as how to consider the colour possibilities within it.

She had lots of examples incorporated into her talk, all of which were available afterwards to see and feel up close.

Knit designer Glenna C. was in attendance. She brought her recently completed lace weight Pi Shawl which she unfurled during Show and Tell to many collective gasps of wonder. I finally made the effort to introduce myself. I've probably followed Glenna's blog longer than any other so it was nice to chat with her for a few minutes after the meeting, especially since the gloves I'm currently working on are her design.

Tamara and Alissa from Passionknit were sitting just ahead of us. They will be making a presentation on knitting skirts at the June meeting. Tamara's Rav page shows with 8 knitted skirts so far she was at the front of the skirt craze currently going on (witness the sidewinder phenomenon at the Purple Purl and beyond).

Fiona Ellis was in the house as well. She brought a knitted pillow cushion design with applied I cord she made for the magazine "Needle Pulling Thread".

I noticed Elise Duvekot author of Knit One Below was also in the audience.

It was a great knitterly night but I'm afraid I didn't have it in me to continue on afterwards with the others for  post Melville chatter. Instead I was a party pooper racing home just as the first few fat raindrops were falling and honestly only minutes before I myself was falling into bed.

I'm off out the door with the dog now, hopefully before the next round of showers begins.

Thanks for dropping by today!


A Gift

My (paid) Career was perfect for my personality. My domestic line of work, since the birth of Darling Daughter a couple of decades back, not so much.

I am very tenacious though and it gets me through as long as I believe in the value of the task at hand. So I've persevered despite the huge financial cost and absence of corporate profile but I've never gotten used to the absence of an annual performance evaluation.

Being told where to improve, how to do better etc. There really isn't a real world alternative for me after all  society clearly views what I do as unnecessary and Martha Stewart Magazine could only do so much!  Doing thankless work is tiresome enough but trying to constantly improve at it can be down right exhausting.

Knitting of course is great for this because the knitted piece tells the tale as to where my skills need improvement (current case in point - holes between fingers in gloves!) the FO list illustrates how far out of my comfort zone my projects are taking me. This blog makes me critically evaluate all of it so as to post about my process.

The dog is also a demonstrable barometer of how and where I should make improvements but I joined an Obedience Club to undertake obedience trials that will really hold me accountable. I get teachers telling me what to do and how to do it and judges scoring our trial performances.

Recently Hudson has been demonstrating explosive bouts of anxiety when we're in class. Some exercises prompt whining (him not me) followed by vertical leaping. (As a note of reference, standing on his hind legs, his head hits the 5'2" mark...the top of his vertical leaps take his head and shoulders well above mine.) And this trend seems to be getting worse.  The more seasoned members of the class reassure me this is just doggy adolescence but one veteran handler has quietly been more pointed about pinning our dwindling success on me. 

In the last couple of classes he's pointed out my expectations of Hudson are too low - I need to have more confidence in him. I need to man handle him via leash corrections less and rely on verbal commands more.  I need to "telegraph" less nervous energy through the leash (the fuel for his nervous leaping?). Also, wean off the food rewards that undoubtedly boost his blood sugar and so nervous energy. 

After hearing his comments last night I feel like I've been given a gift of greater self awareness. I approached our walk this morning with a refreshed point of view and new set of goals for my behaviour rather than that of my dog.

And for next week's class I plan to have a glass of wine before class - just to mellow me out a bit. (And if things go better maybe just wee glass afterwards as well - to celebrate!) Who says holding yourself to critical standards can't be fun?

And speaking of wine and fun, I'll be meeting up with my DCK pre-meeting pal tonight for a quick dinner and associated beverage of choice. Sally Melville is the speaker...if you're in town and can, you should go!

Thanks for dropping by!


Our Latest Weekend Road Adventure

This past weekend we ventured west to the shores of Lake Huron to Goderich; known as "The Prettiest Town in Ontario". My Beloved's nephew and is wife both grew up and have recently bought their first house there.  We donated some furniture to them that we no longer use except to fill up the garage where technically a couple of cars are supposed to go.

My glove project was not well suited to knitting in the car (towing a trailer makes the vehicle ride a bit rough which makes me feel sick if I try to even glance at what I'm doing.) So I cast on one of my single skein projects - my second pair of "Grown Up Booties" by Ysolda.

The last pair I made using Manos yarn have worn through, been darned and have now worn through again so this time I thought I'd try using a tougher yarn.

Does it get any tougher than "Tuffy" by Briggs and Little?

I'm using two contrasting strands held together. I don't have as much of the red as I do of the grey so I'm planning on grey toes.

This stuff is also tough on the hands - especially when knit as tightly as I am working these. Nonetheless it was the perfect project to pick away at while watching the mist and rain shrouded landscape slip by the car window.

...Other passengers felt the time was actually better spent napping.

Now the town of Goderich, about 3 hour's drive with a trailer in tow, is laid out in a wheel-like formation with all the streets running out from a leafy central "Square".I took my camera so I could share sites from that lovely spot high on the cliffs above the lake, filled as it is with lovely old homes and nicely tended gardens. But photo references were not to be had.  It was literally raining so hard I couldn't even get a shot through the windows of the car. (Ditto as we drove through Stratford - another beautiful spot) Rolling down the windows was not an option either - I would have been soaked and camera along with me.  The lake was not to be seen at all because of the rain and the low hanging cloud.

But "Pretty" the town is. Next time we visit hopefully I'll have more luck with bringing back photographic proof of the fact.

Thanks for dropping by!


Old School

I'm very "old school" - 'have been as long as I can remember. (Probably many knitters are inclined at least a little bit in that direction don't you think?)

So its probably not surprising that I'm becoming more interested in the kind of wool from which the craft originated and blossomed and patterns that are serviceable as well as fashionable. I want to work with and wear wool chosen for the attributes of a minimally processed fleece. I'm keen to have a wardrobe with the warmth of wool through the autumn and early spring without turning to the thermostat to keep me comfortable. Hence my interest in a designer like Kate Davies who wears her knits to hike up mist shrouded Scottish mountains, camp alongside chilly Lochs and stride to the shops for this or that.

So, as I posted a while ago, I decided to knit Kate Davie's "Deco", in the same Blacker Corriedale (a "fine, crimpy yarn soft enough to wear next to the skin") she used.  Spun at a mill in Cornwall on the Devon border, the fleeces originate in the Faulkland Islands.

The company that produces the yarn...

...believe(s) in buying and making local, and are convinced there is a future for high-quality UK-manufactured goods:
  • We source almost everything from Britain and we make only here, too;
How old school is that? I love it!

But as I placed my order on line I discovered the delivery rate was almost identical to the cost of the yarn so, as the site recommends, I contacted them by email for a delivery quote using "Royal Mail" rather than a delivery company.

That rate was quickly quoted as 12 rather than 32 pounds but to get that rate I have to place the order by phone or write them a note and submit it by mail.

Guess which alternative I chose...

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Lesson Learned

Last night I knit Finger Two!
 But with this being my first attempt at knitting gloves I didn't know enough as I was casting on for the finger not to leave a huge hole between it and its neighbour Finger One.
It was an innocent mistake (different from my more usual "I just wasn't thinking" type of error) so I'm not going to beat myself up too badly about it. I'' just consider it a lesson learned, rip it out and try to do it right the second time.

Thanks for dropping by!


Guess What!

I made a finger! (And (most of) a glove to put it on!)


Getting Organized

One skein projects are getting so numerous in my queue/stash I'm worried I'll loose track of my plans and waste time duplicating efforts or looking for yarn/pattern combinations for things I've already planned. Yesterday I decided to get a handle on things.

I did some photocopying then bundled and bagged corresponding yarn, needles and patterns. This morning with my first coffee I worked on my Ravelry queue to get it to match those project bags. It feels so great!

Also great is the show of blossoms outside my laundry room window that I enjoyed all the while I worked on this project yesterday!

Next in line for updating in my Ravelry Project Page - 'nothing like "Spring Cleaning"!

Thanks for dropping by!



A while ago I came across designer Kate Davie's blog "Needled".  I happened to arrive there on the anniversary of a massive stroke she suffered while walking to work and her post that day was a moment by moment description of what she happened that day a year earlier.

She is a wonderful writer and it was an interesting account of a young, fit, active woman going through something I generally associate with older people or those with existing risk factors. Still I was looking for knitting blogs so onward I went, leaving the site without bookmarking it or any plans to follow it in future.

Nonetheless I found myself occasionally thinking about her story and then realizing I had never actually looked into her knitting on that first visit.  It took me a while to find it again so when I did I became a follower.

Fast forward a few weeks and I've moved from follower to fan and the shift actually prompted me to do something I've never done before - buy a pattern on line. (I know, I know, I live under a proverbial "rock"!)
It is her most recently released pattern "Deco", a close fitting but boxy cardigan knit at a fairly tight gauge for the yarn, in one piece, bottom up. Since the download arrived I've been waffling around about the yarn.

I've decided to use the same yarn as in the original and again, order it online! (I am really living on the edge now!) My only hesitation is the colour. I'm thinking of doing what Kate did but olive greens can sometimes be muddy but  although I continue to vacillate I am resolved to put the order in soon! Hold me to it will ya?


'Talk About Satisfying!

As if Saturday's Frolic wasn't enough I gilded the lily by indulging further in an all day class in Twisted Knitting (Tvaasstickkning) on Sunday.

The class was taught by Mairi McKissock and it was flawless. The technique is Swedish and yields a fabric that is very warm, quite wind resistent and yet surprisingly flexible. The basic premis is to work alternating two contrasting colours both held in the right hand by constantly twisting the yarns around each other in the same direction.

Interestingly the paired yarns are readied for use by creating two centre pull balls, one inside the other and drawing the yarn out of both from the same spot. This allows the knitter to loop and lock the ball once sufficient yarn has been pulled out and then release the excessive twist that accumulates as you work.

The cast on of choice is an English Long Tailed Cast On and again you hold the two contrasting yarns in the right hand with another single strand of either colour (or a contrast colour as I did) in the left for the usual thumb wrapping.

As you can see we also learned how to make the very nifty braided edge as well as how to execute and read charts for the "hook" stitch  enabling patterns like the square motif on the left in this shot...

We also went over how to maintain pattern while installing a gusset thumb and other mitteny shapings.

What I liked most about Mairi's instructional style was she was very careful not to overload us with incidental information about the technique. This allowed for focus on mastering the somewhat challenging manual aspects of an otherwise pretty straightforward technique - especially if you are already familiar with mitten construction.

I must admit I used to think if I could execute an "intermediate" rated pattern I was an "Intermediate" knitter. Yesterday I realized its possible to be knitting a wide and even demanding array of patterns and yet struggle with technique in a class situation if your knitting arsenal of skills is limited.

I've worked away at learning to knit both English and Continental, having done two handed colourwork, being comfortable with circulars but also dpn's, having a variety of cast on techniques with which I'm familiar...all these things made me much more capable of following along and keeping up.

The class was filled with very motivated knitters. . in fact there were extended periods of time when all that could be heard was the metallic clicking of needles. As a result Mairi's instructions moved along as quickly as the class could grasp them. One woman even finished her sample mitt complete with additional decorative detail she decided to add onto the back just for fun. Its so great to be in the company of that calibre of knitter!

My plan now is to finish my sample and then dive into knitting a full sized pair right away. I want to commit the technique to muscle memory before my hands forget it! It'll also be another opportunity to deplete that pile of remnant worsted that's driving me nuts.

Today is a Federal Election Day in Canada. Election related activity among youth this go around is making me dare hope our political landscape might receive an infusion of fresh energy and perspective and that larger voter turnout will mean whatever the government looks like tomorrow, its decisions reflect the best interests of our citizenry - not those of one party or another or worse, those of  the corporate interests that back them.

Thanks for dropping by!