a..."...sequence (of knitting) awaiting its turn to be attended to..."

Last year sometime I realized my Ravelry Queue was documenting my knitting fantasies rather than organizing my knitting projects. Nothing I had in house or stash or knitting basket or patterns had any connection to the Queue. Ever.

My seasonal knit/purchase cycle nonetheless seemed suited to expression in queue form so why not give a go to putting the two together?

This required first moving a bunch of things to my Favourites from the Queue but I did that and it seemed the earth continued to rotate around the sun and life as I knew it did not end so I onward I went essentially including in the Queue only projects that I would knit within the upcoming fall/winter or summer knitting season as opposed to what I would like to knit.

Next I used the Queue as a "To Do" list to facilitate assembly of necessary needles/yarn/patterns, documenting acquisition's as I went along.

Now to be honest, even after moving the obvious suspects from Queue to Favs I still was left with more of a  wish list and had to keep editing until I reached a more realistic list. Easier said than done but this was about goals not perfection!

After Christmas I had to review things to incorporate the yarn and patterns I received. Again a bit of shopping. Importantly, I think, I have also left shopping to be done to complete the queue because honestly, that's part of the fun isn't it? I've noted the yardage and yarn still outstanding to take with me on my travels in the coming months.

Then over the weekend as I felt I was past the halfway mark on Ranger I took a look at what the queue told me should be coming up. It was another cardigan followed by, yet another cardigan. A nice expression of blind optimism rather than an honest recognition that I'll want to jump into something small and fun after a big, long, all on one needle men's cardigan! So I shifted things around to reflect that. I even thought about the weather, when I might want to wear things and shifted some more.

Of course its not cast in stone but it feels good. It feels doable from a knitting perspective and useful from a living-in-the-real-world-and-wearing-my-knits perspective too. I cannot lie, I adore the way knitters like Kate Davies dress head to toe in wool but as much as I admire her style and lifestyle, it isn't mine. I'm trying to have the contents of my queue reflect my life, my knitting, my body rather than the helter skelter knitting interests that had me dreaming of cranking out Shetland Style knits I'd never wear.

As I age and tastes/styles change I want to be open to different kinds of patterns so the Queue has to be short enough for me to accomplish its contents before they become obsolete. I'm hoping this will keep me knitting relevant things. For example, the body skimming fit I used to seek has been replaced by an interest in drape and positive ease. If I were still working to accomplish the contents of my old Queue I'd be putting off exploring loose fitting/knitted styles until the others were complete which may have been never.

Instead with my purged Queue I realized I had time to knit something for My Beloved and Ranger, as an example has an almost shockingly open gauge that gives it a soft light drape. New ideas being explored, relevant garments being produced. It feels like my new approach is working.

I'm a list lover and maker at heart so the Queue feature on Ravelry should be useful and relevant to me. Now that I'm starting to think more carefully about how I'm using it, its finally feeling like its just that.

Thanks for dropping by!


Craft Group Tonight!

Lots of knitters belong to "Stitch and Bitch" groups.

The group I'm in is more "Gather and Gush".

This group's varied, prodigious and inspired show and tell cause all manner of well deserved gushing.

The bar is high with these ladies! So this month I thought I'd up my game with the evening's sweet treat. Rather than my usual cookies I decided on a Cranberry Filled Braid.

...lovely colours of the sweet-tart filling - post chop/pre cook (Granny Smith and Orange (both with skins on) and Cranberries too!

Then the magic of working with yeast!

...the yielding rebound of risen dough under the pin.

...pretty pinched edges

...braid 'em all up

...a final rise, 20 minutes in the oven, a bit of drizzle and...

Ta Da!

Oh come on, you might say, how bad can my knitting show and tell be? Well first of all, I realized this morning looking at my Ravelry page, 7 of my last 8 FO's have been gifted away over the two months since our group last gathered.

Leaving me with recent knitting monogamy's yield of a correct and gauge-accurate/ladder-free partial sleeve. Riveting!

Thank goodness a bit of yeast and a couple of hours can fill my basket with something a little more exciting!

Thanks for dropping by today!


"Custom Ordered" Headband FO

Pattern: My Own (here)
Yarn: Remnant Worsted
Needle: 4.5mm
Start:January 15 Finish: January 16, 2013

Mother and Son models.

The grey/orange one I did a few years ago. It turned out so well I thought it must be a fluke but it seems the same approach worked again!

Knit flat, folded in half lengthwise its joined with a three needle bind off that is just a bit unyielding. I've worn mine a lot and know this keeps the band from gradually working its way down over your eyes even when jogging.

This version for Number One Son is a bit wider to cover his ears and on 95 rather than 92 stitches for a bit bigger fit around his much bigger head.

Duplicate stitch for the single green stripe on the white side because he only requested it once the thing was done.

Off it went this morning (hence the artificially lit photos) with My Beloved for delivery along with a bunch of other goodies to Number One Son today.

I've got a busy day ahead out and about but of course not before Hudson and I hit the trail for our morning outing. I'm off to bundle up! Thanks for dropping by!

P.S. How fun to hear from so many about yesterday's post! I generally feel a bit uneasy posting non-knitting stuff so its great to know people found it nonetheless entertaining!


Cold Love

It is bitterly cold this week - so cold the snow is "squeeky" when you walk on it! I love it!

Yesterday I was outside 2.5 hours over three outings with my "Personal Trainer" Hudson. Dogs have the right idea - dress for the weather (Hudson's currently "wearing" about 3" of winter hair) and if you're cold, move around faster and warm up! He reminded me of myself and by friends and siblings growing up.

We never, ever bemoaned winter weather conditions. Needless to say I cannot bear to watch television weather reports now - all that drama over cold in Canada in the winter! Spare me!

During my childhood my Dad called the television the "idiot box". (CFL games, Pro Golf and of course, The Leafs were its only redeeming programming. Even the 3 Stooges were off limits to us - too violent with all the hitting and slapping to be appropriate for children!) So if we weren't in school, in bed or at the table eating, daylight hours (and more than a few dark ones after early sunsets) had us outside...building forts, skating, tobogganing, shoveling driveways, delivering papers or frankly just standing around chatting as we chewed the little snowballs off our hand knit mittens. (Hey maybe my affection for "woolly wool" comes from having ingested it as a child!)

Once past the point of wearing "Snow Pants" Our bell bottom jeans, crusted with snow from walks to school, recess, home for lunch, back to school, afternoon recess would melt as we sat in class yielding soggy socks, damp calves and ankles. By high school the "coolest" kids even had salt stains half way up the lower leg!

Hockey ruled the world. Every boy played. Every. Boy. Any unpoliced patch of ice featured a game. The sound of slap shotted tennis balls hitting metal garage doors rang through the cold air every afternoon and weekend, nets sat akimbo atop driveway snowbanks when not in use but more likely spanned the middle of most side streets whenever kids weren't in school.

Every side entrance - and that was generally as far as you got into anyone else's house - was jammed with hockey bags and boots and mitts, jackets and hats.

We were free to go anywhere in the neighbourhood and our activities were planned and scheduled by us, facilitated by us, policed by us. Occasional injuries were nursed by us. (Split lips from falling or crashing into someone elses's head mid game were remedied with a chunk of ice - such vivid memories of how snow turns a bit of fresh blood almost instantly brown!).  Rarely would we even tell a parent about such a minor injury later at the table too busy waiting our chance to tell the more exciting adventures of the day.

We ate exactly three times a day. At home. At the table. After giving thanks together. We made it our business to be home in time for those meals. None of us wore watches. My curfew was always "when the street lights go on".

When we were "sick" i.e. with a fever or actively nauseated we stayed home, in bed.

Water came from the tap. 2% milk was the beverage of children. Pop was for adults to mix with Rye on special occasions.

We weren't as sophisticated as kids are now but boy we were lean and tough and self reliant and I never remember feeling anything other than the master of my own destiny. I knew what I had to do to be successful and exactly where the lines were. How I wanted to play it was up to me and the consequences - good and bad were all mine too.

Cold was one of those lines. We didn't fear, loathe or resent it or look to our parents to help us cope with it. It just was and we enjoyed the slippery, slidey, tinglly-sore bounty it brought us each year. As with everything else in our lives failing to respect it brought consequences - aching hands after too long in the snow wearing the mitts you liked the look of rather than the warmer ones, a tailbone tender sore after one too may trips over the "jump" the big boys built on the toboggan hill, permanently chapped lips, a sore head from falling on the ice you just couldn't resist trying to slide on.

Yesterday I revelled in the cold bright sun (I got a sunburned scalp!) and thought about all these ways cold makes me feel at home. Last night, feeling full of fresh air and exercise I was too tired to knit! There's more cold in store today. I think I'll wear a hat - don't want to get any more sunburn - and try to save a bit of energy to work up a sleeve for Ranger tonight.

Thanks for dropping by! If its cold today where you are...why not try to enjoy it!


Twined Mittens #4

Pattern: Tvaandsstikning Mittens by Mari McKissock
Source: DKC Workshop Handout
Yarn: Diamond Galway Heather "Oatmeal" and "Heathered Navy"
Source: Passionknit Toronto
Needles: 3mm dpn's
Start: October 15, 2012 Finish: January 20, 2013
Modifications: Omitted Medallion Detail on Back on Hands/Used smaller Needle for Smaller Fit

Hey look! Deja vu all over again. This time twined cuff, no embellishments to the back of the hands.  Knit on slightly smaller needle for slightly smaller result. Softer pairing of heathered navy and oatmeal rather than pure navy blue and white.

Once again worked in my workhorse worsted Diamond Galway Heather. Price/wooliness/accessibility! All great!

If you're sick of seeing these as FO's around here imagine how exciting it is to make them over and over and over and over again!

The thing is though they are such a superior mitten the end justifies the means.

Case in point - this morning at 6:00 when Darling Daughter, Hudson and I headed out to run the wind chill was in the low minus 20 degrees celcius. The snow was blowing sideways. In her new twined mittens DD's hands were toasty even as her cheeks were freezing. My hands, matched my cheeks!

Evidence of how worthwhile these are to make aaaaaand that I have to may another pair for myself! Wahhhhhh!

I have to admit, 'saw this coming. The yarn's on hand...but I'm not casting on until the end of my knitting monogamy week with Ranger. ( I hope - remember that small project basket full of darning that was to keep me on task with Ranger? Seems watching coverage of the Obama inauguration took care of that!)

Fortunately I'm done with knitting Ranger's body so its time to redo the sleeves so I can join the whole works up and progress to the yoke. Sleeves are kind of like having a small knit right? That's what EZ says... it must be right!

Thanks for dropping by eh?


A Few Things


...finally done. Two children now well satisfied they are each the favourited and favoured one! Just  FO posts to go!


...attempting knitting monogamy - one week - see where it gets me.


...socks all need darning but they're in the "small knit" basket vacated by the just finished ear band and mitts. If (when!) I think about casting on something small that'll undermine this week's monogamy project I'll instead get those sorted.


...hanging on the closet door contains my on-the-go project. A tedious knit also makes it the perfect take-along...a few rows each subway trip = accumulated progress!

...A few things from my knitting life this week. What are you up to?


Shhhhh! Don't Tell!

I told Darling Daughter I'd finish her mitts before working on the Headband Number One Son "ordered". 

I've worked on the mitts but I'm having dinner with Number One Son tonight before the DKC meeting and want to give him the headband then.



If my plan is to be spontaneous with knitting and frankly life in general this year, this past weekend put that assertion to the test!

As Darling Daughter and I headed out to walk Hudson Saturday morning I was looking forward to a weekend of painting the bedroom (My Beloved's away - easier to do it with only me to relocate for sleeping!) and working on Ranger...

So keen was I to get started I skipped the stretching after we got home (Truth be told I'd been skipping that part after every run all week) As I started emptying the room  I reached up to grab something prompting an already super tight knot in my shoulder to go into spasm.

No amount of stretching, kneading or even topical medication helped. I'm sufficiently familiar with this scenario to know - 'just have to wait until the spasm eases and the only way to get that to happen is to rest the affected area so it can relax. Applying heat helps a bit but only if applied while resting the limb.

So no paint prep, no painting, no knitting! A lovely red wine and the Scrabble Board were called into action though!

Sunday things were a bit better but not enough to knit. Then the kids and got our long overdue flu shot which made my other arm/shoulder ache.

Meanwhile Number One Son, on the strength of the very positive response he's getting at school to his Navy and White Twined Mittens put in a request for a headband like mine, prompting Darling Daughter to point out she's still waiting on her Twined mitts so she hoped I wasn't going to start a second item for him before her first item is done!

My goodness I am not used to having my knitting so popular around here!

A thorough and very painful stretch after yesterday morning's run yielded pain free shoulders/arms but Ranger stayed in the basket, Darling Daughter's mitts received some overdue attention and plans for the headband were hatched.

The bedroom remains as it was prior to My Beloved's departure.

No more spontaneously deciding to forgo stretching. I can see this "going where my whims take me" is going to be harder to embrace than I thought!

Thanks for dropping by!


Twined "Thank You" Mitts for Her FO

Pattern: Twined Knitting Mittens
Yarns: Berroco Ultra Alpaca, Berroco Vintage Dk
Colours: 6291 and 2194
Needles: 3mm
Start: December 16 Finish: December 29, 2012
Modifications: Mixed Worsted Yarn with DK and Wool/Alpaca with Acrylic/Wool/Nylon

My oh my I am just thrilled with these little wee tone on tone lovlies!

All caught up in selecting colours in the shop I made a mistake, purchased and started these with two different weights of yarn - a DK and a Worsted and two different fiber combinations (as above).  Too late to change things it but it all worked out in the end.

The pattern is also a mixture of a traditional stranded colour work "peek-a-boo" cuff with a twined design for the thumb and body of the mitt.

The halo of the alpaca along with the tonal variance of the colours yielded a soft, sweet, feminine result without the "edge" of a strongly contrasting, graphic version.

I'd also like to hope the combination of Alpaca in the one yarn with the synthetics in the other will help these  stretch to accommodate the wearer but not so far as to become sloppy.

Happy coincidences all.

They're worked on 60 stitches just like the men's large in Briggs and Little Regal. With finer yarn and needles the diminutive result are suited to the petite woman for whom they were stitched. 

All the gushing aside, 'have to admit I'm glad these are done and ready for mailing but I'm suitably impressed I'll likely revisit this concept again in the future.


Twined "Thank You" Finger Mitts for Him

Pattern: Mrs. Martin's Finger Mitts
Technique: Twined Knitting
Source: Flying Geese and Partridge Feet
Colour: "Fir Green"
Source: Romni Wools
Needles: 4mm
Start: November 26 Finish: December 14, 2012
Modifications: Worked Index Finger further up Hand to facilitate moving finger more easily into body of mitt

These were a bit of an epic effort. Working and reworking the shaping meant two strands of woolly, grabby sometimes hopelessly entwined wool. and quite a bit of time spent atop the staircase as a twirling mitten dangled down to the basement to free one working strand from the other. 

This tough workhorse yarn on relatively small needles was also hard on the hands and neck but the finished mitt is a perfect work glove so worth the bit of struggle.

On the word of My Beloved - someone who wears out work gloves and mitts on an annual basis so he knows of what he speaks - I made the index finger start a bit later than you might find it on a glove. The thought being its nice to have the function of a separate finger but also ease of shifting it into company with the others for warmth when added dexterity isn't required.

The top of the mitts' shaping is neither symmetrical nor pointed. Rather shaping beside the finger started two rows later than those beside the pinkie with the mitten tip closed by grafting the last 16 stitches rather than threading them together.

All this makes room for warm air, comfort for both tall and short fingers on the hand and a mitt that will fit without being sloppy and therefore difficult to wear when working.

In the end I hope these will be useful to the recipient. I also desperately hope he doesn't have massive hands that we've somehow never noticed in the twenty-odd years we've known him!

Fingers crossed (or uncrossed - that's the beauty of these mitts! ;) )

Thanks for dropping by!

P.S. If you missed the post (and you care!) where the "Thank You"  part for these is explained...its here 



...don't have any.




...a million and a half

2013's gonna be GRAND! 

Fuelled in part by a few recent knitting acquisitions...

A copy of  The Principles of Knitting - a Christmas Gift from (very!) Darling Daughter. What an interesting stance the author takes...essentially even experienced knitters best read the thing cover to cover. Her assertion being if you cherry pick the book for "how to"'s you'll miss the opportunity her comprehensive explanations provide to refine and improve your technique through a thorough understanding of the craft.

At 650 pages of instructional text before the 60 page appendix that's a whole lot of understanding...I'm intrigued...no promises but I'm going to try actually reading it! I've really no excuse not to - I even have these clever Christmas tags my cousin made to use as book marks!...

There was a printed pattern for Jared Flood's Guernsey Wrap was under the tree for me from My Beloved. I was loath to buy this - thinking instead I could just figure it out myself - 'feels like a luxury to have it here in my hands on paper and ready to shop for yarn!

This magical stuff...'picked up at Lettuce Knit on a two hour, three LYS, tour downtown and back. (No lingering to look at yarn that day!) It looks exactly like highlighter when applied but movable and (so far), unlikely to be knocked off the page as can happen with post it notes.

And suddenly there is yarn aplenty around here too!

In his innocence about knitting and using his own hard earned $$ to buy Christmas Gifts solo, Number One Son bought his mother some very extravagant skeins for Christmas...

Cream Illimani Baby Llama and Silk...'thinking Jared's :"Ptarmigan" . This one in particular!

Zen Garden Superwash Worsted in "Fire Red"...The yardage is tight but I'm going to try to stretch it into a pair of "Detour Mitts" by Rebecca Blair.

2 skeins "Black Pearl" Zen Garden Serenity Worsted...I plan to knit the "Amerind Cowl" by Sarah Wilson once the pattern's out in February. When I saw the price of this stuff at Lettuce Knit  hand written on the label I thought it was a reference to the dye lot!  One skein cost as much as I paid at Romni for all the yarn plus two insurance balls to make a "Deco" cardigan!

...The yarn for which I now finally have on hand...

Its pure wool, sport weight "Tove" by Sandnesgarn. The colour and wooley wool texture is what I've been trying to source for a couple of years! It feels scratchy and unrefined. The really cool looking young knitting whizzes behind the counter at Romni complemented me on my purchase - especially since they had to order it in specially - 'said I had a good eye for great yarn and by the way had I noticed they now carry the whole line of Briggs and Little? As the saying goes, "Everything old is new again"!

Meanwhile I've been working away at swatch/sleeves for My Beloved's Ranger.

My own recent "memo to self" about "tension" has come in handy.  Working several pairs of Twined Mittens in a row and hosting an insane number of big dinners over the holidays seems to have replaced "gauge" with straight up "tension" in my hands, and so, on my needles. I've moved from 5mm up to to 7mm (trying all the sizes in between) in search of approaching gauge. I may finally have it but if the 7's won't do it I'll next try knitting with my looser Continental technique.

A Sweater on the needles, yummy wee projects ahead, two more cardi yarn/pattern combos waiting in the wings and many hundreds of pages of knitting reading...See what I mean? Doesn't it all just seem GRAND?

As I try to catch up with blog reading missed over the holiday I'm sensing many knitters out there are feeling as good about their 2013 knitting prospects as I am. 'Hope you're among them! Thanks for dropping by.  


2012 Knitting Tally

15 FO's

3 Rectangles
Remnant Baby Blanket

EZ February Shawl

1 Simple Tube...
Eyelet Cowl

5 Modified Tubes...
University Socks

1 Hat
Tweed Beret

And...5 Sweaters

Much of this knitting was done with a blur of unpleasant thoughts, feelings and events crowding my mind. Much of it done bedside or in hospital waiting rooms in the presence of heroic care and compassion from medical professionals matched by the heroism of suffering patients and the families around them. Even more of it was accomplished in the wake of Wakes and Funerals.

2012 was painful but inspiring. There were many milestones; good and difficult. Whatever came my way many around me, most especially My Beloved Husband and children were spectacular. I learned so much about living not only for the moment but fully in the moment.

Often that is all that matters.  Sometimes that is all we have.

Through it all, yarn and needles reminded this knitter - one little step (or stitch!) at a time - and watch the tension!

Happy New Year!
And bring on 2013!