Friday, December 18, 2009

Pride goeth before the fall

I only have myself to blame. But that doesn't make me any less exhausted.

I prided myself on minimizing the amount of Christmas knitting I had planned. While all my knitterly friends were frantically finishing mitts, hats and socks, I thought I was finished.

Then, last week I remembered about the dreaded 'teachers gift'. Being the 42nd person to hand over a "Number 1 Teacher" mug wasn't the best idea, not if I didn't want my kid to fail JK. So, when I heard my daughter's teacher, Mrs. H, talking about how her hands were so small she usually bought kid sized gloves, I was struck by inspiration. Fetching was the answer! Short, sweet, beautiful and practical. And fast. Did I mention fast?

I picked out a skein (color: North Sea) of one of my all-time favorite yarns, Alpaca with a Twist, Highlander, and went to work. The Highlander, which is a blend of alpaca, wool and microfiber, is so exquisitely soft that the finished objective is almost secondary to just feeling the Highlander slip through your fingers as you knit.

All but the 2nd thumb was finished by Monday. Ha! Take that Christmas Knitting!

Remember all that pride go-ething before the fall? Yesterday I remember the teacher's assistant in the class. Drat! I needed a second pair of Fetchings. After some misadventure finishing up the 2nd glove yesterday (cabled in the wrong direction, frogged, reknit, forgot the thumb hole, frogged, reknit), I cast on for a second pair of gloves in Blackthorne. I think the ladies at my Thursday night Sit 'n Knit were actually placing bets on whether I'd finish them in time.

Cast on: 7 pm.
Each glove: takes a tad over 2 hours.
Last school day starts: 9 a.m.

Staying up till 3 a.m. to finish Christmas knitting for teachers: priceless and exhausting.

Excuse me. I need to go take a nap...

PS. No, I didn't even get a chance to take a picture, but they look like this other pair I made last winter.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Chicken or the egg?

You never think it’s going to happen to you. Sure, other people maybe. But you’re organized. You’ve got a system. You don’t have a problem; you have it all under control.

And then it happens. You lose a WIP (work in progress). Well, not you. Me. I’ve been on a bit of a sock bender lately. There’s the socks I was inspired to design after picking up some exquisite deep purple Handmaiden Casbah sock yarn. And its mate that I test knitted in a spring-like shade of green. A week or so ago I was bored and needed a simple project for the waiting room of my doctor’s office. So I started a Zauberball sock. Not 2 days ago, a colorful ball of Opal Zwerger Garn caught my eye, causing me to wonder how it would knit up.

But as I ripped skeins of yarn out of their shelves last night, I was searching for none other than the delightfully soft, appropriately blue-green flecked Diamond Luxury sock yarn (in color Nile) I’d shaped into one half of Cookie A.’s Pomatomus. No one I’ve met can pronounce the word, which is the genus of the blue fish. So in Ravelry, I called these my Hippotamus socks – close enough and much easier to pronounce.

Did I lose my Hippos because I have too many WIPs? Or do I have too many WIPs because my stash is too big? Chicken or the egg?

So now, I’m searching for my Hippopotamus. The first artist’s rendering produced looked like this:


I sent her back to the drawing board, where she produced this:


Sigh. I can only imagine that my Hippopotamus is lurking somewhere, barely visible within the warm, wooly confines of my oversized stash. Kinda like this:


Having a nap perhaps?


I just hope that there hasn’t been some “life-on-the-Savannah, survival-of-the-fittest” fight to the death happening in my stash.

hippofight  hippolions

Who do you think would win? The Hippopotamus or the Malabrigo? Maybe that ball of eyelash yarn hiding in the bottom draw – I never can seem to get rid of that stuff.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Rainbows in November

I finished these socks a couple weeks ago, so when my camera reappeared and the sun came out, it was time to share some November rainbows with you.

These socks were knit with Noro Silk Garden Sock yarn and were a wonderful lesson to just go with the flow and accept their fraternal-ness. I normally go for the understated when it comes to socks. Grey, black or white. Knitting, however,  has changed that. Why wear grey or black when you can have some hand knit goodness on your toes? And what a better way to cheer up a dreary month like November than to add some color to your feet!


Sock details:
Noro Silk Garden Sock, on 3.5mm needles, knit top down.
2x2 rib for the cuff then 3x1 rib for the legs, continuing the ribbing down through the feet. I used the knit1, slip1 method for the heel flap, which is one of my favorite methods. I typically weigh my sock yarn before I start and then allocate 25% to the leg, then when I’m within a few grams of that 25%, begin the heel flap.

And then there’s the Noro scarf which I’m working on.

noroscarf noroscarf1  

I picked up a ball of grey-brown, black and grey Noro and alternated it in a 1x1 ribbing with a very colorful Noro in my stash. Everyone who sees it is enthralled with the way the colors transition. Only we knitters know it’s Noro that does all the work.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Delayed gratification

Talk about the opposite of instant gratification. Out of the blue, Suzy put on the Robin Hood jacket (by Zoe Mellor) that I made for her umpteen (er...3) years ago. Jacket details are posted on Ravely.

It was one of the first few projects I ever did after learning to knit (wanted to teach myself cables), made out of Walmart acrylic. It's apparently a size 2 but still fits her, except for being maybe a tad too short.

I'm trying not to get excited. She never wears what I make for her. But she's had it on for 20 minutes now. Validation! Victory!

But sweetie, I'm still not knitting for you anymore, at least not till you can appreciate it.< /div>

Friday, November 20, 2009

Absence makes the yarn grow fonder...

Or something like that.

I got all caught up in the whole summer experience and neglected all things bloggy. But I'm back. Part of the problem was that we lost our camera, so I couldn't take yummy photos of my WIPs and FOs. Then we found the camera, and now it's lost again. I think it's playing hide and seek.

I'll have to hunt it down, because I finished the Rona shawl, which turned out just as breathtaking as I imagined. It was a tough one to block, but worth the effort. And I also need to show off my Every Way Wrap from the Fall Interweave Knits. And I totally amused my knitterly friends at the local Sit 'n Knit night with my Fish Hat, Dead or Alive from The fun part was creating a matching set of mittens. The pattern for those will be coming soon.

Just some highlights for now. I'll be back regularly with photos to share what I've been up to.

Monday, July 6, 2009


A few weekends ago I had the standard knitters' dilemna: what to take with me for a weekend away. We were going up to the in-laws for 2 days, including a 3 hr drive each way - knitters heaven! I ended up packing some Handmaiden sea silk that I wanted to use for the Vogue drop stitch scarf. I also decided on starting some socks, the ultimate in portable knitting. I think I showed perfect restraint by only packing 2 projects for my 2 day visit.

To my delight, there is a wonderful little yarn store in Owen Sound. It had a few gems, brands I haven't seen locally and a couple colors of Mission Falls cotton I had been looking for. I may have to visit the in-laws more often so I can visit the shop again!

I found some time here and there to knit. But as I worked on the drop stitch scarf I wasn't particularly enjoying how the colorway was knitting up. The yarn is dyed a beautiful blue/turquoise/green/gold. Unfortunately the colors weren't pooling in any manner whatsoever, so it just seemed like a hodge podge of conflicting colors.

After investing a couple hours, I wrestled with deciding whether I should rip back and see whether a different gauge or width would change things. I ripped it. Then I realized I didn't have a bigger needle to cast on a second time.

Then I looked to the sock yarn to satisfy my yarn craving. The pattern was for toe up in a method I hadn't done before. Foiled again! No instructions. :(

So there I was with beautiful yummy yarn and nothing I could knit. I felt so helpless. So frustrated. So....unfair!

Of course, this made it easier for me to offer to do the driving on the way home so hubby could rest.

Friday, June 26, 2009

New threat to my stash

They don't look very dangerous (except to chicken and tuna), but with all their kitten energy, I'm sure I'll have an adventure or two to relate once they get better acquainted with my stash.

Meet the newest members to our family: Chewy and Crumb, 3 month old female tabbies.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh my word! I must try this.

I came across this piece of yumminess while reading a Ravelry friend's blog. Must try!
I've been working like crazy on my Rona shawl. I'm almost 2/3 of the way through - row 90 out of 153. Had a few near disasters...stitches falling off needles and the like, but Rona and I survived.

I'm really hoping that my Rona looks like the original Rona. All I can see right now is a big blob hanging off my needles.

In other news, I'm also working up a stuffed toy for Suzy. She saw the Gurumi kit on KnitPicks and repeatedly asked for the kitty kat. I'll have to get some pictures. I really like the Shine Sport yarn that came in the kit. It's very soft, yet strong. A knice (typo, but it stays) knit. It would make a nice summer cardi in a DK weight.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Handmaiden followed me home last week. The two skeins of "Smoke" practically threw themselves at me. Then, I got mugged by 4 skeins of Misti Alpaca. Don't let the soft smooshiness of the yarn fool you. That alpaca is tough!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Fibre floozy

I admit it. I've been fooling around lately. It's part of the reason I haven't been blogging. I've been ashamed of my behaviour. Maybe it's the spring air, the blue skies. Everything seems promising and new, and oh so tempting.

I've tried to stick to one project. But it's been impossible. I've had a toe-up cotton/wool magic loop sock cast on for ages. But I keep straying. For a while, I managed to commit myself to My Favorite Cardigan.

But after a couple weeks of dating, a sexy little Wanida caught my eye. Her lines and artistry intrigued me. Tempted me. I cast on. I even imagined I could make a long term commitment to her, so I bought some reinforcing yarn for her heels.

One weekend, left alone while my husband and child were out, I had a moment of weakness as I ran into an old flame. There it was, the block of the month blanket, preening itself and showing off its glorious colors. "Let's have a quickie," it whispered. "No commitment, no strings. Just finish off this block." Before I knew what was happening, mercerized cotton was zipping through my fingers and off my needles. In the warm afterglow of the last row of garter stitch border, we agreed to go our separate ways. But we'd definitely need to hook up again next month.

I ran back to Wanida, telling her my fling with the blanket had meant nothing. I spent a few repeats with her, admiring how her pattern was growing. She forgave me.

But oh, the lace! A fellow knitter piqued my interest by showing off all the lace she'd indulged in while down South. The yarn overs! The nupps! The post-blocking glow they both exhibited. The desire overwhelmed me.

So I dug up an old lace scarf I'd neglected. "Hey baby, I'm free tonight. Whaddya say we get together?" After a few rows I remembered why we'd split up. She felt so soft and silky, meriting her name: Silky Alpaca Lace. But she was finicky. A complex pattern that required constant attention. I enjoyed her, but couldn't relax around her.

And so the cycle, the downwards spiral continued. I picked up some silk and other treats at the Knitters Frolic. Kind of a singles club for knitters looking to hook up with new playmates. I dallied with them but couldn't commit to the long term. For a while, Rona stole my heart. I've even made it almost halfway through her.

I could go on. There are more shameful secrets to confess. But you see the problem. And to top it all off I've bought a couple Kama Sutras of lace making... Victorian Lace Today and Knitted Lace of Estonia. I can only imagine what dark path this will lead me.

So if you see me out and about with my cotton sock, please don't tell her about the others. I've finished one half of her and promised her I'll complete her mate soon. But first I need to put some handles on the market bag that's been hanging around for the last 2 weeks.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Resistance was futile

"I can resist anything but temptation." - Oscar Wilde

"The only way to get rid of a temptation is to give in to it." - Oscar Wilde

I bought the Rona lace shawl pattern and yarn. taps fingers, waiting for order from Knitpicks.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Lace love

I'm totally in love with the Rona Lace shawl from KnitPicks.* The full link is here. I love blue and something about this shawl just calls out to me. But realistically, I'm not a shawl person and I have about a bazillion WIPs and queued projects already. I'm so tempted to get the yarn for this project, but I know it'll just gather dust in my stash...

I'm showing such restraint......

*I didn't want to link to their photo and thus 'steal' bandwidth, so I've copied the photo here. It's KnitPicks photo, not mine so I hope I'm not breaking netiquette here in any way.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You know you knit too much when

You see a bluejay on your drive to work and think about one of your knitting friends who is a birdwatcher.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yarn: A mood enhancing drug

The last couple weeks have been busy. Busy at work and busy at home. I'm the kind of gal who needs a certain amount of time to myself to recharge my batteries, and I haven't been getting it lately.

The past couple Thursdays, I've debated whether I should even bother to attend my LYS's Sit 'n Knit. More people. More chatter. Not the quiet time I needed. That was just passing thought though, brought on by stress. The knitter in me knew that hanging out with my knitting crew was just what the doctor ordered to combat a case of stress-induced blues.

I started out the evening quietly, doing more listening than talking. But gradually I found myself laughing and chatting along with the rest of the ladies. And without fail, every Thursday night I walk out of my LYS wrapped up in the warmest feeling of camaraderie and contentment. That feeling is just so magical. To spend a couple hours of pure enjoyment with new friends in lively conversation, doing something we all are blindingly passionate about.

I love to knit because it is a relaxing and creative outlet.

I am grateful for the people has brought into my life.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Too much of a good thing

After my knit retreat (more about that in a later blog), I needed a bit of a break from knitting. Apparently you can have too much of a good thing. I'd tried to work on my Primavera socks while I was away, but couldn't bring myself to do it.

I found myself drawn to my mitred square blanket (MSB) instead. The MSB is a truly indulgent knit, which I often don't have time for at home. It requires me to pull out about 15 balls of the Noro Silk Garden and spread them out in a rainbow of colors. I'm being very careful to select just the right color placement, so it's not a quick knit project.

On my mini-vacation I hit up Sheepstrings and scored 10 balls of colorful Noro Silk Garden for my MSB. The 10 balls are all the same colorway, but after a moment's contemplation I realized I could wind some balls from the center and some from the outside, to vary the order of the colors. Then, with the scent of fresh Noro in my blood, I searched eBay and found a lot of 10 Silk Garden in complementary colors, which I promptly snapped up.

This blanket, when all is said and done, will have consumed at least 30-35 balls of Silk Garden. But I have a feeling this is an heirloom in the making.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Difficult decisions

Sunday I had to make some choices. Not quite life or death, but close to it for a die-hard knitter (no pun intended). What knitting projects should I bring with me on my knitting mini-vacation?

Overcome with work stress, I had booked 3 days off work and made reservations at one of my favorite lodges up North. My plan was to spend some solitary hours doing nothing but knit, relax, and let others cook for me. My hubby was all for it, especially since he'd been away at a work conference back in February. He knew I had some me-time coming to me.

So what knitting to bring? Like some, I have several WIPs, hopping from one to the next depending on mood and opportunity. Do I knit for my daughter? She's been asking for a doll, a gingerbread man and a ladybug. I'd also started a poncho for her, after discovering the perfect cotton for a pattern I bought a year ago.

No, I decided that this was my retreat. My chance to knit the things I didn't get around to at home for various reasons. The lace scarf that's been hibernating for months? No, too fiddly. I wanted to relax...

I knew I would pack too many projects, but I wanted to have options depending on my mood. After much debate, I decided to pack:
  • Suzy's poncho. Mother's guilt at leaving her made me promise that it would be done when I returned. And it was stockinette, a nice simple, relaxing knit.
  • the sock I'd started using Knitpick's Felici. This stuff is so soft and scrumptious. And the putty color I'd picked was knitting up beautifully in the Primavera pattern. Primavera is a 6 row repeat that's super easy to memorize. The Felici strips up perfectly, with each color taking up exactly 1 repeat of the pattern.
  • Some Knitpick's Essential sock yarn for a pattern I've been percolating in my mind.
  • My mitred square blanket which has been languishing in the back of my knitting queue. Again, a simple pattern but rich with color.
  • A pattern that I'm experimenting with. Shhhhh! It's a secret.
  • A few other bits and bobs.

So what would you bring with you for a knitting retreat?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Embossed Leaves for Caroline

I have one of the most precious gifts a person could have: a knit-worthy friend.

Caroline is truly one of the most giving, caring, kind and generous people I have ever met. She has literally given me the shirt off her back, simply because I admired it. (Granted, I've given her clothes too. But heck, one day I complimented her shirt, the next day it was wrapped up and sitting on my desk at work.)

Caroline is a person that others flock to instinctively. A typical weekend at her house will see a stream of visitors dropping by and an army of tweens and teens trooping in and out (she has a 10 yr old girl and 16 yr old boy). Everyone is greeted with a smile or hug in welcome. She doles out food and drink while keeping up a constant stream of happy conversation.

If anything could make me believe in a higher power, karma or what-not, it would be Caroline. The more she gives, the more she receives. She is one of the luckiest people I know. While she is perfectly content with what she has, she seems to always be the recipient of some beneficence.

To be around her is to be enveloped in a warm circle of friendship and happiness. She is wise with her counsel. Caroline has that rare gift of knowing when to offer advice and just how to phrase it in a positive and encouraging way. She has helped me through one of the roughest patches in my life. And I am eternally grateful to her for that.

So I struggled with the question of what to give Caroline for her birthday. She had recently gifted me with what I consider to be one of the best and most generous and thoughtful of birthday presents, on a day that I had desperately been in need of cheering up. What kind of present could demonstrate the gratitude I feel for having her in my life and show how important she is to me?

Socks, of course! But as any knitter knows, these aren't just socks. I could've just bought socks at Costco if I wanted to give her socks. These are hours and hours of my time spent making something. These are approximately 18,000 stitches and therefore 18,000 times I thought of her. These are 2 cozy pieces of wool, alpaca and nylon (for strength!) to keep her feet warm.

Happy Birthday Caroline, my most knit-worthy friend.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No half measures

I took to knitting the same way I tackled running when I decided to get into shape the year before my daughter was born. Full steam ahead.

That February I had decided to start running again. To motivate myself, I signed up for a 5K (3 miles) run in April. That way I'd be forced to get up early and hit the road for my training runs, if only to ensure I didn't embarass myself by taking 2 hours to complete the 5K.

I finished the 5K in 31 minutes - a personal record.

The endorphin high obviously flipped the crazy switch in my brain. Before I knew it, I'd signed up for a half-marathon in September. That gave me 6 months to go from running 5K to running 21K (3 miles to 13.1 miles). Never mind the special project I'd been assigned at work, that would occupy me for 2 months (June/July). Never mind the vacation to Scotland we planned at the last minute. Never mind the new job at work, which required tons of overtime.

In the end, I managed to complete only half my training runs - although I never missed one of my long runs (except the week I was in Scotland). Yet somehow, I ran that half-marathon. I not only ran it - I finished the sucker in a better than expected time! 2hrs 22min and some-odd seconds. And afterward no hobbling, no sore muscles. I felt great. Accomplished. Proud.

Same thing with knitting. After finishing the baby cap, which was our knitting class project, I tackled a garter stitch baby hat and scarf. Unsatisfied and unchallenged, I set my sites on something that would test my skills.

A 2'x6' shawl made up of 3 distinct patterns.

That shawl was my half-marathon of knitting. I started out a little uncertain, gained confidence in the middle stretch after getting warmed up, and in the final stretch felt it would never end. But I did finish, the same way I finished the race: one stitch (step) at a time.

After I wove in the final piece of yarn, I felt great.

It all began so innocently

In October 2006, I took a 6 week course at my local library. It was geared at teaching tweens and teens the basics of knitting, but anyone was welcome to join. My daughter was 15 months old. I'd recently gone back to work. And I desperately needed a few hours a week out of the house.

I honestly didn't think it was something I'd enjoy. But the price was right - free. The library was a short 2 minute drive from home. So I signed up. As with all beginners, I was all thumbs for the first few classes. But then I caught on.

And I fell in love.