Wednesday, February 28, 2007


On the weekend, I enjoyed an intense knitting session with my Oregon Vest. Afterwards, I was left with a taste for lace, and since I intend to savor my beautiful project, I indulged. Since it had to be a small project, I cast on Nancy Bush's Birch Leaf socks from the Gathering of Lace. Then I had an intense session of knitting lace:

Perhaps I'm just intense these days.

It was fun, but I have a problem and I'm prepared to rip. Just look at how tight the sock is over the instep:

My Monday night sisters-in-string all told me that it's fine, not to worry, they're beautiful socks. Well, yes, but I'm not satisfied! The problem is the pattern is written for a ladies size medium. I have rarely ever been a medium in my whole life and so I went up a needle size to a 2.25mm. This gave a looser fabric which made me concerned about wear, so I went down to a 2mm needle on the heel. Look at the difference this makes:

See how much more the green heel pulls in? The other problem is that the green socks use a band heel where you can see that the orange heel is the more common, wedged-shaped version. A band heel is narrow and has a very short gusset.

To fix this, first I'll rip. Then, I'll knit the heel on the 2.25 mm needle and use the common heel turn. But not tonight. Tonight's knitting is for savoring the Oregon Vest. Intensely.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Glorious Sunshine!

I can feel the sun return. It shines in my eyes on the way home from work. Even though we are having freezing temperatures in London, the warmth of the sun is slowly melting the snow from roofs and driveways.

Saturday sunshine is perfect for taking pictures and here's my sunbathing beauty:

Time for a close-up:

Click the picture for intimate details.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Construction Clarification

Pat, Maia, this one's for you:

This is the same shot as last time (good greif! Was it only two days ago?) What we have here, is that I've picked up the stitches all around the hole and I've started knitting in. There are a couple of rows where you decrease all the way around and there is some shaping going on in the bottom, just as for a regular sleeve. This picture shows you the back and the right sleeve, so the inside is face down on the floor. It's not really representative of how you would wear it.

And here's what it looks like in a normal wear pose:

Except I should have folded the left-side band to the front too. Notice that the t-bar is reverse stockinette now? That's the inside. I hope this clears things up a bit.

Anne, I'm immensely enjoying this knit. I like the way the stripes of color are changing because of the design. It is my relaxation knitting when I'm too tired to think, and it is seriously entertaining. I'm not sure if it will fit me and I don't care! I'm just having some fun.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Zoom zoom

Knitting this felt like knitting a race track for Hot Wheels.

I bought this Noro Silk Garden for my birthday back in November and I've been dreaming dreams and scheming schemes of what to do with it ever since. I even bought a Noro book which helped me get some ideas. For one, it let me know that I probably didn't have enough yarn for the sweater of my dreams. For another, I learned that some of the Noro yarns are pretty much interchangeable.

Then this weekend, I was up at 5 on Saturday morning, I reached for a back issue of Knitters and the page fell open to this.

I had the right yardage, the Silk Garden would substitute so I cast on with the recommended needle size. But then, I ripped the cast-on off and switched needles because I wanted to knit with my Addi Turbos, even though they were a different size. Ordinarily, this should be a recipe for disaster, but I actually got gauge. If I had continued with my first pick needles I would have had to start over anyway! Weird, huh?

Everything about this project is weird. Dolmen sleeves. Huh. I have a theory that the Silk Garden will be very drapey and mitigate the fullness of the dolmen sleeve. That, and the fact that I have some front acreage that needs coverage, if you get my meaning-age.

Sunday, February 18, 2007


It's snowing again here in London Ontario, Canada. Here's the view from my knitting room this fine Sunday morning:

I'm not complaining. We had a green Christmas and warm weather through most of January. These past few weeks of snowy weather have made it a real winter and have given me a sense of anticipation for spring.

Last night, I washed the sweaters, so we have accumulations of a different kind inside the knitting room:

Do you see the magazine and yarn in the lower right corner? I started that pattern Saturday morning. I needed a heavier gauge project to work on because knitting socks has given me some sort of deep bruise or blood blister on the joint of one of my fingers. And I needed something simple that could be a break away from the Oregon vest.

Yes, I've ripped back the offending rows and have almost re-knit them back properly. It looks better. I studied the picture and the way Alice has put the colors together makes sense to me now. I doubt I'll make the same mistake again. It was a pleasure to come back to this project. Even with the pain of ripping. The colors are so rich, the fabric so light and soft. I'm very much looking forward to actually being able to wear this garment.

I think often of how my knitting hobby represents a tangible accumulation of the hours of my life and the effort of my hands. My work life creates digital accumulations that only a few people could appreciate, and I don't often see or hear of someone using the results of my labour. The contrast between my paid work and leisure work adds extra poignancy to tactile nature of my knits.

But on the other hand, I want my knits to be used and enjoyed, which ultimately means they will get worn and even worn out. Like winter snows, my knits will fade away. Perhaps some day, I should create an heirloom piece, something that can be passed down to future generations.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Socks and Stitches

I hate knitting to a deadline. To conquer the inevitable sense of doom that comes from a deadline, I work to finish my project so early that I never feel like I won't make it. I started these socks Friday night:

Specs over at Flickr.

My mother-in-law's birthday is February 20th. Lots of time to spare! Now, perhaps, I can get back to the Oregon Vest. I'm still in limbo over the need to rip since I haven't yet triple checked my work.

A new, and interesting, resource on the internet is The Walker Treasury Project. Here's what it's about:
We're gathering high-quality, color photos of all the patterns in all the Treasury books (including Mosaic Knitting) and putting them on the internet as a visual aide to this wonderful collection.
The only caveat is that the actual instructions for the stitch can't be posted because of copyright infringement. But I can find Barbara Walker's books at my local library, and maybe you can too.

I love to collect stitch dictionaries. I own:
I like them all, all for different reasons. I aspire to collect Nicky Epstein's Knitting on the Edge. It is astounding how many patterns knitters have created over the years, and yet there are still more to be discovered. Yet ultimately, every bit of it comes down to the warmth and comfort that can be found in a simple pair of socks.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Principles of Loving

More than anything else, we want to love and be loved.
Love is a gift.
Love is not time bound.
Love is good will in action.
Love is a response to need.

Excerpt from Love is an Intention, an interview with Jerry Judd, one of the founders of Shalom Mountain:
Love is the basic driving force of the universe. To love is to live. It's only a difference between an "i" and an "o" there. I believe that our calling is to learn to love ourselves, others and the spirit.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Slow-down Sunday

So, are you hungry for a big, juicy post? It didn't take long for the muse to strike again. This is a nice slow Sunday post, so grab a coffee, send the kids outside to play, and I hope you'll enjoy.

Look what came in the mail for me on Friday:

Three soft, cushy and fat skeins of handspun from Maia. Why you ask? Because Maia is generous and thoughtful. So here's a big thank you to Maia. Mwha! Virtual hugs and kisses to you.

Maia also sent along some wonderful compliments to me that I greatly appreciated. I firmly believe that we must give positive feedback when we see someone doing something we like and I try to practice this where ever I can. For my children, it means telling them I noticed that they've hung their towels, or that I admired the way they handled themselves in a difficult situation. So for Maia to give me some of that sort of positive feedback means a lot to me.

There was some beautiful sunlight Saturday morning, so I took a picture of the Oregon Vest for you.

Last night, Jim rented a movie, and I went to town on this baby. I'd almost finished up a full tree motif when it happened. I had to add a new color, Selkie, and I realized that I was already knitting with it. Disaster! Double check. Yep, it appears that I've mixed up Selkie with Kelpie. I gently put the vest down and knit it no more. I'm going to wait till the cold light of day to triple check this one. I knew I didn't like those names!

Since the yarn is so frugally parceled out, and since it is a Starmore design, a mistake like this means ripping. I contemplated leaving it, since the design is okay, it's just the back ground colors are juxtaposed. But then I might run out of yarn, and that won't do! And since the colors are so finicky, it means ripping and replacing each color one at a time. No happy ripping with the ball winder. This will be more like a reclamation project. Jeeze!

An explosion of sock projects happened when I wasn't looking.

I thought I was going to wait a while for the yarn for the Oregon vest to arrive so I started a sock for my husband using the brown St. Ives and Nancy Bush's Gentleman's Sock for evening wear, from Knitting Vintage Socks. But the yarn came soon, and the sock is long, so it languishes. But look Anne! my man will wear lace too! He chose this pattern from the book. Personally, I don't care for it much. I don't know why, so please don't ask.

The Gentleman's sock is a little fancy and I needed something plain to knit for when I have no mental energy for patterns. So I started the blue sock. Then my mother-in-law called me on Friday to see how I was doing. She commented on how much she's enjoying the socks I gave her for Christmas and I realized that I only had a little while to knit up socks for her birthday (10 days left now). And that led to the third sock in the photo which is STR Granite. Mom likes a loose sock that she can get over her ankle, so I thought a nice picot hem sock would do the trick. I'll bet she's never felt a sock so warm and cushy as this.

I don't write down what I'm doing when I create plain socks out of my head. Instead I read my knitting when it comes time to knit the second one. I'll count stitches, examine for decreases, or guess. It's just two socks. They go in your shoes. I don't care if they don't exactly match!

By now, I'm guessing your coffee is done and the kids are probably clamoring for a snack. It was nice catching up with you. Bye till next time!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Not for me

For the past little while, I've tried writing a post every day and I've decided it's not for me. I think I'd rather go for quality over quantity, and write when the muse moves me. I hope you agree, dear reader, because this is me, not writing a post.

See ya later, alligator!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Feelings and Fibers

Tonight I went to the local library for a special knitting group called Feelings and Fibers.
I started a very spontaneous sort of free-form wrap that is a lovely contrast to the structure and discipline of my current project. Here's the yarns I brought with me to work with:

This was our first night, so I don't have much to report, but I'm sure there will be interesting things forthcoming....

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Complex Personality

How picky are you about color? My only criteria is that it be beautiful. I chose the Autumn color way for my Oregon vest based on this image:

Here's what my knitting looks like under florescent lights, with no camera flash:

The above image is pretty true to the actual colors. They look like something you'd see in an old tapestry or rug. Very rich, but deep and dark. The pattern card at the top of the picture shows the colors as much brighter than both the web image and my knitting. It was a mystery to me how there could be such a difference, until I took a picture using my camera's flash:

Now the colors are starting to match up.

It's interesting, isn't it? I'm not disappointed in the least. This vest shows different shades for different circumstances and I think each is suited to the situation: deep colors under dark lighting, brilliant colors for brilliant lighting. I'm anxious to see what it looks like in full, natural light. It has personality, this vest.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Grandma's Knitting

My co-worker greeted me this morning with "I was talking about you this weekend."

"Uh oh!" says I, "To anyone I know?"

"Nope," he replied, "One my buddies asked me if I know anyone who knits. Ordinarily, I'd have to say no...."

I laughed because he shares his hockey stories with me, and I share my knitting tales with him. "So why was your friend asking?"

"Well, he has a pair of gloves and a hat with a hockey logo that his Grandma knit for him and they're wearing out."

"And his grandma has passed?" I asked.

"Yeah. And he'd like to replace them."

How sweet! I handed my co-worker my card, and quoted a low price. Truthfully, I'd be privileged to carry on the tradition of such well-loved grandmotherly knitting.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Moving into Oregon

All credit for the cleverness of the Spiral Yoke sweater go to Meg Swanson and credit for the appropriate yarn selection goes to my husband. It's almost like the sweater was their offspring and I was merely the midwife. Oh now, that's just weird.

I'm curious as to how the Patons SWS will hold up to wear. I think I've already seen a bit of fuzzing up happening on Jim's shoulders. Remind me to post a update on this topic in the spring.

I'm well on my way with my Oregon vest, past the ribbing and into the leaf at the bottom. I'm really enjoying this knit. The yarn is soft, and I just can't get over the colors. They they blend so gently in the purl section of the ribbing, that you'd never know there are 4 or 5 colors there. I've got my post-it note going along in my chart and it hides what's to come next giving me a surprise at the end of the row. Every time a new color is added, the knit feels different. Isn't it funny, to get a feeling from just pieces of colored string?

Saturday, February 03, 2007

How to Make Your Man Happy

(Hey you! Get your mind out of the gutter over there! )

I knit my man a sweater and is he ever happy. Check it out:

He likes the long sleeves with snug wrists that keep his arms warm. He likes the longish body that doesn't ride up when he sits down. I think the short rows help with that:

The blue band right below the traveling stitches is short rows. (He's got a cute back-end, eh?)

He likes the spiral on the yoke:

I like the fact that there is no hole at the end of my grafting.

Jim and I were out and about this morning. It's really cold. With the wind chill, it feels like -20°C. But this sweater kept him warm and comfy. I just love making my man happy!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Personal Poetry

Second Annual St. Brigid Silent Poetry Reading

The following are personal poems that I wrote a couple of years ago.

Black birds swoop down from the sky,
sweep up to the roof.
A collection of words,
they tell their tale to the wind.
Freedom bound,

This bit of a bit of prose-poetry:

Pieces of myself are like bits of colored glass, buried in the muck.
I am finding the pieces, washing them clean and trying to find out
where they fit into the window of my soul.

Thursday, February 01, 2007


I've spent a good two hours tonight creating this:

It's a color card for my Oregon vest. Can you imagine how awful it would be if I lost track of which color is which? I shudder to think of it.

Each skien came with a beautiful little card attached to it that had its color name. As you can see, the names are very imaginative and poetic, but not necessarily descriptive. Red deer is red, which is good, but sea ivory is green which bad. Golden plover is golden (good), Erica is purple (bad). And don't get me started on Selkie versus Kelpie!

As I wound each skien I removed its little tag and attached it to a zip lock baggie, into which I placed the yarn cake. I've heard that it is not good to store wool in air tight bags, but as I intend to start this soonest, I don't think it will do any harm.

I found a Knit Along that I just had to join, Fair Isle February. Seems like fate doesn't it? Well, God is in the details and I'd like as much help with this project as I can get. A little divine intervention couldn't hurt.