Saturday, July 25, 2009


First, an update on the shawl. Thank you to everyone who weighed in with their opinions on fixing the color. I read all the comments, did further research on the internet, and I have come to the conclusion that it's not worth the effort to try and whiten this fiber. I don't want to ruin the lofty softness of the mohair and I believe that the yellow color is caused by a change in the fiber itself, not dirt or oil.

The point is moot because I have yet to finish the first half of the edging. The Irtfa'a pattern started off a bit tricksy, lulled me with peaceful knitting in the middle, and is now keeping me on the edge of my seat with the edging. But it's lovely to see it come off the needles. There's a generous wingspan and a fabric that floats on the breeze. This shawl is going to be a treasure.

And speaking of treasures, today I watched a video called The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters and it helped me rediscover one of Canada's national treasures. The movie let the native knitters tell their story in their own words, as they washed wool, carded, spun and knit. It was fascinating to watch these women work so swiftly with what seemed to me to be very chunky tools. For example, the spindle's whorl was the size of a dinner plate. Other juicy tidbits included an ancient carding machine, spinning machines made from an old treadle sewing-machine, and archive images of sweaters and knitters.

I tend to prefer fine gauge projects for their delicate details and in the past I had dismissed the Cowichan sweaters as being clumsy and kitschy, but this film has changed my mind. The women showed true artistry in their pattern placement, innovations and adaptability. I was astonished by the garments and moved by the stories of hardship. For many of these women, knitting was all that kept their families from starving. There is so much more to Cowichan sweaters than I had ever imagined!

In doing some research for writing this, I discovered there's been some talk about Canadian athletes wearing Cowichan sweaters at the winter Olympics. This gives me the idea that it might be fun to knit a Cowichan-inspired sweater during the Olympics. Here's a link for a free pattern written by a Salish native, Marjorie Peters, as a replica of the ones she knit for Charles and Diana when they were married. Or it would be pretty simple to knit a toque.

If you're in Canada, go borrow The Story of the Coast Salish Knitters from your local library.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Oh Boy!

This week our new neighbours moved in next door. They seem like nice people and Dexter has been very interested as they have two dogs. But the extremely curious thing about them is what they have done with the pool. Tuesday night we went to sleep to the sound of water splashing into the pool as it started to fill. Our bedroom window looks right over their backyard, so when I woke up I checked to see how much it had filled. Boy did I get a shock! There were fish in the pool! Huge Koi. I've counted more than 10. I really like them. I peek often to see them doing laps or flipping their fins.

Sorry the picture's not so great, but it was taken through the bedroom window.

I've no interesting knitting photos either. Lace on the needles always looks the same. I've been really enjoying this project, staying true to it all week.

As I near the end I'm beginning to get excited about the finished product. I'm curious about how big it will be, and how lofty the fabric will end up.

In natural light the yarn, which is a mohair and silk blend, is a yellowish cream, but I thought it was more of a white. I was thinking of trying to dew bleach it to whiten it after re-reading Anne's House of Dreams. But a little internet research has persuaded me not to. Apparently, it's the damp and sunlight that will cause the white wool to go yellow and damp and sunlight are the whole premise of dew bleaching.

I guess my choices are to live with the yellowed color, or try hydrogen peroxide. I'm not keen on either of those. Ideas, anyone?

Friday, July 10, 2009

Good Vacation

You know you've had a fun time when the back of the car looks like this coming home:

We took the boys to Bingemans for the day and it was great! Not too busy plus new slides equals tons of fun. I got to test drive my new Monteagle string bag:

I finished this project a few weeks back and it's much more fun to use than it is to knit. Stylish looking too. It's worth the process to get this product.

Also this week, we made sour cherry jam:

There's nothing better than homemade jam made from fruit you picked off the tree that day! I'll be enjoying a taste of summer all winter long.

I've declared these last two weekend days of my vacation to be time to wrap up a few chores, such as wash a stinky dog, relax, and knit. The only thing I finished knitting on vacation was some traveling socks for Luke. I think he likes them. I like the contrasting toes.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Busy Relaxing

I've been on vacation the past week. Or I should say, a STAYcation. It's been an incredibly busy week. We've had two family gatherings already, with another one today. Yesterday we had a family fun night at the Palasad, which I managed to get at half-price through coupons and deals. There's been trips to the library and video store, and so lots of books to read, games to play and movies to watch. There's been long dog walks, a bunch of baking and even some stewed cherries from my mom's sour cherry tree. Lucky me, I get to do it again next week!

I even took a break from the knitting at first. I struggled with finding a project to work on. Two different sock projects have been scrapped and abandoned. This Norwegian sock is too tight for Jim to pull on:

I had started with the recommended needle size, thought the result looked too loose and so I went down a needle. Stupid me! All that work and now it's time to frog.

Honestly, I don't think the Briggs and Little sport works well for color work. Too rustic. I have four skeins, in three shades of blue and a white, that I think might work better in a shawl or blanket.

Then there's the almost completed Cat Bordhi sock:

It fits, but it bugs me. I don't like the pattern, design style, stitch.... but I love the yarn. It deserves to be something better.

I bought New Pathways for Sock Knitters thinking it would broaden my sock horizons, but it just doesn't work for me. Something about the designs and the way they are presented to the knitter just goes against the grain for me. I know a lot of people really like Cat Bordhi's designs and so I think this book should go somewhere it would be appreciated, so it's up for trade. Anyone interested?

Eventually I did settle in on a knit project, Anne Hanson's Irtfa'a worked in a mohair silk blend. While the start was complicated, I'm already into the second lace motif and finding it to be a fun knit. Anne's Bee Fields Triangle shawl was much more difficult to work.