Sunday, November 02, 2014

Mitten Immersion

It's been a super fantastic, wonderful weekend. I spent two and a half days at the Little Red Mitten learning about mittens from Beth Brown-Reinsel. 

Before the weekend, I put a hustle on the gloves and got them done in a record time of 12 days. I am so proud of them, I took several victory laps showing them off to all and sundry.

Look at the point pinky tip:

I'm already plotting and planning a pair for Jim. They yarn is picked, and now I'm on the hunt for the right motifs. 

But not this weekend. This weekend I did this:
And together the whole class did this:

And I also learned how to do twined knitting so now I've started to do this:

Which is like a whole brand new way to knit. It's twined knitting. I've tried it before, but Beth's teaching made it click and now I'm off and running.

Even gaining an extra hour today, from falling back to standard time, there still isn't enough time to do all the knitting I want to do. 

Friday, October 24, 2014

MItten Madness

Those Karbonz DPNs I bought at the Knitter's Fair last month are magic. Even though they are so teensy, 1.75mm, they are a joy to use. They are light, with a slight flex so that there is no pain using them, even for hours at a time. 

Giddy with the freedom of being able to knit as much as I like on my mittens, I went on a bit of bender:

It's a glorius pile! Like having my very own little peice of Latvia.

Tonight, the view on my lap looks like this:

I'm taking a bit of a break to write this, because I can't do math. One finger has already suffered through my failings of logic, but with some discreet decreases I have sucessfully hidden my failings. I thought I'd figured out where I went wrong and carefully thought through what I was doing for the pointer finger, but no. Failed again. I may be stupid at math, but I am a smart knitter. I put the thing down and here I am!

Let me introduce you to the individual mittens in the pile. These are my Magnificent Magenta Mittens ( and they are the queen of the heap:

The motif is a glorious concotion that meets perfectly at the join. The yarn is beautifully soft merino that feels so cushy and soft when you slip your hand inside. These mittens are mine, all mine!

These mittens ( are like a sweet little sister. A quietly shining star with a simple beauty:

They are gift mittens, intended for a hand smaller than mine. 

Then continuing with the theme of gift mittens, I knit what thought could be a pair ( for a man.

I'm not sure I hit my goal. This mitten doesn't thrill me like the first two, and that rainbow was entirely unintentional. I'm sure I'll come back and knit the mate to this one, but I got distracted.

I've seen some beautiful gloves where vertical motifs travel up the hands and continue on up the fingers. It's an elegant idea that captured my imagination. Something clicked, because last Sunday morning found me pouring over pictures and books and my iPad in an effort to chart my own version.  This glove (

Even unblocked, half done, and skewered with needles, this thing makes me so happy. 

I see no end in sight for the mitten maddnes. Next weekend I'm signed up to take a whole weekend worth of classes about mittens from Beth Brown Reinsel, at the Little Red Mitten. How appropriate!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Naughty Knitter's Fun

I just had the Best Day Ever!!

I was at the K-W Knitter's Fair today. I filled my car up with good friends and drove to the Aud in Kitchener where we shopped till we dropped and visted with all the good friends we could find from near and far.

I had really lovely sit down chat with Brenda, and met Ingrid, Queen of Koigu. I got a chance to catch up with Andy, of All Strung Out. I learned today that Wendy, of Gemini Fibres, who taught me to spin a consistent ply had passed on. I'm sad she's gone, but glad to know she lives on in all the spinners she has taught so well. What a legacy she has left behind!

The thing about this event is that everywhere you look people are smiling and happy. No one thinks you are weird if you walk behind them for a few paces and call out "I'm stalking your sweater." Or if, while someone is winding wool you stop beside them, blissfully smile, and say "It's going to be wonderful." They will not think you are crazy. Instead the other knitter will smile blissfully back and say, "Yes, it will be." And if you happen to pat someone's arm as they walk past you, to get a feel of the lucious yarn that makes up their sweater, they will not cry assult, but merely smile back at you when you say "Lovely."

Yes, I did all these crazy things. It was heaven.

I also bought whatever I wanted and I don't regret it in the least. Aren't I naughty? I haven't even been beating myself up over it. Check it out:


In that picture we have:

  • laceweight aplaca, 2400 yds
  • 5 skiens of Noro (a steal at $5 each)
  • sock yarns for making mittens (it's hard to find a good plain white you know)
  • a bit of roving from Waterloo Wools (sadly going out of business, happily yarn and fiber on sale)
  • a crazy self-striping skien
  • a sheep mug, with bunnies!

I'm going to have so much fun playing with my new colors.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Baltic Inspirations

Last Sunday I finished these gloves. Ravelry Project is here: Talsi.

The pattern is from the book LatvieŇ°a Cimdi, which translates to Latvian Mittens. The book is a treasure chest of beautiful designs. Page after page of gorgeous mittens in all colors and styles. I get lost thumbing through it. Another pair of mittens I made from the same book are here.

But it's all mittens in the book. Obviously, I altered them to be gloves. I was inspired by Kristi Joeste's blog. You need to go check it out. Even though most of it is in a different language, the language of knitting speaks clearly through the pictures and there is the odd paragraph of English to help us along.

Also in the spring of this year, the London District Spinners and Weavers hosted a Baltic Cuffs workshop, taught by Catharina Forbes who has traveled to Eastonia with Nancy Bush a couple of times. This is a glove designed and knit by Catharina:

Her gauge is so fine, the knitting so firm, it makes my gloves look like they were worked by a rank amature in comparison. Typically, Eastonian mittens and gloves are knit on a 1.25mm needle which I think Catharina used. I have gotten down to a 1.75mm, but my gloves in the first picture were worked on 2.25mm. Working with such tiny needles must be like eating hot peppers. You've got to work your way slowly to the extreeme. You know, build your tolerance for the pain. Still, I aspire to copy these gloves one day.

We're lucky to have Catharina in the area, for she also did a presentation about her trip to Eastonia and we've been promised further workshops. You know I'll be there.

I wish I could knit mittens all the time, they are so beautiful! But my hands protest after a while and I have to switch to something else. It's a good thing there are plenty of other things I enjoy knitting. Like cabled sweaters....


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Magic Failed but the Knitting Worked

It's been a cool, damp summer. It reminds me of the year Jim and I married. It drizzled on my wedding day and I spent the rest of that summer watching the weather, looking for a better weekend we could have been married on. I remember not a one. It was a cheat.

A few times this year, the weather has left me feeling inspired to start a sweater. I told myself "Wrong season!" And I've been knitting socks, and I did a scarf and glove set, and a shawl. But last weekend I thought "To heck with it. I bet if I start knitting a sweater it will suddenly get really hot." So I cast on, but no luck. The magic didn't work. The weather is still cool and overcast and drizzley. And more of the same is forecast for the long weekend. Bummer.

But my effort was not wasted because now I have the yoke to my very own Couronne sweater.

The varigated yarn is actuallly Noro, Silk Garden. I love Noro and I love to let it do its own wacky thing with colors, but this time I ripped, and spliced and mangled it into submission. Here's a comparision for you:

I'm starting to think now that the bottom one looks so much more lively than the top version. But I do think that the top one is more wearable, and I will wear it more often. That counts for a lot. Which do you prefer?



Thursday, July 24, 2014

Close, but No Sock

This doesn't look good.

This is the second sock, the first is gorgeous and fits perfectly.


I hope I can rely on the kindness of friends. I know someone who is making a cardigan out of this exact same yarn. I'm going to be all like "Buddy, can you spare a square?" (That's not exactly a mixed metaphor, but it certainly is mixed up.) Otherwise, I may have to go buy more yarn. Money is no object when the socks are this beautiful.

Details are on my Ravelry page. The pattern is a free one and very well written. I think the reason I ran out of yarn is because I made the men's size sock, with a bit larger leg by using a bigger sized needle so it would have more stretch, with a long leg and whopping 10 inches or so in the foot. The wonder is that I didn't run out of yarn sooner!


Wednesday, July 23, 2014


I have discovered that I am a Kung Foo panda.

Poor Jim has been so very tired this week. Last night I made supper of cold cooked chicken on salad greens. We have more of the same, but we want to save it for tomorrow night's dinner. Left struggling to decide what to make for dinner, we took the easy way out and ordered Chinese food to be delivered.

They said it would be 45 minutes for the food to arrive. Just enough time for me to walk Dexter, so off we went. The thought of that Chinese food waiting for me at home put me through my paces! Just like Po, if you want me to train, tempt me with food...



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Senior Knitter

Jim's mom celebrated her 90th birthday in Feburary. All but one of her sons made it out for the party we had.

She's still knitting too. She's still making teddy bears, and vests for the bears, and squares for blankets for the "old folks", and baby items for bazzars and fairs. For Christmas, I knit the yoke of a Couronne for her and gifted it to her along with the rest of the yarn to knit the sweater. She got the whole thing done by spring.

To get a great fit on her, I picked a size to fit her shoulders, then after the yoke was finished, I increased on the front to fit her bust. And since I handed it over after dividing for the sleeves and body, there was no weird math for her, just a fun knit to the end of the sweater.

I like how it turned out so well, I've got yarn in the stash to make one for myself.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Catch up some more

To continue from yesterday, Jim and I are well. We're both working, and both finding a bit more independance now that the boys are almost adults. We had a lovely week in Ottawa this summer, just the two of us. It was like a second honeymoon.

Friday nights Jim has his freinds come over to play games and I go out knitting with the gang. I'm also a member of the London District Spinners and Weavers and I'm finding the group very inspiring. One of the classes I took was on Baltic cuffs where I learned a new braided cast on. There's a blog post just in that.

Dexter is now nine years and just beginning to show his age. He's still healthy and plays like a puppy, but he's got a bit of arthritis and he doesn't see as well. One weird thing is that instead of getting long in the tooth, his teeth are disappearing. It's a thing that boxers do, their gums just keep on growing. He's still eating and my vet is not worried, so we're leaving well enough alone. The main thing is, he's still got a lot of love to give and you better believe it, he's getting a lot back.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, that pink in the lower right picture, that's his tongue.


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Catch up

The nice thing about being away from the blog for a while is that I have such a lot of interesting things saved up to write about.

When last I wrote Alex was preparing to go away to Quebec for the summer as part of the YMCA's summer student work exchange. Man! Was that a fun summer! He had a great experience in Quebec and came home more mature and gracious. Here in London we also had a great experience. Our exchange student was a pleasure to host. There were lots of fun events to attend and all the other families in the exchange were just good people. It was an honour to have been a part of the whole thing.

Luke finished a year at Fanshawe college and now he's drifting, working for his dad a bit, looking for work on and off, and keeping house in a slap dash way. Alex graduated high school this year and he lucked into a job working as a camp counsellor for the summer through a Youth Opportunities Unlimited program. He didn't get accepted into the university of his choice so his plan for September is to join the reserves.

It's all I can do to not helicopter parent at this point. My boys are soon to be 18 and 20. It's high time they figured things out for themselves. I want them to try, to fail, to learn, to live their lives as they want. I might not approve of their choices, but I want to give them time and space to figure out who and what they are.


Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Toys

I just picked up a keyboard to go with my iPad.  It's a pretty slick set up and I feel a new freedom with my iPad. It made me think of this space.

It's funny how our tools shape our activities. I wouldn't start a blog until I got a digital camera. At that time I was using a desktop computer. Once I bought an iPad I did all my home computing on it and going to the desktop began to feel like a chore.

I don't know if I'm going to be blogging regularly again. I make no promises. But I will show you my newest project of obsession. 

Yeah, I bought a raw fleece. I bought it from the Canadian Wool Growers Co-op ( in Carleton place while in Ottawa. I'm turning it into a very bouncy and soft 3-ply sport weight. The biggest investment required is time and patience.