15 April 2015

Not Socks

Well, I thought I would have finished socks to post. I worked away at the them last night and this morning only to discover that I had misread my own notes and that all my worked needed ripping back to fix a sizing issue.

So, I am sharing a more pleasurable knitting experience. This is the Yarn Indulgence wool/silk blend being worked up with beads. It's such a pleasure to work with this shimmery loveliness. This project is either a fat scarf or a short stole. I intend to just keep going until the yarn runs out and then we'll see.

09 April 2015

Truly

                                for Anna Akhmatova

To one who's never been stunned by a word,
and I say to you all.
Who only knows how to help himself
and only with words -

he cannot be helped.
Not over the short term
and not over the long.

To create a single lasting sentence,
to persevere in the ding-dong of words.

No one writes this sentence 
who does not sign her name.

                                         Ingeborg Bachmann 
                                         1965

26 March 2015

Done & Done!

Is it possible for a person and a yarn to simply not get along? Every time I knit with Noro, the process is difficult, almost painful. This simple pair of plain socks on 64 stitches, had so many mishaps and false starts that I thought they'd never be finished! Now at last, The Daughter has her thick, warm, neutral socks just in time for spring. Timing is everything, right?

One fun thing happened. While digging out a bag in which to transport the new socks, I came across a forgotten pair awaiting darning. They're the last remaining damaged knitwear from the 2013 bug infestation. They had somehow been forgotten. I quickly darned the holes and voila! There are now two sock pairs to deliver. 

In the meantime, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for Noro and I to consciously uncouple.

18 March 2015

Bought Yarn

It looks like spun spring and, oh how I need spring to come. Appropriately named "Bud", this green/blue, Yarn Indulgences is more green than blue and makes me think of rivers and new growth. Stash restraint be damned and poverty can go to heck. I learned long ago that, no matter how low the bank balance, a little something that will bring hours of pleasure and beauty is never too expensive. Two items there will always be enough room for on the credit card are books and yarn. Poetry books. Silk blend yarn.

I am going to cast on Falling Waters Shawl from The Knitter's Book of Wool. It's the perfect choice. The pattern recommends a semi solid, multi-ply in a wool/silk blend for best effect. This Yarn is exactly that. My shawl will be smaller than the sample making a light summer stole that will go beautifully with most of my dresses.  

10 March 2015

One Step Ahead, Three Steps Back


Another way to stay inspired is to learn something new. "Learn, learn, learn," I always say. Your brain, like your body, needs to be exercised throughout your life or else it will turn to mush.
I had a last minute opportunity this weekend to sit in on a crochet class. Behold! My first ever granny square. I've always wanted to know how to make one of these. It's not perfect but I am delighted with the silly thing.

Unfortunately, my mushy brain took a costly vacation recently. I've been knitting away on Sock #2 in the Noro Natural colourway. As I approached what I thought was the end, the nagging suspicion that something was wrong kept niggling away. Then this morning I finally, and embarrassingly, figured it out. I had forgotten to turn the heel. I picked up directly after knitting the flap and have been chugging away at a confusingly odd-shaped foot ever since. Doh!! Just goes to show that even a so-called "experienced" knitter can make a bone headed mistake. Rip it. Rip it. Frog.


This is a picture I took this morning while waiting for a streetcar. I hope the coolness of the shot redeems me slightly.
Regardless, it's an interesting view of how new Condo-Toronto has blended, or tried to, with beautiful old historic Toronto.

05 March 2015

Window-spiration

Colour. Texture. Cool found objects. 

Another way I tackle the inspiration blahs is by strolling and looking at window displays. A beautifully presented window is something to be paused over and savoured. My sister was a visual merchandiser so I guess I appreciate even more the skill and creativity required. After dark, when the store is closed and only the window lights are bright, is the best time to do this.  Sometimes I walk the Mink Mile (that Bloor block between Yonge and Bay with all the high-end shops) but I am also very lucky that my own neighbourhood has some lovely boutiques with charming windows.

The cool thing is, you don't necessarily want to buy what you see. When I look at the above display, I get the urge to clean out my closet, to put together new outfits, to sort my stash. I am reminded that I want to knit a loose fitting pullover sweater. I get the urge to make paper crafts.
More texture here. The painted blue chair and rose tin I especially love.
And bath salts! I own bath salts. What a simple luxury.
These two outfits would not look good on me but that doesn't mean I don't love them. I have many pendants & should wear them more often to dress up blouses. The print on that skirt is delightful.
Those wool scarves are gorgeous.
Don't I have something similar. I wonder where it is? 
Shoes! What's not to love? And cute socks. Sometimes, when new clothes are financially out of reach, a little accessory like fun socks or tights can be a real pick-me-up. 

02 March 2015

Insomnia Art Project


Sometimes I wake in the middle of  the night and can't get back to sleep. As I age, this is happening more frequently. Rather than fight it, I've taken to using the time on random odd projects. Sometimes I knit or write a journal entry. Once I sorted my underwear drawer. Four-thirty AM a few weeks back found me sitting on my hall mat polishing all my shoes. 

Last night I made art.

I've been clipping and keeping images for years. When I'm feeling inspired, or more often, uninspired, I arrange them into a collage in my notebook. Late at night is the best time for this because that's when the inner critic is asleep. Usually I add little passages from whatever reading is my current obsession (in this case it's John Ashbery's Flow Chart, The Noonday Press 1991). Text as visual art; the link between words and pictures, is something that deeply intrigues me. Marcel Broodthaers is a favourite. There was a great show at The Power Plant on the subject a few years ago called Postscript, that I went to see twice. Did anyone else catch it?

Anyway, I like this one so am sharing it here. Usually my assemblages are dark and broody. This one feels light and hopeful to me. It reminds me of the approaching dawn.

26 February 2015

Sonnet 74

You can remember when it was and where
but it just so happens what happened is a blank
A sudden pang reminds you that once again
something nice had happened, it truly had, 
but whatever it was has become a blank.
It was a foggy day on Featherstone Point.
Many things happened on that same day, 
and you remember those things very well.

Everyone was making comments about the lovers.
Some of it was ribald but respectful.
And five minutes later, just around the corner
something much more interesting happened -
a woman in a red wool sleeve-length sweater? -
much more worth remembering --but she's gone.

David W. McFadden
Be Calm Honey
Mansfield press 2008

19 February 2015

Down Time

Pattern:  Jack-in-the-Box Mittens by Robin Melanson
Yarn: Rowan Pure Wool Worsted
Well, I've been dreadfully ill for weeks now. I blame all that time spent in hospital wards and offices. Nasty, germ filled places, hospitals are. First it was a stomach flu that flattened me for days. That was followed by a persistent pink-eye infection. Currently I am getting over a feverish hacking cough/cold contraption that keeps me up night after night. Seriously?


One tries to keep one's spirits up. 

Attempts to take advantage of the enforced down time have included knitting (naturally) and continued internet job searching. Unfortunately, the hat I was working on turned into a disaster and had to be frogged and job searching is extra disheartening when your face is all red and blotchy and your whole body hurts.

Enough complaining. I am a firm believer in tomorrow being another day. In the meantime, on my few necessary outings, I have been enjoying my latest FO. Cables plus Rowan worsted wool equals warm and attractive hands. This is my fourth knitting of these mittens from Knitting New Mittens and Gloves and I don't expect it to be my last.

A bit of cheer in the cold. The neighbours have left their holiday decorations up.

09 February 2015

Natural

Yes, colour is glorious. One of the reasons so many of us knit is because we love colour and such a variety of it is available in today's yarns. Yet, once in a while, it's nice to return to neutral. This is Noro Silk Garden Sock in 269 - a colourway some call Natural. It slowly grades from beige to ivory to pale, pale gray. Noro is not my favourite to work with. It sticks to itself and the centre pulls rarely pull. Still,The Daughter requested another pair of Noro socks and I have to admit that the last pair are still going strong after several years. The silk makes this stuff STRONG.

The Daughter wears a largely neutral palette these days. Beige is her main colour with navy and/or burgundy providing the accents. This pair of plain socks with just a little rib down the front sides, should go with almost everything she wears.  I am enjoying the calm of this knit.

One odd observation. The yarn on this skein seems to be thicker than every other Noro Sock in the store though the labels claim the exact same weight and gauge. Is it because less dye makes the yarn fluffier?

07 February 2015

Warm

Re-reading my last post it occurs to me that it might be perceived as being just about me, me, me! After all, it wasn't me with the traumatic incision. the loss of movement, the future weeks of recovery. Who am to whine about being "stressed out" and crying in the bathroom?

It begs the question: Where is the line between self aware and self centred? Between conscious introspection and navel gazing? Conversely, when am I simply telling my story and when am I intruding on another's privacy by presuming to tell his?

I've come to the conclusion that, in the end, the only experience upon which I am qualified to comment is my own. I am constantly surprised and intrigued by the odd, unexpected, thoughts and feelings that arise in the circumstances life decides to throw. It is about the observation of such things that I choose to occasionally write. This in no way diminishes the experience of my people. Their stories are their own and are precious. My story is one that is sometimes a part of their's and it is consequently more precious because of that.



Also I knit. My 2014 Gift-a-Long Sagano Shawl was 5 weeks late. In that time I fell so deeply in love that it is no longer a gift. (Not to worry, I already have another knitted gift project in mind for the intended recipient). 

My new shawl has come in handy. Recently, I returned to the tradition of long walks in the park. It was bitterly cold, cold, cold last week and I had to wrap my new shawl tight around my nose and mouth while I walked. The Indigo Dragonfly silk/wool blend yarn knit into the dense daisy stitch pattern, kept me very warm. The unblocked ribbed pleats of the border makes a striking frame around my face. I love lace as you know but I also love that Laura Chau designs these thick, warm, decidedly un-lacey, shawls.


My camera has a mind of its own and randomly takes these blurry, over-exposed photos. 
I've decided to go with it. It's a design feature!