17 December 2014

Counting Down

According to Sherlockology, the Season 1 scarf is 164 cm long. Is that with or without fringe I wonder? 
I have about 50 cm of knitting left to attain this goal. With 6 knitting days left until the gift is due and factoring in the average rate of 7 cm knit per hour, plus fringe and blocking...Ahhh!!!!

08 December 2014

Gift Knitting Backlog

It has become painfully obvious that my GAL 2014 participation is likely doomed to failure. Every way I turn, there are bumps in my holiday gift knitting. As I only committed to three items, this is a little depressing.

I always, always, give The Daughter a little knitted something. This year I decided to just re-knit her favourite mittens in a different colour. What could be easier? Yet, somehow, I got the shaping all wrong and much ripping was needed. A loss of precious time was the result.

Then my new beau declared that the gift most likely to warm his holiday heart would be a hand knit scarf from Yours Truly. I tried to explain to him that the ideal scarf he described is really a woven one, but he's a Muggle (a dear one) and didn't really get it. I've decided that a fingering weight linen stitch is most likely to approximate what he wants. Yarn choice and swatching has held me up because I want it to be perfect. The thing is not even cast on yet.

So, the calm days of pub knitting with a pint and a poem are over for now. I shall return to such pursuits in the slower days of january. This little shawl, which seemed like such a good idea, will get finished - just not in time for Christmas.

30 November 2014

Constancy of Stash Level

I finished my latest Broadripple socks and wore them to Thursday night knitting. I've lost count how many times it is that I've knit this pattern. Such a beautiful sock and, at only 56 stitches around, it's a very fast knit.
I enjoyed knitting this BFL Sock so much that I decided I needed another skein of Fleece Artist. Oh it's not like I don't have any more yarn at home. The women at knit night joked that having recently finished a project, I needed to keep my stash level constant. Also, I needed a pick-me-up and this $19.95 yarn is not just beautiful; it's also economical.

I laboured over the choice between 3 or 4 colourways. Then I got it narrowed down to the bottom two. I was drawn to the coral/pink partly because it was Fleece Artist's Kidazzle, a yarn I've not tried before. On top of the wool and nylon, there is a touch of mohair. However, as much as I love trying new things, the bright ocean colours in the upper skein of BFL Sock won over in the end. That's the one I took home.
Unskeined for maximum viewing.

24 November 2014


the slow striptease of our concepts
     -it is even this which builds us, 
for you I would subtract my images
     for the nude truth beneath them

as you, voluptuous, as with mirrors at the loins
     are unclothed piece by piece until
each cloth is slander to your skin and
     nakedness itself is silk across your rising sex

Gwendolyn MacEwen, A Breakfast for Barbarians
The Ryerson press 1966

19 November 2014

A Knitalong Just in Time For the Holidays

I am excited to have joined the Indie Gift-A-Long on Ravelry. I stumbled across it on Laura Chau's blog. She is just one of several hundred indie designers participating. 

What's not to love about this? Support an independent designer, get a 25% discount on patterns and join a fun knitalong that makes you eligible to win great prizes! Love it! As I told Laura, "They had me at prizes." The discount lasts until November 21 if you'd like to take advantage. Use the code giftalong2014 when purchasing any of the eligible patterns.

I had no trouble choosing a pattern. I've decided on Laura's Sagano Shawl. It's unique and sumptuous. The textured daisy stitch makes it look so warm and that's a big plus with the sudden onset of winter we had here in Ontario this week. The yarn I've chosen to use is some Indigo Dragonfly Polwarth Silk that's been in my stash for a while. In fact, I thought of it immediately for this shawl before I even dug it out of the bins. There was a brief hesitation because it's such a large skein - 685 metres - and the pattern (with an extended border) will use 500 at most. However, the colour is perfect for this project. Beauty won out over economy in the end. I'll just have to find a second small project to use up the rest of the yarn.

13 November 2014

Oops, Forgot

It dawns on me that after all that posting about the Rhinebeck Sweater's progress, I never actually posted the end product. It's been up on Ravelry for quite a while now. 
I am very, very delighted with this sweater. It's exactly what I wanted. Warm and cozy. Simple enough to go with everything but not dull. Neutral bit still noticeable. Timeless design. It's definitely a wardrobe staple.
Pattern: #19 Cabled Cardigan by Margaret O'Leary
Yarn:  Berroco Ultra Alpaca

Everybody looks better in autumn colours!

10 November 2014

Winter Wool

It's a gray, cold day here and I am home sick. There are three other current projects on which I could be working; all of them light and silky or lacy and pale. Today however, I need to be organic. I need warm earth. So I've been knitting this oh so woolly wool (Blue Faced Leicester to be exact) with its rich autumn colours on warm bamboo needles. I may have just found the cure for the common cold.
Yarn: Fleece Artist BFL Socks
Colour: Kiss Curls
Pattern: Broadripple by Rob Matyska,  Knitty Summer 2003

07 November 2014

A Gratitude Post

I posted this earlier on Facebook today and am re-printing it here because I am feeling uncharacteristically gushy today.
As many of you know, I have been involved for some time in a labour dispute with my former employer. One thing I've learned on this journey is that there are people who have the power to be nice - to "do the right thing" as Spike Lee would say. Yet they withhold help that could be so easily given. Then there are other people for whom being helpful and kind is actually a great deal of effort and hard work. Yet these people give support with such grace and good humour. Thankfully, I have met a lot of the latter group in the last months. Feeling very grateful today.
 It's been a rough two months. Today there was a small victory and I am feeling like my choices have been validated. A good day.

31 October 2014

Impressions of Rhinebeck

Of course everyone knows about the knitwear, and the knitwear designers and the hundreds of fibre vendors. What impressed me on this, my first trip to The New York Sheep & Wool Festival, were the less talked-about elements of the fair.

It's CROWDED. One hears about the crowds but we're talking stadium rock festival level crowds. Except here, everyone is pleasant and polite. There are no pushy shoppers, no pointy elbows. Some of the nicest interactions of the day were chats I had in long, long, lineups (for the bathroom, for coffee, for food).

Rhinebeck is also a lovely fall agricultural fair with livestock auctions, sheep shearing and a fleece sale. It reminded me of Toronto's Royal Agricultural Fair, except, being outdoors is a much more pleasant way to view the animals.

This guy really, really wanted to be patted.
The county fairgrounds is also home to a permanent museum which is entirely staffed by volunteers. This is Cal who hosts the hand tools display. He was kind enough to spend twenty minutes chatting with me about domestic life in the not so distant past.

The museum is home to a working loom collection.

Upstate New York is beautiful in the fall. Here are some of my travelling companions heading into downtown Woodstock.

And then I bought yarn.
Mt. Rutsen Studio "Sassy" 80/20 BFL/Nylon
Colorway "Whiskey Rebellion"

29 October 2014

Finishing Other Work

Now that the frenzy of knitting a Rhinebeck Sweater RIGHT NOW is over, I have been able to go back to the projects that were dropped for the cause. Progress goes well on a second sock. That fine lace wrap that's been languishing? Well, it continues so.

I did however, finally get the last six inches of the Darjeeling Shawl border done. It was tight. I had added the pink sock yarn accent to stretch the yardage but still I was convinced that the yarn would run out. In the end, I had about a metre left after casting off. Phew.

This yarn. This yarn! I love it so very much. Not only it is the souvenir of my 2013 trip to VK Live New York, but it has been through such trauma. It's the only skein I saved from the bug episode of last winter. When I opened its bag and saw (sorry) icky eggs, I did what I did with all other infected skeins. I chucked it out the door, onto the fire escape. Yet somehow, I could not bring myself to carry this favourite skein down to the trash. I unwound it and hung it on a plant hook. It hung there exposed to the elements, uncovered, in last winter's arctic temperatures for a week. Then I shook it vigourously and brought it inside for a day long soak in tepid water and Eucalan. After it dried, it was bagged and spent another week in the freezer. Nothing could have survived that. 

Now it is my lovely new shawl. The Rustic fingering weight looks great in garter stitch. And I loved my first experience with a knitted on border. The effect is so pretty and has the the added bonus of no long, long, cast off. Win,win, I say.

23 October 2014

Knitters In the Wild

Well, I have been to my first New York Sheep and Wool Festival. It was overwhelming to say the least. Gorgeous knitwear was absolutely everywhere. I took as many pictures as I could for inspiration. Here are just a few.

That's Thea Coleman of Baby Cocktails on the top left. When I asked if I could photograph her sweater, she introduced herself & insisted on a photo that showed the beautiful collar. 
The pattern is Chartreuse and it will be released soon.
On the bottom right is just one of many Lanesplitters worn that day.

It was perfect shawl weather on Saturday.  So many beautiful yarns and colours!
 I recognized another Knitty pattern! There's Aeolian on the top left done in a beautiful mocha tone. I thought the yarn colour complimented the woman's hair perfectly.