17 April 2016

A Hat For a Boy or Yarn Is A Funny Thing

I knit this watch cap for my guy as a Christmas gift. Well, I knit this pattern. the gift cap was navy blue and worked in Cascade 220. He loves it and looks surprisingly smashing it so he wanted another in a second colour. He requested gray to match his good overcoat.

This charcoal gray version is also Cascade 220. Here's the funny thing. You'll notice the gray is slightly heathered? Well the short white fibers used to create the heathering differ from the main wool. They are coarser and slightly straighter. Consequently, the yarn of this cap behaves entirely differently from the first, navy blue, version. It is spongier, less springy. The finished product feels thicker. Both hats are very nice but isn't it remarkable that the addition of one small element makes them seem as if they were knit from completely different yarns?

09 April 2016



You who think I find words for everything,
and you for whom I write this,
how can I show you what I'm barely
coming into possession of, invisible luggage
of more than fifty years, looking at first
glance like everyone else's, turning up
at the airport carousel
and the waiting for it, knowing what nobody
would steal must eventually come round -
feeling obsessed, peculiar, longing?

Adrienne Rich
Contradictions: Tracking Poems
Your Native Land, Your Life, 1986

30 March 2016

It Turns Out That...

...casting off in twisted rib produces a delightfully angular edge.

They are done!
The Flemish Lace Socks by Naomi Herzfeld from Lace One Skein Wonders.

...and getting your bike tuned up can be an aesthetically pleasing experience.

The bike shop in my new hood.
Nice staff and a beautiful brick wall next to a large window.
Mark one on the positive side for this place.

27 March 2016

Easter Egg Colours In The Sun

A sneak peak. Notice how one sock is so much more colour saturated than the other?
The result of an unevenly dyed skein.
I made a ridiculous mistake joining the round after the heel turn. This was followed by another, sillier, mistake. So I had to rip back and start the section again. What this means of course is that the sock is not done as I planned it would be.

The bright side of this, and I mean bright is that I got to sit in the brilliant sunshine of this Easter Sunday morning working away on the colourful sparkly loveliness that is this yarn. Just delightful.

21 March 2016

Imagine When Spring

Inspired by Glenna's post about showing up for your knitting, I sat down and committed to getting something done. You know what? Glenna is right. If you just show up and knit the darn thing, it actually gets done. In fact, the shawl came off the block several days ago but the weather has been conspiring against photography. Finally the sun came gloriously out for the first day of spring and I got many lovely shots; happily so, as this Imagine When shawl is off to its gifting recipient soon.

I am delighted with my work. The decisions about where to place the solid areas among the short rows seem to have been the right ones. I love the asymmetry of this pattern and the open work rows are delightful. 

In the spirit of showing up, I have also been progressing well on the sparkly socks and they should be ready for their own photo shoot by tomorrow.

Yarn: Sweet Georgia Sock and Koigu KPPPM
Pattern: Imagine When

14 March 2016

Not So Vintage

What exactly is "vintage"? I often find myself wondering about the definition of this particular word as it applies to clothing. More and more I see 80`s style referred to as vintage. I have a problem with this simply because I was alive and wearing the clothes of that time. As a child of the 60`s and 70`s, fashion was then for me what the "grown-ups" wore, so yes, that feels nostalgic to me. But the eighties? My first adult personal wardrobe choices (sometimes unfortunate ones) were made in the mid-eighties. How can my own fashion evolution be historical? How can items possibly be vintage when I still own and wear one or two of them?

We are, as they say, none of us getting any younger.

Well, vintage or not here is a beauty from an old Pingouin Ete. Isn't it perfect and light and summery? It's one I've been eyeing for several years. I have a crazy fantasy that it would look cute on me. However, this I know from experience to be highly unlikely. I've tried on many dresses of this shape in the past. I even tried to knit something similar about ten years ago. Loose fitting A-line dresses just don't suit me and no amount of wishing will change the fact. 

The yarn used in this pattern is Pingouin Nacre, a DK cotton/rayon blend long since discontinued. This meant the dress could happily live on in my fantasy world. Then the other day, I happened into Americo and saw their oh-so-lovely Bebe yarn which is almost a perfectly exact yarn substitution. Suddenly, this dress really wants to become reality again. 

09 March 2016

Just Wool

Strolling through Kensington Market on Saturday, I found myself at Yarns Untangled. I wanted to see whose yarns they were carrying as their reputation is for small, local and natural.

I found myself drawn to this worsted weight oh so woolly wool from Topsy Farms in Ontario. Neutral gray is not my usual thing but this yarn said yes to me. It has such a great hand and a sturdy, rich loft. It smells divine. (The rest of you smell your yarn, right?). 

I was reminded of some Briggs and Little I have had for years. A quick walk over to the stash, now in storage up the street, was easily done. Now the brown heather, also Canadian but from New Brunswick, is hanging with its new friend. I think they may work well together. On what I don't know. I'll just let them be and see what comes of it.

03 March 2016

The Integration of the Books: The Make Version

Integrating the books of two people into one collection is an intimate activity.

"Do you think Milton will be OK beside Yeats?" I asked when combining our collections. Thus Bill Bryson is hanging out with John Ashbery, Jamie Oliver with Sophie Grigson. It's a very friendly, if somewhat self congratulatory, hall bookshelf.

Problems arose when moving over to the corner. There just wasn't enough room for all our things combined. His martial arts volumes take up considerable space as do my knitting magazines. Neither of us could, or should be expected to, put into storage such integral parts of ourselves.

Now, he is a buyer and I am a maker. A "make doer" is more accurate a term. My magazines had been living in milk crates. Though they fit perfectly into the available space, a more aesthetically pleasing solution was desperately needed. So, while he was scouring around for the perfect thing to buy, I picked up some inexpensive fabric that closely matched the existing Ikea shelves and wrapped it around the crates. 

I quite like the result. It's not fancy but it is tidy and does the job. It also gives my yarn bowl the prominent home it deserves.

25 February 2016

Blue and Brown

Life is too short to wear unsatisfactory knitting. I was very unhappy with the shawl I originally knit with this Sweet Georgia Sock yarn. Not being shy about ripping, I did exactly that after just one wear. Why let beautiful yarn languish as a never-worn garment? 

Recently a friend introduced me to the Imagine When shawl. A little light went on as I pictured this yarn becoming garter stitch in short rows. I think the variegation looks nice in these triangular panels and is not too busy. 

The pattern calls for 500 metres and I have only about 340 so I'm inserting a panel of leftover Koigu from my Fella's gift scarf. Turns out the blues match almost exactly. Stash busting! It's all good.

Hello Lucy. Settling into your new home?

21 February 2016

More Vintage Goodness

I discovered that the Reference Library has a copy of the original 1972 A Stitch in Time by Jane Waller, so I trotted off to the stacks the other day for a look. It wasn't quite what I expected. Unlike Susan Crawford's current re-creation, with all it's rewritten patterns and beautiful updated photos shoots, this book is simply straight copies of the original black and white patterns. The chapters are organized by decade with one short introductory chapter being the only current commentary.

It was great fun to spend an hour seeing how pattern language has changed over the past 90 years. For the most part I found the instructions clear enough that, had I wanted to, I could have executed the pieces. Yarn gauge would likely be the biggest challenge. Of course I took a few snaps and photocopies.

Stunning! I feel like this is pale gray/blue.
The frills on the blouse are knit separately then sewn on.
 I wonder if it would be possible to do by picking up stitches?
Very sassy and current.
I picture this in Cascade 220.
Though I've been admiring the Susan Crawford book on line for ages and following her blog, I've never seen the actual paper book. The Toronto library doesn't have a copy nor do I know of anyone who does. Short of ordering a copy from England (an endeavour too dear for me at this time), I don't know how to solve this conundrum. Any of my friends out there have a copy they'd care to loan?

18 February 2016


So I mentioned already that I moved. It's a wonderful thing to find someone whose face you want to see every day.

Truth? I have been finding the adjustment difficult. This is a very different neighbourhood than what I'm used to. I've never lived high in the sky before. In fact I've never had to go down more than one flight of stairs to plant my feet firmly on Mother Earth. I'm also used to seeing old people and children. Cats and gardens. Here downtown in condo-land the population is pretty homogenous. I'm often the oldest person in the elevator.

Now, I don't want to focus on the negative. I am determined to find the quirks about this neighbourhood that I will love and the places I will feel comfortable. So, I take myself out exploring. Last week I rode my bike south, against a wind to the industrial port lands .

There is a huge Asian grocery a short walk away.
Yay! All my soy product needs will be met. I bought tofu, miso paste and bok choy.
Delicious stir fry was the result.

Heading a little further along, one finds some great industrial views.
 I am someone who needs beauty and this is beautiful to me.
My working class background? My daddy was a steelworker after all.
See that tall building in the centre distance. Yup, that's home.

Cool to be the only person on the shore.

Of course there must be bars cuz we all know I love a good bar.
It must be the kind of bar where a girl can hang out comfortably alone.
I like this one only when my fella is with me so it's not the one. Still searching.