Thursday, April 30, 2009


The last couple of days have been spent in a cloud of doubt and misgiving. Worrying over this little sundress. Pondering whether to continue. Is silk really an appropriate choice for an infant's sundress? My thinking was that it'll drape nicely and be more comfortable than wool, cotton or acrylic on a hot summer day. I have some misgivings, but not enough to put the brakes on this project. But I will say, I'm not happy with the 5 knots in the first ball of yarn.

Then, the size. Are newborns really this impossibly small? I've measured over and over again. And checked pattern after pattern. Really? 18" chest circumference? Because it looks tiny! Even Gavin said so as I arranged it for a photo. This solution came to me this morning - I'll finish it, then take it to the mall to compare it to prefab infant clothes. Just to see if the size looks appropriate. Let's face it, the dress is nearly done. May as well finish it and see how it all comes out.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

gosh, thanks

When Suse-the-Slow-Knitta awarded me with this One Lovely Blog Award I was excited and pleased. But even better was her review of my blog ... "mindingmyownstitches is like having a mug of coffee with an old friend, heartwarming, honest and encouraging". What a nice compliment! Thanks! 

Now, to spread the kudos ....
With These Hands - always visually attractive, and often features yarns and patterns of her own creation. Knit Geekery - always funny and intensely readable, with lots knitting to ooh and aah over. See Leann Knit - not just gorgeous yarn photos, but also interesting and challenging projects. Knitting Alone - there's a welcoming intimacy to Susan's blog, that makes me feel like we're comfortable old friends. The Wronicles of RedScot - Oh those gorgeous architectural photos - almost like being there. And there are so many more that I could add!

Monday, April 27, 2009

very pink

It's very pink. A rose pink, not a cold pink. But very pink and girly. Perfect for a little summer sundress for a new baby girl. Especially because there isn't likely to be anything really girly in the hand-me-downs from her older brothers.

I'm several rounds in on this little sundress based on this pattern. My needles are smaller than recommended for a denser fabric - it'll drape better that way. Clara's only four days old, so a smaller garment size is also good. For the first four rounds I've used seed stitch rather than garter stitch so the bottom edge won't curl. And I'm knitting it in the round rather than in two pieces on straight needles to avoid having to seam it all later. Thanks to all the helpful comments from Ravelers who've already knit this. Nice to have all that experience to draw on.

The top down toddler sweater is finished, and the pattern knits up like a dream. A nice, easy knit and a very practical sweater. Might do a couple more from that pattern for the nieces and nephews for Christmas!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

too much tempation

Had to leave the Knitter's Frolic after only two hours - there was way too much temptation! Arriving early was a good plan; there was a huge crowd lined up at the entrance within hours. And some of the handpainted colourways were selling out fast! Congratulations to the Downtown Knit Collective for a great event.

First purchase? Two skeins of naturally dyed superwash merino sock yarn from Trish of Indigo Moon. The best yellow I've ever seen. And luckily, there were only 2 skeins left of her Starlight handpainted wool; not enough for the world's most expensive baby blanket.

Next purchase? Four skeins of handpainted yarn by Dream In Color. I came across this pattern for a baby blanket through Ravelry and can't wait to cast on.

Last purchase? Three balls of Louisa Harding silk. Little Clara was born at the side of the highway in her parent's Prius after they were told they were too early and were sent home from hospital. I'm planning a little sundress in pink and white.

At home I was almost able to finish the body of my top down toddler sweater before wild weather hit. High winds, lightning and funnel clouds. All's well in our little house, but the light of the candles through the several hours of power failure wasn't enough to knit by.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

more than half way

Only have a couple minutes for a quick post ... because I need to get a cup of coffee in me, shower, dress and get on my way in a hurry. Doors open for the Knitter's Frolic at 9am and I want to beat the crowds!

Lots of progress on the top down toddler sweater. More than half way, I'd say. The sleeve stitches have been put aside on waste yarn as I continue with the body of the sweater. It's not terribly interesting now, with most of the round being uninterrupted knit stitches, but at such a small size it knits up quickly. And looking very sweater-like now.

And, I think it'll be a good size for Edward this fall and winter. I was worried it'd be too small, but the neck is very stretchy - I can probably fit my head through!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

taking shape

Now that I'm halfway down the yoke, the toddler sweater is really starting to take shape. With alternating knit rounds, the rib panel is a bit more textured than I had thought originally. And the raglan shapelines are quite a nice tailored detail.

Notice the point protectors at the ends of the needles? All those stitches are threatening to fall off both ends of all 4 needles. Why not switch to a circular needle? Stubbornness, I guess. I just prefer to knit on dpns. About 40 more stitches to add for the yoke - surely to goodness I can jam those on my needles - and then before you know it the sleeve stitches are put aside and I'll have some breathing room again. People who know me, know I'm stubborn. And people who knew my Mom, know that the apple didn't fall far from the tree.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

top down toddler sweater

The first of Mom's unfinished projects - a top down sweater in a toddler size. The pattern and yarn were purchased at Yarns on York in Fredericton when we were visiting Mark and Patti. And the colour? A rich olive green, one of Patti's favourite colours.

As Patti worked at her first knitting project - a baby blanket - we all looked over the pattern to decide which version Mom should knit. Not surprisingly I was in favour of the first version with plain knit collar, cuffs and body. But both Mom and Patti favoured the third version with ribbed collar, ribbed cuffs and a centre flat rib panel down the front of the sweater. A bit fancier, a bit more involved. So that's what it'll be.

It's a nice pattern that starts with the collar knitted in the round, through a series of increase rows for the yoke, and then the body and the sleeves knit in the round. Not unlike the Taiga sweater I finished just a few weeks ago. Once knit, there is very little finishing. And knitting top down allows you to make body and sleeves exactly the desired length.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the Pro Bono hat is done. I knit this one in a toddler size, and added the pom pom as my own embellishment. Because I came across three sizes of Pom Pom makers in Mom's knitting kit and it just seemed like a nice touch.

Monday, April 20, 2009

finished socks

Mom never wanted me to knit socks for her. Not surprising I suppose - she had to wear compression stockings, so her feet were always hot. But she was always interested in the socks I was knitting. No such thing as short row heels when she learned to knit in the '40s. No self-striping yarn back then either. She hadn't heard of a provisional cast-on until my BYOB market bag. And had never seen grafting with kitchener stitches until we sat together watching the YouTube instructions to complete my Breeze socks. So much new and interesting in knitting these days!

My second simple ribbed sock is done. I'm really pleased with the way this pattern knit up. A very good pair of functional socks. And they fit really well.

Now on the needles is a Pro Bono hat. I knit several of these for the Warm Hands Network last year, but didn't get a picture of any of them for my Ravelry project page. When Mom and I flew to Fredericton at the end of October last year, we each had a Pro Bono hat on the needles. We were worried about whether they'd allow the needles onboard. There was no problem - but we did have to email the baggage handler links for the patterns.

Mom's knitting - books, pattern pamphlets, works-in-progress and her stash - have been passed to me. Over the next few days I'll look through and make a plan. First, finish the things she started. Then, knit some of the things she planned. She'd want me to do that - she was a very tidy person who didn't like things left unfinished.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Yesterday at the shore in warm sunshine my brother and I scattered my Mom's ashes in one of her favourite places. Her ashes swirled in the breeze with a pair of white Trumpeter swans and a few geese silently observing. It was strangely uplifting.

From my last post very few days were left for us. But there is comfort in the knowing that her death was mercifully quick, and that she was able to die at home with family and friends near, finally free of pain. More days would only have meant more suffering and more indignities.

And there is a great deal of comfort in the things that she left for us. Things like the knitted doll that she finished in November. Mom purchased the pattern at a LYS in the summer - we were both soaking wet after being caught in a sudden downpour, and the store owner gave us papertowels to blot ourselves. The yarn was bought to support a woman's collective in South Africa - a country she and I visited in 1995 in Nelson Mandela's first year as President. And the hair? Well, Mom didn't like making iCord so the doll remained bald until I gave in and made them for her. In fact, I made dozens of little iCords from scraps of novelty yarn and wrapped them as a birthday present for her. We spent her birthday in Fredericton visiting my brother, and shared a laugh as she opened the little box to reveal what looked like dozens of hairy spiders. Mom finished the doll shortly after returning home and emailed me a picture the next morning. And then gifted the doll to me when I visited that weekend. There's a happy memory of my Mom in every stitch of this knitted treasure.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

keeping busy

It's been tough around here for the last several weeks. Mom's had a crummy spring, and the results of the tests run while she was in hospital were worse than even our worst fears. Every minute that can be spared has been spent at Mom's side or organizing friends and family visits. And wouldn't you know it, work has also been very busy. Many tears, much exhaustion and not much knitting.

But with Mom now home we're trying to quiet things down and rebuild Mom's strength to enjoy the time she has left. So as Mom rests, the needles are back in my hands. I've knit a couple of inches of the second leg. And I'm thankful the pattern is so simple - virtually no attention required. Imagine if it were a tricky lace pattern? It'd be a complete mess by now.

For now we're taking things one day at a time. And the knitting is with me as a comfort to keep my hands busy and keep me quiet. Instead of fussing, organizing and being bossy. That's a pretty tall order for a pair of very plain ribbed socks!