Thursday, April 29, 2010


Way back in November of 2008, Mom and I hatched a plan to knit these beaded amulet bags, with the idea of filling them with small tokens and good luck charms. They were going to be great; we couldn't wait to get started. But our enthusiasm quickly turned to frustration. After much time spent threading tiny seed beads onto thin thread, we soon found that the beads didn't want to stay between the stitches where we placed them - the whole effect was ruined. It was no fun to knit.

So within a week or two of starting, with Christmas just around the corner, the beaded bag projects were bundled up and put aside - permanently as is turns out. The idea of trying this project again fills me with dread. I just don't think I ever will. No way, no how. So today was the day to rip it all out. It's actually quite soothing to see the knitting ripped out, and the beads unthreaded and tidied into ziplocs. Like a problem solved.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

back to my shawl

February 4th: that's the last time I worked on my Heartland Lace Shawl. Imagine that - the shawl has sat neglected in a heap in my living room for almost three months! Long enough to completely forget where I was in the lace pattern. Long enough for the fear of picking it up and going wrong to grow to ridiculous proportions. Definitely too long to let the neglect go on any longer.

The first few rows were shaky, particularly when the stitch count was wrong on the right side of my first attempted row. Took me a while to check my pattern rows, count and recount, mutter a bit under my breath and then tink back a few rows to fix a missed yarnover. Thank goodness that's fixed. One more repeat of the Bison Tracks lace, I think, and then on to the River of Life edging. Can I finish by May 4th? Maybe.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

campfire orange

Just a handful more gusset decreases to go, then the foot and toe - looks like this second Esther sock will be finished mid-week. After several weeks hiatus from sock-knitting, I'm finally back in the groove.

And finally, a photo that starts to show some of the subtle variegation in this Campfire colourway of Wandering Cat Yarn. Perhaps my new little point and shoot camera should take the credit? Still, no computer monitor will likely ever do justice to the intense oranges. You'll just have to take my word on the fabulousness of this colourway.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

a finished blanket

The focus this weekend - from a knitting point of view - was to finish the blanket. It's perfect TV knitting, and with the first round of Stanley Cup Playoffs ongoing, there's lots to watch. Thanks to that gorgeous Baby Me Boo yarn, the blanket's soft, warm, squishable and lovely. From 4 skeins, the blanket works out to 32"x 34", which seems a good size to me.

For the next couple of weeks I need to focus on finishing the rest of my WIPs. Just three weeks until we leave for vacation!

Thursday, April 22, 2010


To achieve an interesting symmetry, Stephanie van der Linden writes, you may work the cables of your second sock in the other direction.

When I realized my oversight on the first repeat of my second sock - having forgotten to reverse the cable - I gave serious thought to going ahead with the sock as is. How noticeable would that little difference be? But having tinked back to correct it and continued on through almost two repeats, the answer is, quite noticeable. Which just goes to show, sometimes the littlest things make all the difference!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

picking up where I left off

For the last few weeks I've been guilty of working on all sorts of projects instead of the two things already on needles - my Heartland Lace Shawl and my Tiger Lily (Esther) socks. It was almost as if I was on a knitting vacation - knitting fun little projects like dishcloths, washcloths and bunny cosies.

But I've been missing my sock knitting, so yesterday I picked up the second sock where I left off. After knitting almost an entire repeat I realized I'd forgotten something important - reversing the direction of the cables for the second sock. Tink, tink, tink, all the way back. It's absolutely no fun tinking back through twisted stitches, two kinds of decreases and cables on tiny needles. I've only myself to blame - it's not surprising that I'd forget something after putting them aside for so many weeks. I'm back on track now, and back to enjoying this gorgeous yarn and pattern.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

what's in a name

When I saw, and particularly when I touched, this yarn at the Purple Purl I knew it had to come home with me for a baby blanket. It's from Misti Alpaca, a yarn called Baby Me Boo. Odd name, huh? Examining the fiber content of the yarn makes sense of the name ...

50% Baby Alpaca + 30% Merino Wool + 20% Bamboo

And then there's the name of this colourway - A Thousand Lakes. Although Finland is actually called the Land of a Thousand Lakes, here in Ontario there are thousands of lakes, as every cottager knows. Some estimates put the number of lakes in Ontario at about 25,000; a number that including our great lakes, the largest group of freshwater lakes on earth. The various light and dark murky blues of this colourway definitely evoke a watery feel. Fingers crossed that this blanket will share water's soothing effect.

Monday, April 19, 2010

my quiet weekend

With Gavin away helping a friend work on a dock at his cottage in northern Ontario, the weekend was very quiet indeed. The cat stopped talking to me almost immediately, left each room as I entered and paused only to glare at me with resentment. As if I already didn't know who she loves most.

Saturday morning I sorted the estate paperwork and prepared a tax filing while doing the laundry. Not quite the cheerless task you might think - while going through Mom's things I came across an envelope with her childhood school reports, as well as other charming letters and cards.

Saturday afternoon I visited a friend at her new home in Oakville. A quick grocery shop, then my favourite pasta recipe for dinner, followed by hours on the sofa with knitting in hand, taking in game after game of Stanley Cup Playoffs. What a pleasure to watch skilled players complete in a high intensity hockey game instead of the dismal Maple Leafs!

Friday, April 16, 2010

knitting therapy

Now that my Tile Stitch washcloth is done, I'm quite happy with it. So on to the last washcloth - the Horseshoe Lace washcloth in chocolate brown. Er, at least, it was supposed to have been Horseshoe Lace, but I'm working alternate repeats in reverse order creating a Diamond Lace pattern instead. Why the modification? After a frustrating week, there's a tiny feeling of satisfaction that I'm in control, at least with my knitting. I'm asserting myself and doing things my way. And as I knit, I'm reflecting about what went wrong this week; I need to think through how best to confront and resolve the problems.

Having rewound the yarn I'm relieved to find no knots and no vegetable matter - much nicer to knit with than the last skein. Looks like this is going to be a quiet weekend for me; cooking, cleaning, sleeping and knitting. Exactly what I need.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

win some or learn some

My Tile Stitch washcloth is more than halfway complete but the last several repeats have been tough slogging. This has to be one of the most painfully dull knits ever! Some knits I can't wait to finish because I can't wait to see the finished product. In this case I just can't wait to get it off the needles. The next washcloth will be more interesting; it's horseshoe lace in chocolate brown. And then my set of four will be complete.

As much as I like this Oats colourway, this particular skein has been a disappointment - a couple of knots, lots of vegetable matter and decidedly more splitty than the first two skeins. To add insult to injury, the cat has also taken a dislike to this yarn. If I put my knitting down and turn away, she wastes no time in pulling the skein apart and spreading it across the living room.

Oh well, enough with the complaints. As Jason Mraz sings " ... nothing's gonna stop me but divine intervention; I reckon it's again my turn to win some or learn some."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

willpower fail

This is my year of stash-busting, right? Well, sort of. Because it turns out when confronted with this new Noro Shirakaba in all my favourite greens I have absolutely no willpower. Every one of the ten skeins had to come home with me, as well as this pattern for a wrap cardigan.

With only a small amount of mental gymnastics, I've completely justified my purchase. Firstly, with a vacation planned in mid-May which involves a 15 hour drive there, a week on the beach, and then a 15 hour drive back, I definitely need a more substantial knitting project than socks. And I don't have any cotton or summery yarns in my stash, so I absolutely needed some. Besides, the green totally matches my eyes. So that's that, right?

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tuesday Oats

Tuesday brings me to the Oats colourway of this linen-rayon blend yarn. And it'll come as no surprise that I love this colour. That's me - safely neutral! After the coppery Cinnamon and the murky Indigo, a lighter pick-me-up colour was definitely called for. My third washcloth is worked in Tile Stitch - simple knitted squares defined by columns and rows of purls. It will be nice and square without any rolling, but this pattern has a definite RS and WS which I'm not entirely happy with.

When binding off the Seed Stitch Stripe washcloth, I tried a tip from Kathy's Kreations from the book Knitter's Stash. On the last stitch I knit into the stitch below, avoiding a loose, wobbly loop at the end of the bind off. It works; I'll have to remember that.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Seed Stitch Stripes

While Gavin surfed at the point in Cobourg, I cast on and knit about two-thirds of my second linen washcloth - one more from the series of eight Linen washcloths by Theresa Gaffey published in the book Knitter's Stash. This Seed Stitch Stripes pattern is very simple but very effective. I think I'm going to like it better than the Dragon Scales washcloth I've just done; mostly because the pattern knits up for a flatter and squarer finished product.

Wondering about the little scrap metal mouse? When I saw him at the Urban Nature Store, I just couldn't resist. He had no price sticker so the store owner asked if $2 seemed reasonable. Reasonable? No. An absolute steal!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

cat approved

Within seconds of finishing and folding my Gull Lace blanket, the cat was settled squarely on it. Trying to claim it, I think, which is a bit greedy considering that she has a cat bed on every floor of the house. But how sweetly and beseechingly she looked up at me!

The blanket is done - 30" wide x 36" long including the garter stitch borders. And unlike so many of my previous blanket projects, I cruised through the last half of the blanket without a lot of complaining. Somehow this pattern was just mindless enough to be perfect TV knitting without begin absolutely tedious. In fact, I'm already inventorying the worsted wool in my stash to see if there's enough to make another. But first, I really have to finish my lace shawl.

Friday, April 9, 2010

missing Mom

Yesterday when the buds on my Spindle Tree began bursting into leaves I wished I could send Mom a photo. The Spindle Tree came home with us from a sale at the RBG after much deliberation and comparison shopping. We both liked the awkward looking squarish stems and its plain green leaves. And because it's a native species, it's been hardy and reliable.

Since her passing on April 9 last year, not a day has passed that I haven't thought of Mom and missed her. And on occasion - like when I see her handwritten notes in the margins of my knitting patterns - I feel like she's here with me. I hope so anyway.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

the other half

Mindful that my first skeins of Berroco NaturLin were plucked from sales bins, I was keen to get back to Romni promptly to get those necessary second skeins before they were snatched up by another shopper. And luckily I was able to find another skein in each of my four colourways. Tonight I'll get working on the second half my luxurious washcloth using Theresa Gaffey's DragonScales Washcloth pattern. And then maybe knit her Seed Stitch Stripe version in navy blue, her Horseshoe Lace version in chocolate brown, and her Tile Stitch version in oat colour.

Progress on my Gull Lace baby blanket continues at a slow but steady pace. I expect I'll be binding off Friday or Saturday. And then I really think it's time to get back to my Heartland Lace Shawl.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

so cute

Meet our newest neighbour. This little chipmunk has moved into our backyard. Compared to other temporary residents we've had - think mice and rats - we like him a lot. Which goes to show how important looks are; we prefer him over other vermin just because he's so cute!

On the knitting front, I've been working on my Gull Lace baby blanket. Gavin has started questioning whether the baby sleeps in a full size bed, so it must be nearly done. I'm aiming for a finished size of 30x40".

And Elizabeth, not to worry - I popped in at Romni yesterday to pick up more Berroco NaturLin for our luxurious washcloths. Your yarn will be in the mail this week.

Monday, April 5, 2010

luxurious washcloths

On Saturday I went on a bit of a yarn crawl with my sister-in-law. First stop, Romni, then, after lunch in Kensington Market, Lettuce Knit, and finally the Purple Purl. It was a wonderful opportunity for Elizabeth to do some stash-building, particularly from the sale bins at Romni. And it was a gorgeous sunny day for wandering around downtown.

We went together on four different colourways of Berroco NaturLin - a Linen/Rayon blend - plucked from the Romni discount aisles. Our plan? To knit luxurious washcloths from my new pattern book. Four different coloured skeins, each skein divided in half, equals four fabulous washcloths for each of us, right? Wrong! Although I read the pattern instructions far enough to determine that one skein of Louet EuroFlax yields two washcloths, I overlooked the fact that we substituted a 50g skein for 114g. Oh dear, seems I got ahead of myself again.

Friday, April 2, 2010

a sunny spring day

With the current temperature at 22°C and an expected daytime high of 24°C, we're definitely going to be breaking some records. Especially when you consider that typical daytime highs for this time of year are about 7 or 8°C. This past March was the first March with no snow whatsoever in downtown Toronto since record-keeping began. Crazy and alarming for sure. But it's hard not to love this unexpectedly gorgeous, warm and sunny spring.

The kids should be arriving shortly to get this Easter weekend started, and you may have already guessed that just the one bunny egg cosy is done. These last couple of weeks have been busy - precious little time left for knitting. I've done a few more repeats on my Gull Lace blanket, started the second Esther sock, and that's about it.