Monday, November 28, 2011

Some projects wait patiently

This lovely combo of book and yarn has been biding its time in my stash.  I adored the cover projects so I bought the book.  This is very against type for me as I rarely buy knitting books which are both expensive and space consuming.  I didn't believe it could happen to a book lover like myself but I am a total convert to e books.  Some day, when I can afford a large format colour tablet I will move all my reference books, recipes and knitting and such over to electronic format.  SO much more convenient. 

Anyway, the book is Fair Isle Basics and Beyond and the yarn is Rowan Felted Tweed DK, the yarn and specific colours used in the cover project. 
I have fallen in love with the cover project, the Eileann Scarflette and Fingerless Mitts.  There is something about the colors - colourful but not bright or garish.  The yarn is actually much softer both in texture and shade than the book photos would suggest. I picked up a few extra skeins not called for in the pattern in the event I am moved to improvise.  The scarflette might bear lengthening and maybe widening. We shall see.

Oh, and the yarn...well it was fifty percent (yes 50%) off.  Anything I can do to support my lys.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Silent gratitude isn't much use to anyone. ~G.B. Stern
I am of an age when I can remember pre-internet, when the world was a much bigger place and people and events of distant lands were very far away.  I remember when I realized how much this had changed when my sons began to play online computer games and I would hear them, on their enormous headsets, speaking routinely with other kids all over the world.  And the conversations were not only game talk but the casual flow of weather, school and world events chat.

This smaller world has become more obvious to me in my daily surfing of my favorite knitting blogs.  Defined not by geographical location but by writing skills and general interest these blogs are truly international in scope with some of them being posted in their native language with English translations.  This week the predominate theme has been thankfulness, due to American Thanksgiving.

I believe that because these blogs are primarily written by women, and that women tend to take such themes to heart, that thankfulness resonates whatever country we find ourselves in.

I was given notice of my dismissal from my job last week, for which I am very thankful.  I have a boss who is widely considered to be mentally unstable and whose pettiness and vindictiveness is legend.  While being unemployed in this time of economic crisis is frightening, I know that there are far better times ahead.  Being out from beneath that cloud of terrible darkness and negativity brought me such joy that I danced in the parking lot the day of my firing. 

I am also thankful for the unconditional support of my sons and my parents.  Again, the web has allowed me into other women's lives and made me so aware of how incredibly lucky I am to have what I have when so many others don't.  

I am thankful. Thankful for all the good in my life and thankful for this technology for reminding me to pay attention to it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Dirty little secrets

One of the things I admire about professional knitting bloggers is their ability to score top shelf yarn.  Can you imagine the yarn the Yarn Harlot must receive, gratis?  I love her blog, applaud that she is Canadian, and hold no ill will against her, but damn, the yarn she uses...well, thats just a dream come true isn't it?  Good yarn is expensive.  Gorgeous yarn is really expensive.  And the yarn that I crave is ridiculously, totally out of my reach, expensive.

But I love to knit and I outgrew acrylic about 20 years ago.  So I have a few economical go-tos.  KnitPicks is one.  Their yarn isn't imaginative but it's serviceable.  My lys' annual "clear the shelves" sale is always good for stocking the stash. And then there is Michaels and their Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool. There always seems to be a coupon or sale so I never pay the full $15 a skein. And, and this is a big "and", the skeins are 465 yards. Thats a lot of "100%  Pure virgin wool containing natural oils".

I really like this yarn.  The colors are basic variations on beiges and browns which is fine with me.  I don't have problems with splitting or mid-skein tied ends.  The yarn fluffs up nicely when knit, blocks well and gives me a stiff, thick fabric when I knit it on size 6 needles and a nice drape when I knit on 9s. All in all a great yarn. 

Which, of course, means that by this time next year it will have been discontinued, much like my favorite neutral lipstick color, favorite aerobics shoes and favorite perfectly fitting bra. 

At least we're not in Alaska

In Alaska they have begun their months and months of 24 hour twilight.  So, you know, this isn't that.  Thank the gods.  But winter is just around the corner.  And it is so bloody long. On the positive side that is many cozy evenings to be spent knitting.  So there is that.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

And the Christmas fairs continue...

This time at Museum on the Boyne. It was a very tiny event, fewer than a dozen booths.  But sweet and charming.

I often see fruit cake for sale, but this is the first time I've seen Christmas pudding.  I have fuzzy memories of it being served at my grandparent's very traditional english Chrismas dinners when I was a child.  I remember it as being basically fruit cake, pudding style, with brandy sauce. I didn't like it as a child and wouldn't like it now.  Like brussel sprouts and scotch, you either appreciate them or you don't.

This woman was selling tea and tea pots.  I am a huge tea fan, my go to is Earl Grey and I have at least three cups a day.  I have had a number of pretty tea pots over the years and I have to admit a fondness for clear glass tea pots.  But my pragmatic nature can't get past the cleaning that would be required.  A clear glass pot would have to be kept spotless and I haven't the energy for it. I'll stick to my brown betty for now.

And this was my purchase of the day.  They call it a massage candle.  Now that was not a particularly strong selling point for me frankly.  Being very single and all.  However, a chat with the vendors was quite illuminating (yuk,yuk).  Basically you light the candle, let it burn until there is a small pool, then use the spoon to put some of the melted wax on your hands and rub it in.  Moisturizing like a parafin, but you don't peel it off.  Its a soy candle and doesn't get overly hot and the fragrances were wonderful.  My hands were soft and fragrant most of the afternoon.

And as much as I would love to keep it for myself I must focus on Christmas shopping. So it is destined for my sister-in-law.  So sad.  But there is another fair down the road in the next town in a few weeks.  And the candle seller will be there. I may not be able to resist. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

...and so it begins...

Christmas, that is.  It starts so quickly.  One minute I'm eating Halloween candy, the next, Christmas shopping.

Living in a rural area we have quite a number of fairs and festivals.  Potatoe Festival, Garlic Festival, agricultural and antique fairs, and today, the SugarPlum fair. A local Christmas sale for aritisans and cottage industries.  I'm afraid the photos aren't great.  I'm not accustomed to intruding on people by taking their picture.  And an explanation as to why I'm taking said photo, well, the explanation that it is for a blog seems...lame.

These are lovely glass ornaments that sparkle and glow. I have in my mind's eye a four foot white Christmas tree festooned with nothing but these of all size and colors. I also wonder about the logistics of transporting all this very thin, delicate glass from fair to fair. I wonder what their loss ratio is.
Candy.  Chocolate and bark and fudge.  This is a very popular home business if the number of booths are any indication. And they give out free samples.  The trick is not to start, I suppose.  But I'm not terribly good at that and I may have come home with a bark or two.

There were also a number of hand made knits booths.  I really enjoy looking at other people's work, how skilled they are and what they believe their wares are worth.  Acrylic or real yarn, Toilet roll covers or Clapotis shawls. I was with non-knitting friends at the fair so I couldn't really stop and chat but I may go back tomorrow to do just that.  I don't know any other local knitters and who knows, I could make a friend.

These are zipper pulls and are perfect as knitting markers.  The hooks on them are too tiny to fit around a knitting needle so I throw them on yarn or plastic markers.  At three for five dollars I can afford to start a little collection and I have.  Almost every fair and festival has them and I think they are so pretty. 

Next:  Museum on the Boyne Christmas Market.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knit Picks

Why not.  I would love to win some yarn for the winter.

And maybe knit up something like this Min Ulla Scarf, found on Ravelry. But multi colored. At a different gauge. In the round, tube fashion to hide the stranding. With maybe a few animal motifs.

Anyway, wishful thinking. I keep entering contests and buying the occasional lottery ticket but I have yet to win anything.  My friend's twin sister wins things constantly, while my friend enters exactly the same contests and never, ever wins .  Another inexplicable part of life.  Like how you can trip and fall and bloody your knee but not put a run in your hose? How is that even possible?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Ok, I thought about keeping it for myself

This is my "deathflake" hat.  Actually it is no longer mine as it is hurtling its way via Canada Post to my son at university as we speak. Its a basic earflap pattern knitted with Stitch Nation peruvian wool.  I love this type of stranded color work, with a picture emerging as I work. It took a weekend and is everything I enjoy about knitting.  Creative, challenging but not frustrating, and in the end I have something practical. 

And thats Cora. Every knitting blog has to have a cat. It is a prerequisite.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Necessity being the mother of, um, MacGyvering?

On the needles: Lovely Shelburne mittens.  It just so happens that my lys, yes the one I don't often get to, had a sale on Rowan.  I picked up a few skeins of  felted tweed chunky in Grey Pebble. I really wasn't in the mood to test for gauge so I did the the equivalent of a reverse search on Ravelry.  I looked up the yarn and found the associated projects. Searched for free patterns and voila!  Oh, how I love Ravelry.  Anyway, my mitts are going to need a serious blocking.  The rib tends to twist and while they have great stretch, they are a bit narrow.  My usual "pin to a bed" blocking won't do it so I've MacGyvered. 
Its only ridiculous if it doesn't work.