Sunday, February 5, 2012

Don't look a gift horse in the mouth

 Tanya's boss, a local solicitor who apparently has a bit of a hoarder thing going on cleaned out her office the other day.   Hiding behind a pile of Litigators magazines, a banker's box of old accounting files and a couple of bottles of gifted home-made wine of uncertain vintage and dubious color sat an aged Eatons bag.  And in said bag sat, well take a look yourself...

Let us get to the magazine in a moment because that is all kinds of awesome and worth waiting for.

The yarn is Eaton's brand "Fisherman's Knit Aran", 70% acrylic and 30% wool. Interestingly, there is a little logo on the band.

It's very official looking isn't it,  with that little microscope. I'm not certain what there is about this yarn that requires microscopic investigation or a research bureau to control the information, but then the 80's were a different time.

The magazine was tucked in with the yarn and is Paton's "Irresistible Arans" circa 1986.  Irresistible may have been a reach.

As they say, everything comes around again, so perhaps the beret with the with the four inches of ribbing and dangling poms is back in style, however I am fairly certain that the 'socks with shoes with skirt' combination never made its way back into our fashion consciousness.

Do you remember shoulder pads?  I myself had a collection back in the day and swore wearing them made my hips and waist look tinier. In retrospect they simply made me look like a linebacker.

Look at the size of those things.

And one more blast from the past...big hair, Dallas style.

t I find it interesting that the patterns may have changed over the years but the yarn hasn't.  This yarn has apparently sat hidden away for over 20 years.  That is older than any of the stash I have. And it is in great shape, waiting to be knit.

And the fact remains that I scored 10 skeins of yarn, for free.  And while my dislike of acrylic has been duly noted a mutitude of times on this blog I cannot deny the practicality of an acrylic/wool blend.

I think a sweater is now in the queue, but I think I will pass on the shoulder pads.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

One felted entrelac blanket, check

The entrelac blanket is done, finally, and I love it.  Super warm, thick and cozy.  The colours turned out fine, though I don't think I will ever be a fan of variegated yarns. But a gift of Berroco Raku is always welcome and appreciated and I think I did the gift justice.

I knitted the center entrelac panel then picked up all the edge stitches ( and there were hundreds and hundreds) on two 60" circs. And around and around I went, taking care to increase at every corner, until I had only enough yarn left to bind off.  After it was all said and done I felt that it had a too much drape, probably due to its size.  So, to tighten it up, I felted it.

I have a front loading washer so that was out.  I had read about dryer felting though it doesn't appear that it is very common.  But what a revelation it was. Easy peasy.  I soaked the blanket in the sink in very hot water for about 20 minutes, lightly rung it out and threw it in the dryer on its regular heated cycle for about twenty minutes.

What I think is so brilliant about this is that dries as it felts so I didn't have a sopping wet blanket to block. It was certainly damp and it took a couple days to dry completely but still much better than felting it in the washer.

I love working with wool. I have to say I would not have been as thrilled with the blanket had I not been able to felt it.  It was an eleventh hour decision due to some uneven stitches and unsightly corner increases. As well, I seriously dislike obviously visible wrong sides.  And the wrong side of entrelac is not pretty.

The felting totally took care of thoses issues and gave it, dare I say, a professional finish. The wrong side has ridges around the entrelac blocks but they now look purposeful.

I didn't felt it entirely.  There is still some stitch definition left.  I thought I would stop while I was ahead, but perhaps the day will come when it needs a bit of a cleaning and I will give it another go-around in the dryer.

I throw it over my legs every night as I knit.  It's thick and soft and I believe I will still be enjoying it when I'm eighty.  And how many things can you say that about.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Well, THAT was interesting...

I was at the gym yesterday.  This particular gym specializes in classes; core, kick, step, spin etc.  And I rotate between them all and I am, with the exclusion of my recent sick days, quite consistent in attending. 

One of the teachers approached me and asked if I would have any interest in teaching classes myself.  Now this I might have expected 10 years and forty pounds ago, but to be asked now - well, that is interesting.

If I were to pursue this I would need a plan.  A serious diet and fitness shape-up plan.  There are definite inticements here.  And there are many things to consider.  A)  I would have a built-in part-time job; instructors are in high demand in my rural area; b) being a teacher/instructor is tailor made for my personality; c) it would go a long way in reigning in my weight and smoking struggles; d) it would be fun, I love the whole gym and fitness thing and always have.

I'm not certain if this is a road I will choose to travel but regardless, it reinforces my belief that you never know what is around the corner.  Worrying is, by and large, wasted time.  And that while life can be hard we can, perhaps, find balance in the opportunities and surprises that come our way.

I love surprises and this was a big one.  Today, I am heartened.

And in a very random aside, this is my new wallpaper that I downloaded last night.  I think it is very beautiful and it makes me happy every time I start up my computer.


My idea of a good time...

All in, this would probably cost me $10,000.00.  If wishes were fishes... Everything about this interests me, beautiful locations, wonderful history, teachers whose work I know and follow etc etc. sigh