Wednesday, 25 April 2018

The Good, The Bad and the Downright Ugly

I'll begin with the good. This week, a new royal baby was born. I was sitting at the Volkswagon dealership waiting for an oil change. I was thinking how nice it was to see some good news, and everyone looked so happy.

Later, a news report of an incident of people being killed while outside in North Toronto, by some guy who had anger issues. You can read about that here-  and I wondered how something like this happens. There is no answer, and there is no making sense of any of it. What is most hard to come to terms with is why the need for all those families who suffered loss, and those injured? Let's be clear- it could happen to anyone, anywhere, anytime, and the lack of control any of us have over it is overwhelming.

Okay. I've said what I need to.

I've been working on my Brighton Rock. This is slow growing, and I have very little attention span.

I've finished some Harris Tweed socks (free pattern on Ravelry). A really simple, but effective pattern, in Socks That Rock "Pumpkin Patched".

The kitties are going through an enforced adjustment. Usually, they are allowed to graze the kibble bowl, and I give them soft food every morning. What has been happening is that bully Clawed nudges the other two away from theirs when he hoovers up his, and they get very little, and he throws up from eating too fast. So, everyone gets a tablespoon of kibble, and I split a can of soft food 3 ways. Twice a day.

They are so hungry they eat whatever they get. Less waste, less rotund kitties. We also get rock'em sock'em robots while I'm filling the bowls.
Clawed gives me the deathstare, usually around dinner time. In the morning, if that food isn't out and I am still in bed, he chomps my calf. How do they know where to inflict the most pain?

Better times, huh?




Saturday, 24 March 2018

Greetings From The Rabbit Hole

Hey! How are you? I realize that I haven't blogged in an absolute age. I guess I've been hanging around Instagram quite a bit, and that's become my social media.

I have been trying to keep up-to-date with my friends in Blogland. This past winter was cold, and I seem to have made it through all my yearly medical appointments, including the dental visit from hell. But we're here for the knitting, aren't we?

I have been concentrating on finishing up a few projects from 2017. Mentally, I find it hard to move on when there is unfinished business...so....
I finally finished my Halyard cardigan. I ordered special buttons from Etsy.
This will be my new go-to sweater, it's soft and flattering and I absolutely love it. It took a while to finish, as I prefer knitting something a little more complicated, but those are not the things I actually wear, so there is something Freudian about that, I think.

I also finished the edging on this Boundary Waters shawl. This is from an almost vintage pattern by Two Old Bags, but their charting and patterns are superb. I used BMFA Laci in the colour "In The Navy" which I felt was appropriate. Finally blocked and done. Tino is decidedly unimpressed.
I have moved onto socks and will be joining this KAL from Lori at Oceanwind Knits called "Jangles"- the heel looks interesting and the KAL begins tomorrow.

I'll be using my Bunny bag, because it's seasonally appropriate, and I love rabbits anyway.
And finally, this has been years in the making, but The Vintage Shetland Project has landed, and I want to carve out some time to read this. I have been so looking forward to it, and the authors health challenges seem to make all the more special, as she went through so much and she came out the other side. I crowdfunded and got a pin, notecards and a tote bag too.
Really happy about this.

So nice to spend time with you and hope everyone is well. I'll be fleecin' out until next time.



Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A Message from Nuggies

Happy 2018- I'm a little late to the party. Truth is, I am not quite over the holidays as yet. They were great, lots of fun and my favorite people. It did get stupidly cold, but we had a gorgeous white Christmas and New Years.

I have been enjoying some quiet time. This is almost the best time of year- you can organize your new gifts and maybe clear out some stuff. Speaking of which, some highlights:

Slow knitting- I am sure they don't refer to the snails pace of knitting that goes on here lately.

The Unfinished Palazzo- I am primarily interested in Peggy Guggenheim, but the whole story is fascinating. A gift from the favorite niece.

The New York Times Book of Crime- love this. Gifted from Miss Mew.

The Shepherd's View- I was gifted the book, this is mostly pictures.

A Stash of One's Own- interesting to read that some people don't even hoard yarn. Gifted from FC.

Out of This Century- Peggy Guggenheim's autobiography, restored and updated.

Miss Mew got me this print and framed it. It does go a long way to explaining the world today.
I have a small collection of flat irons. This tailor's model is rare, as the closure is a woman's head and it retains the original grate inside. From the evil twin.
Absolutely beyond cute and beautiful, from a very dear friend. I've decided they stay out all year as I can't bear to just see them at Christmas.

I have made no resolutions. Life is pretty great for me as it is, and yeah, I would love to lose weight and save money, but let's be real, probably won't happen, and why put the pressure on yourself? I did re-organize the stash and passed on some things that will never happen (your tastes and priorities change...) but if I keep adding then how will I ever get to those things I've really wanted to do? I won't say I won't be acquiring, but at the moment I have no desire to do so. So this years mantra is "be content with what you have". 
The guest kitty today is Nuggies- and she has decided that chilling is where it's at. She's a smart little girl.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

It Looks Alot Like....

..you guessed it. I did my wrapping last Monday, and then and only then, can you call yourself done.
Does this give you an idea of this years sentiment? (My niece knows me so well.)
I finished baking this morning. I wasn't going to do even that, but hey. I also sent not one card. I should have called this post "I don't give a crap".
If it were my choice, this would be the only tree I would put up, but Miss Mew decorated the large one.
 
This years Nutcracker is a King Mouse.
And look how Clawed drinks water- you apparently must go under the kitchen cart.

In knitting news, I have become distracted with making more gloves. This one has 5 shades of J&S Shetland Supreme. They're mine.

I am still working on Halyard. I finally figured out the reason you use progress keepers- to track how much you have done. It seems to be working- I love the little narwhale.

I am looking forward to Christmas vacation- such as it is. May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours the best of holidays. May your wool skein never tangle and you never drop a stitch.

Fleece Navidad.




Monday, 27 November 2017

MIA

I have been missing in action recently. On Saturday, Miss Mew got married.
We had a lovely day, in a lovely place and everyone was so happy.
 Instead of a bouquet she chose a muff, and had a mink hat with a veil attached. Perfect for a November wedding.
FC, my sister and I- we wore the same dress only in different colours.  Pearls and the same style of shoes.
The happy couple. Mr. and Mrs. Mew.

Other than that, I have just finished my holiday shopping- online, as there is no way I am going near the mall at this time of year.

I'll be back soon with some knitting content, but I thought I would share this with you today.





Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Pusheen-o-ween

I'll continue with my desertation for new knitters... but as we all know, it's Halloween! My favorite night of the year. And this year we have a Pusheen-o-ween!
Can you stand it? I was out last week meeting a friend who is on her way to bigger and better things. You may recognize her from my patterns.
She also picked up some Pusheenery- a true friend who shares the obsession.

I sewed up some cross-stitch pinkeeps and pillows for gifts. I've also done some hats.


The top 2 are the Rilo pattern, a freebie and a terrific pattern.The last one is Sheephaven.

So, a couple of points I wanted to add to last week's post are as follows:

1. On the subject of books, I recommend you get a stitch dictionary- the Harmony guides are wonderful. More interesting is history. Once you learn about traditional knitting, it makes knitting a thousand times more interesting. You may develop a love for stranded colourwork, Fishermans gansies and Irish Arans. I did. And I read anything I can about the people and places. How about Estonian lace? Norwegian Selbuvotter? Chilean Chullos?

2. Keep notes. When I make something I keep notes on what yarn I used (and whether I liked it) the size of needles, if the recipient liked it, and so on. That's where Ravelry becomes invaluable, because often I will change needle sizes or tweak the pattern. This becomes helpful to someone else who likes that project and is thinking of knitting it, or maybe you subbed your yarn and they want to see what it looks like.

3. Do what YOU enjoy. Hey, if you like making socks, make socks. I know there is a trend toward simple shawls and brioche stitch now, but I have had my fill of them, and if YOU like doing something, you needn't explain or justify it. Maybe you like doing toys -some of the patterns are complex, but the results are amazing.

4. Try a new technique. That's what is so wonderful about knitting- there is always something to learn. I have my preferences, but you will develop yours.

5. Try a get-together or a knit night if there is one locally. It's a wonderful way to be inspired and make some knit buddies. Or, how about a blog, or Instagram. You'll meet loads of cool people from all over the world.

Have a spooktacular Halloween.

Fleece out.





Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Dear New Knitter

Today is a historic day in a few ways. My son turns 29 today. You know what that means? IAMTHEPARENTOFA29YEAROLD!!!!!! And I want to know where the time went.
(maintain low tones, young Cone)


The other young cone (if you've seen Coneheads, you'll get the reference...) is getting married next month. What the actual.....?

Gordon Downie passed away last night. Maybe you have to be Canadian to get the meaning of that, but we called them "the 'Hip" and they were icons. While not entirely unexpected, it still comes as a shock when something like this happens.

I have been working on some presents as is usual for this time of year. The guys are getting socks and hats, and I've got my sister's yearly yule hat done. I'm not really getting much done, at least, not as much as I want to, but c'est la vie.

I've been knitting for roughly 30 years- give or take. My across the street neighbour taught me, and she's a fine teacher, because she succeeded where many failed. Rather, I failed. But I needed something to do while the baby was sleeping, other than laundry, and it was a blessing on so many levels. It's given me joy, frustration and many hours of creativity. It's brought many friends into my life, both online and for reals.

So, what advice would I give to a new knitter? Or someone who wants to learn everything in 5 minutes? First, it's a hobby (more of a lifestyle to most of us) that you never master, in terms of knowing everything.

1. First, while knitting can be inexpensive, in general terms, it's not. Even budget-friendly yarn, when you need enough for an adult garment, is going to run you a few sheckels, and yes, you can buy one at Old Navy cheaper.

2. Which brings me to this: if you feel this is something that you love, and want to keep doing, invest in the best tools and yarn that you can afford. That doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive either. You will quickly learn what suits you, and what you're not so happy with. Also, different yarns require different needles. If you go for the cheapies, you will get what you pay for. Trust me.

3. Learn how to read a pattern. I don't always recommend that you study the entire thing, because alot of it won't make sense until you're actually at that stage of the game. But patterns are usually a shorthand- and you'll see the same abbreviations over and over, so it's not scary. Unless the "designer" makes up his/her own, and that's, well, pretentious.

4. Know how to identify a K (knit) stitch, and a P (Purl) stitch. Familiarize yourself.

5. For the love of all that is holy- if you disregard everything here, learn how to use Double Pointed needles and how to read a chart!!!! Knitting fads come and go, but when you want to finish off a hat, or knit some glove fingers, you'll be grateful you know how. I know that magic-loop is a thing, and I can see it's benefits, and I have nothing against fans of the technique, but there will come a time when the rubber hits the road, and those dpn's are vital.

As for anyone who says "I don't knit from charts..." all I can say is that more and more patterns are charted, as it's easier from the standpoint of the writer, especially lace. It's also easier to see where you are with a chart, in colorwork and cabling, so don't dismiss it. You'll be essentially cutting yourself off from roughly half the patterns on Ravelry.

6..Ravelry. 
Get a free account. Make up a username. Do it now.

7. I bet it was recommended that you make a scarf. You'll soon be bored with that. Your next project should be something that incorporates increases and decreases, perhaps a buttonhole. You can next start with a raglan sweater, top-down if you want, and if that intimidates you, how about a child's sweater. People are always multiplying, and it will come in handy for the next kid that comes along.

8. Come to terms with gauge. You have to make a gauge swatch. Yes, you do. Your knitting is unique from everyone else's and you may be one of those lucky ones who can achieve the gauge in a pattern, but chances are you are looser or tighter. If you want this thing to fit or come out the recommended size, you are strongly advised to take the time.

9. And yes, the only real way to correct an error, is to rip back. And that may mean the whole sleeve, or back of a sweater, but I never mind, because it's teaching me something. Admittedly, I rip back alot less than I used to, but it happens. It can be soul destroying, but think of it as experience.

10. Collect books. I love anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Even better are the videos. But start with "Knitting Without Tears"- highly readable, and very reassuring to the unsure.

11.Things like cabling and socks are suprisingly easier than you think. You'll impress the handknit socks off yourself. Treat yourself to some self striping yarn and watch the magic happen.

12. This brings me to the inevitable "oh, you made that? Could you knit me one?" Never mind that you have spent alot of time on that item, and are eager to show it off. The muggles have no idea what goes into your creations. And nothing takes the fun out of something more than knitting to order. If you finish something and feel you want to gift it to a worthy person, then great. But my advice is don't do it. Next thing you know you'll be knitting for a family of Yeti's, and resenting every stitch.

Clearly, I have much to say on this subject, so I'll continue next time.

Fleece Out