Friday, 31 May 2013

Restart...

On Wednesday night at Knit Night, I had brought along the Fiddlesticks Lace scarf. Why I think I can knit charted lace in a group of talkative knitters is beyond me. Add in my French Mother's genetic need to talk with my hands to illustrate a point, and well you get something that silenced an entire circle of knitters... (sorry of the lack of pictures) but it was a lace knitting project with the centre 20 or so stitches OFF THE NEEDLES. Yup, yarn overs and all, hanging loose in a slippery silk blend yarn. It was ugly. Everyone stopped and stared in horror.
My first thought was to try and remount the stitches, and then figure out where the yarn overs were and make them again. But I had really yanked it, and the stitches had dropped two and three rows down.
So I got to thinking about this project. It's for Jenny - she has a very long recovery ahead of her (and the latest news from the family is very encouraging, by the way - We are hoping Jenny 2.0 (as they call her!) will be very close to the original Jenny), so there's not a big rush on this. I forgot that I seem to knit Fiddlesticks patterns tighter than they set the gauge for - even though I usually hit gauge with a recommended needle, these lace projects seem to be tighter on me. I had been looking at what I was doing so far, and it really wasn't opening up as much as I wanted the lace to, but I had done 6 repeats already, so maybe I should just keep going.
Wednesday night's debacle gave me the smack upside the head I needed. I ripped it all out, and instead of the recommended 3.0mm needles, I started again with 4.5mm needles.
It was the right decision. The lace is looser and more open, drapier as befits a silk/merino mix, and just nicer. It will be the lace scarf I envisioned for Jenny, and I'm so glad I screwed it up so bad to warrant a restart!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Viajante, just because...

For days when I need simple stockinette that isn't a sock, I started Viajante. Not because I needed another project, but I liked it, and it suited this Noro Sekku I have had hanging around FOR EVER. (Okay, for about 2 years). But I love this yarn, and have been looking for something to make with it.


It's a long term project - Jenny's scarf and the next Icelandic sweater (wool order acknowledge, and should be sent this week...) come first. But every now and then, it 's a good thing to knit.

Monday, 27 May 2013

what a prize!

A couple of days after the Knitter's Frolic, I got an email from the DKC saying I had won a prize after I left. That's the first upside...
The downside was that in order to claim my prize, I had to pick it up at a DKC meeting - not something that is convenient or easy for me - I'm almost NEVER downtown,,,
The second upside is that I got an email from Susan, telling me that SHE had won a prize from the Frolic as well! As Susan works downtown, she offered to pick up my prize when she got her own. Fortuitous, indeed!
To make life even better, Susan and I combined on a Knit Picks order to get the free shipping, had it all shipped to her place, and she turned it around and sent my stuff to me.
What a great prize! Two balls of Exquisite mulberry silk.merino blend, and a pair of scarf patterns from Fiddlesticks Knitting. If you've never used an Fiddlesticks pattern, and you like knitting lace, you have to get some. they are the best patterns - cleanest charts, never an error, and fantastic to work. These two look complicated, but they are garter stitch scarves, and work up quickly. 
So easy in fact, that I started one. I didn't really need another project right now, but this greyish-lavender is a colour that looks great with Jenny's blonde colouring, and I've seen her wear it often. I figure if I knit something for her, she will recover so she can wear it.
I know that's a silly notion, but I want to believe it. The news slowly gets better - the injury seems to be mostly in the brainstem - a very bad part of the brain to injure, but... normally these injuries are instantly fatal - the fact that is wasn't could mean that the injury isn't as severe as it could have been. There's still a lot of coulds and maybes, but we continue to hope for the best.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

icelandic sweater - done!

It's been a tough week as you can imagine. I keep looking at Jenny's desk and she's not there. But there are small steps in her recovery and they are in the right direction, so we are feeling guardedly good. She's still critical, and still in a coma, but she's young and strong, and I have to believe in her. It's really been rough, though.
Knitting helps. A lot. It calms me, and centres me when things start to seem overwhelming. We still have some family member health issues, and, well, there's just a lot going on. How do people cope when they don't have something like knitting or sewing, or SOME type of diversion?
 
The Icelandic sweater was the winner in the diversion sweepstakes. I powered through this, while also getting the neon-ish socks done. (I've needed a lot of diversions lately...)
 
I love this sweater. I love the colours, I love the mods I made, I love how it turned out.
The main mod was the neckline. Once I finished the colourwork charts, instead of ribbing and folding over the neckline, I simply continued the stockinette stitch ( doing another row of some decreases to pull it in a bit), and let it roll. It's a nice boat neck, not tight to the neck, so she can wear a turtleneck or even a tshirt underneath.
The bottom was another mod - again, no ribbing (I don't like the look of ribbing on sweaters...) So I started with a rolled stockinette edge and two purl rows - it.s  a nice look - nice and smooth.
The only problem is a minor one, and I've already taken care of it. Originally, I also bought Lett Lopi for another one of these sweaters for the sister of the girl getting this one. I bought browns and greens. Wrong. K doesn't have the colouring for browns and greens. So I went online and bought blue, pink and green for hers. A lovely heathered blue, spring green and heathery pink. Perfect. And now I get the brown - I think something similar to this, with a steek for a cardigan...

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

A very bad day

I found out last night that a good friend and colleague had a car accident last night and suffered severe head trauma. It's very touch and go, so any positive thoughts you can spare would be appreciated. Jenny is a beautiful, incredible person, 23 years old, with her whole life ahead of her. We share teas, laughs and work. She is one of the great ones, and deserves to live it.
We are just wrecked around here...

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

not QUITE what I was after

The neon socks for the 14th birthday are well on their way. I bought this great neon coloured wool at the Frolic:
But when I knit it up, it kind of... de-neoned. I mean, it's still nice, and squooshy and soft and lovely to touch, but the colours (although they striped quite nicely), don't really call out NEON.
No one who sees them believes this sock came from this yarn...
Still nice, though. On to the second one...

Monday, 13 May 2013

Such a proud Mom!

Saturday was the boy's final basketball games of the season. (Just in time for baseball to start next week...) It was a bittersweet day - we are a basketball family, and love this league.
It didn't hurt that after two very hard fought games (semi-final and final), his team came away with the championship.

It's a great win, as the league had asked us to move him up a division earlier than his age would dictate. So this season, he was the only kid in the top division that wasn't in high school! I was worried that he wouldn't really make an impact, but that worry was for naught - he was a big part of the team, and I have the utmost respect for the players that welcomed him, and helped hone his game. They made him a better player, and a better person. If all teens were like this group of players, I'm happy with where the world is going.
But leaving the younger division was hard - he has a lot of friends there, as did we, and he enjoyed mentoring the younger players, and helping them with their game.
So it was great to see this - not only did his team win, the coaches of the lower division brought him back for this - The Gibber Award:
 It's only given to one player in the whole league.
Can't read it? Let me quote: (not that I'm bursting with pride or anything... (and yes, I erased his name in the photo))
"for his valuable contribution to the team by consistently displaying leadership, dedication and sportsmanship all with a positive attitude"
Yup - proud Mom here!
He also participated int he slam dunk contest:

He still needs to grow a bit for this - but I did get some pictures of the winner, who shyly came up to me after to ask if I got any good pictures - turns out I got some great ones of him, and he asked if I could email them to him! How tough do we think that was for a 16 year old to ask some woman to email him pictures?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Killing time

In the week before the Knitter's Frolic, I didn't want to get involved in a big project - I knew I was going to start the Lopi sweater that is a gift as soon as I got the yarn at the Frolic, so I wanted something small to keep me occupied. Of course there are always socks, but those really are my travel and game knitting - I could do something with charts while at home.
Enter the Christmas ornament!
I've made a bunch of these already - for my tree last Christmas and some gifts. They were so well received, and are so easy to make, they are the perfect time filler.

I've charted a bunch of names (still have a few more to go - lots of friends and family in my life!!), but I still love the fair isle ones!
The perfect filler project! They take about an evening to work up - great for TV knitting...

Friday, 3 May 2013

What goes around, comes around

*Note - regarding our medical situation - things are MUCH better - still not completely good, but definitely better. We are still in a situation of disruption of households - all of us are doing what we can, while still trying to handle our own lives. But better is good, and we are working with that.

On to the knitting...

I learned to knit from my Mom, who was one of 8 kids. She and her sisters were and are incredibly close, both in age and emotionally. We can talk of family get togethers where the sisters all showed up in either the same style of dress or the same colour, without having talked about it beforehand.
Mom taught me to knit when I was about 8 - the usual stuff - barbie doll scarves, and rugs, using crappy multi-coloured acrylics. From that age on, I always knew HOW to knit, I just didn't do a lot of it. As i grew up,  I mostly sewed, then did some quilting, got into cross stitch in a big way, while still knitting things every know and then. I remember knitting sweaters in university, still using crappy acrylics or blends (Patons Shetland Chunky, anyone?), and every now and then would knit a baby item for someone. (Looking back on that paragraph, you'd think I was such a good girl during school - staying home and crafting... SO not reality! While I was an A student, I was also a jock, and I did my fair share of dating and partying... I enjoyed and continue to enjoy all aspects of life...)
Anyhoo, when the nieces and nephews started coming, then my own son, knitting was a better option - portable, easy to put down and pick up, and the fibres and patterns had improved so much since my acrylic days. I got back into it in a huge way!
Fast forward a few years, and I was spending some time with my Mom while she recovered from some surgery. While sitting with her watching TV, I would knit, and she got interested again. I gave her some wool and needles, and she started knitting socks again like she had never stopped. I guess the pattern was just engraved on her brain. She continues to this day - always with a sock or a scarf on the needles. (She doesn't like making sweaters, she says - too hot...)
Fast forward another year, and another surgery (minor stuff, but it kept her down for a week or so - everything's good now, and it's not her that is incapacitated now). I spent a few days with her, then her sister, my aunt came down for a week. Seems my aunt also knew how to knit, but hadn't in years. Spend enough time with us, and we can convert anyone it seems...
She also started with socks, then moved on to an aran cardigan for my Uncle (I need to get a picture of that), and these.
here's her words from the email she sent me:
On her last visit your Mom brought me a ball of wool from you. I thought it was so interesting that I wanted to know how it would turn out once knitted up. I made a pair of gloves (attached picture) and had a lot of fun looking how the different colours turned out. After doing the first finger I had to think about how to get the others to turn out the same. Lots of fun. Thanks for the wool.

I love that they taught me, I taught them back, and my Aunt is now re-teaching my cousin.

What goes around comes around...

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Frolic - final post

You've seen the sock yarn, and the sweaters. (I think I have a lot of knitting to do...) The only other thing I bought were some ceramic buttons, because I can't seem to go to the Frolic and not buy buttons...
I really fell in love with the maple leaf ones, and the others, well it was a great deal to buy in bulk, so I did...

The other great thing that day was meeting up with Brenda and Marie. We've been "blog friends" for quite a while, and while I have met Brenda before, it was my first time meeting Marie. The four of us, (Susan joined us) had a great time, chatting over coffee, and comparing purchases. The way we were talking and getting along, you'd swear we had known each other for years. The true sense of friendship. Can't wait til meet up with them again at other knitting events. And I will remember to take pictures - this time around, at least Brenda remembered - go check her blog for a picture of Susan, Marie and myself. Oh, and Marie makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies! The BEST, according to my husband and son...