Monday, 29 February 2016

Yarn Shopping

So I finally managed to get to the yarn store (Wool Tyme, if you're wondering) and I managed to get there while the sale was still on.  It's normally out of the way, but my mother and I happened to be driving by there and we were able to stop.  Better still, my mom stayed in the car with the kids so I could have ten minutes to shop without a toddler and a baby.  I love them, but they make yarn shopping difficult, especially because my toddler has very strong opinions on what yarn I should and shouldn't buy, which is awesome.

I tried to take a picture of the yarn but it got corrupted, but I got 12 balls of Patons Canadiana for a baby blanket.  It's not the most exciting yarn on the planet, but it wears well and it's super-washable, plus it comes in great colours which is what I wanted for a baby blanket.  I bought way too much, but I can return some of it, I kept the receipt

I was going to just stick to that but then I saw their Cascade 220 display.  I've been playing a couple of projects with that yarn and they have so many colours at this store (they say they're the biggest yarn shop in the country, and I believe them).  They were also $7.50 plus tax, which is a great price so six of those came home with me too.

I spent the kids' nap time that afternoon starting the baby blanket and it looks just like it did in my head which is totally gratifying.  Hopefully I'll manage to get a picture up soon.

Friday, 26 February 2016

All the boring jobs

I try not to have too many things on the needles at once, not because people who only have a couple things going at a time are in any way superior to those who like to have a dozen or more things to choose from, but simply because it's a recipe for me never finishing anything and spending lots of money on yarn with little results.  (This is only a problem for me because it doesn't work for our budget or yarn storage solutions, if it works for you, by all means enjoy it).

Generally I aim for three things on the needle, plus the blanket.  The blanket is a giant garter stitch blanket made out of leftover sock yarn I have so there's always something ready to be knit, it's never at a finicky place in the pattern, and it's always ready to go.  It's more fun than it might sound, it's a spiral sort of thing and I love it somewhat irrationally.  Because its intent is that it's never actually done I figure that doesn't count towards my total.

At the moment I have two hats that are almost done (they just need a crochet flower and their ends woven in) and my sweater.  The sweater had been going well until I realized the second sleeve was way longer than the first one.  I ripped it out to where the decreases should have started and tried again.  It's still too long (although this time it's less than one inch off instead of five).  I figure I'll stop knitting after it's as long as the first sleeve before the ribbing, block it to see if it changes anything, then do the ribbing after.  But that means that all of my projects are at boring parts.

Monday, 22 February 2016


I have this great long list of things I want to make.  One of them is someone else's pattern, the rest are ideas I've had for a while and am really excited about.  Normally I want to start projects right about, I tell myself I'll figure out the details as I go along, and I do, but it can lead to many unnecessary frustrations, and as I start to get more involved in selling patterns those frustrations are multiplying.

I'm trying to get better at really investing time in a project before I start.  It's something that I find difficult, I'm so product oriented that spending an hour knitting what is actually just a series of swatches, some that are scrapped, feels like I'm wasting time.  I know, in my head, that I'm not wasting time.  That time has been spent figuring things out, eliminating ideas that won't work the way I want them to now rather than later when I have half a project to pull out.  But it still feels like making that half a project is more productive because the fruits are tangible.

Nevertheless, I'm trying to persevere.  For this round of projects I want to have my schematics done before I cast on the project for real.  I want to have swatched not just the main part of the project but played around with borders and other elements that I would normally leave to the end to figure out.  I don't want to run to the other extreme where everything has to be fully written before I cast on, there are pitfalls there too, but I need to get more organized that I have been.

Yesterday I worked on a blanket I'm planning to make a friend, she's having a baby.  I'm really excited about the idea, and the swatch is going to be quite big because it involves a lot of textures.  Part of my brain keeps saying, "Swatching is for determining gauge and you're just making a big SQUARE."  It's untrue, of course.  One of the main things here is to eliminate textures that aren't working the way I want them to.  I am really excited about the blanket though, if it turns out anywhere as nice as I imagine it's going to look so great.  And a local yarn store is having a massive sale next week, so if I plan it out today and tomorrow, I might be able to get there Wednesday to buy the yarn and start next week.

Then I need to hide the blanket from my really good friend who I constantly knit around.

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Pressing my button

I have a Knit Kit, it's this wonderful swiss army knife type of multi tool for knitters.  It has a needle guage, yarn cutter, crochet hook, measuring tape, a row counter, and a little compartment for a darning needle, stitch counters, and scissors you can take on an airplane.  I have owned three now (the first one died of old age, the second one died at the hands of my toddler).

I've been using the row counter to track what row I'm on for the sleeves of my sweater, I diligently recorded the rows I decreased on for the first sleeve and with about 15 rows to go on the second sleeve I tried it on.

The second sleeve is already longer than the first one.

The gauge of the two sleeves seem to match.

Caleb must have pressed the button for the stitch counter a bunch of times when I wasn't looking, before I started decreasing.

Tuesday, 16 February 2016


Tuesdays are normally for this delightful knitting group I go to at a local library.  It's in the afternoon and the kids play as we knit.  However, today instead of being at the library we've gotten about a foot and a half of snow, so far.  Obviously, it is a bad idea to go anywhere so we stayed home.  We had a busy morning, Caleb and I shovelled the driveway during Ada's morning nap then Ada and I headed out to deal with it again during Caleb's quiet time.  (Ada was in the trusty baby carrier, so I could shovel.)  We have absolutely wonderful neighbours with a snowblower who came over and helped which is such a blessing, they also just got engaged, so that was a lovely, if blustery little visit we had outside.

My sweater is almost done, which is great, because I like finishing things, but means I'm not sure what I'm going to knit during this lecture I have tomorrow.  I have started a hat for this purpose but am not sure it's enough knitting for an hour and a half, the yarn is pretty bulky.  I have the blanket that I've been working on but it's getting pretty big and difficult to carry around.  I do have enough yarn for both hats so I think my plan is to make the first hat and if necessary cast on a second out of the same yarn but reversing the colours.

Then again, if this snow doesn't stop by morning I'm not going anywhere.

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Down for the count

My plan for yesterday was pretty simple, a day at home with the kids and some time doing knitting, housework, and blogging during their afternoon nap.  This plan was interrupted Thursday evening when I got violently ill around 8 in the evening, and spent all night throwing up.  I've been trying to think of the last time I was that sick and I think it was when I was about 13.  Seriously, not cool.  When yesterday morning came I could finally keep down water but couldn't stand without fainting.

Thankfully, my husband was able to work from home (there was apparently something that absolutely needed to be sorted out yesterday) and my mother came to the rescue to watch the kids and take care of me.  She brought me soup and sorbet and played with Caleb and Ada.  At one point she asked me if I wanted my knitting, and I had to say no, that I didn't think I could move that much.  So I lay there, thinking about how this was basically what happened when I was sick and about eight years old.  And you know, what?  When you're sick, eight years old is a pretty good place to be.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Binding off

I've been working on Flax Light by Tin Can Knits.  I'm really enjoying it, and just started the second sleeve last night.  It's a top-down raglan so I've been able to try it on as I go, which was really helpful since I wanted the sleeves to be three-quarter length instead of full length (I always end up pushing them up anyways).  When I tried it on I found that, even though I'd be super-careful to cast off loosely around the body the bottom was inelastic.  Even though getting the stitches back on the needles is going to be annoying I'm definitely going to undo it so I can do a more elastic cast off.

I searched around for a while, I wanted something both elastic and that would look good with ribbing and I finally came across Jeny's surprisingly stretchy cast off.  I used it when I finished the first sleeve and it works great.  The second sleeve is just started and probably will take me about a week but I'm really enjoying the sweater and am looking forward to wearing it.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Quite the reception

The sweater I've been working on for me has the body done and almost one of the arms.  The pattern's written for full length sleeves, but it's sock yarn and I always end up pushing my sleeves up anyways so I'm just going to make them three quarters.  I tried it on the other day, to see whether the sleeves were long enough yet (they weren't) and asked my two year old what he thought of it.  I don't know what I expected him to say, probably something along the lines of "I like airplanes, I'm going to space now, Mom." I love how the filter between his brain and mouth isn't quite there yet so sometimes I get a peek into his charming toddler world.

But he looked at it and exclaimed, "I love it!  I LOVE it!"  Then through his little arms around my neck and repeated that he loved it several more times.  It was the sweetest and cutest thing that has happened all week.

Monday, 1 February 2016

You notice when you look back

I'm on the hood of Caleb's sweater, the last part save for some sewing and weaving in of ends.  The slide seems are sewn, but the rest of the parts were joined by picking up stitches.  I was looking at the inside of the sweater as I was working on the hood last night and it occurred to me how nice it looked. Everything was really even, the seems and picked up stitches are barely noticeable from the outside and I'm sure a non-knitter wouldn't immediately notice they're there.  I'm really proud of that, when I started knitting that was the sort of thing I'd rush, too eager to get onto the next project.  I never consciously decided to stop that, but it seems I have and as I look at the pieces I've made, especially over the last five years, I see such an improvement in this and I'm happy about that.  It's one of those things I only notice when looking back.