Friday, December 27, 2013

The Holidays

I've been a pharmacist since 1995. I've been working retail ever since I graduated except for two brief years in the late 90s when I tried hospital pharmacy. Each year I have worked Christmas. Except this year. This year my daughter was coming home for a very short time. So this year I decided to take it off. It's not something I'll likely get to do again for a very long time. But this year all necessary components lined up favorably to make it possible for me to take an entire week off. 

It's been a very different Christmas season for me. Very little stress. Very little last minute preparation. And as I go into this weekend with Kevin preparing to go on a partridge hunt I am realizing how relaxing this time has been. I am truly blessed.

I was also very lucky in the yarn department as Santa was very generous with me. 
Those gorgeous Ombres are Freia Handpaints. One is fingering weight yarn and the other is lace weight yarn. And that's some Sweet Georgia silk mohair blend on the bottom. 
And this is a very beautiful white bronze shawl pin that Amy picked up for Kevin to gift to me from Espace Tricot in Montreal. I love it. I hope everyone out there in blog land had a wonderful holiday as well. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

A New Kind of Thumb

I've been knitting these mittens called Arc
Mittens. The pattern is from Interweave Knits Accessories 2011. (Which, by the way, is an excellent mag - I want to make just about everything in this edition). I've had this pattern in my queue for some time now. I'm so glad I took the time to knit these because I am in love. 

Do you see the thumb!? That's the best part!! Instead of the usual thumb gusset as is true of many mitten patterns this designer has you create increases that mimic the lifeline on the palm of your hand. The result is one fantastic fitting mitten. 

Here they are having their soak in Soak. The Puffin yarn from Quince and co held up nicely after the bath despite this being a loosely spun bulky single. There was very slight colour bleeding into the water but it was VERY slight. No need for colour catchers here. 

Now what to do with them? I rarely wear purple myself and my winter coat is red - just a little too clashy.  

I'm sure someone will lay claim to them before too long. 

Friday, December 13, 2013

Am I the Only One?

I'm really curious if there are other knitters/crocheters (or crafters in general) out there like me. People who are brazen enough to ask a person to take off a piece of their clothing so it can be photographed. Photographed on the off chance that one might want to reproduce it later. Anyone else out there do that? It used to embarrass the crap out of my daughter. She could care less now. She has toughened up to my eccentricities it seems. 

Well I do it all the time. And today I came across a real gem. Knitted gloves featuring a Labrador flag blowing in the wind. Isn't it great?  This glove was knit by the owner's now deceased  sister and the gloves have huge sentimental value. 
Well I admire anyone who knits gloves period. I've knit one pair. And that's likely all I'll ever knit. The fingers are way too fiddly for me. Plus, I prefer mittens both to knit and to wear  

Speaking of knit gloves! I saw a great handknit pair yesterday too. I should have thought to photograph them too. But what was truly neat about these gloves was that the knitter knit the entire fingers in that heel stitch we all use to reinforce our heels on knit socks. You know - row 1 slip 1 knit 1 all the way across and row 2 purl back. The result is a dense fabric. 

It makes perfect sense to knit the fingers of your gloves in this same way. It will keep the fingers warmer and they are going to stand up to wear and tear a lot better. Kevin has a pair of handknit gloves my mother gave him several Christmases ago. (She had a friend of hers make them). He loves these gloves so much. They are fair isle and very masculine.  He wears them when he is out clearing away the snow. I guess the vibrations from the snowblower are hard on these mittens or something becaus he has busted holes in several fingers on both hands. I've darned them repeatedly. He refuses to part with them. 

I think I will take a cue from this knitter when he needs them mended again. I'll reknit the whole fingers in this slip stitch pattern. 

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Yarn Chicken

Have you ever played this game with your knitting? You know the game. It's the one where you pick up a ball of yarn with no ball band so you have no idea how much is there. You decide to use said yarn anyway because it's the right weight and colour. You do this even though you aren't entirely certain you have enough of this yarn to finish the project in question.  Ever play it? I have. 
Here is a great example of how the game works. See these mittens? At this point in the knitting I'm not sure if I have enough yarn to finish the thumb. Actually when I first picked out the lone ball of brown yarn without a ballband - I wasn't sure I have enough yarn. I wasn't sure when I cast on or when I knit the cuff or even when I finished the first mitt. I really didn't know. I guess on some level I was thinking so what if I don't have enough.  I am a spinner after all. If push comes to shove I could make more yarn. Right? Yeah. More likely it would have been stuffed back into a project bag and thrown in the back of the closet  never to be thought of again unless I needed those needles or even a bit of brown yarn. But as luck would have it (or maybe I'm just that skilled at predicting yarn quantities) I had enough. Barely. 

The pattern is called Newfoundland mittens (a freebie) and it's a favorite of mine. I've knit this pattern many times over the years. It's a traditional pattern that I grew up seeing all the kids wear. I had no idea they were unique to our province until I started knitting in earnest and realized how much knitting there was on the Internet. The same is true of thrummed mittens but that's another post. While searching out this pattern I discovered it was called Newfoundland mittens because the pattern supposedly had originated here. Who knew?

By the time I got to the thumb on the second mitt, I thought I was in trouble. It really looked like I wouldn't have enough. And these are mittens I plan on gifting to a very special little old lady who does a lot for our community. I didn't want these mitts to have two different coloured thumbs.

Well as it turns out I had enough.  In fact I had to magic knot the bit of yarn that was left over from the long tail cast on. (If you don't know what magic knot is, I urge you to look it up on YouTube along with Jane Richmond - it's brilliant) 

As an aside, I've always thought these mittens would look great inside out. If only someone would come up with a pattern 😉

Sunday, December 08, 2013

Time has a way ...

Of getting away from you - or so the expression goes. It's been awhile. But I'm still here knitting and spinning and crocheting and even some sewing. 

I've been busy. With this!!!

Yes, we have finally moved into our new home. And I couldn't be happier. I'm so glad to have moved in. I'm so happy with my beautiful home with its beautiful up to date appliances and I'm so glad that the whole process is over. Kevin and I (and our son in law Blair) can have our lives back.  The whole process was ... I'm struggling to come up with the right words and I'm not sure that I can .. I'm
Just so relieved that it's over. 

In the meantime though I have been doing some knitting.  Here is a little shawl I just finished. It's called Akimbo and it's by Stephen West. (I know, the love affair continues)

It's not large enough to wear in shawl fashion but just perfect as a kerchief. I think I'll gift this to my neice Jenna. 
The yarn is Dream in Color Classy or Smooshy. I can't remember which. The yarn and pattern was bought as a kit called Chelsea's Light Shawl. The proceeds of the sale went to the Chelsea's Light Foundation which is aimed at raising awareness of violent acts against children. Check out their website.

I'm trying out the blogger app on my iPhone so bear with me if this post seems a little weird.