Sunday, December 17, 2006

Knitters Without Borders

Technology has brought us a lot of conveniences and it has made our world a very global community. We see and hear about what's happening worldwide nearly as soon as it happens. Yet so many of us live in an isolated world where it is very easy to acknowledge pain and suffering in all parts of the earth while still not embracing the fact that we can help make a difference in the lives of those who are without so much of what we take for granted.

Our children will inherit an even more global community than we have. Many will live and work in places far from home. I hope that they will accept responsibility for helping others less fortunate than themselves, both locally and internationally.

Please go to Yarn Harlot's blog and this link for more information about Doctors Without Borders and Knitters Without Borders. If you are able, accept the challenge. Our children learn what we teach them.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

It's Winter

This is the view from my kitchen window in the morning. It looks like we have been burying bodies on the barbecue. If you look closely you can see my reflection in the window panes.

Fall lasted a long time this year around here but winter suddenly hit with a vengeance a couple of weeks ago. It started snowing and then just kept on snowing and snowing and snowing.... and then it got cold, January cold, indoor recess cold. Only teachers understand the shudder that just the words "indoor recess" can provoke in otherwise hardy, patient adults. We finally saw some warmer weather yesterday and they are predicting above average temps for the next few days.

Although it's been cold outside I'm usually toasty warm - and then some. Got to be perimenopause. As a result I find myself reluctant to pick up my FLAK sweater. I'm just too uncomfortable with all that wool in my lap. Consequently I'm getting lots of socks knit. I finished Carmen's socks, started a pair for my sister who requested that the STR Granite be hers, and started a pair for myself out of STR Chapman Springs. I almost had the first one of mine done and then frogged it back to the heel flap. I knit the sole using the same slip stitch as the heel flap and was quite delighted with it until I tried it on and realized that the sole was considerably shorter than the instep because of the slip stitch pulling in the stitches. We're talking an inch or two difference from top of foot to bottom of foot. I decided that the toe would look goofy so ripped it back. It is now a plain vanilla sock but should fit nicely and be warm. I got Sock Wizard software and it's really fun to play with. I could do all the adjustments and patterns myself but it's cool to just plug the numbers into the program and watch it spit out directions and a graphic.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

This dog cracks me up!

I spent some time taking puppy pics the other day.
I don't know how many pics of Robbie that I took but it is really hard to get a decent picture of that boy....

Red arrow points to tail just as it is leaving the frame....

Singing, er..., barking.

As good as it gets, baby!

And here are the other, more photogenic dogs:



and Harrison.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

We remember....

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada. When I first discussed this with the grade twos I started with "We remember...." and asked the kids to finish it. They all said "the soldiers that died in the war." It came as news to them that there were Canadian soldiers fighting a war right now. What sheltered lives our children live here. I sincerely hope that they may live in peace for the rest of their days. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of the world's children could have that peace and innocence?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Have I mentioned that I love sock yarn?

My love of sock yarns is bordering on an obsession. There are so many beautiful colorways out there and you don't need to break the bank because socks don't require vast amounts of yarn! This is the first completed sock using the eBay merino wool from Britain with Kid Mohair carried along. It's just a simple 2x2 rib. I purled the sole to make it more comfy and it is the most comfortable sock that I've knit so far.

This sock-in-progress is Socks That Rock Titania which was one of their sock club colors. It's a plain stocking stitch with an Eye of Partridge heel for a little zip. Carmen will be the recipient of these socks.

Below are, left to right, STR Granite, which was in the last Sock Club package, STR Chapman Springs, STR Midsummer Night, Gypsy Girl Creations Iris, and GGC Blue Hawaii. I ordered the Chapman Springs and Midsummer Night directly from Blue Moon and the Gypsy Girl Creations ones from Stone Barn Fibers. These are all incredibly lovely pure merino sock yarns and were promptly shipped.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Knitty hat

When I read that Dipsy D. was thinking about making the same hat that I made Geoff, I thought that I'd better post the changes that I made.

First, I frogged about a quarter of it and started over when I tried it on Geoff and he said that it was too long. The pattern shows that the brim is rolled and he didn't want to roll it. So I started it again about 2 inches shorter. When it was finished it was quite big and loose, probably because it was meant to have a rolled brim, so I threaded some yarn around the inside of the edge. I tried it on him and pulled the yarn to his desired circumference and then tied it off and wove in the ends.

This is a very thick, warm hat. It's fine for Saskatchewan winters but would probably be too hot for warmer climates. The pattern uses acrylic yarn. My stash yarn was 30% wool and 70% acrylic. It's washable and should breathe a bit better due to the wool content.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

another hat

I finished Geoff's hat. It's a Knitty pattern and I used stash yarn. It's a funky pattern but I'm quite glad that it's done. It used double stranded worsted weight yarn and it hurt my hands to knit it for some reason.

I have started the knitting club at school again. I opened it up to grades 3 and 4 and have more kids than I know what to do with! There are so many beginners; luckily some of my knitters from last year can lend a hand to get the others started. I even had a mom and a grandma join us last time so that they could see what I was doing and be able to help their daughter at home. On his first day of knitting one boy commented that the girls seem to be better at it than the boys and then added that it was okay because boys eventually get smarter at things when they are men than women. All knitting needles stopped and there were many pairs of eyes upon him. Lucky for him that the bell rang to end recess just then and everyone had to leave. I don't think that the lad got that what he said was offensive. It makes you wonder what he hears at home. I'll have to take a moment and set him straight when I get a chance.

Here's another kid-bit. One of my colleagues was retiring last June. When she told her students about it one kid asked what retiring meant. Another one said, "Oh I know. It's what you do before you go live in the old folks home."

Saturday, October 21, 2006

hand-spun hat finds a home

The hand-spun hat is finished and has found a home with Carmen, my son Geoff's girlfriend. She is happy with it and so am I. It has just the right amount of stretch to be comfy. Now I have been commissioned to knit a hat for Geoff too. I'm thrilled that they want knitted things! I don't think that I would have been excited with hand-knitted clothes at that age but that might just be because they weren't a novelty. My mom did a lot of knitting.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The Stones Concert

My Top Ten Reasons to See the Rolling Stones Concert in Regina this weekend:

10. This is the first time that someone as big as the Stones has brought their show to Regina, which only has a population of about 200,000. Mick Jagger said that Regina rhymes with fun. Those of us that live here don't think too much about our city rhyming with the v-word but to others it's a huge giggle every time.

9. Everybody is going. Two concerts were booked and sold out. There were over 40,000 people at each.

8. Someone else (friends) did all the conniving to get the tickets which were pretty much sold out within minutes of being available.

7. I like the aforementioned friends.

6. My husband wanted to go. He loved the concert.

5. The weather on Friday evening was absolutely beautiful for this time of year and there was a big old full moon hanging in the sky over the stadium.

4. The stage was six stories high and sections of it came apart and moved into the audience. Very cool.

3. Lots of spectacular lights and pyrotechnics.

2. The entertainment value of watching the other people: young, old, and everyone in between.

1. Mick and the boys can still sing and move as well as they did when they were young. Quite incredible! Keith Richards has been ageless for years and will always remind me of pirate Jack Sparrow.

My Top Ten Reasons for Rather Being at Home Than Going to See the Stones Concert:

10. I've never been a serious rock fan. In fact, I think that I was born without the rock concert gene completely.

9. I hate big crowds and it would be hard to find a bigger crowd anywhere. Because Regina has never hosted anything of this magnitude before there were some kinks to work out. One of those kinks was getting into a bottleneck between the security gate and the entrance to the stadium. We were packed solid in a huge crowd for at least twenty minutes with no one moving. I don't know what caused this to happen but it's a good thing nobody had a heart attack or a stroke or they would have died for sure. No emergency assistance could have gotten anywhere near them. I can see how people die in rock concert stampedes and riots in other places. People were getting very impatient and cranky but we're Prairie folks so we put up with it because we're basically nice.

8. That much standing on concrete makes my joints hurt and I'd been dealing with a severe headache all week.

7. I couldn't take my knitting. Okay, I'm just kidding about this one. Security was very tight and I wouldn't have had room to knit anyway because there was hardly enough standing space per ticket, never mind sitting space. Oh, and it was pretty dark except for the light show and pyrotechnics.

6. It was Friday night and I'm always pooped by Friday night.

5. The tickets were very expensive.

4. I'm a prude. Rock concerts are not good places for prudes.

3. Huge lineups for catching the shuttle buses to and from the stadium.

2. Although Regina has a no smoking bylaw no one, including the Stones, paid any attention to it. I hate having to breathe second-hand smoke. And it wasn't just cigarette smoke either, if you get my drift.

1. The group of young people that were sitting next to us. They were probably about 19 - 20 years old. They were drunk (one of them vomited on the people in front of her and was asked to leave by security - her friends were most indignant about it because they said that she had a baby and this was the first time she'd had a chance to have fun since the baby), high (although one young man did offer us a toke politely - he also got very excited when Keith Richards came on stage and told everyone in the stands that Keith was his hero, big surprise), and one of them was very pregnant. I kept visualizing the scene in the future of this young mom meeting with school personnel and saying aloud that she had no idea why her child was experiencing difficulty in school. I have a hard time watching people reproduce and not accepting responsibility for the health of their children. Call me old-fashioned.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

What can I say? Things have been busy.

I know it's been a long time between blog posts. There hasn't been a lot to post. Knitting life has been quiet. I seem to be doing a lot of planning and frogging so have been spinning my wheels and not accomplishing much.

I was excited to see the Namaste Everyday Bag come in the mail the other day. It's a beautiful bag - soft, sturdy, and such a pretty color! It is definitely roomy.

I spun enough Romney to start a hat. I was trying for a semi-woolen spin and I think it's a good choice for a hat. There's enough loft for warmth. I like the swirl of colors from Sharon's dying and my plying - sort of a marled effect. I did the hat top down so that I would know how much yarn it's going to need. I may have to spin some more for the brim. I've run out of most of the colors but have quite a bit of the darker blue left which would be just fine for the brim.

I'm enjoying the knitted lace of the Silk Smoke and I really didn't think that I would. It seems to grow so fast! I've asked Sharon to order me some more Sea Silk in the Nova Scotia colorway for a shawl to be made in the future.

Dan and I were in attendance at the Rolling Stones concert last night. More on that to follow.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Knit-Geek Questionnaire

The Knit-Geek Questionnaire (unrelated to any swaps or secret pal exchanges)

1. What's your worst habit relating to your knitting?

Buying yarn. Staying up too late knitting.

2. In what specific ways does your knitting make you a better person?

It calms me. I love feeling the yarn slip through my fingers and watching it become something more beautiful. On some level, it's nice to connect to our ancestors who knit out of necessity and produced some beautiful things.

3. How might you or your life be different if you were suddenly unable to knit?

Ack! I don't even want to think about it!

4. If money were no object, what one yarn, and what one tool or gadget would you run out and buy first?

A luxury yarn - cashmere, I think. I wouldn't want any specific tool or gadget for knitting but I've seen gorgeous, elaborately carved spinning wheels in magazines that I could love.

5. What knitting technique or project type are you most afraid of (if any)? What, specifically, do you fear will happen when you try it?

Entrelac. I think it looks fussy and would be easy to screw up.

6. Who is/are your knitting hero(es), and why?

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee aka Yarn Harlot. I love her sense of humor and her ability to make all kinds of knitting techniques seem logical and do-able.

7. Do you consider knitting, for you personally, a mostly social activity, or a mostly solitary activity?

Solitary. I'm an introvert at heart.

8. Is there a particular regional tradition in knitting that you feel strongly drawn toward (e.g., Fair Isle, Scandinavian, Celtic, Orenburg lace)? Any theories as to why it calls to you?

Aran/cable knitting. Not sure why it calls to me. I know that I had ancestors near the British/Scottish border so maybe some of them had links to Ireland as well.

9. If you were a yarn, which yarn would you be?

Chiengora which is a fancy name for dog hair.

10. Some statistics:

(a) How many years have passed since you FIRST learned to knit?

Lots. I learned the basics from my mother and grandmother when I was a child. I didn't knit much then though. I taught myself to crochet and do cross-stitch and took classes to learn Hardanger and focused on these most of my adult life. My mom knit so beautifully that it was too easy to just start a knitting project then give it to her to finish.

(b) How many total years have you been actively, regularly knitting (i.e., they don't have to have been in a row)?

Almost one.

(c) how many people have you taught to knit?

Probably about a dozen students at school last year. I'll be starting another knitting club at school this year and some of the teachers and assistants have expressed interest in joining as well as students.

(d) Roughly what percentage of your FOs do you give away (to anyone besides yourself, i.e., including your immediate family)

None yet.

11. How often do you KIP (knit in public)? i.e., once a week, once a month, etc. Where do you do it?

A couple of times a week. Mostly while waiting for appointments.

12. If a genie granted you one hour to stitch-n-bitch with any one knitter, living or dead, who would you choose and why?

Stephanie aka Yarn Harlot for the same reasons as above. How much fun would that be?!

13. What aspect or task in knitting makes you most impatient?

Finishing projects. I love choosing patterns, yarn, setting things up, learning new things. Once it gets familiar, I get a bit bored. I guess that I'm a process knitter more than a product knitter.

14. What is it about knitting that never lets you get bored with it?

There's always something new to learn.

15. Describe how and where you most often do your knitting - where do you sit, what is going on around you, what tools do you use and how are they (dis)organized?

Mostly in the evenings and late at night in my living room in my recliner. I have the OTT light there and my needles and tools are beside me. The TV is there for company, my iPod is at hand if there's nothing I want to watch on TV, and the dogs are snoozing around my chair. When I'm not working I also like knitting in the sunroom in the afternoon if it's not too hot or too cold.

16. Which one person is the recipient of more of your knitting than any other?

None yet but it will be someone who will appreciate the amount of time and effort spent on it.

17. What's the oddest thing about your knitting, or yourself as a knitter?

I hold my right knitting needle like a pencil. I'm not sure there's a name for that.

18. What do you see yourself knitting - if anything - twenty years from now?

Not sure about twenty years from now. Someday I'd like to knit baby clothes for grandchildren. I've always loved baby clothes.

19. If you were stranded on a deserted island and could have only ONE SKEIN of yarn, which yarn would it be and what would you do with it?

Something very fine and luxurious that would take a long time to knit.

20. If you were allowed to own only one knitting-related book, which would it be? (you'd be free to browse others, but you couldn't keep them)

Knitting Rules! by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee. It's got lots of good information and it's entertaining.

21. Is knitting the new yoga? Why or why not?

For me it is. I knew that I needed to do something to de-stress and relax and couldn't see myself meditating so I started knitting. I've actually checked my blood pressure before and after knitting and it goes down significantly while I'm knitting.

EDIT: This last question added by Caroline:
22. What important thing are you trying to put off doing whenever you knit?

Going to bed. I'm a night owl.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Update photos - I've started the Silk Smoke cowl after trying a lot of other patterns this week. Turns out that lace knitting really isn't my thing. I cast on for the Diamond Fantasy scarf several times and kept ripping it out because, as careful as I was, I kept losing stitches somehow. I double-checked my yarnovers and counted each section as I finished knitting it but by the next row I was missing stitches. Maybe Yarn Harlot's fates are doing a number on me. I finally gave up and cast on the Silk Smoke. It's pretty easy. I haven't lost any stitches yet. I should be able to finish it using one skein of the Sea Silk and will be able to return the other two. At the cost of it, this is no small matter.

I also did some more of the sleeve on the FLAK cardigan. I had pretty much abandoned it over the summer as it was too hot to knit with all that wool in my lap. I now understand why people in the knitalong kept referring to being lost on sleeve island. It's pretty repetitive and seems to take forever.

Well, I was back at work for two weeks and came down with a cold that turned into laryngitis then a bacterial throat infection. I haven't had a voice all week so have been at home. Sheesh! Those children will have bonded with the sub by now and forgotten all about me. Diabetes means never having a simple cold without complications. I have a lovely small class of grade twos this year.

I do have a couple of kid-bits. The first one was provided by my niece Katie. The day before her first day of grade one she took it upon herself to cut her hair. This may be have been prompted by my sister's comment that they really should have gone to the hairdresser over the summer for a trim, at least the bangs. I don't think that Katie will be cutting her own hair again any time soon. After an emergency trip to the hairdresser that afternoon Katie now has very short hair, especially her bangs. The hairdresser really couldn't perform miracles with those bangs unless she wove extensions in them. Katie plaintively asked if they could get her a wig for the first day of school. After a few double-takes from her friends on that first day of school, she seems resigned to the fact that she will have short hair for a while. Katie's teacher told her that she looked like Tinkerbell and that helped soothe her soul. School pictures will be taken soon and there will be a lasting memory of her haircut. Someday I'm sure it will be good for a chuckle. Actually, I already find it good for a chuckle but I don't think Katie does.

The other kid-bit is courtesy of a grade two student (in the other grade two classroom at my school) on the first day of school. After lunch, he went to the office for a late slip. The secretary, who is a good buddy to this boy, teased him about being late on the first day of school and asked him why. He replied that the pepperoni pizza took too long to cook. Turns out it was his birthday and he had been taken out for lunch. While writing the late slip, the secretary asked him who his teacher is this year. A look of total confusion came over his face. Now, to be fair, it was the first day of school and his teacher is new to the school and has a hyphenated last name, Mrs. ____________-Drumm. After hmming for a while, he finally had a brain-wave and said, "Oh yeah! Mrs. Drumstick!"

After a long, hot, dry summer, autumn is making itself felt here with cool, rainy weather. The pictures above had to be taken indoors as it is just too dark in the sun room today so the colors aren't very true.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Princess Sole sock comments

Thanks for the compliments on the new sock.

Val asked about where the purl stitches are. I started them right when I began turning the heel and continued until the last two rows of the bottom of the toe. I kept the pattern on the instep but everything else was purled so the entire sole of the foot is purled.

dipsy doodle, if you're thinking about getting Charlene Schurch's sock book I would highly recommend it. There are so many possibilities from what she presents and the socks can be easily custom-knit to fit. And, rest assured, that Austin and Robbie may look scary but it's just play - lots of chasing, snarling, and gnashing and a good time had by all.


I Navaho plied a bit of my first homespun yarn. It's pretty but has the all of the tactile appeal of twine. Hmmm, probably too much twist both in the singles spinning and in the plying. It would be fine for weaving but not soft enough for knitting. I'll have to try plying some more of it in the regular way and see if it is softer. I Navaho plied it to keep the color sequence but I can see some of the colors intertwined in the places where I joined new colors and I kind of like the effect. It will be interesting to see how the next bit plies.

A broken vow...

I broke my vow about not buying new yarn and I'm not sorry. Is this not worth a broken vow? It's Sea Silk, 70% silk and 30% sea cell which is a fiber made from sea weed. It's beautiful and sensuous and, when you sniff it, you smell a heady mix of silk and ocean breezes. It would make a lovely lace shawl but I really can't picture myself wearing a lace shawl anywhere. I'm more of a jeans person. Besides, a lace shawl would last about 2 minutes around my dogs. So I'm thinking about making the Silk Smoke cowl on the KnitNet site.

Monday, August 21, 2006


It's a beautiful day, the shelties were romping, and I had my camera. From the top, Austin, Harrison, Robbie, and Austin and Robbie playing.

Princess Sole sock done

I finished the first Princess Sole sock with Socks That Rock wool in Peaseblossom. I used the baby cable rib stitch from Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I started purling all the stitches after knitting the heel flap, substituting SSP for SSK and P2tog for k2tog. I knitted the top of the toe and purled the bottom until the last couple of rows where I knitted both. I wanted to be able to graft the toe with the stitches purl to purl. I find that this sock is much more comfortable underfoot. I guess that I have ultra sensitive feet. I'll be making all of my socks this way.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

It's Here!

I have been having so much fun spinning! My Ashford Joy arrived on Tuesday. I'm spinning short sections of the colored rovings together randomly so will have a variegated yarn when done. I'll have to see what the final effect will be after plying. I'd like to try the Navaho 3-ply but I may have to practice 2-ply before attempting it. I'm getting a more consistent yarn with practice. This little wheel is so smooth it's wonderful to use and it's very portable as it's light and it folds up.

I started saving sheltie undercoat and will try to spin that too. Harrison's furry butt snuck into the picture, I see, but Robbie is the one who keeps walking across the treadle when I'm preparing the fibre causing it to suck into the orifice when I least expect it. He's giving me lots of practice doing joins.

Only one more week until I'm back at school. The Royal Red Arabian Horse Show is in town this week so I'll be going to watch and drooling over all of the beautiful horses. Well, not literally. If I had been born wealthy I would do the horse thing.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I can spin after all!

Sharon at Golden Willow Natural Fiber brought in a line of dyes and has been having a great time playing with them. After hearing her talk about how strong the dyes are I got to thinking that maybe dyeing is the reason that I can work with Philosopher's Wool but not natural wool. She kindly lent me her wheel again and I tried spinning with dyed roving and, voila, no allergies! I then tried again with some natural wool and the allergies kicked in. I guess that the chemicals in the dyes kill whatever vegetable matter in the wool that is allergenic to me. So I have a lovely Ashford Joy wheel ordered which should be in this week sometime! I'll post pics when I get it. In the meantime, I still have Sharon's Kiwi wheel for practice. Luckily for me, Sharon loves dyeing fiber and can keep me supplied with whatever color my little heart desires. Right now I'm spinning some blue that I'm alternating with periwinkle and lavender in random order. This is so much fun!

Monday, July 31, 2006

Well, after trying the toes up sock method using two different increase styles I've decided that I hate doing multiple increases in tiny, tight stitches on teeny weeny needles. The Queen Kahuna book is back on the shelf and I'm back to making socks top down. I knit to avoid that kind of frustration.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Summertime and the Living Is Easy

Here are some update knitting pictures. The top one is a sock using the handpainted merino wool that I ordered from Britain with the fuzzy mohair/silk blend. The two colors complement each other very well. The middle pic is the Philosopher's Wool sweater. The last one is the newest Socks That Rock club wool that came in the mail last week. The color is Peaseblossom and I think it's my favorite. It looks like my sweet peas in full bloom. I'm using a baby cable rib.

I've also started a pair of toes-up socks using Queen Kahuna's book. I wanted to learn Fair Isle and Queen Kahuna's methods this summer so I've started a lot of projects. It drives Dan crazy and he ribs me about having the talent but not the endurance to finish things. I keep telling him it's all about the process right now.

Up until today we've had a ridiculously hot July. It sounds like everyone in the northern hemisphere has. Today it's actually a bit chilly but they're forecasting hot again tomorrow.

Summer is lazy-wonderful! Dan parks himself in front of the TV. I knit with the iPod in my ears so that I don't have to listen to all of the nonsense on TV that he's watching. I subscribed to and have been downloading books and podcasts in addition to music. I've really been enjoying Fanny Flagg's latest "Can't Wait To Get To Heaven". She has such a gift for storytelling and she reads it in her southern accent. I really love all of her books. She's definitely one of my favorites and I'm always excited by a new book of hers.

The stores have back-to-school stuff out already. How depressing! Costco actually has Hallowe'en stuff and we even saw a Christmas tree on display there yesterday. I'm not ready to shift gears to thinking about school yet.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Philospher's Wool sweater

It took me a few tries but I have the Philosopher's Wool sweater started with this sleeve. This is the first time I've done Fair Isle and I was on a learning curve to knit with both hands but it's worth it as the Philosopher's Wool technique weaves in all of the yarns on the back as you go. The wool is minimally processed so my hands get nice and soft from the lanolin. I also have to pick out bits of vegetable matter which, for some reason, I find kind of cool. Connecting with the farm from my living room, I guess. This is definitely not a portable project though as all of the colors pretty much have to be handy and I have to concentrate to read the graph. The upside is that it goes much faster than socks on itty-bitty needles!

Friday, July 14, 2006

Happy Birthday Katie!

This picture just had to be shared! Wednesday was my niece Katie's sixth birthday. My sister Darcie took this picture of Granny giving her an enthusiastic kiss! Granny is Katie's great-grandmother Elsie who is 93 years young. She has lost both of her legs but, as you can see, she has maintained her vigorous upper body strength.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

A Vow

I reluctantly returned the pretty little spinning wheel to Golden Willow Natural Fibers yesterday. I was talking to Sharon about teaching the students about clothing production in pioneer times and she offered to lend the wheel to me to take to school when I need it. Sharon is just one of those wonderful people who are passionate about fiber and willing to help people who are also passionate. She is truly a gem! I can't recommend her more highly! A group of knitters meets there on Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. so there is always support if needed. Mar Craig, who I've known for a long time through teacher education and K-9 Stubblejumpers dog clug, is an accomplished knitter (who knew?) and she popped into the shop when I was there. Mar has also offered unqualified help if needed. It's so much fun to find a group of knitting enthusiasts on my home turf! I never dreamed that my plan to start knitting last fall would evolve into this much passion.

Passion is a relative term, I guess. I'm starting to think a better word would be obsession. Make that an expensive obsession. I bought a Philosopher's Wool Fair Isle cardigan kit while returning the wheel. It's in beautiful heathered pastels - definitely my colors. I couldn't get Blogger to load the scanned picture of the cardigan so I'll have to send you to the Philosopher's Wool website for it instead. Now I need to learn to knit in the Continental way so I can do the stranded colors more efficiently.

I am now making a personal vow. I. Will. Not. Buy. Any. More. Wool. (At least until I finish using some of the enormous stash that I have accumulated in a short time.) There, it's in writing on the internet.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Schoo-ools out for sum-MER! I am a free woman for two months.

Happy belated birthday Canada! Anyone who wants to re-affirm their Canadian-ness or learn about our wonderful country go to Yarn Harlot's Canada Day post. I enjoyed all of the comments too. Definitely worth a read for this one.

Here is the first Pink Mist sock made with Socks That Rock mixed with Kid Mohair. I like it but it's a little snug. I suspect that it will block fine but I'm using it as the model for sock #2 so I don't want to mess with it until I'm done the pair.

This pretty little spinning wheel was very kindly lent to me by Sharon at Golden Willow Natural Fiber. I'm not sure how I didn't know about this place until a couple of weeks ago. She has an amazing little store filled with wonderful yarns, clothing, spinning, and weaving equipment and supplies! Sharon gave me a spinning lesson and sent the wheel home with me for a week to see if I liked it. It took me a while to get the hang of it and I wanted to drop-kick the thing a couple of times but I finally did it! The resulting yarn is not pretty. It reminds me of the kids' first attempts at knitting this spring but it is definitely yarn. Unfortunately my career in spinning is not to be. My allergies have flared after both sessions I spent with the wool. I don't think that I'm allergic to wool but I know I have grass allergies so even though the roving looks clean, it is likely the culprit. Sharon won't have seen the last of me, however. Walking into her shop is better than setting me loose in a candy store. Now that I won't be buying a wheel I can spend money on yarns instead! (Shh, don't tell Dan I said that at the start of summer when neither of us has a paycheque coming until the end of September.)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Here is the Socks That Rock wool combined with the mohair/silk blend on the foot. I think it just looks like a pink mist over the wool. We'll see how it feels when the sock is done.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

A birthday surprise for me!

My husband surprised me yesterday with a new digital camera! It's a Panasonic DMC-TZ1. I haven't even read the manual yet. As soon as the battery was charged I took it outside to try. These pics are not retouched and I have no idea what the camera settings were. Not bad, huh? Imagine how much better a photog I'll be when I know how to work it. Thank you, thank you, my sweet thoughtful Dan! It's hard to surprise a spouse of 28 years but you did it!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Fuzzy sock solution?

I decided that I would try knitting sock soles with the addition of a fuzzy yarn and see if that would make my feet happy without changing needle sizes or having to reverse stockinette the feet. I found this lovely Super Kid yarn that is 70% super kid mohair and 30% silk. It's very fine so shouldn't make the socks too thick. Expensive but it has a lot of mileage so should do many, many socks. I hope it works!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Here it is, my first sock! I like how it looks, I like how it fits, I like how it matches my jeans. However, I don't think I'll be able to wear it. It feels like I'm walking on mesh and it's going to bug my diabetic-sensitive foot. Oh well, it can be my learning sock. I'm going to try again with a new yarn, a tighter gauge, and do reverse stockinette on the sole so it's smoother.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Wednesday evening

Still alternating rain and sun. Now there's a large, bright rainbow. This is the view from my backyard overlooking the park. I love the way the light and shade alternate over the trees.


Can we all say "c-r-o-a-k" again? This is my first sock. I foolishly did not count my heel flap rows thinking that I could just count down the sides and that would tell me how many there were. Turns out that those lovely slip stitches only show up once for every two rows knitted. So I made a really long heel flap that was more a rectangle instead of a square. Yes, I read all the books about how the heel flap should be a square yet still I continued to knit. It wasn't until after I worked the heel turn and started picking up the side stitches that I realized something did not compute. I also learned that frogging back to the k2, p2 ribbing was easy but that picking up those itty bitty twisty stitches wasn't. This yarn is Sock It To Me! Collection, Puzzle from Elann.

Wednesday afternoon

I've been home from work all week with a sinus infection. Because of the diabetes, when I get an infection, I'm sick and don't get better until I get on antibiotics. Other than feeling like crap I rather enjoyed this afternoon. It's one of those sunny, warm days except for when heavy black clouds roll in and it pours. Then it's sunny again, usually while the rain continues to come down in sheets. The smell in the air is better than any perfume. Only a little lightning and thunder could make this better. I love storms as long as they're just show and don't do any damage.

They don't call Saskatchewan the "Land of Living Skies" for nothing! This picture is from my sunroom as the clouds roll in for the latest outburst.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Here is the Black Water Abbey wool (bluestack) washed, dried and ready to be wound. Just looking at it makes me happy.

I am now doing the FLAK sleeves in the round on two circulars. It's so much easier than doing it on one short circular and I won't have to seam it.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

two parcels

I got two parcels yesterday - the Black Water Abbey wool from the States and the ball winder and swift from Camilla Valley Farms in Canada. Having never played with a winder and a swift, I think that these tools are fascinating! The wool is Bluestack and it is absolutely beautiful! I have the sample card for the Black Water Abbey wool but the small sample doesn't do it justice. There are so many subtle colors and shadings that I can now see in the skeins. I'm going to wash all of it before knitting it. That way I can play with my new toys (swift and winder) as well as eliminate shrinkage and soften it up before I try for gauge. The buttons are also from Black Water Abbey and they are lovely. The silver Celtic patterned ones are for the FLAK cardigan and the dragonfly ones will be for the Black Water Abbey cardigan. I haven't decided what pattern I will use for the Black Water Abbey yet.

I also, like a lemming, saw that Blue Moon Fiber Arts opened up some more memberships in their Sock Club so I joined. As if I need more yarn now! But the Socks That Rock yarn looks so beautiful that I couldn't resist.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Croak! again

I suddenly realized why I've been avoiding working on the FLAK cardigan lately. Since I switched to shorter circulars and joined the sleeve to work in the round my hands have been hurting. I think that it's because I'm holding the needles differently (fibromyalgia could be responsible for this phenomenon). Subconsciously, I've been avoiding that discomfort and couldn't face knitting the sleeves in the round for as long as it would take me to finish both sleeves. So I frogged several rows back to where the join is and will knit them flat instead.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Knitters' Club

So far, I've taught about a dozen kids to knit. It gets easier as the first students to learn help the rest of them (kind of like big families where the older kids help look after the little ones, I guess). I've learned that if you want to improve your own knitting skills, especially fixing mistakes and untangling yarn, teach a group of kids to knit. Just kidding! It's been a lot of fun. When other people come into the classroom these days they are amazed and impressed that so many students are knitting. It's nice to watch the children encouraging and helping each other too.

Aren't they cute? This group of girls happened to be in for recess with me when I took the camera to school yesterday. They're the really eager ones who would rather knit than go outside! From left, meet Dawn, Vanessa, Danielle, Kenda, and Kevina. I have several nice pictures of these children so parents, if you email me privately (there's a link on this blog when you click 'View my complete profile'), I'll be happy to send you the ones with your child in them; and I apologize in advance if I have created fibre monsters in your families who are addicted to knitting and buying yarn. I promise that I won't introduce them to silk and cashmere yet....

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Frog it I did. Thank you Roxanne Richardson for suggesting that I do the math using my swatches and measurements to more accurately calculate the ratio for picking up stitches. I told my husband the math teacher that, if his students ever question why they are learning math and how they will ever really use it in the real world, he should tell them that they will need it if they ever want to design sweaters that fit!

My sock yarn (Sock It To Me) arrived yesterday from Elann. I can't wait to start swatching and see what cool patterns develop.

I have another kid-bit (as my cousin Terry describes them) to share. This one falls into the 'might as well give it a shot' category. I have two deaf students in my class, both in grade 3. One has had a cochlear implant (inside the head, very fascinating) and can hear me through a broadcast system that also sends my voice right inside his head. My mike is the same kind that the Secret Service wear when guarding the president. I sometimes have an overwhelming urge to mutter into my mike things like "Jelly Belly to Ugly Swan. Code Sister. I repeat, Code Sister..." but I digress. The other child has limited hearing but wears hearing aids to help him. Both boys know some sign language but the goal is to help stop them from relying on sign and to increase their receptive language and communication skills.

Kids being kids, these two boys have developed a special bond and will often sign to each other in a pigeon mix of sign language and their own invented signs. We have them seated across the room from each other in class as they get silly together and have a hard time staying on task. During a recent spelling dictation, my teaching partner noticed that one of the boys kept turning around and looking at the other. When she casually walked around so that she could see what he was doing, she saw that he was surreptitiously signing the letters of each word to his buddy. Hey, worth a shot, right? From a teacher's point-of-view, this is not something that was covered in those education classes at the University.

We have been studying Heritage in Social Studies for the last few weeks and have been discussing how the pioneers made their own clothes. I told the kids that if anyone wanted to learn to knit I would help them during afternoon recesses. I sent notes home on Tuesday asking their parents to provide a pair of 6mm needles and a skein of worsted weight yarn. I had two kids bring their supplies yesterday already so we started. By the end of the recess I was wondering what I had done to myself! The kids were all thumbs and it seemed like this was a serious mistake. However, I called them over to me when they were done their work at the end of the afternoon and sat with them for another few minutes and they both caught on and were knitting! I don't know who was more thrilled - me or them! They both excitedly took their knitting home to continue practicing. I suspect that the other interested kids (10 of them or so) watched this happen and will show up with their knitting supplies today. How I'm going to get that many of them started at once I have no idea. But we'll have fun anyway.

And, ending on a sad note, condolences to my sister and her family on the loss of their Bichon buddy Meemo in the wee hours of this morning. His health had been failing and he just couldn't go on any more so was helped to a more peaceful place to join his Bichon friends, my Murphy and Ceilidh. Rest well, dear old dogs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Do I need to visit the frog pond?

I have done about 2 inches of the sleeve and I'm a bit worried that I might have to frog it as it's flaring out too far. I picked up the conventional 3 stitches for every 4 rows. If I have to start again I will pick up one stitch in every other row. Oh well, better to find out now than after I've knit more of the sleeve. I'll set it aside for now and gladly accept opinions before I 'rip-it, rip-it'.