What Is Going On?

So, apparently it’s raining in February. Weird.

As of yesterday Firecracker is 18! How did that happen? No idea. Finished Firecracker’s mitts a few days ago, and now, have begun a pair for a sweet pioneer sister in our hall who is just amazing.

(Below is the fascinating inside out look at these mitts)

These tones are so different than what I typically go for, but the sunlight yesterday as I was knitting really showcased the purples that look black in the shade. The sister I’m making these for, she has no idea, so I hope I picked the right colours for her. She seems to have a few things mustard yellow in her wardrobe and a black winter coat so I think this is a good choice. It reminds me of fragrant Asian cooking. It really should be perfect for her.

I’ve mentally committed to knitting at least two more pairs of these, but I’m itching to move on to something else so badly. I will do the two more. But I think, beyond that, any other pairs will have to wait until next fall. Or, I’ll have to stagger them between other projects. But I can say, I think I’ve perfected the Thrummed Mitten.

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Sunday Afternoon Knits

Goal: To finish the pair by tomorrow evening so Kyra has them for Tuesday morning in the ministry.

This is a different pattern from the first two pairs, and I will be altering it for the next pair, the thumb gusset starts a little early in my opinion. Just will start it slightly higher by a couple rows. Otherwise, it knits up easier than the original pattern I was using.

It’s ridiculously cold these days but the sun is out and sets after 5pm now so it doesn’t feel quite so bleak, and also the snow! So much snow. It’s fresh and lovely. Driving is super not fun unless you have a 4×4 & winter tires. And that is why everyone owns at least one truck. If you don’t, chances are you and the ditch will get well acquainted these days. In the minus twenties that would not make for a good stay as you await a tow truck. Amazed how many bad drivers there are this year. Should be mandatory to learn winter driving techniques. First off, slow down. Second, slow down. Third, stay home. Fourth, slow down. Yes. Even the bozo in the Dodge Ram. Slow down or stay home. There is always poetic justice awaiting the ballsy driver who thinks he can do 110km on the Henday in this weather. Hopefully he doesn’t kill a fellow driver as he skids into the ditch. There is truly nothing better than driving by a ditched vehicle that flew past you just moments before, as if you were the idiot who didn’t know what you were doing going only 95km. Haha ha ha ha. Evil chuckles all the home.

My Secret Pain Pills & Other Cheap Medicine for Winter

Tho we have had beautiful temps & little snow, there is still snow on the ground, precious little it is. But somehow Florida has had more snow than us in December & January, Here’s the article. Apparently we should get snow again soon, and frankly I hope so, brown winters are bleak.

I’ve managed to finish Sarah’s blanket, that was a long time coming.

It’s great when a project comes off the needles.

I discovered Thrum Mittens. They are adorable & Northern wearer approved. Each little heart (or polka dot if that’s preferred) is made with a twist of roving. This makes them thick and actually warm. I’ve never really wanted to knit mittens because frankly homemade knit mittens are pretty useless here, too thin to keep out the cold. But these are so squishy and the hand dyed Nova Scotia yarn & roving in Frozen Ocean is so so lovely. What is it about the peace, tranquility & satisfaction of creating, and with such lovely textures & colours, its such medicine for the soul. This pair is already picked by middlest child, but I’ve bought enough roving to make all us girls a pair. Second one is about a third done, so hopefully I’ll find time to finish it up tomorrow or Friday.

I’ve decided to take up, true exercise. Yep. Me. Lady who ‘hates’ the gym. I’ve pretty much been abandoning my lake walks because my hip was handling the cold so poorly but then, after consulting a chiropractor, I have been ‘prescribed’ exercise to pinpoint the root cause of the issue. Walking is all fine and well, but it wasn’t really fun when it was hurting so badly. So, Barre is what I’ve started. For anyone who doesn’t know, Barre is a good butt kicker for women—I’m sure men could do it, but the toe pointing & calf work may make some men uncomfortable, tho somewhat more Gene Kelly-esque. The Barre I’m in is a Fusion class. So it’s with weights (for the upper body, shoulders & arms) & using the bar basically as a stabilizer while you use your own body weight & gravity to work hip to arches. Ive never stood on the balls of my toes for so long since I was horsing about as a young girl. I’ve never shook so badly while working out. Quads. Hello! There you are! It felt great! But, after discovering I apparently love the feeling of my muscles being maxed out, I’ve decided to take one more as well and try actual weights, Barre has taught me my left side is so pathetic—really. I think motherhood has turned my body to a sad little ball of goo. So, “Iron Reps”—no idea really what this means. Me at the gym & in a fitness class is kind of like being dropped in Korea with no English-Korean dictionary. A good friend teaches both so that makes it easy. She is a mom of four so hey, if she can do it, so can I. I’ve been indoor walking/jogging which is much easier on the IT Band issue I was having, keeps it warmer and the track is more forgiving than concrete. I am tired of feeling old & tired. So. If this is what it takes, so be it. I want to be able to still sit & knit & read, but I want to sit without the break down and aging of it, so, exercise is a must I guess. Who knew I’d like it tho. Didn’t see that one coming.

Frankly, I’m looking forward to not feeling weak anymore. I’m looking forward to feeling like sitting straight isn’t a chore. That my legs are strong again. I hate feeling age kicking my butt. Hate. It. I knew I needed to, but the hip pain was making it so impossible seeming. I didn’t realize I wasn’t helping it by simply walking and that I actually needed to build my glutes & quads again. So squats are my new secret pain pill. Every time my hip starts flaring up, ten more squats. It helps instantly. That’s just crazy. Good chiropractors—can’t compare to a doctor on so many things.

In Knitting News…

The lighting is garbage for this shot it kind of muddies the colours, but I’m getting closer to done this massive project. Hours upon hours upon hours. Insane how many hours this blanket has taken me. Uncountable Netflix & knitting time.

I actually found this yarn again in a fabric store the other day where they were charging $17 a skein! Insane. Thankfully I didn’t pay that but it proves that people pay that for this beautiful material. I’ve no hope of another project this winter. If this blanket is finished for Firecracker by spring, I’ll be content. I should be able to finish it by then. Lesson learned in gauge & project size. But, it will hopefully be cherished so it’s worth it.

In the Round

So one of my decisions I made some years ago now, was that I am unlimited by anything but time when it comes to what I want to learn, what I want to create, what I wish to become. 

I find time can be in short supply, but if given all the time in the world, I decided, yes…decided, I could really learn anything I wanted. I do not have a short attention span. I do have trouble, or have in the past, finishing what I start. Tho, I think I’ve come to realize this as well, is usually a time constraint issue. Many things pull at & unravel, my time. So this week I’ve managed to knit an entire sweater, top to bottom. I’d never learned this style of knitting before, termed ‘magic loop.’ Learning this style meant I managed to knit this sweater entirely on Round needles, even the sleeves, no dpns. I’ve not actually seen sz 36 dpns so, it’s good I learned this technique which like everything practiced, became super easy by the time I finished the project. 

This sweater still needs blocking, it feels rather bulky when I put it on, definitely a heart of winter sweater for skating or other activities where you get too hot in a coat but it’s cold out. It’s knit in a medium size which is large fitting too. Had I known, I would have knit it one sz smaller. 

But the speed of this knit is what is particularly attractive. I started late Sunday & didn’t even work continuously over the last few days and still, I managed to finish it up yesterday. 

I think I’m actually going to consider doing this knit in small for all my girls. I scoped out a more reasonably priced yarn @ Michaels, no special order stuff like this one is, that is machine wash & dryer friendly, unlike this baby, & I think I’m just going to go for it. This is my third sweater. Each one has been a learning tool, and I’m hoping to eventually be able to learn how to do Fair Isle patterns & such. I love Nordic designs & colour combinations. 

My goal when I took on knitting, was to create things, tangible things that have a life & a use beyond the maker of them. I wanted to be creative in a very different way than just writing or painting. I find it can be tedious at times & frustrating when it becomes easier to pull everything out and start again, but, this drive to make & create & persevere I personally felt unneeded to work on.

So, as with the other two sweaters I’ve made, I’m super proud of myself for executing this project to completion & for learning something new. 

I love the blackberry tones with hints of burgundy & navy in this black yarn; and I love the white with  vague greys & greens. Together they feel nature inspired & comforting. Together they look navy & cream but the black looks so black without the white toned yarn, I was truly so surprised how blue it became when contrasted. 

Anyways. That’s this week’s adventures in knitting. 

Folkloric Tunic  

I said I’d finish it today, & tho I can’t always complete things when I think I can, I took the two hours it needed and sewed up the last seam and stitched the back support into the neckline. I still need to block it so it relaxes a bit, but all in all, this baby is finally done. My second ever sweater just in time for a gorgeous autumn weekend. Yay! 

Super proud of myself. It is lovely tho ever so slightly peculiar. Just like last year’s Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton knit. 


Folkloric Tunic 

…not to be forgotten, Benedicta below


…and now we wait

So here’s one of the things I’m still learning, Blocking. 

Blocking is the arse-pain of finishing a project I’ve discovered. So yesterday I planned to really begin wrapping up my Folkloric Tunic (design by Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton) and it would be my second sweater ever. First one, also by Hamilton, Benedikta, was in a slight need of blocking upon full completion, but was wearable as it finishes having the sleeve seams sown. This one, not so much. 

So yesterday I finished weaving in my ends which is no small feat on this pattern. I then went to measure where to begin sewing sleeves to body pieces and wowzers the measurements are off. 

Thankfully, I’ve watched a thing or two on blocking and tho there are no blocking instructions I’m guessing with this knit you really do have to block it first. 

For those who don’t know, Blocking is when you set the fabric you’ve just made into its desired shape. So, when you knit, you’re weaving the yarns together and quite usually, they may look fine, but generally, if you don’t set they’re shape, they just don’t look quite right, and if you’re sewing them together it just won’t work. So, sometimes a spritz of water will work but from what I’ve had to block so far a gentle dampening/soak is better. Then, you gently tug and pull the piece into the correct measurements, pin it, and let it dry. 

So, this is sleeve one, obviously of two, pinned and drying. I still have three more pieces to do this process with and frankly, am considering going to the dollar store for more of these foam pieces so I can get on with this. (Believe it on not for smaller, grided foam blocking pads at the craft store you pay, get this, $6.49 each, for one little pad! Why would anyone pay that!) At this rate, I’m Days and days away from sewing it together. Some days my patience is thin just because I get scared I’ll never finish it. The foam doesn’t allow as quick of drying as you’d think in such a dry climate. 

Anyway, I really want to see this sweater finished, it could have been done months ago, literally. I stalled for so long on finishing the last few rows. I think some times I stalk because I’m afraid of failure. Does anyone else do this? I’m honestly scared that when I’m done it won’t be good. I’m afraid it will be dreadful and I’ll never wear it or find someone who fits it. This is silly. Sometimes you do fail. It’s part of learning and growing. I would never think of myself as a perfectionist but then I have this fear of non-perfect. For days now I’ve been wearing my Benedikta sweater. Pretty much since returning from Florida. It fits very large on me, but, it was a one size fits all sweater. It’s perfect for just wearing when you jump into your car and drive kids to school or work and you don’t want to wear a coat but it’s minus 10. It’s light enough I don’t get hot in it when I’m around the house. The only thing is, I wish it were just a little smaller. I get compliments on it every time I leave the house in it tho, so it must be a good piece of knitting. Funny how critical I am of my own work. I wanted an unusual and beautiful piece, in fact, I always want an interesting piece when it comes to anything I spend my time on. I can buy ordinary. But within this desire for something unique there is a large margin for error. Reading & translating the patterns into full-fledged pieces means learning as you go. Mistakes will be made. Things will need to be backtracked. And then reknit. It’s part of the process. The scariest thing is when you’ve put that much work in and then, you are at the moment of finalizing. Will it have been worth it?

Folkloric is an unusual piece in the first place. It’s romantic & quirky. Not your average sweater. Will it work on me or for anyone I care enough for to give it to? Will it stretch out too much, be too big, not big enough…? All this has stalled me for months on the project. I truly fear failure. It’s many days worth of knitting & the cost of the materials, all sectioned off into amounts that would not conveniently unravel and become another project easily. 

How I hope this sweater is wear-worthy when it’s done.