Knitting Feeds

Things I thought

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 03/12/2020 - 20:55

An incomplete list of things i have not been correct about lately.

1. I thought the baby would be here by now.  She is not. Clearly she’s on a timetable all her own, and is well and happy on the inside and I guess we just keep waiting.

2. I thought that since the baby was not here by now, that the mystical power of the knitted baby blanket was prevailing, and that as soon as i finished, she would arrive. I finished. She did not arrive.

3. I decided then that it must be that it didn’t work was because I hadn’t blocked the thing, and that the knitting force is so strong within this young one that she was calling bull on her grammy, and so I blocked it. She did not arrive.

4. When that didn’t work, I thought – fair enough. it’s not dry, and folded and I haven’t snipped off the last two ends.

The child noped that too. She remains unmoved. (Meg had high hopes for that moment, let me tell you. I’m going to wait to show you the whole thing until she produces the worlds next great knitwear model.)

5. I also thought that there was going to be a way for our Strung Along March retreat to go forward next week, but after looking at the situation realistically, realizing how many of the attending knitters are in the high risk group and having a chat with public health out Port Ludlow way… there wasn’t.  Our retreat thus joins the ranks of so many other knitting events that are cancelled or postponed due to Covid-19.  I don’t know a single knitting teacher or event organizer who doesn’t feel like they did the right thing when they cancelled, and isn’t committed foremost to the health and well being of our communities,  and to slowing the roll of this thing, so as not to strain health resources any more than they have to be…  but I’m not going to pretend it isn’t difficult.  Lots of people are going to have a hard time economically over the next little bit in all sorts of industries, but today I raise my glass to all the knitting teachers, vendors and event organizers out there who’d already written cheques and signed contracts and are wondering what comes next for their businesses.  Lets hang in there together.

6. I thought people might be upset or angry when the retreat postponed, but I was overwhelmed with the generosity and kindness of everyone involved, including The Resort at Port Ludlow. I think it’s that spirit that will mean that these events will still be around when this is over.

7. I thought I was mostly over the urge to embroider on knitting.

Turns out I’m not even a little bit over it.  I finished a little sweater for the baby, and then something came over me and I put a rosebud on it, and the next thing I knew I had seven colours of embroidery floss and whammo.

I am in love with it more than I can say.  I really hope this baby isn’t one of those spitting up kinds. I haven’t given the sweater or blanket to Meg yet, I have decided to withhold all knitwear deliveries until she makes good on her part of the deal. She gives me a baby and I give her the goods. No exceptions.

7. I thought I was done knitting for the baby, but it turns out that I am helpless in the face of this kind of expectation and so now I’ve started something else.

8. I thought it would be finished today but it’s not. A wee vest thing – it’s the handspun merino from a few weeks ago.

9. I thought I could promise that maybe I would knit something for someone who weighs more than 10lbs.  I can’t.  I think I’m just going to keep racking it up over here. Maybe another bonnet.

10. I thought being a grandmother for the second time would be a bit more chill.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Wonderful Wallaby with Robots II

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 03/09/2020 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Wonderful Wallaby Knitter Extraordinaire: Katherine (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Eliminated the hood and the kangaroo pouch, and instead worked in a band of robots! Details, including a link to the robot chart, can be found on her project page. What Makes This Awesome: I am always for people experimenting with a bit of colourwork,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 03/06/2020 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week This dad knitted his infant son’s sleeping patterns for the first year, and it’s amazing. Apparently the average body temperature is no longer 98.6 – and there are all sorts of reasons why. Interesting! Fresh flower reduce stress. Well, that’s the excuse I’ve been looking for! A roundup

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not even a pair of socks

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 03/04/2020 - 16:20

Still no baby here, and still no blanket, and while Elliot didn’t care that his blanket wasn’t done and came anyway, I have begun to have concerns that this wee one may be more rule abiding. Meg herself is quite a lawful creature, and she was born two weeks early – the day I finished her blanket.  Meg’s currently so pregnant and uncomfortable that I’m starting to feel a bit of guilt, so  I’m trying to pour as much time as I can into the blanket, hoping that it won’t occur to Meg to hold me accountable for her discomfort.

I’m past halfway – only about 300 stitches left to work into the edging, which is about 17  repeats to go, which is about 612 rows of lace left to knit.  Just typing that makes it seem to me like I should be cancelling all plans that are not blanket related (like social engagements and sleeping and eating) but I’m trying not to get weird about it.  (As an aside, I am pretty sure that Meg would be fine with me getting as weird about it as I need to.)

Thus far, I have declared myself monogamous to this project, and I have made the incredibly brave choice to give up cleaning and laundry. We will see what further sacrifice is required.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

A small rescue

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 02/26/2020 - 18:14

This morning as we made waffles and chatted about our business, Elliot and I discussed the weather.  There is a big snowstorm coming, I explained to him. It is snowing now, and it is going to snow all day, and all night.  Elliot looked at me, then looked out the window at the bleak landscape, and rather seriously said “and all summer” with the exact kind of pessimism that settles into a Canadian heart at this time of year.  We learn it young, here in the frozen North.

We are all also on high alert today, because as any birth worker can tell you, this is exactly the sort of weather that babies prefer to arrive in.  Not now, not while the roads are still pretty clear and it’s not too terrible to drive around in, but later – at 2am, when everyone is tired and there’s 20cm of snow on the ground and it’s still coming down hard.  If there is a moment of lowest possible visibility, and you’re looking out the window thinking “mercy I hope I do not have to travel in this” that is when they are possessed of a sense of urgency. I have it on pretty good authority that every midwife in the city woke up this morning, looked at the weather and thought “Right then” and went straight away to make sure that all their ducks are in a row and they still have that shovel in their trunk.

I have my bag packed and ready to go (and there is already a shovel in my trunk) and I’m going to spend the whole afternoon working on the blanket (as soon as I can skip out on the rest of my work.)  Last night Elliot did not go down early (thanks dude) and it took me a little longer than expected to get around the corner of the edging (if by a little longer you understand I mean about 90 minutes) so the blanket is almost the same as when I showed it to you last.  I’m officially only about 1/4 of the way through the edging.  In short -weather and blanket status combined,  it is a perfect day for a baby to arrive, if you have a neonate’s sense of humour.

I promised to distract us all from Baby Watch 2020 with a little show and tell about an old sweater, so here goes.  I save things. Not a lot, you understand – I  part with objects fairly easily and (yarn and patterns aside) have few hoarding tendencies.  My mum was the same, and she saved very little from when we were babies, but she did have the good sense to tuck away a few bits, and I’ve been able to pass them on to Meg – along with some stuff that she and her sisters wore as bairns. My mum didn’t knit, and neither did my maternal grandmother, but my great-grandmother did, and she was really pretty good at it. When I was born, she knit me a tiny little layette set in a newborn size, despite the fact that I was born in June. (See above comments re: Frozen North. All babies get woollies.)

Considering that it is a 52 year old sweater set worn by six babies, it is in pretty good shape.  It’s a soft baby wool, slightly yellowed by age and felted by washing, and  it was white (or natural) when it was new. (I can tell because the ribbons don’t match.)  I took it out to pass it on to this baby, and found that in the almost three decades since it graced a little one, something’s had a bit of a snack on it.  It looks to me like carpet beetles, rather than a M**h – the holes are clean and look like they were drilled through – and the damage is localized. Three distinct spots, two on the bonnet and one on the sleeve of the sweater. Apparently this beastie cares not for bootees. I gave it a good wash and a little dose of sunshine, and started.

When I make a repair, usually I have some of the old yarn, or can salvage some from the garment. Unpick a cast off and pull back a row or two… then cast off again, but this is a little felted so that wasn’t going to work.  I needed a fine, softly spun wool in a matching colour.  I knew I had nothing like that in the stash (rather unbelievably) but I did have a yarn that was the right colour, though not the right weight.

Undaunted, I took just one ply of the worsted weight I found, and it worked just fine. There was a tiny hole in the brim of the hat – that took just a stitch or two to fix, I simply worked duplicate stitch over the missing bit.  The larger hole in the bonnet was a little harder, a combination of darning and duplicate stitch made that one go away.

The hole in the sleeve was another matter.  One whole column of stitches was absent – it’s missing all the ladders in that column- so I couldn’t just ladder it back up like a dropped stitch, it was too wide to just sew up, and it wouldn’t look right if I darned it.

I thought about knitting a patch, a little heart or something, and sewing it over the hole, but then I had another idea. I used a technique that I teach in my Fix is in Class.  *

Working back and forth, I gave myself the ladders that I needed, one for each missing row, then inserted my tiny crochet hook in the intact stitch at the bottom of that section, and laddered it up like it simply was a dropped stitch, anchoring it at the top with a single stitch of grafting to the intact stitch at the top.  Voila!

You can’t even tell it was ever munched.  When I was done I took the ribbons out and thought about replacing them, but though they’re a little ragged, they’re the originals, and silk, and serviceable enough that I didn’t want to swap them out. They got a little pressing, and I put them back in. The whole things looks almost as good as new, or as good as a 52 year old sweater set can.

Now my little grandchild can wear something I did, and that their mother did, and it was lovely to work on something my great-grandmother made with her own two hands.  It felt really good to be able to be responsible for restoring her good work like that, and I think it will feel even better to dress a babe in something her great, great, great grandmother knit. I know it’s a wish of mine that the things I make will last this long and be this loved.

That’s her – Dorothy, in the back next to my Great Grandfather Archibald. My Grandmother Kathleen is on the left, and there’s my mum Bonnie, holding me.

(PS. At the Spring Retreat I’m going to teach this sort of repair, our theme is the letter E, and that covers “Errors” and this comes up in that section. All the workshop spots are filled up, but we still have a few spots for textile artists who’re able to spin and knit. For the record, and because people always write to us and ask, you do not need to be a very experienced knitter or spinner for these retreats. They’re learning experiences, and it’s just fine to be a beginner in both departments.  Everyone always says “maybe when I’m good enough” and there’s no reason to wait. This sort of thing is supposed to help you become that good. More info here if you’re into it.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Am I winning yet

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 02/25/2020 - 18:24

There is not yet a baby, which is a good thing in the knitting department and I’m quite pleased by it, though Meg less so, to be truthful.

I’ve been quietly sending “not quite yet sweetie” messages out into the universe, and so far it’s working.  I did decide, after the last blog post to add another repeat of the lace – it seemed silly to make a short term knitting decision when this will be a long term grandchild, and I knew I’d be happier in a year with this choice than I was with it in the moment – so my nine rounds to go turned into 25 rounds to go, and I poured on the burn.

(I know, that is such an incredibly hip thing to say that you can hardly stand it.)  I dedicated a few days of really intense knitting to the thing, and I’m happy to announce that the body is done, and I, gentle readers, have made it all the way to the edging.

This blanket has almost a thousand stitches in a round now – and that means I have to work around two thousand rows of the edging to get around the thing and have it cast off. It’s about 55 repeats of the edging pattern, plus a little more to get around the corners. I’m almost to the first corner now, which means I am at the exact point in the process where it feels completely hopeless.  Elliot’s coming for a sleepover tonight and that’s always good for a chunk of knitting time – he goes to bed early and easily, bless him. (He remains the sweetest child to ever walk the earth, I tell you. It makes me wonder if this next babe will be the end of all peace, but let’s worry about that when we see what sort of vibe the kid is rocking.)

I took a little blanket break earlier in the week, partly because I was bored to the point of chewing my own arm off, and also because almost everyone I know who’s ever had a knitting injury can point to a wicked knitting jag that did it. I think it’s pretty important for your hand health to keep mixing it up.  (Do you know what makes it hard to get a repetitive strain injury? Not repeating things. It’s not like I’m going to knit less, but I can keep knitting with variety. That wee break meant that I finished the sweetest little onesie.  So darling I can hardly stand it. Soft and warm, perfect for the first few weeks or so.

Pattern:Tiriltunge Newborn Onesie Yarn: Rosy Green Wool Merino d’Arles in Mistral. It took about 1.5 skeins, and I used a 3mm needle.

It is just about  perfect.  I loved this yarn a lot, and the result is charming, cozy, was pretty easy to knit if you keep your wits about you (and I do.)  I think it’s going to fit too – and may be a hair big, which is perfect, because new humans grow so quickly.

I also spent a little time restoring some old knits, ones that were mine when I was a baby, of all things – but I’ll tell you about that tomorrow.  Trust me, we’re going to need something to break up the blanket monotony.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Stag Head Cardigan

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/24/2020 - 21:05

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Original Pattern: Stag Head Pullover  Knitter Extraordinaire: Lily (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Revamped the pullover design to feature the cabled stag head on the back of a cabled cardigan instead. Great details and more photos can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: This is one of those jaw-dropping knits, isn’t it?

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/21/2020 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Love audiobooks? Here is a massive list of free audiobooks– classics that are in the public domain. 5 simple ways to remind people that you love them. Because we all need to invest a bit in our friendships. This is a fascinating idea that Ikea used to pay

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Virtual Visit: Yarns Untangled

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 02/20/2020 - 18:05

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I’m experimenting with a new thing on Instagram- Virtual yarn store visits! I’ll be doing a little series of video tours of local yarn stores in Toronto, and if people seem to like them, then I’ll expand and do them in other places, too! The first one is for Yarns Untangled, a lovely yarn store

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 02/18/2020 - 19:24

On the weekend, I was feeling pretty good about the blanket situation. I’d completed the centre, picked up the stitches all the way around it, worked the first garter border, the ring lace, the second garter border, the first big border, the third garter border and was just a few rounds away from finishing the second big border. That just left the final garter border and that’s just eight rounds, and I’d be staring the edging.  Sure, the edging takes a while to knit, a million years or so, but it was seeming all so possible.  So possible in fact that I worked on some other stuff. I worked on a little onesie I’m knitting, and I even contemplated starting something else – a little merino shirt for the baby to wear in the early days.  I went on a dive into the stash and didn’t come up with just the yarn I wanted but I did find some hand combed merino top (a gift from MamaCate more than a decade ago, combed with her own two little hands) and It seemed like just the right thing. I didn’t have the yarn I wanted, but I could make the yarn I wanted, and I gave the blanket a little glance, told it to essentially knit itself for a bit, and pulled out my wheel.

It’s been a while since I sat at it, and it was such a pleasure that the next thing I knew I’d spun all my singles, and plied, and voila –

By yesterday afternoon I had the sweetest little skein of two-ply merino, about 200m of a light fingering weight, just the right thing for the idea I had. I thought about getting out the needles right then, but the blanket was lurking, and I thought to myself that since I only had about ten rounds to go before the edging, I should just put in few rounds.

Now, the blanket has, at this point- about 900 stitches per round, and that increases by 8 every other round. Sitting down to do “a few rounds” isn’t a small chunk of time. It’s lace, too, so the idea of getting this bit done and moving on to the edging/casting off phase is pretty motivating. Of course, I have no real idea when the baby will come, but I do know that I should get a move on, and I did.  Last night as I was hanging out with the family, chatting after Sam’s birthday dinner (she turned 26 yesterday!) finishing the last lace round, (JUST NINE ROUNDS LEFT) I spread the work out on my knee for a minute, and had a thought. The thought was not good. The thought was that the border I was looking a wasn’t tall enough.

I turned to Sam and asked her what she thought.  Could I stop? Did I need another repeat?  Sam looked at it and said that she thought another repeat wouldn’t be a terrible idea, but that if I wanted to be done with it, she thought I could stop if I wanted to.

Wanted to be done with it? Yes. That is what I wanted, so I celebrated, called it done, and went to bed, happy to be waking up today in a world where there are just NINE ROUNDS LEFT.

This morning, well rested but with a proper sense of panic around the blanket, anxious to finish those NINE ROUNDS, I pulled the behemoth onto my lap and started to work.  As I started, I thought about what Sam had said.  “If you wanted to be done with it” and then I wondered about having asked her at all.  Are those the actions of a confident knitter? Does a someone who’s sure they’re right ask for help getting out of knitting a bit more? I drank my coffee, and thought about revisiting my blanket math.  I’ve got a sketch with measurements and a plan in a drawer in my office, a sheet of paper with the measurements from Elliot’s blanket on it, and equivalent calculations for this one – because I have this crazy idea that they should be about the same size. I didn’t go get the paper, because I know what it says on it, and I know what it’s going to tell me. I know that math. It’s my math – and although my mathematics skills are total crap, my memory is just fine. I looked at my measuring tape, and I thought about measuring, knowing full well that if I did, it wouldn’t be nine more rounds.  It would be TWENTY FIVE MORE ROUNDS, and well – have a look at Meg.

Exactly.  You see the situation.  So, here I sit, measuring tape in one hand, the truth in the other and I’m trying to bring myself to accept the whole thing.  I do not think, if I decide to go the long way, that I will outrun this baby.  I do think that I might be happier with it in the end though, and this child will have the blanket a lot longer than it’s going to take to knit those rounds, and while do I want to be “done with it” I also want it to be perfect.

Maybe I’ll just look at that little skein of merino for a bit.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week Wait, not everyone has a constant running internal monologue?! Mind. Blown. Apparently, we are hitting peak meat – and I think they are absolutely right. Wake up to your patterns. The flowers that end up in a bottle of Chanel No. 5. When you filter out male privilege,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Itsy bitsy teenie weenie

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 02/12/2020 - 03:13

I wasn’t going to blog today because I didn’t have much time, but a short post is better than no post so I’m going to write this, but I’m not even going to try to make it coherent.  Let’s do a list, shall we? Here’s some things.

1. We had Megan’s baby shower on Saturday here at the house.  I thought that you were only supposed to have a shower for your first, but the girls said I was being old-fashioned and I couldn’t think of a good reason not to celebrate getting a baby, so we did.

2. I made cookies.

3. I also made a romper (the pattern is this one) and then I hadn’t run out of yarn so I made a bonnet (no pattern I just know what babies look like) and the I still had yarn so I made shoes.

I am out of yarn now. All that from one skein of Rosy Green Cheeky Merino Joy – which made it a very good deal indeed.  (Colour was 62, Isar Pebble.)

4. The shoes are from 50 Baby bootees to knit, which is a book I love now and always have. It’s paid for itself a thousand times.

5. Elliot is staying here for 3 days and two nights while his parents celebrate the last gasp of relative freedom they have before the new baby thows them back into lockdown.  I admit, I’m a little nervous – we’ve been doing sleepovers to practice for this – and so that he can have people to hang out with when the little usurper arrives, but two nights is a long time for a boy not yet three.  I hope it goes well. Today was the first and it went just fine. We cooked dinner together, and he went to bed like warm butter on hot toast, so let’s just see if it lasts.  (I have purchased treats and are willing to use them.)

6. I have their dog too.  See above re: treats.

7. I taught Elliot how to peel a carrot. Together with the potty training (he is better at that then the carrot) he is just about employable.

8. I do not care to discuss the blanket (or lack thereof) today.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Sweet Pea Simplement

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/10/2020 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Sweet Pea Knitter Extraordinaire: Carine (Ravelry Profile) Mods: Carine changed out the center panel stitch motif, added it on the shoulders, and kept the rest of the design simple for a long sleeved tee. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: The original sweater has a lovely

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 02/07/2020 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week How to ask a busy person for advice- and actually get an answer. Ever wonder what happens to your checked luggage at the airport? If you have trouble trying to stop a negative thinking spiral, these are great techniques for thought-stopping. An interesting topic for discussion- Penguin Random

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

All that I survey

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 02/06/2020 - 21:47

This morning, before I packed my bags and got ready to head for the airport, I spread out my knitting and had a little sigh about it. I brought three projects with me on this trip – and I didn’t meet my goals on any of them.  I forgot how completely exhausted I am after skiing, and what it’s like to try and juggle my other responsibilities with that.  Joe always says that the great thing about being self employed is the flexibility.  You can work any 14 hours a day you want, and both of us were feeling that.  If we were in the hotel room we were on our laptops, trying to get stuff accomplished and pretend to the people we had commitments to that we weren’t playing on the slopes, and I only managed to carve out about an hour of serious knitting each evening.  I did manage to get a few hours of non-serious knitting in each day as we travelled back and forth to the ski hill.  We like taking the bus once we’re there, and it gives you some pretty good knitting time, although I couldn’t bring myself to bring the blanket on the bus and then stuff it in my ski bag.  I’m too far along for it to get dirty or what if someone stole my ski bag? There would be no coming back from it.  I kept it in the hotel room – resisting the urge to put it in the safe.

I had three knitting goals this trip.  I wanted to finish the romper.

This did not happen.  It might happen today as I make my way home – my flight’s been delayed twice thanks to a snowstorm in Toronto, and it’s farther along than it is in that picture since I knit on it on the way to the airport, but mostly I’m behind.

I brought this little white sweater (pictured in the corner above) It’s a plain white cardigan knit on 2.25mm needles which is, rather predictably, taking forever.  I aimed to finish the body and start the sleeves. Even brought needles for the sleeves, but it was a total bust. While I thought about it a lot, it’s had the audacity to stay about the same, only a few centimetres longer than it was when I left Toronto. I suppose that I would have made better progress if I’d knit it instead of thinking about it, but I was so demoralized this failure that I didn’t even pack it in my carry on. It can think about what it’s done while it’s squashed in my suitcase.

The blanket…. that was the big fail.  My goal was to finish the border I’m on now, accomplish the little garter band before the next border, and be finished the next border, which is smaller than the first.  Sadly, not only did I not get this done, I fell way short.  I’m on the last round of the first border.  I think I forgot to take into account that this blanket is growing rapidly. Right now there are about 712 stitches in a round – but that grows by 8 stitches every other round.  Predictably, those rounds are taking longer and longer.  Still, I’m on to 8 rounds of garter now, and then 20 of a lace pattern much simpler than the last, so maybe there is some hope.  I’m going to work on it all the way home today, and it’s a 4.5 hour flight, so maybe?  It’s making me anxious, I’d like to make some real progress, but I’m going to avoid setting a crazy goal that just generates more knitting deadline anxiety.

Whew! almost done, which is good because I’m off to stand in the Standby line and see if I can get myself anywhere close to Toronto, but one last thing.  Debbi and Judith and I have had lots of questions about the retreat, and if there’s one thing we know, it’s that if a couple of people write to ask us, then a lot of people are wondering about it, so we thought that we’d take a few minutes a few days in a row to answer questions. (We’re speaking here of the Strung Along Spring Retreat. It’s March 20-23rd, and there are details on this page.  There’s also details about the June and November retreats there, but please note that those two are full, with a wait list. We can put you on that wait list, but for November in particular, those odds are not good.  If you were hoping for a retreat this year, March is your baby.)

I’m answering today- because this is a question we get that could be sung from my own little heart.

I would love to come and I wish I was the sort of person who could, but I feel really anxious about going alone and not knowing anyone and I’m not sure I can do it without a wingknitter.  Does anyone come alone? What’s it like if they do?

Knitter, my little cowardly, introverted, nervous self hears you.  There was a birthday party for someone really like last week and I had trouble going because I wasn’t sure I was going to know anyone there. It turned out absolutely fine, but I hear you. I actually AM you.  I can tell you a few things about the retreat that might make you feel better.  First, yup.  About half of the retreat is brand spanking new to the experience, and coming alone.  You wouldn’t be the only one, for sure.  Second, almost everyone else who’s coming is a repeat retreat who came alone the first time that they did, so they understand how you feel.

Next, this retreat was set up by someone who’s as nervous as you are (that would be me) and someone who’s pretty normal socially.  (That would be Debbi.) We’ve got it arranged so that it’s pretty cozy.  On the first evening you meet everyone in a big room, but you don’t have to talk to them or do anything, Debbi and I take the heat.  From then on, you’re in a small group with 10-14 other knitters, and they’re the same ones every day.  The whole retreat gathers for meals and evening activities, but you’ve always got that little group that you’re with every day, and almost everybody makes buddies in that group.

Last, I can tell you two things- there is lots of time to go to your room, regroup, knit quietly and gather yourself before you return to the fray. On the other hand, if you’ve made a friend or twelve, there’s lots of cozy living room style space to hang out and knit together.  We’ve got a little lounge that we hang out in.

The other thing of those two? We have knitters who have been coming for years, because it is the one time of the year that they see the friends that they make at Strung Along –  it is a point of pride for Debbi and Judith and I that the retreat is a ship that has launched a thousand friendships.  It is a beautiful thing.

If all else fails, you know me. I’ll be there.

If you want to come, email info@strungalong.ca and we can talk about it.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Voice

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 02/04/2020 - 15:42

This post comes to you from Banff, Alberta. Joe’s been working out this way a bit, and so I flew down to meet him, and we’ll have a quick ski before I go home and he goes back to work, and then the two of us are grounded soon as we enter the “On Call” phase for Megan and the impending grandbaby.  The on call phase is quite long. I had that crazy mad dash to make it home when Elliot decided to make an early appearance, so we’re not taking any chances with this baby.  Could be as shifty as her brother.

I think this pressure, this worry that the baby will be here soon and I’ll run out of time and nothing will be done contributed to a fairly disastrous knitting week.  I’ve got the blanket underway of course, and a romper and I sort of think I could finish a onsie (if I started a onsie) and they were both going really well, if by really well you understand that there was progress, but I was having some sort of dis-associative episode where The Voice tried to deal with me.

This is one of my best tricks – ignoring The Voice. When I was a younger knitter it was easy to ignore the voice.  I’d be knitting along, and The Voice would say something like “This looks a little big” and I’d say “what the hell do you know?  You are The Voice of insecurity, of doubt, of low self-esteem. Get off me.” Then The Voice would say “You know what? You’re right, either one of us could be correct here. Good luck.”  At some point it dawned on me that The Voice was almost always right. The Voice was actually helpful.  It would whisper tips, like “that gauge looks a little funky are you sure you want to skip washing the swatch?”  Or it would humbly offer something like  “Hey, can we take a minute and connect our knowledge of the size of your bust and the size of this sweater and see if we’re still both onside with this?” Or “That increase looks like crap and you know it.”

Over time The Voice has proven that while it seems like a pain in the arse, its prime directive is really nice knitting and it doesn’t need to shush up and not talk to me. It is me. It is not my low self esteem, it isn’t interfering with me, it’s not trying to wreak my fun, it is yay verily the voice of my experience and it is trying to run quality control on my knitting.  I am interested in making things that are nice, so now I try to listen to The Voice.

(Someone will ask, the romper is the Spring into Summer Romper)

I can only assume then, that when earlier this week The Voice said “Hey wow. You’ve chosen the wrong border for this blanket, it’s going to be way too tall.” And “Yo, Steph, the gauge on that romper is bananapants that’s the size of a toddler not a newborn what the hell.” (The Voice has poor punctuation skills. Always has.) When The Voice said that – I blame the stress of the impending baby for what I said to it, which was “No, no, we’re good.”  The Voice (which counts persistence among its skills) said “No Steph, that border is wrong and the romper is huge.” And I’m pretty sure that I replied with something like “HEY C’MON VOICE DON’T PULL THIS I AM RUNNING OUT OF TIME”.

This might have worked.  I might have been able to bully The Voice, but The Voice (which is, after all, me) has a rather amazing secret weapon.  Truth.  The Voice simply replied with “Oh.  Cool.  I wouldn’t want you to run out of time for to knit substandard junk for your grandkid. Peace out.  Mwah.”

With that, I went and got a tiny skinny knitting needle, counted all the rounds back to the beginning of the border, picked up the last round of stitches before I started it, and then attached the whole shebang to the ball winder.*  When I was done, I went and got the romper (which I had charmingly blocked to try and make it smaller – protip, nope) and ran that through the ballwinder too, and pulled out the whole thing.  I even let Elliot have a go.  He must have been bothered by the whole thing.  He had a very serious face on, like he was part of some sort of sad event, and towards the end as he turned the handle at the romper funeral, looked up at me and said “Why Grammy? Why winder?”

I told him the truth.  I had made some mistakes and the knitting was no good. I didn’t do it properly. It hadn’t worked.   Elliot looked at me, patted my arm and said “It’s okay Grammy.  You can just try again.” **

Thanks buddy. Tell it to The Voice.

*I know this seems a little funny, but it is the fastest, easiest way to pull back a project with a million complicated stitches.  It’s sort of like a lifeline after the fact.  If you’d run a lifeline, this would be even easier.  Run the super skinny (like 2mm) needle through all the stitches of the lifeline, then rip back. Voila, the round is on the needles, with no chance of messing up the lace. I pull out the upper, working needle as I pick up the round below. 

**I complimented Meg and Alex for this, for working on raising a nice resilient kid, and Meg gave all the credit to MagnaTiles. 

(PS. We still have room for the Spring Retreat – details here, though I’ll talk more about it soon.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: First Robin

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 02/03/2020 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

The winner of the Bristol Ivy Knitting Outside the Box: Drape & Fold copy giveaway is Nancy! Thanks so much to everyone who commented on the blog and on Instagram. And now, onto our beautiful modification today… can you tell I’m already excited for spring?! Original Pattern: Bluebird of Happiness Knitter Extraordinaire: Lori (Ravelry profile,

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 01/31/2020 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I was recently reading about the United Nation’s sustainability goals (as you do) and came across this awesome guide- the lazy person’s guide to saving the world. It’s fantastic! Great ideas to socialize with friends that aren’t ‘let’s grab a drink’. 50 ways to be ridiculously generous. This

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Review and Giveaway: Knitting Outside the Box: Drape & Fold

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 01/30/2020 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

I’m a big fan of Bristol Ivy‘s designs. Not just because they are full-out gorgeous and wonderfully designed, but because Bristol is sort of genuinely good person that you want to see succeed in life. I had the pleasure of meeting her  a couple years ago, and she is just a delightful, funny, warm person.

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Christmas Soldotna

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 01/27/2020 - 11:00

www.knittedbliss.com

Original Pattern: Soldotna Knitter Extraordinaire: Claire (Ravelry profile, instagram) Mods: Modified the yoke chart to include hearts and bead berries, and changed the colouring to be a Christmas sweater. Great close up photos and info on the mods can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: What a brilliant idea- make

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

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