Knitting Feeds

Knit chat and fun knitterly things...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/20/2017 - 07:33
Hello there, loves! We meet again, on another beautiful Sunday. :) Always happen to get a chance to chat with you all. Knitting has been happening due to a strong desire to dig deep into the WIP basket and finish up some things. For instance the sock above I started... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Rest

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 20:56

I have been taking a few days off. Well, I’ve been sort of taking a few days off – I think they only feel like days off because I’m not riding really far, and putting up a tent and taking it back down again and trying to manage email and doing nine jobs all at once. Instead I’ve been riding my bike a little, to get around town, and to the beach, and to the marina to sail with Joe. The house is a still a disaster, the mountain of neglected work on my desk needs my attention now, but it has felt good to snuggle a baby, come up with a plan of attack, and enjoy the summer a bit. Also – knit. Not little bits of knitting found here and there, not just a plain sock because it’s all I can muster, but real, proper knitting – done in nice chunks, with a fancy pattern and beads and concentration and without worrying that the needles will puncture an air mattress.

I’m tackling Snow Angel (a little ironic for a summer knit, I know) and it’s lovely. I had about ten million balls of Findley left over after Elliott’s blanket, and it’s such a pleasure to knit with that I’m using it again. (It’s got 730m per ball. I can’t explain the yarn insecurity that led me to buy so much. I’m rather glad I like it, because I’ll be knitting with it for the rest of my life.)

I’ve still got a pair of socks running in the background, because beaded lace isn’t exactly the sort of knitting that goes well with taking the subway or walking or going to meetings, and also I’m me, so I wouldn’t quite know what to do with myself without a pair of socks in my bag, but I’m mostly knitting on this, and hoping to get it bashed out pretty quickly. The first section went by so fast that I got optimistic about it only taking a few days, but as with all things top-down, that initial thrill’s worn off as the rows get longer.

I’ve got just a little time to knit on it today before I head out for a meeting (and I have to do something about the kitchen. It’s sort of sticky. All of it. I don’t know how cupboards get sticky, but they are.) Maybe I’ll finish the first big chart – but I’m already dreaming of what I’ll make next. Shall I finish the paper/linen Habu thing? Maybe a pair of fancy socks? Perhaps a sweater for one of the littles, or a hat for the Christmas box, or… What are you making?

I promised I’d wrap up the Karmic Balancing gifts when I got back – so here’s a start. (It’s going to take a bit. You’re a generous bunch – I’ll do as many as I can each day.

Mary S found a wonderful way to give this year, she went for a nice long stash dive and came up with five (yup, five) beautiful presents for her fellow knitters. (Doesn’t she seem like a lovely person? Good taste in yarn, too.)

2 balls Suri Merino Luxury Indiecita, 55% suri alpaca, 45% extra fine merino (deliciously soft) for Lori N.

3 balls Woodland yarn, 65% wool, 35% nettles for Sarah M. 4 skeins Plymouth Earth Alpaca “Ranch” she’ll be mailing to Ariela G. 10 balls Libella Ballet, 74% viscose; 26% cotton for Cindy M. 1 hank Berroco Hip-Hop, 100% Wool for Flannery C who I hope makes a hat. (It would be gorgeous.)
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Colsie Mitts Mirror Gradient

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 10:30
Knitting time has been scarce, so I've continued to focus on small, manageable projects like simple mitts and swatches for designs in the pipeline. On one hand, this is good, because small things are getting done. On the other hand, it means larger projects like Herlacyn Heatwave are languishing from temporary neglect.

That said, I've managed to complete another pair of mitts, and like so many of my projects, they're both functional and experimental. 

They feature a mirror gradient worked in one of my favorite stretchy reversible slip stitches, but there is a twist. I discovered that introducing a minor modification to the plush, rounded rib (left) produced a more compact rib (right). Look closely, and you can see the subtle differences. 




Both stitches are attractive, stretchy and fully reversible, and on the hand these differences are nearly imperceptible. (Plush rib, left. Compact rib, right.)


Colsie Mirror Gradient Mitts
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Champagne (Grignasco)
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Yardage: ~100 yards

This yarn is delicious. The blue undertones in the Teal accentuate the hint of blue in the icy Cloud yarn, which comes and goes based on the lighting, as you can see from the photos. This yarn also knits up beautifully, and looks great even without blocking. And thanks to the superfine merino and silk blend, the mitts have a soft sheen and feel like a dream, which means I'm already fantasizing about wearing them when fall weather arrives. 

Meanwhile, I'm so enamored with this combination of yarn, stitch, color and mirrored gradients, I'm thinking of casting on a complementary cowl or scarf. Long ago, we agreed there's no such thing as too many mitts, and I'm beginning to believe the same is true for soft and cozy coordinating shawls and scarves.

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

August Indie Dyer Feature~ Dragon Hoard Yarn Co.

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/13/2017 - 07:32
Hello there! Here we are in August and that means I have the privilege of featuring another brilliant dyer, Dragon Hoard Yarn. I can tell you the first thing that attracted me to this beautiful Esty shop was the fact that Trysten had a huge selection of Harry Potter themed... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Sheltered

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 20:35

I don’t know if you know this about me, but I am pretty much a coward. I spend a lot of time worrying, and a lot of time being afraid, though I am afraid of regular things, I think. I am afraid of getting hurt physically- when I ski I worry about falling, about hurting myself (mostly I am afraid of breaking an arm. If I broke a leg I could still knit, so I think it would be ok.) I am afraid of not fitting in. I am afraid of love or respect extended and not returned. I am afraid of spiders. (This one I don’t worry about. I think that if you’re not afraid of spiders you just haven’t thought enough about it. They can walk on the ceiling. That’s not right.) I am afraid of not measuring up, of doing my best and still falling short of the mark. (There’s a joke in there about how I’m only 5’1″, but let’s leave it.) I am afraid of disappointing people, I am afraid of letting them down. I am afraid that trust will be given to me, and my best self won’t be good enough, and I that I won’t be able to rise above petty thoughts or small mindedness, or that in a wild effort to live a really decent life, I’ll miss things, or grow old with regrets that all this fear held me back from amazing events, and that I’ll be some old lady with a pile of things left undone, because my cowardice kept me home. I worry that when handed a microphone I will say something stupid, or that I will hurt someone with my words, and I am always afraid that I won’t understand someone else well enough to spare them pain, or find enough understanding for them to ease the fear I feel they must have – because I have it. I worry that we are all afraid, and I don’t want us to act out of that fear, personally, socially, or politically.

All this was on my mind on Sunday, when Jen picked me up, and we gathered the few essentials we hadn’t put in the trucks the day before, and we drank coffee quietly in the backyard, reflecting on the challenge ahead of us. Let me be absolutely clear about this next one… riding more than 600km doesn’t get easier with time. As a matter of fact, I’d say it gets harder. The experience you have from the times before is enough to give you the screaming willies, and the two of us sat there knowing exactly what was ahead. “It’s going to be okay,” Jen said. “We’ve done it before. We can do it again.” Then we strapped our bikes to her car, gave a nod to the fear we both felt,  and drove to the departure point at Allan Gardens.

The minute I arrived, I remembered everything. I was nervous, and scared, and my back hurt already, and I started to be afraid of all the things I always am. (In the short term, I worry that upon departure, as a whack of riders all leave together, I will do something stupid, mostly I worry that I will fall off my bike and become a human speedbump. This has never happened – to me or to anyone, but I still think it’s a real risk, and if anyone is ever going to do it, it’s me.) Meg, Alex, Amanda and Elliot turned up to say goodbye, and we took a group shot, and I darted out for a whole rally selfie, covering (as I so often do) my nerves with humour. Then we left, and almost immediately, it started to change.

My friends were with me. Not just the ones that I have every day, like Ken and Jen and Cameron and Pato (and when did he grow up enough to be my friend?) but the magic of the Rally that over the course of six days, makes everyone present your friend.

For six days, you are a small travelling town. A group of people committed to one thing, all living the same life, and all held by one goal, one experience. From the fastest rider to the slowest, we’re the same. We’re all trying to ride our bikes to Montreal – we’re all in debt to our donors, to the people who put faith in us to make this happen (that’s you) all of us trying to fulfill a contract.  I’ll do this hard thing, if you’ll help me by contributing. There’s nobody on the Rally who doesn’t feel the honour or the pressure of being the midpoint of those donations – and nobody who isn’t in it for the Toronto People with AIDS Foundation as the end. There were moments when the gratitude I felt to all of you is overwhelming, and moments when only the deal I’d made with you kept me going, and I know I’m not the only one.

I know I’ve written about this before. I’ve told you that every year is different. One year it’s about perseverance. (Or rain.) One year it’s about the people I know who are HIV positive, and and making a personal commitment to making their journey better –  one year it was even about loneliness, about finding strength within myself to do it by myself, a fear I freely cop to. This year, the theme was apparent from the word go. It was friendship.

Jen gave me a ride that morning so I didn’t have to ride an extra 14km. Cameron changed my tire on Day two. He knows I can do it, but he can do it faster, and it was a gift of friendship to do it for me. Jen knows I was struggling with my back, and was generous and sweet with her patience and words – cheerful to the end, that one. (You should all be so lucky to have a friend as deliberate with her love as Jen.)

Both of them rode sweetly behind me on Day two, when my back really hurt, and I pulled ahead for a bit to have what I was hoping was a secret weep, and though both of them could easily have caught me, they lagged behind, knowing I was crying, knowing I’m afraid of that weakness, and letting me have that time to pull myself together. Darling friends.

Ken, faster than the rest of us, came into camp early each day, and together with the faster riders, collected our bins, and set up our tents, making sure that by the time Jen and I staggered into camp, things were as beautiful and welcoming as they can be if they are also covered in spiders.

For the first time too – a special little treat, knitting was normal on the rally, even desired – two more riders asked to be taught as we travelled along, without anyone making fun of it, or suggesting it was an old lady thing, or anything other than a way of making and being and doing. (Note to self, pack more yarn and needles next year. Best to be equipped if the plan to take over the world is finally taking hold.)

It was more than this though, it was watching everyone do the same thing – over and over and over, fear and struggle and concern were met with kindness and a gentle word, and respect and a soft touch. Struggling riders were encouraged, crew was thanked, flat tires mended, patience given, smiles offered at the port-a-loo lines, coffee fetched, complements freely given, and so quickly, kindergarten rules took hold. Take turns, be gentle, use your words, big ones take care of the little ones… anyone who strayed from the path of this softness was taken for how they were in that moment. Tired, overwhelmed, exhausted, wet, hot, afraid… and their problem, rather than their behaviour – was addressed with compassion, and do you know, it worked the way with grownups that it does with little kids when you hold who they are, rather than how they are behaving in your mind.

Quickly, over the course of the six days, this world took hold. They don’t call it the Friends For Life Bike Rally for nothin’ I remembered – and the power of friendship moved all of us, so much so, that by the last day, when the heavens opened and unleashed a torrential downpour upon us, the whole Rally pulled into a the shelter of a gas station and stood there, wet, cold, our final approach spoiled, the moment of glory delayed, the lot of us drowned rats by at the side of the road, it would have been easy to feel sad, or disappointed, or afraid, or something negative, but friendship had owned us all by then, and there was singing, and laughing, and smiling faces, and arms round cold riders and a grand explosion of joy as applause and bike bells rang out. Together was enough. Friendship was enough. Doing the right thing for PWA and the clients who need us was more than enough.

Eventually the rain stopped, and we rode on, those few kilometres to the end, and were welcomed in in grand style, and there was Kim – from Indigodragonfly, who’s own sense of friendship and commitment had led her not just to donate the profits from her Rally themed yarn, not just to sponsor our tee-shirts, but to actually turn up to hug and welcome all of us. She’s a grand friend, and a good person.

All week long, I felt it. Moments of fear supplanted by camaraderie and friendship. We are all cowards in some way. Me, I’m a dumpy middle-aged grandmother who has almost no business cycling 600km. Jen’s a mother of two walking away from her family for a week to model fierceness for her young daughters. Pato’s a young man trying to shape a world that he wants to live in, Ken is still recovering from the shoulder surgery that put him back together after his accident and showing up anyway. Cameron packed his work laptop and somehow carved out the time to do his job and the Rally – and everyone else riding met their own personal challenges. Again and again, why we were doing it came up. At dinner, at breaks, at our celebration in Kingston… and the thing we talked about was this: People are living longer with HIV/AIDS. It isn’t the death sentence that was when the Rally started. There are good drugs, help, and a sense of hope, and most of us realize that presents a challenge. In a way, supporting people with HIV/AIDS used to be sadder, but cheaper, not to put too fine a point on it. People didn’t live long enough to need years of support. The crisis was clearer, it had people’s attention. Now it must seem to so many people as though that time has passed, and it has – only to be replaced by a different need. Now grownups and children with HIV/AIDS may need a lifetime of support. They need years and years of medication, years and years of help living with the stigma that it brings, years and years of our help and belonging. It is still important.

We all shared this fear. That even though there are still a very great many people who need help, that they will be forgotten, and that sense of fellowship further strengthened our resolve, and made us braver. For me and Jen, we reflected often on the ride that so often, given the way the world works, women lack the personal power to make choices in this way, and that riding for them felt like something a woman in a strong, privileged position could do to help lift other women up too. It felt… feminist to us. It felt like the right thing to do, despite our own fears.

It was, despite the rain, the work, the fear, the pain, and the difficulty… a wonderful ride, and I spent much of it reflecting on if I’d done the right thing. Not just in riding, or in fundraising, or in doing my best to be kind all week, but in thinking of a decision I’ve made that will shape a part of the next two years of my life.

I’ve been accepted as a Co-Chair for the Rally. I’m putting my time where my heart is. I am pretty young, and pretty strong, and pretty privileged, and I have time and energy to put towards being the change I want to see in the world. It was a big decision, but I’m doing it, despite fear, despite being a great big chicken, and despite the fact that inevitably someone is going to hand me a microphone and I’ll say something stupid.  I’ll have to count on my friends when that happens.

I do this because the rally is the world as it should be, for six small, wild and wonderful days. It’s why despite the difficulty, so many of us suffer the “Bike Rally Blues” when it’s over. The Rally is challenging, scary, disarming, powerful, heartwarming, supportive… so many ordinary people doing an extraordinary thing, all powered by nothing but friendship to moderate your cowardice, and that is a strong thing indeed. Blog, my dear ones, thank you for being my friends on this side. Thank you for the donations, the comments, the emails… All the kindness in the world is meaningless in this without you, riding is meaningless without you, no change happens without you. You’re the magic that makes this work.

You are amazing.

(PS. Obviously I signed up for next year.)

(PPS. I am going to knit the snot out of the rest of this month.)

(PPPS. When I came home, tired, bedraggled and with all our camping stuff in disarray, Joe had cleaned the house, filled the fridge with my favourite food and wine, and bought me flowers. It takes a big man to support ideas this wild. He’s wonderful, and my friend too.)

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

shawls and 80's hair bands

Autumn Geisha - Mon, 08/07/2017 - 23:34
find your fade
I finally finished my Find Your Fade shawl! The journey from 6 skeins of yarn to what you see above was very similar to the plot lines of the hair metal power ballads that were the soundtrack of my youth. In the beginning, it was total infatuation fed by all the gorgeous fades that took over instagram and the blogosphere. The riot of colors were too hard to resist and I quickly jumped needles first into the color party, totally seduced by the fun to be had when each color melted into the next. But as with most large sized shawl projects, the first flush of excitement soon faded into a monotonous poisonous rhythm of garter stitches and yarn overs. But onwards I knitted, until the eventuality of a 7 skein project being knitted with only 6 skeins came to a head: I ran out of yarn with just 10 rows to go. Don't Cry indeed.

There followed a brief moment of intense cursing introspection. The asymmetric shape and massive size of the shawl overwhelmed my petite frame. I had a difficult time finding a comfortable way to wear the shawl since it was pretty heavy. I even contemplated using it as a lap blanket but the yarn was too precious. So I finally decided to cut my losses and keep motoring. But don't feel too sad for me....because here I go again:

exploration station
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Stop, knit, breath and repeat...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 18:30
Hello there and happy Sunday! Pattern~ Lode Yarn~ Hill View Farms in the color Ballet Slippers Sorry for the late Sunday posting. I feel like I am playing a bit of catch up and was running around for the last 4 hours trying to get all things done. Then I... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Colsie Mitts Berry Tonal Gradient

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 12:30
It may be August, but fall is on the horizon and winter won't be far behind. With that in mind, I'm making simple fingerless mitts to add to my collection. It's no secret how much I love mitts and how often I wear them, so for me they're the ideal quick knit, something to occupy my hands as a respite between larger projects or when my brain needs a soothing knit after a taxing day.



As simple as they are, this pair incorporates several small elements that helped keep things entertaining. The first, of course, is the tonal color combination, which fades from rose and red into deep burgundy, and was featured in this post about tonal gradients and variegated yarns.


The second fillip is the stitch, a plush reversible slipped rib that's become a favorite, because the stretchy fabric produces mitts that hug the hand without the need for shaping. To change things up a bit, I began experimenting and came up with an adaptation that produces a slightly boxier reversible rib that's as simple, stretchy and attractive as its sibling.

Colsie Mitts | Berry Tonal Gradient
Pattern: In development
Needles: US 8 (5 mm)
Yarns: Babe (Euro Baby), Charlemont (Valley Yarns), Happy Feet (Plymouth Yarn)
Yardage: ~100 yards


As an added plus, these mitts coordinate nicely with my Dojeling Wineberry shawlette, a fall and winter staple, so they'll see lots of wear once cooler weather arrives.


There's nothing like a fresh FO to boost the spirits, which may explain why there's another pair already on the needles. I want to test how my stitch adaptation works in a different yarn, and we all know in my world there's no such thing as too many mitts.


What's on your needles right now? Summer things? Winter things? A mix of both?


Looking for the mitt pattern? It's in development and nearly ready to send to the tech editor.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

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