Knitting Feeds

Santa Delivered

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 12/30/2018 - 14:00
This year, Santa delivered precisely what I wanted most — a sweater quantity of yarn in a lovely shade of charcoal.

It's Valley Yarns Amherst, a 100% merino wool in worsted weight. This is the same yarn I used for Tikkyn Flagstone, so I know for a fact it's not only soft and light but very warm. It's also quite affordable, which is important since this will be a casual, everyday cardigan that's likely to see heavy wear.
I already have several projects on the needles, but as you can see, I couldn't resist swatching. Right now, I'm leaning toward the slipped rib stitch shown, because it's easy to work, produces a moderately stretchy fabric, and has an interesting texture. I'm also experimenting with different needle sizes to determine which one produces the right mix of drape and density.
I'm a slow knitter, so it's a toss up whether this will be finished in time for wear this winter, but it really doesn't matter. Sooner or later, I'll have a cozy, warm sweater that suits my style, goes with everything in my closet and fills a very real need.
And that's the best gift of all.

Wishing you and yours a bright and happy New Year!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/28/2018 - 13:09

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week I had a piece published in The Globe and Mail – I’d love it if you gave it a read! As someone who adores cheese, I think this is a brilliant idea. Also, it means that you don’t end up footing the bill for a pricy cheese all

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not Almost

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 22:32

Sigh. It feels to me like I write so much that I don’t hit “post” on these days. (I guess it feels that way because it’s true.) We have had a pretty good Christmas over here, though Joe’s idea (mostly charming, and mostly effective) that keeping busy and building new traditions will be an effective bandage for the grief we all feel this year, as we navigate our first Christmas without Tupper, my Mother and now Susan, almost backfired and took us all out. (Organizationally speaking, of course.)

We have had the gingerbread party and a ski trip with Luis and Frankie (and their parents) and we made the colossal mistake of having that trip end the 23rd, in the evening, which left just 24 hours before the big Christmas eve gathering at Joe’s sister’s, and left Joe and I alternately whizzing through shops and the kitchen all day, harried and frantic. We only had the food part (and some of the knitting part) waiting for us when we came though the door, but wildly underestimated how long it would take to put it together and culminated in Joe buying weird substitutes for things on my list and me contemplating what, exactly was wrong with ordering pizza anyway.

The answer of course is TRADITION, and you know that I think that traditions are important markers for a family, and part of the way you make home seem like home and make it so people feel like they belong, but I admit I did wish that way back in the 40s my grandparents had decided on something that wasn’t as much work as an elegant sit down dinner for everyone, or if there had to be a dinner, that they had settled on peanut-butter toast and sliced apples by candlelight.

It all came off in the end, and in many ways it was lovely, since we all had to work together to get it off the ground, and I do like that very much. The food was good, the company excellent, and everywhere we went and in (almost) every moment of our Christmas and the weeks leading up to it, there were so many moments I was able to find where I was grateful, and happy, and I only had to deal a little bit with the voice in my head that periodically whimpered like a toddler, and said things like “I want my mum” or “I want things back the way they were” or “I don’t want to do this without them.”

That voice though, I am able to recognize now, is an upgrade from last years voice. Last year’s voice of grief said “I can’t do this without her” and that turned out not to be true, and so I can see movement there – a change of a small and steady sort.

It all still feels very strange. My girls called my mum Grammy – and that’s what Elliot will call me – as soon as he can say it. Right now he very cleverly calls me Mama-mama, and though it is technically accurate and I can see how he got there, I hope it doesn’t stick. Meg’s doing her part to teach him, and so she calls me Grammy often now (instead of Mama, which we all blame for the conclusion he’s come to.) it is odd to hear that word spoken by my daughters when the person I think of as The Grammy is not here – and I struggle with feeling a bit like an imposter. My mum is so much to live up to. I know I’ll never be her, and I’m not even trying, but the role feels like a lot of pressure, especially at Christmas, when the Grammy is really the one who’s supposed to pull the whole thing together. (Also, my kitchen is a little small to be The Grammy, but I can’t really fix that.)

There were many wonderful gifts this year, but I want to tell you about one in particular. Since Mum died, we have had trouble holding our family together – being as connected as we were in the “before”. I don’t mean this little family, the one based out of this house, but the family one generation up. All my grandparents are gone, and now Tupp, and Susan, and Mum, and my siblings and I have been rather adrift, now that we are properly orphaned.  It is a credit to my mum that we are all very different people, but it does mean that what is a comfort to me might mean nothing to my sister, what I like isn’t ever what my brother does, and my mum always, always was the bridge between us. We didn’t tell each other much, we told mum, and she disseminated the information, kept all of us in the loop, and helped us speak each other’s languages.

We haven’t learned how to do that for ourselves yet, though we all care about it, so that’s a start. I wasn’t going to talk much about this, feeling hurt and sorry that we haven’t figured it all out, and maybe a little embarrassed by it, but as i open up about this part of grief, I’m learning it’s more common than I thought, and if it happened to you, maybe it would help you to know that it’s what we’re working on here too.  We really love each other a great deal, and I think that as we emerge from the deepest parts of this trip, we’ll get better at it. It will be easier for new traditions to take hold when we’re not so close to the loss of the old and special ones – when going to Erin’s house, or her coming here feels like just doing it, rather than not doing it at mums.

So, back to the gift. We were all handing out gifts on Christmas, exchanging with each other, lots of laughing and happiness, and Ian came to me with a paper bag and a big smile on his face.  “Steph” he said, beaming away, “Almost the best present ever”, and he thrust the bag into my hands.

I opened it, and inside there was yarn, already wound, and a pair of sock needles, and a pattern. “Thanks Ian” I said, slightly befuddled, but I like yarn, so that’s cool.

“No” he said “It’s not really for you. I mean it is. I was going to make you socks.”  Turns out that Ian had gone to a yarn shop, talked to the people there, been directed to the appropriate yarn, needles and a simple pattern, and had paid for it, and then addressed the one remaining problem, which in true McPhee fashion, felt like something he could fix easily. He can’t knit. Ian tried the internet, followed directions (sort of) and texted with Megan – pictures, diagrams (Meg said that most of the texts were actually about interpreting the pattern and why there were so many brackets on it.) In the end, it didn’t get off the ground. He thinks he might have cast on – but “things got funky.”

Ian was assured by the yarn store (and charmingly, also assured me) that the yarn is reusable, and you can redo it several times, without damaging it so… he wants me to teach him, and he’ll make me socks, and after the year we’ve had, I don’t have the heart to tell him.

It isn’t “almost” the best present ever. It’s there.

Merry Christmas. (Belatedly.)


Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knitting is a Luxury Hobby, But it Doesn’t Have to Be

Knitted Bliss - Thu, 12/27/2018 - 11:00

Most knitters I know (myself included!) have a huge yarn stash, usually B.L.E (Beyond Life Expectancy), and yet we buy more yarn all the time. Gorgeous hand dyed varieties, special fibers for whatever season, and sweater’s-worth quantities of yarn for knits that we are SO SURE we are going to knit and then somehow never

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

blogmas 2018 :: festive socks

Autumn Geisha - Mon, 12/24/2018 - 12:29

Hello friends! It’s been a whirlwind of a holiday season! I just have a few more presents to wrap and some cookies to bake for the cookie decorating party this evening. Can’t wait to put my feet up later tonight and start a new project for the little bobbins Christmas Eve cast on. Are you joining in? I’m still not sure what yarn or pattern I will be using but it most definitely will be a sock :) The festive sock knitting mojo has been strong this season and I managed to finish last year’s Christmas socks (yarn=turtle purl, pattern=mistletoe kisses) as well as a fun stripey one (yarn=Must Stash Yarn in the bumbles bounce colorway). I am also trying to squeeze in one more pair before Christmas morning arrives (yarn=rellana flotte socke in the Christmas colorway).

I hope that you all have a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate. Otherwise enjoy this beautiful time of the year with lots of your favorite cozy things!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Happy Holidays and a short break...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 22:04
Hello there loves! I wanted to pop in and wish you all the happiest of holidays, whatever you celebrate. Each year I look back and would not have been the same without you all. Thank you for hanging in there with me all these years. Your comments and lurking... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

A Few of My Favorite Things

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 12/23/2018 - 18:31
For the first time in many, many years, there's no last-minute Christmas knitting on my needles or to-do list. This is not just a relief, it's a gift — one that came early.

Real life has been so demanding and hectic, instead of striving to whip out a few final items, I decided to relax, enjoy knit decorations created for Christmases past, and put a moratorium on stress-inducing deadlines.

Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of projects in progress and more in the planning pipeline, but choosing to not go nuts trying to finish them in time for Christmas has been freeing.

Today, I have to visit the grocery store one last time, and finish decorating the house and tree. Once these tasks are completed, I plan to spend some time with a few of my favorite things: a relaxing knit worked in soft, luscious yarn, a glass of wine, and a full-blown marathon of Christmas films old and new. Doesn't that sound indulgent!?

To those of you who celebrate, Merry Christmas! And happy holidays to all! 

Categories: Knitting Feeds


Yarn Harlot - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 23:12

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

Susan Cooper

With profound thanks to Rams, our Lady of the Comments, who always knows the right poem for everything.

We are away, Joe and I, travelling with Katie, Carlos and the boys, trying to cement a new tradition or two, ones to replace all that fell away with my Mum’s untimely departure. I still struggle when events roll by that she was so central to, and Joe is right to try and fill those days up in other ways, and mercy but there is nothing like a trip with a three and six year old to fill up a day. Today is the solstice, one of my favourite days of the year. This day marks the return of the light, and I’m so glad it’s here,  the day was so short – the sun never got high in the sky at all, it was a very grey day, and even for a Northern people, it was hard on the heart.

Then, just as the sun was setting (at 4pm, I swear it) the sun started to peek through, and it was so beautiful, I took a million pictures, and tried to take that in, and use it to carry me through the next days. They won’t be easy ones, I think, but they’ve got to be better than last year.

When I’m done sending this to you I’m going to make our annual Charitable donations. Now is that time I feel, in the deepest, darkest moments, to reach out and do something nice for the world around me. It makes me feel like I’m part of the light returning, like it’s a gesture of gratitude for all I’ve been given over the last year, and the Karma can’t hurt. This year our money is going to The Bike Rally (I am chair this year, so clearly I’m all in on that one, I think it’s really important.) and Because I am a Girl.

Here’s to the return of the light my dear ones, and hold onto your hats. Winter’s here.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/21/2018 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles and Links This Week On effort (my thoughts exactly). Something to remember during the holiday season- no expects perfect, but a bit of effort can go a long way.  5 ways to make mornings more tolerable…. if you are not a morning person. Which I clearly am not.  Brilliant ideas for things

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Categories: Knitting Feeds


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