Knitting Feeds

Second verse, same as the first

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 01/05/2022 - 21:47

Happy New Year!

See how chipper that was? Fake it ’till you make it, that’s our motto around here. We’re starting the new year – not quite the way we’d hoped. First, on Sunday we decided to go skating. We went round and round a few times on the skate-path, and Elliot (in his own words) fell down “a thousandy hundred of times” always bouncing up cheerfully.

After a while the cold got to him (it really was pretty fierce) and I took him off the ice to start changing into boots and such, and Joe said he thought he’d take one more lap and off he went. Well, he was back about 5 minutes later, hat askew and looking pretty wild, and pointing desperately at his arm behind Elliie’s back and mouthing the word “broken”. He was right. He’d dodged a kid whipping past at a thousand kilometres an hour and something went wrong and unlike Elliot, he didn’t bounce. I drove him to the hospital straight from the park and he spent about 30 of the next 36 hours in hospital having first a procedure to try and straighten it out, and then finally a surgery when that didn’t work as well as it could have. Covid rules in place here mean that he was alone the whole time he was in hospital and that added a layer of anxiety for both of us, but on the upside he’s got a partly bionic arm now, with lots of fancy plates and screws and the surgeon assured him that it’s now one part of his body that can never break again.

Second, the province is back in a modified lockdown. It makes sense (though I sincerely think that if they’d acted a little sooner things wouldn’t be so bad) and now our gathering limit is five people indoors and ten outside, and restaurants, gyms and other businesses like that are closed again, and all others have capacity limits back in place, again. Worst of all, schools are closed again, and health care is too overwhelmed to treat anyone for anything but covid (I refuse to use a capital letter for that word any longer) pushing off other kinds of non-emergency treatments. It is craptastic in the extreme, and a demoralized fog has settled over the city as we all hunker down to try and relieve the stress on the system.

Personally, I am fighting back with mittens. It seems like a completely reasonable response to the state of things, and if I can only see my people outside, we’re all going to need them.

I am adding thrums because it’s freezing cold, and also I think that puffy mittens are uplifting and cheerful.* I know maybe other people are making better use of their lockdown by cleaning something, taking care of their taxes or learning another language, but while I’m knitting these mittens I find it very hard to believe there’s a more worthy endeavor.

*I have a feeling that I might not be the only one, so in the next few weeks I’m going to do a thrum-a-long over on the Patreon. If you can’t resist the urge to thrum, find more there. Also this is not my first obsession with thrumming, so the archives here can be your friend.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Passing the time

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 12/30/2021 - 19:08

Elliot’s picked up a phrase from one of us, he’ll snuggle up to me and say “Grammy, shall we read a book to pass the time?” or “Poppy, do you want to build a tower… to pass the time?” or “Auntie Banda, do you want to colour to pass the time?”

I love this idea he has of time – that every day we get up and we do things as time passes, and then we’re out of time for the day, but that’s cool because you have a tower, a book, a picture. He must think this way because one of us presented time like that, asked “what shall we do until it is time for the next thing to happen?” This fits too, since Ellie has only a limited concept of time in general – he’s still only four so benchmarks work better for him. He’s more likely to understand that something is happening after lunch than to grasp the concept of two hours. If you ask him what time it is he can tell you the numbers on the clock, but if you ask him what time something will happen he’ll say “3pm.” (We are all unclear on the significance of 3pm, but everything happens then.) If you inquire about how much longer until something happens he either tells you “a few minutes” if it’s soon or “Seventy twenty hundred” if it’s going to be a while. (These are not exact numbers. Sometimes soon is “seven minutes” and once in a while an event will not be going to occur for “nine and fifty years!”)

Last year at this time I decided on a year long project, a big theme to help pass the time. A long range goal, something that would carry me month to month with a sense of continuity and movement, no matter how weird the world around me got. My knitting serves a lot of purposes in my life, and I was comitted to working all the angles. I wanted it to be the perfect project for the year if restrictions lifted and I started travelling for work again (Oh, the innocence) and the perfect project for if – well I didn’t know what the year might bring so it was something that had to be really chipper. I decided it would be sock based, because I’ve always though that no matter what happens to you a knitting a pair of socks seems to work out fine – and since I thought this year would be the year of our rainbow baby (the baby born after pregnancy or infant loss) that a rainbow theme would be perfect.

It turns out that this wasn’t the year for our rainbow – and I almost lost my cool on this big project when that pregnancy was lost but it turns out that I was super clever when I picked it, because this kept feeling right, and hopeful and positive and like… Like things have just got to change eventually. Truly, it is hard to be down about your life and its direction if every project gets you one step closer to a rainbow colour-wheel of socks. Every pair not only passed the time, but felt a little bit like building something, and that felt pretty darn good for this knitter, even on this little scale.

I can’t tell you how satisfying it was to add another pair to the pile as the year wore on, I’d giggle as I laid a pair on the stack and while away some time deciding what colour was missing or what I should knit next.

When I was done, I took it apart and mailed it away in bits for Christmas gifts- and people I love are now wearing parts of my privately constructed rainbow on their feet as they all walk forward into next year and thinking of that makes me smile. I knit a walking rainbow. Take that, pandemic.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

The Inbetween

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 12/28/2021 - 21:36

I was reflecting this morning on the way things used to be, which I know isn’t a very helpful point of view for either the midst of a pandemic or the weird week between Christmas and New Years when nobody really knows what’s going on or what day it is anyway. It used to be that our family celebrated most of the 12 days of Christmas, and round about now I’d be organizing myself for my mum’s big party at her place, looking forward to seeing Tupp and Susan, and embracing how I’d come up with my share of appetizers for 50.

Needless to say the minute those thoughts entered my mind I shut that (*&^ down. Now is not the time – almost two years into a pandemic that’s breaking a lot of hearts at present – to get anything remotely resembling wistful. This is a time when you look straight ahead my poppets, so the minute that I felt my spirits start to fall into what my dear friend Judith would call “a decline” I drank a big glass of water, changed into my running stuff and headed out for a cold, fierce run. Two things about this, first – to the knitter who recognized me on the street as I was hitting the 3.5km mark – I apologize for not being far more personable and for not telling you that your festive red, white and green scarf was very pretty. It was- and I thought that and several nice things in the moment, but in my defence I was barely clinging to life and oxygen, so know that whatever it was that I gasped at you was a poor outward reflection of my inward feelings, but there is really only so much that a knitter in her 50’s is capable of saying at that point. Second – “Come and get your love” may be one of the greatest running tracks ever.

We are out the other side of Christmas here – our current version being only one day, and it was very nice. I am not going to even go to the place where I say that it was “nice for a pandemic version” or “nice considering what the restrictions and risks will allow” nor will I tell you that we just about set fire to brunch because the right people weren’t here to do the right jobs, and that there are few pictures because the rhythm of the thing was all funny. At this point, please take it as read that we desperately miss the folks we can’t see right now, and that all our versions of things this year were scaled down, but we’ve decided to focus on what we’ve got, rather than what we don’t, because most of us don’t run, or at least not enough to deal with those feelings.

Instead we found a lot of happiness in the things we were able to do- a teeny tiny version of our gingerbread party, just enough to make memories for Elliot,

Tree trimming at Auntie Banda’s house after she joined our bubble,

A lovely quiet Christmas Eve.

We moved our traditional Christmas brunch outside so we could welcome Ken (we have a patio heater we bought to make this a little more realistic and we’d like to thank the Toronto weather for being mild) and knitted twinkly stars made it cheerful,

Elliot was everything else we needed to be happy (every time he opened a gift, big or small, he said “I’ve been wanting this for YEARS!”) and our Christmas dinner was sweet and small and we all fit around the table this year, and we pulled our crackers and wore our paper crowns which was really rather thrilling for Elliot, since he has been trying to have the Christmas crackers on every table we set for a month.

I took a particular pleasure this year in presents mailed far and near – especially all the Starry Lights (rav link) – just about everyone that got one sent me a picture of where they’d placed it, and I loved that. (It is worth noting here that I knit nine. NINE of them, and I am not sure I am done. Say what you want about me, but I really know how to get on an obsession.)

Sea Ink (rav link) was finished in time to be mailed north – it was a glorious knit. I used Eco+ in black (never again, lace in black, never again) and the finished project is HUGE and fantastic and I have no doubt that when the box was opened, and the thing wound round the recipient, that it worked just the way knitted things are meant to.

Like mailed love. Hang in there petals – love the ones you’re with.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/17/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week some tips and tricks to navigate the winter blues. 12 tips for how to end a conversation. How to figure out your most productive hours of the day. on navigating the holidays after a loss. A brilliant, unforgettable long read on performing happiness as a mother when you have a

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Hold hands when you cross the road

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 21:58

I’m sitting here at my little desk trying to figure out what to write. I promised myself I would. I put it on a to-do list and that means I definitely have to, but absolutely nothing of any interest has happened in the last few days, with three exceptions, so I think I will tell you about those.

  1. Despite the incredulous tone some of you took in the comments I still think that this Christmas knitting plan borders on the possible, and there’s even visible progress.

I admit the progress is a little easier to see if you’re either here or supernaturally interested – but I am both so it’s clear to me. First, the shawl is bigger, and I had to start the second ball of yarn which is pretty exciting. There are just 36 rows to go, although they are ever increasing, but let’s leave that bit out because it competes with the optimism. The hat’s gone, that’s because it’s done. The advent socks have six stripes on each and it’s the 6th of December, so can’t hope for better. Last time there were four skeins of sock yarn that were just skeins and now I’ve got a cast on, a cuff and one sock knit to the heel, that’s much better, loads of positivity there. Elliot’s sweater is several centimetres longer – almost at the hem, and then I’ll be on sleeve island for a while but honestly, he’s four. His arms are shrimpy. The Starry Light (rav link) is gone and there’s a new string of lights there – but it’s even better than that, one whole other star was knit in the interval. (That’s three I’ve knit. I told you I don’t know how this ends, I find them really, really compelling.)

2. Elliot and I made a whole bunch of other Christmas presents together, and that’s a big green square on the spreadsheet. I am thinking about making it a neon green because anything you convince a four year old to do should be something you get extra points for. Also, if anyone knows how to get wax out of a carpet I’d be into hearing about it. (I tried an iron and paper towel but frankly, it’s a lot of wax.

3. Finally, I read all the comments on the last post as they came in, and it was not at all what I expected. I don’t know what I expected you to say, and I’m not sure there’s a nice way to say this, but I’m so glad so many of you are struggling the way I am. That doesn’t sound right of course, I’m so sorry that things are hard all over, but these last months have been so ridiculously trying that hearing other people say that they’re tired, and sad and sick of it, and thought it would be over and aren’t emotionally prepared for the pandemic version of another stinking holiday is wildly reassuring. If we all feel this way, it must mean there’s some sort of normalcy in the reaction, if not the circumstances. It feels good to be in it together, to know that as always, the blog gets it and that we can all just go forward together, imperfect beings that we are.

PS. I am serious about the wax in the carpet thing.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Some Thoughts After my First Craft Show

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 12/06/2021 - 11:00

And the winner of the Wardrobe Embroidery book is….. Colleen!! Congratulations Colleen!! Keep an eye out for an email from me to day to get the details for where to send your copy. This past weekend I did my first craft show as Knitted Bliss Stitching at the Craftadian craft show in Hamilton, and I

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Stage Set

Yarn Harlot - Sat, 12/04/2021 - 17:36

Traditionally, one of my best things is Christmas. I practically make a hobby out of it every year and you’d think that this year would be no exception, but I am not really feeling it just yet. Last year I think I leaned really hard into the whole Covid holiday theme, really busted a move trying to make everything as good as it could be even though we couldn’t gather. I dropped off gingerbread to everyone who usually comes to the Gingerbread Party so we could do it over Zoom – we had backyard visits and distanced everything and I mailed cards and ornaments to feel close to people we couldn’t see and it wasn’t the way things should be, but it was a strange and terrible year, so it felt like I met expectations because frankly, nobody had any.

This year I thought about doing all those things but when I imagine spearheading the whole thing I just feel… exhausted. Anyone else? When I think about finding creative and novel ways to show people I love them when I can’t be with them… I am just so tired. All of this is compounded by the way that some people can gather more than we’re able to – so dropping of the kit for a virtual party when they’re on their way to a (very small) in-person one feels silly. I’m really super grateful that (so far screw you Omicron) we can gather more than we were able to last year. There will be one or two more people around our table and I’m working towards celebrating that as much as I can. To that end, I decided to shift into high gear and fake it until I make it.

The tree is up, I’m working the spreadsheet and making reindeer themed pancakes and going for walks to count the Christmas lights and today I gathered up everything I intend to knit before Christmas to try and scare myself into the festive spirit.

It is a big pile and perhaps the spirit of Christmas dwells within me yet because I look at that pile and I feel hope.

In that pile: A few twinkle stars (this number may grow. I am oddly obsessed and can’t predict where it ends.) A sweater for Ellie that’s about a third done, my advent socks (I got the 24 stripe set from The Cozy Knitter). Four pairs of large men’s socks, none started. One hat, almost done, and a super large Sea Ink. (Rav link) That behemoth is about halfway done.

Oddly, looking at that pile, I am unconcerned. I don’t know whether it’s because I feel like I have loads of time, or because a few of those pairs of socks are optional – kinda, or if it’s because it doesn’t quite feel like Christmas yet.

I’m going to buckle down and get to knitting in earnest and see if that makes me feel a lot more festive. Nothing like a Christmas deadline to get your bells jingling. How about you? Anything making this second Covid Christmas feel great to you? I’m open to suggestions.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 12/03/2021 - 15:52

My Favourite Articles This Week How to remember someone’s name. A brilliant idea for staying connected with friends- a gratitude group chat. Not all accidents are bad. The 4 magic words to get helpful information from others. Light from within. My Favourite Links This Week I’m not someone who eats low carb on purpose, but

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

If this even works

Yarn Harlot - Thu, 12/02/2021 - 22:08

If this works, it will be a minor miracle. If it works I’m almost positive it won’t look right, or that a few things will be wonky so if they are, know that it is wondrous and spectacular that I have managed to come up with something wonky and a little off at all.

While I’ve been gone this time, the blog and my email moved to a new server, and it’s been a smidge traumatic as the blog disappeared and reappeared and my ability to email went with it. There was one particularly horrific evening as the entirety of everything went up in smoke with a hint of worry about the situation with my backups. (To be clear, I had them – I just had the timing on them set up funny thanks to a really strange conversation with a tech guy I had a few years ago where it is clear in retrospect that one of us had no idea what was going on. I’m not sure which of it is is, so I henceforth I hold both of us blameless.) It looked for a few hours like I might not get the blog back – all almost 18 years of it and I was pretty freakin’ distraught. (It is worth noting that I had no such feelings about the horrific backlog of emails in my inbox and yay verily did wish for a little while that it would all be gone and I’d get some sort of start at a fresh life.)

Happily for the Blog (and sadly for my inbox) everything worked out properly, and here we are, though “here” is very different all of a sudden. Due to some deficits in my character that make me slow to adapt and reluctant to change things that are working, I have been editing these posts and sending them to you using software that was completely geriatric. The kind of software that when you call the server migration team and tell them what you are using, there’s a low whistle of awe. The exact kind of awe and shock you’d expect if they’d just witnessed a large and extinct bird swoop over their desk and land on the coffee machine before pooping right on the router.

The person in question, when they had regained their composure you understand actually said “You don’t say… ” and then trailed off rather helplessly. This is all a long way around saying that I am sitting here typing and nothing is where I left it. Pargraph? I have to press a button to get a paragraph? What’s wrong with hitting return twice? (Trust me do not do that. I’ll have to do some sort of tutuorial to find out why.) This all makes me suspicious that when I hit post (oh, wait. I have to find that button) I will get a surprising result, but what the hell Knitters, we have got to start somewhere with new things, and I guess today is it.

So, here we go. I finished some socks! These are Woodland Walk (that should be a link, if the godesses deem me worthy) and the yarn is… gosh I wish I knew. Well aged stash to be sure, and short one little ball band. If anyone recognizes it, let me know. (Right, now I’m going to try and post a picture. I personally don’t have high hopes, it’s taken a while to get this far.)

I think it is huge. Is it huge? How do you make it smaller? I’m ten minutes trying to make it smaller and I think it’s still huge. Bother it all, here’s another one. I think that one’s even bigger.

Well. Whatever. They’re great socks. I’m going to go have a knit. I really hate new things.

(PS. You don’t hit “post” anymore. Now it’s “publish”. We’ll see.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Review and Giveaway: Wardrobe Embroidery

Knitted Bliss - Tue, 11/30/2021 - 15:54

I’ve been a big fan of Warunee Bolstad for a little while now- her stunning embroidery on knitwear is so inspiring, and at the same time feels accessible. So I was squeaky with excitement when the publisher of her book reached out about doing a review! This is Warunee Bolstad’s book, Wardrobe Embroidery – Knit

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 11/19/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week 6 reasons why making art is good for you. This is such a wonderful idea, I really hope it happens quickly- creating a sanctuary for overfished species in the pacific ocean. Gardening for climate resistance. The joy of rediscovering people’s homes. How to clean your phone, computer, and every other

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Not Deleted

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 11/16/2021 - 19:13

Well, hell.  So much for posting more regularly.  To be fair to myself, I did write far more regularly, I just didn’t hit “post” on all of them, I’ve developed a terrible habit of second guessing myself. I think it’s a pandemic byproduct and possibly the consequence of only wearing soft pants now.  So much of my time is still spent kicking around the house alone that it’s like I’m out of practice when it comes to communicating.  I honestly can’t wait for the vaccines to come along for kids Elliot’s age, though for sure it won’t be this year and another long quiet winter stretches out in front of me like some depressingly slow marathon I’ve got to get through. Honk if you never would have thought that a pandemic took this long.

That’s what a bunch of the posts were about, the ones I didn’t send you.  One particularly whiny one about all my American friends gathering without me (the border was still closed at the time so it was out of the question.  It’s open now, but you’ve got to do a really expensive molecular test to get back into Canada if you leave, and though I’m vaccinated and unlikely to get sick, the consequences of testing positive at the border coming home are disastrous.  While I can sort of romanticize a two week hotel quarantine in the US as a fantastic knitting opportunity, the reality would be considerably less cool.) There was another one about cancelling other trips, one about canning the gingerbread party or trying to figure out a way to move it outdoors.  (We still have a gathering limit here – and all the kids remain unvaccinated, of course.)  I wrote a whopper about Christmas. I don’t need to tell you what any of them said – you can assume they all ran along the lines of “I would like my previous life back please” though considerably less politely phrased.*

That said, all this time whinging around the house is good for knitting production, and in the month of October I just pounded out the knitwear. Ready for a roundup? Here’s everything I finished. First, it was Socktober after all, and I managed three pairs – all headed for the Long Range Planning box (which is really rather short range now, but let’s think about that another day, shall we?)

These are Verbena, in a vintage skein of Dream in Color Everlasting. One drawback of a well aged stash is that this skein of lovely stuff is discontinued now, which is a real shame because it was great sock yarn. Just terrific.  The colour (sadly, also now discontinued) is Victoria.

These beauties are Rumpelstiltskin,  and the yarn was Drops Fabel in Turquoise.

Photographed in the most perfect setting ever – though my arse just about froze to a rock while Meg took the pictures.

(This was a deleted post as well – we took off for a few days North as a consolation prize for Rhinebeck and Joe’s birthday. We had a bit of hiking and snow and Meg and I got to go to IndigoDragonfly and… I forget why I deleted that. These are strange times.)

The third pair was another vintage skein, and I always feel bad when I pull these out and use them because I know that it’s sort of unfair to show you pretty things and then have them turn out to be like unobtainium,  but it turns out that this is pretty frequently available.  The pattern is nothing fancy, just my plain regular sock pattern, but the yarn is from Must Stash, and is part of their Galactic battle series. This one’s Stardust, inspired by Rogue One’s Jyn Erso. (Right now they have their holiday collection up- but this this colourway will be back.)

(This was another deleted post – one about how much I miss shopping for American yarn.  I used to buy it when I visited and now it’s been so long. I’d order it online but I made that mistake at the beginning of the pandemic and the duties and import fees doubled the price of the whole shebang.  I deleted it because I in no way am running short on American yarn and deserve no pity. I have at least 15 skeins of Must Stash yarn and am absolutely in no crisis. I just… miss it, which is super dumb because I can visit it upstairs anytime I want. Also- there’s no shortage of fantastic Canadian dyers in the meantime and goodness knows I’ve shopped.)

Finally, last but certainly not least – Ken’s sweater is done and I’m pretty sure he’s wearing it every single day. (I deleted a post about this too – something about missing hugging and spending real time with my friends- but I realized this sweater is pretty close to a hug and it’s not like I haven’t had a few over the last year when some people are still totally separated from their families, so that’s gone too. I’ll take what I can get.)

I’m completely pleased with how this sweater turned out.  I used two strands of Holst Garn Supersoft Uld held together – the colour is “Ember”.  I love this yarn, and I think it’s really often overlooked – it’s called supersoft, but in the ball it is anything but. It’s scratchy and stiff and contains spinning oils and the name seems like a joke until you give it a wash and it blooms and turns into this gorgeous fabric.  I think Ken was concerned that I considered it a next-to-the-skin yarn when I bought it, but he’s convinced now.

The pattern is Oshima for him, though I really think that the only difference between it and Oshima (presumably for her?) is a cowl collar and a different size range. (Oshima goes from 34-54″ chests, and Oshima for him is 40-59″)

It’s got a lot of fiddly details, like tubular cast ons and bind offs, and tricksy brioche increases and decreases but I ask you – If a tubular cast on doesn’t say love, what the hell does, and it’s completely worth it for Ken. I love him to bits, but the way he loves hand knits makes him the perfect recipient every, single, time.

That’s it for now, but I promise not to delete the next post which has very much to do with the fact that I managed to put together that it’s only 39 days until Christmas.

Who knew?

*BTW, It’s worth noting here, before it erupts, there are vivid cultural/country differences in the approach to COVID, as well with personal and familial differences in risk tolerance, and all of these add up to a lot of ways that people can behave right now and still be doing the right thing for them or where they live.  It is remarkable to note for example- that while it’s estimated that more than 40% of Americans have had the virus, only 4% of Canadians have. Without wanting to debate our approaches, I bet we can agree that’s evidence of a big cultural gap.  Similarly, many families/people I know who have no contact with kids or high risk adults are living lives a lot more normal than those of us who have family responsibilities to those vulnerable others. It is remarkable to me that at the beginning of the pandemic you were a jerk if you weren’t restricting enough, and now some people are angry if you haven’t loosened up in a way that reflects their risk threshold rather than yours. If I see someone taking risks I wouldn’t,  I assume that risk doesn’t have the same consequences in their life or family that it would in mine.  

PS. There’s something up with the software I use to control spam comments, it’s making me manually approve everything. Please trust that you’re not being moderated (except to make sure you’re human) and I’m working on it! If your comment doesn’t show up right away, it’s not you, you’re just fine. You’re perfect.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 11/12/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week These icebergs are floating art. How to use your brain’s delete button. These status and tributes to dogs around the world are so sweet. On friendship with older women. How to be the guest that gets invited to every dinner. My Favourite Links This Week A veggie-filled weeknight supper is

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/29/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week A very interesting idea- how the ballpoint pen killed cursive. The art of not taking things personally. It’s true, the more you practice this, the happier you are. I love whimsy, and these office object dioramas completely charmed me. 3 questions to ask to start your day on a positive

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Super Quick Knitted Mini Pumpkins – Free Pattern!

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/22/2021 - 11:00

These are extremely quick- and easy!- knitted pumpkins that you can easily knit in an easily make in a couple of hours.  I was aiming to design a knitting pattern that would be great for stashbusting AND be very easy/beginner-friendly, and I think I got exactly what I was aiming for.  You can use fingering

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Just do it

Yarn Harlot - Mon, 10/18/2021 - 22:39

Lately, I have taken to working occasionally from the what’s become my “upstairs office” which is – well. It’s my bed. In the first autumn of the pandemic something in me snapped and for the life of me I suddenly couldn’t figure out why Joe and I were sleeping on a tiny crappy mattress that was more than twenty years old.  The thing was second hand when it was new to us, and it was way, way past its best before date. It was too small too – when Elliot was with us it just meant he kicked us all night, and I guess I’d really come to hate that bed a lot, but somehow back when we travelled a lot I got breaks from it and didn’t mind it so much.  Cue the lockdown(s) and suddenly it became the focus of everything that was wrong in the world. Everything. Covid? No, I can handle that. Living in the city with the longest lockdown in the world? No, I am not upset about that in the least. Being separated from my loved ones, friends and career and yarn stores? No, none of that is a problem, it was just the STUPID BED.

I finally ordered a new one, sight unseen. I had a conversation with a nice lady named Dory at a bed store and I just bought what she suggested, which was some hybrid blah blah, king size and I had her ship it here.  A friend asked if it wasn’t kind of strange to buy a bed without even lying in it first, but all the shops were closed on account of the lockdown, I’d snapped and – as I told the friend, the great thing about sleeping in a really, really terrible bed for a really, really long time is that truthfully, any bed that Dory sent over here was going to be such an upgrade it didn’t matter much. Before the bed came, I scrubbed every inch of the bedroom, repainted, got new curtains, new sheets, and a new duvet. I even bought a lamp. It was time and I love it. The bed, the room, the everything. Our bedroom is one of the brightest rooms in the whole house, and with Joe still working from home its often one of the quietest, and now that my entire life is lived in stretchy pants and wool slippers, it makes total sense to have a bed-office. (It also doesn’t help that I’ve filled my actual office with the setup for filming the Patreon. At least up here I don’t have to worry about knocking over the weird card-table-tripod setup I’ve got going on down there.)

So, here I sit, with an awesome cup of tea (recently have become addicted to Monarch Tea Company’s Cream Earl Grey) and I’ve brought up my knitting, and as soon as I’m done writing this I am definitely not working on this sock until I have finished Ken’s sweater.

Yarn is the precious and heartbreakingly discontinued Dream in Color Everlasting  in Victoria. (Dream in color still makes great yarn, just not this one.) and the pattern is Verbena Socks.  It’s great fun, and I’m even enjoying the colour, and you can write that down somewhere – that I was grooving on a purple yarn, because knitters it is most definitely not my favourite colour. I wonder if it’s partly because for some terrible reason, I have developed an aversion to knitting on Ken’s sweater, for no good reason, I might add.  I love the yarn, it’s a good pattern and I’m so close to finishing it should be all I want to work on. I think I’ve only got about 12 more rows of brioche to do on the back of the thing and then all it needs is a bath and a bit of assembly and a neckband.

This, I think we can all agree – is not much.  Yeah verily it is very little, and I can’t tell you why every single time I pick it up it just seems like a slog. I’ll knit two rows and then find myself thinking things like “Goodness me, I shouldn’t be knitting this! Look at that sock. It’s far more urgent” and then off I go to knit… well, anything else, really. It makes no sense, but has been good for getting other things done around here, because it turns out I’d rather do anything at all than finish this – even clean. Somehow, I’ve put it on the list of things I will do immediately once everything else is done and naturally everything else is never going to be done, especially if I keep starting things, which I am absolutely doing.

So, here it stops, today.  I’m not knitting anything else until this is in the bath. If nothing else, it’s started glaring at me, and I can feel it looking at me with judgement. Once inanimate objects start taking on a personality it’s past time to get them out the door.

This ends today, sweater.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Loves: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week This history of canned food is pretty fascinating! As someone who just went apple picking with the kids, this was a very interesting read. 7 qualities of a healthy friendship, even as relationships change. Just a lovely scroll through some mind-blowingly beautiful trees. There should be a guy (or a

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

At least that box is sorted

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 10/15/2021 - 01:13

We had a very nice Thanksgiving here this year, a few more faces than last year, though still really tiny and covid-cautious. We still have gathering limits here- 25 people is as many as can gather indoors at home, and we’re still playing it cool until all of us are protected. Hopefully kids can be vaccinated in the new year, and then we’ll joyously return to having as many people for Thanksgiving as will fit in this house, but until that day, we’re doing the best we can to make things nice while we do our best to keep each other safe and keep driving the caseload down so schools can stay open.

We had mountains of food (turns out I’m terrible at figuring out how to do Thanksgiving dinner for just 8 of us) and I made an extra effort setting the table, and we used my Mum’s good china and my Grammy’s silver, and it really was very beautiful. (Elliot and I made turkey cookies and we felt like that was pretty epic too.)

Also Meg finished her very first grown-up size sweater (she knit a wee plain one for Ellie to practice.) For her birthday this year she wanted a sweater – but the some assembly required kind.  Happy to enable, I bought the yarn and needles and we chose the pattern together. The yarn’s Holst Garn Supersoft in Truffle (From Wet Coast Wools, I miss getting to that shop) and the pattern’s Jakers.

I couldn’t be more proud – she’s become such a good knitter. Meg’s work’s so tidy, and she takes real care. I’d like to believe that this comes from her having such a good teacher as a wee one, but mostly it’s that she rips her mistakes back quite cheerfully – the yoke of that sweater was very good knitting value. I think she got to use the yarn at least three times.

It was all pretty perfect – or Covid-perfect and so what I did shouldn’t be a surprise, as I’m the resident klutz. As Amanda turned to take the carrots to the table – the very last dish to be taken, after two solid days of cooking flawlessly, I looked at those carrots and thought to myself that they could be a little more perfect if they had a little parsley on them, and so I turned to the cutting board, laid a little parsley there, and then proceeded to take a run at lopping the end of my finger off and once again establishing the purpose of fingernails and the dangers of the garnish station.

Thanks to that fingernail, I just gave myself a decent nick in exactly a spot that is vital for comfortable knitting and typing and thus seriously upset my lifestyle applecart. This tragic injury has meant that knitting’s been largely impossible but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. When I’m not picking yarn out of my bandaid I’ve been starting the autumn version of the Tossing of the Stash. The whole thing’s getting turned out of every box, bin, bag and cupboard in the house, examined, given a shake, all the shelves and bins and boxes vacuumed and then everything put back in a tidy and orderly fashion. I do this twice a year, since prevention is the best medicine and yarn loving pests are most active in the spring and fall. It’s also a great idea for me to visit the stash right before I start the holiday yarn buying spree – it usually turns out that need less than I think.

My finger’s already feeling lots better, and I think I’ll be able to take the bandaid off and knit more in the next few days – but while I’m on hiatus and Thanksgiving’s still on my mind, I figured a round of Karmic Balancing Gifts was in order! (Apologies for it taking so long for me to get to it. I can’t explain the passage of time right now but it’s really not working properly.)  Here’s round one, with more to come.  (By the way, in case you were wondering, Cameron, Ken and Stephanie (me) are registered for next year’s Rally.  Pato has to see about the time off.) I’ve sent emails to all the lucky recipients, so if you see your name here, check your inbox!

Kicking things off – Michele at Three Bags Full Studio has this lovely bag that will be making its way to Catriona. (Michele has fantastic bags and will be at Rhinebeck this year – pop in a buy one on my behalf, if you’re going, won’t you?)

Mika has just the loveliest gift – she makes custom dolls at Stitches and Thyme– from 100% OEKO-TEX certified cotton and stuffed with OEKO-TEX certified wool.  The dolls are approximately 11 inches tall from the tips of their toes to the top of their heads.

The best part – she’ll be working with Susan R to design the perfect doll for them. (Her dolls are suitable for gentle play for children 3+. The clothes are removable and may include small parts.)

Nadine is very generous and has beautiful gifts, right from her very own stash, donating four 100g skeins of Merino Lace by Skacel.  Each skein is 1375yds.  Also, one 100g skein of FA RE Baruffa, 1460yds, each one is big enough for a shawl and will find new homes with Amy Y, Jennifer K, Kathleen P, Leslie C and Grentchen F. (We’ll let them figure out who gets what by email, but they’re all pretty lucky.

Linda found these two lovely gifts. This set of six mini-skeins by The Yarns of Richard deVrieze will be headed to the very lucky Penelope P.

And these two vintage skeins of STR in Rosebud will be heading to Lynn T. Thank you Linda!

Sue owns the Log Cabin Fiber Co here in Ontario and she’s got a sock set in her new colourway Qyrgesdot – Hoarder of Gold.

That will be heading to Kathleen C – and thankfully I ordered my own before showing you this webpage. Gorgeous. (Look at the pumpkin sets, so stinking cute.)

Susan went into her stash and somehow figured out how to part with this  – a gradient set by Yoth Yarns, fingering weight, “Little Brother”.

Susan must be one of the nicest people alive, because she’s sending that beauty to Eileen M.

Once upon a time Tasha had a plan to knit a Stephen West shawl with this set of 2 skeins of Sanguine Gryphon Skinny Bugga. The colours are Blue Morpho and Bess Beetle, and she did knit that shawl, but in other colours, so these are on their way to Jo-Anne D.

Tasha said in her email that she feels like a helpful little elf, and that’s because she is!

Look at this beauty!

Liz at Crystal Cat Stitchery has this gorgeous bag for Emma L. It’s a large sized oval shaped tote bag that will hold 600g of yarn, with lovely leather handles and two zip pockets for notions. (And I think I want one. It looks like a perfect beach knitting bag.)

Elizabeth has bunnies. Bunnies like this – little English Angoras.

Related to that, she has four generous and beautiful gifts – all from her own two hands.

GrayYarn — squishy handspun yarn headed to Bri B – mixed breed gray wool with a bit of English angora rabbit fiber.   Approximately 100 yds/90 m, 99 grams/ 3.5 oz.  A little bit of thick-and-thin, maybe the average weight is a bit more than DK but not quite worsted. Blue-ishYarn — thick and fuzzy handspun yarn for Kate D a mix of Wensleydale, blue-faced Leicester, and little bit of mohair.  The roving was from Maggie’s Farmin Brookfield, NY.  Handwash only (or felt).  Approximately 90 yds/85 m, 110 grams/ 3.9 oz.  A little bit of thick-and-thin, maybe average weight is worsted. For Patricia E.  1 oz of angora rabbit fiber from “blue” (gray-bluish) English angora rabbits raised by Elizabeth in upstate NY.  Almost no vegetable matter.  The fiber strands are not solid blue, but have bands of blue and creamy white and some fibers are dark (some of the rabbits are “ticked” with black fibers).  Buns in service: Penelope, Frederick Remington Wentworth W. The First and Last, and Ferdie. BlueHarlequinAngora for Jocelyn A 1 oz of angora rabbit fiber from two “blue harlequin” (tan/gray) English angora rabbits raised by Elizabeth in upstate NY.  Small amounts of hay. These rabbits have patches of tan and patches of blue (gray) fur on their bodies, the fiber seems mostly cream-colored when loose and spun up.  Buns in service: Marienne, MadgeLynne.

Stephanie at Dirty Water Dyeworks (longtime friend of the show – hello Steph!) has a lovely gift for Ruth T  who will be choosing her colour combo of this lovely Mini Multi Bundle.  (Those bundles are perfect for a Tool Box Cowl, which is what I made with mine.)

Lenny’s a designer and is kind enough to offer gifts of two of her patterns, and they’re lovely ones. Tammy and Karen L will be getting Finial:

and Claudia W  and Linda L I bet you know someone who loves cats, because you’re getting the Kitten Cat Mittens (and they would make a great Christmas present.)  Thank you Lenny!

Whew! That’s the first lot. Stand by for more. (Actually, sit by. Easier to knit that way.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Link Loves: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 10/08/2021 - 11:00

My Favourite Articles This Week How jigsaws can improve the quality of your life. Well, good reasons to do more puzzles! Strange questions professionals have been asked. I loved this list, it was so compelling. Loved this reminder- the biggest impact you can make on your home decor? Not letting so much stuff in. 3

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Well, that didn’t last

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 10/05/2021 - 21:25

As predicted, the cleaning and organizing bug didn’t last and worse, ran out midway on a project or two which are now a slog, and a slog I need resolved fast, since this weekend is Thanksgiving and Christmas is coming, and…  our gathering will be still be very tiny, but there will indeed be a few people in the house and I’m aiming to have things as lovely as they can be. (You wait and see what kind of hum-dinger of a holiday we’re throwing when this thing finally rolls over.)

It makes total sense then, that as the pressure comes on and I should be making a grocery list and planning how the parsnips will be and deciding about cranberry sauce, that I completely abandoned all that and finished a shawl.

Pattern and yarn are from the Gauge Dye Works Summer club. I don’t belong to many anymore, but that one always turns my crank. No matter what they send I always adore it. The colours are pretty indeed, and the yarn’s mostly merino with a little cashmere, just to ice the cake. It was a pleasure, and fun and easy too. I mostly knit it while being interrupted by Ellie every few minutes, so that was much appreciated.  It’s a small-ish shawl.

I find the really tiny ones hard to find a use for – but this is just big enough to be useful without being unwieldy. The larger ones I might use for a layer, draped over my shoulders in a fairly classic fashion, but that was in the before-times when I went knitterly places. (Or, um… places.)  Shawls this size I wear like a scarf, piling and winding it round my neck as caulking against the cold. Or, that’s how I would wear it if it were for me, which it isn’t.  This one will go in the post a little closer to Christmas, which makes me feel a little bit like I’m planning for a future instead of just knitting.

With the rest of today I’m finishing a video for the Patreon, and then tomorrow I am going to alter the time space continuum, and finish another video, clean the whole house, sort the groceries, and I’m thinking I’ll finish a pair of socks that currently look like this.

I’m sure it will be a snap, and I won’t regret the shawl at all.

Categories: Knitting Feeds


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