Tuesday, December 30, 2008

It's too weird for words

In November Bess told me that the latest period of my life had been happy, but that it was over. The very next week her words came true when Amy told me that my job with Make One would end with 2008. Today was my last day as an M1 employee (tho let me clarify that M1 is not closing, it is simply for sale due to Amy's new job in Toronto).

It was the strangest thing when the clock struck 7, and I was done there.

At the end of this week I'll start my new job at the Knitting Room; I am so grateful that I have it, and I'm really looking forward to new challenges, new products, new people.

But man.. how weird.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

8 Hours and 48 Minutes

Rock Band2
Originally uploaded by spinknit

That's how long Mug and BFML played Rock Band yesterday. This picture was taken.. today.

The Hagstrom you see in the background is real. I think it makes the picture quite humorous. Fake drums, and a real guitar.

I need a nap.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Man bashing on Ravelry

I was just reading a random Ravelry post that started out as a pattern request, and ended in a multi page diatribe regarding how stupid men are... and it just made me wonder what the heck people think when they are typing. It's not whispering into the ear of a confidant, it's whispering into the ears of 250,000 crafts-people, many of whom are, in fact, men.

If the posts were by men, about their stupid wives.. well, I don't believe it would have gone so far. Nor should it have.

So, I just wanted to whisper into the ears of 250,000 (ok.. that might have been stretching the truth a little) that my man is the very best one, and I really, really appreciate him. He made me a wonderful, thoughtful Christmas which included getting a beautiful tree, buying me yarn that was so fabulous that I wouldn't buy it for myself, surprising me with gifts that I had mentioned loving, taking care of the kids and even cooking Christmas dinner while I was working. He's learning how to knit, and bought enough alpaca to make me a awesome scarf.

Now, that is one thoughtful human being, and I'm lucky he's my partner.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

The very best part...

The little ones make Christmas so special.. and we were so glad to have Nini here for a little while. She had a lot of fun playing the Wii, and the dogs aren't scaring her as badly as they were at Thanksgiving. Make sure you watch until the end, where there is some really excellent fake laughter (and me, really laughing, in the background).

Overall, we had a great day and everyone was truly spoiled. I'm really glad we delayed Christmas dinner until tomorrow, because, frankly, I'm too tired to enjoy it.

Donna loaned me her Majacraft Rose to spin on over the holidays, and I'm in some kind of heaven. We're a good pair, that wheel and I.

God bless you all, and I hope that you have a most wonderful Christmas season.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Who I am

Is a spinner who knits.

There have been times in my life when I thought I was a writer, or a painter, or a potter.. though all the while I was a knitter without passion. It was when I discovered fine yarns, and frankly, competitive knitting, that finally the fire was lit. That could make me a knitter who paints, or a knitter who sews, or many other knitterly combinations.

However, none are accurate.

It was when Amy taught me how to use a drop spindle that I started to feel my destiny click into place. A bit dramatic, yes.. but true. I spun endlessly, not really understanding where the passion came from, but embracing it totally. Some time later, my nearly 80-year old aunt told me that she'd always been a spinner too, and that my nan had also spun. Things made sense. We're spinners.

I dreamed of spindles... and came up with an imaginary collection that seemed perfection.

Tabacheck lace spindles, in Ash
Tabacheck Tibetan supported spindle in Canary Wood
Apricot Bosworth Midi
Yew Avi Wasserman, .75 oz
Canary Cascade Tiger
Greensleeves Mjolinor in Redwood Burl
Cedar Kundert

And a Golding.

When we went to Rhinebeck, my plan was to buy a Golding, a Bosworth, and an Avi Wasserman. Nothing else, you understand... just those three things. I found the Avi Wasserman first and the Bosworth last. Sherry and I stopped at Golding and I found myself overwhelmed. I test spun quite a few spindles, and decided, finally, on an Antiqued Rosette in Walnut. Approximately 1 oz, it would spin the weight I feel most comfortable with, and would complete my collection. It spun true, and was a thing of beauty; yet at the very last moment I exchanged it for a large, vintage spindle with birds on its silver rim. Lovely.

But I couldn't spin it. It was all over the place; uncontrollable, and on it's way back to Golding.

Somehow, today, thanks to the kindness of my friends, I have two. My friend Stacey offered to trade hers for fiber. It's a larger spindle, a mahogany colour with a walnut shaft. The two of us are still resolving our relationship, and it needs a trip to Bessthespinner to spin true; but we're a bonded, and I know that we'll come to terms. I love it.

The Rosette? On Friday it made its way to me, via a much loved and treasured friend. She said when the spindle arrived at her house she looked at it and felt as though it was mine. She had the grace to give it to me for Christmas. It is the exact spindle I held in my hands at Rhinebeck..

I feel as though her instincts were correct, and that the spindle had found its way home. I know that sounds crazy.. but it's not the first crazy thing I've believed, and I'm sure it won't be the last.

Yesterday the two of us (the Rosette and I, that is!) sat in the kitchen in the night and spun 5 grams of Qivuit. Doesn't sound like much, I know, but that is 5 grams of cobweb weight; more yards than I can count. The spindle flew.... I've never seen one revolve so long or so true. It was like magic.

I couldn't be happier, or more grateful. I am a spinner who knits.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Super bulky felted mittens

A customer came into the store the other day wearing Malabrigo Aquarella mittens that she had designed with a stripe (to utilize excess Aquarella that she had in her stash). I loved the mittens, and the yarn.. and since there were a few skeins available at the store, I created my version of the pattern. I've been knitting so many Christmas mittens that I can do them in my sleep.

Just in case you have cold hands, or you need a movie length project... following is my attempt at instructions (sans stripe, because I don't have any extra super bulky yarn to use up).

Needles: US 13 DPNS
Gauge: Not that important
Yarn: Approximately 145 yards of a super bulky yarn, suitable for needles you'll work with - approx 2.5 stitches per inch would be fine. Shown is Malabrigo Aquarella.

Right Mitten:
Cast on 16 stitches and join in the round on 4 needles, being careful not to twist.
Knit 8 rows
M1 at the 1st stitch on needles 1, 2, 3 and 4 (20 stitches).
Knit 6 rounds
N1: K1, PM, K2, PM, Knit to end of round.
N1: K1, SM, (K1,M1) (twice), SM, knit to end of round
Knit 3 rounds
Knit to marker, SM, M1, K4, M1, SM, knit to end of round
N1: K1, RM, place 6 stitches on waste yarn, RM, cast on 2 stitches using the backwards loop method, and knit to end of round.
Knit rounds until mitten extends past the tip of your pinky finger.
*K1, SSK, knit to end of N1. K to 3 stitches before end of N2; K2tog, K1**
Repeat from * to ** on N3 and N4
Knit 2 rounds
Repeat from * to ** on N1, N2 & N3, N4
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off, using 3 needle bind off.

Left Mitten
Cast on 16 stitches and join in the round on 4 needles, being careful not to twist.
Knit 8 rows
M1 at the 1st stitch on needles 1, 2, 3 and 4 (20 stitches).
Knit 6 rounds
Knit until 3 stitches before the end of N2. PM, K2, PM, K1. Knit until end of round.
Knit to marker, SM, (K1,M1) (twice), SM, knit to end of round
Knit 3 rounds
Knit to marker, SM, M1, K4, M1, SM, knit to end of round.
Knit to marker, RM, Place 6 stitches on waste yarn, RM, cast on 2 stitches using the backwards loop method, and knit to end of round.
Knit rounds until mitten extends just past the tip of your pinky finger.
*K1, SSK, knit to end of N1. K to 3 stitches before end of N2; K2tog, K1**
Repeat from * to ** on N3 and N4
Knit 2 rounds
Repeat from * to ** on N1, N2 & N3, N4
Knit 2 rounds
Cast off, using 3 needle bind off.

Remove 6 stitches from waste yarn and put stitches on 2 DPNS.
Join yarn, and knit N1 & N2.
Pick up and knit 2 stitches on N3. (This will leave a gap which can be sewn tight when you are weaving in ends)
Knit in the round until thumb is the long enough to cover your thumb.
K2tog, 4 times
Weave yarn through last 4 stitches and pull tight.

Weave in ends on both mittens.

Try on mittens and determine how much felting they will need. If they are very large, put the mittens and some laundry detergent in the washing machine, and run a short load. Hot wash, cold rinse. Remove mittens, and adjust them to fit. Lie flat to dry.

If the mittens seem to need a small amount of felting, then immerse them in a sink full of hot water with a little dish soap, and (wearing rubber gloves to protect your hands from hot water), agitate, wring and generally thrash mittens until they seem to be about the right size. Remove excess water, lie flat to dry.

DPNS: Double pointed needles
K: Knit
K2tog: Knit 2 together
M1: Make one stitch
N1 through N4: Needles 1 through 4
PM: Place marker
RM: Remove marker
SM: Slip marker
SSK: Slip one stitch as if to knit, slip a second stitch as if to
knit. Replace both stitches on the left needle. K2tog.

Note: Because I'm a brain surgeon in my spare time, I just thought to check Make One's free patterns. You will find a very similar pattern, nicely written, here: Link

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

This is why I love knitlist

Here's a post from Linda:

Does anyone know of a mini watch cap pattern preferably a freebie? I have a Santa figurine that met with an accident. I was able to glue him back together but the crack in his head is still visible. I thought if I could find a mini watch cap pattern, I could use some sock yarn and make him a watch cap to cover his cracked head. If I have to I suppose I could wing it, but it would be easier if I could find a pattern. Thanks in advance.

Even when Santa knocks his block off, its ok to ask for help and creativity and resources.. and darned if there isn't response.

All kinds of Humpties need putting back together again this week. Chesley and Michelle, you're in our prayers.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Imagine this? Fiber stuff.

I have a little picture to share of my crochet adventure. I don't know how to crochet, but I was looking at a chart, and I thought.. damn.. I can do that. So far I have 4 squares done and connected. That's supposed to be 1/2 of the job, but I think it needs 6 more. I'm super stoked.

teh crotchet

Note: If you are trying to do any art shots in the yard, don't sling a mohair/silk something or other over a rose bush. A tree is somewhat better. Marginally so.

We got a little snow today. Lots actually, by day's end. Driving heavily leans towards dangerous at this point.

Oh.. and I have information on fruit flies. If you have 10 or 15 million of them, and you cannot locate a food source, let me pass this along. Mr. Clean Magic Erasers are fruit fly ambrosia. They LOVE them. Procreate by the gazillion. Become fat and fly about your house with abandon.

I'm putting a 'needles' label on this point (ha! I said point. I meant post) because I'm still thinking of stiletto pointed wonderfulness.

Stand by me

I can't organize my thoughts, because I'm blown away... I hope you are too.

This was exactly what I needed. I'm now fully outside of myself and the pity party has officially concluded.

Bring it on.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Saving up

I have two favorite bloggers; one who writes on most weekdays, and the other who writes on days ending in 'every so often'. I adore them both for different reasons.

There was a time in my life when I wasn't consumed by knitting and spinning, but by reading. I spent quite a bit of my time alone, and that is how I chose to use my evenings and weekends. Overall I'd say I am quite well read (or.. at least I was; now I am quite well knitted). In my history as a reader, only one author ever wrote what I considered to be the perfect sentence. It was Truman Capote, and he described someone in a way that left a taste in my mouth; I purely and completely understood the character.

Sometimes The Enchanting Juno makes me feel the same way.

Backround information on this moment in time:

Currently girls aged 14, 13 and 12 live in our house. Enough said.
I have been sick since September, and only just realized I'm having a flareup.
I'm about to lose a job I have loved.
Another Christmas is around the corner, and my son, the angel, persists in not being tangible. His death has had me in a straight jacket for six years now (God forbid I ever get out of it, because uncontained I believe I could scream buildings into rubble).
I was in 80's recession, and the very word strikes fear into my heart.
Canadian politics.

Every Christmas, and every August I work up a head of steam while I try different ways to control my feelings. Something always comes along that triggers a release, and I re-discover the truth of being the mother of a dead child. The pain doesn't go away. Cramming it down, trying to ignore or reform it doesn't work; it will find it's way to the surface somehow. Twice each year the top blows off, and then I feel somewhat better and can buck the hell up....

This was my Christmas vent button. It was firmly pressed.

And this is a gem... It put me so firmly and completely in her moment that the red drained from the back of my eyes... became lavender. Make sense? I saw she had posted and I actually saved it up for 1/2 a day before I read it. I picked the perfect time, and she did not disappoint.

Perhaps now I can rest.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


I can't flipping believe it.

Somebody needs a Signiture stiletto pointed directly at their arse.

Maybe there's hope, and the big bully in his sweater vest will have had the pants scared off of him, and he'll pull it together by spring.

Ya think?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ken Leeeeeee, if leeving is without you

Ok, I'm referring to the Signature needles that the Yarn Harlot was talking about a couple days ago. I know when I'm in trouble, and believe me.. I AM IN BIG TROUBLE.

I have a teeny tiny needle addiction. I admit it. (That's the first step, right?). It was bad enough when it was Addis, and I spend 5 days a week surrounded by them. Even with a case full of circs, I have been seriously considering the click set when they are finally available.

So, I'm going to do you a little favor here; because really.. in order to arrive by Christmas the needles have to be ordered by tomorrow. A link of love.

I know I can count on you. My peeps.

Joking aside, I was seriously considering a lone set of 14" - 4.5mm, with a stiletto point, and a teardrop top. The thing is (begin logic).. I have the Kingscot pattern, and I'm mulling over what yarn I'm going to use. Wouldn't it just be perfect with a set of Signature needles? Wouldn't it just?

Hey.. the crochet thing is going really well. I figured out where I was going wrong, and it seemed like I might get to the end of a 7 row repeat without further ado. Instead, I think I have to frog back to row 4 again; perhaps 5. But you know.. it's all exciting because it's new, and I STILL BELIEVE.

I'm not going to talk about this morning for a day or two. I want to savor it just a little longer.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You thought Cake Wreck was a time sucker?

Go to YouTube and search: fail

There's a website if you really, really, really have some time on your hands.

Here we have: Ken Lee

Fail Crochet?

I got to row 4 before I ran into froggable issues.

Tomorrow is the Honour Roll Breakfast Buffet. 100% Success.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Holy crap, I *might* know how to crochet

I cannot promise, but it appears that I am reading a crochet chart, and the darned thing makes some kind of sense. It is going to be crazy cool... cobweb weight silk-mohair on a really, really large hook. I had to leave it at work tonight because I am so excited that I would put it ahead of all other projects, and I have some important stuff that needs doing. On a timeline...

I cannot be trusted to be true to projects. New is good. Face it. Remember Fugly Mo? Still in the bag it was in last year, and not one more stitch has been knitted. Because it's OLD.

I have all kinds of top secret things going on, none of which I can talk about. But look out! After Christmas, there will be some great pictures...

including the hairy citrine thing, and the fuzzy stained glass-like things, about 2 million mittens and hopefully a Alice Starmore wonderment.

I'm so excited about this possibility, I'm going to make a new label.. called: Crochet (with one t). Who knew?