Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Wednesday... and I give up my post

Today, I give up my blog post to Dianne, a former associate at the yarn store I still work at. She emailed me with HER answer to "why do you knit". Her reply begs to be published and so.....

Knitting has nurtured me since before I was born. I cannot answer the question of why I knit. I can't imagine life without knitting.
My great grandmother was blind, but she raised nine children and ran a farm. Part of her daily work was knitting for her family. She knitted socks by the hundreds and "jumpers" and ganseys to keep her boys warm as they worked the sheep farm. Her very respectable daughters (the youngest of which was my grandmother) learned early to knit and created their own bloomers and camisoles out of good, serviceable Scottish wool. Of course, they first had to see that the men in the family were well clothed!

My grandmother knitted a great deal. I don't know whether it was a result of being taught by her blind mother, or whether her good Scottish upbringing caused her to want to save electricity, but she often sat knitting in a darkened room. I think she would sit down to knit in the afternoon, and, as dusk settled, just never stop long enough to turn on a light. In her senior years she often knit while reading a book or watching TV. She could turn a heel without even looking! I cherish the memory of knitted doll clothes. They were an extravagance that she would never have extended to herself or her own children. She sent us sweaters at Christmas and gloves that we were far too young to appreciate.

My own mother knitted. When I was about six, she made me an apple green cabled cardigan. I was fascinated by the way the stitches twisted into cables. It wasn't an illusion, they really DID twist around each other! I was hooked. Not long after, I begged my first knitting lessons.

I really never stopped knitting. As a teenager, I remember presenting a boyfriend with a pair of mittens that were too big, but made with all the young love in my heart. I dreamed up far more projects than I could ever have completed. (Nothing's changed, has it?) Later, my friend Irene and I took to knitting Aran sweaters in an unspoken competition as to who could do the most difficult pattern. We had fun. I think Irene won.

I married, and my new mother-in-law showed me how to knit socks. We became great friends. She's in her 90's now and knitted a pair of socks for her son in law last Christmas. She kept my children in socks and mittens, and again, they were too young to appreciate them. She and I are still best friends. We spent many many evenings together knitting and talking. Our love is deep.

When my children were small, I went to live for a while in Australia. I knew no one and was lonely. However, Austrailian wool is wonderful, soft and inexpensive. It was when Kaffe Fasset's delightful coloured sweaters were all the rage. I knitted, and returned to Canada with many projects completed and a hockey bag full of merino wool.

Arriving in Ottawa, once again not knowing a soul, my neighbour invited me to Stitch'n'Bitch. Instant friends! Knitting bonded us.

Now I am back "home." My daughter knits. Away at University, knitting brings her comfort and friends. She made a blanket for a friend's new baby and a bag for herself. When she is home for a visit, we sit and knit and talk of many things.

Knitting has been my companion and my therapy. It has seen me though marriage and divorce, births and deaths, life's joys, friendship and loneliness.....I have kept on knitting. It's always brought me comfort. Why do I knit? Why do I breathe? It feeds my soul.

Thanks, Dianne. {{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Two Things

I love little projects that I can finish in a day, little things like this little hat I made today. I decided I wanted a break from the Heavenly Camisole (which I WILL take pics of, I promise). Someone posted this website in one of the Yahoo groups I'm part of and I fell in love with it. I just happened to have two colours of Paton's Classic Merino here at home, so I knitted up one of the hats. I love it! I think I might just make a few more... just for the fun of it!

And for thing #2... Why I knit...

Each knitter has her (or his) own reasons for picking up needles and yarn and crafting something, whether it’s a simple scarf or a complicated Aran sweater. No matter what you enjoy creating, have you ever asked yourself why you do it? Why do you enjoy it? What keeps you coming back to it?

Is it simply a sense of making something out of necessity? If you are, as I am, from European descent, part of the baby boomer generation or perhaps a little older, you probably learned from your mother or grandmother (or even grandfather) who knit to keep themselves and their families warm. I was taught to knit at about the age of seven. My mother told me it was a skill that every girl should learn. I enjoyed it, but dropped it as I grew into my teen years.

So, why do I knit now? A part of the reason is definitely the creative process. Seeing a garment grow, using two sticks and some string is a wonderful feeling. The rhythm of each stitch evolving into the next one is relaxing; there are those who call it the new yoga. It’s meditative, certainly. All of that comes into it. What really keeps me knitting, though, is the ties to my past.

I picked up my knitting needles again after I was married and my third child was a toddler. My parents lived in the same town and often came to visit. On one of those visits, my father saw me knitting and began to reminisce about his grandmother. She lived in an ancient town in the northern Dutch province of Friesland. He would often visit his grandparents and their custom after dinner was to have a cup of coffee on the front porch of their home. His grandfather would smoke his pipe and his grandmother would have her knitting. Seeing the dreamy look in his eyes and hearing the nostalgia in his voice immediately forged a bond between myself and the great grandmother I never knew. To this day, when I pick up my knitting needles, I think of her. She and I have never met, but I know that there is something we would have shared. That’s why I continue to knit and why, one day, I would like to teach my granddaughter to knit.

The ancient art of knitting (it’s estimated to have developed some time between 500 and 1600 A.D.) is passed on through the generations. I love being a part of that tradition. Knitting practical garments or knitting pretty things, it’s a craft that ties us all together with the women and men who came before us.

And that is why I knit.

Monday, June 27, 2005

FO Pictures

This is just a quickie post to show you the pictures of the Meadow Flowers shawl. The pattern is out of "The Knitter's Stash" by Melanie Falick and Barbara Albright, Interweave Press. It was a fun one to do. For the first time, I did an edging that's knit on to the shawl. All in all, I'm happy with the way it turned out even though I'm not a huge fan of garter stitch garments.

Now, I'd like to try an adult-sized Faroese-style shawl. I think I've found the pattern I'll try. It can be found here. I'm not sure when I'll start it, but I will make it at some point. In the meantime, I'm working on the Heavenly Camisole, also out of the Knitter's Stash. I'll try and get a progress pic of it this afternoon.

I have a feeling I won't be getting much knitting done this week. The Canada Day long weekend is coming up at the end of this week (July 1 is Canada Day) and two of my sisters are coming to visit on Thursday, one from Lethbridge, the other from Vancouver. And there's been painting going on in the house this past weekend that needs to be finished before they arrive.

Now, I need to dash... there's a shower calling me and then it's off to work. Enjoy your day!

Friday, June 24, 2005

Baby things

Sandra, in her comment, asked if I was planning to knit anything for my new grandchild. Ummm... Sandra? Pardon the sarcasm but... Duh! (*wink*) Of course I am. I've already begun. I would have announced this child sooner, but there are some "issues" surrounding this pregnancy that I need to get over. Not always easy.

However, I do love this child and will not punish it for it's mother's mistakes. Besides that, every baby should have something made by his or her grandmother, in my opinion. I've made something for each of my grandchildren, whether the gift was appreciated or not, and this child will be no different.

Here's what I've got so far...

I've decided to knit a boy sweater and a girl sweater. This one is the boy sweater. The girl sweater will be in white and will involve some lace knitting (I LOVE lace knitting, by the way!). I just haven't decided which pattern I'll do yet. It will also most likely be from the same book, Sirdar's "Early Arrivals". This is the 3-6 month size; I'm knitting it out of Regia sock yarn, believe it or not. I'm quite pleased with the way it's knitting up and the fact that it's washable wool is a real plus. For this mother, anything I give the baby will have to be eminently washable.

For a semi-mindless knit, last night I knitted Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer's Dolly Faroese shawl, just to see how it was constructed. Now, I'd like to knit an adult sized one, but I can only find patterns for sale online. I can see how it's put together, but to adapt her doll-sized shawl to an adult-sized shawl is something I can't quite grasp. I like the fact that it has shoulder shaping, which helps it to stay on the shoulders.

One of these days.... after I finish a few other projects. Speaking of finished projects, the Meadow Flowers shawl is finally off the needles. I don't have a picture yet; it looks like a pile of fluff at the moment. Because John's Dad has been visiting for a few days, I haven't been able to use the floor of the spare bedroom as a blocking board. He left this morning, so Sunday will be blocking day (I worked all day today and will work all day Saturday). I'll take some picturess of it when it's blocked. I think it's turned out quite nicely, but I have decided that I really don't care too much for garter stitch projects. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with the fact that the right side and the wrong side both look the same. It just doesn't seem right!

I have a question for you, those of you who read my blog. It's something that crossed my mind today. Why do you knit? Why do you love it? What keeps you knitting? What is it that inspires you? I was doing some thinking about that today and did some writing about it at work. When I have a chance, I'll copy that file to a disk and post it here. In the meantime, though, I'd love to hear from you. Why do YOU knit?

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I haven't been doing much knitting in the last week, but I'm hoping to get the Meadow Flowers shawl finished today or tomorrow. I've almost finished the edging on two of the three sides, so it shouldn't take long.

John's father has been visiting us from Vancouver for the last few days and the weather's turned decent, so I haven't had as much of a desire to knit. And, at the store, there's been enough work (mostly clerical stuff) to keep me busy, so I haven't even been doing much knitting there.

I suppose summer isn't really the best time for knitting, is it? There's just so much more to do and see. Oh! I do have one thing to share with you.

This is the first picture of my fourth grandchild, to be born in September. Isn't technology amazing?

Saturday, June 18, 2005

An FO for Trinity

I finished the little doll sweater and a little hat as well for Trinity's doll. I can't believe how much fun it is to watch these tiny garments taking shape. It's almost addicting. I'm finding myself looking at other patterns in the books I have with an eye to making them for the doll. However, what this baby needs now is a pair of pants and a top or a little dress. I do intend to make another pair of socks for her, in white. For sewing, though, I need to find a pattern first.

Here's how Trinity's baby is looking so far...

Today is definitely a knitting kind of day. Wouldn't you know it? I'm off till Tuesday and what's the weather doing? Raining. So typical. Oh well.

I did convince John to drive me to the local nursery to pick up a couple of lovage plants. I bought two pots (4 plants) and a rosemary plant. I love using lovage in soups and hearty dishes. It gives such a lovely flavour, akin to celery, but still different. It's a flavour I remember from growing up. We did get a plant from my mother last summer, but it became so infested with bugs that John refused to plant it. Hopefully, the plants we bought today will thrive. I'm really looking forward to using it.

Other than that, it's been golf on the TV (John watches it, not me) and knitting needles in hand. There's not much else to do.

...back to knitting..........

Friday, June 17, 2005


Mokihana commented on my bird post and I found her comment to contain some great information on treating injured birds. I decided to take her comment out of the comment section and post it.

She wrote:
"I was a volunteer with a wildlife rescue group for many years, and learned the best way to care for birds who smash into windows and are temporarily unable to fly.

Carefully take the bird and put it in a small box with holes punched into it. No towels, as the birds' claws can get caught on the loops.. but you can put down paper towels. Close the box, and put half of it on a heating pad on low with a thin towel between the box and the heating pad. Leave half of the box off the heating pad.

Do not attempt to give water or food of any kind. Put the box in a quiet, dark place for a couple of hours and leave the bird undisturbed.

At the end of the time, carefully reach in with your hands to see if the bird is moving and active, and if so, and there appear to be no broken bones or wings... take the box outside near some trees, and open it up... and the bird will fly away to safety and re-orientation to the surroundings.

Please don't leave a stunned bird by itself on a lawn or porch where a roving cat or other predator might get it!"

Thanks Mokihana! Considering the number of birds around here, I will definitely keep your sound advice in mind.

Today is a crafting day. That's what John told me when I got up this morning. It's a gray and rainy day. I'll be finishing the doll sweater today (just a sleeve to do) and working on a couple of other things. I might even try to finish the Meadow Flowers shawl today. If I do, I'll post a pic of it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hey Baby!

On the weekend, I purchased (at our neighbourhood garage sale) a baby doll for my granddaughter, Trinity. She lives about four hours from me, so I'll giver her her doll next time she's here or I'm there. In the meantime, the poor little thing simply can't remain naked, right? So, as a good gramma should, I'm making clothes for her baby. (Trinity, by the way, is 14 months old and doesn't have a doll yet.)

I've made her a pair of socks already (if you're interested in the pattern for the doll socks, let me know and I'll post it) and am working on a little sweater. I'm using Sirdar's book, "Early Arrivals" as the basis of the doll clothing as the doll has a 10" chest and that's how small the patterns go in this book. I will have to alter the sleeve lengths, as the patterns all have a 2.5" sleeve length and that simply too short for the doll. I'll have to make the sleeves another inch longer, but that's not a problem.

Here's the back of the sweater. The left front is almost done, too, but I just couldn't finish it last night. I got to a point where I simply couldn't concentrate enough on the pattern and that's when you stop or you'll make mistakes. (I hate making mistakes.) I'll take it to work with me today and try to finish it there.

I had the last five days off and today, it's back to the store. For the full day today and a half day tomorrow. Then another four days off. Tough life, huh?

On a side note, I have to say that this weekend I've been very humbled by the response to my blog. I know people read it, but I really didn't realize that you actually LIKE to read it. I've been getting amazing feedback and it's flattering and humbling. Believe me when I say that I truly do appreciate all of you who take the time to read my ramblings and comment on what you read. Thank you... from the bottom of my heart.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Bird is the word

After Rob & Carol and the kids got back from the boat ride yesterday, Sandy and Carol discovered a bird that had hit the window and seemed quite stunned, possibly nursing a broken wing. After a cursory examination, we (collectively) decided that he was just very stunned and would likely be alright once his head cleared. He did give us a wonderful opportunity to take his picture.

He sat by himself on the lawn for a while and about an hour after we found him, when Dustin tried to pick him up again, he flew himself into the tree. A while after that, he had gone to join the rest of his feathered friends. Isn't nature beautiful?

Anyone know what kind of little winged friend he is??

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Lisa's Surprise & Garage Sale-ing

I received an email from Lisa today, letting me know that she got her surprise package. It's a neat feeling knowing that you can share something of yourself with someone you've never met before and feel that you've made a friend. Lisa, your kind words about my blog did a lot to make that distance seem so much less than it really is (she's in Michigan, by the way... a long way from "the other coast").

For those who were perhaps wondering what Lisa's surprise package contained, here's a picture...

Included were a 100 gm ball of Fortissima sock yarn, Black Pepper Sandalwood cream, Knitter's Hand cream, Rose Petal Lip Luxury Lip Balm, Nail & Cuticle Treat and a set of Kitty stitch markers (all made by yours truly). Enjoy, Lisa!!

And the garage sale... yesterday (Saturday), I managed to make $158.00. The majority of that was craft stuff, yarn mostly. Today, I only sold the remainder of the yarn I had available for the grand total of $5.00. So, the grand total for my sales was $163.00. Rob's grand total was $5.10 for the two days. Ouch! The box of yarn I sold today will be going to a woman in Calgary who knits for orphans in the mountains of Mexico. That's why I sold the entire box for only $5.00. It went to a good cause and that feels good.

Because it was a neighbourhood garage sale, I did check out the "competition". All in all, four homes had sales. I was very good and only made one $2.00 purchase. That purchase? A baby doll (the size of a preemie... 10" chest) for my granddaughter. I'll be knitting some clothes for her new baby doll and will be gifting it to her, hopefully before her new cousin is born in September.

On the knitting front, I'm bad... very bad. I started a new tank top for me. It's the Heavenly Camisole from "The Knitter's Stash". I'm making it out of Regia Silk, in the creamy off-white colour. It's looking very nice; I have about 3 inches knitted already and spent part of my garage sale time today working on it. Even though sales were anything but brisk today, at least I was productive. I'll post pics when I'm a little further along on it.

Now, it's time to get back outside while the weather's still nice. Carol's son, daugher and son-in-law are visiting for the weekend. At the moment, though, they're out on the boat and John and I have some precious time alone. I mustn't waste it, right??

By the way, Strick madchen and Jane, next time you're in the neighbourhood, stop by and check out the craft supplies I STILL have! ;)

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Garage Sale Day!

We're having a garage sale. It's a neighbourhood affair. All the houses on our street (10 or so) were asked if they'd like to participate in it, each house having it's own sale. Since we'd talked about it, we're in. It's my very first garage sale...ever. I don't do garage sales. I don't put them on; I don't shop them.

I'm slashing my stash. The majority of the items in this sale belong to me and it's mostly craft stuff. It's time to cut the clutter. *sigh*

Wish me luck.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Stalking the elusive wild gas cap

A couple of weeks ago, shortly after the boat arrived here, the males of this household and the boat's owner were attempting to fill the gas tank of said boat. The gas cap, like all good gas caps, had a ball chain attaching it to the boat. So far, so good, right? Well, after unscrewing the gas cap and letting it go, assuming the chain would keep it attached to it's host, it promptly drifted, oh so gracefully, to the bottom of the lake. None of the males noticed that the chain wasn't securely attached.

Since that time, this scene has been repeated numerous times as the aforementioned males of this household attempt to recover the wild and elusive gas cap. In the meantime, red tuck tape and a rubber cup holder serve to keep the fuel in the boat.

They do serve to amuse.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

New Sock Pattern Posted

Well, it's not an absolutely new pattern. I put this one together for the store a couple of months ago, but am just now posting it online. It's a very basic 2x2 ribbed sock with a round toe. I really like the round toe. You only have 8 stitches to graft (or you can just pull the yarn through all 8 stitches and fasten it off). I should add that I "turn" the stitches so that the decrease line stays continuous, instead of grafting the stitches as presented with the "normal" toe (graft two stitches from the top and two from the bottom of the sock to two from the top and two from the bottom). If that sounds a little confusing, you'll see what I mean when you get there.

I've posted the pattern to the Art of Yarn blog (link on the right side), in the sidebar. I'll include a link to it here, in the post, but because I did the pattern for the store, I think I should have the button there.

Monday, June 06, 2005

What to write...

There are times it becomes difficult to find something to write about. Life just keeps going along, day following day in what seems a blur of sameness. Here on the lake, of course, the cycle of life keeps going. The fish are growing, the ducklings are getting their feathers, the beaver keeps swimming by, the birds keep doing their endless winged dance. We get to watch it all. As summer approaches, the boat traffic on the lake increases, providing us with a different kind of show.

But how much of that do you really want to read about?

When it comes to my knitting, I'm trying very hard not to start anything new and so there's not much to write about there, either. The W top is coming along nicely. I did discover there's a right end to start knitting with in Laine du Nord's Cleo. It's a gorgeous worsted weight cotton, but start with the center of the ball and it twists like crazy. I was finished the first triangle and ripped it because of the twisting. When I restarted it with the outside of the ball, it was fine.

Over the weekend, I once again picked up the feather and fan stole I'm working on. Remember I was going to make a few shawls/stoles to have around here? Well, that's one of them. I managed to do a few inches on it this weekend. Other than that, though, my knitting has been confined to the store for the last week or so. It's slowed down there, so there's time to knit.

I'm finding that once I get home, I'd rather sit on the dock with a glass of wine, feet dangling in the water, watching the show.

On Friday, I got John to mail out the surprise package to Lisa. Before it went into the mail, I took a picture of the contents. I'll post the picture when she gets it (I think I wrote that already, didn't I?), but as a teaser, part of the surprise entails something to keep her fingers and toes happy and something to keep her body happy.

Ok, shower time....

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Pictures of the Flower Basket

I think these turned out pretty good. They don't really give you an indication of the size, but I do like the pictures.

Now, to finish a few other projects, like the Devan sweater for Trinity and the socks for Kristen. I had no intention of starting anything else. Notice the word "had"? Well, that went out the window rather quickly. I tell you, working where I work is a very dangerous thing. I should get danger pay. There's this yarn that's been staring at me, willing me to touch it, feel it, caress it, do SOMETHING with it! When I showed my boss a picture (albeit a bad printout) of Knitty's W top, she said to go for it, make it for the store. Do you really think I needed any more of an incentive than that???

I'm working it in a gorgeous, bright (and I do mean bright) orange. It was either the orange or lime green, both equally bright and cheerful. I love orange. I love lime green. The orange was simply more seductive and I gave in. It's a fairly quick knit, as it's done on 5.5 mm needles. However, everything else will be put temporarily on hold. I figure that the sweater won't fit Trinity for a little while yet and it's not really handknit socks weather anymore, so.....

Today, I have the house to myself. Other than the possibility of a plumber coming by any time now (or maybe tomorrow morning), it's just me, the computer, my knitting and the lake. It's not the nicest of days, sweater weather really. But the day is mine. This afternoon, I'll venture into town to pick up coffee beans and a prescription and send Lisa's surprise out to her. This afternoon. For now, I'm relaxing and enjoying!

Speaking of Lisa's surprise, once I know she's gotten it, I'll post pictures of what I sent her. She's gotten in touch with me and her package will be going out to her today.

And I'm off to enjoy my day.. I hope you all enjoy yours, too!