Saturday, January 30, 2010

The agony and the ecstasy

I generally tend to consider myself a process versus a product knitter. I enjoy the act of knitting in and of itself, everything about it is soothing and calming to me. Maybe that's why I don't mind giving the product of countless hours of work away. By the time the finished object, be it a hat, a shawl, or a pair of socks, is off my needles, I've pretty much been there and done that. I've experienced the agony and the ecstasy, and I can let it go.

These mittens though, were supposed to be for me. I had been deeply smitten with this pattern for months, I dilly-dallied for the longest time on buying the appropriate yarn to cast them on. These were no ordinary mittens. They were going to be spectacular, I tell you. When I cast on for these babies, I knew it was the beginning of a beautiful journey, one that would earn me the recognition and respect of maybe dozens of knitters everywhere.

And they ARE fabulous, aren't they? Just look at those colours! Look at those (mostly)even stitches! Yup, this is one FINE mitten... The only trouble is that it's about the size of an oven-mitt, and I've got teeny hands to begin with.

Now.... knitting anything that comes in pairs requires enough stamina and determination as it is. But when you KNOW that there's NO WAY in heck that you'll ever wear these mittens you're slaving over? It truly is agony.

Luckily, I've got other projects to keep me out from throwing myself into the fun-fur in a fit of desperation.

The Rococo shawl, which is rapidly becoming an all-consuming passion for me. The simple yet elegant pattern, the yarn... Ah, this shawl is what knitting is all about, my friends.

And there's more where that came from. I'll be casting on for the Milkweed shawl with some lovely Casbah just as soon as I'm done with Rococo... and, you know.... the second mitten.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Before I was a knitter with a capital KNIT, I was just someone who dabbled. I would buy the yarn for one project at a time, I never paid any mind to things like "gauge" or fiber content, and most of my finished objects were, let's face it, pretty crappy. But I didn't really care. I could pick the needles up one day, put them down after a few hours, and hot touch them again for months on end.

Back then I would also indulge in the occasional crochet project. Mostly I would crochet doilies or table runners, although I did spend about 2 years crocheting a 12-foot tablecloth, but that's a tale for another time.

Anyway, when I was going through my stash last week, I came across something I had tucked away over three years ago.

I think the last time I worked on this I was just pregnant with Maxime. So "just pregnant", in fact, that I didn't officially know I WAS pregnant. I remember working on it in a waiting room at the hospital one afternoon in August, and then I just... put it away.

As I was wondering what to do with this project, whether to frog it or just tuck it back in its hiding place, I remembered that I bought a great book with some lovely crochet patterns in Japan 2 years ago.

So there might be some crochet in my future! Maybe even make this a Ravelympics project? What do you think?

Happy Knitting (and crocheting!) Everyone!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Duty calls

As you all know, Émilie made a knit-request a few weeks ago. She asked me to knit her leg-warmers, and like any modern five year-old, she expected them to be magically produced as soon as she asked for them.

I got to work right away, and in front of her (that's the key), so that she'd see I was on the case, and that her knitwear needs were important. I fussed, I fretted, but after a few false starts, I finally got it right. I took it as my commuter knitting, I worked on it in front of the TV...

But eventually, I have to admit, I got a little bored with this project. I mean, there's soothing-mindless and then there's lobotomizing-mindless, you know? So it sort of... lingered.

Until Friday night, when I realized that I had promised Émilie she would have a completed pair of leg-warmers for her skating class the next day. Luckily I was on the second one, but I still had a good 7 inches + ribbing to go on that one.

So I did what any good mother would do. I put on a few Buffy DVDs and knit into the wee hours of the night, and when I finally finished, I snuck into Émilie's room and put her one of a kind, made-with-love leg-warmers on her nightstand, so they'd be the first thing she'd see when she woke up.
A few hours later, at 6:35 AM, Émilie came into our room, headed straight for my side of the bed ('natch), and gently informed me that it was time to wake up. *Sigh* But she also had the leg-warmers with her, and said she loved them. (Maxime likes them too!) And she was one fashionable skater on the rink that morning.

Job well done, mum!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Beware of the Drive-By

Today during lunch I was hit by a gratuitous, drive-by flirtation. I was meeting my cousin for lunch and I arrived late, so naturally I was red-faced and in a general huff from having speed-walked 7 blocks to the restaurant.

Aaaaaaaanyhoo, no sooner had I sat down that the guy sitting at the table next to mine (pretty fine looking, too, if a bit of a metro-sexual) flat out tells me that I'm "quite beautiful. Not just the face, but the entire package, head to foot." (I *was* rockin' the power-suit...). When asked what I did for a living (a question to which I can now say I'M A LIBRARIAN!!!! - I might get a badge or something, it's so frickin' awesome), the guy just about dropped dead.

"Wow, they've certainly changed since I was a kid" he says. "In my day, they were matronly 60 year-olds on their way to retirement!".

I just smiled and commented something to the effect that that breed had indeed retired, and the new and improved Librarian was taking over.

He still seemed puzzled (albeit agreeably so), and I suddenly had this insane urge to pull out my knitting and REALLY screw with his stereotypical view of my profession, but I just left it at that. My cousin and her boyfriend joined me, and we had a pleasant lunch.

At the end of the meal, the flirter shakes my hand, says it was a pleasure meeting me, and gives me his card. He says he's a hairdresser at a local salon and he'd love to have me over for a visit.


Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Lessons Learned

Well, I see from the comments I received on my last post that most of us prefer to live in denial when it comes to the actual size of our stash. I agree, I prefer it when it's more.... manageable. But nonetheless, I find it comforting to know that it's right there, waiting for me.

And if it turns out that I have accumulated more yarn then I can ever hope to knit up in one lifetime? Well, I am hard at work at creating a new generation of knitter.

Over the Holiday break, Émilie decided she wanted to learn to knit. Again. She had wanted me to teach her a few months back, but mostly she wanted to just play with the yarn and the needles. She didn't really want to knit anything.

But this time she did. She paid close attention to what I was doing when I showed her the knit stitch, and pretty soon she was grabbing the needles and telling "je peux le faire, Maman". She had grand ideas and visions of the glorious red scarf she was going to make. It was going to be wonderful! A great, beautiful journey had begun.


Since then she's picked up the needles maybe twice, and has knit a total of 3 rows, 2 of which she asked me to finish for her because it was "too hard".

So much for that idea! Well, there's always Maxime, right?

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, January 17, 2010


Last week I was browsing around on Flickr, and I came upon this picture of fridaknits' sock yarn stash:

Something about this picture just spoke to me, and while Maxime was napping and Emilie and I were lazing around yesterday afternoon, it inspired me to do my own inventory of the stash.

Have you ever really looked at your stash? I mean, really looked at it? Laid it out in all its glory and taken it all in? I don't recommend it. I've known (and even been proud) of my yarn-addiction, but seeing it all in one pile made me think that this might, perhaps, be getting out of hand now...

Now, to be clear: this constitutes the BULK of my stash. When I first got back into knitting, I mostly bought sock yarn. Not only did I enjoy sock knitting, but I was completely enamoured the idea of sock yarn, especially hand-dyed yarn. And at the time, I thought the idea of getting one project's worth of yarn for 25-30$ was pretty thrifty.

Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Take your time. I'll wait.

So! As I was on a roll, I took pictures of the most recent stash enhancement...

From top to bottom: various single skeins of KnitPicks Palette, to be used for a multitude of mitten projects; 2 skeins of Malabrigo Sock yarn in the Lettuce colourway (I actually gifted one of these to Kate-the-Enabler, super-mom and friend extraordinaire); 5 skeins of Cascade 220 Heathers (which I'll be using to knit the Rococo Shawl)...

And last but not least, one ball of Schoppel-Wolle Crazy Zauberball. Yes, more sock yarn...

Hello. My name is Tara, and I am outta my frickin' mind.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Not only does my cup runneth over, it runneth frothy. It almost frotheth over, I tell you!

Despite the gloominess of my last post, things are definitely looking up chez Dear. Firstly, Knit Night yesterday was also Pub Night, and that's always a good thing. The ladies of the group came out en mass, lured by the promise of cold, foamy beverages and pleasant knitterly shenanigans.

Knitting on the leg warmers has recommenced, and I'm pretty sure I've got the tube licked now. I'm going to go for a marathon session tomorrow night, and we'll cross our fingers that Émilie will be the stylin'-est skater on the ice come Saturday.

I've had to set my Citrus Mittens aside for the time-being, but I've made some progress on them, and I'm quite happy with how they're turning out.

I don't do much stranded colourwork, so my tension is a wee bit off, but I'm confident that the pulling you can see here will smoothe out when the mittens are blocked.

What I'm NOT so confident in is that they'll fit my wee hands when they're done! Maybe it's just me, but they look HUUUGE! I might wind up having to find a woman with man hands (or an effeminate, citrus-loving man) to gift them to. I just don't have the heart to rip them out.

Last but not least in the frothy-ness of my cup: I will be starting a new job in a little less than a month's time! After a long period of searching and questioning, I will finally be able to exercise the profession for which I was trained, that of a Professional Librarian. A new chapter (ah, librarian humour!) is about to begin, and I can't wait!

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Definitely not Jedi material...

I think 2009 was a spectacular year, both in terms of its successes and failures. I traveled, ran, made jam. I also failed to find a new job, failed to find the *thing* I've been looking for, the balance I think we all need to keep it all going. And through it all, I knit. It was a year of extremes, and my only wish for the coming year is that the pendulum not swing quite so forcefully.

I realize that by now, 2010 is well underway, and although it's on the late-ish side to be posting reflexions of the past year, I've been mulling it over for a while. I do that alot. I mull. I covet.

Right now I'm in the midst of a full-blown case of knititis. I can't even call it startitis, because I'm not really starting anything. There are too many options, see? Too much stuff I want to knit, too much yarn I want to buy.

For instance, today I'm craving more heavy, big, sumptuous projects. Projects that take time, that are more about the process than the finished object. I want to immerse myself in luxury fibers and rich, jewel-toned colours. I want to sail away on a sea of luscious, soft, warm fabric, and be content.

A few patterns I'm yearning to cast on for:


Happy Knitting Everyone!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to normal

We have resumed our normal crazy-ass schedule chez Dear. Actually, it's even crazy-asser, because Émilie has begun horse-back riding lessons on Sundays. Seems like our weekends are spent trying to schlep the kids to various activities or keeping them otherwise entertained, while simultaneously trying to get everything we need to get done to prepare for the coming week. Hence, the term DORMA day was coined.

I made a giant pot-o-spaghetti sauce (with which Phil made an awesome lasagna)...

I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies...

...which I used to bribe my way into Kate-the-Enabler's house for an emergency play date this afternoon (I figured it'd go over better than saying "Please let us come over before we become feral and eat our own young!!!").

I also scaled Mount Washmore (haven't reached the summit yet), cleaned the hampster's cage, watered the plants... Yessir, it's excitement 24/7!

I also cast on for a pair of leg warmers for Émilie. She asked me to knit her a pair after skating class yesterday, and of course I'm being super fussy about it, even though, let's face facts, all I really need to knit is a long tube.

I'm using Regia Kaffe Fassett in the Landscape Celebration colourway, and as you can see, I've already frogged it a few times... These will be my metro knitting for the next few weeks. I should really get started on the second Conwy sock, I suppose. I've never fallen victim to second sock syndrome, but after all that nearly black yarn, I'm going to enjoy some bright self-striping action, let me tell you.

Alright! Those cookies are calling my name, the vixens.

Happy Knitting Everyone!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Comfort knitting

Back in November I caught the flu. I won't say *The* Flu, because I don't have a Bona Fide, certified, stamped diagnosis, but really, how many Flu viruses were floating around at the time? I felt so awful that I didn't even want to knit, I just wanted to lie in bed and stare into nothingness (it probably didn't help that Phil was in Paris at the time, heh).

After a few weeks, though, another bug caught hold of me again, and I wanted to cast on for something new, something warm and comforting that would make me enjoy the process of knitting it. I checked my queue on Ravelry, consulted a few girlfriends, and eventually cast on for Jared Flood's Hemlock Ring Blanket.

My friends told me it was a mistake. That the feather and fan, although lovely, was long and tedious, and that what I really needed to regain my knitting mojo was some instant gratification.

But I was undeterred. I wanted the long, mindless rows. I wanted to enjoy the rough quality of the Eco Wool. I wanted to feel the weight of it on my lap as I worked on it.

My grandmother used to make feather and fan afghans. Maybe she had knit the occasional sock or baby hat, but the only thing I ever remember her making were those afghans. Always the same pattern (which I'll remember until the day I die), always the same God-awful acrylic yarn (God bless her). So when I first picked up the needles, that's what we made. So this project truly was like chicken soup for my knitting soul.

There's just something about knitting a blanket, you know? I mean sure, it takes a long time, but when you're done you can envelop your entire body in rich, warm yarn. Even the kids were excited for me to finish it. Émilie would look at the blob o' knitting on the couch and ask "Aren't you finished that doudou (blankie) yet???".

So there it is, my first FO of 2010. I think it's a good omen for what's to come.

Happy Knitting Everyone! Love what you knit, it'll love you back when you're done.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Full speed ahead!

I'd just like to get one thing out of the way before we get started...


Don't get me wrong: I love this time of year, or rather, I love the idea of this time of year. I always get all misty-eyed when I think about the decorating, the baking, the cards, picking out the perfect gifts for my loved-ones. To say nothing about the knitting! But when it comes time to actually do it? Well... it's a lot of work, innit?

The important thing is that it's over for another year, and now I can focus on what's really important: my knitting! And sharing it with you, of course.

So! I got a brand new, for-real, grown-up camera for Christmas this year, a Nikon D3000, and I had fun playing with it taking pictures of my Wips this afternoon. Can I just say what a difference having a proper camera (and good lighting) makes? Bliss!

First up, a pair of Citrus mittens.

I've been meaning to knit myself another pair of mittens for a while now, as my Grove mittens are a bit, well... holey, heh. I'm knitting these with KnitPicks Palette yarn, and I'm really enjoying them. Rather, I'm enjoying them now that I'm past the 17 rows of 1x1 stockinette on the cuff.
Next up is a pair of Conwy socks, from Knitting on the Road, using KnitPicks Stroll.

While these are technically a Wip, I've sort of fallen off the sock wagon over the past month, so I haven't been making much progress on them (isn't that always the case?). Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that I'm knitting wee cables every two rows using almost black yarn, sigh. They're a bit tedious, I'll be glad to get these off the needles.

I also needed some comfort knitting (natch'), so I recently cast on for the Cedar Leaf Shawlette (a pattern gifted to me by the lovely Robyn, thanks again girl!) using my leftover Madelinetosh Tosh worsted.

As you can see, I haven't gotten very far on it... yet. And yeah, I know Cedar leaves are traditionally green. Ask me if I care.

I think that's a pretty good start to the year, wouldn't you say? Especially since I've already got a FO on the blocking mats! Here's a sneak peek, can you guess what it is?

Happy Knitting Everyone! And may you all have a Happy, safe, healthy New Year.