Tuesday, August 28, 2012


It's Back to School time  chez Dear (or First Day of School Ever time, if you're Maxime), so the days are long and the evenings are... yeah.  What evenings?  *Sigh*

How about we look at some knitting?

These are the latest socks in progress, knit out of Madelinetosh Tosh Sock in the Candlewick colourway (I may have mentioned previously that I have a thing for yellow).  The stitch pattern is the Eyelet and Flame Chevron from Vogue Knitting : The Ultimate Sock book, and I'm sort of fudging the rest of the sock as I go along.  I'll get into the process by which I came to select this particular pattern in another post, but for now the important thing to know is that I'm... totally fracking obsessed quite motivated to have these finished by August 31st, in order to qualify for the August Solid Socks KAL.  The fact that it's *cough* highly unlikely that I'll achieve the goal is totally irrelevant.  I am knitting like the WIND, people. 

Yup, absolutely nothing gets me going like a potentially unrealistic objective.  I find them extremely compelling.  What can I say?  I'm a complex woman.


This past weekend, I made muffins for the kids' school snacks.  They eat hot lunches at the cafeteria, but we still have to pack about a zillion snacks for them every day.  Needless to say, there can be no ding-dongs, ho hos or twinkies in their lunches (ho hos... *snicker*).  But I still want to give them a little touch of sweetness.  Hence, muffins. 

As I took them out of the oven, I thought to myself "I know!  I'll make them muffins every week!  Not only that, but I'll try a different recipe every week and share it on the blog!  Brilliant!!!"

So!  Here are this week's muffins.  Blueberry Bran Muffins, the recipe is (how embarrasing) from Kellogg's.  One week down!  39 to go.

What was I saying earlier about potentially realistic objectives?

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Put a lid on it

Let me begin by saying that this isn't the post I meant to write tonight.  I had planned to show you the new sock in progress, and possibly to come clean share some recent stash enhancement, but well... this feels more relevant for now.

We are right in the thick of canning season chez Dear.  As you may know if you've been reading for a while, over the past year, I've tried to put more thought into what our family eats, pay attention to where it comes from, and figure out what our relationship to food actually is.  Eating local, enjoying the best of what's produced in our own backyards (literally or figuratively) is something I feel very strongly about.  So in the spirit of "getting it while the getting is good", come August, I spend most of my weekends trying to freeze, can or otherwise process some of the local goodness that is in such abundant supply this time of year.

The "Eat Local" movement is by no means new, and most people in my area either do a bit of canning themselves or know someone who does.  Even so, every so often, when the "what did you do this weekend?" topic comes up and I proudly answer that I processed 50 pounds of tomatoes and canned 12 quarts of dill pickles, I'll get a pause, a smirk and a "Oh, well, I certainly don't have time to do anything like that" remark.

And tonight I asked myself: how many times have knitters heard that kind of comment, right on the heels of a "My grandmother used to knit" remark, from Muggles?  How many times has someone looked at what we're doing and passed a tiny wee perhaps-not-meant-to-be-condescending-even-though-it-kind-of-is judgment on how we spend our time?

Hey, this just in - everything we do takes time.  Every time we choose to do one thing, that's time we're not spending doing any of a million other things. That's just the way it is.

Is canning (or knitting) time consuming?  Absolutely.  Are you allowed to feel like knitting or canning aren't your cup of tea and you'd prefer to spend your time doing something else?  You're darn tootin'.  But where I get off is when that assessment is followed by a judgment on the value of how I choose to spend my time.  When it translates into "I wouldn't do what you're doing, because I have far more important things to do".

Yes, it takes time.  But I know that for every hour on my feet, every neck spasm, and every dramatic complaint from the kids about how "it stinks in here!!!", there will be excitement and authoritative pronouncements that Mum's sauce is the Best Sauce Ever this Winter.  And - to me - that makes the hours I spend canning well spent indeed.

Next time I get that kind of remark, I think I'm going to take a feather from my dear Grandma's cap and tell whomever that they can put a lid on it.  I've got more important things to do.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Only Solution

This may come as a shock to many of you, but, well…. I can be a bit of a smart ass (I swear, I can actually HEAR my father laughing out loud right now).  Yes, it's true.  I have been known, at times, to display a fair bit of the smug.  Really.  You’d be surprised at how often I suppress the urge to let out a loud and heartfelt  “Well, DUH!”.


As you may or may not recall (see how I did that?  Just completely glossed over the fact that I haven’t blogged in just shy of a month.  Ahem.), a few weeks ago, I joined Stephen West’s Mystery KAL.  I have plenty of sock yarn, and I do so love his designs, I figured this would be great fun.  I didn’t bother  to knit a gauge swatch thought because, duh.  It’s a shawl, people.  I’m pretty sure it’s going to fit your basic human shaped person, right?  Nor did I concern myself too much with the fact that the yarn I had selected fell slightly short of the recommended yarns in the pattern because, duh-huuuuh.  Everyone knows projects rarely require ALL the yardage that’s stated in the pattern.  That’s just the designers’ way of messing with you covering their bases.

[The astute reader will at this point have noticed that, despite FULL knowledge of established Knitter Wisdom, this knitter flew RIGHT IN THE FACE of tested and true traditions and cast on without a care in the world.]

Everything was going swimmingly.  I was enjoying myself, and for ONCE, was actually up to date with the clues as they were coming out.  The first 3 clues were charming, and I was really looking forward to the final clue coming out and having a completed project to share with my awesome and loyal blog readers (see what I did again?)

The final clue has you knitting the edges of the shawl, decreasing from 83 stitches down to 9 at a rate of 2 stitches every 8 rows.  Yeah, I know it's a bit technical.  Anyway, the point is that there I was, happily knitting away, when it occurred to me that this last clue was somewhat knit heavy, and that my 2 balls of yarn were feeling, shall we say.... a little less than full?  I started to think that I might maybe perhaps run out of yarn.

Total and utter shock, people.  No idea how it could have happened.

This is hand dyed yarn, there's no way I can get any more.  What to do?  At first, I did what we all tend to do when we suspect we're going to run out of yarn: I knit faster.  When that proved ineffective (as it often does), I decided there was nothing for it but to rip back to the beginning of the final clue and increase the rate of the decreases (from 2 stitches per repeat to 4.  That would definitely work, but after about 5 pattern repeats, I started to feel like the edges of my shawl were looking a little too stumpy, and that maybe I should go back to the original decrease rate of 2 stitches every 8 rows.

Now I'm about to finish the first edge, and the balls of yarn that were disappearing faster than a teenager asked to empty the dishwasher appear to have as much yardage in them as they did when I first cast on.  I think they may even have MORE yarn in them than when I ripped back.  Which is making me wonder if I would have had enough yarn after all, and maybe I should rip back AGAIN and knit it the way Stephen West intended.

You know what this means, right?  I mean... there's really only one option at this point.

I'm going to have to cast on a pair of socks.

Happy Knitting, Everyone!