Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Finish Line

I am getting closer to finishing my Shetland Cardi. Just one more buttonband, one neck edge and get the sleeves on. And finally some duplicate stitching. Okay so maybe I am not finished.

I am also trying to get a pair of Chipman Check mittens done as a gift for the holidays. One is done and the other should be in a few days. I am thinking of knitting in a lining and if I decide to, which I probably will, then of course neither of them are done.

Sometimes in the past I find that I have to look for a new project but this is not one of those times. I have a million things in mind that I want to get done.

1.) Matawa Mittens
2.) Matawa inlay on mittens (see how that works)
3.) Finish my Cobweb Shetland Stole - that will take some time especially being in black
4.) Socks made doing lever knitting with some great marino wool
5. ) Need another hat for the winter for myself
6.) Gloves for my son this winter

That is just the start of the list. Finally I want to wish everyone who reads this (if any) a Happy Holiday Season, A Merry Christmas, and Happy Hanukkah, and of course a Good NEW YEAR.

Not sure if anyone reads this but if they do I wish you all the best in the coming year.

P.S. If you do read this perhaps you could let me know with a quick comment just this one time. I am a bit interested to see if anyone actually is reading this.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Go Easy With Love

Although there are few days that I don't wake up thinking about knitting today was one that I didn't. Today we had to say goodbye to our dear family member Toulouse.

Toulouse was a cat that had a tremendous amount of love in his heart. His favorite thing was to jump on to your lap and push his head against you so you would rub him. His other favorite love was catching mice. I remember 16 years ago, going to pick him out with my two kids in the back seat with excitement in their eyes. They chose one of the kittens and my daughter named him "Toulouse" after the cat in the cartoon "The Aristocats". Odd name for a cat but that was what it was. The first few days my kids would hug this little kitten, and it would wriggle and get away and hide under the bureau. I would spend time to coax it out so they could hug him again.

Over the years Toulouse was a great cat and a great family member. My son and I took him to the vet this morning to say goodbye. It was a hard day. Later on this evening my tv turned off for no reason. I turned it back on and a few minutes later it turned off again. For some reason I feel that was Toulouse saying he was still with us.

Go easy my good friend. You were loved dearly and will be missed greatly.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

How you can hate something so nice

As a knitter I tend to enjoy learning new things and techniques. Like on my last post where I learnt a few things from the harlot. Well about 3 months ago I decided to join a KAL to learn how to steek a sweater. I had heard about steeking but never done it. For those who don't know this is where at some point you take a big sharp pair of scissors and proceed to cut right through your knitting, usually from top to bottom.

I know you are thinking what sane knitter would do this, but of course it has it's purpose which I shall not go into. Anyways, the sweater is a beautiful stranded cardigan from Rowan. The KAL was going to be about 8 weeks. Well, here we are at are 10th week, and although I have come a long way, it feels to me like the end of this keeps moving farther down the road. I am spending so much time on this project to try and finish it that I will probably have to go this winter without gloves, hats or scarves.

I am at the shoulder shaping part, trying desperately to remember my short row shaping and wrap pick ups. I have gone backwards as much as forwards and each day think that it would not be so bad to just drop it out of my car window and forget it ever happened. I am growing to hate this beautiful object.

Of course sometimes the best projects are the ones that were hated the most during knitting. This was certainly the case with my Shetland Shawl that is now one of my favorites.So I shall not throw this out the window. I will not accidentally have it fall into my fireplace. I won't even misplace it in a garbage can on garbage day.

No, I am going to keep moving forward. I will finish my shaping. I will block it out. I will three needle bind off the shoulders. I will seem parts of the arm. I will attach my sleeves. I will put on my ribbed bands and attach my ribbed bottoms. I will do the ribbing on the end of my sleeves. I will attach buttons. I will cut the steeks and sew them before and after. I will do the duplicate stitching.

Yes I will do all of this and hopefully sometime before I turn 80 I will have a great looking cardigan for my wife to wear.

Sure I will go hatless, mittenless, shawless, sockless and every other thing I could have knit in the meantime but I will move forward. Isn't that what us knitters do. At least the ones that have an unnaturaly strong pull to this art form.

Wish me luck!

Monday, November 26, 2012

A Day with the Harlot

Saturday I had the lucky fortune to be able to spend a day with the Harlot. Yes, the famous and oft quoted "Yarn Harlot. I was very excited and looked forward to my day.

The morning class was about speed knitting. I was really glad and sometimes things just happen at the right time. You see, I had been fooling around with a technique called "Lever Knitting" or "Irish Cottage Knitting". I had found this on you tube. It looked like an incredibly fast and efficient method. I was having trouble getting it so looked forward to being taught from Stephanie. I was not dissapointed and was able to learn correctly how to knit this technique. Needless to say I have spent the next 2 days knitting this style. Of course I am doing a ribbed noro striped scarf which normally would drive me crazy. Yes, I hate scarfs. Not the begginning of them you see. Just the remaining 2/3rds. That being said I am really enjoying learning this style on guess what......straight needles.

The afternoon class was on matawa knitting. In other words knitting with silk hankies. I thought that we were going to be knitting mittens but it turns out this was not the case. Although I was not as crazy about this class in the end I did learn what I wanted. That is how to knit with silk matawa hankies.

Throughout both classes Stephanie was well spoken, knew incredible amounts, and was very funny and entertaining. And I was able to learn to great skills with alot of other amazing tips thrown in.

Thanks go out to UNWIND YARN HOUSE and the new owner MICHELLE for hosting such a great event. The Yarn Harlot in Newmarket.

Can't wait to order some silk hankies and start making some mittens.

And of course I was the only knitting male in the class.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Now That's Amazing

Let me start by saying it's been quite a while since last I wrote. My apologies but it has been a very hectic year.

Both my children are now out of the house in University so I am trying to get used to being what I guess they call an "Empty Nester". I call it "I LOVE THE CLEAN BUT MISS MY KIDS".

Funny, while they are teens and rolling their eyes and eating you out of house and home you can't wait for them to move out. Of course when they do you wonder why you ever thought that in the first place.

I have been very busy knitting lately and most of the year was dedicated to shawls. The two main were for my DIL and the other to a special niece. I was thrilled that my DIL actually wore hers to the wedding and there were many comments.

I also had the extreme pleasure of attending my nieces wedding and having four people wearing estonian shawls that I had knit for them. That was really a treat.

And of course the picture above shows my "Flying Geese" mittens that were adapted from Robin Hansons fantastic book.

I also figure I am out of my mind as I decided to order "Cobweb" 1 ply yarn from the UK in order to do a shetland lace stole that has lace on every row. And to make it more fun the yarn is in black and I am using 1.5mm addi lace needles. You know sometimes I think I really have very little going on upstairs to try these things.

Of course that too is on hold as I am taking a Shetland Cardigan KIL that involves steeking. I always wanted to learn how to take scissors and cut my work in half so decided this would be a good time to do it. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Of course I am the only male in the class of about 18 females. Sometimes I wonder whether me being there changes what the course of conversation would have been. Afterall, I would think there are certain subjects that females must talk about when males are not around.

And that brings me to my title. Last week I was at the hospital waiting for my dad to be discharged. Since I was there for about 8 hours I had brought along a simple hat that I was doing for my son. What was amazing was how many of the nurses came up one after the other to tell me how shocked and stunned they were to see a male knitting. That this was something they had not seen before. It was as if I was sitting in a room naked. And of course all would tell me how in the old days it was the men who knit but Given how young most of them were I figured "How do they know".

Yes, here we are in the year 2012 and it is still amazing for women or men to see us guys knitting. I wonder if I was naked which would be more shocking. The naked or the knitting.

Well, hopefully I will never find out. Hopefully for both of us.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Some Days are best Left!

Let me start out by saying no matter what kind of day it was, given the fact it was my daughters 20th birthday it was a great day. That being said it really was a day to be left!

It started out with a traffic jam on the way into the office as well as an ice storm on the roads. Given I had a 2 hour drive to take my kid out for her birthday it was not a promising start. Got to work though and then got a barrage of calls. Ended up leaving late. Got out to my kid and the restaurant that she picked ended up being closed when we got there. We found another but really it was not the greatest. It was the greatest being with my kid though. Have to keep up that mantra. I then took her to the mall as I had arranged a new cell phone for her. I was really excited about this surprise. Unfortunately, in the process of getting her cell, it took 3 hours of sheer stupidness at the bell world. By the end of it my kid was almost in tears. I was upset having her standing at the kiosk for 3 hours on her birthday. Finally we got it all looked after and I took her home. Well, wouldn't you know that my cell phone died. Oh well,

Of course on the way home we hit another traffic jam. Just what I needed. I was hungry and could only think about getting home and getting something to eat. Finally made it home but before eating I felt bad that Archie (my dog) was home all day, so I took him into this golf course for a walk. It was a great night and I thought this would calm me down.

Well, Archie, who is always one for adventure decided right at the end of the walk to go chase a skunk. I don't have to tell you how that ended up. Basically me and Archie arrived home, stinking. I threw him in the back yard and jumped in the car to get to the pet store before it closed for some antiskunk spray. So much for eating. It was now approaching 9pm.

Got back home and whisked Archie down to the tub in the basement where I washed him for the next hour. It helped but he still smelled. Given he follows me around the house, it so followed that I would have to sleep downstairs with him.

Well that was the day. Of course the next morning I woke up and my TV died. Later I got yelled at by some (and I won't say what I feel) idiot. His dogs were barking in his backyard and he was upset that I happened to be in a public park walking my dog. He of course never walks his dogs which is why he was overweight (again being nice) and why his dogs bark so much.

Well apart from another washing of Archie that was my day. Really the last 24 hours could have been left. Left out, left off. Just left.

As for my knitting I have not been taking may pictures of my projects. I finished the Aeolian shawl but have to block it. Hopefully this weekend. I am working on another shawl with DK yarn which should be interesting. Not sure if it will be to heavy or not. It is cotton/Silk blend. Also getting ready to do another sweater.

Finally I just received my copy of "Principles of Knitting" today. All I can say is WOW. I will talk about it in a future blog.

Well, Happy Birthday to my kid and for me let's hope that cloud that was following above has finally moved on.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

All for the sake of a ball?

Sometimes the ability of the human mind to rationalize is astounding. Actually I mean the ability not to rationalize. Last sunday I was out walking Archie in the golf course. Now, usually he likes to carry his ball in his mouth. Given that the all is worth $5 I really take great pains to make sure we end our walk with the ball still with us. Well, this time as we got close to the end of the course, Archie took off onto the frozen ( and not frozen) pond. He has done this before. This time however, he dropped the ball in the unfrozen part. It slipped just a bit under the ice. I tried to see if he would get it since he was in the water anyways but he did not.

Well the next morning we returned to the scene of the crime. This time I had a long stick. As we approached, I could see the bright orange ball, floating on the surface but it had moved a bit farther into the middle of the pond. Although that nagging feeling told me to not do what I was going to do next, I of course ignored it. Archie had been on the pond many times before, and sometimes he even broke through but got right out.

This time was different though. As he got to the edge of where the water was no longer frozen, the ice cracked and his front legs slid into the water. His entire head submerged. I was freaked. Then his whole body went in. He turned to get out but the ice cracked and he could not get out. There he was in the middle of the pond, with his front paws on the ice and the rest in the water. We were isolated with no one else around.

I thought for a second and then just acted. I got down on my belly and spread my hands and legs out. I knew this was stupid but what choice was there. I slowly inched my way closer to the opening, hoping that the ice would hold even though Archie weighs less by half and it did not hold him. I got close enough to where I could grab a hold of his collar and then heaved. He came up and out of the water. I slowly backed up and miraculously made it back to the shore. We were both soaked.

How stupid was I that all for the sake of a $5 ball, we would try this stunt. How stubborn are we men that we refuse to let some ideas(like getting a ball back) die. Luckily we were both wet but fine. We hightailed it home and then dried off.

Let's hope that my stupidity level does not rise that high again.

As for knitting, I have not posted much on Ravelry but have finished quite a few projects. I hope to get some pictures.

I finished my first double knit hat with a different pattern on the both sides, I also finished my Aeolian shawl and am just waiting to block. This is for my daughter-in-laws wedding. I also did a quick toque to replace the one I had lost, and a pair of socks.

I am know at that point where I am not sure what I want to knit next. Hmmmn. Sometimes there are so many patterns and no time and then other times, hmmmmn. Well I guess it will come to me.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Girls and Me

A few weeks back I gave a free seminar at Unwind Yarn showing the techniques to do double knitting. I want to thank the 30 plus ladies who all showed up eager to learn this new thing.

Now just to be clear, I am not talking about stranded knitting, which in down east is also called double knitting. No, in this case we are talking about knitting both a front and back at the same time on the same needles.

I had tried this a few times, but got the idea after it got cold walking my dog. So I decided to knit a two layer mitten. The outside layer was Cascade 220, which I figure would be fairly hardy and look good. The inside was done with Misti Alpaca worsted. This was for it's warmth and extreme softness.

I must say I had a great time teaching this method, and the girls were all eager and fantastic to work with. Each one had success at learning this style. I have even seen a few of the ladies try their own double knit mitten.

It's great to learn new things, and even better to share them with friends. That's what I consider all of you girls who came out. Afterall, when you spend 2 hours with people doing something you love how can you leave at the end of the night and not be friends. Thanks ladies. You always make it a pleasure to teach and I always learn something from all of you.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Archie and Me -

 Who would have thought that one dog, rescued a short while ago would become such a good friend in so short a time frame. Yes that's my dog Archie. And this past few months he has certainly been up to some hi-jinx.

It started last month after I had taken him into a forest area for a walk. Archie loves these walks cause he can run into the woods and then come out somewhere down the path and run back to me. After our walk, while we were back home, I noticed him licking at his arm. A closer look showed that he had somehow taken a good chunk of skin off.  I quickly called the vet, and a while later, Archie had gotten himself his first set of stitches. He had 4 to be exact. Along with a bunch of pills, and a taped up arm, I was also given the "Cone of Shame". For those of you with dogs, you know that is the big plastic cone that goes over the dogs head and prevents him from getting at his wound.

I really did not want to put this on him, so instead pledged to keep him with me at all times. The first night worked well, and the next day I took him to work. Later that day however, when I went to the washroom, he promptly took off his bandage. Of course this meant going back to the vet to have it re-wrapped.
Archie and Toulouse wondering how to get at my daughters pet rats.
Again I pledged to keep him in my site, but of course later that night I awoke to the sound of Archie pulling off the second bandage. I had to face the fact that the "Cone of Shame" was the only choice. So with a sad heart I put it on him. Well, the look on his face nearly broke my heart. I don't think I have ever seen a dog look so despondent. All night long he just walked around the bedroom, bumping into things with this space sized cone, and then back over to my bed he would come. His head resting on my bed he just sighed and stared at me with the saddest eyes.

I am please to say however, that after that night, I took the cone off and the bandage and found that without the bandage he would leave the wound alone.
The second problem was that he was on limited walks. This meant that after a day or two he was incredibly rangy. This multiplied each day. Well, to make a long story a bit shorter, his leg healed and I paid a fair sized vet bill.

Now we were back in business, so off we went for a walk in the golf course. Archie, ran ahead and as I got closer so that he was scuffling with something. It looked like a large rat, but I think it was a groundhog. The two went at it for a bit before I finally got him away. As I pulled him away, I noticed that he was bleeding. The groundhog had been able to land a couple nice bites on Archie's face. Again I called the vet and again set out to have him looked at.

As I was driving to the vet, I remembered something else. Something I forgot to tell you. You see, early that day my SO decided that she was going to pain Archie's nail a metallic Blue. Now of course I had said many times before, "please don't paint the dogs toenails". Of course you can see how much this was listened to. Now as I neared the vet I thought about how I was going to explain my big manly dog having "Blue Nail Polish". I didn't now who would be more embarassed, me or Archie. Well, in the end the wounds were not too deep and back home we went. Another large vet bill and another rehabing dog.

Finally today, I felt that he was recovered enough to brave another walk in the golf course. I prayed that the groundhog was no longer there. And to my delight he was nowhere to be found. But of course that isn't the end of it. Archie took off running, and the next thing I know he is chasing something. Something just as fast. Yes, he had found a fox and the two were moving at quite a fast speed. My heart dropped. What next.

Well, I don't know how the fox did it but he lost the dog and got away, Of course Archie, running through some trees had ripped his scab and was bleeding again. And off to home we went so I could clean up the wound.

Yes, it has been an eventful few months with my dog. I do think however, we will stay away from the golf course for a few weeks.