Sunday, April 23, 2017

Yopping 43 - EZ as Pi

The sweater is done. I need to block and weave in ends and put on buttons but as it is it is finished and all my worsted stash is used up. I did lose at yarn chicken while I was binding off, but luckily I had a close enough match in my basket of odds and ends left over from my sock yarn blanket.

I want to make the sleeves longer, but I need to wait until I get some more yarn.

I trusted the pattern and it is going to fit beautifully. Good old Elizabeth Zimmerman.

She must have been a math genius to figure out that this:

with one quick fold turns into this:

which is why the reference to Pi in the title.

I am now diligently working on my double knit - pictures next week.

Happy yopping.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Yop Update 42 - EZ! Not!

This week has been all about the Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater. I know it is going to be fantastic when it is finished, but it is also a good example of me having to 'trust the pattern', because it is hard to imagine it is going to work.

However, having faith I continue on.

This has become a memory sweater because it is made up of stash wool I have from sweaters knit for my brother, my son, and myself.

How Elizabeth Zimmerman imagined this garment is mind boggling. It really is a trick of origami and faith. And as I head back towards the 333 stitches I only get a few rows completed in an evening. Once I get to the magic number of stitches I have to keep going to add more length and then after finishing the neckline I will pick-up the stitches to finish the sleeves. I think I will I-cord the edges at the end if I have enough wool. It is going to be a very cozy sweater and will have used up a lot of stash.

I also started another hemp zodiac double-knit potholder for the husband of the birthday girl from last week. But I only have four rows so it is not picture worthy. It will have the chinese character for Rat on it, and I will have a picture to show you of my progress next week.

Happy Easter everyone...

Chocolate time!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Not too old to snuggle (and an ask)

When she was younger she would come to my house weekly after school and we would knit. And have tea. And chat.

Once she turned twelve it seemed like all bets were off. When her family came to visit or we went to visit them she was noticeably absent - sleepovers, skiing, hanging with friends.

I missed her.

Last Saturday she plopped herself down beside me and asked me if I could rub her neck. She was sore from a day of skiing.

I rubbed. She cuddled in. We chatted about this and that.

She was back.

I am not sure when the opportunity will arise again, but it is okay. I will take what I can get.

One of my three honourary grand-daughters, and not totally lost to me after-all.

Speaking of grand-daughters I am going to put out a request to my readers.

My blogging friend, Michelle, has set up a gofundme page for her grand-daughter. McKinlee has a heart defect and has already had soooo many surgeries, and her parents are doing all they can. They need some help, besides all the prayers you can send their way, but financially they need help. Every little bit can help.

You can read McKinlee's story here, and if you are so moved you can donate to the GoFundMe here.

I don't have many readers, but if each one gave a dollar it would be a couple of hundred dollars to make their month a little less stressful. Something is everything.

Thank you for considering.

Here is to grand-children everywhere. May they live a life of good health and god-willing, peace.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Waking up from a dream

It was one of those awful early morning dreams: conflict, misunderstanding, loss, sadness.....

and then a knock on our camper door.

Two little girls, four and seven, scampered in, chattering away, shaking off winter boots, crawling up onto the bed with me.

My eyes opened to their smiling faces, their questions, their simplicity, their innocence.

The dream tried to linger with me.

The seven year old said I had tears in my eyes.

"Just morning tears", I assured her as I tussled her hair.

The dream tried once more.

But there, on that bed, that morning, there was only love, and happiness, and innocence, and questions.

Lots of questions.

And playing with the fan and the lights.

And coffee (for me).

And cookies (for them).

It is my favourite way to be woken up.

I look forward to more mornings just like them.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Yop Update 41

Finally we had a day without rain so I could start the soak of two of my fleeces.

This is a Babydoll black fleece - only about 1/12 of the raw fleece I have, but I want to see how it spins up before proceeding to wash more of it.

This fleece was so filthy it took at least five soaks before the water ran clear. It is full of straw and grass and I picked out as much as I had patience for - the rest will be dealt with when I card it.

Here it is after drying:

While I was doing the first 24 hour soak I started to hand card a Shetland fleece I had washed a couple of years ago. I am new at hand carding and the whole right/left confusion got in my way while I was learning via Youtube but I persevered and ended up with a whole bag of rolags. (which is only 15 gms)

Below is a Friesian fleece from my son. It was much cleaner but FULL of lanolin. I want to keep the lanolin because I am going to spin this for a Cowichan sweater so I soaked it overnight in cold water and it only took one rinse the next day before the water ran clear.

Luckily the sun came out on Tuesday so it could dry in the sun. (Unlike the babydoll that took so long to wash I had to dry it inside.

Here is the raw fleece:

and here it is drying in the sun:

and here are my first three rolags off the hand carders:

Needless to say with all the wool washing my hands are soooooo soft.

As far as knitting goes I started a new colour combination for my Iona:

but, that is as far as that got because I decided on Tuesday to make this doubleknit hemp potholder for a friend's birthday (which was yesterday).

She was born in the year of the Snake, so this is the Chinese character for Snake.

When my hands were complaining form knitting with the hemp I decided to use up some stash by starting two sweaters:

An Elizabeth Zimmerman Surprise Sweater for me using these colours:

and a Dizzy sweater for a little girl (tba) by Holly Yeoh with these:

I don't have enough pink, but I have some white which I will dye to match as closely as I can.

I haven't actually cast on the Dizzy yet. Well, technically I did, and knit about an inch before realizing the first wool I chose wasn't going to work. It was alpaca and too fluffy so the stitch definition wasn't showing through.

I have cast on the Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater after swatching and futzing about with her numbers to figure out how many stitches to cast on. The answer is:


Oh my, each row seems to last f o r e v e r!

Let's see.....what else?

Nothing. That was my Yopping week. I hope to have some spinning to show you next time.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Yop 40 Update and a word (or three) about Hope

This will be a short update as I am not feeling so great today.

I did finish the fourth quadrant of my blanket, so I have to block and sew it together and then figure out how to knit the border on directly.

I got caught up in some stash busting and made these two cutie pies for a friend of mine who had given me the pattern.

And I needed to finish this which I have been wearing pretty much non stop (although my husband asked me not to wear it when next we cross the border - duh):

Last night I wound the hemp I bought at Fibres West so I can start another zodiac potholder (or two).

I have begun a second square of the Iona blanket, but the teddies kinda got in the way. Once I finish this one the next will be in a different colourway (which means I have more yarn to wind).

Currently I only have two wips, so of course I must cast-on those pot-holders tout de suite!

Also the weather is finally sunny so I think today I will be washing some fleece - stay tuned.


On a personal note, I walked by a gentlemen both coming and going to the library and he was engrossed in a serious conversation about someone named Josh.

As I walked by him the second time he was saying "Hope is Hope". Then he said it again and followed it with "Hebrews 20:11 - look it up."

I took that as a sign and went home to look up the reference. There is no Chapter 20 in Hebrews, so I looked up 11:20.

"By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau concerning things to come."

It was about Faith. The gist being the Faith is Hope. At least that is what I am taking from it.

I think it was a message God wanted me to hear.

Faith is Hope.

I had forgotten that.

Silly me.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Yopping 39 - oh baby baby baby

Well here I am, apparently on a baby garment knitting kick. Next time I get invited to a baby shower I am so ready.

I finished the Elizabeth Zimmerman baby surprise sweater:

and while I was on a roll I finally sewed up the seams and put buttons on the surprise sweater I made a year ago.

and then determined to finish up this Cascade 220 in my stash I made these baby diaper pants:

I checked my Year of Projects' master list and saw I needed a purple baby hat so I cast this on yesterday:

and I am now on Row 27 of my fourth quadrant of the tree of life. I have decided to sew it together and then knit the border onto the blanket, rather than the way it is written which is to make the border separately and then sew it on.

I have been looking for pink Kool-aid crystals to dye my white wool so I can make a pussy hat but it seems that you can't buy the unsweetened crystals in Canada anymore. So I broke down and went to Michael's and got me some Pink Paton's Astra to make one:

The colour is deep pink, but didn't photograph well. It really is pink.

Finally, and most importantly I started my first square of the Iona pattern. This is a new technique to me, and was fiddly to start, but I am really enjoying it. I am going back and forth between magic loop, two circular needles, and dpn's and haven't decided which I like best yet.

Here is my progress so far - 1 square done, 34 to go!

I am almost through my list as far as knitting projects go, so I had better get back to the spinning wheel. The weather has improved to fleece washing and drying should go easier on the back porch.

Have a good week everyone. Spring is truly here. Daffodils and everything.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Why I am a Feminist

I don't have to like the things all feminists do or say because I am a feminist.

I don't have to like the things all humans do because I am a human.

I don't have to be black to believe that black lives matter.

I do have to respect that some blacks do not want me in their spaces because I don't make them feel safe. Because I trigger something in them.

I do have to respect that queer, transgendered, or lesbian people may not want me, a cis-gendered woman, in their group.

I can be angry about things some men have done to me, and my sisters-in-arms and not be angry at all men.

I am a feminist because I have sat at meetings and said things that have been ignored but when the very same thing was said by a man at the table it was applauded.

I am a feminist because I have come up with good ideas at meetings that were later attributed to a man.

I am a feminist because I was assaulted in a pub by a table full of boys and I didn't do anything about it. Nor did anyone else.

I am a feminist because I quit a sewing course I was enjoying because a group of boys taunted me on the bus ride home.

I am a feminist because a boy tried to force me to have sex with him and I apologized to him as he drove me home.

I am a feminist because my father wouldn't let my mother work.

I am a feminist because 100 years ago I wouldn't have been allowed to vote.

I am a feminist because women are still considered to be chattal in some cultures and not too long ago in mine.

I am a feminist because a strong women is still considered bitchy, or whiny, and a strong man is considered powerful.

I am a feminist because there still is a glass ceiling.

I am a feminist because there still isn't equal pay for equal work.

I am a feminist because I see all those aged, white men in boardrooms, and parliaments and senates and it makes me crazy.

I am a feminist because I want life to be fair, and it isn't.

I am not throwing out the baby with the bath water.

Just because I speak out for women, or blacks speak out for blacks, or queers speak out for queers doesn't mean that other lives don't matter.

It just means that the lives that are needing to be heard at that moment matter and their cause does not need to be diluted.

Of course we all matter.

Of course we all should be kinder to each other.

We should all be human, just human, but we aren't there yet, and just because a movement makes some mistakes, or gets too militant, it doesn't mean the movement is or was a mistake. It just means we are growing, and learning, and striving.

Maybe being angry isn't the best way, but it is a necessary step in the way.

I don't think we should ever talk in absolutes about all men, or all women, or all blacks, or all muslims, or all christians.

We should talk about behaviours and consequences, causes and effects.

It is true that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

But an eye for an ear makes it harder for me to see you or you to hear me.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Yopping 38 - Done with Cold Sheeping

I did finish another pair of socks:

I did almost finish the third quadrant (although I was cocky and didn't use a life line and had to redo rows 61-63 three times).
Lifeline now securely in place.

I did start my second Elizabeth Zimmerman sweater using up my Cascade 220.

and then?

Then I bought this pattern Iona, from Lucy Hague.

And then I went to the Fibres West convention to buy wool for the above said blanket.

I have always fretted about choosing colours, but Kinfolk Yarn was there, and I was determined to pick and choose and finally ended up with this:

I am so happy - and my wallet is now so light - and I am officially not cold sheeping anymore. Cold Sheep is a term used on Ravelry. By committing to going Cold Sheep (instead of cold turkey), you’re committing to not buying more yarn until you hit a certain time goal or have knit down your stash of previously purchased yarns. I have been cold sheeping for over a year (except for that wool I bought in London, and that hemp I bought last October) and I did promise myself that if I was to buy yarn once my cold sheeping was done I had to have a project in mind. And I do. So there is that.

I also bought some more hemp (300 gms) for a couple of more zodiac pot-holders.

And of course I HAD to buy more stitch markers, because, well, Houston - we have a problem.

Lastly I have some white Cascade 220 that I am going to dye pink because I just have to make myself a pussy hat. I have re-wound it into a skein and now I am off to buy some pink kool-aid.

I just have to - cause I just have to have one of 'those' hats.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Yopping Update 37- more socks

Nature abhors a vacuum, and empty needles demand cast ons.

I did finish quadrant two of my cloud drift christening blanket, and have started quadrant three, but as I said last week I was itching to cast on some new projects because having only one wip just wouldn't do.

I found the perfect pattern for the remaining 22gms of qiviut I had in my stash. I don't usually buy patterns because there are so many free ones on Ravelry, but I realized that I have no problem buying a coffee for five bucks, so I treated myself to this Arctic Qiviut pattern. It is a simple 8 row lace repeat, and it starts on 3.75mm needles, then moves to 4mm and ends with 6mm.

I haven't blocked it yet, but have worn it twice. It feels like a kitten wrapped around my neck. Now I have to go buy a white blouse to wear it with. (any excuse to shop, right?)

I had 28gms of homespun and decided to make yet another pair of Cat Bordhi's Tibetan socks. These practically knit themselves. I started Thursday and finished them last night before bed. Ta-Da! (The colour section is my homespun).

I have a similar amount of a light blue homespun, and this Alpaquita Royal blue is perfect for these house/yoga/camping/anytime socks so I am casting on another pair today. This pattern requires you knit with two strands of fingering and using the alpaca as one of the strands means that over time they felt a little and therefore wear like iron. I still have the first pair I ever knit, I wear them all the time, and nary a hole.

I bought another Lucy Hague pattern - Iona. I don't have the yarn for it, but the method to produce these celtic forms intrigued me. Fibres West is next weekend so I will go looking for the perfect yarn for this pattern and for the Seattle Cowl pattern that I also am wanting to cast-on but I don't have the right yarn in my stash.

Speaking of my stash - it is really getting very small as except for some hemp I bought last October, and the yarn I bought in London last August I have been knitting strictly from my stash.

Oh, and I won a prize on Ravelry for my stashdown efforts - 2mm nine inch ChiaoGoo Red Line needles. As soon as they arrive I will cast on another pair of socks - pattern tba.

Speaking of needles (this post is becoming very stream of consciousness) I bought a nine inch Knitter's Pride Dreamz circular in January and was not happy with the way it caught the wool at the join. I contacted Knitter's Pride and they told me to return to the store where I purchased it and they would happily replace it. I was very pleased with their customer service and the service of my LYS.

I also did some knitting on a gift - but I can't reveal anymore here just yet because - it is a gift.

Okay, I think that is my news. We did have two more days of snow last week, but it looks like the forecast is rain, rain and more rain all the coming week. I actually have crocuses up in my front yard - so yay - Spring is springing.

Happy Yopping, Happy week, and if you want to follow along with other Yoppers you can find them here.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Update 36 - Life is Funny

Yes, life is funny. I woke up to this:

It is March right?

The other funny thing is - you know those socks I frogged last week because they were making me cranky?

Well, I looked and looked for some other wool to make those Cookie a socks - Kai Mei, and I looked for a different pattern for that yarn, and well, that dark blue yarn and that pattern just wanted to be together, so I changed from dpns to my nine inch circular needles and voila!

Needless to say, my baby blanket was somewhat put on hold, but I did get to row 26 on the 2nd quadrant.

I also finished the second sock of my Tibetans using my homespun. They are so cozy and warm they have been on my feet all week because

a) I have a nasty cold (probably due to the pool/firemen fiasco of last week), and
b) it is snowing! (note snow in top of the photo)

Here is a couple of shots (before the snow) of my Uncia shawl that I was blocking last week:

As of this minute I only have one WIP on the needles, and that can't do, so I will likely cast on another pair of Tibetans (god, I LOVE Cat Bordhi), and a cowl that I want to make to use up some qiviut and homespun I have.

That's it for me this week.

Sort and sweet, because I have knitting to do, chicken soup to eat, and a new series on Netflix to binge watch - When Calls the Heart.

Did I mention it is snowing here?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Yopping Update 35 - a frog, a sock, a tree of life and firemen too!

Yes, I frogged this week. I picked up my Cookie A socks which I had cast on during my cast on flurry a number of weeks back, and working with the dark blue was making my eyes very tired and me very cranky. What's the fun in that. I have not abandoned the pattern, but I think I have just the homespun that will do perfectly. Stay tuned.

I finished the first quadrant of my baby blanket and it is very pretty, and knit up fairly quickly. Look at all those trees of life.

I picked up my Tibetan socks that I am making from homespun and voila

first sock done and ....

second sock to the heel so I will finish these tonight while watching the Oscars. On a side note the book in the picture is my go-to sock book. I have made every sock in the book, but these tibetan ones I have made at least ten times. I LOVE Cat Bordhi.

Oh and the firemen story....

I was swimming laps yesterday and had been in the pool about 30 minutes when out of the corner of my eye I noticed a flashing light I had never noticed before. I looked up and saw all the lifeguards ordering people out of the pool. This usually happens if a baby's diaper has failed and, well, you know.

But no, this time the lifeguard told me to follow everyone OUTSIDE! It was 7 degrees outside (celsius) but felt like it was 0. Luckily I had brought a towel onto the pool deck, something I rarely do, so I wrapped myself up and followed the line of people. A lovely man joked with me that he thought the pool was the safest place if there was a fire, and as I was already starting to shiver I agreed.

The staff were handing out extra towels, and I snagged another one, and although they didn't make us go right outside, they did make us stand near the doors in the large atria. I was tempted to snuggle up to the warm looking Dad who was holding his three year old, but I only stood close enough to get some of his body heat.

The firemen arrived all geared up and searched the building and finally determined it was a false alarm and the blasted alarms were turned off, but are still ringing in my ears.

They allowed we could go back to the change rooms but the pool wouldn't open for another five minutes while the lifeguards got reorganized.

I headed for the shower and turned on showers for all the little girls that were shivering. Once they let us back into the pool I headed for the hot-tub, then the steam room, then the sauna and then back to the shower.

I think I am warmed up now.

My excitement for the week. And why are ALL firemen so gorgeous? Is that is the job description? Wondering minds want to know.

We had snow again this week, but my hoya is blooming so I have to believe Spring will come. Two blossoms this time. I know my mother is looking down from the spiritual world giving me props.

I did get three things onto the blocking mat this week and took over the kitchen table for a day. I will post artsy pictures once they are dry and I can find a gorgeous model.

Please notice the sun coming in the window. Sun!! Made for a crummy picture, but SUN!!

And to close here is a picture of my long suffering husband.

If you want to follow other yoppers here they are.