Category Archives: KNITTY THINGS

(yarn, needles … patterns, projects … pieces made or wished for)

I made this 1.25.16

I’ve been so busy lately. I picked up an extra shift last weekend so I hadn’t had a whole day off since January 9th until yesterday. Sometimes I think all of this work amounts to pounding sand. I am paid weekly (and we need it, so it’s not optional) but I have such little time for myself.

Gabriel and I went to Costco to pick up some things. We got back, unpacked and put away and I got to do a teensy bit of reading, I downloaded all of my fiction cohorts’ pieces for my TWSO program, and tooled around on Ravelry to see if I could find a simple scarf pattern to do the Madeleine Tosh BFL sock yarn I got as part of the Holiday Yarn Club justice.

I haven’t knitted anything in ages, so because I’m a bit rusty with the needles it had to be simple.  Since I don’t have a lot of time to knit, the pattern had to be one I can more or less mindlessly do anywhere I take it.

I found a pattern that is both pretty and simple. It’s knitting up lacier than the images included with it because it looks like I’m using a finer yarn and larger needles but it looks lovely so far.  (Or maybe it’s because I knit more loosely.)  The Fir Wreath colorway is really pretty.

Did this little bit last night while watching a movie with the kids.  It’s not tons but it felt really good in my hands and I realized just how much I missed doing it.

sleep my little babbio

blanket

Sleep my little baby-oh
Sleep until you waken
When you wake you’ll see the world
If I’m not mistaken…

Kiss a lover
Dance a measure,
Find your name
And buried treasure…

Face your life
Its pain,
Its pleasure,
Leave no path untaken.
(from The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman)

I can only just make out the scent of autumn in the air but it’s there, right along with its knitty siren call.  As a belated birthday gift, I’m working on the first of a pair of fingerless wrist warmers. The second project is a baby blanket for an expectant mother.

I muse at the irony of my love of knitting —a skill, along with embroidery, that my seamstress mother declared she had no patience for.  It requires a sort of sustained and mindful, sometimes even meditative, attention.  This contrasts with the impatience that I exhibit when I attempt to work my way through a sewing project.  Clearly our sensibilities around what constitutes patience vary greatly.

wristwarmers

While I knit, I sometimes multitask.  If the project is a simple one which allows my hands to do the work without engaging too much of my attention (a garter stitch or a simple rib pattern, for example), I am able to watch movies while I work on a project.  When I work on more complicated things requiring focus and greater visual contact with the piece and the pattern, I tend to listen to audiobooks.

Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (together or separately) are favourites, in that regard.  As my son will attest, I will listen to the books repeatedly (enjoying them immensely each and every time), while I work on my various pieces.  The little poem up top is from Neil’s The Graveyard Book, which I adore.  I found a rather aged post that mentioned it was being made into a stop motion film.  That should be pretty fantastic.

beginner’s journey

Tomorrow I’m scheduled to have my gall bladder removed (though the hospital is expected to only let me know today what time I need to show up for the surgery). This morning, as I lay here in some measure of discomfort (the pain of this gall bladder issue ebbs and flows and is never a predictable predicament), I am reminded why it is that I signed up for this procedure.

It’s a day surgery and I’ll be released same day… we’ve come a long way, baby. My mom had a zipper that spanned upper right front abdomen, slashing down her side to the back. Not a small incision. I’m collecting scars in this life, apparently, and this new batch will be the third conglomeration, added to the hint of appendix removal from when I was six and more recently the c-section scar.

My last couple of more serious surgeries left no visible scars… traces of the cataract removal and lens replacement can only be seen under magnification and the heart surgery was done through catheters and those tiny incisions have also become invisible (or maybe I’m just not flexible enough to find them).

Another “optional” body part bites the dust. I posted on Facebook the other day a query about how many of them one could lose and have the body still function optimally. Does this mean that my gall bladder meridian will no longer have an organ guiding it or is it all on a subtle level and the guidance continues on despite the organ no longer being present? Ahhhh… the things I ponder (in the pre-coffee early morning).

I watched one of Justin Timberlake’s videos the other day from the Oprah Masterclass Series in which he spoke about how he embraces being a beginner all the time throughout his creative process and that he prefers to work from that place because it keeps him feeling fresh and alive.

I have to agree with him on that. I love being in and working from a place of inquiry. I like being proficient enough at something to feel like I’m not floundering but also still enjoy the excitement of discovery and the puzzle of figuring things out. Perhaps I am an anomaly.

Every new task can be approached in this manner, creative ones more obviously but also those that appear to be less so – like building a database for someone. The actions and steps have all been done before and are similar in execution but how you put it together is entirely project reliant, dependent on the current situation’s expected outcomes.

In any case, I’ve been doing a lot of that beginning stuff lately. I recently fashioned a new website (using their tools, clearly, but still had to learn how to use them) on Wix, I’ve created a tiny book, I’ve been sketching and writing (and those who do both know the feeling of what a blank surface evokes in a creative person).

Today, somewhere in between the cleaning, the laundering of bed linens, popping over to the grocery store for a few items and prepping some meals ahead of time in anticipation of being useless and in pain for a couple of days, I want to design a couple of knitting patterns for some fingerless cuffs and mitts to offer up for sale in the Shop.

On that same note, I have a few other things that I want to put up there but the shipping part has me baffled so I’m holding off. I need to figure out packaging, dimensions and weight and mailing details and speed and then go from there. It’s always a mystery, this mailing thing. In any case, that is what is holding up progress somewhat, but I’m working on it.

But I like this place… this space of discovery. It’s what I relish the most about new jobs – that place of learning what you need to know in order to figure out how you can apply all of your previously learned skills to the task, and picking up new ones in the process.

So the day commences… adventure awaits… but first, coffee!

knitty things

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Grrrr. Starting this thing over, since I can’t seem to stay focused on which row I am working(!) despite the row counter(!) and I also can’t seem to follow a pattern *cough, cough*. I inadvertently added several stitches (like five!) after resuming work on the scarf following several months of dormancy. NOT that it was a vision of perfection prior to this, mind you, because as I mentioned earlier, I would regularly lose count of which row I was on, so when I’d pick it back up again to knit on it some more, I’d do my best guesstimate and it would not always be accurate.

SO… out come all those hours of stitches, and starting it over once that is done. It is the Old Shale Scarf by Tiennie and available as a free download on Ravelry, knitted with Mini Mochi yarn in the Brandied Apricots colourway on US6 needles. It will be pretty once it’s done properly. I’ll admit that when I started this project (ages ago) I was a somewhat less seasoned knitter. Not that I’m great now, by any stretch of the imagination, but at least my gauge doesn’t wildly fluctuate between segments and I now cast on (and off) loosely enough so as not to skew the shape of the piece. Yay me. So here I go… starting over. At least The Fat Squirrel Speaks podcasts are keeping me company.

on being vulnerable and open

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Blogging has once again slowed to a crawl. Between fits of writing (both poetry and prose) and shooting the odd photo when I am awed by my surroundings, I also fulfill other functions: single-parent mothering, full time office working, part time (and very novice) yogining, friend being (to many, far and wide, and close), and occasional knitting. (That Hogwartz/Gryffindor scarf is creeping along slowly.) And soon to be (officially) a divorcée. Weird, this final severing. Such a huge chunk of my life tied in to this now defunct part of who I was and identified with, still searching to pick up the threads of where “I” left off and veered off from so long ago, in order to reclaim myself.

My ex-husband has been in a relationship with someone for quite some time now, and yet I continue to be alone in my life. Not because I don’t wish to share it with another, but because I wish to share it with the right person, and we just haven’t met yet. I also continue to nurse past hurts; it is surprising to me how long they take to heal. I wonder, sometimes, if they heal better when you let them show and share them with others, allowing them to be loved away. Still, I can’t seem to do that yet, even though I long to be able to do so, to be able to open my heart again to another.

I am happy, though, in this simplicity. Each time I look around me I appreciate what I have, the beauty that I see, in nature and in those whose lives cross with mine. I see kindness and humour and fearless vulnerability. And love. I am blessed.

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My life is filled with simple pleasures these days. Knitting has become a fixture, and alternately is used as a relaxation/meditation (replacement) process and a source of visibly productive creativity. I enjoy the fact that I’m making things but not having to ponder the process itself – the pattern and the related elements are already figured out and all I need to do is show up. Hence my Gryffindor scarf in the making (tucked into the beautiful Lantern Moon project bag pictured here).

Another source of joy has been reading, and this evening I had the pleasure of attending a CBC broadcast of a book club radio show. Tonight’s featured author was Annabel Lyon who read from and went on to discuss her latest novel, The Sweet Girl, at some length. I haven’t read any of her work but look forward to doing so soon. As with most of these types of events, I always leave inspired and amped to stretch my own creative muscles, only to feel sadly inadequate at the results. I enjoyed hearing Annabel’s response to a question from an audience member on a how-to point (taking the time to scoff at the notion that creative writing is not a teachable skill): in order to produce good writing one must learn the tools that, combined with taking the time to write in whatever increments are available, will bring about the desired results. That, along with John Cleese’s video on creativity that is making the rounds on Facebook lately, there is no substitute for time in the seat.

I sometimes get this feeling of a pesky niggling just beyond my periphery with such little to go on that I’m not even sure what it is that I’m taking note of or why, but enough to know that I must do something with it. Kind of like (in Annabel’s case) Hellenic sippy cups and spiny “bubble wrap” plants (read The Sweet Girl to see what that means). So the Writers’ Festival happening next month seems like a good, short, foray into picking up some skills for someone (like me, lately) with a short attention span.

nothing doing

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Sometimes doing a whole lotta nothing is what is needed. This weekend I knitted, watched the rest of season 3 of Drop Dead Diva and read through The Prisoner of Teheran so I could return the book to a friend today. I also rewrote the notes from my first and second sessions with Joel Brass after relistening to the session recordings. I’m thankful for having found such a wonderful therapist… it was long overdue.

Earlier in the week I’d come down with a cold and it seems that advanced R&R was in order. This morning I awoke early, vacuumed and cleaned out the litter box (all before 7) and then proceeded to drive in to work, as I had a parent-teacher conference at my son’s school later in the afternoon. The normally hour long drive doubled due to traffic snarls, and my day did not get off to a good start.

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By the time the evening wound back around, I can only say I’m ready for some tea and an early night. We picked up some new boxes of Stash’s teas and this Yumberry Blackcurrent tea is YUM. Now for just a bit of reading and then I think I’m going to call it a day.

On Mud Pies & Near Vessels and Wannabe Knitting Skills

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So I just got back from my pottery class at Place Des Arts. I spent another evening throwing little mudpies onto the wheel in hopes that at some point I’d actually manage to make a go of something resembling a vessel.

I’ve watched countless YouTube videos of people throwing and it LOOKS easy… but ha! surprise! it sure as hell isn’t.

So tonight (my third evening of throwing) I actually had two near successes. One was just about pulled and I managed to tweak the edge and thrown it off centre. The other was actually pulled and I was attempting to lift off the wheel with the lifters, but I made the bottom too thin and it ripped while I was trying to transfer it. OH well.

I may head over there this weekend during open studio and give it another go. I am getting really, really good at wedging clay though. And I should have shot a photo of my near success but thought of it only after I’d already rendered it into the hunk o’ clay pile.

This photo hasn’t a thing to do with clay or pottery. It’s yet another wannabe skill I wish to some day acquire because if I could make something like this incredible thing of light and fluffy beauty some day, I think I might faint. But it requires counting and keeping track of stitches and even some (gasp!) math, so unless someone walks me through the process visually as I’m going along, I’ll never retain it.

At the moment my knitting skills consist of being able to make a veeeery long scarf. But I’ll look at the magazine racks and occasionally the Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine will sing it’s siren sing to me and I’ll have it tucked under my armpit and heading to the checkout counter with it before I realize how it insidiously just invited itself into my bag.

If nothing else, maybe if I place it under my pillow, perhaps I’ll somehow miraculously acquire ninja knitting skills overnight by osmosis. Well, it was a thought.

Alright… time to call it a day. I can sink into slumber dreaming of petal pink lacy knits while the faint smell of fresh clay still lingers on my cheeks. Good night…