Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Suddenly the fiction on my bedside table has been replaced by books meant to inspire sense and order in life. My life, that is. For starters, I purchased a physical weekly agenda because although I have a Blackberry for work (which desperately needs a new handmade case), I seem to be forgetting all the non-work stuff. Like cross-country practices and birthday parties, doctor appointments and library due dates. Real stuff. The agenda makes me happy - it's red with embossed cherry blossoms and even though it's larger, it weighs less than the Moleskine version I almost chose (this is very important when you happen to walk everywhere). Dorky as it sounds, I already feel more organized, not to mention I love using a pencil again. You don't have to re-charge a pencil every night.

Next up, Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project. I haven't totally forgiven myself for delving into a pseudo-self-help book, but I have to admit - I'm enjoying it. Yes, it's entirely anecdotal and unscientific. But her experiences are relevant to me at this stage in my life and I appreciate the bite-sized amounts of research she peppers into her prose. There's no way I'm going to start going to bed early though, even if that would result in more happiness. Those hours after the kids are in bed are simply too precious.

The book that has me making notes like a fiend is In-House Design in Practice by Cathy Fishel. This is completely for my work life, but it has needed some organizing - or maybe vision - for some time now. I try to keep the "work" me out of this blog, and I'm not about to break that rule now, I only want to say that it's amazing when someone can capture all the bits and bobs of what you've been struggling with at work and then inspire you with case studies and practical advice. Reading should equal inspiration, fiction or not, right?

And I have to thank Ginny for her Yarnalong post last week - she inspired me to start another Girls Cap Sleeved Sweater for Sadie. I had just enough Milodon wool and the colourway is fantastic (though my poorly lit photo is not). Hopefully next week I'll have a little person to model the finished garment. For more reading and knitting inspiration, hop on over to this week's Yarnalong.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

golden red

Two weeks of knitting, one week of button choosing and now I actually have a finished sweater that I love.

I've had 3 different sweaters on the go since January, each one unravelled after so much time invested because it just wasn't working out. But I started this one a few Fridays ago and it came together quickly. I enjoyed every single minute of working on it. The pattern - the Golden Wheat Cardigan - is fantastic and easy, and I've learned once and for all that I need to stick with the yarns I love. For example, I started a new pattern with Cascade 220 a few days ago and it was making my hands raw so I'm calling it quits with that workhorse wool. If I don't want the wool sitting in my lap then the project is doomed. There's still plenty of colours left in the Luxury Tweed that I can try, although I'm also getting pretty close to ordering Quince & Co because knitters have been raving about it (and the colours are great).

I did make a couple of modifications to the cardigan. I'm not a huge fan of reverse stockinette, so I used regular stockinette instead with KFB increases on either side of the 2 st raglan seams. I didn't make any decreases in the sleeves and used the larger needle for the garter cuffs and bottom band. I ignored the waist shaping; with no chest to speak of, it's better for my sweaters to be straight or they hang funny. And I forgot all about the pocket! I think the Luxury Tweed was a good yarn for the pattern because it's drapey and so the neck is flexible, looking more like a cowl. With stiffer wool it might retain the boxy shape and give the cardigan a whole different look.

And during this time I finished a really delightful book, Vaclav and Lena. Not that it's a light story, but the characters are really well developed and a pleasure to witness growing up. They are both Russian immigrants and the dialogue of children learning the English language added to the overall charm. I'm almost finished Half Broke Horses but I'd have to say it's not my favourite. At times I don't really like Lily Casey Smith and in order to fit her whole life into one novel, experiences are just touched on and for me, it lacks the depth of experience that would make me really understand this woman. Every read can't be amazing, and I'll happily finish this one and move on to the next.

Happy knitting and reading, and don't forget to check out this week's Yarnalong.

Monday, September 19, 2011

the almost cables

For no specific reason, I have avoided trying cables.  But then I came across the Frog Tree Cabled Tam (this version in particular is amazing) and thought it would be fun to try something new. I'm easily excited, it turns out.

Here's the verdict: cables aren't scary, the third needle makes the knitting interesting and I'm still in love with Debbie Bliss Luxury Donegal Tweed. But even with gauge, this hat is huge on me. I could store another whole head of hair inside that thing. I haven't even finished the hat in these photos (there aren't any decreases yet!) and it's already big. I have had this problem with hats perhaps I just have a ridiculously small head. Jay had a few choice descriptions for the overall look, all voiced through rather uncontrollable laughter. I haven't unravelled it just yet but when I do, it will in no way be related to the cables. The cable thing was definitely fun.

With the change in weather, I still need a hat though. I'm trying the Big Blue Beret with my one remaining ball of this wool instead. If it goes well, hopefully I can summon the courage to undo all that virgin cabled knitting. Better luck next time.

Friday, September 09, 2011

stitches to live by

This summer in the tiny town of Bloomfield, at a little antique shop called Dead People's Stuff, I found a sampler that I just had to have. Even though this was made from a kit, I love the tone of the saying and it seems unusual for something that looks vintage (sure, subversive cross-stitching has become popular in the last decade, but I'm used to finding sincere sentiments in older work - not something that would make me laugh). The pinks, purples and chocolate brown are pretty sweet too. We don't add much to the house these days, but it was fun to squeeze this find into the kitchen. And hey, it helps me feel way better about any indulgent baking that may occur in there.