Category Archives: skilled labour

Looming Ahead

Hello internet!

I’ve not been posting properly lately.  I used to think that posting every three days was reasonable, and I really got it done – but then, the past two weeks happened.  I got a job serving, and wouldn’t you know that I worked 97 hours last week (plus other commitments doing other things).  Not only did I not knit very much, but I also barely managed to keep eating properly.  It wasn’t a winning couple of weeks chez nous.  But!  I did finish those Belle Epoque socks.

I decided to disregard the pattern instructions and knit the lace pattern down to the toe.  I did that by decreasing until the 1×1 rib was used up, and then I started decreasing the faux cable.  I think it worked out really nicely, and I’m glad I listened to my gut.  They fit perfectly, and the yarn is really nice and light.

I’m pretty pleased with the finished project regardless of my previous grumpiness.  I’m pleased I don’t have to knit on it anymore!

In other super exciting news, guess what I’m going to do with this yarn after Friday?

Why, yes!  That is Hemp for Knitting from Lana Knits in Sprout and Olive colourways!  How did you know?

I’m going to purchase (get this) a Cricket loom this Friday.  Come hell or high water – I’m so, so excited!  I’m going to use the lighter green for the warp and the darker green for the weft.


Sunset on my Insteps

There it is, folks:  my gusset decreases.  By my (rough) calculations, I have about 8 rounds until I can stop decreasing and start knitting the rest of the foot.

I am (in my most secret of hearts) an enormous and fierce complainasaurus, and I’m not loving the pattern.  It’s kind of like that part in The Fighter when those over educated folks tell Amy Adams and Mark Wahlberg’s characters about the cinematography in Belle Epoque (1992); over my head and wildly fruitless.

It’s not that it’s complicated.  In fact, the pattern could fairly easily be changed into a 2 row repeat with a lil’ something extra every 8 rows.  It’s the thoughtless editing that kills me.  I get exactly what Morgan-Oakes was going for:  a nice faux cable with a bit of faggoting on ‘ere side with lots of 1×1 ribbing for stretchiness and fit.  I get it, and I do think that the finished product would look sweet if it were written out exactly the way I wanted it to be.  In all fairness, the pictures in the book do show the sock as written;  there are just some odd bits that, in a parallel universe, I would fix.

You see, I made a (futile) commitment to myself at the top of the year to start knitting other people’s patterns.  I have a square head, and I know that, and so, most of the time I make up what I’m doing.  I have many calculators for that reason.  I have a colouring book for that reason.  I even have lead pencils for that reason.  But in music, in knitting, and in life, sometimes you have to concede that there is a lot to learn from what other people are doing, so I elected to knit 11 patterns that I didn’t design.

I’ve cheated remorselessly on this commitment.  For instance, I’ve added 1×1 ribbing to this sock, and I’ve ignored gauge because I’m a maverick and sometimes mavericks can’t help but maverick.  But the cast on number of stitches needs to be right!  And by right, I mean that the stitch pattern shouldn’t require that there be a strip of two knit stitches on ‘ere side of the sock legs.  That’s right:  on both sides of each sock there is a strip of two knit stitches where there should be a 1×1 rib.  See that seam-like thing in the picture below?

The fastest way I can amend this problem is to cast on two fewer stitches per sock;  that way, the k1,p1 rib which is then followed by the p1,k1 rib will stay constant by ending with a purl stitch and everything would remain beautiful and perfect in the entire word.  The slightly slower way would be to add another stitch to the faux cable.  I can slip four stitches!  I can!  I swear I can!  I have lots of faults, but dishonesty isn’t one of them.  And again, the picture in the book does show the same seam.  I had just assumed that it was due to a tension issue.

I guess my biggest regret isn’t cheating on my commitment one more time.  This is causing me so much disatisfaction that I’m near to ripping the whole thing out and starting over.

One think that’s keeping me content is this yarn.  Why oh why was it discontinued?

100% wool… ah.

A Thorough Update

I’ve been a bad, bad blogger lately, and I haven’t been thorough whatsoever in detailing my knitting projects.

Project the First:

The buttons weren’t sewn on when those pictures were taken, but they sure are now.  I’ll take another picture tomorrow, so you can see how awesome these are in person.

I knit the armbands with the handspun and hand dyed yarn that I got from a friend of a friend of an old woman who used to live in my borough.  Look at the tag;  that yellow yarn was dyed with turmeric and alum.

The yarn was over spun and dyed in an odd way.  I love how you can see her learning process.  As she learned, her yarn became more delicate and more consistent.  The dyes took better and you really got to see what she was going for.  That yellow yarn was all in pieces when I got to it.

I really like the symbolism of using her work as well.  The idea of a person becoming fascinated with creation (as opposed to participating in consumerism) at a late age at least twenty years ago simply points to how separated most of us have become from the creation of tangible and useful textile art.  I love that both she and I have had the same yearning to make cloth.

Project the Second

I’ve knit quite a lot of the ribbing, but I won’t know if I’m ready to bind off the ribbing until I try it on.  I’ve been crazy busy as of late, so I haven’t plunked myself down to slip all those stitches onto waste yarn to try it on yet again.  I think I’ll aspire to do that tomorrow.

Project the Third

The neckerchief is 7 inches long, and I think I’m going to knit for at least another inch.  I went to a bluegrass night at the Barfly in Montreal, and I dropped a bunch of stitches.  I ended up having to rip back about 3 rows to figure out exactly where I was supposed to be.  It’s looking lovely, though.

Project the Fourth

I don’t have any pictures of this project (my awesome flaming tea cozy) because I haven’t made any progress on it.  Alas!  I am dreaming of needle felting all over that thing.  Yeehaw!

Project the Fifth

I’ve recorded the first song I’ve ever written on my music project blog, ClairelyNow.  Please listen and let me know what you think!


Slick as a school boy’s…

Okay, that’s a gross blog post title – but heck, it made you think of sleeves, right?

I know I sure have to spend more time thinking about these sleeves.  There are so many distractions that are keeping me from knitting on my sweater.  I love the pattern and it’s super easy to keep track of, but somehow it’s slipping through the cracks.  I’m going to try to knit at least two more inches today and see where that gets me.  They’re two thirds done already, but I want them completely done by Tuesday.  Likely to happen?

At first glance, I would say, “I think not”.  But, with that said, I do knit rather quickly and I only (realistically) have about 3 hours of good, steady knitting until the damn things are done.  I could be underestimating myself, but if I can knit, oh, 126 inches square in about 2 hours then I can do 168 inches square in 3, right?  Or something thereabouts.

I love that Lamb’s Pride.  It’s hard to describe why I love such neutral colours and simple yarns, but the best reason is because of the stitch definition.  It’s hard to find a yarn that will retain that clarity and show off your work in the long term.  Variegated yarns will come and go, but a beautiful worsted weight in a neutral colour will pretty much always look great.

I’m sorry about my long absence from the blog.  I have a visitor chez nous and have had a super stressful few weeks past.  Things are starting to look up in the new year, though.  And I have some friends to get me through.


Did I mention that my heat was turned on?  It’s awesome!  My house is much warmer than the -6°C (21.2°F) that says it is outside.  Kudos to my ancient radiators.

But because the heat is on, the air in my apartment is much more dry.  We have a humidifier for the bedroom at night, but we don’t leave it on during the day.

In colder climates, experiencing higher degrees of static electricity during the winter months is common.  Newer radiators compensate for the lack of humidity in the air, but we live in a deliciously old apartment and can’t expect such modernity.

Human skin (when dry), synthetic fabrics, and cat fur are all really good at collecting electricity.  Static electricity is really just kinetic energy that’s stored on the surface on an object; so, me tossing and turning under my synthetic blankets with my dry skin is basically just magic waiting to happen.  And then (of course!) Patrick Purrswayze hops up on the bed and demands cuddles.

Honestly folks, I’ve never seen anything so pretty in my life.  When I pet my cats at night and everything’s all still and dark and perfect, and then I run my hand down Patrick’s back, the static electric shocks just sparkle and glow.  The cats purr more deeply, and the light reflected on their fur is so beautiful.

And in knitting news – I’ve knit 15 glorious inches of pure sweater awesomeness.  I’m going to knit about another inch, do the armhole shaping, and do some math because I want this edition to have long sleeves.  No pictures because I don’t feel like it.  But here are my kittens!


I’m having major issues concentrating today.

Every night, I do the same thing.  I lay in bed and berate myself for not doing all the things that I had intended to do, and forget that knitting is actually my job – and therefore, that knitting is not procrastinating.  I plan a relatively mundane list of things to do for the next day, and then, I avoid doing said things.  Sometimes it’s going to the grocery store and sometimes it’s making phone calls, but always, I don’t do whatever the things are.

Right now, I have to go get a shower and wash my hair.  Then I have to go get some bloodwork done.  I need to go to the grocery store and get some olive oil.  I need to knit some more so I can get to the next stage of my project and I need to do laundry.  But I don’t want to.  I will, but I don’t want to.

So here goes.  I’m going to hop in the shower, go to clinic and the grocery store, and go home.  But I won’t enjoy one second of it!  Damn.  I want to eat cookies and take a nap.

Now here’s a picture of my sweater.  11 inches down, 4 to go, and then the sleeves.  Huzzah!

And actually, here’s my ball.  I’m on my second ball of Lamb’s Pride Worsted Superwash, and I love how it’s crumbling in on itself.  It makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere, you know?

As a final note, my cats have met a compromise on the shoe box situation.

Bag of Infinite Mystery

I have this bag.  It’s green, it’s small, and I carry it with me everywhere.  I usually have at least one knitting project in it along with needles and waste yarn and stitch markers and scissors and various notebooks and, well, everything that you need to survive (including snacks!)

My cats are therefore obsessed.  They sleep on it whenever it’s off of my back, and Bazzy chewed off one of the zipper pulls when he was a kitten.  Remember my Kitties in Cases post?  They sitting in or on most cases, but they love my bag most of all.

The bag is perfect for kittens who like to sleep.  I highly recommend a backpack for making kittens perplexed.

In other news, I got around to changing the strings on my guitar.  They’re so new, it’s intimidating.  I used to have excellent rainbow strings that we got in Venezuela.

Now they’re boring and bronze, but they sound much sharper and more clear.  I get frustrated when I can’t hear my guitar because it reminds me of one time I was busking in the Halifax market.  An older man came up to me, gave me twenty dollars, and lectured me for about 10 minutes on playing with dull strings and professionalism.

There’s an old myth that you should name your instrument or it’s bad luck to play it.  My beautiful guitar is named after Tarzan’s lovely gal, Jane Grey.  Ain’t she gorgeous?

She’s very nearly as pretty (and sometimes prettier) than my kittens.