This is mostly a knitting blog. Sometimes pictures of things I've made, sometimes not. I'm a guy who knits, I usually attend a men's stitch 'n' bitch on Monday nights, and I prefer natural fibres to artificial ones. I have a love-hate relationship with bamboo yarns: I love what they can do and how they look, I hate how they are made. I've been knitting since about 2003, though I really didn't get into it until 2005, while convelescing with a broken leg. I must have discovered something good, 'cause I'm still knitting years later.

Friday, January 25, 2013


When I was young, my mother referred to a porcelain Richard Ginori chandelier as her Judas. It was a gorgeous Italian-with-nekkid-cherubs-with-a-fine-patina chandelier (if'n you like that sort of thing), but it was always needing some sort of repair, fixing, adjustment, or TLC. It looked something like this, only more so.

I have a Judas in my life. I am currently working on a beaded cowl (no pictures, since the person for whom it is intended might be reading this, though she doesn't know she's getting it) made with Shibui sock yarn (100% merino). I have cast this mofo on at least three, maybe four, times. I have frogged it, I have gotten a third skein of yarn (since the first was marred from frogging it), I have dropped stitches and can't get them back on because of the beading (I get how to bead, but I don't get how to fix my mistakes through the beaded sections). Last week a friend took it home with her and tinked out six rows (at 200 stitches per). I got it back and began working on it, and promptly dropped a stitch, right in the beaded section.

I am ready to take the needles and poke them into my eyes.

Of course, part of my problem is I'm working with Addi Lace needles. I used to using wooden needles, which I find give me a good balance between slippy and grippy (thank you, Franklin, for that phrase). Metal needles are all about slippy, not grippy, so the damn thing falls off the needles if I so much as sneeze.


There is no way this is going to be done by Christmas (seeing that it was a month ago).

Of course, I've bought two more skeins, and the beads to go with them, in purple and in dark teal, so I can make two more of these things.

Maybe my brain is the Judas.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Fibre Friday

The holidays are long gone, but they left behind some yarn under the tree for me. I finally got some pictures taken of my new yarns, and include them here.

From David, two skeins from A Hundred Ravens, a yarn store in Waltham (I'd include a link, but they seem only to have a Facebook page). The skeins are 100% merino wool, soft, and I am looking forward to getting them on the needles.

 This is Coffee and Cream. It looks good enough to pour into a mug. The picture doesn't do the richness of the colours justice.

This is Flaming June, and I am not sure if this will be a hat or a scarf or something else entirely.

My friends Steven and the Fabulous Carlene gave me this skein of yarn, 65% kid mohair,, 35% wool, from Moonshine Design at Keldaby.
I have never seen this yarn before, either, and am looking forward to getting it on the needles. Again, I'm not sure what I'll make with it, but it is soft and luxurious.
I have good friends who know what I like, and feed my yarn habit. All three of these skeins are things I am excited about knitting, and can't wait to get any of them on the needles.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hats for the Niece and Nephew

I've been meaning to post these forever, but haven't had the time to get a decent photo of them. Well, of my nephew's. They are knitted from Aslan Trends Royal Alpaca, and I improvised the design as I knit each row. They are, more or less, the same, except that hers was knit on US 6 and US 7 needles, and his was knit on US 7 and US 8 needles. I put them in the mail today. Thankfully we are in for another cold snap next week so they will get a bit of use out of them before the early spring.

This is Michela's hat. Her favourite colour is green.

This is Peter's hat. His favourite colour is red.

The two hats together. I didn't realize until now how much bigger Peter's hat is from Michela's.

I have not seen my niece and nephew for over nine years, since their father and I are estranged. He is the person who most makes me wish I were an only child. But I hope the kids like their hats and that they can get some use out of them before it gets too warm.

Friday, January 4, 2013

On-Line Purchases

I have never bought yarn on-line. I've had the opportunity, but I've never availed myself of it. For me, buying yarn, even brands I know and have knit before, requires touching and smelling the yarn. Last week Webs had their annual end-of-year-sale. I couldn't make it out to Northampton this year, so I thought maybe I could get some good savings on-line. I dutifully went to the website, and even picked out a few skeins, especially of the lamented discontinued Cascade Pastaza. I couldn't do it. Even though I was pretty sure what I was getting, I wasn't able to buy the yarn without seeing it, touching it, and smelling it. And I know that Malabrigo and Madeleine Tosh yarns aren't always close matches, even when from the same lot. There are subtle variations.

I am rethinking what I am considering a stumbling block. I know that the Pastaza is something I like, and the colours listed are ones I have knit with before. But buying yarn is a sensuous and sensual experience. I don't get that experience when I buy things on line. Maybe next month I'll be able to admit that I've gotten yarn on-line. But for now, I can't do it.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Plans for Knitting in the New Year

The new year came in with a bang and I had vowed to myself to be more on top of posting here. Unfortunately, my computer decided to go belly-up on New Year's Day. I am currently using a friend's. So while I am sans computer, I am not sans yarn, nor ideas for all that yarn sitting in my bins.

One of the thoughts I had, in order to knit down my stash, was to pick a bin, any bin, and start knitting the yarn therein. There would be hats, scarves, sweaters, and I'm sure, some lace shawls. Probably regular shawls, too, since I know somewhere in that mishegas is enough yarn to make an alpaca shawl for someone.

The question is, would I be able to resist the siren call of new yarn? My penchant for Madeleine Tosh and Malabrigo might yet be my undoing. But if I could hold those purchases down a bit, maybe I might clear out some of the yarn I've been collecting for the last eight years. I know, eight years is probably nothing compared to some of the knitters I know. I know some people who have spare closets full of yarn they've been collecting for years. I have a few paltry bins. Still, if I didn't buy any more yarn, it would take me a few years to knit down my stash. Then I could start all over again!

Another thing I'd like to try to do this year is finish some of the outstanding projects I've got on the needles. I have at least six sweaters in various stages of completion. There's a hat I made for myself that just needs to be sewn up (I hate sewing seams, and in cotton it really tries my patience -- I need to move past the idea that this is penance for my sins). But I'd like to have some new(ish) sweaters for the cold weather, so if I can find them amidst all the bins of yarn (I think on of the bins is the Bin of Unfinished Projects), I might maybe get some of that done.

I did not finish my Christmas knitting. I know, bad knitter, no biscuit merino. I finished my nephew's hat this morning (and sewed in the loose ends on my niece's, even though I finished the knitting last week). I'll put them in the mail tomorrow. I have a friend's cowl on the needles, and I hope to finish it soon. I'll bring it with me to knit night tomorrow.

I keep thinking I'd like to learn how to make socks, but I know I'd suffer from SSS, Second Sock Syndrome. Maybe I can bribe someone to make them for me. Now there's a thought.