Sunday, April 29, 2012

Let There Be Light

I have a new door and I am inordinately pleased about it.

April 2012 037  

You might wonder why I am this ecstatic over something a simple as a door but sometimes it’s the simplest things that bring the most joy. 

The fact is that this doorway has been out of commission for at least two years and for various reasons we haven’t been able to replace the door and frame until now.  This has meant numerous trips out the front door and around the house or, alternately, up the inside stairs, out the kitchen door, and down the outside stairs.

Now I not only have a door that opens and closes (very important qualities in a door) but it has a window (that also opens and closes and has a screen) to let in light to my laundry area and fresh air to the first floor. 

April 2012 034

Simple things but they make me happy.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

For the Win

It was about five years ago that I fell in love with Joe Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in colour 416, aka “Cocoa”.  This yarn, composed of wool, silk, and cashmere, is a soft shade of oatmeal sprinkled with flecks of brown, and, in much smaller quantities, white and pink.  I first spotted it at my daughter’s LYS in Olympia, WA and even though I made a point of seeking it out on each of several subsequent visits to the shop, I could never justify purchasing a sweater’s worth of this heavenly stuff.  And then Jessica moved back home and my opportunity to acquire this particular batch of yarn vanished, although the memory of it stuck with me. 

The details are fuzzy now but at some point I gave into temptation and ordered 10 skeins of my dream yarn from WEBS.  Their dye lot had fewer pink flecks than the yarn I’d initially been drawn to but it was beautiful just the same and I envisioned knitting it into a cabled cardigan.  Eventually I settled on Fylingdales and in January 2009 I eagerly cast on, only to find that I quickly became bored with the repetitive stitch patterns.  Over the course of the next year and a half the sweater spend more time in hibernation than in active duty and by September 2010 I’d only made it as far as the armholes. 

Knitting 1817 

Time for Plan B.  I frogged Fylingdales, washed and reskeined the yarn, and cast on for another cabled cardigan, this time Hallet’s Ledge.  Even though the pattern called for a heavier yarn I felt confident that I could substitute the Jo Sharp DK since it works up more like a worsted weight. 

It started off promisingly enough and despite an early setback I was quickly well on my way.

Knitting 1824   

This time I managed to complete the entire body and part of one sleeve before I came to the sad conclusion that it wasn’t going to fit.  The cables drew in the bodice more than I’d anticipated and even though I knew the yarn would relax with blocking, I didn’t think it would be enough.  Once again I ripped out all those stitches, washed and reskeined the yarn, and set it aside until the perfect project presented itself. 

Then last fall I came across Quercus, an A-lined, short-sleeved, cabled cardigan.  Knit from a worsted-weight, tweed yarn, it looked like it might be The One.  Cautiously optimistic, I put Plan C into action and cast on.  The design’s attractive stitch pattern and interesting construction techniques held my attention and it wasn’t long before I had completed the body.  I slipped it on, stretched the cables across my chest and thought it would fit once the front bands were added and the sweater was blocked.  Then life and other knitting projects took precedence and it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I was able to pick it back up and complete the sleeves, front bands, and collar. 

I tried it on again, stretched the cables across my chest and hoped it would fit once it was blocked.  I gave it a bath, laid it out on the blocking mats, thought it looked awfully small across the bustline, got out my tape measure, stretched it a bit more, and prayed it would fit once it dried.  It had to—I couldn’t bear the thought of a Plan D.

It did. 

Knitting 2602  


Knitting 2600

I win.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

On Hold

If I were asked to describe my life right now this is the phrase I would choose.  That and maybe “out of my hands”.  Just minutes after publishing my last blog post I received an upsetting, but not entirely unexpected, phone call from my daughter, Jessica.  She and Neil had decided to separate and could she and Andrew move in with us for a while?  With some regret, Cameron and I said goodbye to our empty nest and set about preparing the house for its new occupants.  We moved my office upstairs and renovated the two first-floor bedrooms.  We retrieved the kids’ old crib from the shed at the cabin, moved breakable items out of reach, and put plug covers in the electrical sockets.  Bring on the toddler—we were ready! 

February 2012 039

Well…as ready as you can be for life with a toddler.  Naturally, the changes go deeper than just decorating and childproofing—suffice it to say that a household with a young child (even a sweet and loveable one) is vastly different than one without. Used as I was to spending most days alone in a quiet house, it has taken me some time to adjust to the increase in noise, activity, and paraphernalia.  I’ve also begun looking after Andrew while Jessica is at work so that has left me with less time and energy to pursue my hobbies and interests.  Although I had big plans at the beginning of the year, I have put them on hold for now and am taking things one day at a time.

Even though I’ve put off my design project for now, I’ve still had time to knit other people’s patterns.  Since the beginning of the year I’ve knocked out several shawlettes and a hat,


  and, of course, there are always socks on the go.


One of my biggest accomplishments was to finish my journey along the Silk Road, with the completion of Mashad and Salor.  Yesterday, I pulled out all fourteen pairs and lined them up for a photo shoot. 

Knitting 2593 

I had hardly grafted the last toe when Hunter released the e-version of her second book, The Knitter’s Curiosity Cabinet.  This time the designs are based on botanical prints and I’m looking forward to knitting my way through the various plants and flowers, beginning with Chrysanthemum frutescens

Knitting 2581

Meanwhile, there are numerous other patterns calling my name and I may have had a bit of a cast-on party this past weekend.

Knitting 2584 

As for Cameron’s sweater…well, let’s just say it has suffered a bit of a setback.  Okay, really more of a major setback.  The Sweater That Shall Not Be Named will see some love again one of these days but for now it is on hold.  Indefinitely.