Tuesday, 29 May 2012


It's finished!

Well, it's finished if you use a loose definition of "finished".  I haven't measured it, or blocked it, or weighed my leftover yarn.  There may even be a couple of ends that are still sticking out although I'm not going to look that carefully.  I actually wove in the ends (as well as I could) almost a week ago, but it's been raining pretty much solidly since then.  The rain finally let up this afternoon and I grabbed my camera and the Enabler and whisked him to the backyard to try and get a couple of pictures.  He actually took some good ones!  I think that might be some kind of record.  My weird face in the first picture is just because I was making a weird face, not because he didn't take a nice picture.

Full disclosure, these pictures don't begin to show how ridiculously cold it was/is outside.  I'm just glad I was wearing a shawl.

Saturday, 19 May 2012

It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is snoring

Ahh, May long weekend.  When it doesn't matter how nice it is the week before, the weather always turns out like crap.

All week the weather was sunny and beautiful, and my apple tree looked like this:

My tulips started to bloom last weekend, and over the week they thrived.  I was pretty proud of myself as I planted the bulbs last fall and I had no idea if they were going to grow or not.  

Only two of the six hostas that I planted last year seem to have survived the winter and my neglect, but as they say, two out of six ain't bad (yes I know it's "two out of three ain't bad" but just let me pretend that I at least got a passing mark).

Now after last night's wind/rain/lightning/hail storm my tulips look like this:

A little muddy and bedraggled but they're mostly fine.  And I didn't take a picture, but my apple tree has scarcely a petal left on it.  The good part is that the continuing rain gives me an excuse to stay inside and put off yard work for another week.  Or perhaps longer, as the forecast for the next week looks like this:

May 20
May 21
May 22
May 23
May 24
May 25
6am - 6pm
Cloudy periodsVariable cloudinessCloudy with showersCloudy with showersScattered showersIsolated showers
Cloudy periodsVariable cloudinessCloudy with showersCloudy with showersScattered showersIsolated showers
WindNW 15 km/hSW 10 km/hE 25 km/hS 25 km/hSW 15 km/hN 15 km/h
24-Hr Rain-2-4 mmclose to 5 mm5-10 mm5-10 mmless than 1 mm

My colour affection shawl is coming along well, but due to the rain and prevailing gloominess outside, this is the best picture of it that I could get.

I like the colours and the yarn is so fabulously soft and smooshy, but I keep thinking that this is more of a fall/winter wrap than a spring shawl.  I'm definitely going to finish it by the end of May, but I don't know how much I will wear it before fall sets in.  I might have to make another one with lighter weight yarn and a brighter colour combination.

This afternoon there is a knit along for the Color Affection shawl, however also due to the rain, I don't think I will be going.  As much as I want to see the colours that everyone else has chosen, I have a stronger desire to stay inside where it is warm and dry.  And besides, I have to finish packing for my annual trip out to my friend's cabin that I leave for in less than 3 hours!  It's a comfortable cabin, and we always go there for part of May long weekend, and it always rains and/or is kinda chilly so it's a great time to get knitting done.  Last year I knit an entire sock while I was there.  This year I'm hoping to get Color Affection off the needles.  Only 7 more stripes to go until I start the border, so I think it's totally doable.  If not I will finish it later in the weekend or this week sometime.  Then I can start knitting something else!  Wingspan, perhaps?

Sunday, 6 May 2012


Back when I started this blog and wrote about my origins as a wooloholic and obsessive knitter, I inadvertently left out one key element: my Grandma.  Unlike many knitters, my grandma did not teach me how to knit, my mom did.  My mom doesn't remember if it was her mother or her grandmother that taught her how to knit, but in any case, my grandma was a very capable knitter and seamstress.  After knitting for most of her life, her vision declined drastically in her 80s.  Although she claimed she could knit with her eyes closed, she had entirely stopped knitting by the summer of 2010 when my grandpa passed away.  At that point she gave all of her knitting supplies, patterns, and accumulated yarn to me.  I was very much still a beginner knitter at that point, but I had knit and crocheted a number of scarves, and even a few blankets.  Most of the yarn she had was dishcloth cotton, so what else could I do but start knitting dishcloths?  It probably doesn't seem like anything huge, but this was definitely a push toward my current wooloholic status.  With the most basic dishcloth pattern that my mom used to make all of the time (and mystified me until I actually did it myself), I learned how to do yarn overs, increases, and decreases.  Knit corner to corner, it meant only 4 stitches to cast on and bind off, which were my least favourite parts.  It wasn't pretty, but it was just a dishcloth, and worked as well as it needed to.

Also in the stack of dishcloth patterns was a pattern for a circular dishcloth.  My mom deciphered the pattern for me because it involved some more things that I'd never done before, including short rows, casting off part of a row, and seaming.  Again, the first one I did wasn't pretty, but it was the first thing I ever knit that wasn't square or rectangular.  It was also my first clue that knitting things in different shapes wasn't as difficult as it seemed.

At this point I realized that the dishcloth was a good way to practice new techniques.  I had an abundance of cheap cotton, and a dishcloth was small enough that if something didn't work out it would be okay to rip it back and fix it, or do the whole thing over.  After cranking out about 20 round dishcloths I decided it was time to test out another technique, which I was pretty sure involved sorcery of some sort but thought I should actually try to figure out: cables.  I found a pattern for a simple owl cable dishcloth which ended up being the perfect thing to learn cables with.

Where my grandma comes in is not just providing me with the tools and materials to start trying out new things, although that was a big part of it.  Each new thing that I learned, my mom encouraged me to bring with me to show off to my grandma the next time I would see her.  She would ooh and ahh about each item, even though I know she could barely see it, and she would always tell me that she was proud of me.

Last year Grandma requested that I make her a shawl out of a large ball of cream wool that had been part of the stash that she had given to me.  I hadn't made anything with it yet so of course I was happy to oblige.  I ended up crocheting the shawl roughly following this pattern, and it didn't take long to do.  I don't think she ended up wearing it much, but in any case, she was thrilled.  

My grandma passed away last week, and she will be dearly missed.  Although she is gone, she will never be forgotten since she passed so much of herself on to others, not only in her love of crafts and handiwork but in her generosity and kindness.

I love you, Grandma!