Category Archives: Yarn


I’m enjoying a rare Saturday off.  There are so many possibilities but only so much time. Here’s how I’m spending it.

On the needles:


Sunnyside Cardigan in Yarn Retriever, Giant Airedale Peaches

In my glass (or about to be):



On the tube: Under the Tuscan Sun

On the stove: Soup stock from Christmas turkey bones.

And in the garden:



Happy Weekend, everyone!


Down but not Out

It was only a matter of time, I suppose.  Everywhere I go, there is someone coughing, sniffling, sneezing.  Mostly cold germs, a few flu bugs, but I’ve stood strong and fought them all off.  Until now.  BB came down with the beginnings of a cold 2 days ago.  He probably picked it up in the hospital (more on that later).  I woke up early this morning  with my throat on fire.  Here we go.  To top it all off, we got a few inches of snow overnight.  Luckily, it wasn’t heavy wet snow.  Shovelling the driveway this morning worked up a sweat.  I’m told that’s good for a cold.  Or is that a fever?

Socks and mitts for the Canadian War Museum exhibit went out a couple of weeks ago. I fell deeply in love with the finished mitts.


The yarn was wonderful to work with and so very warm. Much as I’ll miss them, I’m happy to let them go to someone who’ll need them more than I.

I had cast on a wee shawl back in September but hadn’t got past the stockinette start. Once i figured out where I’d left off, it practically knit itself. Here’s the beginning; it’s been off the needles for a number of days but hasn’t been blocked yet.  You’ll need to bear with me before you can see what it really looks like.



(Live Oak Shawlette by Romi Hill, in Cascade Yarns Heritage Silk Paints, Forest Glen)

BB had knee replacement surgery last weekend, which is why he was in hospital (getting sick, obviously).  He’s recovering well but starting to get a little stir-crazy, I think.  Only 9-11 more weeks of recovery and rehab!  And me? Well, I’ve been working and knitting and fetching what can’t be carried while one is operating a walker. And knitting some more.

There’s been a lovely skein of Anzula Cricket in my stash, waiting for the perfect time to evolve.  I won it a while back from Grace Akhrem, designer extraordinaire, and loved it so much I couldn’t use it (this may only make sense to a knitter; the rest of you may disregard).  Until earlier this week.  Now, I’m wearing it (or a portion of it) on my hands.


(Swirling Gauntlets by Susanna IC, in Anzula Cricket, Grace)

The original (free!) pattern is thumbless and a completely naked thumb always makes me feel awkward, so I covered it up.  It was just a matter of picking up the cast off/on stitches and knitting up a little 1×1 rib. I only used about 40 g of yarn for these so I’m thinking of eventually making another pair of fingerless gloves with the rest.

But first, it’s been a while since I’ve knit a pair of socks just for me and there’s a skein of Raventwist Tyr calling to me from the back of the sock yarn cupboard.  I’ll have to dig it out and ask it what it wants to be.  I’m thinking something ‘fancy’, and just hoping I’m not too sick to concentrate on charts.  I’ll let you know.






Out With the Old

Happy New Year, everyone! For those of you who had a stellar 2015, may the new year bring you even more happiness. And for those who slogged through more challenges than imaginable this past year, here’s hoping 2016 will bring you what you need.

Being in the latter camp myself, I’m hoping for smoother sailing this year. We survived an unexpected move from Alberta to B.C. that included some severe downsizing and we’re still manoevering through the financial changes the move has created. Worse though, was saying goodbye to our bestest boy 3 days before we left Banff. That is something I’m still trying to deal with.  My world was forever changed when  Skyler died; he was the light of my life.

Though challenges seemed the norm for us in 2015, I did end up with 2 jobs that I love and have added some new members to my ‘squad’ – the friends that support me through all the ups and downs. (Y’all know who you are. Thanks for being there!)

And then there’s the knitting.  Too many changes, and more time spent working than I was used to, proved too much for me; months passed before I could pick up sticks and string again.  Don’t get me wrong – I tried.  I looked at new patterns daily and reorganized my stash but it wasn’t enough to get me motivated until, one day, I picked up the ‘cardigan in progress since November’ and kept knitting until it was finished.  It still needs to be blocked, the pockets sewn down and buttons added, but it’s progress, right?


(Roosevelt Cardigan in Cascade 220 SW Aran, ‘Chocolate’)

Finishing that led to a gorgeous scarf/shawl (again, something awaiting blocking) and a hat/mitten/cowl ensemble.  Some previously finished projects finally found homes over the past few months.  My favourite knitted dress went to a friend’s new grand-daughter in Markham.


(Fiesta Frock in Noro Taiyo)

A lovely alpaca sweater now belongs to a co-worker’s son.


(Top Down Raglan Baby Sweater in Berocco Ultra Alpaca, ‘Tiger’s Eye Mix’)

In new knitting, a request for a pair of fingerless gloves yielded these beauties.

(Woven Fingerless Gloves in Patons Kroy, Cadet Colors)

I’m finally starting to feel like myself again, as more things come off the needles. It feels good to find my way back. Now we’re preparing for a few more changes.


A Surprise Gift = Joy

When I got to work last Sunday, there was an envelope with my name on it resting at the register, .  Inside was a little thank-you gift for some work I’d done.


A friend had a knitted sweater with a hole in it and she asked if I might be able to mend it.  Her mother had made the sweater near 50 years ago and it had ‘got caught on something’, was the story she heard to explain the damage.  I’ve mended a hole or two in a sock heel, and thought this job would be a snap.  Then I got the sweater.


Sweater mending in progress.

It wasn’t so much a snag as a gaping 3″ hole.

I managed to find yarn that was slightly similar, but couldn’t exactly match the colour or texture after all those years of wash and wear, and my gauge was the tiniest bit off.  The pattern was easy to decipher and it didn’t take long to do the actual repair.


The real difficulty was trying to integrate all the broken threads – and there were a lot of them.  I ended up sewing in the top of the ‘patch’ and sewing/tying in all the wee loose threads.  Not a terribly professional job, I’m afraid, but at least the sweater can be worn (and washed again), and that was the point.


And now I get to buy myself a little something extra. Thanks, Lynda!




Cast on 340 stitches. Join to work in the round without twisting (2 tries). Work in lace pattern, decreasing in one round in each 4-round pattern. Knit 36 rounds thinking, at round 34, that something is wrong but trusting the pattern. Tink back to round 32 then reknit the same 4 rounds. Realize that the pattern chart must be followed while at the SAME TIME reading the written pattern. Realize that the problem started on round 2 (yes, that’s right – at the beginning).  Remind myself that I do know how to knit and I do know how to read but maythe 2 don’t work well together for me.  Remove needles from work and start rewinding yarn as project is ripped apart.   Hope to get needles back into fabric by round 2 so that starting over doesn’t involve casting on 340 stitches and joining in the round without twisting!  No crying.  Crying will only be allowed if project must be restarted from the cast on.  Get glass of wine.


Is It Spring Yet?

It’s a beautiful Spring day here in Banff.  Okay.  I know it’s not really Spring but it’s sunny, and breezy and above 0ºC and if only for today, I want to believe.


I’m still getting over the rough beginning to last week when I spent the last three days of my vacation sick in my hotel room bed.  I’m still waiting for all my strength to return as well as my appetite .  In the meantime I’m making due with mostly vegetarian meals, long walks with the dog and some Spring cleaning around the house.  Oh, and I hung laundry out on the line this morning.  Because I could.

As horrid as the end of my vacation was, the beginning was everything I needed and more (except for the very cold weather.  That I could have had at home.)  We spent 10 days in Toronto, for both business and pleasure.  I know.  I’d gotten some grief about that.  Toronto?  Why not some place warm instead?  Well, it’s been a few years since I’d been back and I spent as much time as possible reconnecting with the friends I’d left behind. There was much food, and some drink, and lots of laughter and sharing of stories as we caught up.  For the briefest time, I was home.  Sounds warmer than sunshine to me.

2013-01-26 001

The other key point of the trip was to buy some of the yarns that Canada Post shipping rates keep from me.  Sadly, my brush with death illness took some of my shopping time away and I didn’t make it to Ewe Knit to pick up some Indigodragonfly yarn.  But I did make it to Lettuce Knit for some gorgeous MCN from Zen Yarn Garden.

Recently Updated

It’s Serenity 20 in the new Art Walk Series.  This colourway is based on Franz Marc’s painting, “The Fox”.  It’s going to make a gorgeous shawl.

And a too-short stop at Romni Wools (there is SO much to look through!) yielded the perfect colours of Cascade 220 Superwash Sport for BB’s requested Rasta Socks,


as well as 2 skeins of Punta Yarns MeriTwist Hand Painted in lovely shades of brown for a cowl.


Good thing it’s not really Spring yet.  There’s so much winter knitting left to do!

Mornings Need Mittens

It’s cold this morning.  Oh, it’ll warm up nicely in a few hours, by about 20º or so, but right now it’s cold.  The Weather Network says it’s 5ºC in Banff, but where I am, it’s only 1ºC.  I live near the base of 2 mountains, and a river runs between them.  I get to see sunshine earlier than I get to actually feel it.

Top: Mt. Rundle
Bottom: Tunnel Mountain & Bow River

I need mittens.  My favourite fingerless mitts can’t cut it for the morning dog walk these days.  Gloves I have, but gloves here, as in Winnipeg or Northern Ontario, are genereally more decorative than practical.  When it’s cold out, your fingers want to huddle together.  Of course, I do have mittens, but they’re real winter mitts and are too heavy for most September mornings.  Besides, using them would feel like giving in to winter already and it’s too soon for that.  It’s enough that the furnace has been running for the past few days.  That’s my only concession – so far.

The mittens I envision will probably be plain stockinette stitch over the hands.  Seed stitch has been calling to me but plain will be faster.  The cuffs, though, those will be pretty.  I fell in love with Connie Chang Chinchio’s Gioielli Gloves but seeing as gloves are out (see above), I’m just going to use her smocked cuff pattern.  (The only link I could find is Ravelry; my apologies if you aren’t able to access it).

Gioielli Gloves from Textured Stitches

I’m hoping my yarn choice will work.

Llama Lluxury from SWTC in Camel

If not, here’s my second choice.

Gourmet Crafter Gourmet Sock in Moraine Lake.

Either way, I know I’ll love them.

MadMay 2012

I realized on Friday that I had 7 days to complete a shawl I’ve been working on haphazardly all month.  First I had to finish BB’s socks.  Then I really felt I needed those fingerless gloves I finished last week. And since it’s gotten even cooler, if that’s possible, I started thinking light mittens might be the order of the day.  That’s when I realized I only had one week to complete the shawl.  Now I only have a couple of days and I’ve hardly had a chance to work on it.

You see, it’s Mad May in the Madelinetosh Lovers group on Ravelry.  There are contests, and KALs (knit-alongs) and CALs (crochet-alongs) and there are prizes.  There have been special savings on gorgeous patterns from the designers and there is, of course, the yarn.  Everyone loves Madelinetosh!

I got swept up.  I bought the most beautiful shawl pattern from Boo Knits, called Fragile Heart.

“Fragile Heart” from Boo Knits

Knit and Caboodle  had the yarn I wanted, Madelinetosh Lace in Fig

I was so excited to start!  Never mind that I’d never knit with lace weight before.  Never mind that the pattern called for knitting in hundreds of beads – something else I’ve never done.  I was making this shawl!

The shawl is cast on with a tab and for the life of me, I couldn’t do it. I tried more than a dozen times. No luck. I couldn’t see the stitches. Knitting with lace weight yarn is like knitting with sewing thread, only softer. I wasn’t about to be beat by a cast-on. Someone very wise once said, “There are no knitting police” so I made my own way. I cast on a few stitches and made a couple of increases to get the proper number to start with. I did leave a long enough tail that I can go back and reinforce those first stitches if needed. That was the only hard part – so far. Even the beading hasn’t proved very difficult, tho’ 2 more hands would be helpful.

And here I am, after the weekend, having only completed 4 more rows. I could start the lace border right now and surely finish up in time but I really want a bigger shawl than that. That means at least one repeat of the 16-row lace section I’ve just finished. I’d feel more confident about finishing if I could just call in sick to work these next couple of days, but I might have to settle for finishing after the deadline. That would make me ineligible for the final prize, but seeing as I’ve already won a prize in this contest, I think I could live with the disappointment.

A post of my progress was randomly selected for a surprise prize last week.  The prize was a pattern from Boo Knits.  Here’s what I chose.

“Quite Continental” from Boo Knits

I think I have the perfect yarn for it, something I’ve been saving for a special gift, but first, to finish my Fragile Fig.  Maybe I can get a couple of rows done before work.


It’s been another dull day in our part of the mountains. It doesn’t feel much like the end of May but I did find my first wildflower in the woods yesterday,                                       Calypso bulbosa or Fairy Slipper the ferns are unfurling along … Continue reading


Saturday night is movie night at our house.  Sometimes there’s popcorn, other times licorice, and most always there’s yarn and needles in my hands.  Last night’s DVD was “The Grey”.  I’d never heard of it, but it stars Liam Neeson … Continue reading