Saturday, 31 May 2014


Imagine teaching a knitting class, full of eager students at varying degrees of experience.  Some are just mastering the knit and purl, ready to tackle a ribbed accessory or two.
Others are a little more adventurous, practising yarn overs and knitting two together, perhaps learning to read a lace chart for a more challenging project - just a bit of lace though!
Some are a little more experienced, ready to tackle more lace or perhaps even a bit of colourwork...
And some are adventurous and experienced, confident and ready for a challenge - multiple colours, interesting shapes, unique patterns...
And then imagine giving all of these keen knitters the same needles, same yarn, and same pattern and expecting all to be successful without your hand to guide, without your prompting to recheck the gauge or the chart, without your assistance to redo that cable or pick back the row to fix the mistake.  You love teaching, you love watching students learn new skills, master new concepts, and collaborate with others to share their ideas.  And you set aside all of that for 3 days in May, so that standardized tests can be administered.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

5KCBWDAY7 - looking forward

I didn't participate last year, mostly because my blog was more of an idea than an entity then.  I didn't have a purpose in mind, so posted infrequently.  This week has led me to realize that I enjoy sharing my thoughts and knitting here in the blog world in a way that I didn't think I would.  It's brought a sense of connection that I had not really realized I was seeking.  So I thank Eskimimi for launching this year's event, and am grateful for all who came to see what I posted.  More importantly, I appreciate the time and effort others put into their writing... inspiration abounds!

My non-knitting life is full of timelines and deadlines.  I have, aside from a few gift knits, deliberately avoided committing to 12 in a year or a certain set of items to complete.  Instead, knitting will remain the one element of my life that will 'get done when it's done'.

Likewise, I love reading blogs with daily themes or weekly topics... but don't want to set those kinds of deadlines here.  This week has been fun, and I'm inspired to post more and to comment on others' writing more often, but don't want to make my creative outlet 'work'.

So in a world full of timelines, deadlines, and finish lines my goal is to stay my own course and see what comes in the year ahead.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

5KCBWDAY6 - the shop around the corner

My local yarn store and its owner Tina have had a huge influence on my knitting.  I love browsing and shopping, buying local and buying (on the rare occasion that I can afford it) a luxury skein or two.  Her shop is Soper Creek Yarn  in Bowmanville - about an hour east of Toronto for those of you who don't know small-town Ontario:
(image is from

Without the yarn store, I'd be destined to shop at box stores like Michaels for yarn, and be limited to mainly acrylic blends of fairly generic yarns.  (don't get me wrong, I'm not a yarn snob and have lots of garments I love made with Lion Brand, Patons, and other yarns from Michaels).  The yarn store allows me to peruse Malabrigo, Manos, Classic Elite, and Berroco yarns with projects and patterns to add to my queue.  I also get friendly service and the experience of shopping in my next-door community. 

Tina, the owner, knows a lot about yarn and about running a store that makes everyone feel welcome.  I've been in to browse and to shop, and have even braved the store with a child or two in tow... not a recommended way to shop!  She hosts knitting nights, offers lessons by appointment, and has recommendations for almost any project.  I've also become part of a knitting community.  Every year, Tina hosts a yarn challenge:  a specific yarn and colourway chosen, with projects displayed in the window and voted on each spring, and prizes.  My projects are always practical and rarely as creative as the ones others do (check them out in her blog archives) but always fun.  A few from the past years (top to bottom: baby sweater in Mission Falls 1824, hat in Briggs and Little Regal, hat and fingerless gloves in Cascade Sport).
I love going to my LYS - always inspiring!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

5KCBWDAY4 - inspiration versus creation

My tools that compete most often aren't the different kinds of needles - straight versus circular, 3mm versus 6mm, or stitch holders waiting for needles.

The argument is really with myself.  I spend a lot of time looking for inspiration and ideas, surfing blogs and scouring Ravelry.  Envious of the amount of knitting others do, knowing that if I just logged off and started knitting I'd get something accomplished too.  Still, like moths to a flame, I turn on the screen and gaze.

My knitting sits in its bag, my stash hides in the cupboard, waiting for me to move from inspiration to creation.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

about those photos.... 5KCBWDAY3

Stylized photos?  Depends on who is doing the photographing....

The prompt today asks us to photograph our knitting from a different perspective, to focus on the photography and not just the knitting.  I'm sure others will post lovely photographs with artistic and creative flair.  You will likely see beautiful images like those on Eskimimi's blog or knits modelled and styled with fashionable flair as seen on TheYarnista's blog

But here?  Not so much.  I had great intentions of taking beautiful photographs.  A few years ago I bought my camera, lens, and flash.  I practised taking still-life shots, and love my 50mm lens.  Then, life (and a dropped lens) got in the way.  I admit my knitting photos are not styled, staged, and shot to the best of my ability.  Most of the time, the photo is the 'selfie' in the mirror trying to catch a good angle of the garment.  Sometimes, it's my knitting plopped on a surface in my house (counter, bed, desk, couch) to take a photo of the yarn or work in progress. 

More recently, I've discovered that the best way to get a shot of my FO without the camera in my face and the glare of a flash in the mirror is to hand the iPhone camera over to someone else.  My most recent masterpiece:

 Blurry front view and slightly less blurry back view of my Boxed Pullover, photographed by my 7 year old son.  He's 7.  Sometimes, most of the time the moment behind the camera is just as important to me as the resulting photographs.  My son was so excited to take pictures of me in my sweater, until the picture was taken and then we were just as excited to open a new box of Lucky Charms and turn on DisneyXD.   Maybe better photos will have to wait....

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Meet Veronique! 5KCBWDAY2

5KCBWDAY2 Dating Profile Write a dating profile for one of your past finished projects. Bonjour!  Je m'appelle Veronique.  I am a French Girl, knit from the book by Kristeen Griffen-Grimes.  I have been in my current form since 2012 but I admit it took 6 months of hard work to become this version of myself. I'm soft and sheer, made from 70% alpaca and 30% silk by Classic Elite.  My edges tend to roll a bit, but I don't mind the casual edge to an otherwise sophisticated shape.  I curve over the shoulders, and my sleeves are long enough to keep you warm but short enough to suit a summery style.
 My main love is travel.  I have travelled across the Atlantic Ocean on a cruise ship... an opportunity of a lifetime as I ventured through the Mediterranean Sea and up the Bosphorus Strait to the Ukraine.  I was worn mostly in the evening over a cocktail dress or evening wear.  I admit the trip was an adventure of a lifetime for my owner (this knitter's mother).  I was ready for a long nap once I returned from the 66 day cruise, but came out for a trip up the Panama Canal a year later!   I look fabulous over dark colours, or bright colours, but admit white and creams make me (and my wearer) look washed out.  I'm not quite casual enough for a t-shirt and jeans... and admit I'm much happier dressed up than dressed down!

My owner is living the life she always dreamed of, one she worked diligently to save for over her working years.  She's travelling to far-off destinations with the knitter's dad, and I hope for another 10 years of travel adventures!

PS.  The back view is my best angle, if I do say so myself!

Monday, 12 May 2014

5KCBWDAY1 - at home with a project

5KCBWDAY1 A Day In The Life Describe a day in the life of a project that you have made, or are in the process of making.

I am a scarf, but I could be just about any project knit here in this house. 

I start with an idea, usually sparked by another blog or a Ravelry project seen on the iPad.  In my unravelled form, I hide in the 'stash cupboard' until I'm ready to be knit.  This is not a house strewn with projects or piles of half-finished items.  In this house, things are AWAY until ready to use or be worked on.  I spend an inordinate amount of time waiting in the yarn bins, hoping to be chosen next.

Once chosen, I change form, skein to wound ball, and begin.  Some days I am in the project bag without ever coming out... these are the days where the people in the house are absent at work or busy with the yard work, house work, and parenting work. 

When my time does come, I am spread across the lap of my knitter.  I'm on the sofa while the boys watch tv or play Xbox.  I'm on the bed during procedural dramas (Sherlock and Watson, Bones and Booth, or that detective who can remember everything), or during basketball games and hockey games.  Slowly but surely, I change from an unwound skein to a wearable item.   
 If I'm lucky, I will be soaked, blocked, and put into the closet here to be worn often.  If I'm lucky, I'll be given away to a kind friend who will appreciate the value of a hand-knit item.  Either way, my time here in this house will be spent knowing I'm worth the time it takes to watch the charts, count the rows, rip back the mistakes, and follow the pattern to morph into something special.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

something new

I'm going to try to blog with a purpose in mind.  This is hard, not because I don't like to write but because part of me knows that my readership is incredibly low (one or two have flown by, doubt there's a captive audience).  I'm okay with this.  I used to journal in a book about my life, knowing no one would read it.  I've moved to blogging about mostly knitting, equally sure that my thoughts will likely be unread.  I have no patterns to sell, no techniques to post, no connection to the fashion or knitting world.  I post photos of my knitting to remind me of what I have done, and what I think about the process and product of my knitting.  Some day, when I am too old to knit (Gasp!) I will look back.  I may laugh at the 'fashion' of the day, I may marvel at my skills, I may glance and look away....

So, at the risk of blogging with an audience in mind rather than only with my own future self as reader, I am going to participate in a week of blogging. 

I am participating not to gain a market for my designs or knits, but to feel like my knitting blog fits into a community of sorts.  Even if only on the outskirts, looking on with envy to those who inspire others to knit, design, create, and display. 

Saturday, 10 May 2014

summer scarves

I've planned a few summer scarves for some gift knitting.  It's the end of the school year, so I have two teachers to knit for, plus a couple of colleagues who are leaving at the end of June.  I want to knit spring/summer/fall scarves using some summer yarns.  First up:  Sakura Herringbone Scarf using Sakura Silk.  It's a silk/cotton/acrylic blend that knits up quickly at worsted weight using only one skein.  The pattern picture is incorrect - that's the seafoam scarf, also using Sakura by Estelle.  Mine will be in a peachy blend:
I'll also make the Seafoam Scarf using a different colourway.
More to come, as I work through the stash and patterns for lighter-weight scarves.  End of June is coming soon!

Thursday, 1 May 2014

We interrupt our knitting time for raccoons....

We live in a house on a ravine and a large yard.  As a result, we see squirrels, rabbits, birds, the occasional deer, and other wildlife.  The other night, we awoke to the sound of animals in our attic.  Not animals that tiptoe and whisper, like mice.  These animals were playing sports, wrestling, and running up above me.  The next morning (while it was still dark) the critters were spotted:  2 very large adult raccoons.  The Ministry of Natural Resources has a tip page for living with raccoons, and humane ways to rid them from your home:
To be clear, I don't want to live in harmony with raccoons.  They wreck havoc on houses, rip apart roof, soffit, and eaves.  They rip apart insulation, claw at drywall and flooring, and can create a mess in their new 'home' that is my house.  Most importantly, they are nocturnal and keep me up all night.  The wildlife removal company installed a one-way door in the spot where they were entering the house.  Awesome.... if they knew how to use it.  Instead, we had a longer night of raccoons spending almost all of their waking (and my sleeping) hours trying to find a way out and trying to figure out how to push open the new door.  No success.   Tonight I hope their learning curve will be less steep, they will leave and not return, and I will get some sleep after 4 nights in a row of listening to raccoons co-exist with me in my home.
Perhaps after a night of sleep I will feel ready to return to knitting.  A black and white project, perhaps?!!