The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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On Babylon Falling

Babylon Falling, my favourite independent bookstore is closing.  The announcement came, yesterday, and now it’s hitting the wire here

BF is owned by Sean Stewart, who I know & love.  Sean has stayed true-to-concept in the 2 years BF has operated in Nobb Hill.  I wish I had been able to visit the store but have been following his events page.  It’s been amazing to see the store come into being, and to evolve.  Sean has built a presence in the community, and more importantly, a space for authors, artists, photographers, journalists.

This is a net treat as well – as the link for BF will tell you, there’s a 50% sale through April.

Nuff love & moreover, respect.  It’s all good.


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Just Received – KIP in Style!

Big up to Brother-man!!  Lady B has arrived.  And is. In my house:

It’s so big inside – big doesn’t cut it as a descriptor… this bag is downright capacious.  I like the pattern (nope, not of Red Hat Lady age – ahem!), and the sheer size is feeding right into my secret plan to knit Connie Chang Chinchio’s Silk Cocoon Cardigan from the Spring Knits mag.  Just need to figure out a way to buy the yarn…

Double big up to Brother man for the bonus gift – a first edition of Derek Walcott’s speech for the Nobel Prize!  Today isn’t feeling drab at all anymore:)


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It’s a pair!

At long last, I have finished the Norwegian Mitts!  The photos are a bit off but here they are:

Right Mitt

Right Mitt

Left Mitt

Left Mitt

Left Mitt's Palm

Left Mitt's Palm

Eventually, I’ll block them but for now I’m just so happy to have:  (a) learned colourwork; and (b) done an Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern!  Feels like ‘real’ knitting.  The left mitten knit up pretty fast – only 2 sittings for the body of the mitten.  I have small hands, so that helps!  I really liked working with the Eco Wool, and have plenty left-over.

As for the sock-in-progress… I did rip her back, and am just going to knit it plain.  I was surprised that the Wool Bin ladies raved about it.  Apparently denim sock yarn is a rare find.  I had no idea!  It’s not been the priority though.  Having been empowered by a set of painting tips, we decided to finally tackle our powder room.  It’s been long days of scraping wallpaper.  Every inch was glued down, so my arm is aching…  We got a light blue – icy moon drops or something – and cracked the people up at Benjamin Moore in the process.  This is a steeeep learning curve.  See, our parents were never DIY people… in Jamaica painters aren’t expensive at all…  So, for all the wonderful upbringing we have NO clue on the paper/ paint front.  Wish me luck… the walls need more prepping!


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Time flies

It’s hard to believe we are at month-end, and that Easter is around the corner – where is the time going?  The second half of this week has felt very airy and unstructured.  On Wednesday, I got sick of my own company, screwed up some courage, and went to my LYS for their ‘sit & knit’ afternoon.  I know & like them but it’s a new thing for me to knit with anyone.  I’m glad that I went.  The ladies were surprised to see me but soon picked their jaws up from the floor.  I was surprised to see the store so busy, and liked observing the people & getting feedback on my own sock improvisation.  They were great, and I’ll go back again if I can.

As for the sock, the improvisation is to use left-over sock yarn on the heels and toes.  It’s a thicker yarn than the main one, and I figured a way to compensate.  Having done 1 heel, I’m minded to rip back, and do-over plain.  I’m worried that it looks weird but also that the yarns will wear unevenly…  While I give that a think, I’ll be returning to the oft-spoken-of Norwegian mitten.

Yesterday was pretty groovy as well.  I went in for an early doctor’s appointment, and got through in no time.  I wafted on downtown, and found my hairdresser (follicle engineer?) was idle.  That made for appointment no. 2 of the day.  Unsightly roots be-gone!  That was followed by lunch, and before I could pull the sock from my enviro-sak (yeah, still waiting for the Lady B bag – double hint to Br9ther dearest!) a friend calls to say they are off work early, would I like to have coffee?  That just flowed into dinner, yoga class, and interesting phone calls.  With all this “life” happening, I missed American Idol, and am itching to knit something terrible.  Oh, and it was a half-class, so my tight shoulders got discovered by our teacher.  Numerous corrections later, I am feeling sluggish.

ETA – My friend complimented the new spring scarf.  I did say I’d take a commission…

Today’s eaten up now too.  The kitchen floor is crying out for the mop, so I better go take care of that.  Hopefully, at some point, I’ll settle back down and get my knitting on.

p.s.  I didn’t win yarn in the givaway this week.  Congrats to those who did – it looks v. v. yummy:)  Still happy to have entered.


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Massive Man Socks

I present to you the massive socks I made for hubby.  No, friends, this is not an illustration of knitting blind… I took measurements, did the math, and casted on.  These socks are a perfect fit – up to and including the square toe.  He gladly wore them this winter, and they have washed rather well.

Massive Man Socks - Toby shows scale

Massive Man Socks - Toby shows scale

As I wrote yesterday, he asked for 100% wool & straight black.  In all honesty, these turned out to be the most expensive socks I’ve ever seen.  It was the only full-on black sock yarn at Lettuce Knit – we did ask if they thought 1 skein alone would do.  Had to go back for more.  In terms of knitting,  the yarn feels great & is true to name with the smooshiness.  But.  After even a few stitches the dye stained my hands.  I was knitting en route to work, and the black marks would not do.  I swallowed my pride, and re-purposed a white cloth glove (came with hand lotion) to avoid the marks.  This one started the most conversations in the history of my knitting in public.  Women just could not resist asking who had such a big foot, and why I loved him so much…

On top of the sheer size, the black was very monotonous to knit.  There’s a slight variation in hue thanks to the handpainting but it was totally mind-numbing.   He does love (and wear) his first (last?) handknit socks, so all in all they were worth it!


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Less knitting when social

Each year I get a touch of the Spring fever.  Everything seems doable, including setting and keeping social dates.  The fever is upon me… dinners are snazzier, the house is fully vacuumed & almost fully dusted, etc.  So at the end of the day I’m tuckered out, i.e. more likely to snooze on the couch than knit.  That said, the new sock has been touring the GTA with me, and is a little longer – at 6″ now.  Norwegian mitt is getting a little left behind in all this excitement but I have shared on Ravelry about the Epic First Fair Isle Attempt.

Ravelry, for those not in the know, is a beta knit & crochet community.  I actually wonder when the beta phase ends & offical phase begins because it seems pretty a-ok to me.  I’m Irieknit on Ravelry, and am in a group-joining/ forum-seeking stage.  My notebook (where you post the glorious finished projects, and such) is pretty sparse at the moment but I’m working on it…

As an aside… once upon a time, I caved and made Hubby a pair of socks.  They are giant woolen black socks that he was too afraid to wear at first but now loves.  Yesterday, in my fit of spring cleaning, I took all handknit socks for a wash.  Having carried on a little badly about the never-ending sock knitting/ expensive yarn choice, I actually forgot how huge they really are.  The bespoke socks shall be photographed and added… but they need to dry first!


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Knitting compliment

Last night, after class, I got a knitting compliment!  From a non-knitter no less.  The lady made my day when she said she liked my yoga bag, and then asked the best open-ended question ever… “Where did you get it?”  Answer is the truth:  I made it!  That led to a nice little conversation with me totally faking humility.  She gushed about the colours.  She said I could sell them.  Happy, happy, joy, joy…

It was my first ‘Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation’ project/ yarn-over attempt.  As I later found out from chatting on Knitty, the book’s directions for YO were misleading.  Extra laciness resulted but I really like the effect.  Here are some pics I took this morning:

Yoga bag - mat in

Yoga bag - mat in

Yoga bag - stitch detail

Yoga bag - stitch detail

This was from my Yarn Boutique days, and Margaret helped me to get the 2 colours to make up the required yardage.  I was so nervous, I even asked if she liked the colours together… she drew the line there, and let me decide.  Baby steps…

Some housekeeping:  last night I was playing in the blog’s dashboard, and realized there were no widgets.  Since I have seen the sidebars everytime I looked at the site, I thought that was how it looked.  Now, I’m worried it was all blank to visitors… Still trying to get the knack of wordpress here!  My apologies if it was hopelessly bare!  I’ll be working on this some more too.


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Great First – Downtown Knit Collective Meeting

I went out to the DKC meeting last night to hear  Laura Chau of cosmicpluto/ Lettuce Knit fame speak.   Laura’s website is here:  http://www.cosmicpluto.com/blog/.  I really wanted to hear Laura’s talk because she’s a young, successful designer/ blogger.  She was so articulate, and honest about her craft & experiences.  Really great job Laura!  She even delivered a slide show!  DKC did a good thing in inviting her to speak.  Probably the most exciting thing was hearing her story of moving from hobby knitting to publishing her own designs.  I mean, there were parallels there!!

I also loved speaking with Laura after her presentation.  She was very generous in answering my question because it was pretty personal.  Wishing her all that’s good:)

Not knowing a soul is no longer mortifying.  I had sock yarn, and needles & that helped with the shyness.  Of course, tripping over a step garnered some attention – so much for the stealth approach to life…  There is, however, an up-side.  I tripped right under the nose of Stephanie Pearl McPhee aka Yarn Harlot http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/ (or yes, her look-alike).  What’s better than making the Yarn Harlot laugh?!?

Also having some news on the job front.  One does need to eat – and rip out oooold carpeting – but returning to work… seriously?

The lead-up to the DKC experience was great too.  A favourite cousin treated me to lunch – at the AGO no less!  We had talked about getting together for such a long time, and it was such a blast.    I also got to take in the museum – my 1st trip post-renovation.  I have to say it’s beautiful.  Beautiful even from the street (yes, I’m comparing to the ROM…)  So, it’s the middle of March Break now.  I expected Moms and young kids but was surprised to see whole groups of teenagers walking the floors!  Gotta love Torontonians:)

Back to the new sock:  I planned to move to sock version 2.0.  The rush to have a portable project is making this one plain jane.  It’s navy blue superwash yarn, which isn’t helping.  I have a plan to use my leftover Araucania but it’s a vague plan at best right now.  Will work on jazzing the sockie up.


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Enabling knitting in public

Brother dearest is forwarding Lady B northwards this week!  Yay!  Will solve a raft of problems & ease any return to the workforce:)  Anticipation could kill me right now.  Of course, I understand it’s not on its way until he posts it… hint, hint.

I resisted the urge to start another mindless project, and casted on for Mitt No. 2.  It’s not a slog this time, and I got a good amount done, yesterday.  Depending on how good the thumb placement is, I may have to rip her back a bit… As much as I adore Elizabeth Zimmermann’s writing style, she’s light on the details.  So, I eyeballed it.  Guided only by the fingerless gloves pattern.  I’m at the stage where I know this eyeballing thing is bound to result in ripping back…  If it’s all good, pictures will follow.

Finding internet tutorials and other resources has given me a push to keep at her.  My way of holding yarn in my left hand is to wrap it around the second finger, and then guide with the index.  I found wrapping the pinkie difficult for feeding more yarn on the floats.   Anyhow, I’m not hanging on for dear life anymore, and I love seeing the patterns knit up.