The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home

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Clarity of thought

I took an executive decision on the whole baby gift quandry.  The first try was very pink, and not without some flaws.  Very tough to nix it though.  It was almost done!  Ultimately, the pinkness is what did it in.  Baby Momma may have been kidding but she clearly said not to go with girly colours.

The second try will be another Louisa Harding pattern from “Natural Knits for Babies & Moms.”  The kimono in a soft lime green.  Here are the beginnings of a kimono in context:

Baby Kimono for suspected girl

Baby Kimono for suspected girl

I have a good feeling about this.  For one thing, it’s less ambitious and closer to the kind of friendship I have with the parents.  I need straightforward – the baby is due any day  now.

For another thing, I have finally realized something very important.  This lovely Sirdar Snuggly Bamboo Yarn is not a perfect match for the pattern yarn.  Really hanging my head in shame here.  In my mad rush, I didn’t see the row is 2 stitches off-gauge.  No big deal.  This time around I’ll just adjust the rows.  So, I apologize to Ms. Harding for having doubted the soundness of her cardi design.  Mea culpa!  Mea maxima culpa!

Yes, I do have a tough head.

It may not be carry-onable for our trip this week.  The needles are metal.  In our post-9/ 11 world that is scary stuff.  Here’s my excuse to scratch the sock itch:)

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Sidekick for the Trip

The Sunny Sidekick is out of production!  In the re-do, I livened up the handle.  The instructions are to knit plain with increases & decreases in the number of stitches.  I just changed it to good old moss stitch, and love the effect.  The closure is also in moss.  Here she is au natural:

Sunny Sidekick - er, for a pine bough?

Sunny Sidekick - er, for a pine bough?

Just to brag on this a little – do you see how the colourway worked perfectly on the handle?!  The button is vintage from Hubby’s Grandmother’s sewing table.

I then went on to play with my new felting needle.  It’s actually more like a long pin that has notches on the shaft and a very sharp tip.  Being without roving, I just poked odd ends of wool to death.  Apart from the damage to my fingers by errant stabs, I had fun doing this.  First fruits are:

Wee ball and felted doughnut

Wee ball and felted doughnut

Seriously.  What could be easier than jabbing a pin?  The idea was to embelish the Sidekick a bit but I’m quitting while I’m ahead.

I’m undecided about what knitting to carry on our trip.  With a friend’s baby due this week, I really should pull that cardi out of hibernation.  Or start another thing already.  I’ve had a great run of selfish knitting, so that may be what’s next.  Except.  A Ravelry thread on socks has me itching to make a pair with some pizzaz.  Socks are best for airplane knitting but the baby’s a coming.  Decisions, decisions.

Today is sunny, and then rain is forecast for the rest of the week.  I’ll make hay, and run errands – shoe shopping is an errand, right?

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Sunny Sidekick

Cute, summery bop-about handbags are hard to come by.  In my old age, I walk past countless contenders in the stores.  This year, I have called the hunt off, and am making Amanda’s Squatty Sidekick by Amanda Burka.  It’s another Knitting Daily freebie.  The close-to 300 rave reviews, and FOs on Ravelry sealed the deal.

This Sunny Sidekick uses my dirt-cheap SWS from Mary Maxim.  It will felt like a dream, and isn’t too bright for me.  I hoped to be felting right now in fact.  Sadly, the strap has gots to go.  In the glory of knitting outdoors, I went a little blank.  The strap is way-off but will be an easy frog & fix.  Before frogging:

Slightly tipsy Sunny Sidekick

Slightly tipsy Sunny Sidekick

Here’s a totally gratuitous pic of her with flowers peeking through yonder fence:

For fun - Sunny Sidekick again

When felted, the bag will shrink a bit and become sturdy.  Right now it’s a flopsy mess.  My sewing skills are nothing to write home about but I may try making a lining for this.

Deep breaths – I found the strap a pain to knit…

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Models the new Tank Top

The weather is co-operating with me for once – it’s warm and my Skimpy Sarah Tank is ready:

Rocking the Skimpy Sarah Tank

Rocking the Skimpy Sarah Tank

Here’s the peek-a-boo front view:

Tank and skirt - my time of year!

Tank and skirt - my time of year!

The straps did ‘grow’ a shade with the wetting, and is a little looser on the back.  Not to the point of sagging but Hubby says the bra was peaking.  Resewing the straps would be a pain since I pretty much went to town with securing them…  I’ve also ruled out going bare – that lace tells no lies, and the silk is still too shall we say, textured, for that.  It’s comfortable as is but I can always layer it.  The best would be to wear this tank over my bathing suit.  Which makes me wonder – our Houston hotel must have a pool right?!?

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Knitted from Stash

My batch of knitting projects was overwhelming at one point but now I feel like a regular pro rolling out all these FOs!  I wore my socks through the cold snap & finally took pictures of them.  Yeah, and I know they are pretty hokey as pictures go… What can I say –  it was a busy morning!

Denim socks knit plain

Denim socks knit plain

Feet are propped on our Rubbermaid step stool.  Not sure what exactly I was thinking there.  And another:

Top down view for top down socks:)

Top down view for top down socks:)

As soon as the 2nd sock was off the needles & kitchenered shut, I jumped into making the Sarah Tank Top by Christine Buhagiar on Knitting for Boozehags.  You can find her pattern here for free. The idea was to use my stashed 200g of Estelle raw silk yarn.  It was also my instant project for showing up at the Burlington Pub Night.  The pattern was in queue with size & yarn adjustments, so I figured I was on safe ground.

Well, I don’t know about you all but my instant projects always have 1 or 2 froggings in store for me.   This one was no different.  I did screw up the courage to join the Pub Night, and the ladies gave me a warm welcome.  It turned out my inviter couldn’t make it, so they must have been surprised to have a stranger drop in like that!  First frogging was at the Pub Night.  It was a silly mistake – I had twisted the first round when joining it together.  After a few inches of pushing things around, I accepted facts and frogged.  In the re-do, I realized that the scallop repeat was not working.  That took some hard thinking but I finally realized the instructions were to start with three p2togethers, then do five repeats of k1 yo, followed by six p2togs.  With that learning curve climbed, I got to knit like a maniac.  Good way to spend the Victoria Day long weekend.

The pattern is only for a medium, so I sized it down to a small, and added some waist shaping thanks to the formula in my copy of Stich ‘N Bitch Nation.  The rest of the pattern was all well & good but I was short on yarn.  So, it ended up being a Skimpy Sarah Tank Top.  For starters, I nixed the upper back body.  Then I chopped the upper bodice, and it evolved into a criss crossed i-cord strappy tank top.  It looked cute on before blocking.  Here she is pinned and drying:

Skimpy Sarah Tank Top

It’s hard to see but I did keep the pattern’s scallop detail under the bustline.  With luck I’ll be wearing this in Houston & all summer long!  Does this make me a boozehag?

Hubby is extremely pleased to throw the manual lawn mower to the back of the shed.  He was the laughing stock of our sub-urban neighbourhood.  Every guy on our street offered their mower to him at one point or another…  One went so far as to say, “There are easier ways to get exercise!”   We went with a corded electric model that mulches.  Believe you me our back yard has not looked this good in 3 years!  I spent a fair chunk of time weeding, and also planted out the Easter hydrangea.  We now have 3 hydrangea along that side of the fence.

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Inquiry Marches On

Thanks for the shrug-friendly emails ladies – you know who you are!!  I promise to post pics of me all dolled-up with Tender is the Night.  The trip to Houston is no longer iffy… My passport is ready for pick-up!  Hubby was starting down the road of, “Technically, you don’t need your passport to travel.”  Ever tried explaining things to a border agent?

Explaining things = smooth segue —> Day 1 of Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination.  I was glued to the tv.  In my own defence, I am not a Court tv person.  Neither am I a public inquiry geek (ordinarily).  This inquiry has me fully engaged.  Richard Wolson who is counsel for the Inquiry, began by buttering the witness up.  It was a masterful buttering.  Mr. Wolson avers he is “no bull-dog”; asks for the witness’ understanding.  At first I thought this was the classic Put Witness at Ease before you go for the Jugular tactic.    It was more than that.  The questioning is intense.  The tension is palpable even through CBC filming.  However, Mr. Wolson simply said at one point, “You are the first Prime Minister I have ever met.”  The all-too human struggle for this fearless advocate is evident.  It is this humanity that has me rivetted.

This morning I heard a journalist from the Fifth Estate, Linden MacIntire, analyze Mr. Mulroney’s performance.  He says (paraphrasing here)  that the same flaws that dogged Mr. Mulroney as Prime Minister now dog him in the Inquiry.   To wit – he says too much; is overly sentimental; and never fully admits a mistake.

I have no clear idea of Mr. Mulroney’s trajectory through office.  I see his real weakness on the stand as sounding like a broken record.  He does wax poetic but so does every former head of government.  He is walking a narrow script that has not changed a jot.  It lines up too well – his chief mirrors the discovery answers he gave in what 1996?  Mr. Wolson, astute as a fox, highlights the pattern.  He repeats the same discovery answers, asks questions and elicits the exact same answers again & again.  He crosses to the substance but the big strokes are of an unnatural, hollow story.  And when a witness is on a sticky wicket, you need them to sound natural.

To drive that pattern home, Mr. Wolson asks the witness about his comment going into the discovery.  Which was Mr. Mulroney saying that the problem the government lawyers would face that day is that they expected him to answer their questions.  Very humerous?  No.  It conjures up the image of a spin-master delivering his message, no matter the questions bowled.  The same message echoes in the same language today.

Mr. Wolson’s cross on the discovery also eats into Mr. Mulroney’s credibility further.  He makes the case that (to use lawyerese) Mr. Mulroney was guilty of material non-disclosure of his ‘legitimate commercial relationship’ with Karlheinz Schreiber.  Mr. Mulroney demurs.  He insists (a) the precise question was not asked; (b) the Karlheinz Schriber ‘acquaintanceship’ was not part of that case & by extension, the discovery.  It does beg the question how forthright Mr. Mulroney is before the Inquiry today – are the right questions asked?  Mr. Wolson presses the point through the long day to show how very thin the excuse is.  Another image – Mr. Mulroney outsmarts 9 government lawyers by deliberately minimizing his meetings with Karlheinz Schriber as getting together for coffee.  It’s huberis & it sticks.  As does the other image – 75 $1,000 bills pocketed.

This must be the 3rd degree of hell for Mr. Mulroney.  He sees the lines of questioning.  He is a lawyer.  I can’t say what this all means in the long run.  I feel lucky to be watching this cross-examination.  Yes, I am a geek & it’s not just knitting!

I have knitting things to post about but this is super long already.

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Knitting in Interesting Times

Shrug accomplit!  For all the worries, I think this is perfectly wearable for my cousin’s wedding.  First of all it slides on easily.  No worming to get into it.  I’m many things but decidedly not a victim to fashion.  This shrug is also a perfect twin for the dress.  The yarn’s silky sheen is my favourite but the dye striping also matches the material’s subtle stripes.  Hubby’s Oohs & Aahs?  Priceless!  I’ll post pictures from the wedding but here’s a pre-coffee FO pic in the meantime:

Tender is the Night back view

Tender is the Night back view

Not showing you my smug grin…

I decided against going for an edging.  Overly girly accessorizing ain’t my thang.  Since it grew in the blocking, there’s some sag at the armhole joins.  It may be a little distracting but I am thinking it’s comfortable to move around in.

Now this is completed, I’ve also returned to the Straight-Up Socks (remember?  blue denim superwashies).  No 2nd sock syndrome here.  I am also leaning towards finishing the pink baby cardi – come what may of it.  My other girlfriend will get a yummy lime creation for her bambino/a.

We live in interesting times.  This 2nd sock came along a ways as Canada’s fromer Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney took the stand, yesterday.  I was a teenager in Jamaica when Mr. Mulroney was in office.  The Inquiry is back live on CBC television, and I am watching.  He seems to have aged rapidly between the Ethics committee hearings in November 2007 and now.  The public scandal is obviously taking its toll.  He held himself proudly but the bags under his eyes made him look alarmingly like his nemesis, Karlheinz Schreiber.

At its heart the scandal is whether Mr. Mulroney took that first wad of 75 $1,000 bills, and the rest of it as a kick-back.  Led by his lawyer, Guy J. Pratte, Mr. Mulroney spoke to and around the allegations of suspicion in his own lawyerese.  As he testified, the veil fell from the processes by which major policy decisions were made in his executive government.  I was fascinated to hear how he controled the personel of the central government, and the chanels of communication.  To be on my couch hearing the authority that kept Bearhead alive, how and why.  This is the stuff of L1 Constitutional Law.

The negative space of his testimony was even more telling.  As one example – Why was he Memoed on Bearhead at all?  He was a national leader, “tenacious of office” to use the language of Stanley de Smith & Rodney Brazier in my old “Constitutional & Administrative Law” text.  He tells the Inquiry that his public reputation would have been boosted by creating jobs in a province with up to 50% unemployment.  Bearhead’s light armoured vehicles were undoubtedly his pet project.  He exercised muscle, and the decision was in his hands outside the Cabinet.  He spoke of reassuring his Cabinet on the principles that were guiding the decision.  It is not every day that the inner workings of a Parlimentary democracy are laid bare.

There is much ‘material’ for Mr. Mulroney’s cross-examination.  His chief was depressingly thread-bare in all of the important places.  Was I dreaming when I heard of a single meeting that moved from Schriber’s threat of a law suit to a fat envelope passing hands?  There were other days when the money passed and was accepted.  As what?  From what source?  Never asked; was never told.  Mr. Schriber dances there too.  Then we hear of photos with “UN insignia” that Mr. Mulroney insists speak for themselves.  Lastly there’s the paltry excuse to keep it all hidden.  As the saying goes – we are as sick as our secrets.

As if that were not enough, we also have the spectacle of Ruby Dhalla in Nanny-Gate.  Her white suit was blinding.  Her statements were wooden, and delivered in such an imperious tone.  It came together to enhance the caregivers’ allegations that she and her family were overbearing, autocratic employers.  I cringed to hear her intone over & again, “I, Ruby Dhalla…”  Misguided in the extreme.