The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Summer Crafting, Toronto style

They had a run of bad weather but Toronto Craft Alert finally hit Trinity Bellwoods park in a big way on July 5th!  This is Moon Angel’s photo of the TCA banner in all its crafty glory:

TCA in the Park

TCA in the Park

More photos are over at the Craft Toronto Flickr GroupBig up to the TCA! They finally got a sunny day, and it looks like they had a good turn-out.

Of course, I was flat on my back nursing my ankle…  I probably would have chickened out anyways.  There was zero chance of DH entertaining the idea, and I know exactly no-one in the Toronto scene.  I did the Downtown Knit Collective meeting cold in the spring but going alone to a picnic? Yah, that’s just sad…  I can aim for it though:)

Speaking of crafters… in an hour or so, I’m going next door for a jewelry show.  This is the tennis partner neighbour & she’s the maker of said jewelry.  I’m interested to see her work, but know full-well she is looking for buyers.  Since she got me to play tennis with a wooden racquet, we already know she is persuasive!  It’s fair to say that I am working on the finer points & politesse of admiring-but-not-buying.

Toby, bless him, is in everyone’s bad books.  He just had to freak out at 1 a.m.  Whereupon, DH tried but did not succeed at being calm/ assertive; I hop-tripped over a cord in the dark – ouch; and Toby kept up a fine racket for at least 20 mins.  Right now the wretch is the very picture of serenity, catching up on his sleep at my feet.

With luck, I’ll have the 2nd yellow & white sock finished soon.  Just 2″ of foot left to go.  Given his sleep deprivation, DH was mighty perceptive this morning.  Says he, “You know what you need?  A new project!”  Yes I do.  My cardigan makes sense in theory but it’s firmly on hiatus until I am back to the home-alone routine.  I can’t hit my yarn shops but do have great stash to work with.

Next post has to be a rant about the Interweave Books summer sale… but now I have to run.


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Breaking out

By the time the weekend rolled around, I was dying to get out of the house.  11 days straight at home?!  Scream!  It took some doing but I did get out both Sat & Sun.

The 1st Seduction Sock is finished.  Woo hoo!  Cool enough to get praise from MIL is what… and it could pass for a FO thanks to the infernal boot cast!

A pair!  Left Shorty Seduction sock & boot cast...

A pair! Left Shorty Seduction sock & boot cast...

The last big set of rounds were done in public.  DH kindly took his Mom shopping.  He Hates shopping.  I went along for the ride, and settled into a comfy leather chair at the Mall.  My working needle snapped on the way over.  I did have a usable but badly bent spare on hand.  These are thin bamboo numbers – just 2.25 mm thick.  I definitely knit socks tightly so that they are more durable.  So, my needles take a whole lot of tension from yours truly.

Typically, Canadians are too polite to stare at/ interrupt us knit geeks.  There are exceptions.  After a while, I got the feeling I was being watched.  Sure enough, a lady was standing a few feet in front of me, bent over and squinting at me.  She jerked up & scampered off without a word!  Later on, another lady made my day.  She could not get over someone knitting at a Mall!  It was nice to talk with a fellow knitter who appreciated the yarn, and pattern.

After all the good vibes, I’m well into the 2nd Seduction sock.  She has a cuff, heel, and is now getting a foot.  I’m also not short on the yarn, which is v. good.  The sock needle may get out of this unfrogged.

The Garden –  I have baby green tomatoes!  On the vine!  In my backyard!   A first:)  Here’s a pic now.  You know, in case something goes wrong.

Newly staked - green tomatoes!

Newly staked - green tomatoes!

Yes, the grass does still need to be cut.

Another 3 green tomatoes with lavendar

Another 3 green tomatoes with lavendar

With luck, I’ll have another outing before long.  Harry Potter does open this week…


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Sock Seduction

Slight change in plans.  To account for conditions on the ground, I got in touch with my inner sock knitter.

{Aside:  aren’t houseguests fun?}

Which is to say, my Purple Cocoon Cardi is on hiatus, and my Seduction Sock pattern by Ann Budd is out & in use again.  It’s been awhile, so if you are interested the pattern is free here with others.  Now at the foot, my sock:

Shorty Seduction Sock at the foot

Shorty Seduction Sock at the foot

The grass does need to be cut!

This is my 5th sock project, so I am still very much the novice.  It’s also my first stab at doing socks with a pattern.  I really would recommend it to any knitter.  As you can see, it’s not stitch-fancy or overdone.  It’s twisting with eyelets, and is easy to grasp as well as remember.  I have yet to want to make a pair of elaborate socks.  I do want to learn different modes of sock construction though.  I’d definitely try another Ann Budd design.  At any rate, this one is a great step-up from plain socks, and gives such a subtly pretty effect.  The mystery NY yarn is also adding to the glee.

Since the yarn is a total mystery, I can’t add to the stash.  Meaning, the sock needle is the stash.  The ball is running low, so I may have to go back on my word & rip, rip, rip it… 😦


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Encourages knitting

It’s happening more & more often.  Non-knitters over here in my real world tell me that they would like to pick up knitting.  But invariably these friends say it with an unsure voice and a very far away look.

So, today I’m not showing you what’s on my needles.  Here’s what’s on my fridge:

Res Ipsa Loquitur - the thing speaks for itself

Best comic ever!

That said, it is totally doable.  I was daunted, completely ignorant, and skirted around the idea for years before I actually tried to knit.

Even if people see the nice results, they still have a full conversation going on behind the wistful eyes.  I think the knitting myths have a lot to do with the holding-back.  The big myths at play are:

  1. Knitting, the time-sucker.  Sure, it takes time.  So does watching the entire American Idol competition or anything else on tv.  If you have time to listen to your ipod, you have some time to knit.  There are ways & means even for the hyper-busy.  I kept knitting while paying serious dues in the rat race, and keeping house (somewhat).  People with young children knit, and still manage to have lives.
  2. Knitters are lonely, home-bound people. Contrary to popular belief, we knitters do have places to go & people to see.  Life won’t pass you by.  I promise.  Some of my best knitting was done commuting on the Go-train, or where ever.  Knit at home or abroad – it’s your choice.
  3. Knitters are an artsy-fartsy bunch. What, this blog doesn’t dispel that myth?!?  Engineers, IT geeks, and math brains knit, design, and generally innovate.  It’s a diverse community.  In & among the folksy stuff, there’s the modern and cutting-edge.  For every pop culture movement out there, a knitting niche already exists.  Just come as you are!
  4. It’s all Greek. It kind-of is but only at first.  No matter if you learn you core skills by DVD, YouTube, pestering knitters, taking classes, books, it will be super awkward and baffling.  Only at first.  Soon the ridiculous yarn loops start to look like something.  And that is a very cool thing.

As for my cardigan… I have a body for it now!  The thing is that I may have to re-do the front left.  It feels like a pattern flaw.  Did the tech editors at Interweave Knits miss something?  The problem is that the tops of the front pieces do not match.  They should be mirror images.  I did the left side first, and found that the middle sloping cut in too deep – I was short 10 stitches.  Fudged.  On the right side, I knew to stop cutting in.  Not fudged.  In the FO, it might show pretty badly.

I’ll have to get back to you on that…


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In a day’s work

I caught the year’s first-past-the-post day lily, yesterday:

First day for the lillies

I spied... in the backyard

These are escapees from next door, and I love them!

I basically spent the day at the computer, making my way down a to-do list.  Well, I may have visited a certain site that begins with R an inordinate amount of times too…

I didn’t even pick up my needles after dark.  I had 2 loooong phone calls back-to-back before dinner.  One was a hornet’s nest I stirred-up unwittingly yesterday morning.  Just amazing how we both built assumptions on the back of our different lifestyles.  It created drift but also some bad blood.  We both have SOs now & that was part of the issue, I think.  V. emo for both of us.  It’s all good now, I think.  Shortly after hanging up, my girlfriend called from the States.  We were catching-up but she was also sharing about the recent (and sudden) death of her great-aunt.

Before all of that took over, I made decent progress on the Purple Cocoon Cardi, and am well into the right front. I pushed the sock project back.  May take it back up when DH’s Mom is with us.  It will be nice to have it on the go already.  No pattern searching needed there!

Farther down in the knit queue is a challenge.  I want to turn my hand to designing again.  Nothing major but my idea is to help with my homesickness.  I want to design something Jamaican.  Crochet is the primary needlecraft on the island.  Knitting is next-to-nothing as far as I know.  For obvious tropical reasons… I want to use colour and cool stitches to  come up with something original.  It may have an organic twist too but who knows?  Still just brainstorming.  Speaking of Jamaica… my good, good GF is due this November.  Her bump is v. much in my queue.

As a random note… if I feel cooped up with the foot, Toby is 10xs cooped up.  He freaked right the h**l out yesterday when dude showed up yesterday with his v. noisy core aeration machine in our yard.  He usually will calm down but was having none of my ‘calm assertive’ energy about dude.  Today is a totally different story.  He’s not been walked.  He should be tearing around at birds or the wind but instead, he’s curled up at my foot.  Why?  I’ve been listening to Beethoven.  Who knew?  Our dog has culture!!  I heart Toby.


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Cardigans will be Cardigans

I am fighting an urge to go back to knitting my sock.  Truthfully, I am fighting a couple of urges but let’s talk about the knitterly ones.  A sock is something I know I can make true-to-pattern or not.  It fits at the end of the day – either me or inanimate objects that could use bundling.  My sock-in-progress is at an easy round & round stage…

The sudden sock love was brought on by cardigan troubles.  The design is to taper down the front tops keeping the rows of ‘cocoons’ true.  And man do those cocoons stand out in the  sea of plain old stockinette.  Waves of sock urges came as I had to frog the left top front and have at it a 2nd time.  I got it only to realize that I over-tapered by a good 10 stitches.  Here’s what I have fudged up to solve that leetle problemo:

Up to the front left shoulder now - Purple Cocoon Cardi

Up to the front left shoulder now - Purple Cocoon Cardi

This photo came out remarkably purple!

Now for the right side, which has to match yonder left side.  Cardigans are a trip.  Even wrap cardigans it turns out.

My foot is getting better.  In a fit of cabin fever, I sneaked out into the back yard yesterday.  It’s a deep (and crooked) step down but I was fine.  The plants are thriving thanks to the week of rainy, cool weather.  I even have a sweet pea flower!  Will there be tomatoes?  The 3 baby plants are growing fast.  The Globe & Mail ran a story yesterday by Gayla Trail.  It was, “A word to the water-wise:  Irrigate well & often.”  Clipped and saved that beaut.

Just before the Wimbledon mens’ final… we have new neighbours.  I didn’t get to say goodbye to our old ones.  They were pretty cool.  The only problem I had was a pile of cigarette butts that came out in the spring thaw.  Right beside the fence.  A first in 3 years, so I’m guessing a daughter took up the habit this winter.  I was debating how to handle this when out came the For Sale sign.  Issue averted but they were friendly and cool.

My whispery footnote:  MIL seems to have postponed her trip a few days.  Quiet, private sigh of relief.  Needs more time to sort the house y’know.


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Cooling my foot

Cool yuh foot!  That’s Jamaican for telling someone to calm down or chill out.  Today makes it 1 full week since I walked with anything approaching grace.  So, I am still here.  Still cooling my foot.

The good thing is that I can sit up & knit now.  The slouch knitting was not so cool.  The ends of my needles were in the couch or I was knitting in the air, and it was all driving me to distraction.  Good posture regained, the left front is knit up to the cocoon stitch stage:

Purple Cocoons left front work

Purple Cocoon's left front work

The edges want to curl.  They are like little brats with all this curling.  I will fix their business in blocking!

After all my hanging out in Ravelry’s fora, I am seriously thinking about making a triangle lace shawl.  These are grandiose designing thoughts.  I have lived almost my entire life in jeans.  All of a sudden I need a triangle shawl to wear with them?  Man, am I becoming girly or what!?!

My orchids are still going strong.  Pippi is slowly coming with her first spray in my care.  I have an idea she’s an oncidiuum…

Pippi sending a spray for the summer

Pippi sending a spray for the summer

Happy 4th of July when it comes!