The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Promises a Pattern

I held back on posting over the past few days because really, I can’t keep a secret.  Today is DH’s birthday – Happy Birthday! – and this is what I made for him:

Hand Towel in the greenery

Per Contra Hand Towel

He did get other, store-bought gifts but this is the handmade.  DH loves using the select-a-size paper towels when eating just about any fruit.  I usually re-use what are basically clean sheets but it dawned on me that knitting a towel for him would save the paper.   Per contra means “on the other hand” – this towel will just sub. for the paper when it can.

How about them sponge pockets?!

That’s also DH’s initial “n” in the corner.  As you can see, I wasn’t taking myself too seriously:  it’s not blocked.  Why block a hand towel?

I have some birthday cooking to do this afternoon but y’all have my promise of this as a free pattern.  It’s simple.  Manly Man thinks that it’s just the bees knees too.

My enthusiasm for the tomatoes knows no bounds… Look!  Still there & growing:

The Tomato Forest

The Tomato Forest


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Attests, Yes it’s a Vest

Ah, the joy of knitting:  baby Sammy’s gift is starting to look more like a vest & less like a tube top.

A boy could wear that!

Pinning this one into submission was a breeze.  Looks like I may just be getting the knack for baby clothes.  I wet blocked it last night, so it’s still damp.  The next step is to knit up a bunch of stitches for a garter neckline & sleeves.  Then it’s off for wrapping & mailing.  Good, quick summer knit.

This is generally shaping up to be a cool week.  DH’s birthday is around the corner.  He’s getting his wish for a low-key celebration.  Path to his heart?  Gift and good food!  Also, one of my oldest girlfriends is in town.  It’s been months, so I’m looking forward to having her over for a good old lyme.


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Of True Stories

We caught Julie & Julia this afternoon.  I went assuming that Julie’s Little Blog that Could would be the dominant story line.  I have to be the exact demographic for that, right?  Well, hands down, the life & times of Julia Child half is what made this movie for me.  Meryl Streep & Stanley Tucci were head & shoulders above the other actors, and they both delivered wonderful performances.  DH agreed, and we laughed over the best lines at lunch.

I am not sure what made the Julie Powell half so underwhelming.  I did have a hard time taking her character seriously after she went to work with a little strawberry pin on her shirt.  She was an almost-30 year old New Yorker… riiight.  She also seemed way, way too  enmeshed in Julia Child.  What with wearing the pearls, etc., I was a little creeped out.  I also wondered if she really only blogged for the 1 year.  It may have been totally ” ingenious” – to quote Sony’s featured blogger – but was that really it?

Before I run downstairs to knit, I have my own true story to relate.

As you may know, our lawn was fairly well overgrown.  It went un-mowed for a good 5 weeks what with the constant weekend rain, my bum ankle, and our dear house-guest.  I didn’t give a rat’s ass about the lawn, and (less of a stretch) neither did DH.

That’s all behind us now, and DH has done his suburban duty.  The grass is neatly cut.  Only to reveal what looked like rabbit fur to me.  I knelt down, and saw it looked like fur used in an old bird’s nest or something.  I gently lifted the thatch of grass and fur.  There was an animal inside!  Curled up with brown fur… Yikes.  Now, I realize that it’s the same exact spot where the wild rabbit always seems to taunt Toby.  The next morning, I found:

It decamped.  I am very sorry for the disturbance…  Here’s the hole’s cover some ways off:

Not even tempted to fiber-gather now.  I went looking on the internet, and have figured out this must be a rabbit forme.  Which is to say his/ her summer lair.  Apparently the larger warren is only used during the winter.  It’s decamped but fine.  Just yesterday, he taunted Toby into a chase again.

Since Toby has a rather large cataract, & lost half of his teeth last year besides, that rabbit is safe.  And he/ she knows it.


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New on Needles and Life

This week everything seemed so vivid… I bopped about the town a bit again but even the garden seemed brighter.  The sunny weather helped but it was really the extra bit of independence that made such a difference.

On Wednesday morning, I left an early appointment, and passed some time in a local Starbucks with a frappuccino.   Been there dozens of times but between the Jimmy Cliff songs & bright sunshine, it was downright zen…

I was really out to get much-needed help with my Purple Cocoon Cardigan at the Wool Bin.  I could have fudged & evened out the front tops but I had a nagging feeling that I misread the lady’s instructions.  The WB owners have set aside Wednesday afternoons for customers to sit, knit & ask questions.  I got there a few hours early but one of the owners was good enough to figure it out with me.  She agreed the instructions were convoluted but went at it line-by-line, with my knitted pieces.  Turns out that the pattern looks sound.  I only seem to have tapered the front armholes when they should be straight.  Yet again my LYSO saves the day!  Many thanks!

The WB is also in summer sale mode.  I came prepared with a new baby gift project & left with my 3rd batch of Sirdar Baby Bamboo yarn:

Back home, new to stash

Back home, new to stash

The idea is to make a 1st birthday gift for my cousin’s son, Sammy!  His birthday is the end of August, so even though it will go all the way to L.A., I still have some time.  It’s fast becoming an Oz Vest from Louisa Harding ‘s book Natural Knits for Babies & Moms.

It had this whipped on the needles by evening & took it over to Knit Night.  It was so nice to catch up with the ladies/ do something on my own again.  I also met someone new.  Of course, with all the errands, I was very tired.  After making a silly mistake, I knew that I was fading.  The others were also ready to leave around then.  The mistake is now fixed & it allowed me to make other changes:

Sammy's Vest, lower half

The lighting was bad in this photo & so, the colour is washed-out.  It really is the bright blue of the stash photo, above.

Knitting this in the round is a wee off-pattern.  I figured that the less seams for an active boy, the better… The post-mistake mod. is the striping.  The garter stripes had a ’70s feel, so I changed that to the less boring seed stitch.  Not exactly fashion-forward but I knew that going in…  I’ve also decided to make it a few inches long.  My cue on this?  At 10 months his Mother was posting that he was big enough to be Hagrid’s brother… I really do hope that it’s wide enough.

Latest in the “Man Am I Proud it’s Growing” series is a squash flower!  This plant is running amok.  I had no idea the wee seedling would get this massive.  It’s outgrown the bed, and is giving the lavender, pinks & tomatoes serious competition for space.

Weekend plans are to catch Julie & Julia at the movies,  knock out this baby gift & book our flight/ hotel for Brother Man’s wedding… not too much to ask for!


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Happy Independence Day, Jamaica!

August 6th is our Independence Day in Jamaica.  47 years ago the Union Jack was officially lowered at midnight, and our national flag was raised for the first time.  The authors of our Constitution added a note that put it this way:

…Jamaica will attain fully responsible status within the Commonwealth on the 6th August, 1962…

And so she did.  This is a National Archives photo of the official lowering of the Union Jack at the National Stadium:

With Emancipation Day celebrations on August 1st, and Independence 5 days later it’s the best stretch of holidays next to Christmas in the island.  Where I’d like to be now…

Stewart 023

Sunny Negril, Jamaica

Happy Independence!


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And we’re mobile!

It’s Summer of the Sprain no more – I drove!  Last night in fact.  Just a short trip downtown and back but after a month of being grounded that short drive made all the difference.  Each day the ankle is getting stronger, and I don’t need to favour it as much when walking.

Now that I can get the heck out of the house without begging, pleading or pitching a fit, the next goal is to wear heels at my brother’s wedding in early October.  Apart from my own vanity, there are the photos to be considered.  A single vertically challenged bridesmaid would mess them up…  This happened with our bridal party, so I know all about the negative space.  See, on a good day I am 5′ 2 ½”.

Thanks to the mobility, I am back in the Midnight-blue Room.  The dining table has plenty of space but I missed my books, pictures, and everything else that I have up here.  Toby is happily snoozing.  He can’t see out of this window, which means he gives himself a break from sentinel duty.  Two other things:

  1. Knitting: I am plugging away at the last bit of the purple cardi… 2nd sleeve.  It’s almost done, and the next step is blocking it out to measurements.  That I can photograph.  Possible flaw in the front edges may hinder the program.  Time will tell!
  2. Reading: The other day, I finished Three Cups of Tea.  It ended abruptly, and important parts of the story felt unfinished.  Greg Mortenson meets his contact in Afghanistan; The End.   What happened to the school children in Pakistan?  An endnote would have been nice.  Instead, I left with a bad taste in my mouth after reading the ‘how to help in 9 simple steps’ plan.  It began compellingly with 82 children on an “open ledge 800 feet above the Braldu,” who were trying to learn.  78 of those children were boys.  The story of those boys has not been told.  The author focuses on 3 girls:  Jahan, Tahira & Shakeela.  Even those characters are lightly sketched.  For example, Shakeela apparently was a “poised and pretty” high school girl at age 15 when the author interviewed her with her father present.  It is straight question & answer that delivers her reality.  After only 7 years of primary education, she is away in a town struggling to maintain her grades.  There are other flaws but the material, and what appears to be the sheer integrity of Mr. Mortenson’s mission do carry the day; I am glad to have read this book.

Since it was Emancipation weekend, I went for Song yet Sung by James McBride, next.  It was part of my birthday parcel from the States.  Such a good read!  I actually remember reading this review when it was first out in 2008 but never did get the book.  There is trouble in the plot, and other areas but I practically inhaled it.

When you want trust, scratch a crooked line in the dirt.