The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


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Spring, I like

People often ask me if I like living with changing seasons.  Well, I say that we have 2 seasons in the Caribbean – rainy & dry.  Then I go onto explain about Christmas breeze.  They smile back at me weakly.  Uh, I need a little more time before I’ll get excited about wardrobe rotation… but spring?  Spring, I like.

For one thing, the back garden is coming back to life.  I moved the maple leaf to give tulip some room to grow:

Sedum’s just hanging out.  I said a few kind words of encouragement.

The maple’s out to be massive again this year.  Buds on every branch!

Indoors, I got some oregano to sprout.  It was high time I admitted that crooning over dead herb plants won’t bring them back to life.  3 months into this experiment, even I had to accept that our 2 weeks away over Christmas did them in.

These were just sprigs from the supermarket herb packet.  I think they are happier not getting chopped-up for dinner.  Trust me, you don’t have to buy the potted plants.  Ever.

In my next post, I’ll write about how I am on the horns of a dilemma.  It’s like gerbils in my brain.  Argh!


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Love in the air

Cupid came early this year to Cuz!  Congrats on her engagement!  My girl was packing for a weekend trip down to Jamaica when she stumbled upon a box in with her jewelry.  So in the space of 2 sleeps she gets the ring, hops on a plane, soaks up some rays & family loving, and is back by her fiancé’s side… sweet!

Lately my knitting feels like it’s headed for a bunch of UFOs.  The new baby gift has jumped the line & is giving trouble.  I’m getting a little posh with the design & the shower is in 3 weeks….  Please send me your good vibez!  I wanted a change from baby clothes, so am going with a classic blankie.  It’s white with green accents in superwash wool.  I will admit to buying some hand-wash at first but realized the error of my ways v. quickly.  White + baby!

Since cables & twisted stitches are involved, I have a worry about blocking.  Which is to say that my conscience is vocal.  I should stop knitting & swatch this yarn.  Since I’m almost through the first ball, now would be the time!

Did I mention that the shower is in 3 weeks? It’s not the worst deadline ever but blankets are not small things.  Plus DK-weight blankets with cables just gobble-up those stitches.

While I sweat the small stuff, 2 projects are on hold (not UFOs yet!).  First there’s the teal sweater.  The one I was rather hopefully referring to as the January Lady Sweater.  Yeah – that needs a name change.  It’s almost done… just ignore my heavy sighs, okay?

Second is DH’s merino Baktus-style scarf.  I never did match my (woefully short) stash yarn.  What I did find was this solid red sister up at Main Street Yarns.  I know the line’s been discontinued, so I went for it.  You should have seen Carolyn & me tearing through her bin hunting down those reds!  Carolyn is the v. friendly LYSO of Main Street Yarns fame.

Plays hard to get

As you can see, it wasn’t cheap but double the yardage = double the fun.  Re-imagined it’s a 9″ wide scarf with 2 row carries.  The first push after frogging:

A full week later it’s really not much longer.  Mind you, DH has another hand-knit scarf that works just fine.  The difference here shows how much I did  at Pub Night with a Corona last week:

Not much!

So, no extra knitting but I am still spinning.  The merino finger roving is all done!  The last bit was almost intact & yielded enough for another 3-ply skein.  Here it is sitting on the Tsunami:

Marcus Garvey J$20 coin shows scale

I’m also back to the Romney & the BFL commercial-prep combed top.  It’s a nice way to break up the careful knitting.

It may be in the air but I bet’cha Adam Giambrone isn’t feeling the love this Valentines Day…


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Haiti Earthquake

My thoughts and prayers are with the people of Port au Prince, and Haitians everywhere.  I have been flipping between CNN & CBC since news of the earthquake broke Tuesday evening, and can not comprehend the devastation; the grief.

Jamaica is on the same fault line as the one that cuts through Hispañiola.  It is called the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault.  Earthquakes – even small tremors – are terrifying.  I experienced small earthquakes & after-shocks in Kingston during the ’90s.  I’ll never forget watching the road from our high school lab windows in one of those minor quakes.  It actually heaved up and rolled towards us.  Not breaking just moving like a terrible slinky.  Knowing just that little bit is what makes this tragedy in Haiti boggle my mind.  The people are in dire straits.  Stranded.  It’s impossible to just blog-as-usual.

In trying to make sense of this, I turned away from the tv and to my bookcase.  I found this account in Old Jamaica Memories edited by Al Campbell of Kingston’s great 1907 earthquake.  W. Ralph Hall Caine is speaking about what happened on today’s date in 1907:

At 3:32 Kingston was happy and well.  At 3:33 the city was seemingly a hopeless wreck, with the very sun itself obscured from our vision.  All man’s handiwork of a generation, nay, of a whole century or more, was instantly flouted.  A whole community lay in ruins and in tears, in suffering and in death…

I also found this in one of my favourite poems, Notebook of a Return to the Native Land by Aimé Césaire:

At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat, toppled from its common sense, inert, winded under its geometric weight of an eternally renewed cross, indocile to its fate, mute, vexed no matter what, incapable of growing with the juice of the earth, self-conscious, clipped, reduced, in breach of fauna and flora.

At the end of daybreak, this town sprawled-flat…

Ay Ti.  I hope that the Caribbean plate will be quiet, and the fault line still.  I also pray that relief will reach the people as soon as possible.


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Daddy Sharpe Toronto book launch

A few weeks ago, I missed our Knit Night for good cause – it was the Toronto launch of Daddy Sharpe:

The specs:

Title: Daddy Sharpe: A Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Samuel Sharpe, A West Indian Slave Written by Himself, 1832 by Fred W. Kennedy. Kingston, Jamaica: Ian Randle Publishers, 2008. 411 pages. Newspaper reviews are here, and here.

It is a historical novel about Samuel Sharpe, a Jamaican national hero.  Other launches have been held in Jamaica & London but Toronto is where Fred (my relative) lived most of his adult life & raised his family.  He filled the auditorium & it was great to hear him read passages from the book.

Outside of Jamaica, Sam Sharpe is not a household name.  He bravely led other slaves in the great Christmas Rebellion in 1831 to fight for abolition.  Sam Sharpe was a literate slave who gained prominence as a Baptist preacher & deacon.  The Rebellion faltered as the local colonial government worked to brutally suppress the uprising.  Slaves were ruthlessly hunted down and captured.  Sam Sharpe was one of the last to surrender, and the Rebellion ended with his hanging in the Montego Bay public square.  It was a sacrifice that advanced the cause for abolition in the United Kingdom.  The Slavery Abolition Act, which applied in Jamaica and most of the British colonies received Royal assent on August 28, 1833.

I was also thrilled because the guest speaker was none other than author Rachel Manley.  She is my favourite Jamaican author.  Hands-down. I have all of her books & naturally had to bring the latest one along for an autograph.  She spoke very well, and, and I was so excited to meet her.  I went to school with her eldest & there are all sorts of small-island connections but this was the first time I ever met her.  This is my copy of Horses in her Hair.

Inside: Lovely autograph.

We did take pics of the event but DH has yet to upload them…. I wanted to post this before Remembrance Day, tomorrow.

I am all set to go to Knit Night, tomorrow.  Here’s the plan.  Attire = new Purple Cocoon Cardi.  Needles = Angee sock & MIL’s cowl.  Also bringing = Kundert spindle & handspun efforts.  It will be nice to see what everyone is working on & catch-up.  It’s been at least a month, I think.


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Confrontation – here?

A couple of hours ago, I was in the den, mid-row on the baby cardi’s left front, and watching Charlie Rose on PBS.  All of a sudden, I heard a rattling at the front door.  Toby who is usually a fierce defender of the front door didn’t even flinch, so I thought it might be the wind. A quick look outside showed no movement, and the rain had stopped.  Again, the rattling, and I jumped up.  The door’s nearby, and as soon as I got there, a man in blue jeans turned and walked away.  I’ve been on low alert since reading a report in the local paper about guys breaking and entering through front doors.  So, there I am, heart racing and convinced I just foiled a robber when dude returned!  Toby is finally alive to the danger, and here is the rattling of a set of keys – SKELETON KEYS?  Goes my head…. 911 seemed pointless because clearly he’s about to get in.  I pulled out my bad-ass voice, and shouted loudly,  “Who’s there?  It seemed pretty loud because even the Superior Guard Dog Toby stopped barking to give a listen.

Dude answered me.  He claims to be a dog walker.  When I hear him say he’s there for Ritz, the penny dropped.  But the heart, that was still racing, and I was worked up, so I gathered steam for another bad-ass sentence.  I said, “Wrong house!”  He was telling the truth.  Yesterday, I was outside doing a spring rake-up when another neighbour went in for Ritz.  She told me they were away and had a dog walker, etc.  So, the dude didn’t have a ring of skeleton keys.  I very much doubt dog walkers read knitting blogs but I am sorry for not simply telling the man that Ritz is next door.  Sigh.  I was too freaked out, seriously.  I hope Ritzy got his walk.

This is front door scuffle no. 2 for the week.  The other morning, I am rushing out the door, late as usual when I see a woman with her hand about to knock.  I just opened it still rushing.  She had a school marm voice.  While holding out a full-colour brochure she said, “I would like to invite you to commemorate Jesus’ death.”  Right.  She heard that I have my own Church, thank you very much as I locked the door on the outside, and proceeded to the garage.  From the looks on her face, the exchange was as unique for her as it was for me!  I did make it to my appointment on time though.

As for today’s incident, Toby is now on alert – thanks Tobes:)

Re: knitting.

  1. This baby bamboo may not work out for a cardigan.  I may be learning something new about cardigan construction… That front left piece is very contrary.  It in fact wants to be a wee tube, and is having nothing of laying flat like a good cardi… I shall swatch for the lace edging and report further.
  2. Awhile back, I promised a picture of the sock I have on the go.  I took it into LYS this Wednesday for their sit ‘n knit time-slot.  It was just me for most of the 2 hours, so I got a fair amount done.  The ladies are great, and since I may not have weekday freedom for much longer, I’m relishing the chance to be a fly on their wall.  So, what I have on the sock needles is:
Denim Sock as of April Fools 2009

Denim Sock as of April Fool's 2009

It’s a big improvement over the heel patch I was attempting at first.  Of course neither of these tiny projects is suited for my new Lady B bag.  Even with the Louisa Harding book, it’s still practically empty with the cardigan’s stuff.  All in good time!


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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.