The Knit Knack's Blog

my handspinning, knitting, natural dye, weaving fibre home


Leave a comment

Woolsy Anniversary & Trip Pics

Happy Anniversary, Hubby dear!  Emily Post’s Etiquette says wool is ye olde 7th anniversary gift.  N.B. – The Knit Knack’s shamelessly brazen plug for More Yarn Please!

MIL outdid herself this year!  Even her son is in awe of this beauty of a gift…

Our first Rose Bush!

Our first Rose Bush!

We already did our celebrating in Houston.  Fancy dinner at a wine bar/ steakhouse called Flemming’s.  It had v. good internet reviews, and I am still hearing all about his bone-in rib-eye.  The server was snooty but we broke the ice by ordering the Chocolate Lava Cake.  It was to die for!  Loved. Every. Bite.

It was my first trip to Houston & the 90 degree weather was just heavenly!  The Lady B bag was the best carry-on luggage ever.  I started the Seduction Socks by Ann Budd with my mystery sock yarn.  The pattern is free here.  My main mod is to make them shorter:

Smallscale Seduction Socks

Smallscale Seduction Socks

This is because half of the yarn was used in my first-ever sock.  That’s the needle sock, and I’m not frogging it for love or money.

After all the selfish knitting, I had FOs for each day of this trip!  Texans were very friendly – every elevator ride lead to bubbly conversations & ended with, “Have a nice day, y’all!”  Co-elevator riders were actually the first to admire my Tender is the Night shrug when we set out for the wedding.  The shrug was a hands-down success.  It was perfect because I was the 2nd reader for the ceremony.  Dictates of modesty:  no bare shoulders for “reverencing the altar”.  That black pashmina was thrust upon my cousin the 1st reader.  Here we are processing:

Tender is the Night does me proud!

Tender is the Night does me proud!

It was a dream to wear, kept me warm during the air-conditioned reception, and netted a bag of compliments.  Mine is not a crafty family, so I was very surprised by the great response.  I am now a fan of silk shrugs – there is no slip sliding into soup bowls or constant arranging of fabric.

We did have a day out at the Johnson Space Center with my cousins.  I modeled the sunny sidekick but have no pics to prove it!  Here’s NASA Graffiti at its best:

Housing 30-story-tall rocket

Housing 30-story-tall rocket

Texas Longhorns – at NASA – huh?

Languid Longhorns

Languid Longhorns

That perked me up some for the tour of Mission Control.  Ancient consoles!

Not computers but consoles

Not computers but consoles

They sent men to space with just that level of technology?!  OMG.  After lunch we came to a quick consensus & off we went in search of Kemah and its boardwalk.

Can you say "Tourist Trap"?

Can you say "Tourist Trap"?

More of the amusement park setting:

Choo choo by the Gulf

Choo choo by the Gulf

Yay – the Sea!!  Kemah is on the Gulf, and a long ways away from good ol’ Lake Ontario!

It was a busy trip & I came home tired but with a full list of things to do.  I’m settling back down now & have a big reason to finish the baby kimono – Eden’s safely arrived!  Not deja vu or anything but here’s the baby gift being blocked:

Blocking Edens Baby Kimono

Blocking Eden's Baby Kimono

I know this has been an angst-filled project.  That said, green is the better choice for a wee one named Eden!


Leave a comment

Surprise and Shrug Roadblock

I knew I had a Babylon Falling “Owner’s Choice” set on the way but the contents blew me away!  Sean made artful picks & here’s what I have to chew on:

BF Owners Choice picnic!

BF Owner's Choice picnic!

Here the lovelies are on my bookcase:

BFs in pride of place

BFs in pride of place

I feel smarter already!  Big thanks to both the benefactor & the facilitator of this care package.  Good push forward for month-end blues.

The Wedding  Guest Shrug hit a wall.  The double-stranding was a pain in the ass.  I was bound to drop one half every stitch & mindless knitting was well nigh impossible.  Also, the colours weren’t flowing.  The silk was falling flat on the lace pattern too.  I knew to call it a day when Hubby saw only a few holes.  So I thought – time to frog.  A few deep breaths later, I had the warring balls of silk separated.  Here’s what I’ve come up with as a solution for these issues – back to basics.  Keeping it at lace weight, and going with a simpler motif.

This means more work – teeny tiny needles.  Ergo more time.  But who am I to blow against the wind?  I’ve also ditched the 1 x 1 ribbing for my preferred 2 x2.  Here’s where it’s at:

Wedding Guest Shrug take 2

Wedding Guest Shrug take 2

The new motif is called ‘little fountain.’  It looked cute on my swatch & only has a 4 row repeat.  Even if I have more stitches, the pattern is easy to remember, so I may make the deadline yet! [Yeah, if I knit every moment available, and manage to ignore the new book stash…]

I honestly cannot fault the yarn for all of this.  It was a gamble going with lace-weight.  The Hand Maiden is holding up very well, and is still a star.  It’s taking the innovation like a pro!


Leave a comment

Combination stitch is its name

TGFR – Thank God for Ravelers!  A Vancouverite just shed some light [like the rhyme?] on my old knit stitch.

Turns out my old knitting through the back has a name:  combination knitting.  I improvised a real, live method – without knowing it at the time.  I am very grateful for finding this Techniques discussion topic.

Will look into the combination concept some more.  A variation in the venerable English style of knitting – who knew?


Leave a comment

Not yet afflicted

It was down to the wire with our preparations but we turned out a pretty good Easter lunch.  It was great to have the house full of company, and they also came bearing gifts!  Our blue mountain coffee stash is dangerously low, so the bag was much appreciated!  Our actual ask was for our traditional Easter bun.  It’s available in some areas of the GTA but as far as I know, not where we live.  Not only did we have bun but my cousin brought some Tastee cheese.  The makers of Tastee claim that during Easter, a kilo of cheese is eaten per person in the island… that number may be on the high side but it’s the only cheddar for our ‘bun & cheese’.  It’s a uniquely soft orange cheddar.

Going into the day we had 2 major worries – first was finishing the Great Powder Room Project; second was our guest-adverse dog, Toby.  He is famous for fixating on one male guest in any group, and going berserk.  The last time all my Uncle had to do was set foot over the threshold, and Toby was in a fit of barking, and lunging.  So for days, Hubby asked ominously, “What are you doing with the dog?”  I wasn’t about to chain him outside in 7 degree weather, and he wasn’t about to put him in a kennel, so we thought Toby would be a huge issue.  Ha!  Seems my ideas – talk to the dog; walk the dog; transition guests through door without doorbell going – all worked 🙂  Joy of joys, it seems Toby is reformed.  So much so that my Uncle had to ask what kind of higher-order training the dog had been through!  Toby wasn’t too fond of cuz’s boyfriend but it was mild – very mild.

The powder room did also behave itself but that was one project that didn’t want to end…  The paint.  Well, it is what it is.  Naturally, the 2nd coat didn’t tone it down one bit.  I’ve made my peace with the colour, and Hubby’s joy is unabated.  We did have a raft of other set-backs though.  Who’d a thunk that drilling a hole for the towel ring would cave a 1/2″ deep hole in the wall?  Thanks to the former owners for not filling that…  Other holes needed patching over the window.  Our idea of hanging the curtains outside the trim wasn’t to be.  A couple other fixes later we did manage to fix it up.  Remind me never to do that again…

As for the food, it was all good.  I was speaking with a lady I sort-0f know early last week about hosting this year, etc.  Her first question was, “Where are you getting the food?”  I almost answered, “The supermarket,” but realized that truthful or not, it would have been the rude thing to say.  In a great leap of maturity I quietly said that I supposed I would rustle it up myself.  I kept to traditional Jamaicany dishes – baked smoked ham; rice & peas; candied sweet potatoes with apples;  cheese and trees, etc.  Everyone loved the apps – ackee and cheese-filled tarts.  My favourite was the brownies with spiked (brandy) sour cream icing.  Cuz supplied a broccoli marinated salad that was great too.

I’m also v. grateful for all the ladies’ help clearing up.  Lord knows I had no steam left for handling that chore on my own…

I am looking forward to getting back to the baby cardi.  The other night, I searched the pattern on Ravelry and saw all the finished projects.  I also scratched the itch in terms of the Sirdar Baby Bamboo not being grand for a garment.  I have a feeling it will all be fine.  The pictures were reassuring but also what people are saying about it for garments.  It’s a small adjustment back from the domestic work but I’ll be toting the needles back to their rightful place in the couch again v. soon…  I’m not a clutter-free kind of person for long anyhow.

This afternoon I stumbled accross Anand Giridharadas on CPac (Canadian C-Span).  He was speaking in Ottawa at the India Lecture Series.  Never heard of it.  Never heard of him.  He is a columnist for the International Herald Tribune, and he seems to have been there on April 2nd.  His talk was, “The Slumdog Effect:  Afflict the Comfortable.”  It was astonishing – someone young & good-looking on CPac?  He spoke well in what I took to be an Ivy League way but also, openly.  He did not afflict me.  In fact, many of the things he described about Indian society would apply equally in Jamaica, and I imagine, other developing nations in the Commonwealth.  His arguments were not pat, and I found them very intriguing.

In terms of being open, he spoke of his parents who migrated to America from India.  By extension he alluded to his experience as a first-generation American with family ties in India.  I was surprised when he (a working print journalist) said that he gets paid to meet one-on-one to meet with people, learning their actual reality.  He said that no newspaper would ever carry that reality.  What did he say?  That what’s happening is not news that is fit to print?  Or – what I heard – that policies and journalistic conventions keep raw news from us?  Chalk it up to my overactive imagination but I think that’s what the cameraperson heard too.  We got a shot of the audience just after he gave us to understand.  They sure had some interesting expressions.  Colour me a new fan of Anand Giriharadas.  Although I have strong opinions about the first book on his reading roll – V.S. Naipaul’s “A House for Mr. Biswas.”


Leave a comment

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.


Leave a comment

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.