Saturday, September 30, 2023

Sock hop

Short Hug today my friends. After a brief recovery last Saturday, I spent the rest of the week with a rebound round of Covid. I'm only just clawing my way back to normal life again now, too late even for the good sunshine for taking pictures, yikes. However! during my brief hours of good health last weekend, I tackled a sock problem that's got to be six years old.

I don't know what happened with these. Normally I knit both socks in a pair at the same time, getting one through the cuff and then the other, then both to the heel flap, and so on. Knitting with this stripe, I got one sock complete to the point of a grafted toe with the ends run in, and the other as far a finished heel flap. Then I discovered I had cast on two few stitches right from the start, throwing off the entire heel math unless I fixed it. And fixing it would either mean adding two stitches and living with a tight leg, or ripping out and starting over.

I knew the harder option was the answer, but... UGH. Hence the six years. But in the euphoria of recovering from Covid, I wasn't in the mood for half measures, so I pulled out all those stitches. Okay, I admit it: not all. I couldn't face redoing the ribbing, so I guess that part of the sock might feel a bit snugger.

All the rest is what I managed to get done as my symptoms returned and then felled me completely. But hey, I'll take it!

Knitting with frogged yarn is kind of sad... the stitches are so gummed up compared to what you get with unknit stuff.

I'm pretty sure it will all come out in the wash... or most of it anyway.

The main thing is, I'm working through my knitting backlog, while still in time to produce a single pair of Christmas socks. No pressure, amiright?

Hope you've had a great week, with lots of cheery outside time! See you next Saturday, maybe even for a celebration of Something Finished. Meanwhile, enjoy your weekend, and thanks for making me a part of it by stopping by.

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Me again

Hello and happy negative-test Saturday! As of two hours ago I am officially through my first (and really, it's very welcome to be my last) round of Covid. And I have outside pictures to prove it. 


Technically I could have come outside any day this week with a mask on, but it didn't seem worth the effort, so I stayed in bedroom jail and worked on my novel. Also, a little bit of sock. Progress, at last!

I feel I'm into the home stretch with these now, and a good thing too because I have to wind more sock yarn cakes and get started on a purple-stripe pair for Jan's Christmas present. She loves these socks and I'm not sure how she'd react if I ever gave her something like a kettle instead.

Today is also the first day of fall and the back yard is kind of showing it. The hostas look like they've had the wind knocked out of them, for one thing.

But I'm also thinking there are gonna be a *lot* of fried green tomatoes happening in our kitchen over the next little while. 

At least we did get some fruit. Our hydrangeas never bloomed at all, though I did spot a tiny bud waiting to happen, just now.

Our Roma tomatoes did the best. 

There are a whole plate of them inside... probably only enough for a sauce for two, but bright red.

Whew! I am sleepy just from that little walk around the garden. Time for one more glamour photo and then I'm calling it a Hug.

It is so nice of you to stop by to see me on Saturdays. I hope you've had a lovely week but either way, that you get a great weekend before we do it all all over again. See you soon!

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Sick day

Not much from me today I'm afraid, as I have finally caught Covid. In addition to being too symptomatic to write a Hug, I am isolated away from anything that might make a good picture! fetching though the print on our bedroom curtains might be. Fortunately I'd been hanging onto this for a rainy day:

I was in a ravine when I saw this gathering. Looking at it later, with all the trees on different angles, I caught the feeling of 'waiting around for something to happen'. Which is what I'm feeling like, waiting around to be able to write again. Pete was able to pick up a course of Paxlovid for me two hours after I tested positive, and it's why I can give you this much today, so I am optimistic.

Have a wonderful weekend and thank you again for stopping by. Hopefully next week we'll be all back to normal, or close enough.

Saturday, September 9, 2023

A stitch by any other name

Today I'm determined to tackle a paint-stripping project I've been putting off since April, but I wanted to spare you that (at least for now - if it goes well you are totally seeing pictures next week!) Instead, I am inviting you on a memory lane walk through my collection of stitch dictionaries.


I feel like I talked about this before, but does the subject ever really get old? I mean, the stitch is what every knitter working the same pattern, regardless of gauge or yarn selection, has in common. And many of us pursue new-to-us stitches through different patterns.

When I was designing hats, I was constantly hunting for interesting stitches to use. The easiest to work, and sometimes the hardest to find, were stitch patterns I could repeat in whatever number was necessary to create three sizes without having to adjust the decreases too much in the last section of the instructions. Nine decrease points at the crown makes a perfectly rounded hat - three is too pointed, eighteen, too boxy! The art, for me, was marrying a stitch to a gauge to ensure that perfect union. 

All these books were my tools.


Barbara Walker worked a miracle, sourcing a zillion different stitches and working up samples of each one for her stitch dictionaries. I am far from alone in being forever indebted. 

I used to love attending the Toronto Knitter's Frolic for all the obvious reasons, plus the easy access to Japanese stitch dictionaries. I'm sure they present a lot of overlap in stitches across my library, but I loved the glossy paper, the full-colour photographs, and the charting that overcame the language barrier.

But I was also fascinated by reversible knitting. I pounced on Lynne Barr's Reversible Knitting, and couldn't believe my luck when my local library released its copy of Reversible Two-Color Knitting for sale. 

In the end, I didn't incorporate any of the stitches from either of these books into my patterns, but it was pure pleasure to curl up with them and think through the pages.

An unexpected source of ideas was Knitting Counterpanes, by Mary Walker Phillips.

I had never considered knitting a whole blanket, but as with crocheted afghans or sewn quilts, they can be worked in squares that are stitched together later. I thought I might break down an individual stitch I found interesting and use that in a pattern. I didn't have the energy I guess. What really gave me ideas was seeing how different patterns could be combined into one square. Each pattern is also shown assembled, so you can see the bigger picture. Here's an example using a different pattern.


These days it's all I can do to get through a plain sock, but I relished the winter nights when I quickly swatched a stitch, then fell into knitting it with an audiobook for company. I know more of those are in my future, even if the current priority is writing. Or, you know, stripping the paint off a bedside table for our tiny home.

Hope your week's been great and that you have something more fun than furniture lined up for the weekend. So glad you dropped by! See you next Saturday.

Saturday, September 2, 2023

Back to basics

The decluttering continues here at Hugs, which isn't making me happy in the moment, but is cultivating very good feelings about the potential for ease and charm in the near future:

I've never not been busy, but pre-house renovation, my life was pretty simple. You'd think having an entire extra floor would have given me more room to simplify even further. Apparently not. Mostly it's given me more places to let things pile up. No more of that nonsense! I've been at this a week now, and the transformation is officially noticeable. 

For one thing, our living room bookshelves are tidy, shed of unwanted items, and dust-free. Now I can get at my craft books a lot more easily.


The dining room table, which is used for dining on Christmas Day only and the rest of the year is my worktable, is now clear of everything but my favourite cloth, ready for me to sort papers or cut fabric. 

Our coffee table is clear too, except for a book Pete is reading - totally appropriate use of space - and the shelf underneath has new, very large, baskets wrangling my sock darning pile. Also the skeins I have yet to cake for future socks. 

The surface of the desk in the living room features only the plants and antique books and lamp that are supposed to live there.

The piles of things I'd been accumulating with a view to donation are making their way to boxes, some of which have been whisked away to a vehicle, no less.

And in the basement, digging out boxes from under the stairs, I discovered a collection of fingerless mitt forms I cut from felted wool sweaters, one of which was all ready to gift. 

I was not sorry to see a few with work left to do on them. I loved making those things, feeling the felted wool sleeves and deciding which ones were soft enough to really enjoy, then blanket-stitching the edges, maybe embroidering something extra. These ones didn't need that, with all the pattern on them. Just as well because even now I my fancy needle skills are strictly entry-level.

Feeling tired just reading all that? I am, thinking of how much I still have to sort and shed. But when I'm done with the dreck I get to sit here, in my freshly reorganized front hall, now 100% free of a misguided attempt at growing basil and rosemary on the sill.

I could knit. Or read. Or both together. Or just enjoy the fruits of my labours.

If you ask me, spring cleaning's for the birds. By the time the weather's nice you just want to be out in it. But in these weeks leading to the fall, wowza. I'm so jazzed to know that when the cooler cosier weather hits, I will have plenty of room for pulling out my spinning wheel, or my loom, or a quiet collection of felted wool, scrap yarn, and my embroidery needles. 

Or, you know, writing. That's the one thing that's guaranteed to happen.


Hope your weekend's fantastic and that your home is already tidy and ready for anything! Thanks for dropping by again. I'll look forward to seeing you next Saturday.