Saturday, February 24, 2024

Knitting and television

Is television even much of a thing anymore? I feel like maybe we're old school here by streaming only some and not all of what gets watched around here. There's something about choosing from the set menu of listings that is so restful.  


But not so restful that I forget my hands are about eighteen inches from the shelf where my various knitting projects live. I knit most of this watching episodes of Murder She Wrote and Columbo. 

Talk about restful! Jessica Fletcher is always going to figure out whatever happened, so all I have to do is watch for 80s and 90s nostalgia. And I already know everything on Columbo except how he's going to pin the crime on the killer. Plus: 70s and 80s nostalgia, and the big name guest stars.

Recently I watched one Columbo episode with Anne Baxter, then a few days later saw her again performing the role for which she deservedly won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar in The Razor's Edge, which coincidentally I'd been reading with friends on Instagram. None of which has anything to do with knitting, but goes to show how many things are interconnected, like the stitching on my sock.

(okay, that was a reach... sorrynotsorry)

 

One last pic of Amy today:

 

She's dabbing her approval of my copy of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey. Isn't she the best plant friend?

We've enjoyed Amy so much but it will not surprise you to know that she's beginning to shed her flowers now. I am not crying over it, because her beautiful leaves should be around for a few weeks yet, and they are so lush and lovely.


Hope you have a marvellous weekend lined up even if it's a quiet one, and thanks for letting me be part of it. See you next week!




Saturday, February 17, 2024

Two down and a lot to go

It's February, and I've just finished a second project from my possibly five-year-old pile of in-progress knits! You might almost see a pattern forming here.

Probably I can't keep this up all year, or even until the In Progress pile has diminished. But it was nice to graft the toes on these socks and free up my needles. Maybe sometime in the next couple of weeks I'll get to run in the ends, and everything.

You may be wondering whether I gave in and cast on my friend's Present socks, or snuck over to the ones for me? Or not. Either way, the answer is:


I was good, and am now knitting a Present. 

I kind of regret my selflessness because these are really Halloween socks, with stripes in black, grey, red, purple, and orange. Hopefully they won't take me all spring to knit and I can still get in some of the socks for myself, to knit in the sun.

Anyway I'm glad to have another clear run of legs to knit because I've started being excited about Thursday nights, when Murder She Wrote is quickly followed by Columbo. I feel so nostalgic for these old shows at the moment and enjoy all the wonderful outfits and backdrops and cars. Technically not that different from today but let's face it, it was a different world.


Ready for the really big news? Amy bloomed this week!

Not quite in time for Valentine's Day, but perfectly so for Half Price Valentine's Chocolate Day which is frankly my preferred holiday. Isn't she beautiful? To think that six weeks ago she was just a pot of dirt and a dead bulb in a bag in the basement. 


I trust you have a lovely weekend lined up? I am going to be at my desk, working very hard, but I have fresh new socks to look forward to knitting at night and that's something, isn't it.


 

Thanks for coming by again this week and I look forward to seeing you next Saturday!




Saturday, February 10, 2024

Oh look sock yarn

I finished the second sock of the pair I showed you last week, but I haven't grafted the toes. Do you delay that sort of thing, I wonder? I find I need a total zen state to do kitchener stitch, with nobody around for the ten or so critical minutes it takes to start and finish. I'd better hurry up though because I have two sets of sock yarn I could be casting on and enjoying if only I had needles available. Behold, socks-to-be:


If I were a responsible generous knitter I would cast on the ones with the purple stripes and knit them up for my friend Jan, to whom I have given a pair of socks every Christmas for many years (except last year, when my knitting crawled almost to a halt and I really couldn't produce a whole pair in time.)

Probably I will do that. I'm so tempted to start with the other pair, though. The stripes on it look super cheery for springtime knitting, even if they wouldn't appeal to Jan.

I should also mention how weird it is that I was able to take these photographs on our back deck in February, where we normally have several inches of now piled up. Hmmm. Maybe it's better if I don't mention that.

It wouldn't be so bad knitting black and grey and orange and red and purple stripes in February, really. 

Maybe it would be equally not so bad to rush through black and white and orange and turquoise and acid green for spring, so as to finish a second pair of socks by December. 

Either way, I've got to get the current socks good and grafted. I guess when I'm finally done that, I could toss a coin?

Here's something that requires zero decision-making and lots of excitement and admiration: Amy's about to bloom! 

 

You thought you were going go get through a whole post without seeing my amaryllis, didn't you. But I'm committed now to sharing her journey from forgotten basement bulb to pretty flower companion, so here we are.


I hope you have a lovely weekend lined up. You know what I'd like to be doing? Putting a fresh coat of paint on a room, or building a custom bookshelf. I don't need to do either of these things (or have space for another bookshelf) but I am weirdly missing fix-it-up weekends and enthusiasm for same. This from the girl who can't make time to graft a sock toe.

Whatever your arrangements - thank you so much for dropping by to visit, and I hope to see you again next Saturday!




Saturday, February 3, 2024

There is knitting I promise

 ... but first, check out how well Amy is doing this week!


I know, I could come up with a more original name if I tried even the tiniest bit. But isn't she adorable? I wonder if next week I'll have a bloom to show you.


Okay so last night I settled in to watch a movie and thought I'd cast on new socks since I had grafted the toes on the previous pair. However, when I hunted up my needles I discovered some socks were still on them. Socks I had completely forgotten existed. So I finished one of them. Yesssss!

Sidebar: this is the beginning of February
and there is no snow or ice on our deck
which makes me wonder what the rest of this winter
is saving up for us

I still have to graft the toe on this sock. Meh, it'll keep. It's so much easier to graft two socks at once after all, and lookit:


The second sock is pretty close to its toe decreases!

And it's only the start of February, which means I'm staying on track to finish my various works in progress at a pace of one a month. Maybe, given my track record of late, this is too much to hope for. But if I can get even this one additional pair of cheery socks in play that's pretty good, don't you think?

 

Hope you got something satisfying accomplished this week as well. I have quite a bit more on my list so I'm going to wander off now, but thank you again for joining me and I look forward to seeing you next Saturday. With luck, there might even be a bloom at the top of the page. And... cue me rubbing my hands in delight.

 

 

 

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Someone had a busy week

Check out the stems on my amaryllis friend!


Compared to last Saturday, that's amazing. Especially since we had about 10 minutes of sun this past week, and not all at once either. 

On the other hand, this onion that's spent a little too much time in a dark cold space managed to put out some pretty impressive greenery too. I decided to shift it to a sunny window to see what happens. 


Love the deep purple / fresh green colour combo. Am I wrong to think of fingerless mitts, looking at this closeup? 


Regardless, here are some fingerless mitts that are getting good use this winter, albeit with a pair of fleecy gloves underneath. If it's not cold enough for twined mitts, this is what I'm wearing. 


I handspun the yarn for these years ago, and knit them not long afterward. I still can't believe I got all the singles even enough to make something functional! I used the Ferryboat Mitts pattern from Churchmouse Yarns and Teas... my goodness, I love the whole aesthetic of their patterns, and they're so clearly written too. I made so many pairs of their Turkish Bed Socks when I was a perpetual knitting machine. I wonder if I need a new pair? 

The answer is Yes, naturally, but not till I get this new manuscript finished, so I'd best be off and make some progress on that. I hope you have a lovely weekend and as always, thank you for joining me for part of it! See you next Saturday.




Saturday, January 20, 2024

Hello and no

I totally forgot to bring my amaryllis out from the dark before Christmas, and I wasn't sure how it would do when I finally thought of it a week or so ago. But look!

I was so in love with this plant last winter - the flowers were punchy but the GREEN BITS! They were so tall and silky and spongy, I ended up keeping it in the window for ages until all the strength went out of them and they fell away. It was my favourite stage, once the flowers were done. Maybe a life lesson in there... showy is great, but steadfastness is greater?

Either way, it's nice to see something emerging into the world with optimism when everything outside is Cold Snap. 

I've been using the Cold Snap to double down on staying in and writing at a fiendish pace. I wasn't trying to go farther with my current project, but deeper, the better to set themes and voices for the pages to come. I love doing that and it is much easier work when there are no social obligations or errands to run, or when those things can be put off because nobody else wants to be out either unless they half to.

In other words, January is my favourite month, ha! A bond I share, improbably, with skiers.

It's probably the only one. I considered going out for a walk today to celebrate getting a chunk of work done yesterday, and...

 

No. Tomorrow will do just as well, when the Snap snaps and takes the frostbite risk with it.

Hope you've been able to stay safe and warm this week - thank you for stopping by today and I'll see you next Saturday!

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Are you sitting down

I hope you're not popping over to Hugs already in a state of overexcitement because...


I finished these socks!! (okay, I still have to run in some ends, but we're basically there.) And they are comfortable and feel the same even though I cast on one of them with one too few stitches, didn't realize it till I got to the heel flap, agonized for years about how to handle this before ripping back up to the end of the ribbing (I wasn't going to risk casting on all over again) and adding in a stitch before continuing on my by-now very lumpy way.


So glad the yarn is toasty warm wool because that's snow on the deck, not icing sugar from a donut. 


Over on Instagram there is a lot of talk among avid readers about the infamous TBR or To Be Read pile, which yarny people will recognize as The Stash. As in, I'm only going to read (knit) from my TBR (stash) this year, or These are the books (patterns) I plan to read (knit) this year from my TBR (stash). So many dreams!

In the end I had to think about my knitty goals for 2024 and it was a no brainer: finish some projects. Maybe even finish ALL the projects sitting in bags on the shelf by my favourite chair. There are a couple of hats, another pair of decision socks where I cast on too few stitches, and some other stuff I can't even remember now because it's been so long since I've dared to peek inside.

 

Even as they post their TBR dreams I'm pretty sure my fellow readers at Instagram know they may not pull it all off. I know I'm not going to finish all of my projects by deciding I will, either. I mean, ripping out two whole socks and starting over?? and for one of the hats I have to make a braid from three long strips of yarn. Obstacles, I am telling you.

But I did finish knitting the re-cast sock, completing the pair and freeing up needles and a project bag. And we're not even halfway through January yet! 

I'm calling it a win. 

Yeah, that sock on the right is pretty lumpy in the leg.
Hopefully they'll look a little more like each other once I've blocked 'em.


Do you have knitting goals for this year?


Well that's it for me today. I'm done in by the shock of *finishing* something. Hope you have a lovely weekend even if, as here, it is snowy and very cold. Thanks for sharing a little time with me and I hope to see you again next Saturday!




Saturday, January 6, 2024

Odds and ends

I am, as they say, 'without much time' today so I'll be popping non-knit images into this post. Like for example this one I quite like of bookmarks I use. Note the stamped tag from a skein of Viola yarn!

 

In fact, everything I want to say is a little of this and that, like this picture. Starting with hats.

Somebody somewhere has said something nice about the Not Just For Chemo Reversible Cloche (boy, can I name my knit designs, or what?) because I've had a rush of people asking me to e-mail the file to them. For some reason this is the only one of my designs people can't easily download and it's never stopped being a mystery to me. It's the same portable document format as all my other patterns which *don't* have this problem, and loaded onto my website exactly the same way, and a lot of people are able to access it without any trouble at all. 

The upside of this issue is that I hear from a lot of super nice knitters. The downside is that I now realize people are using chemo caps for other sources of hair loss. Hair loss should not be a thing! It's just so unfair, like we don't have enough to deal with in life.

I am guessing this is a cattail in winter mode,
but when I saw it at the farm I couldn't help wondering
if you could spin with it.

 

Speaking of hair, I recently starting trying bar shampoo and conditioner from a few different brands. My favourite thing in this category is the Kitsch Strengthening Rice Water Conditioner bar... I use it only on the ends of my hair and I've noticed so much more wave and pretty, without having to do anything else for it. Plus the scent is soooo nice. And dissipates immediately, which is great for those of us with perfume sensitivity. I love the matching shampoo too but find in my case it's too hard on my scalp to use more than once or twice a week.



Seems like I've got a lot of farm photos at the top of my file, unless you want to see something I put together for Instagram, in which case you could just to go to Instagram (you don't need to sign up to see somebody's feed.)  This is the pond on a grey wintery day. In summer it's alive with colour and, apparently, frogs and turtles. Long may it be so.

There is so much work do to at this property, and we do it, but we take our time and pause to enjoy our surroundings. Like, just walk around, or stop and stand and breathe. 

It has occurred to me I don't do this normally. I'm always walking to get somewhere or for exercise, so I'm focused and moving. This isn't super possible at the farm because nothing whatsoever is level. If you're lucky, the slope is steady, but quite often there are divots and pockets so that your feet are always having to adjust. It is very much not like walking on asphalt or concrete. 

So, I think the farm is a good place to go, and it's lucky there's so much work to do there or I wouldn't prioritize it.

 

Which leads my thoughts down the farm track to - planning season! I am switching this year from the chunky colourful sticker-filled Happy Planner approach to the sedate elegance of Filofax Malden binders, personalized with little watercolour doodles. Keeping my mind open to washi tapes (the tiny ones are from Happy Planner) but for this week at least, enjoying slender black ink on white paper smooth as glass. 


I will not bore you with pictures of the inside, but I went all out this year and ordered personalized calendar pages direct from Filofax in the UK, as this service is not offered in Canada. I was able to choose exactly the layout I wanted, marked with Canadian holidays only, and in English exclusively, to maximize the amount of writing space on each page. Totally doing this again for as long as Filofax makes it available.

 

Now that I'm thinking about planning, I'm realizing I have rambled on way longer than I meant, and still have a pile of work on my desk. So let me wish you a wonderful weekend and thank you, once again, for taking a little time to be with me here at Hugs. See you next week!


(yeah, you knew I was gonna slide in one more farm pic. love that place so much.)