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Steph
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Today, I'm changing the account that hosts And She Knits Too to free status. I've made PDF books of my posts and it's time to stop paying to host something that I seldom post to. It's surprisingly hard to let this go even though I don't post much. It's been something I've maintained for over 18 years so I guess my reluctance makes sense. The blog isn't going anywhere, and I can still post should I choose. The template reverts to something I would never choose though - you get what you pay for. I did finish a sweater this week. Peeta using Indigodragonfly R.O.U. sport. It turned out perfect. Thanks to everyone who has read my musings. I'm still around in Ravelry, Instagram and Twitter should you want to see what I'm up to. I'm going to leave a photo of the nicest things I've ever knit, just to finish things on a pretty note. Continue reading
Posted Jan 16, 2022 at And She Knits Too!
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Fireplace hearth is gone and replaced with some fun tiles. Our toes have never been happier and I’m really happy with the result. Picking the tiles was a bit of a challenge as we had a defined space and wanted to avoid too much cutting. Our first thought was penny tiles as they give some flexibility and are retro-nifty. I also wanted something that would make an impact but for a small price. Enter the $1.28 porcelain tiles from Home Depot. Avoided the likelihood of cutting a million little pennies, but still ended up with only 6 tiles not cut....lessons we carried to the next phase. We filled the hole left from our earlier excavation with dry pack and got it mostly level (nothing in this house is level so close enough is good enough). We laid out our tiles and used our cardboard jig to assess. Lots of cuts... A few hours later we rented a wet saw and got to work cutting. We had hoped to get two tiles from fireplace out, but it didn’t work without grout lines that were far too wide. Once we (well mostly I) acknowledged that the best course was to have full tiles in the middle and cut tiles all around, it went pretty quickly. We started with a metal transition edge, then laid the tiles right on the dry pack. The tiles closest to the bricks were tricky because that line was not straight - each tile is a different width, but the busy pattern helps obscure that and again, old houses are not about straight lines. The next day we did the grout. It was a bit more challenging than previous projects because the of the tiny spaces between the tiles - 1/16th”. There’s also something disconcerting about spreading charcoal grout over white tiles. The end result is lovely. There's still work to do around the fireplace and we're considering a mantel; work to keep us occupied during the current Ontario state of emergency and beyond. Some of this work is definitely not January-friendly. I also need to put something in the fireplace - I'm thinking a large basket would be nice or maybe a pretty screen. Better than an old towel plugging the old pipe. Emboldened by our success, the tiling didn't end there. I decided that the ridiculous tiled entry way had to go. It felt even better than busting up the hearth. There's so much wrong here: The "mat" is too small, the pattern around the edge runs out before it goes around the larger tiles and it's just ugly. It's the same pattern as the kitchen we renovated a while ago. Once I busted out the old tiles, things got silly. We removed the wood that framed the tiles to enlarge the footprint. Then we thought - how do we do this so we don't have to cut so many tiles? Or any tiles? Then we got out the saws. That little one would take forever,... Continue reading
Posted Jan 18, 2021 at And She Knits Too!
Today, like many people on Twitter, I had opinions about the latest announcement from the Ontario government about the pandemic. Instead of bitching on Twitter I wrote a letter to the Premier and cc'd my MPP. I suggest you do the same. Premier@ontario.ca Mr. Ford, A short note from an Ontario citizen to say that the measures announced today aren't good enough. You're not listening to your health experts and are being too timid with your response to the pandemic. The messages are inconsistent, difficult for the public to understand, and make front-line workers vulnerable and unprotected. What's needed and has been recommended by many already: 1. Paid sick days for workers. The federal supports only take effect when someone tests positive for COVID. Ontario workers without paid sicks days cannot take time to get tested without losing pay. They will come to work sick and infect others. This is so important for long-term care facilities where people continue to get sick and die. 2. No evictions. Full stop. People need homes. 3. A narrower definition of essential businesses - I can still have a crew come to my house to renovate my kitchen just because I want a change. I can still go to Walmart or Costco and buy no food. There are too many loopholes that mean COVID spreads. 4. Close non-essential workplaces where people can't work from home. Workers are risking their health so I can get new slippers sent to my home or take out food. Nothing sold by Amazon or Gap online is essential. We need to close more things down and pay those workers to stay home for a short time rather than continue with minor changes to the rules which lead to more illness and death for a long time. Experts at your table are recommending these and other important measures. Listen to them. I could have said far more. Maybe I'll do that in a few days. If citizens don't start directly engaging with our leaders things will never change. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2021 at And She Knits Too!
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The fireplace took some extra time to progress as we decided to hire a Mason to fix the broken bricks. This was something we researched (we over-research most of our DIY reno projects) and quickly determined that messing with a 100+ year old fireplace was best left to professionals. Because everything is slower due to the pandemic and because we chose to use a company that specialized in restoring old bricks, they didn't come until November. It was worth the wait. They chiseled out some bricks (with a demolition hammer and all the ensuring dust) and replaced them with the correct size Ontario bricks. They also added a steel plate along the top of the opening to support the bricks. (The towel is blocking the air from coming down the chimney pipe - another thing we need to deal with) The whole thing took half a day and they were good enough to bring their own water for the mortar clean up because the water main up the street broke and we were at hour 48 (of 60) of having no water (a problem at any time but again more difficult with COVID as you can't just go to people's houses and borrow 10 litres of water a couple of times a day). The bricks will eventually go lighter and look more similar to the original ones. We could add a thin layer of watered-down mortar to them but we've decided we like them as they are. It looks great. I'm not sure what I'll put in the space - I'm just happy it's not that old gas fireplace. The next step is to deal with the hole where the hearth used to be. The plan is to figure out how to fill it most of the way and then add tiles to match the level of the wood floor. We tried to find a similar hardwood but couldn't and it would always look like a patch job. Better to make this part of the floor an interesting feature. We actually finished the work this weekend but I want to clean up a bit more and take some nicer photos. There are still a bunch of stages left - building a mantel and figuring out some sort of built-in shelving around the bricks - but filling the hole was top priority (Ralph our Roomba can't seem to avoid getting trapped in there. His cliff sensor doesn't always keep him away). Continue reading
Posted Dec 21, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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There's nothing like being home 99.9% of the time to encourage thoughts about the stuff in your house you don't like. First it was the back yard. It was about 80% of the way we wanted it and since we knew we'd be spending a lot of time there over the summer, we got the remaining 20% done and had stone installed, finally covered some eye sores and made a nice spot to be outside but away from others. Now that Fall is here, I've turned my attention to the fireplace. You may remember back when we moved in that it could have been featured in Architectural Abomination Monthly - we pretty much removed the ghastly mantle and curved things immediately, but never really got past the removal to make it what we wanted. I always hated the black granite on the brick and hated the black granite hearth - it juts out into the room, hurting unsuspecting toes and doing nothing but collecting dust. So a few weekends back, I took it off. It took like 10 minutes. But left behind a lot of mess - black caulk (I swear the previous owner of this house had a hard-on for caulk), glue, mortar and gave me a weekend of stuff to remove that ended up being an excellent diversion from work, the world and everything. Then things got silly. The original plan was to build a new mantel, retile the hearth and think about some bookcases or something to finish the space. I found the specs for the fireplace and did some reading on hearth requirements and b-valve fireplaces and NO GOOD COMES FROM RESEARCH. This fireplace wasn't the most efficient thing - burns natural gas to heat air in our living room and then blows the bad air out the chimney - including the air from in the house that it just heated. They rate at about 50% efficiency. The fan is noisy and well we never use it much because our house isn't cold and we all have lots of woolies (reason 123 to live with a knitter). Craig never had any use for the fireplace and after looking at pretty designs on Pinterest and sleeping on it, we decided to get rid of the fireplace. Which also meant we could get rid of the hearth and level the floor. Except getting rid of the hearth was a lot less easy than removing the granite or the caulk. Craig tried to remove the bricks in the hearth by hand but they were CONCRETED INTO THE FLOOR (who does that?). So not ideal... But we got to rent a demolition hammer! It's as awesome as you imagine. We tented off that part of the room (which only sorta helped) and Craig got down to destroying stuff. It chewed through the brick and then we got down to the concrete. Of course, I got to have a turn. Pulverizing concrete with a power tool is just what a stressed-out... Continue reading
Posted Oct 12, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
Last weekend I went axe throwing for the first time. It turns out throwing axes at a target while drinking delicious Woodhouse Stout is pretty fun. It’s not so much about strength, but rather technique and intention. Obviously, it’s more fun when you hit the target and the axe sticks. And it’s seriously fun with the big axe that you use to break a tie. I was kinda good at the big axe, but there’s no video proof. This whole thing had me thinking about targets. I’m a project manager by nature. I like concrete goals. I love a good work plan. That’s great for my professional life because I have to work on several things at once and manage a team working on their projects. For my fibre crafts it’s tempting to plot and plan completion of projects. Sometimes it’s because there’s a deadline for a gift and I need to prioritize what I’m working on, and be realistic about what I can complete by a deadline. But I find the target setting creeping in to other projects. On the positive side it keeps me from casting on everything I see and never finishing anything (I like the process of knitting/spinning/weaving, but I REALLY like finishing stuff). On the negative side, I start thinking about how long a project will take and get a bit stressed? miffed? unsettled...about it. I encountered this last weekend when I dug my The Shieling blanket out of the credenza and got back to it after a long hiatus. Nine squares done and blocked, some of them assembled. Not bad, only 21 more squares to go. At a week a square, plus two weeks to assemble... You get the idea. Then I started thinking about whether I could do two squares a week and then it started to sound like work rather than enjoyment. That's when I reminded myself that the target is to knit/spin/weave stuff I enjoy. Some days colour work isn't going to be enjoyable or possible (because I'm tired, or watching TV with subtitles, or at a dimly lit bar) and I need other fulfilling fibre pursuits instead. The blanket will get done. I like knitting it. That's the target I need to aim for. I'm definitely going axe throwing again. Continue reading
Posted Feb 9, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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Today was a lazy day. I drank lots of coffee. Ate homemade muffins (with bacon and cheese on the side, because protein is important and delicious). Went for a very short run AND did my abdominal strengthening exercises. And I played with yarn in all my crafty ways. Weaving continues on the scarf and I'm dreaming up the next one. I might do a pooled warp, as I'm finally over the debacle of the last time where I used gorgeous yarn, took my time to get the warp right, wove it up and it was meh. Actually it was beautiful, a subtle scarf with lovely subtle colour variations. The thing was you couldn't see the pooled warp because the weft colour was too similar and all that work disappeared. I gave to the kids' piano teacher as a gift and she adores it. I chalk it up as a learning experience - the weft needs to allow the warp to pop. I spun a bit on the EE Nano. Craig made me some new yarn guides that seem to make for a better experience. The ones that came with the spinner would snag the yarn - very frustrating. And, I knit (well of course I did). I finished Viajante!!!! It's beautiful and I see it getting lots of wear. I love shawls, but struggle a bit with the pins and sticks. This one goes over my head and looks like a shawl, but I can move around. It's blocking now. I also started a hat for Craig. I'm in the mood for some small things after Viajante and the blanket. The yarn is Harrisville Nightshades in Cinder and the pattern is Proof. My gauge is a bit loose, but it should fit Craig without being snug. We also binge watched a new Netflix show: Giri/Haji. It's a British/Japanese crime thriller/family drama. So good - we watched all eight episodes. Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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I have 10 rounds left on my never-ending Viajante shawl and instead of taking today to just get it done, I decided to warp the loom instead. Each round is a billion stitches, or at least a million so I suppose I can cut myself some slack, I probably wouldn’t finish it today. Warping the loom is definitely a weekend thing, so it makes sense to start a scarf rather than not finish a project. I’m using sock yarn leftovers, mostly from Josephine’s blanket for another Mad for Plaid scarf. My idea is to have a few scarves in storage for gifts - I do not need another neck accessory. Bust some stash, give someone a lovely handmade gift, everyone wins. Here it is on the loom. I rather like the sparkle grey yarn in a weaving project. Now to get back to Viajante while I wait for the beef stew to cook. I already made a bread. Perfect winter supper. Continue reading
Posted Jan 19, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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Lots happening in And She Knits Too land since the new year: My niece, Josephine was born January 3rd! She’s beautiful and healthy and big brother Mitchell seems quite enamoured with her. I got to meet her last week and she’s so tiny and wee. Luckily I finished her blanket (but didn’t have it washed) in time for her birth. It dried quickly and I hope she likes it the same way Mitchell does. He uses it so much it needs Auntie Steph to make repairs. Emma and I took a quick visit to Peterborough to visit my mom and mémère. We took a quick four-generations selfie to update the one on Mémère’s fridge. Emma will be 21 this week, mémère 94 February 2nd. Time flies. I finished my advent calendar shawl. Despite a bobble at day 10, totally my mess up with math, it was really fun to knit. Yarn by Indigodragonfly, pattern Match and Move. I could knit this one again in two colours. I love me some garter stitch knitting. Hopefully it’ll be sunny out at a time when I’m not looking a mess (or in pjs like right now so I can do proper photos). I’m having fun with my Electric Eel Nano spinner. It was a silly impulse purchase this year at Rhinebeck, and while it is taking some time to get used to, it’s a fun little addition to the spinning farm. I will do a full review soon. Last one: Me today would like to thank December me for booking a one hour massage appointment yesterday. The perfect way to finish my first week back at work. I booked again next month. Monthly massages seem like an excellent habit to cultivate. Continue reading
Posted Jan 12, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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Last month a colleague remarked that 2019 was a crappy year for me. I was a bit taken aback, probably because I’m naturally optimistic, but also conceded it wasn’t my best year. I keep thinking about that conversation and contend that 2019 wasn’t any better or worse for me than other years. There were some definite challenges: sciatica was really messing with my body and my outlook, I had to parent through some tough times for one of my kids, I had two bike accidents and I worked a lot more than I planned. But there were lots of great things too: I knit lots, got to play ball hockey despite the back stuff, got a great promotion and raise, went to PARIS with my sweetie to celebrate our 25th anniversary, and really, things were pretty great. Life is good. This year will probably be the same. I’ll do stuff I expect and get hit with some things that are unexpected. I am making a few resolutions: to keep at my core exercises at least 3 times a week to keep that sciatic nerve under control, to get more sleep and, to spend less time on my iPad killing time (those last two are probably related). Writing here is also a possibility. Especially if I finally pull the plug on Facebook (I haven’t logged in for months) and cut back on Twitter. Let’s see what happens. Continue reading
Posted Jan 1, 2020 at And She Knits Too!
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It’s Valentines Day and while it's not something I celebrate beyond eating some chocolate and cinnamon hearts, it got me thinking about all the knitterly things I love. I love the generosity of knitters. Knitters donate to important causes and teach others their craft in schools, prisons, community centres and well anywhere someone asks for their help. Yarn dyers like Kim and Ron and the Minions of Indigodragonfly give back to their community and knitters in a number of ways. My friend Stephanie, the Yarn Harlot, reminds us that our small contributions lead to big things. I love that generosity. I was the recipient of that very recently when a knitter I interact with on social media, Maureen, sent me her too-warm-for-her fiddlehead mittens because she knew I was so sad about wearing out mine. I offered many things in return and all she asked was that I pay it forward. I love that act of kindness and love my warm hands in mittens that fit me so well. (Maureen has some lovely designs--go look!) Knitters also love the people they knit for. That’s clear. It’s also why we decline when coworkers or acquaintances ask us to knit for them. And when they press us we offer to teach them to knit or quote them a market rate for our work. Knitting for others is a true act of love. Then there's Ravelry. What an amazing place it is! I love all of the usual things about it, how it keeps me organized and offers a bunch of communities and patterns and space for fibre enthusiasts. It's a fantastic online resource. But I also love how Casey and Jess and their team have created a purposely inclusive space and how they consciously and openly promoted these principles. And, when they realize they can do better, they open things up to their community and figure out ways to do better. I have so much LOVE for knitters who do the work of promoting equity, diversity, inclusion and understanding. And I love this year's Ravelry Valentines. I've been sending them to knitting friends today. Showing some love. All of this love also makes me think about who might be left out of this love and who might feels unloved in the knitting community. Those who might be doing great work but be relegated to the margins. Those who don't see themselves represented in the knitting community, modelling the designs, or teaching the classes. There has been an emerging dialogue about white privilege and knitting appearing in the online spaces that I inhabit and I'm glad to see it. These debates about racism, equity, inclusion and privilege are not new to me and were part of my scholarship and now my administrative work. I already recognized that knitting can be an economically privileged space but didn't really consider how white it is. I need to do more to topple that structure. I need to boost BIPOC (Black, Indigenous & People of Colour) knitters... Continue reading
Posted Feb 14, 2019 at And She Knits Too!
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After seven blanket squares, it turns out I needed some knitting diversions. First was to cast on a quick and easy sweater, Gemma, using some old-stash Madeline Tosh merino in Tart. I love this yarn but didn't buy quite enough for it to be a lot of the garments I wanted. Note to self: don't be chintzy if you're stashing. I also have a few work-wardrobe holes that could be filled by a simple red sweater, so I got swatching and got knitting. It's been a good knit while I watch Kingdom on Netflix as complicated knitting and subtitles don't work together. Also if you're into light suspense with Zombies, watch Kingdom. So good. Set in 15th century Korea. Political intrigue fuelled by a strange zombie illness. Beautiful cinematography, lush costumes, interesting plot that has some surprises. I also got tempted by Kate Davies' club pattern, Knitting Season hat. It's so beautiful. I've been wanting a red hat to go with my parka and I had the pattern, stash yarn and inspiration so I dove in. I really like Fair Isle knitting and changing it up from the blanket squares was the diversion I needed. One week later, and I'm wearing it. It's -15C, so I'm bundled up. Such a beautiful pattern. Really fun to knit. I do find the corrugated rib band a tad tight and if you have a bigger head, I suggest adding at least one repeat as the pattern has you adding 36 stitches from band to hat. I'm hoping mine will stretch a touch more and I might reblock to see if I can coax it along. The ribbing isn't stretchy so there isn't a lot of play. I confess I didn't swatch, but it's the same Yorkshire Tweed I used for Strathendrick and the same gauge so I knew what sized needles to use. But I should have done a bit of the math to consider the sizing before jumping in. No matter, it's pretty and something I wanted for my hat collection. And I'm itching to get back to my blanket squares. Continue reading
Posted Feb 3, 2019 at And She Knits Too!
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Happy Birthday Emma! Twenty is a cool number: 2 times 1 teen (how your Papi would have put it). I've been thinking about what to write about you for a few days now and it all came together when I found this video (that I posted earlier today on Twitter) This is a "very Emma" moment and looking back, it shows how one's disposition doesn't really change over time. You're always singing and dancing, whether it's The Who, Wham or other hits from the 80's, the soundtrack of your current favourite musical, your latest musical infatuation, or dressed as a pineapple. You've grown up into a fierce young woman and your twenties are going to be amazing. Just make sure to keep singing and dancing! Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2019 at And She Knits Too!
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As I mentioned in my last post, I tend to make the sleeves too short on my sweaters. I really don't like them too long and I think I over compensate (that and I'm probably impatient to get the sleeves knit). Hence Resolution Three: Make your sleeves long enough Steph. In the case of Maxfield it also seemed to mess with the fit of the sweater so much that I stopped wearing it. The sweater is a bit tight in the arm and the too short sleeve seems to make it feel constricting and it pulls at the shoulders. So I decided to lengthen the sleeve. This sweater has a different construction and there is no way to undo the sleeve, rip back to the armpit and knit on the length (well you can, but it means taking apart the whole garment). I decided to do some surgery. The plan was to knit an extra repeat of the 20 row pattern (the coloured zig zags and rows of blue) right after the cuff. So using a circular needle I picked up the right part of the V of each stitch just below where I wanted to remove the cuff. There were two set up rows which made this easy as I didn't have to pick up the k1p1 cuff or the zig zag pattern. Then I took my scissors and snipped just above the picked up stitches. Yikes. Then I unravelled that row. The cuff was now separated from the sleeve. Yikes. I picked up the cuff stitches and knit the extra repeat. Bonus points for not having to reknit the cuff. The attached sleeve was safe on the circular needles. I thought about knitting down from the sleeve, but the zig zag pattern wouldn't be pointing in the right direction so I needed to knit up from the cuff. Actually, full disclosure, I started knitting down from the sleeve, realized the zig zag was pointing the wrong way, ripped back and then picked up the cuff and went the other direction. I might have been a bit delirious after cutting the cuff off. Once the extra length was knit, the last step was to kitchener stitch the cuff and added length to the garment sleeve. The yarn must have faded a bit with washing, so the new part is a bit dark, but that'll change with time and there are lots of dark variations in this lovely hand-dyed yarn. Also having the original cuff helps keep things looking "together". Here is is with the new part grafted on First sleeve done-major improvement! The sweater fits better and I love it again! While I don't have a finished photo, I can assure you that I did knit the second sleeve and it does cover my watch nicely. Totally worth taking the few hours needed to do this. Continue reading
Posted Jan 4, 2019 at And She Knits Too!
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I took some time to update things on Ravelry yesterday and it was sort of like doing my finances, or shopping for a bathing suit. It made me take a moment to reflect and consider changes for the future. Really, there's nothing wrong with my knitting life. It's foundational to my social time--I knit with friends, talk about knitting online, blog, hang out on Ravelry, do knitting related travel, and generally knit every day. It's more about the stuff of knitting and how much of it I have. It's a lot. What I notice is that over the last few years, I tend to knit what I buy almost immediately. Like Russell Street--the kit was purchased at Rhinebeck in late October and I was wearing it by December. It never became stash. Some of this feeling is likely a function of having more disposable income and some of it is knowing what I want to knit--I'm a self-actualized knitter :) . Having a stash is great. But adding stuff to the stash doesn't hold much allure. Knitting from stash almost feels like an obligation, albeit a nice one. We won't even talk about my fibre stash and my non-existing spinning time. Resolution One: I will only knit what I have on hand until Rhinebeck 2019. If I somehow encounter a knitting emergency, I will sell or get rid of equal yardage from the stash. The other thing I realized I need to do, is keep notes about what I'm knitting. I'm really bad about this. Like, having to forensically investigate sock one, to knit sock two, bad. This is part of the reason I decided to join Kate Davies' Knitting Season Club this year. I was lucky enough to snag the full club with all the yarn (see Resolution One) and the journal. I rather like journals, but am not a journal keeper. I have them at work for rough notes and to-do lists, but tend to use my iPad and pencil for work notes. I use my iPad for PDF patterns and do annotate them, but not often enough and usually too cryptically to understand if a lot of time has passed. I think the tactile nature of knitting demands the tactile act of writing on paper. Or at least that's what I'm going with for now. Resolution Two: I'm going to crack open this lovely journal and use it as my knitting log. I'll make notes on my projects (which I might type into Ravelry later), write down what freaking row of the pattern I stopped on, note mods or issues and generally make notes about my knitting and spinning. The rationale for my last resolution is my next post. But here's the teaser: Resolution Three: You don't like bracelet length sleeves even though you always wear a big watch and a lot of bracelets. Knit your damned sleeves long enough for the love of all things wooly. Ask Emma if the sleeves are long enough if you're... Continue reading
Posted Jan 2, 2019 at And She Knits Too!
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My very talented friend, Kate Atherley has a new book out--a perfect Christmas gift for a knitter (or yourself). The Knitter's Dictionary is just that, a dictionary of everything knit-related. It defines many of the usual terms: yo, alt, worsted and some you often read in patterns but which are often not defined--from the notorious At The Same Time to the silly Yarn Barf. The book itself is a tidy, small hardcover--easy to store in your knitting corner for quick reference. It is full of really nifty illustrations for things like darning eggs and decreases adding to the explanatory heft of this book. I'm a long time knitter, solid Googler and love the idea of a book that keeps all these terms in one place. I'm also someone who used to read the dictionary as a kid, and I find myself with a cup of tea working my way through The Knitter's Dictionary from Across the Row/Round to Z-Twist. This is another great book from Kate. I love her approach which aims to give knitters the knowledge and tools of our craft. A dictionary of terms is a perfect addition to the knitting cannon. Continue reading
Posted Dec 16, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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My baby, this guy... Is 18 today. A lover of my knitting (even if he didn't want a university blanket). A kind, generous, considerate and joyful guy. A musician, gamer, budding geographer, camp counsellor, cyclist, skateboarder (still cringe at this one, so much danger), swimmer, and all around fun person. Now an adult. Woah. Can't wait to see what you'll do out in the world. It's going to be fantastic. Happy Birthday my Xanderman. Continue reading
Posted Nov 26, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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My Fiddlehead mittens have been the hand knit I've worn the most. I love the fit. I love the short cuff that covered my wrist but didn’t mess with the cuff of whatever coat I was wearing. I love the colour—colourful but grounded in a neutral. I love that they had a built in liner to keep my hands warm. I knew they were perfect the minute I finished them I wore these mittens most days in the winter. I rode my bike wearing these mittens even in the coldest weather. (Okay, so they weren’t great below -20C, but that’s asking a lot of hand knit mittens). They’ve been repaired and washed and loved. But then they were too worn out to repair (shifting gears on the bike is the likely culprit). This year it’s time to say goodbye. Sniff. I snipped out the liners and added a cuff. They can line some other mittens and live a little longer. But the outer mitt is done. Sniff. Yes, I can knit another pair, but they may not be the same. The Tanis kit is no longer available so I might use two colours of the same yarn this time (If you have a kit in stash I will buy it!). Maybe I’ll strand in some kidsilk haze for extra warmth. Maybe I’ll knit something completely different just so I won’t compare. We had eight great years together. I already miss you... Continue reading
Posted Nov 25, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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My knitting mojo is back big time. On top of the few projects I already had on the needles, I started 4 new projects since Rhinebeck, 2 of which I started last weekend. Craig went off for his yearly Rhinebeck (deer hunting at Pineapple Lodge) and being alone all week made knitting all the things seem like the right thing to do. I'm pretty sure he was just out of the driveway when I got out the loom and warped it using my Miss Babs Yummy Toes mini skeins for a Mad for Plaid scarf. Then I did a bit more work on my first panel for Twitch. Then I got really ambitious and starting this: The Shieling blanket by Kate Davies. I love knitting blankets. They're always the right size, they're incremental--one square at a time--and who doesn't love snuggling under a blanket? This one might be a challenge...it's fingering weight AND fair isle. And completely addictive. Two squares done and I'm smitten. It's beautiful and fun to knit. I have a few other things on the needles and I noticed they're all fingering or lace weight. Skinny yarn and big projects. While I love a chunky cowl or a worsted weight sweater, there's something more refined in a thinner-yarn garment. They're more clothing and less hand made. There's more space for a motif or colour. And really there's more knitting which isn't ever a bad thing. Go little on something big...or go home. Continue reading
Posted Nov 18, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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No really, this time I mean it. Maybe not in a John Wick way... But yeah, I'm thinking I'm back. So why now? One reason is because I miss it. All the Facebooking and Twittering and Instagraming is okay, but none of them are long-form mediums. They're all meant to be short and also controlled by the platform and its algorithms. Blogging is a much freer medium. I don't have any ads or affiliate programs, just me and I can decide what I say, how I say it and when. And I realized that I don't really care if I get a like or a retweet or whatever. I do love when people comment and I love conversation, but there's something diffuse about social media that I'm liking less and less. I've practically given up Facebook (I've only logged in once since New Year's) and am consciously deciding to spend less time on Twitter (because it's really not very fun anymore). Both of these sort of replaced the blog, but not really. I think I missed writing and documenting my life here. And another funny thing happened. My kids, they grew up and are off at university. I know, I can't really believe it either. It's been a bit weird with them gone. The pace of my life has changed. I'm not lonely or sad or anything like that, but the house is quieter, there's a hell of a lot less laundry and Craig and I are doing more than working and all the stuff that keeps our lives going. I will say that we miss the kids a ton--and really notice all the chores that now fall to us--but we know they're doing their things in the world and that's how parenting is supposed to work. When they left, I decided to give myself until after Rhinebeck to figure out what I was going to do with myself. I already knew I didn't want to work more. The job is good, but more of it doesn't make it better. I definitely wanted to knit and spin and weave more, but also know I'll need something else. Writing here will be one of those things and the other stuff, well, that's being more elusive. But I'll be ready when the opportunity arises to do something new. So for now, I pulled out my old And She Knits Too! banner (that I really love and should never have replaced) and changed my blog template a bit to mark my new resolve. I also warped the loom today and casted on for The Shieling (swoon) and also knit a bit on Twitch and am having fun with all things yarn-related. More about those projects soon. Continue reading
Posted Nov 10, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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I already had a Carbeth in my Ravelry queue when MSK declared February as Bang Out a Carbeth month for a knit-along. I loved the simplicity of the pattern; it’s a raglan turned sideways so the diagonal shaping line crosses the front and back instead of the shoulders. That’s a good shape for my body and broad shoulders and at 3.5 sts to the inch, it’s something easy to knit up. And the photos. I'm knitting the whole, wear a gorgeous skirt and frolic in the winter highlands lifestyle... Finding the right yarn in my stash was the bigger problem. I made four swatches. The roughly Aran weight handspun was a bit too floppy. The two strands of sport/dk together was delicious squooshy merino silk cashmere but I couldn’t get gauge. The Queensland tweed too thin to even finish the swatch. The Cascade Ecological wool was just right, except I only had one skein each of two colours (they were a gift). I did some colouring (my new iPad Pro is going to be great for knitting stuff) to determine how to use the two colours in a way that maximized the design. I chose the dark bottom with the light top (just above) I casted on and a week later I have the body done, one sleeve attached and the next one started. All good. Except I knit myself into a corner. If I want to continue with knitting in the round, I'm going to have 4 skeins on the go. Light left sleeve, dark back, light right sleeve, dark front. I also have to figure out how to do the decrease so it's pretty. I was trying to think up a latvian-braid like effect with the decreases. Any hints or ideas on how I might do these 2 colour decreases? I could also do each piece separately and sew as was done with this beautiful colour-block Carbeth. I'm not against seaming a sweater, but will avoid it for this one if I can. Continue reading
Posted Feb 11, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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I’m back knitters. BACK. Knitting. Thinking about knitting. Writing about knitting. Swatching. I knit 5 swatches this week. Not counting the mitten I started which was to serve as a swatch if I didn’t get gauge. I got gauge and the mitten is half way done. Could be that my Fitzcarraldo knee socks were the stopper. Two years to knit two socks. I got that done and bam! I’ve knit a sweater in a month, start planning two more and got to making new mitts before the winter is over. And after only posting 3 times in 2017, it’s time for me to use this blog again. Sure it’s very 2009, but it’s a space I like. I’m fine with Instagram and Twitter and would be lost without Ravelry, but all of them are only parts of my story. I like that here I can consolidate. A place that’s partly social, but not driven by stupid algorithms and that I mostly control. So here goes... Fitzcarraldo Knee Socks by Kate Atherley, the smartest knitter I know, and who’s instructions I should read and follow the first time. Ripping out and reuniting 5 inches of twisted rib is my punishment and I took it willingly after putting the first sock in a time out for a year. I am not always a patient knitter. Cold Breath, by Joji Locatelli, made from recycled Indigodragonfly merino silk. This sweater is perfect. I want to wear it everyday. New basic mittens following Kate Atherley's instructions in her new (and fantastic) book: Knit Mitts. Yarn is my handspun, Into the Whirled Merino/Yak in Captain Tightpants. The other two projects are where all the swatching is happening. I'll leave that to my next post which is about Kate Davies, her beautiful work and the West Highland Way Club. I joined after seeing a sweater that had me entranced, and it's been a complete delight. Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2018 at And She Knits Too!
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The simple facts: Emma asked for a hand-knit blanket. I like to knit blankets (they're simple comfort knitting and always fit the recipient) so I started knitting in January. It would be her take-to-university-blanket. Nothing to see here. The longer story: We decided on a pattern. Chose the yarn. Bought more yarn when I miscalculated how much Eco-Wool I would need (6 skeins in case you're wondering--this blanket weighs more than 2 kg). I knit on this almost exclusively for six months; panicking a bit when the weather got warmer and wondered if I could get it done on time (there was some target setting--can you tell I'm a project manager?). Emma did her things: school, homework, friends, cello, piano, a lead in The Drowsy Chaperone, movie watching, prom, teen stuff. She also chose a university and decided her "what's next". Science (probably majoring in Physics) at Western University. She finished high school with honours. I finished the blanket shortly after. The pieces were stitched together. Metaphor? Maybe. Or just how a knitter does things. Stitching beautiful objects that bring warmth and comfort. I'm getting teary--which is probably why I haven't pronounced the blanket complete on social media... Emma leaves on Sunday. She has her blanket, her determination, her smarts and her sense of adventure. She's ready (mostly). I'm ready (mostly). Time for the next big project. Continue reading
Posted Aug 31, 2017 at And She Knits Too!
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We made the Pussyhats. We marched...on every continent. It was affirming and inspiring. Many of us had never marched before (or for me, for many years). The Women's March was the START. Now what? Here's some suggestions (all of which I'm making to myself as well as you): 1. Make a plan. Start with Jenny Zhang's guide to activism for frustrated Canadians, it's filled with good ideas on how to get started. Give yourself some goals (like an activist FitBit): write a letter a week, call one of your representatives every month, attend a local meeting to learn about a cause that energizes you, organize your friends to join you. It's easy to go Hell Ya! We Marched! and then go back to regular life. Now's the time to create a new habit of being involved. 2. Do something concrete. Retweeting or posting stuff to Facebook is good to spread the word, and yes, politicians pay attention to social media, but it's NOTHING compared to writing a real letter, phoning your MPP or attending a meeting. It's free to mail your MPP and the printed word in an envelope is considered much more important than a Tweet. Show those in power you mean business. 3. Do what you can, and try to do a bit more. Contacting your elected officials or donating money to an important cause might be what fits your current life/circumstances/comfort level. Great, keep doing that. But, also consider making new connections to organizations, or attending a public consultation. Stretching yourself will benefit the causes you care about and expand your sphere of activism. 4. If you're a straight, white woman of privilege, do better. Frankly, I'm doing pretty fucking great on the societal hierarchy. Yes, I experience patriarchy and sexism, but I need to use my privilege to ensure other women have a voice and that their needs take priority. When I'm writing those letters or attending meetings or calling my representatives, I'm telling them that women who are poor, racialized, disabled, Indigenous, and/or LGBTQ disproportionately bear the burdens of our current structures and they need to listened to. I'm not always going to get it right (privilege is pernicious that way) but I'm learning. I'm also donating to causes that benefit marginalized women in Canada and internationally. 5. Keep knitting. Seriously, self care is important. If you want your knitting to do more than keep you calm, consider knitting things for women in shelters or newly arrived refugees. Knitting for yourself is cool too: This is Canada; we need to keep warm when we take to the streets. Continue reading
Posted Jan 23, 2017 at And She Knits Too!
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January 14, 1999: Born during Toronto's infamous Snow Emergency. Then so much amazingness Today, 18. EIGHTEEN! Rocking the handknits, full of goodness, fun, and a bit of smartass (just like her mom). What an amazing adult you've grown to be. I can't wait to see what you do next. Continue reading
Posted Jan 14, 2017 at And She Knits Too!