Carnaby skirt


I finished my skirt! I rather like it!



And because the cold weather is never going to stop, I've even happy opportunities to wear it.



It's a good fit, but does stretch a bit. I'm planning to reinforce the waist with grosgrain ribbon, or pick up stitches and do a waistband and add an elastic.



The tweed yarn is perfect. It's not very soft, but it's sturdy and firm. It's a cone from the back catalogue of my stash and I still have enough left for a sweater.


And I know I was pessimistic about ever getting this done. And to that I say:



We will ignore the fact that I finished it weeks ago, had to sew the buttons on 3 times to get the fit right and am just blogging about it now.


Knitting = Me Time

Lots of work and lots of parenting really cuts into knitting. I missed having a hour in front of the TV to relax with my knitting and make something that doesn't involve a computer.

I also realized that not taking that time for myself is not a good thing. I get grumpy when I don't have time for myself to do something that I enjoy. Turns out the Purple Purl newsletter gave me a nudge and I found a project that made me want to take the time and make something.

The Purple Purl was hosting a knit-along of the Seasons Hat.  Gripped by the longest coldest February I've experienced in Toronto, another hat seemed like a good thing to knit and I had yarn leftover from my much-loved Vinterblomster mittens which would make a nice coordinated, but not matchy-matchy set, so I was IN.

Less than a week later, I was almost done the colour work.  Every time I do a colour project I remember that one of the main reasons I knit is COLOUR.  I love pulling out the yarn and figuring out what colours to use.  This time I had the three Vinterblomster colours and added orange and a lighter grey.  

I find it hard to stop knitting when I start colour bands--I want to see how they'll turn out.  I also just enjoyed this yarn, the ease of the project and gave myself the time to get it done.

It took a mere 10 days.  It's perfect. 

 My photography is not so great.  I seem to always finish things at night!

 And this hat became part of my favourite instagram selfie ever.

I accidentally hit the button while turning to get better light.  (Let's keep that as our secret.) 


A List

1. Julia in KW was the winner of the Burton Hills Coat pattern!  Hooray Julia!

2. I am never going to finish my Carnaby Skirt.  Ever.

3. I don't know why Carnaby is such a slog, but right now everything else wooly is tempting me.  

4. Temptation One: A headband for my SIL.  Elisbeth in Shelter.  So nice to knit with.  Fun pattern.

5. Temptation Two: I liked it so much I made the hat for myself with another odd ball of Shelter. 

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6. Temptation Three: Seasons Hat whereby I joined the Purple Purl KAL and almost finished it in a weekend except that I decided to finish Carnaby dammit.

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7. Did you know I didn't type temptation properly in any of the above?

8. I'm at the buttonholes for Carnaby but it will never get done. 

9. I really want to finish this skirt so I can wear it once before Spring.  The yarn on the cone covered in spinning oils is unpleasant to work with, but washed up it's perfect--brown, hardwearing, tweedy.

10. I'll shut up and go knit now.

 


Burton Hills Coat: From Folly Cove

If you've been following the From Folly Cove Blog Tour, I'm betting you've been drooling over the beautiful designs from Julia Farwell-Clay.  Butterflies, a dress, a skirt, shawls and wraps, snazzy-dress-to-impress-pieces and cozy-frolicking-in-the-garden-knits.

While I want to embody the gorgeous style that is the cover piece of Julia's book (featured yesterday on Getting Stitched on the Farm), I'm not really the flowing hair, ribboned-beret type.  

Today's featured pattern, the Burton Hills Jacket, IS me.  It's an innovative knit that makes a wear-anywear jacket.  I'm also not willowy, so the proportions and lines of this coat suit my figure.  

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Julia is a SMART woman and a CRAFTY knitter.  This is interesting knitting.  It's got an element of challenge, but it's not a follow-every-square-on-the-chart difficult.  

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I love the swooping lines and that touch of a colour change which gives those lines some emphasis.  I'm also a sucker for the woodsy colours.

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It's knit in Blackthorn by Classic Elite Yarns.  This would be an awesome kit to have and Classic Elite is giving away yarn to a lucky winner who comments on their blog at the end of the tour on February 6th (I'll wait while you go and bookmark their blog).

And this week only, the all the patterns in the From Folly Cover collection including the Burton Hills jacket are 10% off on Ravelry using the code: FFC10.  

And!

One lucky commenter on my blog will receive a free copy of the Burton Hills Jacket pattern.  

So tell me what kind of knit you like to wear vs what kind of knit you sorta wish you wore and I'll choose one of you at random and let Classic Elite know you're the winner!  Comments close at midnight EST on February 6th.

While Burton Hills is going into my queue, I'm also excited about the Natti pullover which will be featured tomorrow on Ana Campos' Toil and Trouble blog.  Be sure to check it out.


Blogging like it's 2007...A Blog Tour!

The fabulous and talented Julia Farwell-Clay has a new book out and she's cleverly organized a blog tour to promote her beautiful designs. Remember blog tours? I loved reading them!

The book is called From Folly Cove and is full of lovely wearable knits. I'm one of the last stops on the tour so I don't want to say too much. But there are contests! And discounts! Classic Elite, the publisher of the collection is even giving one lucky winner yarn to knit whatever design from the book they choose.

Check it out on Julia's blog or Ravelry.

 

 


Sixteen

(Let's pretend this post happened on January 14th.)

Happy Birthday Emma.

Wow. 16.

It seems like the perfect time for your friends to treat you like a princess. I love that you are surrounded by people who love you for the fun, enthusiastic, joyful person that you are.

 
And it was smart of you not to assume the birthday princess role and try to stage a coup d'état at home. You're a great kid who is kind and helpful and knows when to push for things you want and mostly when to lay off.
 
I'm glad you like that rings we got you. The sunshine reminded me of the necklace you made at your 7th birthday when we did the bead party.
 
You wore that necklace for years; we restrung it when the cord broke, changed the sun pendant when it literally wore down to a blob (I'm a little disturbed to think of what it was made of).

 
This ring is a grown up, more permanent version.

I hope this year is amazing for you!
 

 


Catching Up, #WomanWhoGetsShitDone Style

One of the greatest things about my job is that we close for two weeks over Christmas.  Not only do I have two weeks off (on top of my holiday allotment) everyone else does too--I get nothing but spam in my inbox while I'm away and there's no work piling up.  Everyone returns pretty happy and refreshed and it's probably the BEST benefit ever.

The first week does tend to get sucked up by the run up to Christmas--shopping, cleaning or travelling, parties, and that initial need to sleep as much as possible.  

It was worth it for looks like this:

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Santa Meme and Memere got him the WiiU he's been wanting since they came out.

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The time after Christmas is far far better in my mind.  It's quiet. We're all home (Craig gets almost the same time off from his employer) and while we're a bit lazy, we also catch up.  We have pyjama days, movie nights, lots of computer game time, and for me, a whole lot of fibre fun.

I finished a few things.  Sallah Cowl in Indigodragonfly Rock Paper Scissors Lizard Spock

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A Frankensweater in Collinette Tagliatelli.  It used to be this sweater that I frogged.  And then it was supposed to be a proper Collinette pattern but everything went wrong so I winged it.  The collar and cuffs are some leftovers from my Carnaby Street sweater and it's a super jaunty oversized sweater on Emma (I may borrow it, but fear my jaunty days are long passed).

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I even warped the loom!

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In between all this, I got crazy and catalogued my entire stash of yarn and fibre--it's now all photographed and logged on Ravelry.  Tomorrow I'll probably download and see if I hit "stash neutral" for 2014 (where I used at least the same amount of yarn that I brought in).  I put a few things in the goodwill pile and had a nice hard look at what I have. 

I love it all.  But I should probably knit, spin and weave from what I have for a bit.

I went for a few runs--that felt good.  I will say that I don't think the TVT surgery worked as well as I hoped--I still leak a bit.  It's MUCH better than before, but I was hoping for perfection and well, that may take a bit more time.  At least I can cough and sneeze and stay dry.  

I saw some friends, had some beers, read a book, took a long bath, and baked.

Then I went into full #womanwhogetsshitdone mode and finally filed all the kids school memories and report cards into their memory books--I was about two years behind.  And all of our Epic Road Trip photos are now downloaded, put on Flickr and backed up on the external drive.

Like I said, this break is for Catching Up--I don't fool around.


How to shorten a mitten cuff in ten years or less

Stranded mittens are beautiful but I find getting the fit right can be a challenge since the colour work pattern will determine the size of the mitten and row gauge (something I almost never seem to knit to) is crucial.

If the mitten has a cuff without the main pattern there's a opportunity to adjust the length a bit but again I can't always tells how it will all come together AND interact with my various coat sleeves. I like my winter outerwear to be free of gaps to I can keep warm.

I made these mittens almost ten years ago, wear them often, but never liked the length of the cuffs. They are a bit too long and bunch up against my coat sleeves or I have to tuck them in like when I was a kid, but I have no mom to do the second sleeve (remember when your mom did that?)

Last week I decided to fix them by shortening the cuff. Crazy? A little. But I got out my scissors and got brave.

The pictures are of the second mitten. The first one took a LOT longer and had to be redone after the second mitten because it was longer and I didn't like the bind off. Hacking an old knit can take a lot of time and may yield unexpected issues.

Step one: figure out how much you want to remove and use a stitch marker to hold that stitch. I used my absolutely perfect Fiddlehead mittens as a guide. Also, I found that I ended up taking off an extra row or two because the corrugated ribbing is more complicated to undo, so plan for that.

Step two: cut, yes snip, one stitch and start unravelling that row. It's a bit like doing a reverse Kitchener and is a bit fiddly. I found it easier to use a needle to unpick the stitches. These mittens are well worn and the stitches are happy and snug where they are.

 
I'm about halfway here. Don't worry too much about the live stitches. Knitting doesn't easier unravel this direction so the stitches will stay put until you need them.
 
 
Step three: once the cuff is off, use smaller than called for needles (guess if your mittens and really old and you have no idea what needles you used) pick up the live stitches. They're a bit weird with the two colour ribbing and because they're upside down, but the idea is to get all the stitches back on the needles. You might have to unpick another row to get this accomplished.
 
Step four: this one is easy. Knit a row. I used the brown yarn because it was the colour I used for the cast on and would be the one I'd use to bind off. There was no way I would try to do any ribbing on these.
 
Step five: with a larger needle, bind off neatly. This took me a few tries. A sewn bind off would have been really nice, as would an icord, but at this point I wanted them finished.
 
Step six: try on an admire. Now the mittens graze the cuff of my coat without bunching!
 
 
Should have done this year's ago. I'm wearing them a lot more now.

 

 


Forty-Four Fixer-Upper

Many women remark that their being in their forties is pretty fantastic. I was doubtful because as a woman in a youth obsessed society forty is old. And I would get chin hairs and grey hairs and get all peri-menopausal and shit. What I didn't realize until lately is that, yes all that is true (and what the actual fuck is up with the chin hairs?!) but that I don't actually care one bit what anyone thinks of my looks or my mood or any of it.

I have zero fucks to give. That's magic.

But while I don't care what others think of how I look, how old I am, and except for those I love and respect, what I think and do, I do care about how I see myself and how I want to feel in my body and be in my world. So I started fixing stuff.

First was my skin. Almost 30 years with psoriasis was enough. I was tired of being itchy, applying greasy ointment, having to pick clothing that would hide ugly red patches. And I was tired of spending time on treatments that only sorta worked. Last spring I took a leap and chose a new biologic systemic drug (Stelara) and I'm almost completely clear. I was afraid of systemic treatments because of risks and side effects but realized that I don't want more children and am at a time in my life where it's my turn to do stuff for me. It was the right time and I still feel good about making the decision. It used to seem shallow to want to fix what was essentially a cosmetic issue but taking this drug has changed my life. Both in the time I spent treating my skin and worrying about how I could be in the world with ugly skin. And it feels great.

Next was something a bit more troublesome. Stress incontinence. Super common in women. Almost never discussed. And while I've tweeted that I had lady-part surgery, I haven't said what until now (eep!). But I realized it's important to tell my story.

I've lived with it since I had my kids and it was getting worse. It made doing things I enjoyed like running, ball hockey, laughing, sneezing and sometimes walking, well, messy. I talked to my doctor a few years ago but decided to not get a referral. She pushed but not too hard. Then after the stelara victory I realized that I need to fix the things that bug me or I'll be unhappy. So off I went. Met the urogynaecologist, did the tests (email me if you want the details--they're uncomfortable) and booked the surgery. I chose to wait until ball hockey season ended so I wouldn't lose my spot on the team and it was a long summer and fall because I had decided and was ready.

I had the surgery November 5th. Tension-free, vaginal tape. Like a face-lift for your urethra! It was day surgery and I got over my fear of everything medical, sucked it up and it wasn't awful. The recovery was uncomfortable for about a week (catching a cold five days after seriously sucks) and I got two weeks at home to watch tv and movies and knit (I finished 5 cowls) and now a month later I'm feeling pretty great and leak free. All I wait for now is the all-clear appointment at 6 weeks so I can start running and riding my bike to work. That'll be the true test but I'm feeling optimistic. And again, taking care of me for ME was the right thing to do.

The time off work also gave me time to think about what else needs fixing. Not just my body, but who I want to be in my forties. My kids are teenagers and need me a lot less. What do I want to achieve professionally? What outside things do I want to pursue? What shape does my life take as my kids get closer to leaving home (they do that, right?!). I don't have real answers, but it's cool to have the freedoms to think about it.

I'll let you know what I come up with.

The next fix is my hair. I decided to stop dying it. I'm telling my stylist tomorrow. I will have her help me plot the grow out. I'm tired of paying the money and taking the time and resent that men get grey and sexy (like George Clooney) and women get grey and old. Fuck that.

Though once it's natural, I do plan to get a streak or two or cobalt blue, because I can.


More catch up

I slept just over nine and a half amazing hours last night and now I'm getting shit done.

I feel like I'm always playing catch up on the blog and can't quite seem to find my way out of that. I always have something to say and I say a lot of it on Twitter, but feel like I should be taking those ideas over here to a better space where I can express my ideas more fully except I don't have the time for that kind of reflective writing. Or, when I do, I'm just too damned tired because I have a mentally demanding job and the brain just tells me that I need knitting, or running or TV or just stupid Two Dots on the iPad instead (omg can I please just get the last level and make it end?)

Enough of that, now let's look at something pretty. I finished my Rickenbacker Shawl and I'm so happy with it.  I made this out of handspun and I spun the yarn so it would stripe and it all went so well.  The shawl is a tad small but that was all the yarn I had so I have no complaints.  

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I would also knit this pattern again--super easy and really fun.

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And I finished my Rhinebeck Sweater: Brandied Orange (aka Brandied Cherry).  This was a fun knit.  It didn't come out quite as I imagined it in my head, but I love it all the same.  I had this idea it would look great with a skirt and well it doesn't.  But it is a perfect cozy on the couch, skinny jeans sweater and I'm wearing it a bunch for casual wear.  The Lorna's Laces Shepherd Worsted is divinely soft (though it does pill) and I'll be wearing it a lot.

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It did stretch a bit funny in the photo, but I was also in the car for 10 hours coming home from Rhinebeck so I'm a bit rumpled.

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I should say more about Rhinebeck, but that deserves a post of it's own.  Instead I'll show you what I knit on the annual pilgrammage.

Smile and Wave.  I needed a new portable project and didn't feel like knitting socks.  So I grabbed a skein of Indigodragonfly Mergoat sock in Obviously You're from District One and got knitting.  I LOVE the colours and the planned pooling.  

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While Emma is modelling, so far these are mine.  I might make the next pair a bit shorter for variety--these are in heavy rotation for biking to work right now--just a little extra warmth for the morning.

Well, that's a start.  Now I need to get some stuff done around the house and I'm going to bake bread because it's November and snow flurries have already happened and today is about woolies and soup and warm fresh bread.