Thursday, February 11, 2016

First-World Gansey

Old Man Winter certainly has a few tricks up his sleeve (or wherever he keeps them) because it's colder than a witches you-know-what out there. I have been checking the windows and there is no condensation or water on the sills, so I guess that was money well spent.

I am up early as Mr. Clawed was whirring in my face. Not exactly a meow, but a sound he makes in his throat. He even wakes himself up doing it, and usually I find it cute and charming. FC discovered a cache of mousies under the tv room sofa, and Howard was doing his war cry with one in his mouth in the pitch dark. I was looking for my 5th DPN under there, which was behind my ear. We also found a Glossette raisin.

My Whitby Gansey is done. This is a proud moment in a knitters life. The last (and only) other gansey I have completed, Eriskay,  was done in 1999, according to my Ravelry notebook. It was, and is, a completely patterned and challenging project as the chest pattern is all different and a bit of a pain to keep track of. Also done on 3mm needles, in Navy.

In comparison, this one was a walk in the park. The pattern was easy to memorize and I really enjoyed working with the yarn, although I will say that in comparison, I prefer the Frangipani over the Wendy Guernsey, as there were knots and quite a bit of chaff in it. Odd. But the Atlantic blue is a nice colour and I used 8 balls, so just shy of 2000 yds.
The shoulder detail: I cast off the shoulders on the right side after doing the ridge and furrow (rig and fur, it's meant to represent a plowed field, as many fishermen were also crofters). I special ordered the nacre buttons from Italy, and am fairly pleased with how the rope cables merged with the collar pick up. Love the flags too.

You can see the flags and the back part of the rig and fur. I had thought that I would mirror-image the cables, but I read that Sailors are superstitious of mirror-imaging, so it's not traditional.  I guess if I was in a boat on the North Sea, or maybe a smaller vessel loaded with men in dark water, I wouldn't want to tempt fate in any way.
So it blocked out nicely, no gathering at the patterning edge (cables can pull-in) and I am really pleased. So much so, I am planning another one. This time in Falmouth Navy.
I finished my Whoville socks that I began in December. Despite having a enough yarn and fiber to sink a boat (see what I did there?) I always go through the ritual (torture)of deciding what I will do next. My fleeces that I sent to the mill are ready too- so my buddy and I will make a trip to get them.

This would definitely be classed as a First-world problem.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Winter That Isn't

Ten on Tuesday this week was 10 moments or days you would want to relive. Hmmm.  Besides the obvious, like wedding day (uh, no) or birth of children (please, no) then I can't expand on that.

Happy Groundhog Day. Punxutawney Phil did not see his shadow, so there will be an early Spring.  Maybe it's here already because they are forcasting 11 C this week.  Winnipeg Willy passed away, so no information there.  But aren't groundhogs just a little bit cute? So fat and furry.

In knitting news, I have completed half a sleeve on my Whitby gansey.
What you don't see is that the back is completed and the collar. There will be two buttons to the left of the collar. I had to McGyver the pattern a bit, as I realized that the sleeve chart needs to be worked upside down as well as the cables reversed i.e. K6Back instead of front.

I have been doing some reading about Ganseys, which are fascinating bits of history and folklore. Alot of myths as well.

A historic photo of a felon, wearing a lizard patterned gansey. Hubba hubba!

-Known as Guernseys, sometimes Jerseys, or Knit-frocks. Basically, gansey means a sweater or jumper.
- the buttons on the collar are preferred to be on the left, as a sailor got his rope caught on the right side in his buttons and fell into the sea and drowned.
- a sailor perishing at sea could be identified by his gansey, as certain patterns could be associated with the area he was from. Myth. Unless the initials were on his garment, patterns were not exclusive to his village.
- the garment is worked in the round, split after the half underarm gusset, fronts and backs worked back and forth, then the shoulder was done and collar.  Sleeves are picked up and worked from shoulder to cuff. This makes it easier to replace a worn out sleeve. Alot of the time you will only see patterning on the upper chests and sleeves. This was because the men wore high trousers,and the patterning would not be seen. It  was thought the patterning kept the chest and upper arms warmer.
-they were not just worn by fishermen, but also canal and boat workers.
-gauges ranged from12 spi all the way down to 7 spi. They were worked on long needles (14") or several shorter ones.
-the cast on is done with the yarn doubled, as well as the cast off.
-Mother-of-pearl or Nacre buttons are traditional. Not all have buttons.
-they are not waterproof, but rather repelled water due to the firmness of the fabric.  The 5ply that we use today is smooth (worsted spun), and not very soft.
-Traditional colour is Navy, however a cream one would often be worn as Sunday Best or even for his wedding.
-they last a long time, and can withstand alot of wear and tear.
-patterns represent everyday life -steps, marriage lines, ropes, anchors, stars, tree of life, etc.

Hopefully, I will have this done in a few weeks. I am actually thinking about doing another- my last one was completed over 10 years ago. Crazy.

Clawed is schmutzing. Kitten Chow used to do this alot, and I had to buy those Mr. Clean Magic Clean things to get it off.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Can Do to Serve Others

We're in the middle of a cold snap.  Everyone, it seems, is complaining about it. I feel like shouting "IT'S JANUARY". I am loving it, personally.

I don't know that I can make a list on this weeks subject, because I really feel that what we do in our everyday lives is what is important.  I think if we only slowed down a little and remember that we are not the only one inhabiting the planet, that we could show kindness and empathy, and the world would be that much better.  Manners are what separate us humans from beasts- and what does it cost? Absolutely nothing. So allow someone into your lane when driving, open a door for someone, help someone who seems to be struggling- an older person trying to cross a street. Say thank you to the cashier (not an easy job) and allow someone to have a seat on the bus. Little things.
I have plied and washed my spinning from last week. I got 373 yds- love the colours in this.
This week I am spinning some fine, soft BFL from BeeMiceElf fibers. The colour is maple, and it is a deep magenta pink with a hint of gold, and I want to make a shawl- Niantic Rose with it.

I am coming along swimmingly (see what I did there..?) on my Whitby Gansey. I am almost finished the front, which is done back and forth after the split for the gusset. Fascinating.
Our Blogbuddy-Sel & Poivre.showed some tempting yarn on her blog, and as I was going down to Romni Wools to exchange a needle, I happened to pick some up. It's truly beautiful BFL spun in Yorkshire. These are the natural shades in the DK, but there is also dyed, and some bulky.
Valentino (right) is not aware that Clawed is lying next to him, or he wouldn't be there. But I guess that blanket is so soft, who could resist?

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Favorite Bowie Songs

Too bad and very sad to hear of his death.  He was the guy who made androgyny okay.

1. Ashes to Ashes.
2. What In the World
3. Space Oddity
4. Heroes
5. Sound and Vision
6. Ziggy Stardust
7. Jean Genie
8. Starman
9. TVC15
10. Wild Is The Wind

He worked with people like Brian Eno, Robert Fripp, Rick Wakeman - too many to mention. When he started going disco I stopped listening. But he was a man of many faces and was who he needed to be at the time. A master of reinvention. RIP, Thin White Duke.

I just realized this is my first post of 2016.  I am really loving this time of year. No more crowds or craziness.
I am at an exciting point in my Whitby  Gansey, the top part of the patterning.  What you see between the stitch markers is the bottom of the underarm gusset, which gives the sweater wonderful ease of movement when you wear it. Of course, you aren't supposed to call it a sweater, it's a Guernsey, Jersey or Knit-frock.  I hope to make more of these because I am loving it so much. They are done at a tight gauge and we'll see how long this one takes.      
In the past few weeks I have been spinning alot, and I'm still going. I bought this Polwarth from Winterhaven Farm at the Fingerlakes Fiber Festival. It's called Fairytale- gorgeous.

Clawed likes to sit on my lap when I'm doing e-mails and stuff.  He is such a little character- and makes me laugh all the time.

So I'll be fleecin'-

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

And we're off.....

I get emails from certain retailers- alot of which I have unsubscribed to, because it's really a bunch of BUYBUYBUY!!!!!!  One even had the audacity to advertise their Spring line, and you know, it made my heart shrink ten sizes too small.

Why does everyone do this? Boxing week (used to be Boxing Day) sales aren't even over, and now we're supposed to rush out and fill our closets with swimsuits and cruisewear?  Please.

We had a lovely Christmas. No one went overboard, (barring, perhaps the 26 lb turkey)- and I think we took some time to buy gifts that were meaningful and thoughtful.  Let's face it, as much as we all say that Christmas is for kids, we all love to get and give gifts. But you don't need to go crazy.
I did get some Karbonz needles, a new book, which I look forward to reading, as well as a kit from
The Shetland Museum and Archives- a fantastic source for all things wonderful.
Miss Mew got me this Toggenburg goat creamer from Quail. I think in the interest of preserving those ears, I should find another place for him, but isn't it wonderfully silly?
This is probably what alot of us feel like, some Grinch crushed into the sofa.

But Clawed is enjoying his toys- he had a great time.

See you in 2016-

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You're Looking Forward to Doing After The Holidays

1. Breathing.
2. Eating turkey sandwiches.
3. Not shopping.
4. Watching Dr. Phil in relative peace.
5. Starting a new eating regime.
6. Clearing out the lower level- I love a good purge.
7. Walking every day- and trying to get a long one in on the weekend.
8. Spinning
9. Knitting my gansey.
10. Reading my new books.

Don't get me wrong, I do like the holidays, but I also enjoy the relative quiet of winter. My son tells me we are in a Blowtorch year- between the highs and lows of the jet stream, so little to no snow this year. As much as I am disappointed by this, I can take advantage of it and walk every day.

Speaking of holidays- Santa came a little early this year.
I found this wheel on Kijiji.  It's a Rappard Wee Peggy.  The owner had not spun on her in years, but she came complete with 4 bobbins, orifice hook and complete flyer.  After a clean and a wax, I sat down to spin, and the fact that it is a single treadle is something I will have to train myself in. But she's cute and spins lovely.  I was looking for a Haldane (Shetland Wheel) but most are in the UK and hard to come by.  The Rappard was made in New Zealand and based on the Shetland style.
In knitting news, I am working on a pair of socks in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock in "Whoville". I am sort of making up the pattern as I go along.

The turkey is thawing, and I will make the stuffing and potatoes on Wednesday. The family will all be together on Friday.  What more can you ask? Presents are nice but having a dinner together is lovely and seeing everyone laugh together is the best.

My dear friends whom I have had the great privilege of getting to know in Blogland, I wish you the very best for this time of year, as well as 2016.  Wherever you are, whoever you're with- you deserve every good thing coming your way.

Clawed wants to know why there's a fake tree in the living room.  People are strange, Clawed.

Peace out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Gifts You Can Buy At The Grocery Store

I guess it really depends what grocery store you shop at. We have a chain here, Loblaw's, and some of the stores are very high end.

1. A selection of imported cheeses and deluxe biscuits.
2. An expensive balsamic.
3. A pricey olive oil.
4. Chocolate truffles.
5. Panettone.
6. Gift cards?
7. Some high-end tea or coffee.
8. A really good bottle of vanilla extract.
9. Exotic fruit.
10. Some wine at the outlet.

In Ontario, 6 packs of beer just hit the store shelves today. The government really controls the sales of beer and spirits, but I know you can buy them at corner stores in Quebec. Since I don't drink, it doesn't affect me at all.

On the weekend Miss Mew and I made shortbread and Candy Cane cookies.  Today I made some Ginger Molasses cookies, and I am done. They will be packed up and gifted and then I won't have to have the temptation in the house.

I made this ultra thick hat, The Vermonter.  I hope to wear it on walks, this is assuming we get any cold weather, and possibly snow.
I'm messing around with a sock pattern and still working on my gansey.
I thought today I would post a picture of Howard. He is defintely the alpha cat. He doesn't really like to be picked up, but will come for a cuddle if the mood strikes. Nothing happens around here without Howie knowing about it. He's goofy, but he's a sweetheart.

Fleece out-

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

It's Beginning To Look Alot Like....

Christmas. On the weekend FC put up the decorations and outside lights. Miss Mew and I (mostly Miss Mew) did the poor excuse for a tree.
FC got a new reindeer for outside- our other ones were sent to where the broken Reindeer go. He put up some new teal lights as well.
If I took a close-up of this, you would notice that there are no decorations on the bottom third. This is part of the joy of having theif-in-the-night kitties.
I whipped up some Santa themed bags.
I am adding some inches to my Whitby gansey.
I will begin a Christmassy sock- in Blue Moon Fiber Arts Socks That Rock "Whoville".
And here is a quilt I made many years ago- a paper pieced Santa mini quilt.
Just tell me if Santa is bringing the Little Stinkies....
Don't worry Clawed- Santa never forgets the kittens.  And we're fleecin'-

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Lost Week(end)

This week has been a bit of a lost cause, as FC is home working on major issues at work (figure that one out) and therefore, my creativity is suppressed.  I really wanted to get the presents wrapped and the tree and lights up- but it's not looking good.

I just got home from having my annual physical- which in itself is not bad. I like my doctor, and I don't need to have any invasive procedures done. It was not a surprise to me that I am overweight and need to address that, because it will impact my blood pressure and joints.  Other than that, I am healthy and since FC is in the same boat, we're in it together.  Of course, we know what happens at this time of year (marzipan) and with all the chocolate and stuff, but I can make a start.  Eating after dinner is a big problem and FC likes sugary drinks- so I will have herbal tea and he can do without.  You don't learn new habits, but replace bad ones. So I'm told.

I did do a few things. There has been an addition to the extended family and any excuse to knit with pink baby yarn:
The pattern is free on Ravelry, Cascade.
I also made a small hat with a tiny Rose at the top, in honour of her middle name.

Here are the blocked Frostrosen mittens, and I didn't go back and fix the palm. Who the hell is going to notice?
I got one of a pair of handspun socks done. I actually dyed these myself, and they're ok. Sonny O doesn't take much notice what colour his socks are.

Which brings me to some thoughts I have about what I don't get about knitting:

1. Why do people knit skirts? It is THE worst garment because of the stretch and it always hugs your balloon butt and sags at the hem.  I have yet to see an attractive one.

2. What is the point of yarn bombing? It's not attractive and my practical side says it's a waste of time and effort. Perhaps not materials, but I still am not seeing the point of it.

3. Magic loop.  Alot of to-ing and fro-ing for no reason. If you can use dpn's then you really don't need to Magic loop. I've been told I should learn it- and you know, I don't get why. If you do, then that's great, but I have gone this long and have done just fine.

4. Toe-up socks. I guess the theory is you can adjust the length of the leg depending on how much yarn you have, but I haven't ever had that issue. The cast on is fiddly and not enjoyable, and I have reverse engineered a few patterns and done them top-down. No biggie.

5. Intarsia. A pain in the behind.  I have done it for childrens' sweaters, but I really don't care for it.  So I avoid it unless I can get around it and do duplicate stitch.

Maybe I have been knitting a long time and am stuck in my ways.  I always try to give certain techniques and yarns a go when I feel it can improve my skills. But alot of it- not sure if they are actual improvements.  There is more than one way to skin a ....

Fleecin' out.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Ten On Tuesday- 10 Things You Are Grateful For Right Now

Since I am in Canada, I am assuming the T on T prompt is for Thanksgiving.  I think we'll leave it for our friends to the south. Actually, I am grateful that I'm not cooking another turkey.

In Chez Sheriff news, I have a new sofa, and the old one found a new home. I really loved the old one- the kids were kids when I got it 10 years ago, but it still will do nicely at my sister's house.
The new one is navy blue wide wale corduroy (Miss Mew says it reminds her of a pair of pants I made her wear as a kid).  I got co-ordinating pillows made in a bird print, and a matching ottoman. FC painted the walls "Late Wheat".
 I am knitting the thumbs of my Frostrosen Mittens (and I see I made an error on the palm pattern, aaaargh!)
 Made some project bags for Christmas.
 This is funny.  I found this cat toy that comes with pouches of catnip that you can put in the rabbit's pants. At Wal Mart.
And finally, we have a pic of the "Tinstigator" who is tutoring the kitten in the art of sneaking into the crawlspace.

Fleecin' out.