Saved by Zero

Where she tells about her absence…

Life has a way of waking a person up. Suddenly and without warning you can get the apple sauce shaken out of you and you have to rethink your life. The title of this post is the title of a song from a few years back (OK! a few decades ago!) from The FIXX. I can remember an interview with the lead singer Cy Curnin who explained the meaning of the song. He spoke of life getting complicated and throwing everything up into the air (zero) and picking out the important stuff as it came down.

My life has been very complicated and just seemed to get worse as October came to a close. Serious illness is rampant in my family and it has fallen to the healthy to pick up the slack. I have had to eliminate a lot of activities that consumed so much of my time. I had to streamline and simplify my life. This blog was the first thing to go. I love blogging and I do intend to get back to it on a more permanent basis, but people come first. I also had to give up most of my crafting and painting… for now.

I’ll show you where I left off in November for most projects, some of which you haven’t seen before.

I only made it to two painting classes before I had to stop. I showed you the painting from the first one so I might as well show you the painting from the second even though it was deeply disappointing to me…

second painting class

These were supposed to be baby sandals. Not a subject I would have chosen and I truly believe I was so stressed at this time that I could not concentrate. Speaking of babies…

Crocheted baby booties

If you recall the Baby Feet Wash Cloth I made a few posts ago, these are for the same baby. He was born Dec. 14th, 2006 and I’m not going to be finished, even one of these, in the near future. Sorry, baby Aidan.

Both mitts finished

You may recall these mitts. I only had one made when I posted the original picture! Well, I finished the second one and am using them. I would like to create a hat using the same pattern. That is a project for sometime in the future when I have lots of time! I will post the pattern if I do!!! The pattern for these mitts is up under the tab marked pattern and they are called Newfoundland mitts.

I have, in the meantime, continued on with the same balls of Noro and begun the second mitts…

Second mitt

Look below at the balls that remain. They are not the same and I did have to fiddle a little to get the colours to go the same way in these mitts!!! I think I still have enough left over from the two balls of Noro to do another uneven pair of mitts or, maybe, a pair of child’s mitts. If I do create a child’s size, I’ll post the directions!

Second pair of mitts and remainders

This is the project I wanted to present in it’s finished state and will not be able to for a long time…

Entrelac scarf

This is the entrelac scarf I began with the soy silk yarn (Patons SWS). It feels lovely and I have only made a few mistakes (note the artful folding of the garment to hide the glaring one!). I learned entrelac using the dishcloth pattern called garterlac created by Criminy Jickets. This dishcloth is not true entrelac as it uses only the garter stitch (all knit). I also used this tutorial that shows you how to pick up the stitches. Then using this knowledge and making one side knit, the other purl, Voila! Not perfect but I like it!

Anyway, it will be a while until I post again. It was by eliminating everything and then slowly adding it back into my life that I ‘ve been able to cope. As the blog was the first to go, it will be the last to come back. I hope you have enjoyed what I have been able to post and I hope to write again in a few months.

By the way; in researching this post, I discovered a little information about Cy Curnin I found interesting. Here’s a quote directly from their website…

Q. I saw something on VH1 that said Cy was making hats. What’s going on with that project?
[Editorial Note: During a break from recording with the band in the mid-’90s, Cy started his own line of
hats, called CyWear. A segment was featured on the music feature series “Where Are They Now?”]
CY: Not making hats now, but may be making a few for the commerce page. Might be fun for the Fixx
fans to be able to buy a hat with the Fixx written on it.
ADAM: Knitted by the singer.
CY: Yeah, exactly

I just thought you might find that interesting too!

No matter what faith you are, I wish you a happy and safe holiday season.


But Why?

Wherein she tries to explain the need to create.

It’s hard to explain to another person why one chooses to knit socks or sew your own skirt (they’re so readily available and cheap at the store!) or spin your own yarn (the stores are full of it!).

For me the drive to create has always been there. It’s not necessarily because I think my product is better. I do believe the hand made article will be unique and can exceed the store bought in quality, however, for me the thrill is going back to the beginning and creating something from scratch. Doing like my forebears did and making something from what appears to be nothing. I get a deep sense of satisfaction from this act of creation. The more practical and usable the better.

I have created many things over the years. I will spare you my poetry and the book that never did happen. As you know, I knit. I have long resisted the urge to spin, the call of the fibre. It just didn’t seem right that I should spend any creative time away from knitting to spin something so readily available. Of course, ultimately, I did give in…

Second attempt at spinning
This being my second attempt at spinning. Not too bad but quite thick. If I wanted to ply, it would create a heavy worsted weight yarn, so I’m using the singles to create gloves for DD. I did, however, wish to create a thinner yarn, something lace weight but I only had this Turkish spindle and it was too heavy for thinner weight yarns. So I searched the web and found a site that showed how to make your own. It’s an Akha. I thought this should do the trick.

Broken spindleI don’t know what I did but it wasn’t correct! The spindle kicked and wobbled. Maybe the yarn was too heavy for the Akha. Maybe I was trying to force the whorl up the spindle too far. Maybe I should buy a light weight spindle and get some experience!

Spinning Success I have success, a much thinner thread! When I ply it …

Skein of homemade yarn My first skein of 2 ply homespun. I think I need some practice plying! It doesn’t look all that impressive and it isn’t quite lace weight. According to many sources this 20 WPI yarn could be considered lace weight, according to others, it is a heavy sport weight or light DK weight.

20 WPI

At any rate, it is not yet lace weight in my books. I wish to create a soft lacy scarf for my mother for Christmas. I guess I will need more practice.

The question still remains, however, why do I spin? It’s a question I ask my self. If I truly enjoy something, then, it is worth doing. My painting teacher told a story of wanting to learn to play the violin. She loved the idea of playing beautiful concertos on a violin. She loved the sound. She did not, however love the process of playing the violin. The bowing and fingering were not for her. So the violin became merely a prop for still-lifes and interesting stories. So, do I love the process? I don’t think I do yet, I’m willing to give it a bit more chance. I will spin some Merino/Silk for Mom and then we will see… oh speaking of painting, class started last week.

warm up picture We warmed up by painting with our weaker, less dominant hand. This I painted with my left hand. I know it doesn’t look like much here but it looks much better in person. In fact it looks much better than the painting I did with my regular hand.

The real picture My right hand sucks! I think I’ve got it all worked out. It is impatience. The painting with my left hand looks better because I had to slow down and watch what I was doing. With my right hand, I’m impatient and think I should be able to whip up a good painting in minutes. Nobody can, but that doesn’t stop me from thinking I should be able to. Do I enjoy the process? I don’t know. I certainly enjoy the outcome… at times.

All in all, it is the process that I love. The spinning, the knitting, the painting and writing. Nothing feels better than when things go right, smoothly and correctly, or when problems are surmounted, barriers leapt, I love it when I’ve done something quite clever!

Will I continue with the spinning and painting? I certainly will give it more of a chance, perhaps more focus and less rush. Then, we’ll see…

Keep creating, no matter what you do.

With Malice Aforethought

The Case of the Severed Yarn

While I have no intention of turning this blog into a cutesy site about my cat, our pets do have a way of insinuating themselves into all aspects of our lives, sometimes to our great exasperation!

Please see
Exhibit A. Exhibit A

Forgive the poor crime scene photography, even the photographer was shaken by this case. What case you ask? Well, let me explain….

I was sitting, minding my own business, knitting a sock for the up coming Christmas season, when all of a sudden I hear a strange noise. I look down and there is my cat, Whimsy, chewing on my yarn!

It is my fault, in a way, it has been so many years since she kittenishly played with my yarn that I took it for granted that it (my beautiful yarn) was safe. I was sitting with her at my feet and the yarn must have literally dangled in her face! As you might imagine, knitting caused said yarn to bounce, enticingly, up and down in front of her, just asking to be attacked and subdued. But she didn’t just bite it, she chewed it, grinding it between her teeth (this was the strange noise I heard) and so we have a self striping yarn, severed…
and we have Exhibit B.

Exhibit B Yes, it happened again. Not two hours later! This time I wasn’t knitting anywhere near the cat. In fact I had put my knitting down. Yes, members of the jury, the sock was on the table and the ball of yarn was on the floor resulting in a dangling length of yarn but remember, kind gentlemen and ladies, that there was no knitting going on and the yarn was not tantalizingly dancing in front of the defendants face! She choose to approach and inflict damage. This was clearly an act of Malice Aforethought. She murdered the yarn in the first degree. Ladies and Gentlemen, …this, was no accident!

I rest my case. The guilty party has been sent to her bed without treats, but has been receiving humane treatment in the hands of her jailers. Cat food and water being administered daily.

I have since rectified the severed yarn with a splice in both spots. I have a vague memory of seeing this done somewhere on the Web sometime ago. Here are the steps I took:

Step 1: I split the severed ends of the yarn in two. The yarn was four ply so each side of the split has two plies.


Step 2: I aligned one half of each side together, leaving the other half out of the way. These left overs will be dealt with later.


step 2

Step 3: The aligned threads were twisted together. Whereas this yarn was superwash, there was no chance of doing a felted join here.

step 3

Step 4: The resulting joined yarn was carefully knitted into the sock leaving the tails hanging freely. These will be woven in when I have an inch or more knit on this sock.

step 4

I truly hope the yarn holds together. These socks are to be a Christmas gift for my DS. He tends to be a little hard on his clothing!

I do have one other concern. I believe I may have mentioned on an earlier post that I might be a little, …um, anal? I dearly want two matching socks and now one of them is going to be oddly short a few rows.

Maybe it won’t show… Maybe the difference will be unnoticeable… Maybe Whimsy will get the second sock too.

Any one wanna bet? Innocent convict

Lolly if you read this, my Socktoberfest project might be a little late… My cat ate my homework… Really !

Remember, no matter what you do this week, do it creatively!

Newfoundland Revisited

Whereupon reviewing her pattern
she discovered a goodly amount of imprecision, inconsistencies and inexactitudes.

To my utter horror and shame, I have come to the realization, that the pattern I posted for the Newfoundland mitts was not a good one. This, of course, being a great understatement of vast proportions. It was a terrible, horrible and misleading pattern (Bad Pattern!).

My Reasons; I had made changes (as I found fit), when I first used this pattern, however, as I originally knit the mitts with acrylic yarns, these alterations are not now appropriate! My Excuses; I have none, I know better… SIGH.

I have since posted a good pattern (found in the tab ‘patterns’ up in header) distinguishable by the word “revisited”. I am positive that this pattern is good as I used it this weekend to make this:

Newf revisited

Noro does look very good here although I’m a little disappointed that the pink was so over whelming. I still have enough left in the one skein to do another but because I’m a ‘little’ anal I want both mitts to match so I will be using a brand new skein of Noro # 154. The left overs will make another set of mitts with a grey wool.

Also made this weekend:

Baby Feet

… For a baby gift. Made with Patons Cottontots, it is very soft and cuddly like a baby! I love this little pattern but not too thrilled with my wobbly bobbles. I guess I need more practice. I might even do another for the actual gift. I guess I’m just a sucker for punishment!

I intended to crochet a pair of booties too but the urgency of my Newfoundland folly was harassing me and demanding critical attention, so I had to knit, check and recheck the pattern!

What ever you do this week… Keep on creating!

Oldie but Goodie

Newfoundland Mitts
This mitten pattern is an old favorite here in Atlantic Canada and is a nice warm mitt for frigid weather. I had a much marked up, old pattern sheet kicking about and when I was asked for a copy, I decided I had better write up a new one with updated language. You can find it on my Patterns Page, the tab is located up in the header picture above. Here they are in all their glory.

Newfoundland Mitts

I made these mitts about 6 or 7 years ago, when I started knitting again, after about that many years on hiatus from the crafty sticks. I was still a newbie, however, and used acrylic to knit these and many pairs for the children.

It was this particular pair, though, that taught me a lesson about yarn. One day, I went out to shovel my driveway, put on my newly knit mitts and realised that the cold immediately penetrated to my hands, the wind blew right through the mitts!

I couldn’t believe it. All those hours knitting mitts and they didn’t keep the hands warm. They didn’t even perform their main function. And the Kids! I felt really bad for sending them off to school in my hand knit mittens that wouldn’t keep their hands warm…

All yarns are not alike… Lesson learned (hang my head in shame).

I now knit exclusively with 100% or high blend wool or cotton. I always was a ‘natural’ nut (little or no plastic in my life!) and I have no idea what possessed me to use fake wool for knitting! It probably was the price, now that I think about it. I couldn’t imagine paying big $$ for yarn. I would have died paying $10 for a 50 gm ball of worsted weight yarn! Now, try and keep me and Noro apart!

I never did remake these mitts in warm wool. Maybe this season I’ll knit myself new ones… Maybe with Noro! Yeah, that would be neat!…. I’ll keep you posted

Keep on creating.

String of My Heart

Have you ever made a resolution and then couldn’t keep it? Well none of us are super human so I imagine the answer for most is a resounding ‘oh yeah’. But I’m not talking about the ‘I need to get healthy, lets try to love soy beans and tofu’ kind of resolution here. I’m talking resisting temptations. I have been trying to keep my yarn habit at bay for a long time now. I’ve determined that I have enough yarn to knit a different project ever month for a number of years and I simply do not need any more yarn. So why is it when I walk into a yarn shop (like this one), even for just a few minutes I start to get a warm fuzzy feeling that builds into a longing and then craving for (of all things) yarn.

Yarn is string, is it not? I never used to get excited about string. Okay maybe about the string that tied up the Sunday roast beef. You know, the one that was basted in the meat juices… mmm, me and my siblings would fight over that string and the exultant winner would chew it with his eyes shut and a look of ecstasy on his face…… but that is another story. String does not, in fact, excite me. Merino string, now that is another kettle of fish. Or how about Cashmere string or Noro string? Yeah, now we’re talking!

Of course my slip (and you knew this is where I was heading!) was not in this neighborhood. I was enticed by this…

Silk Love

Look at this luscious Merino/Silk goodness! It is not yarn! I already have a project on the spindle that needs to be spun and knit up before Christmas and yet I just want to sit and stroke this roving all night long! Okay, Fibre addiction is not that bad. We’re not talking about being seduced by the Dark side or anything but it is a near thing! It probably approximates the lure of chocolate. It is not wicked or evil but some times it feels like it should be. This is not instant gratification however. I will have to work to get the merino string that I love. I have to spin and twist and toil to get it! That’s not lust, that’s love! When you have work hard for it, it is going to be a long term love affair and that is always worthwhile!

Oh yes, and I accidentally bought some of this too…

Soy Love

Paton’s SWS. Imagine that, I could become a soy lover after all!

….Keep on creating!

Oops, I Did It Again!

As we all know, those of us who knit anyway, knitting is not an exact science. A pattern is not a recipe where you get all the ingredients, throw them together and put them in the oven and everyone who uses it will get a delicious, edible casserole. Knitting does not work exactly this way although you would think it should! Knitting does include science but also a part artistry, a good part skill and also a large part luck.

The science is mostly math. Numbers of stitches per inch to figure out how many needed to cast on for a piece. Geometry for the shapes we contort the knitted fabric into to get a shape pleasing to our figures, limbs or digits.

The artistry aspect comes in when we choose the yarn for colour and weight. Maybe a hand painted skein or two or more solid colours. We choose stitch, pattern, length of garment. We choose amount of ease and drape.

The skill aspect is, of course, the many techniques learned by the knitter. It can either add a touch of finesse, or leave a ragged join; depending on skill levels.

Luck seems to be all other aspects that are variable and inconsistent. When I do a swatch for a project, I tend to trust it. So when it lets me down, I can only believe that it is the luck aspect being brought into play. Case in point, I was knitting Fetching for Hubby’s DD. I was using my first hand spun attempt and had no idea how it would do. I did a swatch and was amazed at how good it looked. The knitting actually helped the look of the single even where it was spun too tight! The gauge with the proper needle came to what the recommended yarn was before the author changed needle and made the gauge tighter. So I did the same thing, went to a smaller needle and made my gauge smaller. The glove ended up too small.

One Fetching Glove
Too bad because it was a very good looking glove. I just couldn’t move my hand much! I have since cast on the other hand and added another repeat of the cables and it should fit!

More fetching
Wish me luck!!

So to me, luck, fate, destiny, Karma are a big factor when you knit. To those of us with lots of experience, you can diminish the luck aspect but for those that are just starting out or have little experience, luck seems to hold sway. As you gain experience, you will be able to know when there is less chance of a luck thing about to happen or you can see it happening earlier and head it off at the pass. As for me, I have been knitting off and on for years and I still have problems with the luck thing. Sometimes, it is good and sometimes, like now, it is not.
It is not all bad news however, I have managed to produce something I quite like. I made socks for my DD for Christmas.

Lace Socks

I think she will like them! These socks were created using a Sockbug pattern called Sheri’s Lace Socks. I started the sock and found the lace to be inelastic and baggy. So I altered the pattern by alternating rows of lace with sections of 3×1 ribbing. The ribbing really helps to keep the sock fitting snuggly to the leg.

Partridge Heel

Here is a photo of the partridge heel I did for the sock. No special reason, I just wanted to try it out. It is more cushiony than the plain or double heel but I find the look of it distracts from the overall image of delicacy.

I hope your creative day works out more in the good luck way than in the bad.

Have a creative day!