Knitting for the Memory

My grandmother had a habit of knitting baby blankets for new babies in the family. And we don’t have a small family; she and my grandfather alone had six children. Have you ever knit a baby blanket before? It’s a long process, and typically it can be arduous or boring. Depending on the pattern, of course.

My grandparents are gone now (you may remember my last post with them in it, The Implications of Warmth), but a lot of the knits my grandmother made are still around. My little brother’s first toque hung around in our laundry room for an eternity, and I still remember sloshing around in the backyard as a kid, wearing a home-made pair of mittens that quickly got saturated with spring snow. Things that come from the heart never really leave, so when one of my best friends announced she was getting married, I knew what I wanted to do.

She was getting a blanket.

Now, she and her new husband aren’t having a baby. But they did, in a way, start a new family. I wanted them to have something special as they embarked on their new life together. It had to have an element of their wedding in it, and it had to be fairly easy to do because I recruited another best friend to help me (kudos to her for helping me undertake such a huge project when she is just barely getting her feet wet with knitting!). The blanket is four colours, all representative of the wedding in some way. There are two red squares and two blue squares, which were the wedding colours; and two grey squares, which kind of tied in the bridal party’s suits. The border was an off-white to tie in the bride’s dress. I utterly love it, and I think the new couple did too (despite it being a couple months late…!).

Now, for those of you who are interested, the technicalities. My friend and I wanted them to have something low-maintenance that they could just throw into the washer/dryer when they needed to, and like I mentioned above it needed to be fairly easy for a new knitter to do. So we chose Red Heart Comfort (Solids), which was a bit squeaky and a little sticky to knit with but will keep them warm and doesn’t bleed when washed. The pattern is a bit more difficult. We based most of it off of the Moderne Baby Blanket pattern, but the border is knit onto it with short-row corners using the spirit of the Ten Stitch Blanket. I don’t remember what the needle size was, now.


Casting on the first square

It was most definitely worth it.


So, Knitters, it’s been a while since I updated the blog. Probably longer than I care to remember (no one remind me). Life kind of got in the way of the blog, but luckily not in the way of my knitting.

There’s been blankets…


Cardigans fit for small people…

(x2, because I adore knitting baby things)

And more socks (as if that’s shocking to anyone)…

That last one was sentenced to frogging, after being proved guilty on one count of not fitting the foot. 

And now, the beginning of Christmas knits has made a small pile in my living room.

And that’s not even all of it. I’ve got two more projects hiding in the bedroom.


Knitting in the Wild

My sock has joined me in the library today, probably to flaunt its existence and attempt to persuade me to stop writing this essay and add some rows to it.

You remember that big essay I mentioned at the end of my last post? Well I’ve got 1220 words out of 5000. Chugging along. I’m trying out the pomodoro method of studying- 25 minutes of work, 5 minutes of break (this is normally enough time to get a row or two in). Wish me luck.

Where has your knitting joined you, lately? 


They say hindsight is 20/20

I’m inclined to agree. I did something stupid, which resulted in something that hasn’t happened since I was little and the extent of my knitting expertise was a spool.

I got soap in my eyes.

And it burned. And then it ached. And then my eyeballs felt raw. I was seriously contemplating the name of my future seeing eye dog whilst running cold water on my eyeballs. At the same time, I was making an internal vow to never again use my LUSH handsoap as even a temporary replacement for my makeup removal wipes (no matter how stubborn the leftover mascara). I went to bed a half hour later wondering how possible it would be to turn a heel with no sight?

But I can see properly again, which means I’m both relieved and still in a good position to turn heels, which is probably a good thing because I’m going to need to soon…

The pattern is Earl Grey, invented by the Yarn Harlot. Can’t say who they’re for, just in case the recipient reads this, so that’s top secret classified for now. It’s been an interesting variation on the vanilla sock pattern, that’s for sure. Not 100% convinced the cables turn up properly with this yarn, but I’m waiting it out.

The mittens are coming along nicely, I’m quite tickled with the first:

And the second is well on its way. (Sorry for the bad picture- the lighting was weird, and it’s actually incredibly hard to get a good picture of your own hand). Now, if I could feel as much dedication for my final term paper (40% of the class’s final grade, I feel the need to mention), then all would be tickety-boo.

This education thing really gets in the way of my knitting time.

An Attempt at Self-Medicating

My¬†nasty case of Startitis¬†hasn’t ceased. I no sooner cast off a pair of socks then I cast on another pair, another newborn cardigan, a CAL project, and a blanket. It’s like when Hercules cuts one of the hydra’s heads off and multiple more sprout.

Despite the pleasing squishiness of this blanket (Does green knitting count on St. Patrick’s Day?):


Knit on US 11 needles using Bernat Blanket super bulky yarn in ‘Plum Fields’ colorway

and the cuteness of tiny cardigans, something needs to be done. I can’t keep casting on every project that catches my fancy- if nothing else, my boyfriend would have to start moving knitting off the couch to sit down and we’ve had words about touching works in progess before. He wouldn’t be gentle about it.


So, I put the needles down and picked up my laptop. What I needed was a pattern that would be instantly satisyfing, but long in duration. Like whatever it was the dental surgeon gave me when he took all four of my wisdom teeth out in one day. I took the meds at 9:59 am, everything went a bit fuzzy at 10:00 am, and when I woke up it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Good stuff.

What I decided on was the insanely popular¬†Beekeeper’s Quilt, by Tiny Owl Knits. Its been lingering in my ‘favourites’ folder on Ravelry for ages, but while I thought it was a charming idea¬†there were three things standing in my way of casting on:

  1. I never thought I would have enough yarn ‘left overs’ in my stash in one weight (Wrong.)
  2. I didn’t think I could get used to the monotony of knitting the same thing literally 550-1000 times (Wrong again. Turns out I love to watch TV and vanilla knit at the same time)
  3. Where on earth would I store 550-1000 tiny, stuffed hexagons?? (Solution! I upgraded from a dorm to an apartment!)

So… hexipuffs. Hexipuffs are my attempt at self medicating my Startitis- anytime I feel like I need a new project, I’ll just choose yarn from what turns out to be my quite sumptuous stash of fingering weight yarn (Ooooh I just remembered another ball of fingering in my office Stash Bin)(Don’t judge me for having designated room Stash Bins- we all know how Stash multiplies.) and cast on.

Voila.¬†I’m a Medicine Knit Woman.

P.S. Hexipuffs are pretty cute ūüėČ Current count: 7/600

The Implications of Warmth

I have started this post a few different ways.¬†I thought about drawing in the debate crafters have about who ‘deserves’ their knits as gifts (in the Land of Knitting, we call these few the ‘Knitworthy’), or about just diving into the pictures and basically doing a media dump.

Instead, I want to talk about a hat.

This hat was a yellow-gold and burgundy hat, and it had three floppy points¬†like a Jester’s hat. You know, those ones you see on every stereotypical rendition of a court jester, except I don’t think this one had bells. Maybe it did, maybe it didn’t. I don’t remember, because my grandmother made¬†it for¬†me when I was four. This was my first home-knit (at least that I can remember for myself). I had mittens from her when I was older, and probably countless other things in my life time, but this hat I remember first. I don’t know where it is now, I’ve moved house several times since I was four so it may be in storage somewhere or it may have gotten lost in the chaos at some point.

A lot of knitters will tell you the deep sting of disappointment when a gift recipient takes one look at a knit item and then doesn’t ever look at it again. Maybe the smile politely and put it out of sight, or they scoff and complain about how it must be itchy¬†or something else. Either way, it isn’t truly appreciated. This has happened to me; it doesn’t feel nice. A knit item is more than just the ephemeral object you’re holding in your hands. Unfortunately, fibre fades, breaks down, and at some point just isn’t useable anymore… even the nicest alpaca will weaken even if it’s¬†retired in desperation to the sturdiest cedar trunk with as much anti-moth protection possible. It might take generations but it’ll happen.

No, a knit item is¬†time. It can easily take hours to knit a pair of new born baby booties, or a layette set. Weeks for anything bigger- babies aren’t actually as small as they want us to think they are. Don’t get me started on adults. And¬†usually (not accounting for extenuating circumstances like knitters watching small children) the knitter will be thinking of the recipient as they knit. It’s a lot of time concentrating on one person, and how much they care about that one person¬†(the other few moments are spent concentrating on not messing up the pattern). That one knit garment is not just a pile of wool the knitter waved their hand over, magically transformed into a garment and said “Oh! What a nice hat. Maybe so-and-so might like it”. It’s a pile of wool that has been painstakingly transformed into an object that is infused with hope, or love, or well-wishes for you.

(This is not a new statement, not unique to me, and in fact for some it might feel like I’m just re-hashing something. But it’s important.)

The jester hat is gone. So is my grandmother. But what’s left of them both is what was really important, and something that I’ll never be able to forget. That she loved me enough to spend hours and hours knitting for me, and for my brother.

I’d like to end with another hat. This one isn’t gold and burgundy, and it isn’t even jester shaped. It’s a regular toque: blue, with cables and a tiny¬†pom pom on the top. It wasn’t knit for me. My grandmother knit for everyone she loved, and my grandfather wore this toque for years and years and years until he died. It kept his head warm. Now, I can feel that warmth still. It’s a good feeling.


Happy Belated Everything, Dad!

Here are your Father’s Day-Christmas-Valentine’s Day socks! It only took me…. eight months?

These are them, taken with the camera on my iPhone:


Some of you may recognize this picture from a couple posts ago:


Actually, I think this is them in June 2015. And I kind of really love them. It was my first time working with Regia (I don’t know colorway or anything like that. Unfortunately the label band was eaten by the yarn gnomes). And these, like all good hand knits, have a story. I started them last year, as a Father’s Day gift. The first one went really quickly, with very little incident. Because this was my first man’s sock, AKA way bigger than my own women’s size 7 socks, the ease of the first sock gave me hope.

Yeah. Pfffft.

I cast on the second one, and the hope from the first sock made the second cuff swim by. The problem arose when I got home from work one day to find that my parent’s terrier had found the knitting and decided to decorate not only the living room, but also the front foyer and the dining room with decorative Regia garland. The knots were horrendous, and so frustrating I had to put it down for a few days. The problem was that in my annoyance I cast on something new…and, well, the socks were hidden away in knotty-exile. I finished them in October, once I had moved back to University, figuring he’d get them in the winter.

Repeat: Yeah. Pfffft.

I forgot them. Totally, utterly forgot them. I even put them beside my carryon on my dining room table and I still forgot them. I didn’t escape the ribbing and fake tears for a while.

Fast forward to now! My reading week rolled around (University’s version of Spring Break, for those that aren’t aware) and my dad got his socks…finally.¬†I think I’ll start another pair. Has anyone worked with Regia’s ‘Pairfect’ line? Intriguing concept.

Now, before I sign this off, I want to share the extent of my dad’s knitting related jokes:

A cop is out on patrol when he notices a man knitting while driving. A little incredulous, he¬†matches the¬†man’s speed and yells “Pull over!” through his window. The man looks over, and yells back “No! Cardigan!”

I’m a sucker for stupid jokes, but especially knitting related humour, so I found it absolutely hilarious ūüôā I hope it makes you smile too!


The Girl with Striped Socks

Howdy, Stranger

Hi there! Long time no see. I’d like to pretend it hasn’t been a little over two months, maybe include a witty comment like ‘time only exists on your wrist’, or maybe brush it off with an exciting anecdote of something that has earned my attention for 84 days.

I’d like to. I really would. But while the time has been long, my existence has been fairly unexciting. Finals for last semester pulled me away, and then there was Christmas, and New Years, and a new semester to get used to and my undergraduate thesis application…and between those times? Laziness. Procrastination. And a lot of knitting. Speaking of knitting, actually….

I have a nasty case of startitis. I can imagine as I type this that there are people out there who read the word ‘startitis’ and wonder what the heck I’m talking about (hi, mom!), so let me clarify:

Startitis is the general need to cast on new projects, no matter how many projects you¬†already have on the needles (or how many projects you have already cast on for during the onset of startitis). It is crippling, debilitating, and utterly addictive. I currently have five projects in my ‘recent’ basket, and no idea how many WIPs are in my ‘long term’ basket…

Two scarves, two sock pairs (each still on the first sock), and one tiny newborn cardigan (has anyone else seen the pattern Newborn Vertebrae? Absolutely adorable.)

And yes, one of those scarves is is the utterly soft grey and brown alpaca scarf that was meant as a Christmas present for my little brother. I’m allowed to tell you who it’s for now, because he knows he has an IOU for it. It’s beginning to turn into spring where I am, which is a novelty because Canada is normally pretty fond of winter and likes to keep it up as long as it possibly can, and I just couldn’t take it anymore. I really dislike the early periods of spring, when everything is slushy and muddy and wet and the skies are grey and it was just too much lack of color everyone. The brown and the grey, while both are lovely colors,¬†flooded my retinas and I needed something bright ASAP.



Bright, almost obnoxious, pink sock on the way

This may be the brightest pair of socks I have ever knit. Definitely the brightest pink I’ve ever knit with. I think they’re going to be dubbed my Easter socks, because they remind me of the bright colors on the little foil wrapped eggs my parents the Easter bunny would hide when I was little. Does anyone else have any yarn that reminds them of good times? Good memories? I love those yarns. It makes the project so much more….. well,¬†more I guess.

…And why yes, that is a picture of Stephanie Purl-McPhee under my obnoxiously pink yarn. It’s my signed copy of Stephanie Purl-McPhee Casts Off, and I absolutely love it. She came to a literary festival in my area earlier this year, and I swear it was the best thing. She’s like my generation’s Elizabeth Zimmerman, she’s that much of a knitting role-model.


Newborn Vertebrae, knit with West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply, Woodpigeon colorway. 3 1/4 mm needles.

And this is that Newborn Vertebrae pattern, Ashley style. I think this pattern is absolutely darling, and I’d recommend it to just about anyone.¬†Simple pattern to follow, adorable product. Win-win, I’d say! I’m also quite taken with the picture, the backdrop of which is my boyfriend’s faux-marble countertop. It makes it look quite fancy, don’t you think?

I’ll show you the rest of my startitis symptoms tomorrow, because right now I have to attend to my cold symptoms… apparently real illnesses happen to knitters too. Whodathunk?


The Girl with the Striped Socks


You’d think after three and a half years I’d be used to school taking over my life.

According to my dashboard, it’s been 13 days since my last post, but before I get into all the crafty stuff I’ve been playing with over the last couple¬†weeks, I want to say thank you to everyone who has expressed concern over my wrist. I appreciate it! And thankfully, it hasn’t made a reappearance (knock on wood).

Not only is the absence of pain a good thing, but it means that I now have very little preventing me from crafting- aside from¬†my school work, which has been the true reason this blog hasn’t had anything new to say. Fortunately, the last pressing exam was finished on Friday and after taking a few hours to decompress and recoup I’ve mustered up enough brain power to get this typed up and out there.

The last 13 days held a lot of school work, very little crafting, and even less knitting. Instead of knitting my way through to sanity during tests and papers…I thought I’d try something new. Well, not new exactly, but an old craft from my yesteryears (which is, surprisingly, an actual word. Huh.)


My cross-stitch skills are unbelievably rusty, but the distractions of re-learning everything and the zen action of actually¬†doing the cross stitch? I can’t tell you how good my brain felt having something so repetitive to do after a few hours of delving into the theories of Foucault and Bourdieu, or trying to properly pull apart Terre Satterfield’s treatment of Oregon logging in the early 2000s. My brain is twisting itself rather uncomfortably just at the remembrance of that, so if it’s all the same to you guys I’m not going to unearth that debate again.

I’ve made a bit of progress on this cross-stitch since the picture was taken, but I ran out of black thread so the second hummingbird still doesn’t have the rest of it sculpted out. Hopefully I can change that later, next time I run to Michaels. I’m not even going to pretend the back looks pretty- I know most people say the back should look as tidy as the front, but considering the number of years since I last attempted this, I figured I could cut myself some slack.

I did do some knitting. More on the alpaca scarf, though not enough to warrant a picture because, lets be honest, there are some projects where you can knit and knit and knit and then you can look at your work and see that nothing has actually happened. It’s as though as you were knitting, all the yarn simply knit itself right into oblivion. But that’s okay. Why, you ask? Because to make up for the universe simply deleting my yarn, I went out and bought some more. I even took my boyfriend with me (which is a task and a half, because he knows how long I can take in a yarn store/department/aisle, and he actively avoids it. If I wasn’t the one driving today, it would have taken more than a few strings pulled and promises made before we would have gotten close to our¬†local yarn shop.

But I digress.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ta-da! I’ve got another sock on my needles. Quick projects are always best to have on hand when I’ve got a bigger, slightly-monotonous-sometimes-if-I’m-honest, project going on right now. Yes, alpaca scarf, I am looking at you. These are knit on US 1 DPNs, and the lovely yarn is Signature 4 ply from WYS, in ‘Wood Pigeon’. If the name doesn’t give it away, it is one of the sister colorways of my fall striped socks (those were knit in ‘Pheasant’). I did this unintentionally, but I realized as I was walking out of the store, bag of lovely yarn in hand, that they’re very winter-y colors. I know the pictures kind of distort the colors a bit, but I couldn’t resist taking the picture under my Christmas tree. Something so home-y and warm about knitting and Christmas… I don’t know.

I hope you don’t find my sock knitting horribly boring. I can knit non-striped socks, as well as non-striped other things, I promise! Here’s a bit of photo evidence for you:

See? The blue sock cuff isn’t technically striped. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it (Regia, by the way). Funny story with those socks, too. They were meant to be my dad’s Father’s Day present, but I was halfway through the first of the pair when the dog got the ball and decided to string half of it around the coffee table, front foyer, and the living room. I was so disgusted with the resulting knots that I had to put the project down for a while. Needless to say, these socks are now going to be his Christmas present. Has anyone else had a project mucked up due to a pet? I’ve heard a few horror stories about wayward significant others, too, but thankfully mine hasn’t made that misstep yet…


The Girl with Striped Socks