Wednesday, 10 January 2018

A Message from Nuggies

Happy 2018- I'm a little late to the party. Truth is, I am not quite over the holidays as yet. They were great, lots of fun and my favorite people. It did get stupidly cold, but we had a gorgeous white Christmas and New Years.

I have been enjoying some quiet time. This is almost the best time of year- you can organize your new gifts and maybe clear out some stuff. Speaking of which, some highlights:

Slow knitting- I am sure they don't refer to the snails pace of knitting that goes on here lately.

The Unfinished Palazzo- I am primarily interested in Peggy Guggenheim, but the whole story is fascinating. A gift from the favorite niece.

The New York Times Book of Crime- love this. Gifted from Miss Mew.

The Shepherd's View- I was gifted the book, this is mostly pictures.

A Stash of One's Own- interesting to read that some people don't even hoard yarn. Gifted from FC.

Out of This Century- Peggy Guggenheim's autobiography, restored and updated.

Miss Mew got me this print and framed it. It does go a long way to explaining the world today.
I have a small collection of flat irons. This tailor's model is rare, as the closure is a woman's head and it retains the original grate inside. From the evil twin.
Absolutely beyond cute and beautiful, from a very dear friend. I've decided they stay out all year as I can't bear to just see them at Christmas.

I have made no resolutions. Life is pretty great for me as it is, and yeah, I would love to lose weight and save money, but let's be real, probably won't happen, and why put the pressure on yourself? I did re-organize the stash and passed on some things that will never happen (your tastes and priorities change...) but if I keep adding then how will I ever get to those things I've really wanted to do? I won't say I won't be acquiring, but at the moment I have no desire to do so. So this years mantra is "be content with what you have". 
The guest kitty today is Nuggies- and she has decided that chilling is where it's at. She's a smart little girl.

Fleece out.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

It Looks Alot Like.... guessed it. I did my wrapping last Monday, and then and only then, can you call yourself done.
Does this give you an idea of this years sentiment? (My niece knows me so well.)
I finished baking this morning. I wasn't going to do even that, but hey. I also sent not one card. I should have called this post "I don't give a crap".
If it were my choice, this would be the only tree I would put up, but Miss Mew decorated the large one.
This years Nutcracker is a King Mouse.
And look how Clawed drinks water- you apparently must go under the kitchen cart.

In knitting news, I have become distracted with making more gloves. This one has 5 shades of J&S Shetland Supreme. They're mine.

I am still working on Halyard. I finally figured out the reason you use progress keepers- to track how much you have done. It seems to be working- I love the little narwhale.

I am looking forward to Christmas vacation- such as it is. May I take this opportunity to wish you and yours the best of holidays. May your wool skein never tangle and you never drop a stitch.

Fleece Navidad.

Monday, 27 November 2017


I have been missing in action recently. On Saturday, Miss Mew got married.
We had a lovely day, in a lovely place and everyone was so happy.
 Instead of a bouquet she chose a muff, and had a mink hat with a veil attached. Perfect for a November wedding.
FC, my sister and I- we wore the same dress only in different colours.  Pearls and the same style of shoes.
The happy couple. Mr. and Mrs. Mew.

Other than that, I have just finished my holiday shopping- online, as there is no way I am going near the mall at this time of year.

I'll be back soon with some knitting content, but I thought I would share this with you today.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017


I'll continue with my desertation for new knitters... but as we all know, it's Halloween! My favorite night of the year. And this year we have a Pusheen-o-ween!
Can you stand it? I was out last week meeting a friend who is on her way to bigger and better things. You may recognize her from my patterns.
She also picked up some Pusheenery- a true friend who shares the obsession.

I sewed up some cross-stitch pinkeeps and pillows for gifts. I've also done some hats.

The top 2 are the Rilo pattern, a freebie and a terrific pattern.The last one is Sheephaven.

So, a couple of points I wanted to add to last week's post are as follows:

1. On the subject of books, I recommend you get a stitch dictionary- the Harmony guides are wonderful. More interesting is history. Once you learn about traditional knitting, it makes knitting a thousand times more interesting. You may develop a love for stranded colourwork, Fishermans gansies and Irish Arans. I did. And I read anything I can about the people and places. How about Estonian lace? Norwegian Selbuvotter? Chilean Chullos?

2. Keep notes. When I make something I keep notes on what yarn I used (and whether I liked it) the size of needles, if the recipient liked it, and so on. That's where Ravelry becomes invaluable, because often I will change needle sizes or tweak the pattern. This becomes helpful to someone else who likes that project and is thinking of knitting it, or maybe you subbed your yarn and they want to see what it looks like.

3. Do what YOU enjoy. Hey, if you like making socks, make socks. I know there is a trend toward simple shawls and brioche stitch now, but I have had my fill of them, and if YOU like doing something, you needn't explain or justify it. Maybe you like doing toys -some of the patterns are complex, but the results are amazing.

4. Try a new technique. That's what is so wonderful about knitting- there is always something to learn. I have my preferences, but you will develop yours.

5. Try a get-together or a knit night if there is one locally. It's a wonderful way to be inspired and make some knit buddies. Or, how about a blog, or Instagram. You'll meet loads of cool people from all over the world.

Have a spooktacular Halloween.

Fleece out.

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Dear New Knitter

Today is a historic day in a few ways. My son turns 29 today. You know what that means? IAMTHEPARENTOFA29YEAROLD!!!!!! And I want to know where the time went.
(maintain low tones, young Cone)

The other young cone (if you've seen Coneheads, you'll get the reference...) is getting married next month. What the actual.....?

Gordon Downie passed away last night. Maybe you have to be Canadian to get the meaning of that, but we called them "the 'Hip" and they were icons. While not entirely unexpected, it still comes as a shock when something like this happens.

I have been working on some presents as is usual for this time of year. The guys are getting socks and hats, and I've got my sister's yearly yule hat done. I'm not really getting much done, at least, not as much as I want to, but c'est la vie.

I've been knitting for roughly 30 years- give or take. My across the street neighbour taught me, and she's a fine teacher, because she succeeded where many failed. Rather, I failed. But I needed something to do while the baby was sleeping, other than laundry, and it was a blessing on so many levels. It's given me joy, frustration and many hours of creativity. It's brought many friends into my life, both online and for reals.

So, what advice would I give to a new knitter? Or someone who wants to learn everything in 5 minutes? First, it's a hobby (more of a lifestyle to most of us) that you never master, in terms of knowing everything.

1. First, while knitting can be inexpensive, in general terms, it's not. Even budget-friendly yarn, when you need enough for an adult garment, is going to run you a few sheckels, and yes, you can buy one at Old Navy cheaper.

2. Which brings me to this: if you feel this is something that you love, and want to keep doing, invest in the best tools and yarn that you can afford. That doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive either. You will quickly learn what suits you, and what you're not so happy with. Also, different yarns require different needles. If you go for the cheapies, you will get what you pay for. Trust me.

3. Learn how to read a pattern. I don't always recommend that you study the entire thing, because alot of it won't make sense until you're actually at that stage of the game. But patterns are usually a shorthand- and you'll see the same abbreviations over and over, so it's not scary. Unless the "designer" makes up his/her own, and that's, well, pretentious.

4. Know how to identify a K (knit) stitch, and a P (Purl) stitch. Familiarize yourself.

5. For the love of all that is holy- if you disregard everything here, learn how to use Double Pointed needles and how to read a chart!!!! Knitting fads come and go, but when you want to finish off a hat, or knit some glove fingers, you'll be grateful you know how. I know that magic-loop is a thing, and I can see it's benefits, and I have nothing against fans of the technique, but there will come a time when the rubber hits the road, and those dpn's are vital.

As for anyone who says "I don't knit from charts..." all I can say is that more and more patterns are charted, as it's easier from the standpoint of the writer, especially lace. It's also easier to see where you are with a chart, in colorwork and cabling, so don't dismiss it. You'll be essentially cutting yourself off from roughly half the patterns on Ravelry.

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7. I bet it was recommended that you make a scarf. You'll soon be bored with that. Your next project should be something that incorporates increases and decreases, perhaps a buttonhole. You can next start with a raglan sweater, top-down if you want, and if that intimidates you, how about a child's sweater. People are always multiplying, and it will come in handy for the next kid that comes along.

8. Come to terms with gauge. You have to make a gauge swatch. Yes, you do. Your knitting is unique from everyone else's and you may be one of those lucky ones who can achieve the gauge in a pattern, but chances are you are looser or tighter. If you want this thing to fit or come out the recommended size, you are strongly advised to take the time.

9. And yes, the only real way to correct an error, is to rip back. And that may mean the whole sleeve, or back of a sweater, but I never mind, because it's teaching me something. Admittedly, I rip back alot less than I used to, but it happens. It can be soul destroying, but think of it as experience.

10. Collect books. I love anything by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Even better are the videos. But start with "Knitting Without Tears"- highly readable, and very reassuring to the unsure.

11.Things like cabling and socks are suprisingly easier than you think. You'll impress the handknit socks off yourself. Treat yourself to some self striping yarn and watch the magic happen.

12. This brings me to the inevitable "oh, you made that? Could you knit me one?" Never mind that you have spent alot of time on that item, and are eager to show it off. The muggles have no idea what goes into your creations. And nothing takes the fun out of something more than knitting to order. If you finish something and feel you want to gift it to a worthy person, then great. But my advice is don't do it. Next thing you know you'll be knitting for a family of Yeti's, and resenting every stitch.

Clearly, I have much to say on this subject, so I'll continue next time.

Fleece Out

Friday, 6 October 2017

Turkey Time

"Baldrick, take this and buy me a turkey so large, you'd think it's mother had been rogered by an Omnibus."

Blackadder's Christmas Carol

It does not feel like Thanksgiving at all- and if your in the states then it isn't. We have been having an unseasonably warm Autumn- I am not a happy bunny. I feel completely cheated.
I got up and made the stuffing. I am going to share this, as it has evolved over the past 25 years or so, and it's not the usual. My son couldn't care less about turkey, but don't mess with his stuffing.

1Loaf stuffing bread (seasoned bread called Turkey time)
3 packages Uncle Ben's Long Grain & Wild Rice
1bunch Celery (I loathe it but it's good in this)
1-2 Large Sweet Onions
1/2 C softened butter
Fresh Sage (must be fresh)
Poultry Seasoning
3 rolls Sausage Meat

Grab the largest bowl you have (I use 2 because this makes alot) and cube the bread- tear up any pieces that are large. Cook the rice as per package directions. In another pan, put in butter and melt- dice up the onion and cut the celery up.The flavour is in the leaves.  Put them into the pan and saute until soft.

Cut up the fresh sage and put in the bowl with the bread, add poultry seasoning to taste. Add cooked rice, and sauteed celery and onions. Stir well-
fry up slices (fairly thick) of sausage meat and when cooled, cut them into cubes. If you find this at all dry, you can add a half cup of chicken stock- but it's never dry.

On turkey day, stuff into neck and bum cavities- and fill a large baking dish. While the turkey is standing after you cook it- bake the stuffing for 1 hour at 350 F.

I have played with this and added apples, and once cranberries- which was really festive. My family is odd (I could stop there...) about fruit in their meals- so I stick with the tried and true.
 I can't get into my Halyard sweater, despite loving the yarn. My wedding anniversary is next week so I made buddy a pair of socks. I used Briggs & Little Tuffy and for the top and toe some Zwartbles yarn from Blacker. A bit of the exotic in the good old sock.
Oh oh oh- just look what my soon-to-be son-in-law got me. As I am not a cut-flower fan, Laura said why not Pusheen? Indeed. I am blown away by the little deer stalker hat. His street cred just shot through the roof. I got a few others but I'll save those for next time.
Clawdykins is looking ever so cute these days. Don't you love how cats like to look down on people?

Hope some of you are enjoying cool weather. Send some this way.

Fleecin' out.

Friday, 8 September 2017

I'm in Love

Yes. It's true. I am head over tail (see what I did there?) in love with .....Pusheen the cat.

So much so, that I began collecting merch. She reminds me of my Clawed- you can always tell the state of things by Clawed's tail. Pusheen flicks her stripey tail in the cutest way.
Frankie-Bear got me the Pusheen Plushie at Claire's. It's a mermaid. I also get to drink my morning tea in the cool mug, and I ordered some charms from Etsy. I am going to wear them around my neck.

The same seller did this piece of cake which looked scrum, so I got that too.

This picture illustrates the similarity of Clawed's tail to Pusheen's. Clawed's is short and striped- FC now calls him "Bosheen" because Clawed's nickname is Bobo. We, however, do not find this amusing, despite his supplying said plushie. Bribery only takes you so far.....

I have finished spinning the Polwarth on my Schacht-Reeves. I find spinning to be peaceful and relaxing. I don't do it enough.

Still plugging away on my Halyard cardigan. I am enjoying every stitch- but I would probably enjoy it more with a Pusheen stitch marker.

I also finished another cross stitch- I will make a hanging pinkeep for my sewing room. (You would think, by that statement, that I live in some kind of mansion and have my own sewing room. I share an extra bedroom-cum-office space with FC. I don't have a dedicated room.) This is "Mice in The Sewing Room" by Country Stitches. The link is on the sidebar- they are primitive, but not Disney cute.

Hope everyone is enjoying some cool weather. I am so sad for those affected by Irma and this other nasty heading for Florida.

Fleecin'. Stay safe.