I’m not totally in the dark

Ahh, the long dark tea-time of the soul that is the Canadian winter.  I don’t mind the cold so much (that’s a lie. I loathe it with a passion that makes Romeo and Juliet look like stoic shleps) it’s the dark that’s so demoralizing.  Today is grey and dreary, and that combined with the short days means that right now, at 3:30 in the afternoon, it’s as though it was early evening outside, and the fact that my tiny Victorian house has about four windows isn’t helping much.  The streetlights come on about 4:10 these days, and it’s plenty dark by 4:30.  I wouldn’t mind so much (another lie) if it weren’t for how hard it makes it to get good knitting photos done. It’s always this time of year I think about getting a flash, because the alternative to these dodgy pictures is standing in the cold, and today it’s too windy for yarn, and well.  It’s all a long way around saying that this picture isn’t the best, which is too bad, because I think it’s going to be lovely.

indianfeathers 2014-12-03

(The astute among you will certainly notice that he only thing properly in focus in that shot is the cat hair, which I thought about disguising, or cleaning up, and then realized that there’s probably cat hair at your house, and pretending it isn’t here is a little mean.  I left it.)

This is the scarf/shawl thing that I mentioned yesterday, one of the things I’m under the impression I can knit like the wind between now and Christmas.  It was a present in the goodie bags at the last Strung Along retreat, and I maneuvered to get a blue one, because it’s perfect for someone I know.  It’s a mini skein of Skinny Ewe Lace from Holiday Yarns, and because the folks over there are a little bonkers, a mini skein was 400m, which is more than enough to do a small shawl/scarf thing.  Jennifer included the beads, and the pattern for Indian Feathers, and the whole setup was so charming that I couldn’t help but cast on.  (The cast on edge is more than 400 stitches, but at least it’s going to get shorter rather than longer.) My goal for this week was to get everything for Christmas cast on, but I think it’s going to take a trip to the yarn shop, so I’m a little behind.  I’m ignoring it. I’m sure it’s going to be fine.

Onto our new regular features?

What’s Luis hanging today?

Madness continues to reign, as Lou selects an ornament each day, with no regard for the numbers (makes sense, he’s too little to count) and today when I texted Carlos to find out which one it was, he said “El pato, otro de sus favoritos.”  Have I told you that Carlos speaks Spanish? (He’s from Spain) I’ve been learning over the last year, and one of the ways Carlos helps me practice is that generally, he texts me in Spanish.  Usually I can figure out what he’s saying – though today was an exception.  Pato is a duck in Spanish, and I got that – except there’s no ornament on the tree that’s a duck. I thought about it, then texted back “Un pajaro azul?” because dudes, there’s no duck, but there is a Blue Bird of Happiness.

bird2 2014-12-03

I knit that little guy just as the pattern indicated, except I didn’t stuff it very much because I wanted it pretty flat.  Also, my bird is a wee bit smaller than in the pattern, so I had trouble making a really tiny beak, and it did come out a little large, and maybe that’s why it looks like a duck.  Carlos did respond, and say that was the one, and that to Luis, it’s the duck. It’s his calandario now, so I’m not saying a word.

Gifts for Knitters, day three.

Stitch markers.  I know, you think you shouldn’t get these for your knitter because they already have lots, but stitch markers are ephemeral. You need a lot because they aren’t long for this world.  (Plus, you just need a lot. It’s like knitting jewelry.)  Right now, I think you should get this one for your knitter.  It’s a cell phone plug marker.  It goes into the headphone jack of your knitters phone or device, and then they’ve always got a marker with them.  (Again, trust me. This is a good idea.) While you’re at that shop? Get one of these ornaments and hang it on the tree. It’s too cool.  If  you’re still feeling festive after that, snag some holiday themed markers here,  or look around here. There’s stitch markers for every type. (Hint: These ones are tardises.)  If you’re the crafty type, you could even make some, and you’d pretty much win Christmas.  Good hunting.


57 thoughts on “I’m not totally in the dark

  1. I totally hear you on the gray, dark, gloomy days.
    I am ready to just not go anywhere ever again.
    Which is probably not reasonable, and I don’t care.

    I love the blue duck of happiness.

    And I have made Indian Feathers. It’s a quick, easy knit. Nice choice. 🙂

  2. I can’t imagine living any further north than I do right now (just outside Philadelphia). This persistent twilight of short days and lousy weather has me seriously considering booking a flight to anywhere south of here. Just 4 more weeks, and the days start getting longer. Ever so slightly longer, but it’s something to look forward to. I knit so that I don’t go crazy from the lack of sun.

    In other thoughts, your shawl is lovely, and sparkly and looks like fun to knit.

  3. I stared for as long as my preschooler would let me, but I couldn’t see the cat hair. And (referencing Twitter) Joe is amazing for preloading your beads for you. My husband is more likely to get me to do his finishing than to help me with finicky bits in my knitting.

  4. Loving the beads on that shawl. Your daily ornaments are giving my “digging in the stash” skills a workout. So far I’ve dug through eight boxes of yarn trying to find 3 mm double points (apparently they are all used in other projects so I may have to go buy some, or go down a needle size), three boxes to find yellow yarn, another three boxes to find felt, and now I’m going stash diving again for blue yarn. I should resolve to be better organized in the new year.

  5. Pingback: I’m not totally in the dark | Yarn Buyer

  6. Yay for Joe loading your beads – this shawl is going to be gorgeous, and cooperative. 😀

    I love the fact that Lou is simply choosing what he likes best as he goes!! I can’t wait to see how he arranges his tree.

    Also – excellent choices for stitch markers. They’re all gorgeous.

    Katie =^..^=

  7. Being a problem solver by nature, I thought I’d make sure you know about OttLites – full spectrum lighting that is the closest you can get to natural light. You can buy the lightbulbs but my local craft and fabric stores carry OttLite floor lamps, desk lamps, and even those extendible neck lamps. I have one by my sewing machine and another by my favorite knitting chair. Couldn’t live without them!
    p.s. – I’m in love with your tiny calendar thingies! Thanks for the idea.

  8. Seconding the Ott lights (often on sale or crazy reduction at Michaels) but would like to also suggest that you get a SAD light. SAD is Seasonal Affective Disorder and even if you don’t actually have the disorder, the benefits of sitting in front of this magical little light for a paltry 20 minutes every morning are quite amazing.
    I actually had my doctor prescribe mine and my insurance paid me back a portion. They’re reasonably priced at Costco either way as they’ve become common.
    I think most Canadians could benefit from light therapy this time of year. Even on the sunny days the days are just too short.

  9. Oh my – my blog post today is about poor light and crappy pictures too!! Not surprising, I’m only 45 minutes south of you, in Hamilton! I feel you pain!

    I’ve knit Indian Feathers – and yes – you can totally knit one like the wind. It almost seems to knit itself actually!

  10. In my house, it’s dog hair. Especially right now, as the beast is shedding like a cheap rug. Yes, the darkness is depressing. I guess we have to be thankful we’re not in a Scandinavian country, as a friend from Sweden has told me winter there is very long, and very dark. Your scarf/shawl thing is just the right colour for early December. Blue reminds us that spring will come…blue robin’s eggs, blue sky…

  11. Those Christmas Pudding stitch markers are just killing me for some reason. So darn cute and seasonally appropriate!

    And let me add to all the Ott light recommendations. I spend most of my day under mine this time of year because it’s pretty dark here too. Helps with knitting (especially when the project is black lace socks) and the whole SAD thing. Can’t beat that!

  12. I love Holiday Yarns! That shawl is going to be beautiful, I’m sure.

    Also, yes, more stitch markers. All the stitch markers. Blasted things keep disappearing. I blame the cats.

  13. I couldn’t live without my ott light. That being said, I think you should consider being a snowbird and coming down to Tucson, AZ for a winter visit. We have tons of sunshine in the winter. I don’t think I could live further north than this and this isn’t very far north. Much further south and I’d be in Mexico. lol Absolutely love the shawl–the color is totally delicious.

  14. Strongly second the use of full spectrum light for this time of year. I have one at my work desk. 20 minutes a day does wonders.. but I could use a big slug of sunshine, I’m in New England, Can’t imagine being any further north.. thanks for the knitters gift ideas…:)

  15. The scarf/shawl thing already looks great, even scrunched up on the needle. Can’t wait to see it in finished form. (As a cat owner, you should know that cat hair is the all-purpose seasoning for everything. Wall paint, cooking, knitting — everything.)

    I’ve never seen a blue duck, but I once knew a little white duck who was quite the character. She had an opinion on anything and everything, and she wasn’t shy about sharing it.

  16. PS: Next time you cross paths with Franklin Habit, ask him for advice on indoor lighting for photographing knitting projects. I’m sure he’ll have some ideas to share.

  17. Him: What do you want for Christmas?
    Me: Just take me to a movie (we have a toddler).
    Him: No.
    Me: No?!?
    Him: No, you need something you can unwrap.
    Me: OK, then Yarn Harlot has ideas on her blog for non-knitters who love knitters.
    Him: Sigh, so there’ll be 20 things and I won’t know what to get.
    Me: No, there’s just one per day. Check it every day and when you see something you like, you’re done.
    Him: No, because what I like isn’t necessarily what YOU would like.
    Me: (I would like to go to a movie) Sooo, you want me to let you know when I like something? Should I just buy it?
    Him: No, no, no. OK, what’s the address.
    Me: (texting him the address)
    Him: What? A text? I need an email, I can’t do anything with a text.
    Me: (yarnharlot.ca is so long and difficult) I’m really looking forward to what I might get.

  18. Everything I was going to say about your lovely shawl disappeared the instant I spotted the cellphone plug stitch markers!
    “Hello family members whom might stumble across a conviently placed iPad,”. The cell phone plug stitch markers are a Must have!” Trust me they are cool.

  19. It was dark and dreary here in Sedona Arizona today… Loving your updates on what Luis selects each day, and letting hm call the shots!

  20. I love love love the advent calendar. I also love that you are learning Spanish. My husband is also Spanish and we are raising our son bilingual too. And…if I may…it’s a calendario. Spelled it wrong up there. Pero aún así aplaudo tus esfuerzos. 🙂

  21. The Indian Feather scarf/shawl pattern is beautiful. I have a skein of Arctic Dreams qiviut/cashmere/silk think it would work beautifully in this pattern. What do you think? Love following you on IG & reading your blog.

  22. That bird is the cutest thing ever — today! The truck was cutest yesterday. Etc. 🙂
    That scarf thing – gorgeous colors. Love.

  23. Sometimes I think I might be the only person in the world who really does like winter (I live a little bit further south, but not much- just on the other side of the border). I’ve always liked the cold, if not the heating bills and I truly don’t mind the deep blue twilight that seems to take up half the day. I never feel more comfortable and content than I do on winter evenings on the couch, swaddled in knits, with a sweater on the needles, a glass of red wine on the coffee table, and a movie on the TV. None of it is half as pleasurable any other time of year.

    I used to have a bit of trouble with SAD, but then I got a dog. Wait, wait! I know you’re not a fan of the canine camp, but the dog himself isn’t integral to the transformation, so hear me out. What the dog did for ME was force me to get up at dawn (in the winter, this isn’t too heroic) and walk him, outside, for a solid hour or more. Afternoons meant yet more outside time. Only truly, truly horrific weather keeps us inside. This changed my view of winter for the better because:
    1. I invested in truly functional cold weather outerwear so that I am almost NEVER actually cold anymore. Plus YakTraks or similar traction aids-it’s like four-wheel-drive for your feet and takes a lot of the fear out of winter walking.
    2. The time spent in daylight and fresh air getting some gentle exercise (and I do think that early morning is best) cleared up the lion’s share of my SAD symptoms- I sleep better and feel better than I ever did when I was just hitting the gym and hiding indoors. This does a really great job combating that snowed-in, trapped feeling that winter often brings, too.
    3. Ok, I lied. The dog is integral to this part- but he LOVES winter. Loves the cold, loves the snow, truly comes alive when the mercury drops below freezing. Dog or cat or human, enthusiasm is catching and it’s hard to hate something that makes someone you love so happy.

    So even if I’m the only one, YAY for winter!

  24. Also, I freaking LOVE everything having to do with that advent calender, and despite not realizing that such a feeling was even possible, I love it even MORE having seen it in the hands of little Luis. BRAVA!

  25. You need a bead spinner! Check out the YouTube videos and ask for one for Xmas! And the Advent calendar is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!

  26. Ah, cats and knitting. I just brought home two new kittens last night. They hid under the bed immediately, but came out at night while I was asleep. One of their first targets? My knitting bag!

  27. I can’t thank you enough for posting the link to the blue bird of happiness. I know exactly who to knit this for – a dear friend who is a fan of the band They Might Be Giants. This is one of the songs that put them on the map: “Birdhouse in Your Soul”. The chorus has this line: “Blue canary in outlet by the light switch/who watches over you”. So a wee blue bird is just the thing to knit up and put in her Christmas package. Thanks for the inspiration! 🙂

      • A stitch/row counter app with the capability of keeping track of the cable pattern and the spacing for the buttonholes at the same time! Working on a wee sweater right now and I have to count rows to keep track of increases, and a separate section on my paper to count the rows between cable crossing and also rows between buttonholes – neither of which are using the same count!

  28. I can totally relate to Luis thinking that the Blue Bird of Happiness is a duck. I have had since I was little an advent calendar where each day you move a little mouse into the next day’s pocket. For many years, I insisted that it was a bunny, and would argue with my mom when she would call it a mouse…and it’s only recently that I’ve come to realize that it is, in fact, a mouse (you know, like from “Twas the Night Before Christmas” and nothing was stirring, not even a mouse).

  29. On Ravelry I note you have Cascade RUSTIC 01. Any chance you’d consider selling it to me? I’m midway through a long sweater and need at least 2 more skeins

    Thanks for considering!

  30. Last Christmas my husband made me Doctor Who stitch markers with Shinky Dinks! So amazing. So it can be done 🙂 I love that Lois thinks the Blue Bird is a pato. He’s just too cute. Also, when I saw that shawl in the works, I immediately said to myself, “Oh! I could do something similar for my Elsa (Frozen) obsessed daughter!” She would LOVE a cape made like that. Hmmm. Something to think about!

  31. I LOVE the advent calendar! What a great idea and one he’ll cherish for years!
    Have you heard of or tried the duolingo.com website for learning Spanish (and other languages)? It’s a FREE, immersion type of learning, you can access from computers, tablets, ipads, smartphones, etc. I’m on day 75 learning Spanish and Italian and highly recommend it (no affiliation – just thought I’d mention it.)

  32. Stephanie, I’m so excited by your excuse for casting on a bunch of stuff right now with the idea of actually knitting them by Christmas. You usually do get yours knitted; I usually don’t. But that doesn’t mean I can’t still use your excuse for casting on more things. Let’s see, the Cookie A. sock that just came out, a cowl or hat with the gorgeous Verdant Gryphon Zaftig sitting over there, Ann Weaver’s Knockout Round …

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