Sunday, December 27, 2015

Updated: Half-Way Through the Holidays

Update: It took me a freakin' hour to do that tubular cast on and then I was 4 stitches short (despite counting meticulously for the entire hour). Fuck that. To make up the 4 stitches I just increased a K1P1 in 2 random spots while knitting the first row (after the 2 row tubular cast on set up). It's not perfect but no one will notice. I wasn't spending another hour to - very possibly - end up with the same sort of problem again, particularly when twisted stitches (something I managed to avoid) are the likely outcome of this cast on. I can see myself using this method for hats and cuffs but I will do what I can to avoid a sweater hem in the future.

Just want to clarify that long tail cast on and long tail tubular cast on are 2 different things. I actually love long tail cast on - it's the one I use 90 per cent of the time. It's fast and it creates a nice edge (though not the world's stretchiest edge). But long tail tubular cast on is a 3 row experience yielding an exceedingly stretchy edge that's also invisible. It's as if the stitches waterfall away at the hem. (I'll take a pic and post it when I can bring myself to move.) I'm sure one gets better at it with practice but it's much more involved than most any other cast on I've ever tried. Can't say I'm looking forward to the long tail tubular cast off (instructions for which I haven't yet read!).


I don't know that sewing is going to happen this holiday. I've rarely been so low-energy and I'm having a bout of pain that I'm largely unfamiliar with (low back and knee). It's really limiting my desire to get active with the crafts. Despite yoga and other management techniques, the pain persists. I don't suppose I'm in a mind state to tell you about all the ways in which I've kicked pain's ass. The fact is that my condition seems to come and go. It's seriously aggravated by the dampness and cold of fall and winter - which is, frankly, a big issue (to understate things). High levels of cortisol don't do it any favours and inflammatory food and drink is a no-go. Too bad that the last 2 months have been unyieldingly stressful, full of celebratory events and constantly raining.

Scott and I have spent the last year on a semi-regular "research project". We look up crazy places that we intend to visit in the interests of verifying whether the place is retirement-worthy. Increasingly, my hope is to retire to a pied-a-terre Montreal for the summers (or stay in TO, but in a residence with a smaller footprint) and then to winter in a location that's warm. Yeah, it's not particularly novel but the places we're seeking out aren't standard. For example, ever been to Quito? It's a UNESCO site and the highest-altitude capital city in the world. It's also perfectly temperate (our first requirement) with blue skies. I'd love to retire half-time to Barcelona but I don't know if I'll be able to afford it (time will tell). I have 18 years to consider this so no rush. But when the pain hits, planning is a welcome distraction. There's nothing more invigorating than imagination.

(Sidebar: I do realize that it's insane to dream about retirement in foreign climes, at the age of 45, when I'm about to embark on a renovation of massive proportions - but whatcha gonna do? I won't retire till I have a full pension and enough funds to last me many years and my current life is in this absurdly-desirable city with half-time horrible, pain-exacerbating weather. I like to think I'm working all the angles.)

On the topic of couch-friendly, here's a look at my next knitting project (I'll show you photos of my last project - an uncertain pair of socks with cables - once blocked). I'm going to make this in that Sweet Georgia worsted yarn in "Riptide" aka a jewel-toned blue for which I visited Ewe Knit's sale yesterday, to stock up in the appropriate amounts (thanks Evie!!):

KNUS by Olga Buraya-Kefelian

It meets my latest criteria: sort of shawl/poncho-like with interesting, clean lines. It also mandates that I learn new things (another way to show pain the finger) - what better to take one's mind off everything than developing new skill?

But you know how I love to hate learning crazy new knitting things.

Lord - long-tail tubular cast on is not easy when you apply it to 172 stitches?! If I had a straight needle (rather than circulars) I could probably keep things in order but on a skinny cable, those stitches like to wind at will. And there are SO many of them to contend with. No mind, I've watched all the videos, read the posts, looked on the forums, downloaded the pdfs. I will prevail.

The other novel element of this design is the stitch pattern. It's a sort of fisherman's rib (not that I've ever done fisherman's rib) wherein you knit 3 rounds in K1P1 rib and then the 4th round is rib - but you work into purl stitches 2 rows below (i.e. on the 4th round you purl the stitches that correspond in round 2). It creates a nubby, waffley pattern and a fabric that's quite robust and firm. I imagine it's going to eat yarn for breakfast but, man, will it be warm.

Today's questions: How are you holding up this holiday season? Have you made KNUS? If yes, how did it go for you? Does long-tail tubular cast on aggravate the crap out of you? Any retirement plans you'd like to share? (I'm looking for great weather - dry, sunny, hot, culture, friendly people, beautiful architecture, awesome food and adequate health care. What? Retirees need good health care!) Let's talk.


  1. Oh god, long tail cast on is horrific with lots of stitches!

  2. My husband and I do this as well, and we have at least 21 years until retirement. We're thinking Central or South America, like Panama. In the short term, we take vacations to see if a place is livable as a posting. Yes for Tel Aviv, big fat no for London.

  3. Since I have so little experience with a long-tail cast on I usually cast on to a straight needle, the set the straight needle and the circular needle on a table and, with the circular pinned down, I slide the stitches from the straight needle onto the circular and carry on from there.

  4. My retirement dream is the Loire valley. Mellow stone, fabulous food, great wines. Bliss. That cast on sounds hateful.
    I'm awfully glad the voucher came in useful...that sweater is gorgeous. You're doing better than me. Our holidays have been positively slovenly with us all piled up in heaps watching movies and reading. I haven't touched the needles since before Christmas day!

  5. Quito is indeed interesting culturally, as is Merida, Mexico. Quito has the mountains (assuming you can take the altitude, not everyone can) , where Merida is flat as a table. I would be reluctant to invest much in property in either place given potential political instability, but a nice long lease......

    Would suggest visiting a private hospital to assess health care.

    And yes, small place summer place in Montreal, yum.

    Fun research either way!


  6. Sorry to hear that you are experiencing "new' aches and pains. They can be so much more irritating than the "old" pains that you are familiar with.
    Quito sounds wonderful. One of the adventures on my bucket list is a trip to Machu Picchu with my sister. That's only one South American county away from Ecuador!!
    A house remodel is no fun. Not at all.
    So, best wishes for the New Year. May all your warm dreams come true.