Wednesday, July 23, 2014

June?

Shhh.  Listen.  Do you hear that?  Yep.  Crickets.  And the rustling of calendar pages as June and most of July whizzed right past my ears.  I HAVE been busy, just not busy blogging. 

So what have I been doing?  Aside from NOT biking, camping and canoeing?  Well, there has been a fair bit of knitting.  I will now show off some of the finished items:

This is Audrey modelling the shawl I knit for her.  The yarn was a mystery yarn from her stash.  I believe it was a rayon slub yarn.   In any event, Audrey found this yarn and had a vision of how she wanted it to look, but feared her skills were not up to the task.  She asked me ... Told me to select a pattern, and gave me a price.  I went home and pulled out my favourite shawl book ...


I showed Audrey the two possibilities, both of which she approved.  I started knitting.  The Victoria Shawl, found on page 154.   I thoroughly enjoyed the knitting of this little beauty.  The centre panel design is regular, easily memorized, and calming.  and when I had completed all five and a half feet of it, the knitted on border commenced.  It, too, was enjoyable and relaxing.  I was, and still am, totally enchanted. 


Look at how beautifully the border turns the corner!  You would never know that the centre panel had a 90-degree corner right there.   In the interest of truth in blogging, I will say that I used a 4.5mm Addi lace needle but I cannot tell for certain how much yarn.  The shawl has been delivered to its recipient, and I neglected to weigh the yarn when I received it.  I can say that I spent many week nights and mornings in June working on it though.

It is not often that I enjoy a project enough to knit it twice, especially a very large project like this one.  However, the Victoria Shawl just might be the exception.  What is holding me back?  The abundance of beautiful lace projects in the book.   I want to knit one of each of them.  The charts are well done, the explanations are clear and concise.   And the finished objects?  Even better than the pictures on the book!

I have more finished objects to show ... Now to decide which one to discuss next.  

How about this little gem?
This pattern is the Baby Sophisticate by Linden Down, knit in Estelle Super Alpaca Handpaint and bordered with Hayfield Chunky With Wool.  The buttons?  Yes, they do have a treble clef on them.  This sweater is intended for my grandson, and his papa is a musician.  I used three skeins of the alpaca and I skein of the Hayfield, with enough leftovers to make a hat.  Possibly even some mittens if the kids desire them.  They kind of live in the South, though, so perhaps mittens are overkill.  In any event I used a 5.0mm needle, since the pattern is written for a worsted weight yarn.  

I can't say enough good about this pattern.  It is knit from the top down so minimal sewing in the finishing department.  The shawl collar and button bands are worked in one piece by picking up stitches along the fronts and back neck.   Did I mention all in one piece?  Minimal sewing?  I thought so.  The pattern comes in larger sizes as well, and worth the price of the pattern.

OK.  Four pictures is enough.  I will save some finished projects for next week.

And what am I working on right now?  In order of their length in the WIP:

The Building Blocks Afghan by Michele Hinter.  I am sewing the squares together, so expect this puppy to be done soon, soon, soon!

The Edwardian Cardigan.  I am working the second front shoulder, leaving the sleeves and button bands.  There are, I kid you not, a million ends to be sewn in.  I am contemplating working a doubled button band just to allow me to run the ends into the ensuing pocket.   I am afraid I will go blind running them under.    And the sleeves.  Yeah.  Nine colours in two row stripes.  I CAN carry the yarns up the side, just to prevent there being so many ends.  Nine active balls of yarn though.  I expect you can see the dilemma here.

Malabrigo Socks.  These little beauties were supposed to be for the 2015 N.E.W. Calendar, but have fought me valiantly every step of the way.  I am not so sure just where these guys are headed, to be honest.

Chunky-weight Vest in hand-dyed wool.  As feared, I ran short of wool for the big cowl collar.  I have a similarly-coloured ball of Patons Classic, which will be used for the seaming.  I think I will use it for the balance of the cowl as well, but have yet to decide if it will be the bottom  (attached to the vest neck edge) which would be visible at the front, or the top edge, which would fold down and be visible in the back, but not the front.  Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. 

And now it is time to head off to work at the shop.  Ta-ta. 

Monday, May 05, 2014

In anticipation of Mother's Day



Most folks have coffee cups that match their plateware.  We do too, but those cups are either stored elsewhere, or have migrated to the back of the shelf.  Instead, I reach into the cupboard and see a dozen mugs that have been gifted to me or us by friends or family.  Every time I pick up a coffee mug, I look at it and smile, and thank the heavens for that person's presence in my life and send wishes and hopes for a good life to them. Many of these people live far away, and I do so wish we all lived closer together. 

There are three mugs that were gifted to me, and I treasure them.  If given a choice, these are the ones I use. 
My eldest son gave me the mug on the left; my second son the middle, and my daughter the one on the right.  They are the best things I have done in my life, and I love them dearly.   I do hope they know just how very much they are loved.

Ahem.  that was mushy and I will now wipe my eyes and in general clean up.  Excuse me while I do so.



There has been knitting over the past six weeks.  One finished object that I will not show.  It grew in the dryer, and I am pondering whether it needs to be re-knit.   Other knitting includes the Edwardian Cardigan

I have one front completed and am halfway thru the armhole on the back.   This leaves me the left front, two sleeves and at least one million tails to weave in.   I am very seriously contemplating working the button bands on the knitting machine so that I can make the band doubled, braid the tails together and then bury them into the band.   Anyone have a compelling argument why I shouldn't do so?   The yarns I am using are Cascade Heritage (x2), Misti Handpaint Sock (x3), Estelle Sock It To Me, Never Enough Wool, Lang and Fame Trends.  Yes, nine colours of sock yarn.   It is possible I need my head examined; however, I expect the finished cardigan will totally be worth it.

I am also working a lace shawl from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace Today.  
This is a mystery yarn given to me by the person who asked for said knitting.  I got to choose the pattern of my choice, so I selected "The Victoria Shawl" on page 153.   It is a fun and easy knit and I am currently two-thirds thru the body of the shawl.  

In fact, the shawl is easy enough that I have been watching "Sherlock" and/or listening to podcasts while knitting.  I am particularly fond of Curious Handmade and Stash and Burn.  Both generally offer a smile, a laugh, and even helpful ideas for techniques or patterns.  Check them out if you have some spare time.   You just might enjoy them!

Our knitting community at the store has thrown down a challenge for themselves.   If they complete 2,500 finished objects by midnight August 31, Barb and I will appear in a bathtub of yarn on the front of our 2015 N.E.W. Calendar.  I see today they have upped the ante by declaring if they manage to exceed the goal, we have to appear on the back cover as well.   We are currently at 1,064 or thereabouts on the tally board.  AND my definition of "community" includes folks who drop by the store or blog ... Which means that folks like my friends Christy and Phyllis, and my niece Megan also get to assist in the tally. Keep 'em coming, folks.  Barb and I are ecstatic at the numbers, impressed by the depth and breadth of the projects, and terrified.  

You know, if knitters ruled the world, I bet there wouldn't be poverty, global climate change or wars, AND there'd be a cure for cancer. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

So many yarns, so little time.

I have been knitting.  Some might call it obsessively.  but the wools are so gorgeous.  How can I stop? I want to see the next combination!    What has me enthralled?    The Edwardian Cardigan.   My version thus far:
I have completed the second tier of blocks.  I am using three colors of Misti Alpaca, two skeins of Cascade Heritage, and one each of Estelle Sock It To Me, Marks & Katten Fame Trends and our own Never Enough Wool.    This project had been in the offing since before Christmas, but I hadn't been totally happy with my original colour choices.   Having swapped out three of the original colours for what you see above, I am totally in love.   Aside from being fiddley, this is a straight forward entrelac knit.  It's the three colours in each section that make it so interesting. 

What else have I been doing?   The Elsebeth Lavold Ylva is completed and drying after it's bath.  I used four skeins of Silky Wool and a 4.0m needle.  Can't wait for some warmer weather!    

As an aside, can you believe this weather?  I don't know about you, but I am over winter.   Give me some sunshine, fresh air and warm breezes.  Please.

I am working on a pair of mystery projects, destined for the 2015 N.E.W. Calendar.   Here is a peek at the second project:
I'm such a tease, aren't I?

Finally, the Building Blocks afghan.   I have completed six squares, with the seventh class and square scheduled for the second Sunday in April. 
I am pleased that my class is enjoying the project and are mostly right with me.   It is such pleasure to teach, especially with willing and happy students.  The afghans are going to be marvellous.

Not much else happening in my life right now.  Just waiting for the ice to go out from the lake, for biking season, scheduling my next visit with family in Michigan and down south, and knitting.  











Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Bandwagon

Wow.  It is far too easy to fall off the posting bandwagon.   I did so well, and then there were eight days between posts.  Nine, ten.  And then there were 14 days.  Or close enough.  I am not going back to count.  Just going to clamber back up and try again.  

Since our last visit, I finished up the test socks.  There are from Katia Cotton Stretch, knit on a 2.75m needle.  I quite like the feel of the fabric, as did the ladies.    
We have twelve colours ordered, just in time for summer socks.  The pattern book (which we did not order) shows a bikini as well as a little pair of shorts.  Not so sure about the bikini, but the shorts have possibilities.  In my spare time, of course.   

I also finished up the Sugar Grove Shawl, from the newest KnitScene.  
I used a 4.0m needle and five skeins of Sirdar Flirt.  I was none too sure about this design originally, and ended up frogging and starting over.  The key is to cast on loosely over doubled needles.   Then the first row basically triples the stitch count, followed by a multitude of short rows.  This gives the shawl a really delightful curved upper edge, which means it will stay put on your shoulders.  I like!

I am also working on a couple of mystery projects destined for next year's calendar.  I have photos, but one is only a ball of yarn at this point.  The second one is, as promised, a pair of socks.  Want to see?
Not much to look at yet, but the design is improving.  I'm using some Malabrigo sock yarn! purchased for me by my friend, Morag, and 2.75m needles.  Just in case you were wondering. 

The Building Blocks Afghan continues apace.  Sunday we will have our sixth class meeting, which means we are halfway through the project.  Where does the time go?
The final project on needles is the Elsebeth Lavold Ylva top, using her suggested wool, Silky Wool.  I love this wool because it knits up so light and wearable. 
Can you see where I am?  Yes, that' s right.  I'm casting off!   Tonight this will get a wee bath and then to dry.  Success!    And this means that my 4.0m needles are (temporarily) empty.    Edwardian Cardi -- I'm coming for you next!   Maybe my group of intrepid knitters will have the first finished projects on Ravelry!












Thursday, February 27, 2014

Distractions

There has not been as much knitting as I'd like.  When I came home from my visit to my son, Doug really wanted to go skiing.  So did I, to be honest.   I ignored the ice underneath the wee bit of snow on the sidewalk, and off we went.  

The trail had ice too, but it was relatively flat.  I can ski on flat.  Then there was a little hill, but I can handle a little hill. After all, there are big hills in our regular route.  Except that this time the track was icy and fast.  Down I went, landing awkwardly on the ski pole and my hand.  I noticed right away that there was a significant loss of grip strength ...  Three more falls and I was done.  The first was the hardest, and I managed to sprain the thumb on my right hand.  Not a problem since I am left-handed.  I can assure you that the world is right-handed, and being left-handed helps only marginally right now.

While I CAN knit, a little at a time, there just hasn't been much progress.  Instead, let me dazzle you with a photo essay:


"No thanks, Mom.  I'll pass."


"Well, perhaps a little taste."


"Wait--is that the Olympics?"


 "Grandma has a camera,"


"Should I smile?"


Ok.  I'll smile, since Grandma is only here for a short while.



"Mom, can I stop smiling now?"






Thursday, February 20, 2014

Not much knitting

So there isn't a lot of knitting going on in my life right now.   Why?

Because I can not resist the smile!  Baby T is rolling over now, grabbing his toes, playing with his toys.  And he popped a new tooth through this week. 

I have a plain pair of socks with me, and am almost at the toes.  Then I am going to start an experimental pair of socks.  Provided Baby T doesn't smile at me, of course. 

I did manage to score a copy of Interweave Knits Harry Potter Designs though, from a nice little shop called Yarn Cloud.   It is a smallish shop, almost as large as N.E.W., and quite friendly.  There was a class in progress, but it wasn't intimidating to me to walk in.  My son was a bit reticent, but we were welcomed warmly.  Perhaps it was because we had Baby T with us ... Anyway, the shop was quite nice, with some of the same yarns we carry, and some others as well.  I managed to resist the siren call of yarn, and escaped with only the magazine in my bag.  It is definitely worth a return visit on my next trip.  

OnLy three more sleeps until I return home.  Sigh.  Already I'm trying to plan a next visit.  I sure hope the kids don't get tired of seeing me!




Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Another week, another ski

Despite feeling overly busy, I did manage another ski outing yesterday.  It was cold, but I exert a lot of energy when I ski.  I am getting better at gauging the wax on my skis, and getting a better feel for what is "right" when I ski.   I might have to redefine what I consider to be a fall -- currently it is when my bum hits the ground, or all hands and knees.  The last three skis have managed to be fall-free under those definitions.  Even changing the definition to one knee touching, all these outings have resulted in only one fall each.  Things are improving!

In knitting news, there has been improvement as well.   My chunky vest is currently drying after it's vinegar bath.

I am hopeful that the excess dye has rinsed out now.  The first blotting towel turned a nice shade of sky blue.   Turns put that I am a wee bit short of wool to finish the collar.  It was supposed to be eight inches tall, but I only managed five before running out of wool.  I think I am going to pull some similarly coloured wool from my stash and do the underside of the collar in it. The colour is close enough that even if it shows, the change in wool won't be glaringly obvious. 

February's class at the shop is socks.  I worked diligently on my current project ...
Done!    Another gift to be scratched off my list!   

And the afghan project continues apace.  Remember two weeks ago when I mentioned --  you are right, I complained --about the bobbles?   I listened to Barb talk a student through a bobble and realized that the problem was mine alone.   I pulled my square out to look at, and Barb instantly saw my problem.   I not-so-graciously frogged back to the first bobble row and redid it.   It looks much better now. 
I have to get the next square underway so that Barb will have it to teach the next class.  Why am I not teaching it?   Because I will be visiting my grandson!    Hurray!

With the absence of both the vest and socks in my knitting bag, I needed a traveling project.  Doug has been muttering about his need for new mittens, and even threatened to take up knitting himself to rectify that shortage.   To protect my stash, I cast on a mitten project.   
This is a double-knit mitten using an Aran weight wool on a 4.0mm needle.  It looks huge, and I have wrapped it around his hand several times to be certain it fits.   This wool was spun by Briggs and Little, down east, and I hope that it retains the B&L reputation for durability.  

The Elsebeth Lavold vest has not really progressed.   Truth in advertising requires me to confess that I have not even touched it.  Something about the idea of a sleeveless shell in the middle of a cold winter just doesn't feel right, you know?   It might become the travel knitting next week, but my son's family is experiencing a fair bit of winter themselves.   Who knows, eh?