Monday, January 14, 2019

Week 2 -- Still on Track!

Still making a blog entry from the I-Pad, because the computer and I were having words.  Well, not so much words as me growling at the computer, and it just sitting there like it had done nothing wrong.  The thing is that the pictures are here on the tablet, but typing in text and making links that actually work is so much easier with a keyboard and mouse.  Not to mention the display issues I have with the tablet.

In any event, I have been knitting.  I am test knitting with a yarn that we may be bringing in to the store for spring.  It is a bamboo and acrylic blend in a DK weight.  The pattern is Newsom, and I am using a 3.25mm needle.  The back is done to the armholes, and sleeves are the next step.  I was tickled to find not one, but TWO additional needles of the right size in my needle collection.  This means I can charge ahead without needing stitch holders, etc. And for the record, I have not even consumed one full ball of yarn yet!  Definitely a contender yarn.


We are teaching a class in knitting gloves at the store.  Since it is officially my class to lead, I started a pair of gloves to accompany the class and demonstrate techniques.  I am using KFI Painted Sky and 3.75 and 4.0mm needles, as specified in the pattern.  

Writing patterns  is hard work, as we discovered when we did the calendar at the store.  So I probably should cut Patons some slack, but I did. Ot find their pattern to be easily followed.  The first time through I threw up my hands and purposefully made a change so that I could understand what was happening.  The second time through with a customer, we did the same thing.  The third time through with another customer, the directions became clear.  The clouds parted, sunshine poured down, angels sang.  Well, not quite, but my current gloves will have a definite right AND left, as the pattern writer envisioned!  Yay, me.

Several months ago, I was visiting my grandson.  He asked me why I always knit.  The answer I gave was that I liked to knit for the people I love.  Fair enough, but it felt incomplete.  Listening to a 
podcast by PrairiePiper (see, this is where the link would be, but you can look her up on Ravelry), and she made the connection for me.  Years from now, when the grandson looks at pictures of his youth, he will see sweaters and things that I knit for him, and KNOW that I love(d) him.

So when he gave me a sweater request — zipper, hood, pockets AND colours of the rainbow — what could I do?  You guessed it.  The yarn is Patons Canadiana and the pattern is modified from Cabin Fever Hoodies and Pullovers.  Cabin Fever wrote the pattern to be a henley-style pullover.  I simply did not join in the round, and did some math to get the pockets knit.

My son says he wore the sweater out to a coffee shop and a birthday party, where there were many compliments received.  The grandson was telling everyone that his Mama Carol had made the sweater, and that she makes the best sweaters.  Definitely worth the angst of knitting, modifying, and sweating over whether zipper insertion could be acquired.  (I took the sweater around the corner to an alterations place and had the zipper inserted.  They did a magnificent job.)

Finally, I show you the progress on my Mystery Sock.  This is the announcement of the February theme, which is NOT toe-up, nor blue.  I am using Manos del Uruguay Alegria, and it is a wonderful yarn with which to knit.
The sock is coming along nicely, although I must admit it was my second choice of a sock.  The first just didn't work, and rather than continue fighting I switched patterns. 

You may have noticed that there are now links.  The computer and I have made friendly and everything seems to be coming together.  Getting used to blogging again is a challenge, but one I can and will conquer.  In the meantime, I have pork chops (with peaches, tomato sauce and spices) simmering in the slow cooker.  It smells divine, and I can only hope it will taste as good as it smells! 

Off to do some more knitting!

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Resolution — Week 1 is good

Not that I am a big fan of New Year Resolutions, but I did make one.  I promised myself I would do a blog post once a week, just to document my life.  So to speak.

This past week, I went ice skating.  Conditions on the lake were good overall, and our neighbour had a rink cleared.  Off we went, along with the buddies my grandson selected for Doug and I.  Here they are, having an ice skating adventure!
A good time was had over all, but I did manage a belly flop onto the ice.  Bruised my knees and
elbows, but not too badly.  What really hurt is the ribs.  I did not go to the doctor or emergency room
...  they don’t do much for bruises or even cracked ribs.  They do hurt, a week later.  A heated rice bag has become my new bedtime routine.  The doctor says “Use it or lose it — stay active.”  I am pretty certain she did not mean to include the belly flop!

I have been busy knitting.  My ribbed socks for the 2019 Sock Challenge are progressing well.  i have one sock done and am close to the heel flap on the second.  The wool is Funny Feet from James C. Brett, and is new to the shop.  I am really enjoying this wool, and I think it will do very well for us. 

I also knit up a sample for the shop, using Diamond Luxury Baby Alpaca Sport.  The pattern is Winter Butterfly Cowl by Gretchen Ronnevik.  I followed the pattern, except I ended at the halfway point of the fourth pattern repeat.  I was worried about running out of yarn, and I wanted to have a couple of rows of stockinette before the ribbing.  All in all, I am pleased with this project as well. 

Remember those little mittens from last week?  The yarn seemed to be never-ending in a good way.  I finished a hat 

AND another pair of mittens for an adult.  

I have not gotten as far as finishing the swatches for the two projects I mentioned last week.  why?  I get to select the theme for February for the Sock Challenge.  So many options, so little time.  I only get to pick one theme after all.  

Today has been my day off, and I have a beef stew simmering away in the slow cooker.  It smells divine, if you are a carnivore.  I think I will make some muffins to go with it.  Sounds like a perfect meal for a snowy, freezing rain kind of evening, wouldn’t you say?

For the record, this post has been worked using an I-Pad.  Not a pleasant experience, in the slightest.  

Monday, December 31, 2018

Whew.  It is more than a little dusty in here.   So let’s select a new theme (hopefully done!) and get back to blogging.

Since my last blog post years ago, life has (obviously) continued.  I will not bore you with details.  let’s just make a note that life has been interesting in a Chinese sort of way.

In the lapse of blogging, I have discovered a few things.  This blog serves the purpose of documenting my cross-border trips.  This is necessary for the completion of the renewal of my permanent resident card as well as the impending citizenship application.  After almost 19 years, it feels like it is definitely time.

The second purpose of the blog?  It helps me remember what I have kmit, and for whom.  While packing up my Christmas gifts, I discovered one project that I really did NOT recall knitting.  I did, because I used the remainders to create a second pair of socks.  I had been keeping a list of completed projects, but it just isn’t the same without pictures.

So, here we go!

On needles at the moment is a beautiful shawl, designed by Anna Dalvi and contained in her book Mystic Shawls.  The wool is AbiGood, a baby alpaca hand-paint from Scotsburn, Nova Scotia.  This is a Mother’s Day gift from my daughter, who has EXCELLENT taste!  Admittedly, this is not a good picture, and there is a long way to go, but I AM loving both the wool and the design.

I have decided that I will endeavor to use up my half-skein leftovers instead of tossing them into the corner.  To that end, I have finished off some baby hats and almost one pair of mittens.  The hats are Louisa Harding Amitola Grande, and I must say I love this wool. It is a wool/silk blend, and is delightful to work with.  The mittens are Cascade Eco Plus Peruvian Tones, another really super nice wool.  
I used the Maine Baby Hatpattern for the hats, and it is a gem.  Well-written and easy to follow.  The mittens used the World’s Simplest Mittens from Tin Can Knits, and it is also a great pattern. 

Soon I will be knitting Newsome by Bristol Ivey using Innocence from James Brett.  It is still in the swatching stage, as is Ebba by Drops Designs. 

And, as usual, I have a pair of socks going. 

Whew.  That was a lot.  Before I go, however, I need to show you what happened on Christmas Day—

Monday, July 20, 2015

July already!

Wow, has it been a long time.  Life has been incredibly busy, and to be honest, I have been battling another round of depression and health issues.  The health issues turned out to be a tempest in a teapot, thanks to a careless radiologist reading the ultrasound of my neck two years ago.  Between waiting for another ultrasound, followed by radioactive testing-- with its requirement to be off my thyroid meds, and then awaiting the appointment with my endocrinologist, it has been a rather trying time.  Thank heavens everything turned out just fine in the thyroid end of things!   I have, however, been knitting, and I will endeavour to show my efforts over the coming weeks. 

My most recent finished objects are shown below--
These are the Fishtail Hat and Fingerless Mitts designed by Gail Bable and published in the 2008 Pattern A Day knitting calendar.  I used James Brett Aran With Wool, sadly discontinued now, perhaps one-fourth of the ball, and 4.5mm needles.  These are very quick projects and the directions are quite clear.  The only modification I might make is that the fishtail pattern could be centred on the top of the hand and garter stitch for the palm of the hand, which would then require a left and right hand direction.  I understand why this was not done, and they are fine.  Really.  It is just that sometimes we want to tweak patterns.  

Having completed these, I wound the rest of the yarn into a ball and will be donating to charity via the store.  I am determined that once a yarn is used in a project, any leftovers must move on.  I have far too many partial skeins around and I would like to simplify my stash.  Sort of.  Kind of.  Arggh.  

I had an empty project bag, and we have declared Saturday's to be Start Something New days at the store.  Accordingly, I pulled out this little sweetie:
On the left is the camisole I have started in Dye-Version stretch bamboo, as specified in the pattern.  Barb is using Katia Stretch Cotton in hers, so we will get a great comparison of the yarns.  

A project completed recently (See?  Here is my attempt to catch up!) is this nice little cowl.  It is worked in Berroco Folio, colour 4505.  Folio is a 65/35 superfine alpaca and rayon blend, rated as a double-knit weight by Berroco.   I used approximately 1.5 skeins of yarn, knitting on the specified 4.5mm needles.  This blocked out really nicely, the knitting was fun, and I wore this one day last week at the store because I was cold.  I rate this project as a 5/5 and a complete success.

We are trying to decide whether to bring this yarn into the store.  Berroco yarns are priced in U.S. Dollars, and the exchange rate is so low.  The suggested retail price from Berroco allows for a 90-cent dollar, not a 70-cent dollar, so we have mixed feelings.  The yarn claims to be DK weight, but I am not really sure that is accurate.  I have another Folio project on needles so will have more opinions later. 

In other news, my friend Christi from Timmins popped by the store.  We both bemoaned our lack of blogging efforts and promised each other we would try harder to maintain the blog.  Here is my end of the promise!  and it feels good to be back. 

Happy knitting!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


Despite the absence of posts, there has been a lot of knitting around here.  We are still trying to recover from the Very Bad Things that started last August, and I do find solace in my knitting.

Today's blog post features a shawl that I absolutely fell in love with, and decided that I must knit.  it is called "In the Pink" and was a free Ravelry download.  It is knit in sections, the first being the centre fractal portion. 
Stitch markers are your friends, because they become extremely important a bit later.   The live stitches, with stitch markers, are left on a holder, or better yet, a spare needle. 

Next, you knit the "wings," both left and right.  Again. These stitches are left on holders, or spare needles.  Yes, you are up to 3 needles!
The you start the joining process.  Stitches are knit together from the wing and the centre, one at a time.  Stitches are grafted from the wing and the centre portion.  Then you work the filling in lace.  Repeat for the second side, and you have most of the work done.  

Then the border is knit on, and joined at the end of every other row.  A bit repetitive, but oh-so-worth it.  At the end, you have an absolutely beautiful shawl.
The shape of the shawl means that it will stay on your shoulders easily, and it can wrap right around you and keep you all snuggled and warm. 

I used one strand of FdC Centolavaggi and one strand of Misti HandPaint Lace (colours 416 and I have lost the ball band for the Misti, darnitall!) and a 3.75mm needle.  I ended  up on a set of Hiya Hiya sharps, and they were truly marvelous.  If I didn't already have a full set of Addis and Addi Interchangeable, I could see myself switching over to the Hiya Hiyas.

As much as I love this shawl, I have a friend who needs a beautiful, warm hug.  I am wrapping it up and gifting it to her this week. 

I will endeavour to be back soon to tell you about all my other finished works. 

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Trying again, another new year

Last year, I resolved to do better about keeping the blog updated.  I did pretty well, slacked off, started up again.  And then in mid-August, some Very Bad Things happened in my life.  They rocked my world big time.  I stopped eating, lost 15 pounds.  For the record. I don't recommend this weight loss plan.  it wreaks havoc on your system.  I eventually restarted the anti-depressant medications, despite the cost.  Life began returning to the new normal.  I am not going to detail the Very Bad Things, especially since we are still trying to process through them.  Right now, the upshot is that I am working in a law office in The City one day a week, with some extra hours gained from e-mailed work, and the remaining days at the shop.  

I have been knitting still.  We published a calendar at the store for 2015 with twelve original patterns, none of them scarves.  For the record, writing patterns is HARD.  What seems perfectly clear in my head often isn't to other people.  Quite the learnng curve, to be certain. 

Christmas was spent visiting my son, daughter-in-law and grandson.  It was a very much needed holiday away.  We did a very minimal gift-giving regimen this year, which also greatly reduced the holiday stresses.  I did, however, knit socks for the family.  

It really was a great visit.  I was able to spend one-on-one time with each of the kids and grandson, plus the weather was awesome.  Starting with the baby, you see his Christmas socks, my son's, my daughter-in-law's socks that match the baby, my husband and mine!  The other two children were in Michigan visiting ther dad, but they did get socks.

We are teaching an Aran vest project at the store this month.  I got the sample vest knit, and it was such fun.  The pattern was published in Knittong Traditions Spring 2014 issue.  

I apologize for the crapticular photos.  I will get some better ones from the store.  I used 5.5mm needles to get gauge, and 260g of James Brett Aran with Wool.  Sadly, the yarn has been discontinued, but Hayfield makes a similar fibre which should work just as well.   I followed the pattern as written, although in hindsight I wish I had lengthened it a tad.  Oh well.

Today is a very grey, rainy day and I am fighting the urge to huddle on the couch with an afghan, the cat, and my I-Pad, being totally useless.  So far I have folded laundry, done this blogpost and done a 15-second Plank position.  Not terribly productive, but better than nothing.  I am off to block my vest and do some handwashing, make up some food for left-overs later in the week, and some knitting.  The Edwardian Cardigan is out of hibernation, working on the sleeves.  It is NOT travel knitting, so will only get worked on here at home.

Ta-ta for now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

July, and then some

As promised, I am back with more finished objects!

In preparation for the August class at the shop, I worked up an entrelac scarf:

the design is called "Upstairs and Down" from the newest issue of Knitter's magazine.  My sample was knit from three balls of Noro Chirimen and 5.5mm needles.  Not a big fan of so much ribbing, but because it is entrelac you are only working in rows of 9 stitches.  The worst and hardest thing about this scarf is making certain that you have reached the end of the tier before starting back the other way.  I can't tell you how many times I turned too early!

I also finished up the sample shawl from Sublime Extra Fine Merino Lace, modelled here by my friend Barb. 
I used Lala's Simple Shawl and the wool held double.  I love it, as does Barb.  We might have to venture into the mud wrestling room to determine ownership.  (Perhaps I should enlist my siblings in a training exercise to warm up?).  In any event, this was 3 balls of wool and a 4.5mm needle.  I love it, and a large part of me wishes I had sprung for the fourth ball and made it a bit larger.  As it is, though, it is a perfect summer cover-up.

I also finished up a pair of socks!  these are "Flambeau" designed by Terry Ross.
I used one full ball of SRK On Your Toes Bamboo, but ran short at the cuff.  Being ever thrifty, I simply did the cuff in a contrasting colour--coral.  Both these yarns were in my stash, so it's all good.  I did modify the pattern a wee bit--the short row reel was written in garter stitch, which made me crazy for reasons I will explain further.  So I simply switched to stocking stitch and carried on.  Holy moly--are these comfortable socks!  I just might switch over to short row heels in the future!  Do other folks have a preference for short row vs heel flap heels?  Why?

And the craziness over the garter stitch short row heel, as well as the purple shawl?  I have been procrastinating getting a new prescription for my glasses.  It was the lace-weight shawl that did me in.  Frustrated that I couldn't see clearly, I finally caved.  turns out that my frames were too old (heh, who knew wire frames had a life expectancy?) so I ordered new frames as well.  Behold:

These are executive bifocals, so the reading area is larger than usual.  I also went without the transitioning between the distance and reading portion.  I can see!  the downside is that I also see the line between the two prescriptions and my brain translates that to be the top of my frames.  I find I am regularly tipping my head back, when I don't or shouldn't.  It is a learning experience, but this "old dog" is determined to learn the new trick.