Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A sweater is named

I don't name the sweaters that are underway. Generally. I know a lot of folks do. I read about them on the various blogs. I just never have. They typically are known by the name the designer or publisher chose.

Until today. Today, the sweater I am making for Doug was named. Yes, in a break from long-standing tradition, I named a sweater.

The sweater? This one -- It's a Paton's design, and so far the instructions are actually quite well written. The chart is actually readable, even with the bifocals and not the reading glasses. But the sweater was named. "What is the name?" you ask with bated breath.

The Accursed Sweater.

Yes, indeed. That is the name. "Why?" you wonder. Well, it's like this. I really don't much like doing fair isle. All that stranding, wrapping, untangling, only to start the process all over. Yes, the sweater is beautiful and wonderful when it's finished. It's just that I prefer cables, bobbles, yarn-overs, K2tog, ssp and the like. Aran style, in other words.

But just for my dear and wonderful hubby, I am making him a fair isle sweater. And so that I don't knit a lot of negative vibes into it, it is named The Accursed Sweater.

I know you still don't get it. Why such an awful name?

Because every time I say it, I smile and laugh. And just in case there are still some negative vibes, I'll get my friend Pastor Mary to say a blessing over it before Doug dons it.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Finally taking time to update

Last night I had a wonderful evening. My daughter, hubby and good friends went down to Toronto to Hugh's Room for an evening of fine food and music. The food, as usual, was delicious. Daughter had a salmon dish (she's getting very adventurous these days!) and enjoyed it immensely. Then she had a chocolate dessert that appeared to be almost orgasmic. Me? I had a chicken linguine dish and pumpkin cheesecake. Probably not as delicious as my friend Irene makes, but since she hasn't shared with me yet I just can't say for certain.

The reason for the excursion? Tanglefoot was having a CD release concert. Our general rule of thumb is that if the band is playing at a venue within a three-hour drive from home, we attend. Whether there's a CD being released or not. The music is so much fun, the regular attendees also a lot of fun, and we just enjoy getting out to see the guys.

Last night was no exception. The band was amazing. The addition of the new violinist, Sandra, has added an entirely new level of energy and excitement. They played all 8 songs from the new CD, titled "Dance Like Fire," and the music is ... words fail me. I've loved every piece of music I've heard the band perform. Every piece. But the new songs? They take my breath away. The musical repertoire now includes a bluesy piece called "Hard Work," a thought-provoking piece called "For the Day," as well as some downright fun songs like "The Whiskey Trick" and Boot Soup." Of course, we purchased the CD and got autographs from everyone. (The keyboard player, Bryan Weirmier, also has released a CD which was purchased last night as well. Haven't had a chance to listen to it yet, but I anticipate it will be enjoyed as thoroughly as Rob Ritchie's and Terry Young's CDs.)

Now that things have settled down nicely with the shop, I have imposed a schedule on myself. In the mornings, I must do the book-work, organize myself, and do the little things on my shop to-do list. Like tidying up the desk area, getting my filing system set up, make up the next order(s) to be submitted. Busy work.

Afternoons? They are mine -- all mine! I get to play with the various yarns and wools, sketch out design ideas, try new colour combinations. It is the best part of my day.

Whilst unpacking and setting up the shop, I enjoyed looking at the alpaca yarns I brought in. One of my favourite yarns is a line called Atacama Alpaca--a fingering weight, hand-painted alpaca yarn. I have some in my stash at home, and plenty at the store. At home I'm considering making a Clapotis shawl ... but at work? Well, I found some little sheep buttons. See?They seemed to want to play with the purple colourway. And then there was this nice pattern in a book ... and it all came together nicely.

Here you see the very first display item knitted for my shop:

As mentioned previously, the yarn is Atacama Alpaca. The sweater is from the book Araucanian Moments, by designer Cornelia Tuttle Hamilton. The design is called Turehelm. I used 3 skeins of wool and 4mm needles.

The design itself is actually kind of neat. The lower back and lower fronts are knit up separately. Then stitches are cast on for the sleeve and knitted up, basically identical to the fronts. But at the shoulder area, you switch to an extended garter stitch pattern and continue. The pieces are then stitched together at the centre back and attached to the fronts. Rather ingenius, actually. The button band gets added, and viola! A sweater. Cute as the dancing sheep buttons!

Since blogger insisted on messing up my photo order, you'll just have to wait until the next post to see the other lovelies I've been working on. Suffice to say that this past week has been prolific.

See you soon!

Monday, October 16, 2006


The felting craze is over a year old now. I have steadfastly resisted that slippery slope. After all, why would you want to shrink something that you've spent so much time knitting? Don't you want the even stitches, the exquisite needlework to speak for itself as to your skill? Huh? Don't you?

All right. Let me try a different approach. I am a knitting purist. The act of knitting is what turns my crank. The even row after row of stitches. The intricacies of a perfectly turned cable. The exquisite look of perfectly executed lace.

Still not buying it, are you? A tough audience.

So after a year of gentle sneering at the concept of felting, I've been forced to enter the fray. You see, I have a knitting class starting tonight. The project is a felted bag. I needed a sample. I needed a "before felting" sample. Because the samples previously used have moved away. After much deliberation, I selected six colours to make two bags. I cast on and knit. I finished the knitting and I assembled. And ... (deep breath here) ... I felted.

Doug laughed himself silly. You see, he has been privy to the musings over the past year of the attraction of felting. And knows that I just Dont. Felt.

Until Thursday, October 12.

The bag in the lower left corner is made with Paton's Bottle Green, Paprika and Sage. And felted. Twice through the washing machine. The bag on the right is the pre-felting sample. It is Paton's Navy, New Denim and Bottle Green. The upper left? Well ... here's where it gets really interesting. You see, I only NEED two bags. One pre-felting and one post-felting. That's it. That's all the felting I need to complete.

The upper left? You just won't let me forget, will you? That's destined to be a Christmas present for Brandi. It's also Paton's ... Royal Purple and the novelty yarn is On-Line Punta. Sigh. What's worse is that now I'm wandering around the house looking at mixing bowls, place mats, and coasters and wondering what colours I'd use to replicate them in felting.

If anyone is interested in having the pattern for the bags, e-mail me and I'll send it on.

On another side note -- does anyone know what has happened with the Ontario Knitter's Ring? I see twelve members, several of which are no longer active. 31 members waiting approval, and that number has been growing for a couple months. Do we still have a ring master?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My very first Knitting Night at the store!!

Tonight was the very first Knitting Night at my store. We've been meeting at the former store in Greenbank for the longest time, and have become friends. So when I opened, of course I planned to have Knitting Night as well. Tonight was the very first time. I was nervous. Did I have enough chairs? Did I have tea? Did I have a treat? Did I have utensils?

I did have enough chairs. Two extra, in fact, but I think they will be filled next week. I did not have tea. I did not have a treat. I did not have utensils. How to remedy these failings? Remember my wonderful husband -- he of the "I don't do wool" mutterings? He delivered dinner to me in the store (leftovers from Thanksgiving--turkey, dressing, mashed sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, carrot salad and cranberry sauce) and then went over to the local grocery store and bought me some paper plates, napkins, cups, forks and a treat. When he brought my dinner in, he also brought in the Brown Betty teapot and a kettle.

Here you see the Sunderland Sisters , Irene and Cathy. They are great fun to be around--wonderfully wicked sense of humour and great story tellers. Irene is working on some to-die-for Handmaiden cashmere. Lucky her! Here you see Barb, Megan and Cathy. Barb wandered into my store over the weekend with her mother and sister. She listened carefully as I gave her several strategies for sneaking yarn into the house without her husband knowing. Apparently, she wants to learn more methods of stash enhancement.
Megan and Cathy are new knitters. I met them at the Uxbridge Library this past year, in a knitting class. Megan is a silversmith by trade, and has taken to knitting like a duck takes to water. She has been making felted purses to sell in her silver shop. Cathy is working on a felted purse for her neice for Christmas.

Me? When I'm not taking pictures and being silly, I'm still working on Doug's sweater. I'm almost up the dividing row and will then get to do sleeves before commencing into the colour-work. For the store, I'm also making a felted purse (two, actually) for demonstration purposes at my learn-to-knit class on Monday evening. One purse is actually in the washing machine even as I type. Tomorrow (or Saturday) I'll get a picture and show you what I've done. I'm excited -- I've never felted anything before.

Well. Never on purpose.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Another week

Another week has passed us by. I finished up the pretty yellow baby set I was working on for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre. Face it -- once you've seen one lacey baby set, you've seen 'em all. The only thing that changes is the colour of the wool.

But having finished up the baby set meant that I could start another project. I decided to start Doug's Nordic ski sweater. After all, he has been coerced volunteered his Aran sweater to be kept at the store for display purposes. It has been handy, in fact, as I can now demonstrate how nicely Paton's Merino knits up.

But, when I was making the transition from ribbing to sweater body, a disaster occurred! See?!
The silly needle broke!! This was part of the Boye Needlemaster set that I got when I was a newlywed (to my first husband). Who knew that they wouldn't last forever?! I suppose that after thirty years this long I should have expected something like this. But I didn't. And I had previously discarded ALL my other circulars. So last night I couldn't knit. Until I went to the store and picked up a pair of Clover Bamboo circulars. I guess that's theb est part of owning a yarn shop -- access to whatever size needle you need.

Speaking of the shop, the last photos anyone could see the place was still a work in process. So this is what it looks like today --
This is the alpaca and yummy yarn wall. There's lots of alpaca, of various types. All yummy. It's such a challenge not to spread it around on the floor and roll in it. There's also some Noro as well as Elspeth Lavold. Oooh-la-la! What wonderful stuff!
This is the Paton's wall. I am carrying Paton's Classic Merino, Canadiana and Shetland Chunky. The empty cubicles on the right end are where the baby yarns will land. I was lucky enough to score some of the Paton's SWS (soy and merino blend) too, as well as all the colours of the Classic. I'm missing a few colours in the Canadiana line, and will remedy that next week.

The shop has been a lot of fun. I've had lots and lots of folks stopping in to browse, visit and buy. Many folks are thrilled to have a local wool shop. Mostly they've been driving to Oshawa or Whitby, so being right there in Port Perry is a real treat. The Grand Opening will be happening in November, but I don't know for certain what days.

This is Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. We will have turkey, stuffing, yams, apple pie and pumpkin pie. I bought a pumpkin at the grocery store tonight so it will be authentic pumpkin pie. Can't wait!

Happy Thanksgiving!