Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A busy week

Another week has passed me by. Bringing warm weather, sunshine, a pleasant evening at the Uxbridge Music Hall watching Amadeus, and a quiet evening with friends. I really don't understand how time gets away from me so quickly. Is time going by as quickly for you too?

I got some Sirdar Just Bamboo into the shop for summer knitting. The samples looked really nice, so I ordered it in. Got each and every colour, along with some very nice patterns. I debated and debated, and finally decided on which top to knit, and colour. And knit. The truly frightening and interesting thing about this yarn is that the ball band warns you that "This yarn does not knit to standard guage." Intriguing, yes?

I knit up the top, and brought it home to block. On the needles, the yarn was amazingly soft. I did the wet block technique (dump the garment into a sink of water) ... and was immediately terrified. That beautifully soft top suddenly became ... wood-like is the best description I can find.

Undaunted, I spread the top out on the towel to dry, and waited (im)patiently. Gnawing my fingernails. To my absolute surprise and delight--I found that the yarn dried to its former beauty. Having one project off the needles meant that I needed to start another. I decided it was time to spotlight the Luxury Fine Merino Superwash. What a cute sweater for a baby, eh? And not only is the yarn delightful, the pattern was excellent.
And how's this for a teaser? I should have Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's new book in my store by the end of the week!

For those interested, I now have the Knitting in Ontario web-ring functional! Yahoo!

Monday, March 19, 2007

March Break -- and the end thereof!

Another March Break has come and gone at my house. My daughter enjoyed a nice, quiet week. She had a movie party one day, hung out at the shop a couple of days, and generally slept, read and worked. All in all, a nice week she declared. Albeit too short, which is a common complaint from everyone. Except most parents.

The truly startling realization which arose from March Break is that her trip to Vimy Ridge with her school will occur in two and a half weeks. Yes, indeed. Two and a half weeks. A mere 17 days! Now THAT'S exciting!

As a result of her quiet March Break, my week was likewise quiet and relaxing. So relaxing, in fact, that I finished another babyset for the Durham Crisis Pregnancy Centre. Once again, the set comes from directions contained in a McCalls Baby Knits publication from the 1970s. This little set qualifies as my March socks of the month, as well as the Lenten knitting challenge at the Knit & Chat board.

Since I had finished a home project, it was time to start something new. Always a delight to be able to rummage through stash and ponder the possibilities. While I would dearly love to make the Entrelac socks in the newest Interweave Knits, I don't have the yarn in hand. I'm trying to be good and use up stash. (I'm not sure why, it just seems right so to do. Possibly this has something to do with the upcoming Knitter's Frolic on April 27.)

So I decided to try my hand at fair isle again. Now that I know how to do it better, it should be far more enjoyable.
This luscious blue yarn is Zara, acquired at last year's Frolic. I had purchased some coordinating colours of Zara from my friend's shop before she closed, in multiple colours. But the design that called to me most clearly was this one, titled "Weekender," design 11 from the Paton's book shown. It features two colours only--the main colour and the contrasting. I'm about half-way up the body already, and I'm switching between Continental style and English style.

I'm also working on setting up a web-ring for Ontario knitters, called interestingly enough, Knitting in Ontario. It's a little more complicated than I thought. I've managed to create the ring. But not to set up the home page, nor a sign-up mechanism. Patience is a virtue, and I do have a couple of children who can do good things with computers. If push comes to shove, I'll enlist some assistance.

Monday, March 05, 2007

A Windy Monday

While I'm still recovering from the appendectomy (just in case the doctor is reading this, I'm resting lots and taking life easy!), I have been doing a fair bit of knitting. Some for the store, and some for my projects.

This is a pullover destined for the Dulaan shipment. It's a size 4, knit with 6mm needles and Pinguoin yarn that I inherited from a friend. There wasn't quite enough of the Pinguoin, so I added a mystery (albeit probably Paton's chunky) yarn for the ribbings. Orginally, the pattern was for a hooded sweater with a kangaroo-type pocket in the front. Running short of yarn meant some modifications. The collar turned out quite nicely, if I do say so myself. (The link provided is a newer blend of the tweed. Mine is 53% wool, 41% acrylic, 4% viscose and 2% poly. It is an interesting blend and quite a nice knit.)

When Christy visited my shop a while back, she brought along a friend. The friend loved the lonely Noro sock on display and wanted a pair of socks just like it. Unfortunately, there was only one ball of that colourway remaining. So what does an enterprising and helpful shop-owner do?
She knits a second sock to match the first, sort of, and sells both balls of wool. Especially helpful to the plan was the knowledge that the friend didn't knit. Whew!

About a month ago, a very nice lady came into the shop and inquired about the felted bag hanging in the window. I explained that it was a sample bag, not for sale, and assured the nice lady that she certainly could make one herself. I taught her to knit, sold her some wool, and she was off to the races. In record time, she completed one bag, only slightly discomfited by my emergency surgery. She came back in with the finished bag, which I brought home to be felted. She then purchased more wool to make another bag. This is her second project:
Paton's Classic Merino topped with Brazilia. Of her own design. Blythe, you are a talented lady! Well done!