Thursday, January 22, 2009


Ooops!I tried so hard not to do that, and I did it anyway.

Friday, January 09, 2009

The things you find in your knitting basket ...

I finished a project at the store. This prompted my digging through the basket to clean up the clutter and detritus of a finished project. You know, the ball wrappers, dropped stitch markers, cable needles and such. Apparently, I haven't cleaned out the knitting basket for a while.

How do I know this? Because I found these --

Two, count 'em, TWO squares for the Great American Aran Afghan that I haven't labeled and talked about. And I know for a fact that I finished these two squares sometime back in early November. Possibly even late October.

On the left is the Barbara McIntire square, found on page 44 of the book. My notes indicate that I found it delightfully easy to knit. Also, there are no notations as to corrections so apparently it was accurately written. Nice.

The square on the right is Ann McCauley square, found on page 38. Again, I find no notations as to problems with directions, so it must have been fairly straightforward and accurately written. I do recall that I dislike working bobbles and this particular square has a ton of them. Two different kinds, actually, just to keep you on your toes.

The knit-along group for this afghan over at Delphi Knit 'n Chat is two squares ahead of me ... perhaps three by now. I think one of the squares I am behind is one that I've already knit so that'll help me get caught up. I am hopeful that by the end of January I can claim to be back with the group. After all, hope does spring eternal and all that blarney.

The project which I finished and which spurred the dive to the depths of the knitting basket is this little set:
One of my customers is knitting for the wee ones whose parents are clients at The Refuge in Oshawa, Ontario. I told her that I'd help and started knitting. All of the pieces come from directions found in Newlands Baby Book volume 12, circa 1955 or thereabouts. The cardigan is pattern no. 81 -- the cable is actually one I'd never worked before. There are nine stitches; the first three stitches are placed on a cable needle and held in back while the next three stitches are knit, then moved to the front while the NEXT three stitches are knit; and finally, the three stitches from the cable needle are worked. Pretty much a braid, in reality. Way cool. The hat comes from pattern no. 82, and the mittens from pattern 57. All are worked in Sirdar Snuggly 4-ply in colour 317. I am really happy with how well this project turned out. I am hoping that the wee one at The Refuge enjoys the wearing of it.

And with great fanfare and delight, I bring you this:
This is a double-knit hat, without a pattern, for Doug. I tried three times before I finally got the right number of stitches and length. The wool is Isle of Harris DK Scottish wool, which my step-daughter and her mother brought back from Scotland. It is an interesting wool with which to work. It feels really coarse, and I did in fact knit too long with it a couple of times and ended up with bleeding friction burns on my fingers. This despite the lanolin still contained in the wool. It did withstand the trips to the frog pondwithout even a whimper, so I am very pleased about that. Doug tried on the hat and pronounced it wonderful--surprisingly not scratchy.

I think the wool would have preferred to be a pair of heavy boot socks. I had even told Doug that if the hat didn't work out this time that was it--I was going to frog it and make socks. Perhaps this is why the hat fits "perfectly"?

In any event, I used approximately 100 grams of the 193 gram ball. I am wondering if I dare make a smaller hat with the remainder.

In my next entry -- exciting details about the new summery, cotton vest I started!

Friday, January 02, 2009


The holidays certainly are a frantic time of year. Shopping, baking, cards, wrapping, traveling, visiting ... It's so difficult to catch one's breath over the holidays, let alone remember to blog.

I do wish for you and yours a safe, healthy and happy 2009, filled with good times, good memories and plenty of wool.

This holiday season found Doug, Carrie and I traveling to Michigan to visit. My eldest was in town from Virginia, my middle child was in town, and the daughter was amenable to splitting Christmas Day between her father and myself. So we ventured out through the snow and howling winds to Montague, Michigan, where we rented the extended stay suite at the Weathervane Inn. This turns out to have been a stroke of genius on our part; basically we had a small apartment at our disposal, complete with a private bedroom and full kitchen. I put together a casserole on Christmas eve and we baked it the following morning. All three kids and a spouse (hi, Coris!) came for breakfast and gifts. We had a wonderful time catching up and visiting. Turns out that it has been about 8 years since the three kids had been together for Christmas. Gifts were exchanged and the kids returned to their dad's home.

Doug and I continued on down to the Battle Creek area to visit my family. Typical hotel -- bed, bathroom and that's all there was. We were able to spend some time on Christmas Day at my brother's home. Boxing Day saw us at my youngest brother's house to celebrate with all the sisters and brothers who live nearby, along with my father and step-mother. Two of my three kids came down from Muskegon as well, which was a bonus. Again, gifts were exchanged, food eaten, memories created, and a good time was had by all.

Saturday we drove home. Once again, in pretty crummy weather. Doug wonders why our travels to the western side of Michigan always result in bad weather. I have to keep reminding him that we invariably travel to Muskegon for either American Thanksgiving (the fourth Thursday of November) or Christmas. Both of these holidays fall during the dark days of winter weather; hence, I can pretty well guarantee that we will be driving through crud. Ah well. Perhaps he'll forget enough that I can convince him to repeat our performance next year ...

In any event, all that driving resulted in some pretty intensive knitting time for me. Doug is a far better driver than passenger, so I let him drive while I knit and keep him company. My first accomplishment of the trip was the completion of these socks:

Perhaps these will become a stocking stuffer for some unwitting child next year ... or perhaps not. Only time will tell! The wool was purchased at the Knitters Frolic last year. The wool is Lana Grossa, colour 5121. It was quite nice, no knots or difficulties that way. I used my standard 2.75mm needles and the magic loop technique.

The second accomplishment was the completion of these lovely alpaca mittens for Doug.
The wool is Luxury Alpaca Paint, in a sadly discontinued colour. I used the double-knit mitten pattern that we have found so delightful at the shop and a 4.00mm needle. I did, however, require three 50-gram balls of yarn instead of the suggested two balls. Glad I could find one more ball at the shop since I had only squirreled away two balls! I am planning to sew some bits of leather along the join between the thumb and palm -- exactly where the ski poles will be rubbing. After all, these mitts were enough work that I'm hoping they will last for two whole ski seasons!

Finally, I was able to finish up a baby blanket. This is a design of my own creation and devising! It is a completely reversible entrelac baby blanket!
The blanket is lovingly modeled by my baby doll from my childhood. (If you are wondering, these babies were in use in the late '50s to early '60s.) The pattern required 450 grams of Patons Canadiana--I used a colour named Light Pastels. The pattern has been written up and is in the process of being proofread, after which it will be available for sale in the shop.

All these finished objects mean that my list of projects on needles -- is down to seven! Seven projects on needles! Yahoo! Yippee!