Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Last Weekend

That was some storm Saturday evening, eh? Doug and I watched it blow across the lake, obliterating our view of Seven Mile Island. The winds were amazing, kicking up whitecaps on the waves. The wind very kindly cleared off the winter debris from the roof over the dining room, too, saving Doug a trip up.

Carrie drove home after her shift at the grocery store. She walked in and calmly announced that a "car was squashed by a tree." Not our car, thankfully. She was duly impressed with the strength of the winds. We were too ... and then we ventured out into the big wide world.

It is said that everyone gets 15 second of fame. The gentleman that owns this particular vehicle just found his:

Note that all four tires on this Caravan are still inflated. Yes, the frame is touching the ground in the middle. Thank heavens that no one was sitting in the van as the tree fell.

Doug and I tried a bicycle ride at Long Sault Conservation Area on Monday. No photos, because we didn't take the camera. But there were at least 12 trees across the trails ... several of them really, really big trees. One section of the trail was blocked about every 75 feet by a felled tree. Again, really impressive.

What else did we do last weekend? We visited with some friends, whose daughter has learned to knit. (At Never Enough Wool, coincidentally! ;-) ) Her latest project is this cute tea cozy.

I've gotta knit a tea cozy. There are just too many cute ones out there.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Another one bites the dust!

Another listing of what's on the needles, that is.

So I started the month with 8 items on the list. ... Added another pair of mittens to the list ... I added a cute little dress for my niece (I have enough yarn to make a size 2, and she's rapidly approaching that size so I better get to it, eh?) ...

I DID, however, finish one item. Ta da!

This is "Benedict" from Jane Ellison's Queensland Collection. I dutifully knit a gauge swatch; achieved gauge; and started knitting a large. Um ... no. That would have fit an elephant. Since the gentleman in question was not nearly that size, I thought it prudent to listen to the knitting and take a second look. Still knitting to gauge, mind you, but the pattern was coming out way, way too large.

Frogged it and started again, but making the medium instead of large. Still knitting to gauge. Interesting notes to self regarding this pattern, to-wit:

The design was designed and test knit for the small size. (No problem--it's what I would've done myself.) How do I know? Because the picture in the book clearly shows that the cable panel running along the front v-neck is a full cable panel. Also, and this is the part that really got me steaming, the designer states that she "asked my knitter on this one to work all neck decreases 15 sts in from the neck edge ..." Um, well, great. But why didn't you write the pattern that way?
And besides, following the directions caused me to split the centre cable panel and doing all decreases in 15 sts from the edge would have had me making decreases in the middle of the cable panel, not the way she pictured it. In addition, I ended up having a cable panel go all the way to the edge of the design ... the designer envisioned having one purl edge stitch, hence the 15 stitches instruction.

After ripping out the front right section several times, I finally got a look I was happy with. Finished the knitting, and blocked the sweater before attempting assembly. (To make sure that the vest would fit the gentleman for whom it was intended in reality, but I claim that it was to make the assembly work better!)

Again, following the directions provided, I picked up the requisite number of stitches for the v-neck ribbing. Row 1 was fine. How hard can knit 2, purl 2 ribbing be? Apparently more difficult than I thought as I had to tink back to correct the sequencing. The second row, however ... the designer asked you to knit down one side of the v, decrease in the purl stitches before the centre front, then decrease again in the next purl section, AND decrease again in the next purl stitches. Three decreases, not centred? Uh ... no. Fortunately I caught that little discrepancy before I had actually done it.

The yarn I used was Twilley's Freedom Spirit, in colour no. 517, and a total of 8 balls. I used 4.00mm needles for the entire project, and as stated earlier, achieved gauge of 28 sts - 10cm over the pattern stitch.

Currently, I'm knitting a square for the Great American Aran Afghan -- the Dagmara Berztiss square, and am approximately 25% done.

Tomorrow ... the Knitter's Frolic in Toronto. Should be fun getting there as the Don Valley Parkway is closed. I just love road construction season!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Life lessons ...

Life lessons can be painful. Life lessons can be expensive. Life lessons can be traumatic. Unfortunately for me, the latest lessons have been painful, expensive and traumatic. Fortunately, not many of these lessons are all three at the same time. The latest, however ...

The biggest lesson I have learned relates to my shop, Never Enough Wool. Previously I had stated with great excitement and enthusiasm that we would be moving. Now in the cold, harsh light of reality and lawyer bills I have to say that no, we will not be moving. I'm hopeful that my lawyer can recover the deposit, the loss of which has greatly hindered my cash flow. Failing that, I'm hopeful that my lawyer can prevent the (*in my humble opinion) snake-like landlord from cashing the second cheque given in deposit. You see, what I thought was an earnest money deposit the aforementioned SLL (*) has interpreted to mean that the APPLICATION TO LEASE was in fact a lease agreement and he gets to keep all the cash. I'm still waiting to hear back from my lawyer ... and in fact I have issued a stop-payment on the second cheque. Now it is a waiting game, and those of you who know me well understand how difficult waiting patiently is for me.

I keep telling myself that there are folks in a lot worse straights than I. Deep in my heart, I know that too, and understand it. It just hurts so damn much to think that I was gullible enough to sign an application to lease without understanding all the implications; that I was gullible enough to hand over the equivalent of three months' rent to someone who appears to be less than honorable; that I was stupid enough to just flush that kind of money down the drain. After all, think of all the yarn I could buy with that kind of cash!

Waiting is so hard.

To assist me in whiling away the hours of waiting I decided to finish up one of the projects on my list. To be specific, the black alpaca mittens that were started way long ago. Initially they were planned for Doug for skiing. Unfortunately, the mitten when finished was too small. (It actually fit me, what a shame, eh?) So I stopped knitting with black alpaca and moved onward to some green alpaca. Doug got his mittens and aside from the green dye running onto his hands when his hands get sweaty, he loves them. I thought that a quick mitten and I'd be able to cross the project off the list.

This brings me to my second recent life lesson.

When putting a project aside, be absolutely positively certain to make notes to yourself so that you know what size needle you are supposed to be using when you come back. Now, instead of crossing off a project I actually have to make two mittens. And added another project to my list.

You tell me -- is this a painful or a traumatic lesson?

Thursday, April 02, 2009

MORE finished items!

Did I mention that I was teaching a "learn to knit socks" class at the Uxbridge Library? I think I did ... since most of the students there were learning to knit socks on double-pointed needles, I decided to knit a pair of socks on them as well. I should do this periodically since it reminds me just why I love magic loop so much.

In any event, I knit up a pair of socks beginning the second week in February, and finishing up just this past week. The yarn is Briggs & Little*, self-dyed into a striping pattern. The pattern was the standard vanilla sock, knit on 2.5mm needles. Sized to fit ... ?? After all, I DID miss giving out socks for Christmas this past year.
The dye we used for this particular workshop was RIT powdered dye, and apparently rather old. There is supposed to be some orange in there, but it came out terribly faded. The yellow is rather washed out as well. Since then, my cohorts in dying and I have switched over to newer dyes and it does seem to be working well.

Another project that was finished up is this mosiac tee top from the from the Summer 2008 issue of Interweave Knits.
I used 5 balls of Butterfly Super 10 Cotton (two of the cream, two green {3766} and one of the light green {3777}) and the suggested needles (3.75 and 4.5mm). I didn't quite achieve qauge, but that turned out to be quite fine since I had cast on for a larger size than I really needed.

Even though this looks like fair isle work, it was not difficult. The mosaic technique means that you are working with only one colour per row and slipping the stitches that need to be a different colour. Very easy.

Everyone who has seen this top modeled and not have all loved it. Now for some warmer weather so I can wear it ...

Still no firm moving date for the shop. The probable new landlord and I are now in negotiations. Yahoo!

*The lady who ran the dying workshop wherein I dyed the yarn couldn't remember if she had ordered the sock-weight yarn with or without nylon reinforcement. I guess I'll figure it out by how well (or not) the socks wear.