Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I love my friends!

It's been forever since I've been here. And I'm the one who set up the rule about blogging a minimum of once per month. I'm gonna try to do better. Really. Truly!

Part of the problem is that I haven't really felt that I had anything to show off. I mean, yeah I've been knitting. But not so much on the finished projects. And it isn't so much fun to blog about projects in process.

Thankfully, my friends have set me straight. I DO have finished projects. And they are well worth showing off. So here goes!

Way back in the summer when the Early Fall Vogue 2011 issue arrived, many of us just loved the cable rib jacket. So I knit it up, thinking that perhaps other folks would jump on my bandwagon. And I knit, and I scratched my head, and I knit some more. This was not a pattern for the faint of heart. But worth it -- absolutely and positively worth it!

Here is the back view of the sweater worn as the directions are written. I must say that I find the arm area to be a bit baggy, but everyone seems to love it.

This is the front view of the sweater, again being worn as the instructions are written.
The beauty of this sweater is that you can then turn it upside down and have an entirely new sweater!
Since this picture was taken, I've learned that you should turn the collar a bit more, so that you have wider lapels, down to the waistband. It looks much nicer that way, and with a shawl pin, or a sweater pin -- oooh, la la! Oh so fashionable!
Worn this side up, the back armhole area doesn't seem to be so baggy. Who knew, eh?

I used 9 skeins of Cascade 220 and 5.5mm needle. The construction of the pieces was very, very strange, but worked. As seems so common with Vogue, the directions said to complete the right front "reversing all shaping." Yeah, right. This works if you know just what you are shaping! So I wrote out the shaping directions for myself, line by line. (I still have them, if anyone needs them!)

In other news ... the kids are fine, the animals (Lizzie and Pepper) are great, Doug is fine. Apparently, I've just been in a funk and not blogging. There are a lot more finished items to talk about ... but I'm gonna save some for another day.

Thanks for checking back in on me!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011


Hello! (Waving frantically) Is anyone out there? Hello! (Whew! This place needs cleaning! Dust and cobwebs everywhere!)

The silence has been deafening. In fact, if you didn't know me better, you might think that there hadn't been any knitting happening. Well, that is if you didn't know me. There has been knitting, and quite a lot of it. I'm going to show you, and tell you about it, right now. Just not in chronological order ... in fact, I don't understand the logic that Blogger uses to upload photos, so we're just gonna have to wing it. Because I've uploaded these photos four or five times now, and I still can't get them in the order I want. Grrr. Patience is a virtue, of which I have very little!

We ran a class in top-down sweater construction here at the shop in April. We used the Tappan-Zee top, because I had already knit it and folks here were very interested in also knitting it. In fact, many of them decided to modify the pattern and make it into a pull-over -- a fabulous idea. I'm trying not to reknit it, because I have so many projects and so little time. But I did need a top-down project, just because.

I found this little top in the summer issue of Knitty -- the Rondeur top. I quite liked the lace and cable detail along the raglan seams. And, bonus! It was a really quick project to knit!
I used Cascade Pima Tencel, colour # 9504, and consumed 6 balls using a 4.0mm needle. I'm absolutely thrilled with the top, and can't wait to wear it. The hand of this fabric is delightful, by the way. Very, very soft and drape-able.

What else have I knit? Well, we needed a quick Father's Day gift idea for the store. I remembered that I had seen hand-knit ties in previous Knitty issues.
This is one ball of Regia Extra-Twist Merino, colour 9327. The pattern says you need 200g. of sock wool for the adult version, but clearly I did not. Now, I do admit that I didn't have much wool left -- like about a yard -- but no where near 200g. And it was fun!

This year Barb and I are trying to do a pair of fancy socks every other month. I saw these socks and thought they looked cool. I'm a sucker for that gusset detail as it turns out. At the moment, all I have is a Ravelry link -- Socks for His Nibs. These are the March/April socks ... I'd like to claim that I finished them in April; however, I am far too truthful for that. I just finished these.
The pattern is not difficult; wordy, but not difficult. I used Regia yarn that I found in my Stitch & Pitch back a year or two ago and a 2.5mm needle. Great -- another Christmas gift finished!

I signed up for a gift exchange in one of my on-line groups. Supposed to use one ball from stash ... I used two because they were small!
Montego Bay pattern with a mystery yarn. Very nice and lacey.

The biggest project, and biggest disappointment, that I've encountered so far is this little beaut:
Arching Cables from the Fall 2010 Interweave Knits, knit in Elsebeth Lavold Silky Flame. Don't get me wrong -- I love the design. I love the wool. But finding the right button has been a trial.
I ordered some, but they didn't come. So now I've been searching my button stash, my friends' button stashes ... came up with these two. Initially I liked the one on the left. Upon reflection, I think I'm liking the one on the right. What does anyone else think?

My G.A.A.A. is coming along. I have two squares left to knit from the book, and one more to graph out with my initials and year. Then on to assembly and borders! The Yggdrasil afghan is also progressing. And so is the double-knit vest.

Like I said -- so many projects and so little time!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Miscellaneous meanderings

Yup. That what today is. Miscellaneous meanderings. No common thread. Hopefully completed thoughts.

First off, for those folks who are wondering. The insurance company has decided to total out my car. Which is fine, except that it really leaves us in a bind as far as vehicles go. There are so many requirements for our next vehicle (air conditioning, 4-doors, etc.) as well as dilemmas. Do we get a manual transmission, which both Doug and I enjoy? This would leave Carrie out in the cold, as she doesn't do manual transmissions, and she does still need driving time to complete the requirements and confidence levels to get her full G license before next May. Do we really need a 4-door? After all, how many times do we travel with more than the 2 of us? (Actually, now that I think about it, probably more than I realize!) So many decisions, and the insurance company and I have yet to come to an agreement as to how much my car is worth.

The Patons Lace scarf that I knit has now been washed and dried. Doug threw it in the washing machine in a lingerie bag and regular laundry cycle, using Tide of all things. It washed quite well, and dried even better. And soft. Really soft. (Not as nice as alpaca lace-weight, but I'm learning that I'm a wee bit of a yarn snob!) Nice enough that I can say that this little item is going to be a holiday gift this year.

I'm still plugging away on the afghan for Jason & Coris, as well as the Arching Cables sweater from Interweave Knits. The double-knit vest for myself is still in process, and I'm sorry to say it hasn't really gotten the attention it should of late. In fact, none of these projects has really progressed enough to take another picture.

What has progressed? A little Tunisian Crochet project that I'm needing to get finished and directions written for a class that starts on April 5. Yeah. That's soon. The good news is that I'm ALMOST 3/5 done. Yeah. It's crochet, no matter how you slice it. And while I CAN crochet, I'm not that much a fan. Pictures? Soon, when it's done. That's my motivation to get it finished!

Emily and Carrie were both home last weekend, along with Emily's partner. I've rediscovered the joys of having a university student come home for a visit -- all three of the kids just raved about how good the food was. Nothing special, just my Meatball Soup on Friday, turkey dinner on Saturday, and then on Sunday Emily taught us a new way to cook salmon. Really, nothing special. Just good, nutritious home-cooked food. With nothing coming from an opened box or can. I've been cooking this way for a pretty long time (not perfectly, mind you, but mostly from scratch) and I keep forgetting how good food tastes. Watching the kids enjoy it reminds me of that.

Spring is coming. Lizzie was the proud bearer of a little mouse on Wednesday. While it has snowed since then, I've been convinced to put my ski gear away. Doug is still hopeful, but De Nile isn't just a river in Egypt! Of course, the biking trails are not yet ready for us, so we're going to have to start swimming (at the pool in Bowmanville) for exercise for a bit.

And last but not least -- we have decided that THIS year we will be having a yard sale. Probably the third weekend in May, and we are hopeful that Carrie will be able to come back and assist us. This means that we have 7 weeks to sort thru things and decide which will go, and which will not. All this in an effort to declutter the house as well as make the storage unit in Bowmanville not needed. Good luck to us, eh?

And that's about all the miscellaneous meanderings I can think up. Take care of yourselves!

Monday, March 14, 2011

See that smiling face?

Why is that smile so big? Because I FINALLY GOT IT!!!

At the store we've been teaching a class on double knitting. Our students are doing small projects -- generally -- like headbands and hot pads. One student is making a sweater, and Barb is working on a car coat. So I felt like I needed to do something extravagant as well. Originally I fell down over a colour combination in lace weight -- a beautiful green paired with a hand-painted alpaca from Misti International. Saner heads prevailed, and I realized that the fabric would be too flimsy and delicate for its intended purpose. Regretfully, I frogged.

But what could I do, for I still felt the need for an extravagant double-knit project. I browsed thru the book again. And then I had it! We have several multi-colour yarns from Loyal at the shop that just aren't moving. They need a very special project, and this was it. I paired a lovely blue with a rose/red/pink multi, and the combination was exquisite.

I cast on. I frogged. I cast on. I frogged. Repeat three more times.

Finally, I got cast on and the proper number of stitches. Thrilled, I proceeded to row 3. I tinked. I knit. I tinked. I ... counted the stitches and realized that I had two stitches too many. I completed row 3 by knitting two stitches together. Twice.

Houston, we have lift off!

The project will grow up to be a double-knit vest from M'Lou Baber's Double Knitting. I am getting ready to start row 11 -- just as soon as I get the pesky bookwork from the store and housework from home done. It'll be fabulous. And finished years sooner than the lace-weight idea. Good move on my part, I'd say. Another plus to this project -- I'm learning to knit continental style since I'm carrying one yarn in my right hand and the second in my left.

I've also been working on the Arching Cables (Interweave Knits--Fall 2010), when the frustrations of double-knitting overcome me.
Aside from picking up the stitches, this has really been a great project. The only real cast on was at the beginning of the belt. All of 12 stitches. Everything else was picked up and knit from the selvage edges. Well, the picking up and the ribbing. But still, it's an awesome design. Just a wee bit of one sleeve and then the skirt and I'll have a delightful cardigan. This one is knit in Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme. An excellent choice, if I say so myself!

The next project on needles getting my attention is an afghan destined to be a Christmas gift for my son and his wife. This is the Yggdrasil from Interweave Knits --

being knit in Patons Shetland Chunky. This, too, is a delightful project, and I'm enjoying it quite a bit. The Addi click set is going to be very handy, as each successive panel of the afghan after this braid will be larger and more stitches. I foresee having the two long cables hooked together before I'm done.

And now it's March break, the sun is shining, and I'm hankering for my bicycle again. Gotta get the afghan finished before it gets too warm out!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

March? Already?

Well, another month end has flashed past. I swear it was just yesterday it was February first. I really don't know where the time goes.

This year Barb and I are trying to knit a pair of fancy socks every other month. Should be easier and more manageable ... of course, the key word there is "should." In any event, I did manage to start and finish my socks in time. These are the Cables and Lace from Wendy Johnson's Socks from the Toes Up book.
The yarn is some that I dyed myself. Pretty, eh? I don't quite remember what effect I was after, but I'm hoping it was self-striping. If so, I was successful. If not, I don't want to hear about it. Again, these are destined to be gifted to someone at Christmas. I just don't know whom.

Several of my customers have come in and talked about the Patons Lace and wondered if I would be getting any in at the store. I decided to get a ball and test drive it before I made any decisions. So, one ball became this delightful little scarf:

The design comes from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace book, and is called Double Border Scarf. I must admit that the yarn has proven to be very durable. I cast on three different scarves, and this one twice, before I really got going. The yarn held up beautifully. I really am not liking the white stripe -- I find it too stark -- but am pleased at how symmetrical the scarf turned out.

The big test is yet to come. Since the yarn is 80% acrylic, it should be machine washable. Patons claims it is. I've got to see it to believe it. If it washes up nicely, then YAHOO! Another Christmas gift off my list!

Friday, February 25, 2011

What a weekend I had!

One of the benefits of having a partner at the shop is that now I can take a Saturday off. Every month, in fact. The third Saturday of the month. Even though it is winter and Doug and I would generally have gone skiing, this past Saturday we decided to drive over to Michigan. To meet my new niece, who wasn't born yet when I had my previous Saturday off.

So ... we woke up around 7:30 am, looked out the window, and thought "This doesn't look good. Perhaps we'll wait a bit." So we did. And the weather and roads improved enough that we hopped into the car and drove off to Michigan. We were astounded that as we drove past London we saw absolutely no snow in the air. That never happens. The car handled the snowy/slushy/icy roads just fine, thanks to the newish snow tires.

We had a lovely visit with my family, and the car continued to handle the snowy/slushy/icy roads just fine. Better than many other vehicles, in fact.

What it didn't handle so well is this:
The Battle Creek/Kalamazoo area had an ice storm Sunday evening. We were staying at my son's house in Ka'zoo, and discovered that his tree had a weak spot. And the branch came down. From far up, and it brought along a friend. For comparison purposes, I took a shot showing my foot alongside the branches:
These puppies came crashing down around 11:30 pm. Neither Doug nor I even got out of bed right then -- we didn't really want to know what had happened. Some time later, Doug looked out the window, and heaved a big sigh. I knew it wasn't good. He manfully scoured Jeff's basement until he found a garbage bag to protect what was left of the car ... I snored.

In the morning, this is what I saw:
The front passenger window was shattered and all over the inside of the car, along with various pieces of the branches and lots of ice crystals. As well, the passenger side of the windshield is shattered -- you just can't see it because of the half-inch of ice on the windshield. See the mirror dangling? We had electric mirrors. And there's a wee bit of damage to the framing around the windshield. We're currently waiting to hear from the adjuster and the body shop in terms of repair estimates, etc. At least we had a nice visit.

Right. The whole reason for the visit to Michigan was to meet my new niece. She was born the last week of January, and was named Evelyn. She's a very nice young lady, and does pretty much everything you would expect of a three-week-old infant. I got to hold her and dance with her, and it was great!

Jeff got to hold her too!
Doesn't he look comfortable? Later in the evening, we went back to Andy's house and Amelia (the big sister) insisted that Jeff should hold her baby doll because he needed the practice.

To celebrate the arrival of the baby, I knit a Big Sister Sweater for Amelia. This is Polka Dot from Berrocco ...

I love the whole circle thing in the back. Unfortunately, the sweater needs a button on the front because it wants to slide right off Amelia's shoulders. I used Northern Worsted, and have asked Amelia's mum to keep me posted on how well it washes and wears.

I also finished up Evelyn's sweater, finally. This design is from an older Pinguoin (or however it is spelled!) magazine. I used 4 balls of Sirdar Snuggly, and picked up the buttons right here at the store.
This is a 12-month size, so it'll be a while before Evelyn wears it. I didn't even try for a photo shoot with it and her ... she is SO tiny! I forget how small newborn babies are, even if they are 8 lbs!

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Groundhog day? Really?

I'm trying to be lighthearted about Groundhog Day. Really, I am. But ever since I had Henry make a guest appearance as the groundhog (February 2005), I think of him. And since he is no longer with us, it hurt this year. He sure has left a huge hole in my heart.

I've been working pretty steadily on my projects. Very steadily. Well, actually, on SOME of my projects. The others? Well, I keep saying that I'm a "two projects at a time" kind of girl, and apparently that's so. More than that, and the others just get dropped to the bottom of my knitting bag.

So what's been getting my attention lately? The Double Border Scarf from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace. I'm working this in Patons new lace weight. I find that the colour changes don't bother me. Except for one.
Don't know about anyone else, but I find that the white is just a wee bit jarring. If I didn't think the scarf might be a wee bit short to begin with, I'd cut the white out. However, the books suggests a 3.25mm needle, and I'm using a 4.5mm. (Hey -- scarves don't have to fit, and this was the only Addi lace needle I own!) So I've accepted it will be a bit shorter than I might like, and I'm hoping the lucky recipient will like it.

I've still not decided if this is something that I will bring into the shop. I know I can't stuff the shop with only things that I love. (Really, I can't! Otherwise, it'll just be one big stash room!) And the fact that this yarn is machine washable is truly a bonus. But I keep thinking that for only $2 more, one can knit with lace weight alpaca. Why wouldn't you?

I've continued the sock craze this year, with a slight modification. At the store, we'll be selecting a fancy pair of socks every other month for the 2011 year. Hopefully this will give me time to knit a few "manly" (read plain) pairs for the menfolk in my family. In the meantime, the February socks are here:
These will be the "Lace and Cable" socks from Wendy Johnson's book. As you can see, I've just barely started. I'm at the point where I need to place my markers and start the pattern, and the other lace project kept calling me.

My brother and his wife have been safely delivered of a beautiful baby girl. They named her Evelyn. I've yet to see the little munchkin, but that will be rectified in a mere two weeks. To that end, I need to get the baby sweater finished.
I'm close. Really. All I need is one and three quarters of a hood. At least the sewing together is done.

My store knit-along is progressing. Well, the other ladies are progressing. I seem to be stalled.
Same thing with the afghan.
What can I say? I seem to be able to focus on only one or two projects at a time, and I've made the mistake of having too many on the go. I'm hoping to finish up the lace scarf this week. Maybe that'll help. (Of course, we aren't going to talk about the double-knit sweater that I'm contemplating ... from lace weight yarn ... green/red hand-paint combination, or blue/blue handpaint combination, or purple/lilac handpaint combo.)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What am I doing?

Well, besides whining about my sprained/twisted ankle and can't ski this morning?

My brother and sister-in-law finished THEIR WIP, a beautiful baby girl, on Monday. So this means that the baby sweater needs to be finished before we visit next month. Carrie and I decided to make a larger size so that Baby would be able to wear it a bit longer, and so that she would have ample time to finish the project. Somehow it ended up in my basket, but that's OK. This is a sweater made from Sirdar Snuggly DK, colour 0260, from an older Pingouin magazine.

The back, sides and one sleeve are complete. Half a sleeve and the hood, and we're good to go.

We visited Jason and Coris down in Virginia for Christmas. They have a lovely new home. They are lacking a beautiful afghan for their living room. The Yggdrasil Afghan from Interweave Knits seems to fit the bill. I'm using Patons Shetland Chunky in Soft Teal, which will accent their colour scheme beautifully.

Jason and Coris -- I know it doesn't look like much just yet, but wait! It'll improve dramatically! This is one ball of yarn to date.

We've had a couple of customers inquire at the shop about Patons new laceweight yarn. It is 80% acrylic, 10% mohair and 10% wool, and dyed using a technique called "space dying." Basically, this means that the colour repeats are very l-o-n-g. Since Barb has an allergy to mohair, I was drafted to try the test piece. Dutifully I picked up a skein and tried to find a project.

I will admit to a fair bit of prejudice about this yarn. It just doesn't feel as nice as lace-weight alpaca. Why would anyone knit with this instead of alpaca? Eh? And this prejudice is perhaps why I've had to start a project with this yarn five times. Yes. Five times. I can report with full and complete honesty that the yarn withstands the rigors of repeated ripping and knitting. Beyond that ... well, I'm still not sold, but I AM knitting with it. This is the Double Bordered Scarf from Jane Sowerby's Victorian Lace:
I'm 32 rows into it, and finally starting to enjoy the process. I'll let you know how it all works out. In the meantime, this is probably going to be a Christmas gift for one of the youngish ladies in my lives. (You know who you are!)

I have committed myself to finishing the Great American Aran Afghan this calendar year. To that end, I knit up one of the remaining unworked squares -- the Jay Campbell square.
This square is worked from the outside in, circularly. Interesting concept, worked well, and the chart was impeccable. Don't know why I hesitated so long on this one.

Finally, we started a Knit-Along project at the store. The Arching Cables cardigan from the Fall Interweave Knits. I decided to use Elsebeth Lavold's Silky Flamme.
I'd been looking for a project for this wool so that I could showcase it at the store. This is it. A delightful project, not incredibly difficult but beautiful to behold. Here you see the belt, which took slightly more than one skein of wool. I'm just finishing the third ball here, so it will use a fair bit of wool. As Clairol would say, "I'm worth it!"

So ... what are you working on?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

This just in ...

and going quickly! My last shipment lasted less than 24 hours. Any bets on how long this one will last?

For the record, this yarn is now sold out. It lasted less than 2 business days. What a great seller!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

What I've done in January ... and there's still time left!

It's been quite the month for me -- from finishing projects, starting projects, and everything in between!

Firstly, and there is no photo to go along with this, I've been x-c skiing THREE times! The first two times created an amazing variety of bruises. My knees look like they've been painted various colours of green, blue, purple and black. So unattractive! But the third time? Not a single wipe-out, and a grand time was had by all. I'm looking forward to this weekend -- the potential for another three ski outings!

Remember Doug's (non-existent) Christmas socks? This is how they look now!

The boy is ridiculously happy!

We are teaching a fair isle class at the shop. In times past, I have used all kinds of bad words, in many combinations, to express my displeasure with fair isle. I did learn, finally, a technique to wrap the yarns so that they don't tangle around each other. The result:
This lovely hat and fingerless mittens. I used Patons Classic Merino and some neat yarn my step-daughter brought home from her trip to Ireland, on a 4.5mm for the hat, and 4.0mm for the mitts. Doesn't the inside of the work look nice? (Not that I'm fishing for compliments or anything!)
These little ensemble just might become a gift for the young ladies in my life. All four of them live in cold climates and a little extra warmth would be greatly appreciated by them.

In other news -- January 2 was the one-year anniversary of the shop's big relocation. We decided to have a party. But first, we needed to clear the counter of coffee mugs. Doug built and installed this for us, the morning of the party. Cut it a bit close, but after giving him a ball of yarn for his unknit socks, who am I to complain?
Since the party, he has installed a second, smaller panel which holds 18 mugs to the left of the first panel. Interestingly, a number of ladies brought cups in, and we're now looking at a total of 16 empty spaces.

I did mention that we threw a party, right? Parties involve food.
It was all delicious. Entirely too good. At the wool shop, however, there are no calories, so were just fine with it all.

And if you have delicious food and wool, you just know there will be friends!

All told, we had 20 people attend the party, as well as another half dozen who stopped by and shopped. Or dropped off chocolate.

I'm so excited that Doug procured the Addi Click needles for me. The fair isle set above was knit with them. For the hat I used the 16" cable, and it was quite nice to not have to finagle magic loop. (Did I say that out loud?!?) And you all know how dedicated I am to knitting everything possible on circular needles. So, guess what I did Tuesday?
Started a new project on my new Addi Clicks!

Friday, January 07, 2011


This past year has been the Year of the Sock. This pile of socks represents my year. Almost one full pair of socks per month ...
Did I learn anything from this endeavour? I certainly did. Knitting a pair of fancy socks every month, along with the myriad other projects that I knit was not nearly as easy as I had thought it would be. In fact, it was downright difficult. I'm not certain, but I think that the number of months that I actually finished on time was far fewer than the months I didn't. I did, ultimately, knit a pair of socks for every month -- but only if you count the plain striped socks for December. While not originally planned, these are the pair that saved my claim of "a pair for every month!"

Well, that and the fact that I finished the November socks on Christmas morning. Yes, my youngest son did, in fact, receive a pair of socks still on the needles. Everyone else? Well, the claim is that a picture says a thousand words.
Beginning with the 1:00 position and moving clockwise, you see my daughter-in-law with some lovely Arequipa socks, my step-daughter with hand-dyed Briggs & Little, my daughter with the fair-isle Naturally Loyal socks, myself with the Dream in Colour sparkly yarn, youngest son with the Colinette Jitterbug November socks, eldest son with the Misti International Alpaca sock yarn, and ... well, there's poor Doug with a ball of yarn.

Yes, even with knitting a pair of socks every month in 2011, I ended up short one pair of socks for the gift-giving. Now, I do have a bunch of socks for the ladies in the family for 2012 ... it just turned out that I was short on socks for the men in my life. I have since made great strides toward rectifying this oversight as I'm on the toe shaping for sock #2 of his pair.

And Doug definitely deserves a pair of socks after he got me the fabulous Addi Click needles for Christmas.

I did, however, give him a very awesome gift too:
A KitchenAid professional model stand mixer. Doug has been wanting a new stand mixer for ages, especially since last Christmas his then-current mixer lost a part. Still worked, but was no longer a "start and walk away" model. He'd been wanting and wishing for a new mixer all year, and I decided that he deserved a new mixer. Does he look happy?

In fact, he was so thrilled with the mixer that he immediately hauled it out to the daughter-in-law's kitchen and the two of them mixed up a batch of cinnamon rolls.

Hope everyone else had a delightful Christmas and New Year.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

You should see what my honey got me for Christmas!

I had the best Christmas ever. You should SEE what my honey got me: