Thursday, September 30, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

Today we had a visitor at knit group. Zieknits - that's her ravelry moniker - Elizabeth is her real name, was in town. Like last year, she couldn't make a trip to our area without stopping in for knit group.

A treat for us, she brought some show and tell.

This beautiful shawl was knit with locally produced wool that none of us knew existed. It takes a tourist to introduce you to your own stuff. Look at the beading here.
Glorious, Elizabeth.

Then there was this piece of pretty lace.
Another glorious shawl. This one with a rounded bottom and a great shoulder-hugging shape.

And lastly, these wonderful mittens. Such detail.
Interestingly enough, you have a right and left mitten there, Elizabeth. In Canada, sometimes we do it differently.

Or at least Joanne does.
Two lefts. Just when she thought she was finished with this project!

Sandy B, back from a Maine vacation with 'the girls' and sporting a new hairstyle is still working on her mitred square blanket. I see a few baby hats there Sandy. Much better travel knitting than the squares.

A fun time and all of us out for tea afterwards.

My Survivor Review. Jimmy Johnson gone! I would have kept him. He seemed a great motivator and manager of people. Fred said people get tired of being motivated and managed. As soon as he said it, Fred looked at me and emphatically declared - "I'm talking about Jimmy Johnson. Jimmy Johnson.
Hmmm. Me thinks he doth protest too much.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Out Of The Penalty Box

When Elizabeth Zimmermann's 50th Anniversary Sweater gave me grief over the 'raising-of-the-back-neck' short rows, it was suggested by Laurie M of Issues With Knitting to put it in a time out.

Timing was perfect because I had committed to knitting a marathon of scarves and had no knitting time for an un-cooperative, fair isle sweater.

But the scarves are done - I believe I forgot to showcase this one -
the weather has cooled and I'm anxious to see if my Anniversary Cardi er rather I -have learned my knitting lesson.

Steek not yet cut, ends not yet tied in, here is my version of Elizabeth's fabulous sweater. It is LOVELY. It FITS. With short rows completed in the final contrast colour it is now fully co-operative and ready for steeking and i-cord bands.

Back to EZ knitting.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Stamina Required.

Yesterday, when I posted about the Harris household marathons, you should know that those pictures were taken on Sunday.

Today is Tuesday.

Marathons require stamina. Not Fred's. He's fine. Mine. Two days working in a kitchen full of tools is not easy. "No use putting them away when they'll be needed again tomorrow."

But there is nothing like a salmon run in the Beaver River to spur one across the finish line.

See those green lights? It's working. The bottom has been left off - the better to see any leaks. And I have been shown where the main valve is so I can turn off the water in case of leaks. (Duh! ) And Fred? he's gone fishing!

Which leaves me free to complete my scarf marathon.

Scarf number three knit during the 50th Anniversary Sweater time out. But this marathon is finished. Back to the cardi now.

Monday, September 27, 2010


Not the running kind, but marathons of a different sort have been taking place at our house this weekend.

This one - probably the most time sensitive one - is Fred's.

These pictures were taken Sunday afternoon. Things don't look much different today.

These are my marathon.

Unlike Fred I am quite aware of my deadline. There were to be three done for Wednesday.
Right now, there are two.

On this one, I have to finish knitting, tie in ends and block. Totally do-able by Wednesday.

Don't ever let anyone tell you that retirement is not a busy time.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

Despite the rain and dreariness of the day, there was lots of laughter in the upstairs room at the Meaford Library this afternoon. What else would one expect - the knitters were there.

Doreen showed us her 'wrap', complaining about how long it's taking. She's anxious to be on to her next project.

It looks as if you have a bit to go yet, Doreen.

Sharon's cousin from Western Canada is going to be the recipient of this lovely Fleece Artist shawl. Lucky woman!

Sharon has fallen in love with the colour and now thinks she might have to knit one for herself too. Does garter stitch bore you Nancy?

Joanne, inspired by Ingrid, has started a mitred-square garment. She didn't say what exactly she intends to knit. Leave your options open, Joanne. It takes a lot of mitred squares to go from this
to this.

Gail is closing in on the end of another pair of socks. These she started as her mindless road-trip knitting when she and her hubby took a recent trip to New York to visit Ground Zero.

And Wilma, wearing her very nice Sit Com Chic Cardi is happily knitting another little top-down sweater for a neighbour's soon-to-arrive baby. It seems to be making you very happy, Wilma!

And my Survivor review. Survivor Nicaragua? Seems a more appropriate name might be Survivor Bonkers. Shannon, Holly, Naonka - Time for your meds!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


At the Knitters Fair, a couple of weeks ago, I spotted a scarf on display that interested me. Some booth keepers at these types of events are very closed mouthed about their designs/ideas. But this particular booth person was very open and shared with me exactly how she had done the scarf.

And so, I did what I do best - I copied. Last week, when I arrived at the stop sign that was the puzzle about how to do the fair isle short rows in my 50th Anniversary Sweater, Laurie M gave me a great suggestion. She suggested I put my knitting in a time out. Good idea, Laurie. I started the scarf.

This scarf starts with a band of non curling knitting - I did seed stitch. Following that, the stitches are divided into thirds and knitted separately. Each third being knit with a different yarn.
Can you guess what happens to those three strips when done? Likely, you can. They are braided, coming together again at the other end of the scarf to knit another non-curling band. Neat eh? The perfect antidote to confusing fair isle short rows.

I can just hear the teacher saying " My, you copy well."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


Last week, when I posted about working the raising-of-the-back-neck short rows on my Elizabeth Zimmermann 50th Anniversary Sweater, I worried about how to do them in fair isle. But determined to "do my best, to do my duty..." said it was my intention to do them in fair isle unless defeated. Defeat came swiftly.

Not defeated by the knitting or the chart or the pattern. But by this.

I ran out of yarn -the colour required to work the fair isle pattern. Hmmm. No learning opportunity for Brenda. Short rows would have to be done the good old fashioned way - just simply back and forth in one colour.

For Yarn and Ivories who was brave enough to comment on the short row post to say she had no idea what 'raising-of-the-back-neck short rows' were and for all the others too shy to admit to it, here are a couple of shots of "raising-of-the-back-neck short rows.

Below you see the back neck of the sweater. Note how many rows of knitting there are above the dark dot of stitching.

Now take a look at the front of the sweater.

See how many fewer rows of knitting there are above the dark dots? This happens because I didn't knit all the way around to the front of the sweater when doing those short rows across the back. (Hence the name 'short rows' - they stop short of going all the way across the row or round.)

I did 3 sets of short rows, knitting a little bit closer to the front with each set, so as to have a gradual decline towards the less-knitted front. If the knitting stopped at the same place in each short row, of course there would be a great 'step' in the knitting.

30 years ago, when I sensed that those chunky fair isle ski sweaters we all knit needed a better fitting neck than the pattern suggested, I knit my version of short rows with that great step. Intrinsically knowing that the back needed to be higher than the front, but not being an experienced enough knitter to know how to do that, I used to simply knit back and forth across the back a few times. Then, of course, I had to camouflage the step-down that led to the front of the sweater. Since then, I've learned the art of gradual inclines.

That's explains how they are done but Yarn and Ivories question to me also suggested that she wondered 'why' one would do them.

One does them to have the sweater neck be more anatomically correct. Because we have chins, we need our sweater fronts to be lower than our sweater backs. The knitter can either make the centre front of the sweater shorter than the centre back or the reverse - make the centre back higher than the centre front. The latter is what Elizabeth Zimmermann suggests. Since this is her year - that is what I did.

Now I'm off to cut that steek. I'm thinking of crocheting it. That's my plan, and I'm sticking to it. Until defeated.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A Big Day

Yesterday, Sunday, was a big day for me. Deb and Lynda Gemmell, the Cabin Fever sisters, organized Canada's first-ever knitting, trade show. Like -except for size, this being the first year - the TNAA in the USA and called appropriately enough The Knit Trade Event.

This kind of show is a 'not-for-the-public' show but rather a place where retailers can go to see and feel yarns, talk to wholesalers, and buy stock for their stores.

Besides yarn, there were books. Lots and lots of books.

Perhaps that one in the corner you can't see well enough. Here's a close up.

This was my big day because -
Hot off the presses - literally. The book was not ready Friday morning, but by Sunday, Lynda had worked her magic and there it was. My big day.

As with most of the big days in my life, made possible by the great support, encouragement and tutelage of others. Thanks Deb and Lynda.

Friday, September 17, 2010


Progress is being made on Elizabeth Zimmermann's 50th 52nd Anniversary cardigan.
With only six more rows of fair isle work to go, I took a knitting break during Survivor Wednesday evening to read ahead in the pattern a bit. I should do that more often. At the turn of the page, I found the info that spoke of Elizabeth's famous raising-of-the-back-neck short rows. Oops! In a myopic quest for the top, I had forgotten all about them.

A little aside here. Saturday, at the Knitters Fair, Glenna C, in her workshop on designing, spoke a bit about bloggers and blogging. She observed that blogs are more often about displaying finished objects than showing works in progress. She concluded that it must be because bloggers perceive finished knitting as being more interesting, but lamented the missing progress reports - the parts where a blogger could share their experiences and readers might learn. My dim light bulb went on and I thought "Ah yes. We blog about the product, but not the process."
So Glenna, what follows is for you.

Now, short rows are not new to me. I do them to slope shoulders on a set-in sleeve or a dropped shoulder sweater. Most peoples' shoulders are not square-topped. If no shaping is included in the shoulder knitting, the sweater is straight across, while the shoulder slopes. That extra fabric has to go somewhere, and often becomes an unwanted pleat of knitting at the armpit. Easily solved by short-row shaping.

As Elizabeth recommends, I do short rows to keep lower backs from rising up over my 'dowager's' hump and I do them to raise back necks. But as I started to knit the first short row on my fair isle yoke, I was caught off guard. I have never done short rows in fair isle before. I asked myself some questions.

1. Was I supposed to carry on working additional fair isle pattern rows in the partial rows across the back? If so, could I jump to that spot in the fair isle chart on the front of the sweater in the first complete round following the short rows and still have the front yoke pattern look right? It would be a 6 round jump as I intended to put in 3 short rows.

2. Or, after the short rows were finished, was I supposed to be working from two different places in the chart? One row for the front of the sweater and another row - six rows further along - for the back? That would be confusing knitting and require a close eye. Not something that I do well.

3. Or could I cheat in the short rows and work repeats of the last completed round for the three short rows and still have the back look acceptable? Studying the chart I did notice that at about this point in the chart, there are a few rounds that repeat one another. Is this Elizabeth's genius again? Her solution for short rows in fair isle? And could it be that I am so smart so lucky as to have decided to do my short rows exactly where Elizabeth did hers? Highly unlikely. But I think I caught a break.

Of course, there are still a couple more options. Forget the short rows entirely.

Or do them in the main colour above the fair isle pattern and before the trim is added. But the picture in the pattern clearly indicates short rows done in pattern. At the moment. that is my plan and I'm sticking to it. Until defeated.

Thinking through this short-row-in-fair-isle process, Glenna, I now know why we I post about finished knitting instead of progress knitting. Progress reports do nothing to promote the appearance of a high, knitting IQ.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Thursdays Are For - Not This Week

Today, I am helping with a funeral lunch and will not be at knit group. Your regularly scheduled post of all the Meaford Knitters' activities will return next week.

From yesterday's comments, it seems as if the picture of my new dust mop coat topper put a smile on a few faces.

The commenters' jury is still out on the shawlette, but opinions ranged from dust mop, to both dust mop and coat topper - a dual purpose item to 'either, but not both' to Gina's comment - "Give it t o your Grand Daughter." Guess that means Gina doesn't think it looks that great on me. :):) Don't you love an honest person?

Thursdays' postings will have to be re-titled this fall. Survivor has moved to Wednesdays. Maybe as suggested by Patti-Ann, I'll name the post 'Thursdays Are For Knit Group and A Survivor Review'.

A techno question. I have always used bloglines for my blog post feeds but they are closing down as of Oct 1. Following their 'helpful' instructions to get a new feed system left me - well, without one. Do any readers know anything about computer issues of this nature? Can you tell me how to transfer to another feed system? Will pay with yarn. Just joking. Every ball in my yarn room has a job to do. But I will be very grateful.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Just For Fun

The ACRYLIC!! 'just for fun' kit I bought at the Knitters Fair on Saturday was a quick and easy two-hour knit. Perfect for lazy, Sunday evening knitting after a busy, busy weekend.

Without the 12mm needles called for, I subbed in 10mm and it seemed to work out nicely.

The pattern is a variation on the typical, triangular, garter stitch, dish-cloth- style shawlette. This pattern starts with 10 stitches. In Row 3, those stitches are doubled, then in row 5 they are increased by 33%. After that there is a increase at each end of every row.

You cast off when you run out of yarn or you can't stand it any longer. And my trick for a loose enough cast-off is to do a KF&B every tenth stitch in the row preceding the cast off row. This increases the stitch count by 10% making for a nice, loose, cast-off edge.

My ACRYLIC!! 'just for fun' shawlette is either a dust cloth


an artistic, stylish topper for my black coat.

Point of view matters.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Great restraint was practised by 'yours truly' on Saturday at the Knitters Fair. Rather than my normal three or four sweaters worth of yarn, I came home with two balls of yarn a couple of patterns and some very knitterly stationery.

It wasn't that there was nothing that appealed. It wasn't that there was nothing affordable. It wasn't that I didn't have enough time. What restrained me was my full, yarn room -a room with three or four sweaters worth ahead of me - and a strong feeling not to become overwhelmed.

So, sadly, Canada's economy didn't get it's expected boast from Brenda at this year's fair. In fact, I doubt I even came close to cracking the $100 mark - my normal marker for taking a deep breath and slowing down down a bit.

But what I did get was pretty special. One ball of Kauni
and a pattern for the 'Holey' scarf.

Kauni is a yarn I have read and heard much about on blogs and ravelry. It isn't sold commonly in my neck of the woods, so when I saw the yarn and this glorious pattern, I knew it was time to lose my Kauni virginity. The pattern gives directions for four different scarf widths - the widest being more of a shawl. I'm thinking scarf width for myself and yes - this ball has all those colours in it that you see in the pattern.

From the sublime to the 'just for fun'. At Grand River Yarns, I bought this ball that came complete with a pattern for a little shawlette.

When our group met for lunch, Ingrid hauled two skeins of this same yarn & pattern out of her bag. In her delightful German accent she said
"Look what I bought. It's not wool. It's not Alpaca. It's not even cotton. It's ACRYLIC!! Can you believe I bought this?"

I hauled mine out of my bag and said - and " It was only $10."
Money sure does talk.

Tanis Fibre Arts
was selling great knitters stationery.
I love this kind of thing and often send little notes to friends on stationery that speaks to my love of knitting. The colours on these cards, like the colours of Tanis' yarns, are gorgeous.

Part of the afternoon I spent at Glenna C's workshop on design. I've read Glenna's blog for some time now and it was great to meet her in person and hear her highly intelligent, focused approach to design.

All of that plus the great company on the drive, our picnic lunch, and a day surrounded by colour, fibre and creativity - what a day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Exciting Times

Wow! Blogland and ravelry today are full of knitters - Glenna, Sandra, Deb and Nan to name a few - excited about tomorrow's visit to the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair. Me too. Sandra says it marks the opening of knitting season for her. Indeed. Let the season begin!

As for knitting - the colour work on my 50th Anniversary cardigan is coming along.
I'm on row 31 of the 42 row yoke pattern and past the first decrease round. Two more decrease rounds in the last 11 rounds - so the speed should pick up considerably. It looks lovely - IMHO.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Today, we were treated to creativity plus at knit group. Sandy's sister Sue - I call her bag lady Sue -
is in town to hitch a ride to the K.W. Knitters Fair on Saturday. Of course she brought with her some of her fabulous hand knit, felted bags.

Gob smacked I was. Who has the brain to think these things up and then the hands to create them? Obviously not me.

Not to be outdone in the creativity department was Ingrid. This beautiful piece was knit by Ingrid's daughter.

Boy, my DNA sure got short changed. I missed out totally on a creativity gene such as these and also the knitting-daughter thing. How unfair is that?

We now return to normal knitting. Bonnie - remember until this time last year, Bonnie the life-long knitter, had never knit anything for herself - finished her brown denim sweater. Another nice fit, Bonnie.
And Sandy, sister of bag-lady Sue, finished another baby outfit.
It's very nice Sandy. Don't compare yourself to your sister. Really, please don't. Your baby outfit is very nice.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Let the fun begin. The colour work portion of my Elizabeth Zimmermann's 50th Anniversary Sweater has begun.

Row one of the yoke pattern calls for one row- and one row only- worked with a 'surprise' colour. Meg Swansen describes this 'surprise' colour row as being 'optional'. My option, because I think surprises of that sort are fun, was to include that row. But, what colour will surprise against my caramel background?

Like Denise of Needles and Pins, it took some time to decide. I looked at a few.
Green. Very nice. Calming, inoffensive. Think of a walk in the woods.

Lilac. Soft and feminine. Think of a flower garden.

Navy. Great contrast but a bit masculine. Think of a guy's sweater.

Black. One of my favourite colour combos- caramel and black. Think sophistication. Before I started the selection process, I was sure black was the colour I would prefer.

But in the end, I chose - red.
After all, it's meant to surprise.