Friday, April 29, 2011

The Royal Wedding - Knitters' Style

Rarely  do I get out of bed at 4:30 am, but with a Royal Wedding to watch and 13 knitters arriving to watch it with me, the coffee did need to be made.

What better way to watch the Royal Wedding than with knitters.  There was Champagne & orange juice, coffee, scones, muffins, fruit, homemade jams, quiches and goodies galore.  A spectacular, traditional wedding, with good food, a little alcohol and knitters.  Showing our age, to a one, we stood at attention when God Save The Queen was played. 

At 4:55 am the room looked like this. 

After 5, like this.

They were told to wear their PJs and to bring their knitting.  That's what they did.

Such a  good time.  Such a beautiful wedding.  Such a great start to our day.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

'The spring that never was' gives us a good reason to come to knit group. A place to warm up the needles and ourselves. 

Sandy B, freshly back from  Florida, says  she just  can't get warm.  I told her the cold must be affecting her hair colour.  It has turned red.

Sandy claims there was a communication problem with the hairdresser.  The weather does wonders for her knitting output though.  So many  little hats with I-Cord knots have rolled off her needles.

Doreen is knitting another 'givin'-me-grief' project.
 She seems to begin each knitting session by recapturing lost stitches on this ruffled scarf.  They march off the needles during the night, she says. 

Wilma has a very cute pair of baby socks in the works,

while Bonnie has finished her craft-show, baby blanket.

With seven balls of Astra, plus her time, in this blanket   we asked what she could possibly charge to make it worth her while.  We're still waiting for the answer. 

What is Ingrid knitting?  If you guessed a gored skirt, with each gore being a different  colour, and each knitted gore being crocheted together, you'd be right.  A far cry from hats or dishcloths.

Gail's little top down cardigan nears completion.  
This is the same pattern that she knit for the 2010 Olympic challenge and which that time 'round made her blood pressure spike.  No time pressure now,  so no medical crisis either.

You will have to take my word for it, but Mona is knitting lovely cable mittens.  Focusing on her terrific smile, I forgot to ask her to hold up her knitting.

Where do you suppose these ladies will be tomorrow morning at 5am?  In my living room, sipping champagne and orange juice, nibbling on scones and watching the royal wedding.  Full details tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Curling Peasy

Despite the little purple detour, my Peasy is coming along nicely.  The body is finished (if you don't count the about-to-be-mentioned re-knit) and one sleeve nearly so.

With some patterns, it is obvious as I read through them that changes need to be made to create an easy-to-knit, wearable sweater.  With those designs, I make multiple changes as I knit.  Perhaps I knit in the round rather than back and forth. Or I add length, add shaping or add short rows across the back.  Other patterns give no such clues.   With these designs,  especially when knitting the pattern for the first time, I knit exactly as instructions dictate. Such is/was the Peasy pattern. 

I have been following  Peasy's  instructions precisely,  but there seems to be a problem.  The body finishes  with these instructions: "Next 3 rows: Knit.  Next RS row:  Bind Off."    In other words, the bottom trim is three rows of knit stitch.  Obviously not nearly enough because look at this curl. 

And just as  obviously, not to mention, sadly, this section will require a re-knit.  But what trim will I choose to  give Peasy a non-curling edge?    Ribbing?  It would be the only ribbing on the sweater. Perhaps not the best solution.  Garter?  There would have to be more of it.    Will five rows be enough?   I'll know in a couple of days.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Purple For Baby

Car travelling time scores again.  On the way to and from Sis' house for Easter dinner, I managed to finish  the very appropriately Easter coloured  purple baby sweater.  A purple that is  not  as royal a purple as Barney Dinosaur Purple.  More a 'Mom likes this colour'    purple.

Mom will   also like the fact that Magic Garden Buttons  yarn is a washable wool.  No hand washing for this baby.  Well, for the baby for sure, but not for the sweater.

This is Cabin Fever Pattern # 608, a top down sweater in six sizes from baby through kindergarten.  Since I was knitting this for display purposes at the store with no baby in mind and since I love quick projects,  I made the smallest,  one year size.  What a great, simple knit!  Rolled edges and no shaping in either body or sleeves.  At the sleeve cuff, stitches are decreased by one third before knitting another  inch or so  for the roll-up portion and finally casting off. 

Knit in Double Knitting weight yarn, it makes for a quick - and very cute baby knit.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Lots of chatter, lots of chocolate, lots of knitting, lots of fun.  That was knit group today.

Sandy B is back from Florida - 
tanned and hating our cool weather.  She says the only thing she misses when gone are her kids, grand kids and Knit Group.  Glad we made the list, Sandy.

Sharon is finished with her monkey business. 
This is the second monkey she has knit and the last for a while.  Very cute, but fiddly she says. 

Look at how much knitting Nicki has done since last Friday when she purchased this Americo Flamme at the Creative Festival. 
She is knitting Mothed from  Her vision is for a see-through top to cover her bikini while she strolls the beach on a warm summer evening eating an ice cream cone.    Some - or maybe all -  of that is fantasy she says.    I think you've accomplished the see through part, Nicki.

Donna has caught the one-hour hat bug. 
These are cute, Donna.  Your grand daughters will love them.

Gloria's doll matches her outfit.  There's a goal for you. A knitted toy to every outfit. 

Bonnie, after many, many years of selling her knitted things  at the  Meaford Craft Show, retired from it in 2009.  It's a very busy, two day show the weekend before Thanksgiving and takes tons of knitted things to fill a booth.   Bonnie statement a few months back was - too much  knitting, too much work, too much time, too hard on the legs and feet.  She said  she was glad to be done with it.  But!  Someone talked her into  doing it again in 2011.   
She's busy crocheting and knitting best sellers.  Like this baby blanket. 

A busy group of knitters . 

Happy Easter to you all.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

For Baby

How cute is this?
We are between generations in my family.  Some of us have finished with our baby-producing years and the others haven't got there yet.  Which partly explains why I don't often knit for babies.  But when I saw this great little top down pattern, I couldn't resist. 

Since I don't know any babies, it really didn't mater what size I knit. And since the 'done before dinner' mind set is always, at least one of my criteria, I chose the  smallest size  -  the one year size.  
On the weekend, I passed the 'great divide', that is the point in the knit where the sleeves and body are separated,  and finished the body.  With simple  rolled hems, this is an easy knit.   The yarn is Magic Garden,  Buttons, a Mom-pleasing  washable wool, knit at a DK gauge.  Two small sleeves to knit and I am ready for a baby shower!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On Memory Loss And Ageing

Recently, Fred and I attended a seminar on Memory Loss and Ageing.  The multi-titled Doctor suggested many tips for coping with   hiding the memory loss  so common in those of us of a certain age.  One of the tips was not to multi-task.  Leave that to the younger, more memory-abled brains was the suggestion.

The problem with these suggestions is that when you have ML&A you forget.  Which is why I decided to run a marathon of the baking (not the Boston) type yesterday.

My assignment for the family Easter dinner is desserts. My one dessert is a last minute thing, but the second dessert planned is Carrot Cake.    Easy to make ahead and freeze.   And since we had a giant supply of carrots (ask Fred, the household grocery shopper, who  suffers from ML&A too, about our giant supply of carrots)  I decided to also bake Carrot Muffins. Grate one pound, grate several, right?

Although my assigned  Easter dinner duty is simply dessert, because our family get-together is a sleep-over (and I'm an over-achiever) I volunteered to make home-made Hot Cross Buns for breakfast.  Not as challenging as one might think.  Just my routine bread recipe with the addition of spices and currants.  Lastly, because Marie of Sel&Poivre had shared her recipe for the world's best Chocolate Chip Cookies,  I decided to bake them as well. Why not?  The flour's already out, right?

The plan was to grate the giant supply of carrots, mix the carrot cakes ( my recipe makes two ), get them in the oven, then start the bread.  Once the bread dough was set to rise, make the muffins with the already- grated carrots, then lastly the cookies. 

Now, any sane person would  set aside the entire  day to run a marathon of this sort.  But me, having always suffered from a delusional deception of what I can accomplish in any given number of hours, set aside a couple of hours after lunch. With the food processor full of grated carrots and only a few little orange bits on the cabinetry, I  made the cakes.  Into the oven they went, then on with the bread dough.  Once it was rising, I started to prepare the muffin batter.  Half way through, that job, I glanced at Marie's recipe to note that the cookie dough had to be chilled before baking.  Hmmm.  perhaps I should re-order things.  Mix the cookie dough, set it in the frig, then finish the muffins.  No problem.  I might suffer from ML&A but  I'm adaptable.

Marie's recipe called for 2 1/2 cups of chocolate chips.  Holy Doodle!! No wonder they were the world's best chocolate chip cookies.   And it seemed to be difficult to get that amount mixed in.  In fact I stopped far short of that amount.  There just wasn't room for any more chips.  At the bottom of her recipe, Marie had written a note that she often doubles the recipe as it freezes well.  I wondered if maybe she was thinking about  the  doubling process and incorrectly doubled the amount of chips. That's what I - a sufferer of ML&A - would do.    I thought about emailing her to ask.  But I was running a marathon here.  What if she was out?  Walking the dog or some such?   My day wasn't really set up to wait patiently for an answer.  And Marie is way younger than I am.  She doesn't suffer from ML&A yet.  She wouldn't make such an error.  I carried on.

I wrapped the dough in plastic wrap and into the frig it went.  I checked on the cakes, the rising buns and then turned back to the partially mixed muffins.  What the heck?  What was that bowl of flour?  Where did that belong?  White flour.  Not much.  In a bowl on the counter.  Did I miss putting it in the cakes?  Not likely, they looked fine.  Was it meant for the buns?  No , I make them with whole wheat flour.  Should it  go in the muffin batter?  No, I intended to make them with whole wheat flour and had only mixed the liquids so far.  Hmmm.  Could it belong in the cookie dough?  Oh, My Gosh! That doctor was right. I suffer from ML&A.   I am too old to multi-task.  What recipe have I ruined?

If the flour was meant for the cookies, had I already added the soda and salt?  I couldn't tell.  I grabbed the dough out of the frig and examined it closely. It did have that grainy texture of creamed butter and brown sugar.    Was it missing flour?  By the process of elimination, this was the only place it could belong.  Should I add soda and salt? What if I already had added that?  Would double soda and salt be worse than no soda and salt?  I decided it would be.  I added the flour to the dough and guess what?  2 1/2 cups of chips are possible. 

Except for the war-zone appearance of my kitchen by 5pm, all was  well that ended well.  There were two Carrot Cakes, one dozen Carrot Muffins and  36 Hot Cross Buns in my freezer.  And 36 of the world's best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the  jar.

I think people run marathons because when it's over, they feel so darn good about having survived it.   Another baking marathon survived!  Plus,  the additional, euphoric feeling of knowing that  I beat back  the dreaded ML&A for one more day.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Friday's Festival

My favourite thing about retirement is that I no longer need to set the alarm clock.  In my previous life, the work week had two kinds of  awakenings:  The Monday to Friday early,  jangling start and the more relaxed, 'wake when you want to' weekend.

Now, however, the occasional day when the alarm   is set means a special day -  something fun, some special activity,  a day trip.  Friday was one of those days.  At 6 am,  I jumped up at the first jangle because   Nicki, Sharon, Wilma and I were heading to the Creative Festival in Toronto.

Only having been to the Creative Festival  once before,  I remembered it as not a  knitter-specific show.  There were many crafts  featured, but I'm not a crafter, I am a Knitter.  Hoping things had changed, I was anxious to go again.

They haven't.  With only three yarn vendors -  Mary Maxim, Black Sheep & Ewe and Unwind - it's still not a knitters festival.  Dire circumstances for us, but we managed.    Unwind, the shop familiar to Sharon, was our first stop.  There I purchased  two skeins of Americo Cotton Flamme 

with intentions to use it for Amiga, Mags Kandis new pattern in the spring Knitty.

Also on my list was yarn  to knit Afternoon Breezes, a new pattern by Ilga Leja, which I had downloaded just last week.  Once back home, I realized that in my size, both patterns take the same amount of yarn.  At the moment, I am not sure which pattern I will knit in the Flamme.   Probably Afternoon Breezes.

We were soon done with the 'non-knitters'  festival and one of the group suggested we visit the Unwind store in Newmarket.  Nicki, our accommodating driver drove the extra  70K with no complaints.  After all, a yarn store awaited.  The store is lovely. Lots and lots of yarn.  We were able to give a big yarny sigh of relief - our yarny longings were satisfied. 

A great day and an excellent reason to get up to the sound of the alarm.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Wow!  A celebrity knits among us.  This knitter, new to the world of celebrities, is certainly  not new to us or to the world of fantastic, creative designing and knitting.

Ingrid brought in a copy of the most recent issue of Vogue Knitting.  Inside VK, there is an advertisement for a new magazine.  Koigu  now has it's own magazine. 
Guess who designed and knit the dress on the front cover of this premiere issue?  That's right!  Our very own Koigu Queen - Ingrid.  Congratulations, Ingrid.  Front cover no less. 
Pat, our main Royal Watcher, had a special mail delivery today.  Her pattern to knit the Royal Wedding arrived.  
 Here's Kate and William.  Pat is disgusted with the nose given William.  She thinks it makes him look like Jimmy Durante. 
She assured us he will look much 'prettier' when she's finished knitting him.  I suggested she should aim to have it finished in time for the wedding.  But a work of this magnitude takes time, she said. 

Our knitters are multi talented.  Wilma brought in some of her very own hand made greeting cards.
What word can we create for a knitter who also scrapbooks?  A 'scrapknitter'?  A 'knittingscrapper'?
Ingrid also creates cards.  Today, she brought in one of her wonderful cards that reflect her love of knitting.  My poor photography doesn't show to advantage the lovely card.  There is a  little piece of cabled knitting with  stitches held   on 'toothpick'  needles.  And as you can see, Ingrid also spins.  Would we call her a 'spinning booknitter'?   Perhaps, brilliantly creative will do.

Blinded by all this brilliance, Gail, Sharon, Mona and I knit.  That's all.  No cards.  No design premiers.  Sigh.  It used to be enough.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Having now arrived at the  less-than-exciting-knitting stage of Peasy
- that is a few inches south of what Deb Gemmell calls the great divide - gives me time to dream.   Dream about the next project.  Or at least one to go in the queue.

Take a look at the  picture that arrived in my email box this week.  This is something I LOVE.  Of course there isn't much of Ilga Leja's that I don't love.  She takes creative designs to new heights.

So while I do some spring cleaning today, and while I  take a walk and prepare my book review for tonight's book club meeting, I will be dreaming.  Of Afternoon Breezes.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Comfort Found Here

With my lace pattern giving me grief -  sure, I know it was me that was the problem and not the  pattern because   I read, then promptly forgot the  directions and merrily carried on knitting lace until I realized I had gone too far.  Still, grief  is what followed.  Reading lace knitting has never been my knitting forte.  While I can read, understand and even  carry out the instructions, once ripped, I have difficulty 'reading' where in the lace pattern I am/was.   That was the true cause of the grief.

The general population might seek comfort in a  miriad of things and, at times, so do I.   I am however, a Knitter.  First and foremost then,   I seek comfort in the needles.

This weekend, , I set aside Peasy, with it's grief-causing lace and instead knit one of these.    A Comfort Doll.    The pattern is here.  My doll is seen here, first, lying flat, with both knitting and embroidery done.

And here, partially sewn, waiting for the stuffing.  

A quick knit, a bit of embroidery, some stuffing and there's comfort for both the  knitter and the eventual owner of the doll.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Back Where I Started From

Obviously, I'm not a multi tasker.  I cannot talk, take pictures  and knit at the same time. 

Yesterday, getting ready for knit group, I wondered if I should take Peasy.  With it's lace pattern, a fleeting thought passed through my brain suggesting that perhaps, it was not something I could knit while chatting and taking pictures.  But listening to my knitterly denial, I reassured myself that I had that lace pattern under control.

And really I did.  As far as the stitches went, at least.  What I forgot was that I was at the point in the pattern where I was supposed to stop knitting three lace repeats, and knit only two.  By the time I got home, I had one full  round of triple lace repeats on my sweater.

I did, for a moment, consider leaving them.  But luckily, the thought  occurred to me that the lower on the  front those three repeats came  the closer the lace pattern  would come to ending at the highest point on my chest.  Perhaps something the designer had already figured out.   (Quiet, you nay-sayers.  There IS so a high point on my chest.)

So - last evening's knitting time began with ripping back the knitting I had accomplished in the afternoon.  That went better than expected.  Until, that is,  an hour later when I stopped to look at what I was doing.  The lace pattern was w-a-y off. 

So - last evenings knitting time ended with ripping back the knitting I had accomplished earlier in the evening.  There are no pictures in today's post.  it's just dismal a scene to photograph.  

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Sunshine  and mild temperatures today!  Finally!  That sun brightened the day almost as much as the knitting on display at knit group.
Wilma has been busy knitting  One Hour Hats.  Or Crocheted Butterfly Hats as they are called in this link. The front row displayed here  are all  Wilma's hats, the back row mine. 

With that many One Hour Hats, Wilma appears to be working a full day.  Each hat is a little different - some with flowers, some with butterflies. And all in great spring colours.

Joanne is knitting  a beautiful, wool Diagonal Scarf.  If she were to bring all her scarves to knit group, there would be one - or maybe more  - for each of us, with some to spare.   Next to her great mittens, she loves to knit scarves.

How do you like the colour of the socks Gail is knitting?

It's the kind of colour that makes one smile.  Gail says these  are Christmas gift socks.  Christmas is till eight months away, Gail. That's an early start.  Which could be the reason for the smile.

Doreen is wearing a lovely scarf today, knit for her by Marlene who sadly can only come to knit group when she has a day off work. 

 It's gorgeous yarn.  All thick and thin and nubbly.  A very stylish  accessory.

Ruth has a good start on a sweater for herself.
It started as a baby sweater but Ruth thought the colour not good for a baby.  Really!   I bet she just realized how well it matches her shirt!

Winter might be the traditional time for knitting, but with these bright, cheerfully-colourful yarns our knitters remain happily stitching right through the advent of spring.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Choice Was Made

Two projects diverged in a wool room here, 
And sorry I could not knit both at once
And be one knitter,
Long I stood and looked at centre paneled vest
Then chose the Peasy - just as fair.

With apologies to Robert Frost, my dilemma about which project to knit next reminded me of his poem, The Road Not Taken.

At the time of writing  Friday's post,  I was leaning towards Sally Melville's Centre Paneled Vest/Sweater. It would appear, though that  my tastes are not in sync with the  tastes of blog-land knitters.   Most commenters voted  in favour of Peasy.

Easily swayed and showing no resistance,  Monday, I cast on for Peasy.  After an inch of knitting, I realized I had the wrong size needle.    Oops.  A re-start with the correct needle size and  Tuesday evening, here I am.

The knitting, at this stage, is motivating, making Peasy seem like a quick knit.  Adding interest is the lace at the beginning of each row.  Once that's finished, there are just miles and miles of stockinet. Perhaps not so quick at that point.
Most of the  461 projects on ravelry claim this to be an easy pattern but there are a couple that speak of difficulty through the lace work.  Forewarned is forearmed.  I wrote  lace pattern  notes out in detail and - so far, so good.

Peasy is knit top down and I'm looking forward to that  'fit as you knit' process.  The yarn is lovely, the pattern lovely and so far, I'm glad I chose the path I did - that seems to have made all the difference.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Weekend Hat

The 'weekend hat', this weekend,  allowed time for my 'next-big-project' choices to  percolate.  And gave me a neat hat to boot.

This is the Jacques Cousteau Hat.  While looking quite 'pointy' when sitting on the counter, it nonetheless looks great on the head.

What connection the pattern  has with M. Cousteau, I don't know, but it is an interesting - and free on ravelry -  pattern.

The hat is knit with DK weight yarn  and 3.5 mm needles.   I used Shelridge Farm stash yarn left over from a vest kit I purchased from them years ago at the KW Knitters Fair but found too frustrating to be  fun.  With 120 stitches for the ladies size, the hat fits my  head but  it fits Fred's better.  The ribbing is a 3x2 rib so a smaller hat could be made by casting on fewer stitches in multiples of five as long as the cast on number is divisible by four to properly set up the decrease points.      With eight inches of ribbing before the crown decreases, there is lots of doubled-up hat to keep the ears warm.

The feature I like about this hat is the method of decreasing for the crown.

First, there are only four decrease points rather than the more common eight or ten.   Then, instead of a K2Tog or an SSK or a combination of the two, the decreases are made by 'casting off''.  Knit to the end of the quarter section, then cast off the last two stitches.  This gives the crown it's very pronounced decrease lines.

Without frills or furbelows, this is most definitely,  a guy's hat.  My issue now is to find a guy that will wear a neon green hat.    For longer than modelling time, that is.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Guess Who Came To Lunch?

Does this look familiar? 
Try taking a reminder gander over  here.  That's Marie from Sel & Poivre,   wearing her
Minimalist Cardigan.  She is standing in my front foyer!  Talk about the lives of the rich and famous!    You couldn't beat the rich and famous feeling at my house on Saturday as two members of the 'Bloggers' Mutual Admiration Society'  met for lunch.

If you caught  Marie's blog last week, you know that she and her hubby did a touristy tour of our town  while their son skied.  When she emailed to tell me details of their day,  I couldn't believe my misfortune at having been  out of town the one weekend they were in town.  So I put it to her that if they did the delivery of son to the ski hill/tour of the town thing again,  lunch would be at my house.  Well, the stars aligned and my fortunes took a great turn.  Marie and hubby came for lunch on Saturday.

It was such fun.  And once we got rid of the men, we were able to talk knitting.  Marie asked to see two of my Elizabeth Zimmermann favourites - The Green Sweater
and The 50th Anniversary Cardigan

Marie looked tres chic in her Minimalist Cardigan.

That's my front foyer,  my front door in case you've forgotten that part already.