Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Terrific Late Summer Trio

This afternoon, I am spending my time doing three of my favourite things:  canning, knitting and baseball.

Late summer in Ontario brings out the pioneer in me.  Well, the partial pioneer.  I am not willing to let go of my dishwasher or my modern, non-wood burning stove.  But otherwise, like the women of times past, I 'put down'  at this time of year.  It starts with a trip to the market,

followed by a very messy kitchen and in the end, things like this.
 Peach Jam
 9 Day Pickles

And while I stir down this year's batch of chili sauce,

I will try to finish  mitten number two for Ruby's kits

while watching my Blue Jays.

 Early game yet, but look at that score.  Doesn't look good.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Guess I'm A Robot

Is it just me or are those word verification 'tests'  that bloggers use to prevent robotic comments getting more difficult?  There are now, always two words, not one, and one of them is a number  Sometimes a four digit number.  What do you type first, the number or the word?   Do you type the number as all one word ?  Do you put in the 'and' as in One hundred and ten or do you leave it out?

Then there is the issue of the ever-increasingly-difficult-to-read word.  Seems to me that the letters are more blurred than in the past and definitely closer together.  No matter how much I enlarge the area, I find them difficult to decipher.

Maybe I am simply out of touch because of  my summer away from blog reading, but over the last few days, once again having the house to myself, I have been trying to catch up on blog reading - and I want to comment. More than once, I have been flummoxed.   Denise and Lyn, to name but two,  please know that I have tried.  Without exaggeration, I bet I tried ten times.  Each time my word verification was rejected.   Are the computer robots so clever that the words cannot be shown in a clear script?

All bloggers that normally receive comments from me, please know that I am still reading and  hopefully will pass through this robot stage soon.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summer's End

The last of my summer knitting is off the needles and blocked.  The Sweaterkits Scarf purchased at The Match Factory on the way up to the trailer in early July, along with the Bernat Moasaic Directional Scarf , were both blocked last night.

My favourite, thinking only of lusciousness of yarn,  is the Sweaterkits.  My favourite,   thinking only of colour,  is the Bernat and  that is the one I will keep for myself.

The Sweaterkits scarf pattern gave instructions to cast on 218 stitches for a lengthwise knit.  The first  two-colour repeat was to be repeated eight more times.
As you can tell by the photo, I am short of that.  With only six grams of the silk left, I didn't chance another repeat.
Regardless, the scarf measures 12 x60 and I'm happy with that.

Finished, I am happier with the colour combo than I thought I might be, but still, I  know that they are not my colours.  Better suited to someone other than a brown-haired, freckled knitter with yellow undertones to her skin, I think I will put it in our family Christmas gift draw  fight.  Hopefully, that is exactly what the ladies will do - fight for my scarf.  Then I will know it is a hit.
Since summer's end is close and the scarves put an end to my summer knitting, my next major project will be a wool sweater.  In the meantime, though, I have a knitting job to do for Ruby. 
She wants to put together mitten kits for the store and her pattern is not the same gauge as the luscious thick & thin yarn she wants to use.  She has asked me to create a new pattern - an interesting little project for summer's end.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Final Trailer Post for 2012.

This last post from the  trailer – the last post of summer 2012 written with  the lake as my backdrop – but which I am posting from home, shows off  my first, trailer-knit of the summer.  Gemini.  Inspired by Wilma’s  lilac Gemini, started at home and finished at the trailer.  

With Gemini, like some knits before it, I find my opinion of the pattern  at odds with  the opinions of many ravellers.  Most  that  knit this little summer top had positive things to say about  the pattern.  Me, I found it  unnecessarily confusing.   Being all about making things simple for everyone to easily understand, I really get annoyed when instructions go on and on in  a round-a-bout way.   Really, Gemini  is a top down garment. Explaining a typical, top-down, two-row repeat where one row increases  at each of four ‘raglan’ points and  one row is knit plain without increases would have been all the explanation required. 

And that is how I knit my Gemini.  

 Starting with a few rows of ribbing,

after noticing the floppy, top edge  some ravellers complained about, I then knit the lace  as per the   pattern instructions, increasing  in the typical top-down fashion until the under-arm bust measured four!!! inches smaller than my bust.  That much negative ease was recommended by the designer  -  mostly, I think , due to the stretchy nature of the Linen blend yarn she used.  I knit with pure cotton, but  thought – ‘Hey, why not?’  And I like it.  I find it flattering.    

Yarn – Super 10 -  100% Cotton.  Two full skeins and some of a third.
Needles – 4 mm throughout.
Modifications – Four rows of 2x2 ribbing at the top.  One inch of seed stitch at the bottom.  I knit the seed stitch border for the front and back separately, giving my Gemini  a bit of a tunic split at the sides.   
That split is meant to  accommodate any hip fullness not accounted for in the increases as I knit my way towards  the bottom of the sweater.

I like it.  The good news  - in case Nicki, who thinks I am in a colour rut, is reading - about always knittng in the same colour range - everything matches. 
This post is being finished at home and I can tell you that I wore Gemini for the trip home - resulting in excellent gas station service wherever we stopped!  
Must have been  that negative ease!

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Redeeming Feature

My friend Patti-Ann warned me about the  pattern for the Bernat Diagonal Scarf.  She described it as nearly doing her in.   Boldly, after a few completed inches I publicly proclaimed, here on the blog, that I had it conquered. 
 My words have   - many rows back -  been eaten.

Understand that every row in this scarf is a short row.  For me the confusion came  when I turned at the end of the short  row.  Sometimes   Often,  I would naturally convert to purling after finishing a knit row.  With this pattern though, there are two knit rows, then one purl row.   Always!   I am embarrassed to tell you how much of the scarf I knit before realizing that.  But the last half went well.

The colours in this yarn are it’s redeeming feature. The colours are what made me break my own rule of never knitting with non-natural fibres.  This is Bernat Mosaic. 100% Acrylic.  There I said it.  The ‘A’’ word.  Here on my blog.  But I do love the colours.  

 It will make a wonderfully bright, cheerful statement on a grey, blah, winter’s day.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No Reply

Home now and catching up on blog comments.  Sandra left me a great How To reply to my post about eh no reply commenters.  If yo u know yourself to be one - Gina, Deb, etc try Sandra's tip  - copied below - and hopefully I will be able to comment on our comments.

Sandra says - - - it's not you. If the commenter does not have an email linked to their profile, no email for them will be available. That's when you get the no-reply header. I was one of those until I linked my email to my profile. (or did something like that - in some way, I checked a box or something that allowed my email to show.)

Thanks, Sandra.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Miss Abi's Poncho

Apparently the poncho is a fashion statement again this year.  That is, if 10 year old Abi knows her fashion forecasts they are.  But any excuse for knitting Grandma will do.

Shopping at Ruby's Wool/Tool Napa Shop, Abi chose Lionbrand Homespun, a Boucle yarn  in variegated colours of pink and purple.  Perfect yarn for a ten-year old girl. 

Using the yarharlot's poncho pattern, it took no time at all to knit this little item.  Especially when Abi informed me she wanted a short, indoor poncho - one that wouldn't get in the way of pencils and paints at school.  If I had known sooner, I would have planned on a one- ball poncho.  But  the info about a short poncho came just a few rounds after joining  the second ball.  Knitters with prior knowledge or shorter kids could certainly get the poncho out of one ball.

Tomorrow, we leave for home. The long car ride should give me time to finish the Sweaterkits Scarf I purchased and started on the trip up - July 4! The grand kids are coming with us for a week so regular blogging and blog reading will be delayed until I again have the house to myself.   Until then - Happy Knitting!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

I've Joined A.A. - Acrylic's Anonymous

Last fall when at London Yarn’s 20th Anniversary celebration, I spotted a great scarf. Knit in rib and on the bias which took great advantage of the glorious autumn colours in the yarn.  I couldn’t resist, even when my friend Patti-Ann told me it was Bernat Acrylic yarn.  The colours won me over.  So  I joined Acrylic’s Anonymous and purchased yarn and pattern.

Patti-Ann,  the employee and great knitter  who had knit the scarf for store display told me that the pattern’ almost did her in.’  “What was the problem?”  I asked.  “The rib?  The diagonal stitch?”
“Don’t know,” she said.  Whatever it was it gave her grief. 

With that heads up,  I approached the pattern with a sleuth’s eye.  I dissected it.  I made tons of notes.

 And for the first 12 inches or so, things went well.  Then I got cocky. A purl row was missed.  I ripped a few rows 

but struggled to  find the re-start point.  For a bit, I thought I might have to rip it out entirely.  But I am now back on track, happy with the results and LOVE LOVE LOVE the colours.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Cameron Lake

Subtitled, How My World Expands Through Knitting.
Often, in my summer blog posts, you have heard me mention my knitting-friend, Ruby – owner of the Wool/Tool Shop.  That is Co-owner of the Napa Auto Parts store with husband Ray with the front corner of the store dedicated to yarn.

In semi-retirement, while in the process of  turning over of the business to son Tim, Ruby and Ray purchased a fishing lodge on Cameron Lake. 

 Four cabins for rent, a cabin for themselves

 and several boats for the fishermen.  Each year since they purchased the Lodge, we have tried to find time to go out to the lodge with them.  This year it finally worked out. 

Cameron Lake is a true northern experience.  To get there, we travelled 90 minutes by car -  the first half of which was on a  private road owned by a logging company.  By the way, municipal road crews – you could take a few lessons on road maintenance here.  The last half of the drive was on a narrow, rutted, bumpy, washboardy, forgotten road  to a forgotten town.  A ghost town.  Perhaps 30 houses and my guess would be five of them were occupied.  No store, no hospital, no school, nothing.  A hermits delight.

But a river runs through it.  Ruby’s hubby met us with the boat and the next leg of the journey was a 90 minute boat ride down river to the lake and the lodge.  Here you see Ruby, ready for the ride.  
 With this year’s drought, the river is so low that the boat had to be pulled through the water for part of the trip. 

While I have camped and ‘lodged’ on many ‘northern’ lakes, never have I stayed on one where there was absolutely no human habitation except  us.  I am still trying to decide if it was something to be cherished or feared.  It certainly gave me a better appreciation of the pioneers.

Fred certainly enjoyed the fishing.  In one day, the two husbands caught 11 Walleye (sometimes called Pickerel), the smallest being 6 inches and several decent size pike.  The  Walleye made for a delicious Fish Fry.

A great weekend and a wonderful new experience that I would never have had if it weren’t for knitting.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

To Market With Elizabeth Zimmerman

All the local farmers’ markets that abound in the summer coupled with lots of leftover dishcloth cotton from my stove towel, started me thinking about a ‘market bag’.  Searching the internet, I came across this pattern by Lucille Arnusch,
the Pi Bottom Market Bag which Lucille sub titles – A Salute To Elizabeth Zimmerman.  Good enough for me.

It begins  with Elizabeth’s friend Emily Ocker’s circular start, then progressing to a bit of Elizabeth’s ‘Pi’ for the bag bottom.  

From there it is a two-row repeat with lots of yarn-overs and Knit 2 Togethers for a loose, open, stretchy bag.  Topped by a band of seed stitch and two handles, it seems to be the perfect market bag. 

Hearst has an occasional Farmers’ Market but I missed the first one of the season and will most likely be back home before the second. My ‘Pi’ bag and I will have to wait until we are back in Thornbury.  But then it  will be ‘off to market’ for the two of us.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Fern Kerchief In Sibelle

Stashed years ago, following a day at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair,  was my pattern for Cabin Fever’s Fern Kerchief. 

 A  shawl-like scarf that appealed  because of it’s simplicity and small size.

About the same time, I stashed two skeins of Sibelle.  Rochelle of Grand River Yarns created Sibelle by spinning/twisting together a thick yarn of autumn-coloured, variegated wool with a thin strand of blue Viscose.  It reminded me of a fall day with all the colours of the brilliant woods under a blue sky.  Originally, I thought to  knit a colour block sweater making the novelty yarn one of the colour blocks near my face.  But it never happened.  Obviously my knitterly brain was waiting for the connection between the yarn and a better, more appropriate pattern to register.   In packing my knitting for summer at the trailer the penny dropped.  I knew it would look great as a Fern Kerchief.

Despite the pattern being written for two weights of yarn - DK and Worsted or Heavy Aran - neither    of which describes Sibelle, I knew that with a small shawly, scarfy, necky, wrappy thing, gauge was not crucial.  The pattern and yarn seemed made for each other. 

A quick knit – something that pleases me at all times, but  especially ­­­­­ at the trailer where seasonally-specific, summer activities can really disrupt knitting tim­­­e, my Fern Kerchief is complete.

Envisioned as something to wear  atop a white blouse in the fall or winter,  it is, even after blocking, a bit scratchy.  So most likely  it will be Black Coat Art for me. 

I used approximately 100 metres of  Sibelle  or  about one and a half skeins - far less yardage than the pattern recommended.  But with Sibelle being much heavier than the prescribed yarns I simply knit until I reached my desired, centre-back depth then began the lacey ‘Fern’ design.  That approach has produced a 14 by 40 inch shawl.  For me a perfect size.  Big enough not to overwhelm, but certainly big enough to do what a shawly, scarfy, wrappy, necky thing is meant to do.

This turned out to be a perfect yarn/pattern combo and  given the scratchiness surprise, a much better use of the yarn than a colour block sweater.  I’m happy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Not Understood Whys Of The Web

As many of you know, I do respond to  comments.  At least, when home and regularly at my computer,  I do.

But for some reason  – and if any of you know why this  happens, please let me know – some comments arrive with a header of   ’noreply’  These commenters do not receive my replies. 

I thought my replies were getting through as the emails I send out are never returned to me.  But those ‘noreply’ commenters that I personally know, like Gina or Deb,  say they never see my replies. 

Then recently, I received a most lovely comment for a reader who said something like – “I read you blog every weekend for the humour and the information.”  How kind.  I would dearly love to reply, but the comment arrived in my email box as a ‘noreply’ comment. 

So for you, my latest ‘noreply’ commenter, and all my other ‘noreply commenters, please know that I do read your comments and would love to connect with you.  Once I figure out how to do it, I will.