Friday, January 31, 2014

Stoked About My Steek

Scottich Sweaterrr will be worn this weekend.  For sure.  I hope.  The last bits that needed knitting were the front bands - button and buttonhole, and the neck band. 

Before the front bands could be tackled though, the steek had to be cut.  I have cut a few steeks in my time and I have come to  favour the crocheted steek.  For some reason - one I cannot fathom - unlike the sew & cut steek, there are no untidy, fraying  ends with a crocheted steek.  Once cut, it is done, ends are tidy and the whole thing lies cooperatively flat.

Here you see my approach to the steek.  I had knit 5 extra stitches at the centre front of the sweater to be used for the steek.  In the case of Scottish Sweatrrr I knit those stitches in seed stitch.  Somewhere I had heard that seed stitch forms a denser fabric, less likely to give grief once cut.  But I wouldn't use it a second time.  It is more  difficult to  "see" the stitches to be crocheted in seed stitch where  the first is a knit and the next a purl.  Stockinet steek stitches will be what I use on my next steel.

Initially, I basted up the centre stitch of the 5 steek stitches. 
This helped identify where I needed to be - or not be - when crocheting.

Next I crocheted up one side and down the other side of that basted stitch. 
Where exactly does one crochet, you ask.  Start by recognizing  that each stitch has two legs - a right and a left  - then  picturing the column of 5 stitches running up the centre front, counting them from left to right.  Like this  -   1,2,3,4, and 5, with stitch #3 being the centre stitch, now basted in a contrasting colour making it easier to see. Crochet together the left leg of stitch #4 with the right leg of stitch #3.  Then, on the other side of that centre stitch, crochet the left leg of #3 together with the right leg of #2.   I do a single crochet stitch.  A double crochet would be too bulky and I think a chain would be too tight.

Once both columns are crocheted the entire length of the front steek, then I cut. 
Cutting a crocheted steek is a slow process.  You cut the bar of yarn that ran between the right and left legs of stitch #3 - now a bit hidden due to the crochet. Each row must be gently pulled open and the bar snipped.   You can see here how neat a crocheted steek looks from inside the sweater.

Once Scottish Sweatrrr had become a cardi, using a needle slightly smaller than the one used for the body,  I picked up stitches for  the front button band at a  ratio of 3 for 4 in a 2X2 rib.  I made sure I finished with 3 of a kind at the top, as one stitch will be lost to the viewer when the stitch for the  neckline trim are picked up.  Years and years of doing otherwise has taught me that lesson.

At the moment, one band is knit, the second started and the end is in sight.

Have a great weekend everyone.  You know what I will be doing.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

WOW!  How many   days  weeks  can a Polar Vortex last?  Today, with  so many local roads closed  many of our group had to knit at home.  That was almost me, but at the last minute the road of my route  was opened so off I went.

If I hadn't been there I would not have seen this.

Ingrid knit a coat.  A ten day knit she told us.  Ingrid, you never cease to amaze me.

 Under the coat, she was wearing a great vest.
 One she knit  many years ago - testimony to the longevity of wool.

Gail has the coolest sock yarn.  I love those colours and pattern.


Doreen arrived today, wearing bright, cheerful colours that were the perfect antidote to our white, white world.  Doesn't she look pretty?  The sweater had a high neck and it bothered her, Doreen said.  To correct that,  she took the scissors to the sweater.  Guess what the scarf covers up? 

 Wilma finished her  Thrummed Mittens.
 Not suitable for fine work that's for sure but they'll do the job of keeping her hands warm on her morning walks.

All our knitters better get to their LYS and stock up.  There is another Polar Vortex storm coming Saturday.  Knitting time!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Colour Work

Scottish Sweatrrr is almost finished.  Only two rows to go on the colour work pattern followed by neck shaping, steeking and button bands.  Yippee!

This colour work pattern is  from Elizabeth Zimmermann's Fair Isle Yoke Cardigan found in  The Opinionated Knitter amongst others.  The colour chart was hand drawn by Elizabeth,  and loathe as I am to say anything at all negative about Elizabeth or her designs, I will admit, this one was a bit difficult to decipher.  Her colour choices had limited contrast.  When she marked one symbol as light grey and the next as light blue - well - you can see how difficult that might be.

My colour selection is based on the colours in my Scottish skirt.  
 While my sweater colours match the skirt and are pleasing to my eye, their proportions are way out of whack compared to the skirt.  Aiming for identical twins, I seem to have ended up instead, with fraternal.  And, considering the length of time this sweater has taken from vision to completion, fraternal they will  remain.

As Charlie, my oldest son - the one who lives in isolated Northern Ontario once told me  - " I have learned to like what is available".  This completed sweater is available to me.  Therefore,  I like the colour work.

Monday, January 27, 2014


Fatigue.  Defined, initially,  by my mini Canadian English Dictionary as weariness.  True, been there many times.  But that doesn't describe this.

I need to read further to describe what you see above. "weakness of metals etc., subjected to stress".  Indeed.  I guess plastic, like metal, doesn't last forever.  The break happened mid-row, that is colour-work row,  on the weekend, resulting in the rapid drop of several stitches. 

This plastic demise by fatigue has been happening too much lately in my world,.  The knitting needle broke  just a few days after I came off the ski hill wondering why my right boot felt so loose.  Turns out, there was some fatigue happening there as well.  A piece of plastic the size of a greeting card had broken off the front of my boot.  Considering that skiing involves risking life and limb by hurtling down steep slopes at high speeds, I considered myself lucky to have survived that break in tact.  It put  the few, dropped, colour-work  stitches, caused by  the needle break, into perspective.  It was just a  minor incident.

Patting myself on the back for having had the foresight to  purchase not one set of Knit Picks Interchangeable Needles, but two, meant  it was a simple thing to switch out broken for intact.  Set number two is Nickel Plated. 

Knitting back on track, two working legs and the newly acquired knowledge that plastic tires more quickly than metal.  Quite a weekend!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Ahead Of Schedule

A rare thing has happened.  Rare for me as I am  the running-behind-to-catch-up girl.  I am ahead of schedule. That's right - ahead of schedule!!

 I had hoped to be at the colourwork on Scottish Sweatrrr by the weekend.  Instead, I started it Thursday night.
 AND --- I'm 5 rows in.  So far so good.  I love it.   

Time for a goal adjustment - I hope to be finished the colour by the end of the weekend.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

It's high season in our  part of the great white north.  High wool season that is.  After all it was minus 18 Celsius as I drove over to knit group today.

I couldn't resist this picture of Doreen.  Don't you  love the hat? 

On her needles today were a pair of socks for the Tom Thomson Gallery display. 
 She is knitting  them on two circulars.  A technique new to Doreen that Nan taught her.
Ruth might be the next to be knitting socks on two circs by the look of things.

Sharon, too was working on the war time socks.  
  In fact, we have made the local paper with our war time sock knitting.  'Read All About It'  Us'  here. 

Gail has a bright and cheerful, rainbow hued, top down sweater on the needles for an upcoming baby shower.

Wilma is knitting thrummed mittens to keep her hands warm on her morning walk.  Not a knitting technique  she enjoys so they aren't headed to  quick finish.
I share your lack of enthusiasm, Wilma.  It is not my kind of knitting either.  

Lots of cold weather, lots of wool, lots of knitting.  High season is so much fun!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

With An Eye Towards Colour Work

At last, and after a few rip backs, Scottish Sweatrrr has sleeves attached
 and I am looking forward to colour work.  On this sweater, there will be some  plain knitting before I reach the colour-work part of the yoke. 

Long ago, in reading one of Elizabeth's books, I noted that she commented that she preferred a yoke with a shorter colour-work portion.  One where the colour work starts about halfway  up the yoke from the sleeve/body join.  Being short I knew as  soon as I read Elizabeth's description, that it was the yoke style for me.  The next question was - How to make it happen that way.

Step one of course is to select a colour-work pattern that isn't too deep.  Step two is to not start the colour work too soon. Sounds simple heh?  I'm afraid I have to tell you that there is math involved.

First I counted the number of rows in my chosen colour work pattern.  I have 51.  Next I counted my row gauge.  By now I have 3/4 of a sweater for a swatch so  an accurate row gauge count was easy.  My row gauge is 8 rows per inch.

The piece of base information required, of course, is -'How far is it from sleeve join to sweater top?'  In my case, that number is 9 inches.  I want my overall sweater to be 23 inches long.  I knit 14 inches, then joined sleeve to body, leaving 9 inches of knitting to get me to the top of the sweater.  At 8 rows per inch and with a pattern containing 51 rows, I have about 6 1/2 inches of colour work.  When I subtract that from the 9 inches required, I see that I need to knit about 2 1/2 inches or 20 rows in the main colour before beginning the colour-work pattern. Right now I am at row 8.  12 to go.  Colour work on the weekend, I hope.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A Public Declaration

I've heard it said, when setting a goal, that  it helps to declare it to the world at large. The idea there is that the public declaration might lead to a public shaming if the goal is not achieved.  Followed by the idea  that  trying to avoid the shaming  makes one work harder towards  achieving the  goal.    Not that it works for me, mind you. I have had way too much experience in failing to achieve my goals to any longer be embarrassed by a public shaming. 

Still, I have decided today to publicly declare my Olympic  knitting intentions.You see, I spoke today with Colleen, of  Riverside Yarns, in Owen Sound. She tells me that the eggplant purple
Cascade Eco+  yarn that I ordered for my Olympic Project will be at the store by the weekend.  Plenty  of time.  No excuses.  No  backing out now.

The pattern chosen is Graylina.  The pattern was chosen becaue I have coericed  encouraged my Ladies With Balls knit group  to choose lace work as their Olympic challenge.  I never ask them to knit what I wouldn't knit myself, so lace work it is.

Since I neither  wanted, nor needed, a shawl nor a scarf -  projects common to  lace-knitting - I chose a sweater.  The eggplant purple I chose because last year, I knit a sweater - Vignette -  in eggplant purple to match  a skirt of mine. Then, one cold, winter's day, I gave it to Peter's shivering Lady Of Spain.  Purple being her favourite colour and she being cold and all.  Since then, with no sweater to coordinate the look, I have not worn my black, boiled-wool skirt with the purple stitching.  All in all, it is about time.

Also, today, I am publicly - and boastfully -  declaring, that for this knitter, I think gold is in the bag.  I know that the Olympic motto of  'faster, higher, stronger' is  supposed to also be the goal behind our Olympic knitting choices.   In my case, I believe that I am well prepared.  Faster, higher, stronger it might be,  but not so much so that gold is out of reach.

There you have it. My public declaration of pattern, yarn and expected medal colour.  Get your cream pies ready.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The More I Go Forward .....

My philosophy on any skills related activity is that the poorer the skills possessed, the better the tools required for the job.  That is why I buy the best skis, the best knitting needles, the best pots & pans I can afford.

And still sometimes, I flounder.  Take at look at Scottish Sweatrrr.  Remember Friday's post? I was looking forward to joining sleeves to body and starting colour work?  I'm still there. 
Or rather,I'm back there.

Sweatrrr was joined, the couple of inches of plain yoke knit, the bust darts incorporated (they looked good too, I might add)  and the colour work about to begin, when I noticed something was a bit off.  The centre front was off.  Off centre that is.
 Instead of this,

It was more like this -
It was more of a side centre. How the heck?  Seems I can no longer count.

I am the last knitter to rip and the first to advise that any and all   almost any and all mistakes can be corrected without ripping.  Not this mistake though.  I would have had to walk sideways through each wearing, to maybe, possibly, but even then, not probably,  carry it  off.  So rip  it was.

The  bright side - there must be one - is another day to contemplate colour placement.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Scottish Sweatrrr.

The Scottish Sweatrrr is moving along nicely.  Based on Elizabeth  Zimmermann's Fairisle Yoke Sweater and  in the cardigan format, it is a sweater that marches along fairly quickly and leaves the interesting bits for the final few hours of knitting.  The carrot in front of the nose , knitterly speaking.

At the moment, sleeve number two is almost finished.

 Next up is the joining of the sleeves to body, followed by the colour work.

 The fun part. 

Elizabeth's pattern calls for four extra colours.  Here are my choices at the moment. 
Seeing them laid out like this, the dark brown  and bright orange might seem out of sync.  But there  are narrow stripes of each of those colours  in my Scottish  skirt that I am hoping to echo in the sweater yoke. 

This afternoon, I will spend time on ravelry looking at other knitters' versions of this pattern for guidance on colour placement.  Right now I think that copying the proportional amounts featured in the skirt will be the best idea.  That would be  smaller  amounts of  dark brown and bright orange, larger amounts of white and caramel.   Surely one of the 207 versions will lead me in the right direction.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Needles met techno today at knit group.

First up we had Ingrid with her dog coats.  She'd had a request!  This one is for the 'large' dog.

This one for the 'medium' dog.

And this one, underway,  is in bright colours for the 'little' dog.

 The dog coats were fun, but Ingrid's shawl is gorgeous.  This yarn, cashmere from Africa, was a gift from her boyfriend.  That man knows the way to a knitters heart.

Sharon finished her Banana Republic knock-off hat. 

I like the band.  It overlaps and is closed with a button. Perfect way to knit a one-size-fits-many hat.

And then there were the techno bits.  Not long ago, Nan started a Meaford Knits group on ravelry.   With ravelry skills amongst our knitters, ranging from none to many, we decided to hold a ravelry day at knit group.  Those of us who spend way too much time on ravelry did our best to draw the rest of the knitters into the web.  Lots was learned.   A good thing too as the internet plays such an extensive role in knitting today.

Now if someone could just figure out a way to knit while playing on line - that would be  helpful.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Mailman Rocks

Always a great day when the mailman brings goodies and today was no exception.   A few days ago, I spotted a new pattern on one of my favourite blogs.  A pattern for mittens with a curling theme.

 How cool! 

Purely as a spectator, I love curling.  But I have a neighbour who not only loves to watch the game, but plays too.  She came immediately to mind when I saw the pattern.  I intend to surprise her with these mittens. 

The pattern is a new one from  my cyber-friend Marian.  She is a  schoolteacher, yarn dyer, knitter, knitwear designer, etc., etc. who lives on Manitoulin Island, one of the world's most magical places.  You can see her work here   here or here.

Now, my goal is to finish the Scottish Kilt Sweaterrr in time to do the mittens before I start my Olympic Project.  Three weeks. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

Half Dressed

My Duct Tape Diva is half dressed.  The body of my latest sweater (Currently without a name but it is the  ripped Sweatrrr) has been pinned on  Diva and it looks good.

 It fits!  And the yarn combo - two strands of brown, tweed, lace-weight  held together with one stand of cream-coloured, multi-fibre, no name yarn -  all from stash, is working out just fine.

The final decision on this sweater to match the Scottish, pleated, wool skirt, was to knit one of Elizabeth Zimmermann's designs.  The tried and true after so any false starts with more current designs/ers.  In  particular, I am knititng Elizabeth's  circular yoke, with stranded colour design.  I am knitting it, just as Elizabeth would have done - bottom up.  Hence the fitting with Diva and not me,  as it needs straight pins to hold it in place,  to 'see' for sure if it fits.

The body, as seen in my photo, comes to just below the bust.  In those last couple of underbust  inches,  I intend to incorporate bust darts.  Vertical, bust darts, done by working an increase stitch either side of a centre bust stitch  on both the left and right sides.  There is already  waist shaping.  Coupling that  with bust darts  should give me the personnalized look I am after.  Needles crosssed, I hope.

In addition to the body, sleeve number one is complete and number two underway.  Soon it will be time to make final colour choices for the stranded colour work.  Then the fun begins.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Inspiring or Depressing?

I love to knit.    I like to brag that all my socks are hand-knit socks.  All my sweaters are hand-knit sweaters.  I always thought that put me somewhere high on the ladder of productive knitters.  This morning, I have doubts.

I have just read  Tanis Grey's blog  post for today.   Take a look.  Scroll down to the picture with four piles  of sweaters and read what Tanis has to say.

 Miss Tanis, of Tanis Fiber Arts gives new meaning to the word productive.  I'm not sure  if this inspires me or depresses me.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Thursdays are For Knit Group

Interesting things happened today at knit group.  Ann Marie Hadcock, a visual artist, came to speak to us about an exhibit she is preparing for the  Tom Tomson Gallery in Owen Sound. 
The exhibit, called The Homefront, will run   June  to September and according to the website, will focus on  the stories of the women left behind when the men went off to war...

More specifically, the exhibit will focus on the sock knitting done by the at-home women for  the overseas soldiers.    Ann Marie, looking for sock knitters came to knit group bringing with her  a vintage pattern and yarn.  Well, Ann Marie, you came to the right place.  We have lots of sock knitters.

There was other knitting too. Gail finished her first-ever felting project, the Bucket Hat from Chicknits.

 Such a gorgeous colour, Gail.  And that wasn't her only knit this week.  She also finished a pair of fingerless mitts.  Lots of knitting time when there is a two day storm.

Wilma finished the Hurdy Gurdy cardigan.  Another piece with gorgeous colours.

Lauren  arrived with some show and tell.   A great hat Lauren.

Knitting, visitors and 'knittin for Britain'.  A fun time.  Tune in next week to see how many socks have been knit on this homefront.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Blizzard Warnings

The weather man on our local TV station boasts proudly, from time to time, about being 71 years old.  Last night he stated that never in all his years had he ever  heard of a 'blizzard' warning.  Storm warnings, flood warnings, wind, rain and snow warnings - yes.  But never a blizzard warning.   
That makes our current weather  an event of  a lifetime. 

We have temperatures of minus 20 Celsius.  We have a wind chill factor of minus 35.  We have warnings of exposed skin freezing within minutes. Every road in 4 counties is closed.  On the radio the list of closures was so long the announcer took a break (probably a bathroom break)  and directed listeners to get the rest of the list from the website.  The closure list included many firsts for my ears:  The mall, a funeral home with a funeral cancelled  (that makes for a great  family  story) Canadian Tire, hospitals, schools and stores. 

What we do have, amazingly enough, is hydro.  Not once over this long  season of storms have we lost hydro.  And so,  we are warm.  Today, I am baking


and weather watching.

Not a bad day for me at all.  For all others, stay warm.