Wednesday, December 24, 2008

To: Blog Readers From: Brenda

I present to you, the re-written hat pattern. Brenda's Top Down Hat Pattern

It was re-written when I made the Tam
and discovered a
" I can't believe I missed that" error.

But re-writing, by me anyway, doesn't guarantee error-free. So - if your excellent editing skills produce any other errors, please let me know and I will be delighted to re-write the re-write.

The pattern is meant to be printed on legal size (8 1/2 x 14) paper and then folded to create a little booklet. Because of that format, it might appear 'funny' on your screen.

As with most of my patterns, I copied from other, far more creative knitters. All credit has been given to those to whom it is due.

Have fun with it. Happy Knitting and Christmas blessings to you all. I'll be back in the New Year.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A New Hat

Look what flew off my needles during this weekend's big, winter storm.
The horizontal view.

The vertical view.

It's the Scarf Knitter Beanie Hat by Anne Carroll Gilmour. The multi-coloured strip was knit with yarn purchased during last spring's B.C. vacation at Village Yarns in Cumberland B.C. It is Wendy, Roxy, California. The yellow was 'Woolly Harvest' stash yarn from a-many-years-ago vacation on Manitoulin Island. I guess that makes this the 'holiday hat'.

It wasn't my intention to make matching mitts, but I think Newfie Mitts would look great with this combination of yarns.

The hat is interesting construction, with the coloured band being knit, like a headband, on 13 stitches until it goes around the head, slightly stretched. Stitches are picked up along the long edges for both the top and the rolled edge at the bottom. The Roxy yarn has 55 metres per ball, and I would estimate I used about two-thirds of one ball. That makes the hat a great project for little bits of leftover luxury yarns.

And - it was a great storm-day project. Especially when knitting with a storm-stayed, knitter friend. Nicki couldn't get home from work Sunday because of the weather. She called to ask if she could camp out at our house for the duration of the storm. A friend to knit with? Of course. Come on over.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Great Knitting Days

Two photos - taken looking out our front window.

The last day of fall.

The first day of winter.

Lots of time to finish these.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Thursdays Are For ---- But Today Is Friday

Yesterday, on my - Thursdays Are For Knit Group - day, this bad blogger forgot her camera. Our last meet-up until the new year and the group's knitting went unphotographed! Such a shame! There were scarves and partial sweaters and one stunning, 'wild & wooly' shawl from Australia.

When knit group adjourns, I often walk down the block to Meaford's own 100 Mile Market. Based on the 100 Mile Diet, David and Barbara, Elk farmers, opened what appears to be a vastly popular 100 Mile Market (check out what the Toronto Star had to say about the market here). Thursday afternoons, the market staff have become accustomed to seeing me come in after knitting and one day a few weeks ago, Barbara asked me if anyone in the group knitted socks. She was looking for a pair of long wooly warm socks to keep her feet toasty when she tends to the Elk on winter mornings. We bartered socks for LOTS of yarn. Yarn that Barbara, now running an Elk farm and a market, no longer has time for generously donated to the knit group.

Wow! Look what our knitters will get at the first meeting in the new year.

The entire haul.

The baby yarn.

Some baby yarn and some chunky-weight,mohair blend.

So much that it wouldn't fit into the two boxes.
Lucky Knit Group, wouldn't you say?

And for the socks -
Two skeins of Briggs & Little, 100% wool, with some contrasting orange Kamouraska. Not a yarn that I am familiar with, but Canadian and again, 100% wool. My post-Christmas project.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Food Guidelines

This afternoon, I am slicing and dicing fruits and veggies for our open house. It has become tradition, since moving to Thornbury, to have the neighbours from our 'court' in for some food and drink one night during the Christmas season. Tonight's the night.

In light of all the food prep that's going on here, I give you a very funny eating guideline to help get you through season of the holiday buffet. Thanks to my friends Jim and Shirl from B.C. who sent it to me. Make sure you read all the way to the bottom to see the 'motto to live by'. Knitters will 'get it' for sure.


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the holiday spirit. In fact, if you see carrots,leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare. You cannot

find it any other time of year So drink up! Who cares that it

has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into

an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for

me. Have two. It's later than you think.

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of

gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your

mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk

or whole milk.. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports

car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in order to control your eating.

That's the whole point of going to a holiday party is to eat other's people's food for free.

Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New

Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps,

which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of


7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted

cookies in many shapes and sizes, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them

behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, pumpkin, mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if

you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have

three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labour Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with

the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean,

have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO! What a ride!"

Have a great holiday season!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Secret Code

My daughter-in-law (well, my ex- d-i-l now) once said to me that she thought knitters spoke in code. "It's as if you have a secret language", she said.

And indeed we do.

Today, I am showing you my W-I-P,
which happens to be a S-I-P. More accurately, a U-F-O which is an S-I-P. S#2, actually.

And a F-O.

Secret code it is. Can the 'muggles' figure it out?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Pitiful Progress

Friday, I had this much of Fred's socks done.
Over the weekend, I knit two feet, one complete leg and part of the second. Almost an entire pair of socks.

Here is what I accomplished.

This is turning out to be another I love the 'progress-part-of-knitting' project.

The sock was started in the middle with a provisional cast-on, you may recall. That way I could knit the foot, then pick up live stitches to knit the leg as long as my yarn would allow.

The My problem was that I only allowed one round of knitting before starting the heel flap. After knitting the foot and removing the waste yarn, I picked up the live stitches to begin the 'up-the-leg' portion of the sock. It was tricky - I did note that. With only one row of stockinet stitch after the heel flap stitch, the stitches weren't all that visible.

What I didn't note, was the dropped stitch. Several rows later, I realized I didn't have the correct number of stitches. Hmmm. Where was that extra stitch? Dropped down -way down - into those 'Slip one, Knit one' heel flap stitches I like so much. Ouch! That made it very difficult to correct and try as I might, in the end, I had to rip it.

The second attempt, I knit for an inch before starting the heel flap. A much better plan and now - I am about back to where I started.

It is a good thing these socks are a quick knit. And it's a good thing knitters are not easily discouraged. But the socks will be accompanied by this note - to paraphrase the yarnharlot : "All 50,000 stitches in these socks were knit with *&%# loving thoughts of you."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Socks Underway

Fred's socks are off to a good start. Can you see the fuzz of the mohair? The sock feels cushiony wonderful. Warm enough for his frozen toe, I'm sure.
You might think they look a little short. Sockettes so to speak. And you would be right. Wanting the sock to be as high in the leg as my yarn would allow, but not wanting to knit the socks toe-up, (I like the look of the standard heel flap and heel of a top down sock) I started the sock just above the heel flap.

I cast on with waste yarn and knit a couple of rounds. Then I knit one round with my secret ingredient for a provisional cast on - dental floss. (See my previous tutorial here) It pulls out easily, leaving live stitches to be picked up. One row of sock knitting and then on to the heel flap.

Once the foot is finished, I will pull out the dental floss, pick up the live stitches and knit the leg up - until I run out of yarn. Can I finish them this weekend? Bets are on.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

What does a knitter's Christmas party look like?

It looks like this

and this
and this
and this.

Pat - loon sweater Pat - brought in her Jean Greenhouse knitted nativity.
I couldn't resist picking up the baby Jesus.
But even though " no crying he made" I thought he should go back to his little knitted manger.

Look at the sheep! Made with a boucle type yarn that Pat brought back with her from a trip to England.
Aren't they the cutest?

And lastly - a Christmas present for a B.C. Mom. A picture of your beautiful daughter.
Nicki and her gorgeous new cabled sweater.

Now, off to see Survivor. Last regular episode of this series. I still say, get rid of Crystal. She is getting so close to the final! It seems preposterous to me that she might win.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Movin' On

The second half of the to-go-with-my-good-coat, hat & scarf set is done and on the blocking board.
I knit it Elizabeth Zimmermann style. That is, knit until you run out of yarn or are sick of knitting. For me it was the latter. Enough is enough. I still have about half a ball left, but it will come in handy for trim on something, I'm sure

And the scarf was such a better idea than Little Ruff.
Neckwarmer my eye. Maybe for giraffes. On me it was a neck-and-a-half warmer. Not a good look.

And now, on to socks for Fred. Super warm socks with sock yarn and mohair held together. The poor man suffers from really cold feet - in particular his left foot feels the cold.

A few years back, Fred, a Realtor in his former life, had to be in downtown London, out behind a commercial building for quite some time, on a cold, windy day. In downtown London, on some winter days, you'd think you were in the Arctic. The city isn't one of Canada's most northerly for sure, but the way the downtown streets are laid out, they catch the wind and create a bitter, wind-chill factor. When Fred came home that night he told me how he had been out in that cold and wind for about half an hour and had never been so cold in his life.

I asked if he had worn a hat. No. Gloves or mittens? No. Boots? No. Well, you can imagine my sympathy level. But in the end, I did feel sorry for him, because his big toe on his left foot froze. Turned a real nasty range of colours and hurt like heck. Ever since then, his feet and in particular his left big toe really feels the cold.

More information that you ever wanted to know about Fred's feet, probably. But that's why warm socks for Fred are next up.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

The Fun Has Begun

Knit-wise, today is a much better day. The tête carré topper went for it's first walk.

It fits great.

It looks great with the coat.
And doesn't look too bad on me.

I have a head/face shape that looks awful in most hats. Cone-head, I think is the term. Any head-hugging hat looks terrible on me. A tam does much to hide those defects.

And in other good news, the matching neckwarmer scarf
is about 30 inches long with almost a full ball to go.

Since the tam has a few rounds of seed stitch in an otherwise stockinet format, I am knitting similar seed stitch stripes into the scarf. Lays flat and looks good so far.

The pessimist would say "This luck can't last." The optimist would say "I thing we've turned a corner." This knitter says "Some days, it's all about process. Happy Knitting."

Monday, December 8, 2008

Am I Having Fun Yet?

Many years ago, I was given great words to live by: Once past the age of forty, a person shouldn't have to endure social events or leisure activities that one doesn't enjoy. The litmus test for these occasions, I was told, was to ask "Am I having fun yet?" Should the answer be "No", walk away.

When it comes to knitting however, I am not sure the advise is valid. Take this past week.

First there was Kim's wrap.
Dropped stitches, zig zag sewing to correct the problem and a new fringe. Was it fun discovering that I had dropped a K-Zillion stitches? Was it fun correcting the problem instead of moving on to a new and therefore exciting-because-it-contained-no-mistakes-yet, project? Obviously, the answer was "No".

And then there is my new hat. The one I am knitting with the Debbie Bliss Donegal Aran Tweed to compliment my good coat.
Of course, I wouldn't use a pattern to knit a hat.

Why use a pattern when I am brilliant enough to make up my own? In fact, I am so brilliant that I not only designed a hat pattern for myself, but last winter typed it up, put a couple of colour pictures on the front and distributed it to everyone at knit group.

My hat pattern, knit from the top down, shows four points of increase, each marked with a marker. The knitter is to increase on each side of the marker. Eight increases, at 4 spots on the hat. Looks great when making a toque. My 'Aren't I Smart" pattern, distributed to my fellow knitters, suggested that to make a Tam, simply keep increasing until the hat measures 10 inches across. In pattern terms, this is called 'errata' (well, in my case -'erratum'). In other words - WRONG. Knitters, don't do it.

This is what you will get if you knit the hat as my "I'm So Smart' pattern tells you to do.Looks like a pillow. A square hat. For a tête carré my French friends might say. That is a square head. A block head. That's me alright.

Of course you can't do a double increase at only four points on the hat for 10 inches and have anything but a square hat. There should be 8 points of increase, not four. With one increase per spot, not two. Where, oh, where was my editor?

Did I have fun knitting a square-head hat? Did I have fun ripping out to re-do? Absolutely not. But guess I won't give up knitting because of it. I'll leave the "Am I Having Fun Yet" question for Tupperware parties. Them I can give up.

Friday, December 5, 2008

What Happened Yesterday?

Readers tell me they enjoy reading of the knitting adventures of the Thursday knit group. With Pat's poetry yesterday, I fear you might feel cheated of this week's report.

So, in the theme of 'better late than never', we have - Wilma's Easy Peasy scarves. She's a machine, that Wilma.

Yes, they are all Wilma's. How many is that? Five altogether, by my count. Wow!

Doreen is sporting her latest hat and one of her scarves.
And a look of surprise?? Shock??

Gail was wearing a 'made-years-ago' sweater.
Recognize the pattern? It's a Patons Upside downer. From this book

And look. There's Gail's sweater on the front cover. Gail used three shades of green - that really suit her, I might add - in Super 10 Cotton. And what's not to love about the right angle turn that knitting a raglan in the round creates? A square shape from a round needle. Mensa material, don't you think?

Meghan appeared, wearing a Kaffe Fassett vest.

This pattern

from this book

A knitter who even attemps to knit a Kaffe Fassett is somewhat insane, but to complete one? And with her own hand spun? Hmmm, I think we are really going to like Meghan.

And look at her mitts. Newfie Mitts knit when Meghan was living 'down under' - again with her own hand spun.

And lastly, confirmation that knitters are wonderful people came this morning in the form of an email. Madeleine, a knitter friend from London, emailed to say that she had visited Milrea. She sent this photo along.

Milrea's looking better. Thanks Madeleine.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Last week at knit group, Pat brought her completed loon sweater to show us. I took her picture and would have put it on the blog at that time, except ---

Pat casually mentioned that her sister still lives in England and that she corresponds with her (As in writing letters - how quaint!) in rhyme!!! She went on to say that she had written her sister about the loon sweater and had a copy of the letter at home. I asked her to bring it this week, and held off on the picture to present you with both at the same time.

Here is Pat, her loon sweater and her rhyming letter to her sister.

I just had to write this letter
To let you know I've finished the sweater.
And if you have to go out in a storm
I know it will keep you nice and warm.
To make it sweet, I did make
Two Loons swimming on a lake.
Oh, they look so happy there
Swimming around without a care.
I just hope they don't splash, my pet
I'd hate to think you were getting wet.
Before I wrapped them, I said good bye
The big loon smiled and winked his eye.
So now, Merry Christmas, my dear, I wish ya
From the one and only, that's me, Patricia.

There is one thing I must say of course,
Instead of a loon, I could have knitted a horse.

How's that
Love Pat.

Wow! Wouldn't it be wonderful to have Pat for a sister? Perhaps you have gathered by now, that Pat could be described as an eccentric. My favourite kind of people. It's great to have her with us a knit group.

And now on to Survivor. If it was up to me, I'd get rid of Crystal.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Favour To Ask

I have a favour to ask, of my London, Ontario readers.

You might remember me telling of Milrea, ( pronounced Mill Ray) a delightful, older lady that joined our Meaford knit group this fall.

She took the taupe cabled sweater the day I had my 'great giveaway'.
Sporting her 'new' sweater, she gives a hug to Pat of the personal lunacy 'Loon Sweater'.

A few weeks back, Milrea became ill and was in great pain - too much pain to even come to knit group. We have learned that she has been diagnosed with bone cancer. Perhaps a spreading of the breast cancer she suffered a few years ago.

Milrea is currently in London at Thameswood Lodge taking radiation therapy. She has been there about a week and will be there at least another week, perhaps two. 'IF' you are so inclined, and 'IF' you have the time, it would be wonderful if you could visit Milrea.

She was on morphine before she left for London, and if she is still on it, a short visit would be best, I'm sure. I don't know what time of day her treatment is, so a phone call to Thameswood before you go would probably be a good idea.

Her full name is Milrea Gilchrist and she is in room 28 at Thameswood Lodge at 401 Nelson St, in London.