Thursday, July 31, 2008

Rainy Day At The Trailer

Not Monoply, nor Checkers. Not Charades, nor a good book

This is how to amuse yourself on a rainy day at the trailer, 2008 style.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Style - With No Photos

Posting recently about avoiding "Your Grandma's Knitting", reminded me of something that happened this past winter.

A neighbour mentioned that she had seen me from across the room at a recent social function. Apparently, I was wearing one of my hand-knit sweaters. As my neighbour told it, she spotted me and my sweater and said to herself "Boy! That Brenda sure knits for style."

What a compliment! Indeed I do knit for style. But to have it recognized by a non-knitter- well, I basked. It didn't take long though, until I questioned the thought. If a knitter doesn't knit for style, then for what? Ugly? Plain? Serviceable?

Do you know knitters that gather together yarns in an unpleasing array of colours then exclaim
"That's it! The perfect combination for my 'ugly' sweater."

Do you know knitters that search for a pattern and purposefully choose the most ugly?

No knitter gleefully grabs her needles exclaiming "I can't wait to knit another ugly."

That's not to say that ugly never happens. I recall the self-designed, gold, worsted-weight, wool sweater I made as a KAL with a 'How To Knit Pattern-Free' class I was teaching. Ugh-Lee! So ugly that after the first couple of lessons, I was too embarrassed to bring it to class.

And then there's ugly fit. I remember my early knitting projects. Patons Shetland Chunky 'Nordic Ski' sweaters. Blindly following the pattern, iognoring my petite frame, I made housecoats, not sweaters.

Mistakes aside, every knitter knits for style. It was nice to be complimented, but really! I just do what all knitters do. We knit for style.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Shopping At Napa

When I shot the photos recently, at the NAPA store, I had no intentions of buying yarn. Really.

Remember my B.C. haul? It is only partially - actually minimally - knit. Remember the load of stash-stuff I brought to Hearst? Only a week into the vacation and I knew it was a gross over-estimation.

Truthfully, my intentions were NOT to buy yarn. But you know how it is. Things catch a knitters eye.

Three yarns and a pattern.

Patons Classic Wool is the large ball at the back. The front, right yarn is Trendsetters Yarn, Joy. The one on the left is Trendsetters Yarn, Metal. I see a green Easy Peasy Wrap happening.

The pattern, Fibre Trend's High Top Felted Slippers, is to share with my friend Nicki. Last winter she and I both made felted clogs and both wished for a pattern with a closed heel. Here it is Nicki. Mind you, it is in children's sizes, so a bit of finagling will have to be one.

Three yarns and a pattern. A mini haul. Nothing any knitter wouldn't do, right?

And the best part? With bags like these, husbands need never know about the yarn!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Definitely - Your Grandma's Knitting

Most often, I pride myself on knitting what I categorize as "Not Your Grandma's Knitting"

I knit not so much to keep hands and head warm in winter, but for style. I knit not so much to save money on socks and slippers, but for the satisfaction of artistic creativity.

But in avoiding 'Grandma's Knitting', some techniques and knitted items are missing from my knitting repertoire.

Until yesterday, I had never knit a tea cozy. And never tried the two-colour, garter stitch technique so popular in Grandma's cozies and slippers.

Tea cozies, though, hold a certain allure and I had always been curious about that two-colour technique.

And so voila! My very first tea cozy.

But, should I start speaking wistfully about knitting what EZ calls 'Nether Garments', hide my needles. Please!

Friday, July 25, 2008

How To Block In The Woods

When Charlie was a young man, he loved all things woodsy. Camping, Canoeing, and everything about life in the woods. So for a gift/joke one Christmas, I bought him the book -
"How To S_ _t In The Woods".

Today when I set out my trailer blocking tools to block the Easy Peasy Summer Wrap #2, it reminded me of how we do things differently in the woods.

So, at the trailer, this is How To Block In The Woods.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Hooray! Hearst knitters no longer have to buy their yarn from the cramped quarters in the back of the Northern Store. Hearst knitters now have their own Local Yarn Store. And a unique store it is, too.

Housed in the front corner of the NAPA Auto Parts Store, with no signage to indicate anything being sold other than tools,


Apparently the owner's wife, a knitter, thought the front corner of the family-owned, tool store could be put to better use. Well, Duh!

Kind of makes you want to yell "KNITTERS RULE!", Doesn't it?

The store is not big. But let me tell you, in a small town, worlds away from Knitters Fairs & Frolics, Tent Sales and the likes of Romni Wools, it's a treasure.

Should you be passing thru Hearst and want to stop in, you can find the address in the yellow pages. Just look under Auto Parts.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

One Skein (One-A-Day) Wonders

Just before leaving for Hearst, I purchased the book "One Skein Wonders".

I know, I know. No swift learner, me. The book has been on the stands and raved about on the 'net' for some time now. But until Sandy from Knit Group brought her copy in for us to look at, the bug didn't bite.

One look at Sandy's copy, though and I had to have that book. Thankfully it arrived by post before my yarn was packed.

My first project was the NORO hat. Isn't it great? A fast and easy knit. Finished in one evening.

Now, I'm wondering if my wrists will stand up to the pressure. One Skein Wonders are like a multi vitamin. One-A-Day.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Knitter's Tool

Sometime this past winter, the awning blew off our trailer. Sunday, with the help of Charlie - #1 son - and daughter-in-law, Kim, we managed to get it back up.

It was a BIG job. Hard work and frustrating. A 16 foot awning is heavy and awkward.

For those of you that don't know, installing an awning on a trailer is a two-step process. First you must stuff the thick, stiff, vinyl pocket that runs along the top of the awning into the teeny, tiny rigid aluminum rack that runs along the top of the trailer. You let our son do that.

Next, you insert a plastic rod - in our case a 16 foot plastic rod - into the pocket to hold the awning in place. We first attempted the insertion of the rod with the 'push' method. When it became obvious that heat-induced, heart attacks were imminent, we knew we had to re-think. Or maybe, simply, think.
So we decided to try the 'pull' method. But in order to pull, we had to poke a hole in the rod and attach twine. Out came the tools: screwdrivers, wrenches, pliers. Nothing worked. Just when I began to think that we would have to hire - at great expense - this job done, Charlie asked

"You wouldn't happen to have a needle, would you?"

A needle? A knitter with a needle?

"Indeed, I do." I declared.

First offered was a 3.5 mm Knit Picks Option on a 16 inch cable. Then various sized crochet hooks, then finally the Chibi. Turns out the itty bitty Chibi was perfect for the job.
Mind you, the Chibi's destroyed. No future fibre work for this Chibi.

Just for comparison, here's one that hasn't been injured.

But that's a small price to pay. I'm a happy camper. The awning's up. I can once again knit in the shade. And smile. Smugly. A knitting tool saved the day. The awning is up because I'm a knitter!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

A Twin

Dorothy's wrap has a twin.

I finished another Easy Peasy Summer Wrap. Just waiting for a classy invitation.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The 'Dress That Called My Name' Shrug/Shawl

This little shawl is another of my famous - or maybe infamous - Easy Peasy patterns. It can be any size you want. Longer and/or wider than mine. Or not. The world's your oyster on this one.


Choose yarns in colours that you like. Again, an odd number probably works best. Include some 'fancy' yarns. An eyelash and a sparkle really 'kick it up a notch'.

Yarns don't have to be the same gauge or fibre. In fact the more pronounceable the differences in the yarns, the more interesting your piece.

Use a relatively large needle. I used 8mm

The shawl is done - or at least mine was - in garter stitch. That is, knit every row. The benefit of garter stitch is that both sides are the same. There is no right or wrong side. Of course, you can knit yours in any stitch you want. The principle remains the same whatever stitch you use.

This piece, unlike the other Easy Peasy Shawl pattern, is done with vertical stripes. And the yarn is used for more than one row at a time. The decision to use a particular yarn and to make the stripes a particular width is TOTALLY RANDOM. Don't try to over think it. Have a little faith and just knit.

Also unlike the other Easy Peasy Shawl pattern, this one is not fringed. In the 0ther pattern, the ends became the fringe and didn't require being sewn in. Sorry, but in this shawl, you do have to sew in the ends.

Cast on sufficient stitches to make the topper as long ( ie deep) as you want it to be. Remember, you are working side-to-side so you are casting on for the depth of the shawl.

Knit a few rows in your cast on colour. When you think you have enough for that colour, change colours.

Knit a few rows - not the same number of rows as the first colour - of colour number two.

Continue in this manner until the piece is as long as you want it to be.

Cast off. Sew in the ends. (Sorry)

To make it into a shrug, at each end, sew the front to the back for a few inches.

Voila! En Easy Peasy, 'Done Before Dinner' Shawl. Enjoy.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Travel Attire

Today, we are on our way back to Hearst. This time we will be there a month or so. Lots of time to be with the grandkids. And to find and fix that leak!

But my question for you is, "What do you think I am wearing for travel attire?

Will I dress a la orange? As I intended to do for the trip back home in June? Except that I didn't get the top done in time.
Or shall I wear my new green skirt? As a teenager, I used to sew all my clothes but haven't done so for a l-o-n-g time. Lately, I've had the urge to try it again. Something simple to start.
So I made this little green skirt. The pattern was very easy and it fits! That's a good start for re-entering the world of sewing.

It was a 'done-before-dinner' fast sew. More accurately, a done-after-dinner- but-before-the-movie sew.
And look how it sets off the shoes that Dorothy bought me from her winter vacation in Hawaii .

I don't know. I think the song is wrong. It's not so hard being green.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Renovation

Is it right to call it a renovation when it involves knitting? Perhaps the word is re-knitovation?

Remember when this style was popular?

A short Bolero style sweater? I made this one a couple of years ago with yarn purchased over the Internet. A cotton- blend, tweedy yarn. It fits great but has faded from style in /08.

It was destined for the 'recycle' store in town, but yesterday, as I gathered yarn for the trip, I came across the Bolero leftovers. Two full balls and a bit. "Hmmm", says I

I bet I could turn this from the 'One Year Wonder' that it was, to this year's 'au courant'. Not that I am especially fond of this year's fashion favourite; the closely fitted bodice with the fuller, lower half. Really, I can't imagine anyone who has ever been pregnant enjoying wearing that style. It makes my feet swell, just to think about it.

But, I do like my wardrobe to be somewhat current. And a re-knit wouldn't be too timely or costly.

So - the plan is to cut off the lower seed stitch trim and knit down. It will become a full length - or at least as full length as 2 balls and a bit will allow - summer sweater. There will be some fullness - not 9 months worth, but some - and a lace pattern.

Another vacation project. Ever optimistic.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Optimism - Thy name Is Knitter

There wasn't much knitting taking place at my house this weekend.
There are a few more rows there - really! But not much, I must admit. And those few rows only got done late Sunday night.

I did find time though to get my yarn ready for the next trip to Hearst. This trip I decided not to take a major project. Instead, hats & mittens are on the agenda. Hat & mittens are often my January knitting. After the Christmas hype, I find them to be soothing. Not too much of a mental challenge, but fun to be creative with colour.

This time in Hearst, two beauteous Grand kids have asked to learn to knit. The oldest already knows how and now, the 6 year old and just-turned, eight year old want to learn. Mindless knitting for Grandma is just the ticket while I help them with their first projects.

Even so, I think I may be a bit optimistic about what I can accomplish in a month.
Do ya think?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Ta Da !

Remember the 'Dress that Called My Name'?

The one with the beige insert in the skirt and the orange flowers?
And remember the yarns I chose to make a little topper to set off the dress?
Well, here is the topper. Ta Da! I like it! Beaucoup!! A little piece with random vertical stripes.
In a way, this little piece is a 'memory piece'. Many of the yarns are 'special' to me. The delicate eyelash yarn was a gift from Janet - owner of London Yarns where I used to work. She and her hubby took a trip to Arizona and brought back a few of these precious 'knit-a-longs' as a gift. Much better than a tee shirt, wouldn't you say? The cotton rust was a gift from Pat. A Knit Group buddy who said she would never use the yarn and asked if I wanted it. Duh! Of course. Thanks Pat. The tri-colour Evita was a yarn I picked out of a sale bin and I think of my friend Patti-Ann who was with me at the time. See the little ball of brown in the upper corner? It came from a stash exchange deal. Hand spun, and for most sweater knitting, considered poorly spun as it ranges from very thin to very thick. But for a creative little piece like mine, exactly what it needs.

Again, before you all rush to comment on how brilliantly creative I am, I remind you - I am a copier. This time I took inspiration from Jane Thornley. Jane, who is brilliantly creative, does pieces with beautiful yarns knit in random order. Jane also does lots of short-row techniques in her pieces to make them even more spectacular. That would have been way too time-consuming and 'hard' for me. I wanted quick & easy, a 'wear-it-THIS-summer' knit. A type of 'done-before-dinner' knit.

Remember how I wondered if I had stash yarns in the brown colour-way? I needn't have worried. Look at the throw on my bed.
These are my colours. I own those colours!

But now the question is - Is it a shawl or a shrug?

Presented as a shawl.

And now - as best I can while doing a self-portrait - the shrug view.
The vote at Knit Group yesterday was shrug. Simply for the stay-on-the-shoulders- without-tugging feature. How does one make a shawl into a shrug you ask? Easy Peasy. The difference between a shawl and a shrug is nothing more than a few stitches in the 'pit' area. Sew the front to the back for a couple of inches. That's it.

I will write up the pattern over the next couple of days and post it on the blog. In the meantime I hope you all have a Ta-Da! weekend.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Look what went on at Knit Group today.

Sandy just finished a stroller blanket for a friend's baby. Sandy picked up the yarn from Bee Hive Wools in Victoria B.C. while on vacation there in June. The blanket is being knit in Meaford and sent to the Bahamas. I love the way knitters bring the world close together. Aren't those colours perfect for a Bahamas' baby blanket?

I started my next Easy Peasy Summer Wrap. Dorothy is wearing my first one in Quebec City as I write.
I was inspired by this new ball of yarn I picked up in the sale bin at Knitters Bazaar
in Barrie. Oops! Sorry, the store has changed it's name. It is now called Knits and Quilts, I believe. On Anne St.

Nicki baked us Biscotti. Yummy.
And Sandra - that is the Sandra who waits on us hand and foot - served ice water infused with fruits of the season. Sorry - it was gone before I could snap a photo.

And tomorrow, I will reveal my little topper for the 'dress that called my name'. It passed Knit Group inspection. After Knit Group, I took it to the store to show the lady who sold me the dress and it passed inspection there too. I think it looks pretty darn good myself. I'll show it to you tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Apple Country , Apple Hat

A friend of mine is expecting her first grandchild at the beginning of August.

Sadly, Grandma-to-be is a non-knitter. The knitting world is shaking their heads and clucking in disbelief at that news. Worried that the little one would nave nothing hand-knit to wear, I decided to make a baby hat.

Since we live in apple country, here in Grey County, the hat is an 'apple hat'. Lest you think I am brilliantly creative to put the idea of apple country/apple hat together, I confess I stole the idea from Sharon. Sharon - the weaving, bag lady from Knit Group. (See post of May 8) She makes apple hats for the new babies in her life. I shamelessly copied.
I had no pattern other than a basic top down hat pattern. I added the brown 'I Cord' for the stem and did some 'fair isle' work at the top to create the leaves.

This is the red yarn I bought last Thursday after hearing the dress call my name. The yarn is Naturally Merino Fine. From New Zealand. It was the first time I have ever used this yarn. A very soft, washable wool.

The hat was the secret project I mentioned in Monday's post. Grandma-to-be and I hike on Wednesdays and I know she occasionally reads the blog, so I couldn't tell you about the hat until after today's hike.

Here is Grandma and our hiking friends with the hat.

And now, Grandma and the hat.

Grandma loved the hat and got the 'apple' thing at first glance. She looks much too young to be a Grandma, don't you think?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Walter's Falls

Sunday, Peter came to visit. He rode his motorbike
and maybe because of that he seemed very interested in the local scenery. Specifically water falls.

There are several in the area but he asked about Walter's falls. So off we went to show off the area's spectacular - well, not the Rockies spectacular, but pretty darn good - scenery.

Walter's Falls. Fed by - can you guess? Walter'sCreek

Between the falls and the mill pond.

Peter and Fred hamming it up by the falls.

Fred and I by the mill pond.
I am a winter lover. But summer can be pretty grand too.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Heard The Dress Call My Name

Look what I bought Thursday after Knit Group.
Walking from Knit Group to the LYS, I passed one of Meaford's treasures. Coco. A ladies dress shop. It was a sunny day.The door was open. Something was calling my name. Stepping inside, there it was. A great summer dress. My colours. My size. My price. How often does that happen?

I looked at it for a l-o-n-g time. I knew I didn't need a dress. I knew my spending money had just gone to pay for a new tire. Then a new sidewalk. I knew the rule was -" Walk away and think about it."

So the dress remained in the store. I ran a few errands then went to the yarn store for a ball of red yarn. (That's a little surprise for a friend who is an occasional reader. I will share it with you after I see her on Wednesday) And all the time, there was a voice - the dress was calling my name.

Returning to the car, I had to walk right past Coco's a second time.
"Well, it wouldn't hurt to take another look" said my bad, bad, bad, free-spending self.

This time I tried it on. It fit perfectly. Ah - the clerk did mention something about control-top panty hose. So, let's say - almost perfectly.
I love the flowers and bit of beige in the skirt.

I love the beige with orange embroidery at the neck.

Being a sleeveless dress, the clerk pointed out that a little 'jacket' of some kind would really kick it up a notch. (The industry term for this is 'cross-sell') In fact, she threw one over my shoulders to demonstrate. Yes, that did put the dress into another sphere. However, she only had black jackets and of course that wouldn't do with the brown dress.

All the way home, the knitting brain was working. What could I knit to go with the dress?
What could I knit that would be easy enough to get it done fast enough to wear the dress THIS summer? Did I have 'stash stuff'' in the dress colours? Turns out I did. Or do. Look what I found.

Now, what am I making? I'll show you when it's done. Sorry. It really doesn't look like much right now. It won't take long. I promise.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Today we had a real treat at Knit Group. A couple of youngsters, a sister and brother team, that wanted to learn to knit. Muggles no more. Look at them go.

That's Nicki, the teacher, in white. She even taught them to cast on. Something I am never brave enough to do on the first go-round. Emma's pursed lips say it all, don't they? And I was so focused on those lips that I cut the teacher's head out of the shot.

Nicki's Mom, Vera, reads the blog in B.C. and loves to see full shots of her daughter. But sorry, Vera, it's a no-head shot today.

The rest of the group tried to stay out of the way of the learners. Wilma kept busy with a pink baby sweater. She has a shower to go to soon

And Doreen is making her first pair of socks.
Well, at least when I snapped the photo, she said they were her first pair. But later she confessed that she has made socks before just not for a long, long time. Thank goodness she fessed up, as the rest of us were beginning to feel pretty inferior. When I took the picture, I didn't notice, but looking at it now, I realize her top matches her knitting. I love it when knitters wear clothes to match their knitting-of-the-day. Way to go, Doreen.

And what did I wear, you ask? Well, yes indeed I did. My new orange top.

There you have the outfit that was meant to be my travel attire for the trip home from Hearst. Now it will be what I wear for the trip back up in mid-July.

And my Knit Group activities? The gauge swatch for the green summer top. And I am
w - a - y off. With the recommended needles, the ball band states 21 stitches over four inches. Me? 28. Got some work to do there. Perhaps a gauge-free summer wrap would be a nice idea.

Thursdays are for Knit Group and ain't it grand?