Monday, May 31, 2010

Road Work

The highway between Thornbury and Meaford is under construction - passing lanes are being constructed.

Early this morning, when I attempted to post, it didn't occur to me that my lack of internet and phone service might be connected to the road work. Listening to the news at noon, I learned that the cable had been sliced at the highway construction site. Hmmmph! I was not impressed. So anxious was I this morning to post about my new summer cardi, that I spent w-a-a-y too much time on the floor, in the confined space behind the desk, dripping sweat on this hottest day of the year, while I unplugged and re-plugged computer cable connections. I must get over this notion that computer problems are always my fault.

Feeling better and less frustrated now, thank you, I give you Sit Com Chic.

Sit Com is very chic indeed.

Sit Com has the makings of a great sweater template. It fits well and is a straight forward design that would easily lend itself to adaption. I can see my self making this one again.

Sit Com Chic - Details
I made the 40" size. That is my standard for a light sweater with a couple of inches of ease.
Sit Com is knit in one piece from the bottom up. It starts a couple of inches smaller than the bust, with increases beginning at the waist to take the sweater to it's finished size.

The yarn I used was Cotton Tweed by Cabin Fever. I loved it. It had never previously been on my radar because of the high - 55% - Acrylic content. But I stand corrected. This is a lovely yarn. It knits nicely and has great drape. It is a bit warmer than pure cotton might be, but for a cool summer evening, I think the sweater will be just perfect. In fact, I can see this blend being a perfect weight for many months of the year.
Only one, but it was a big one. I used DK weight yarn instead of Knitting Worsted. That meant there was a bit of math involved to change all the KW numbers - cast on, cast off, decreases, increases - to DK numbers appropriate for my yarn. Fortunately, the pattern had great graphics, which allowed me to cross reference my numbers with measurements.

Oops two mods. The pattern calls for a 2 row reverse stockinet edging along the front bands. It wasn't enough to prevent the fronts from serious curling, so I worked 4 rows of garter stitch instead.

I'm very pleased with this sweater - the side order to my main menu of spending the year with Elizabeth Zimmermann. The colour is neutral enough to go with most things in my closet, it fits well, the one-button closure is very trendy and it's done! Now back to Elizabeth.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sue's Gift

Sandy's sister Sue - we affectionately refer to her as the bag lady - sent pounds and pounds of yarn to knit group yesterday.

Sue is a craftsperson of extraordinary talent. Her specialty is felted bags. Here is her picture from last September's Knitters Fair with one of her wonderful creations.

Like most knitters, she grows tired of her stash from time to time. Lucky for us, she has chosen our group as her personal stash disposal site. Thanks Sue. We LOVE your 'cast offs'.

The tables at knit group were covered - I mean covered - yesterday when I arrived. Sandy had done a fantastic job of displaying the yarns by colour. It meant I could just stay at the green table.

Nicki whispered conspiratorially in my ear, as soon as I started my search. "I grabbed some greens for you in case you got here too late." Now that's a friend for you. She opened her bag and I 'oohed' and gave her a big kiss.

Look at my haul.

There are 4 balls of Twilleys Freedom Spirit.
This is a current yarn and a current colour. We sell it at the store so I can top up my 4 balls, should I decide I need more. Thanks, Sue.

These are 4, 28 G balls of Patons Moorland. It is navy tweed, 100% wool in a lovely DK weight.
This, like the Twilleys is a yarn from Great Britain. Certainly not the Patons from Canada we know and love love to hate.

Then there are 2 lovely, Uruguayan, hand-spun, kettle-dyed, balls of green with bits of orange. This is a chunky weight yarn with 128 metres per ball. Last time Sue sent yarn, I grabbed 2 identical balls, one of which I used last winter to knit the Spiral Mitts. Now I have 3 balls - or 4 again, if I unravel the mitts. No, I wouldn't do that!

Thanks, Sue. Everyone appreciated you generosity. We look forward to your next de-stashing.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group - Survivor In The Fall

Knit group was a loud affair today. One late-arriving knitter said it sounded like a party happening as she climbed the stairs.

Maybe because our boisterous knitter,Pat, rested and looking good, is back from her trip to Nova Scotia. Apparently the relatives down that way 'stole' the socks she was knitting. This pair, she declared she's keeping for herself. Keep your eyes on your needles Pat -those are my colours.

Sharon finished her Top Down cabled sweater and hat.
Made with Naturelle, 100% wool in a lovely off white, we sure hope 'Mom' knows how to launder hand knits.

Bonnie struggles still with assembling her little cardi. Nicki tried to help her make sense of the origami-like garment but when it came time to go home, Bonnie was still sweater-less.

Sandy is having a knitter's moment with some Sari Silk.
From Nepal, the yarn is spun from re-cycled saris. I just happen to have a little Sari Shawl pattern in my pattern stash, so Sandy's in luck.

Sandy's sister sent bags of unwanted yarn. We love Sandy's sister. I'll show you my haul tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Something In Common

Knitterly Anne and I have something in common. She just has more of them.

I had mine out the other day researching suitable-for-socks lace patterns.
It took me long enough to browse through these. I'm sure glad I don't have as many as Knitterly Anne.

Look what was cast off my needles last night.

It is 'little summer sweater' personified. Colour. Style. 3/4 sleeves. Perfect. It needs edging - 4 rows of a reverse stockinet rolled edge down both fronts and around the neck. Followed by the sewing in of ends and it's ready to wear - should the weather cool off.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My 'May 24'

The weather couldn't have been more magnificent. As the weekend drew to a close, the weather man reported that it was the nicest 'May 24' in 5 years. Later those 5 years were 'upped' to 10 years. This morning, in the weekend weather re-cap, the report was 'the nicest weather in 15 years'. Things improve with age, it seems.

Friday was certainly a great day to have a picnic on the banks of the Avon in Stratford.
My nieces - I call them the born-again nutritionists as they have evolved from kids who ate nothing but individually-packaged, ready-to-eat stuff, to young women who read every label and eat nothing that is not whole wheat and chemically un-doctored - were impressed with the Organic Apple Cider and the home made bread.

Kiss Me Kate was wonderful, of course. Ontarians are lucky to have the world's best performers so close to home. I 'just had' to buythe CD and have been belting out 'Brush Up Your Shakespeare' since Friday.

There was knitting too. Not quite finished, but well on it's way, Sit Com Cardi has only a few rows to go.
It is about 6 rows past it's signature, decorative, eyelet row.

And you can see that I found time for a manicure over the weekend. A great 'May 24'.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Queen's Birthday

Officially, Canada's summer starts this weekend - the Victoria Day Weekend.

Queen Victoria, bless her heart, knew how desperately Canadians needed a three day weekend after the long winter. Of course, she wasn't born in May but giving the people a long weekend is a good enough reason to change the Queen's date of birth to a warmer time of year. Royalty has the power to do these things and Canadians have been thankful ever since.

Affectionately, the weekend is known as the 'May 24'. Way back when, the '24' stood for the date given to officially represent the Queen's birthday. In our times though, the '24' has come to represent the 24 bottles in a case of beer -the park and patio drink of choice for many Canadians this weekend.

My 'May 24' starts today with a trip to Stratford. I'm meeting up with family, including my soon-to-be 90 year old Dad and his 'lady friend', for a picnic along the Avon and a matinee of Cole Porter's Kiss Me Kate.

It would have been great to be able to sling 'Sit Com Cardi' over my shoulders to ward off any chill. I tried. The great join has been passed. but I'm a long way from the cast off.
As is so often the case with my best-laid knitting plans, this special occasion will be finished long before the sweater.

Visiting, watching the play and knitting are how I intend to spend my weekend. However you spend your 'May 24', "Have a great one!"

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group and ?? - Loose Ends

With no Survivor tonight - or for that matter until fall - I am at loose ends. It's a good thing Knit Group doesn't break for summer.

This fellow greeted me when I arrived at knit group today.
Another Gloria doll - but the size of him. That's a bottle of 'bubbly' he's carrying and on top of his head is a birthday cupcake. He looks ready for a night on the town - or maybe he's returning from one. There is much knitting and much stuffing in that doll. Very impressive, Gloria.

Marlene found a source of novelty yarn.
Such a big hit a few years back, novelty yarn is now almost impossible to find. When Marlene discovered the yarn in a village store on a recent day trip she said she bought every ball they had. And has been knitting hats ever since, it would seem.

Sharon is knitting another Top Down For Toddlers sweater. Knit in cream coloured Naturel,
it has a beautiful cable - Sharon's first cable - down the front. 2010 is a learning year for Sharon it seems. Her Olympic project was her first lace project and this little sweater her first cable. Call us 'mature students' but knitters love to learn new techniques.

Since Nicki is knitting the same pattern, she tried to help Bonnie with the placement of the pieces for her little summer top. Looks as if they aren't quite sure. I won't start mine until they figure it out.

In time for the next Olympics - just kidding - Lois is almost finished the second mitt to match her Olympic hat. She started these mitts just as the winter Olympics finished.
Even Lois thinks that is quite funny.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Thank You Giselle

That Crafty Beaded Knitter is one smart lady.

I took her advise to wet block the ribbing of my Sit Com Cardi. Being lazy, I only blocked the lower ribbed portion and I did it by the wet block method. That is, I soaked the area to be blocked then pinned it out. Wet blocking, in my mind, is a much more severe blocking method than steam blocking. 'Sit Com', into some severe curling, required severe blocking.
Drying can sometimes take a long time, especially when pinned to my thick foam. Being in a hurry anxious to see the results, I set the blocking board with 'Sit Com' attached out in the sun while I attended a noon meeting, yesterday.

Home from the meeting, 'Sit Com' was dry and ready to be tested. Here it is hanging vertically - as it will be on me - over the back of a chair.
Wowsy! What a difference. Having hung there over night, this morning, it seems still slightly defiant, so a second soaking might be in order, but it is a thousand times better than it was. Where would I be without blog readers?

And a post script for all those worried about our reverse weather patterns. Fred left Monday for Hearst - 11 hours north of our home on Southern Georgian Bay - to spend a couple of weeks fishing and playing with the Grand Kids. The temperature was 26' when he arrived. Today, he tells me it is to be 30'. I stayed home because I thougth 11 hours north would be colder! Dang!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Off The Island

Sleeve Island on the Sit Com Cardi was not an endless place. After only a couple of days of knitting, I am heading towards the exit sign. Sleeve number one is done.
Thank goodness for schematics. My gauge is smaller than the pattern, requiring more rows and more stitches than pattern instructions. I have a gauge-change formula I use in these cases, but still, seeing that schematic and knowing the sleeve is to be 14 1/2 inches long and 7 1/2 inches across means I can knit exactly to the size required. Schematics should be mandatory in all sweater patterns.

With both sleeves soon to be done, it is a quick matter to join the body to the sleeves and work towards the neckline. Bottom up is Elizabeth Zimmermann's favourite way to knit sweaters. She thinks the interesting 'parts' that happen at the top motivate the knitter and prevent boredom. She also claims in Knitting Without Tears that once the body is joined to the sleeves, "You will find yourself progressing like a house on fire, as the rounds will become shorter and shorter." Motivation indeed. I am excited.

Giselle of Crafty Beaded Knitter commented yesterday to suggest I block the ribbing portion of the body of this sweater before ripping it back. Isn't that a smart idea? If the ribbing uncurls and stays that way with blocking, much knitting time will be saved. Since the body is just hanging around at the moment while I visit sleeve island, it might as well be blocking. Thanks Giselle.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Survivor Cardi

Despite being named the 'Sit Com Cardi' by designer Bonnie Marie Burns, my cardi, having viewed 4 hours of Survivor since last Thursday, should maybe be re-named the 'Survivor Cardi'.

There aren't too many evenings of TV viewing in my year that beat the Survivor Finale. Last night was no exception. And!! Russell lost again. Not one vote!! Wake up Russell. There is a social side to the game. I'm convinced that people make most of life's decisions, using their heart, not their mind. Russell doesn't know or chooses to ignore that.

Even using the finer Dk weight yarn - a slower knit at 22 stitches than the called for heavy worsted at 18 stitches, my Cardi is racing towards completion. Famous last words perhaps, but the body is now done to the underarms.
Here you can see my toe holding down the curling rib. The pattern calls for 3 rows of 1 x 1 rib. With my smaller gauge I probably should have done 4 or 5 rows because this bottom is not just curling, it appears to have gotten a perm! I might have to snip the body a couple of rows above the ribbing, rip down to the cast on row, then re-knit , using ribbing for 5 rows instead of three.

I tried 5 rows of ribbing on the sleeve -
here seen at about 11 of the required 14 inches - as a test and there is no curling. Mind you, the sleeve has substantially fewer stitches and is knit in the round. Does that mean 5 rows work here, but still might not be enough on the body?

It is certainly fun to work up such a quick knit. Definite progress seen after each knitting session. Quite a change from the Waterloo Fairisle and the Gaggle of Garter Tomten. Sit Com or Survivor watching, speed is a great thing for a summer sweater, given the fact that I never start them early enough.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Bleh! would be the most accurate description for our rainy, cool, weather today. Fewer knitters arrived for knit group and we asked - Is it the weather, other commitments or the fact that there was no delicious lunch being served such as we had last week at Sandy B's?
We know the pull food can have.

Knitting was no less interesting though. We all puzzled over Nicki's piece. Knit like this

but put together like this. She thinks.
It will look like this when finished. She hopes.

Gloria is our #2 doll knitter. Look at the time consuming details on this one.
Hair of knitted loops. Buttons. Bow tie. Patches. Braces. Flowers. 'Fiddly' is the word Gloria used.

We have a lovely picture of Doreen - complete with smile. Her grand daughter Brooklyn visited over Mothers' Day and asked Doreen if she had stopped coming to knit group as she hadn't seen her picture on the blog lately. Here is a great picture of your Grandma, Brooklyn
and my apologies. I will try to remember to capture Doreen's beautiful face more often.

Gail has the two fronts finished and this much of the back of her new sweater complete.
The Baby Bamboo drapes nicely and is so-o-o soft. Should make a beautiful summer cardigan, Gail.

Now to Survivor. Russell stays, even yet. Wake up people!!!. If he wins that million dollars, I will be very disappointed.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Side Order

My knitting year is being spent with Elizabeth Zimmermann but at the moment, I am working on a Bonnie Marie Burns pattern. Not an abandonment, just a little on the side.

My summer wardrobe was in need of a little sweater and I liked the Sitcom Cardi that both Wilma and Gail made. I chose Cabin Fever Cotton Tweed
and knit the swatch - the one Fred recognized when he did the laundry.

Originally I intended to 'EZ' this cardi by knitting it in the round and cutting the front. But in the slippery Cotton Tweed the steeking scared me. Steeking works well in wool because of the microscopic barbs that run along the wool fibre. The barbs catch onto each other and prevent ravelling. Cotton is a smooth fibre, one that does not have the safety net of barbs. In the end I decided against the steeking and am knitting Sticom Chic in a modified EZ fashion. In one piece but not in the round.

My main knitting meal for 2010 is an EZ meal -with this 'side' of Bonnie Marie Burns.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tomten Finished.

A Tomten, according to Elizabeth Zimmermann's Kitting Without Tears, is a small Swedish elf who specializes in good deeds. The good deed at the Harris House today is that my Tomten is finished.

All garter, all the time - done! I chose to have what would normally be considered the wrong side of the garter stitch - the one where the bumps of the new colour show through as the right side. I thought it more interesting.

Pocket linings in snazzy red - done!

Pockets flaps in black to match the other borders- done!

Zipper sewn in - done!I rarely put a zipper in my knitted sweaters because - well because it's too hard. Tomten's zipper however was a breeze to sew in. Due to this extra equipment which I was advised to use.
The miracle worker. The zipper stayed perfectly in place while I hand sewed it in. Hand sewn because that's what Elizabeth recommended

The Tomten is a typical EZ creation. Using one pattern and yarns in varying gauges from 5 to 3 sts per inch one can knit Tomtens from baby to adult size. Where else can you find a pattern for an adult that requires no more knitting than a baby sweater except in Elizabeth's books?

The pattern calls for 112 stitches to be cast on. From there everything is measured in garter stitch ridges. The bottom is 40 ridges high before it is split into two fronts, armholes and back. Each front section is 1/8th total stitches, the armholes and back are each 1/4 total stitches. The back and fronts continue for an additional 28 ridges. The sleeves are picked up from the top and knit down for 56 ridges. Are you seeing the relationship? 112...56...28.

Thank goodness for the knitters of the world that Elizabeth turned that brilliant mind of hers towards knitting. Where would we be if she had chosen physics, carpentry, medicine or dentistry? Thank you Elizabeth. Now I think I might try those '2-Needle Garter Stitch Slipper, With Cuff'.

Garter stitch! Did you catch that?

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Secret's Out

This is what has been distracting me lately. I've burned a pot dry, replied to normal conversations by quoting sock formulae and tossed away a nights sleep.

But I am having so much FUN!!! And to quote Deb "now it's in writing, you are my witnesses, it must be done. Here we go."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Flowers For Mothers Day

Being north of Ontario's 'big smoke' means gardens in my town, bloom later than Marie's.
But just in time for Mothers Day, I invite you to stroll through mine. Some Mothers Day flowers for you -a little pictorial gift.

First year for black tulips.

Blossoms on the Service Berry.

Tulips and Daffodils. Such beautiful colours for spring.

My Bleeding Heart - tucked into a corner, in the shade, on the north side of the house, finally blooms.

Finally, this blog comes to you courtesy of my Mothers Day gift from son #2. Each
year for Mothers Day he gives me the gift of the domain renewal. Thanks, Peter.

Happy Mothers Day to all daughters and Mothers. And, as always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Knitter Sandy B spends half the year in Florida. Just nicely back in the land of the thawing north, she invited us to her home, today, for lunch. Sixteen ladies, knitters all, eating pot luck finger foods at the dining room table in Sandy's beautiful Victorian home. That's knit group to the max

Sharon sitting in front of that wonderful Victorian vignette wears her newly completed, purple Top Down sweater.

Here's our gracious host, Sandy B, between Sandy P and Doreen.

Some of the early arrivals patiently waiting to dig in.

Between courses there was knitting.

and time for Sharon to show off her exquisite, hand-felted, silk scarf.
Pat, showed her English bringing a Sherry Trifle. Heavy on the Sherry. Before serving, she took time to warn us not to drive after eating. She needn't have worried. It was really heavy on the Sherry. No one could have driven anywhere.
Now, Survivor. There are a couple that have Russell figured out. Too bad they can't convince the others.