Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Socks And Mittens

I'm close. But the box won't go out today either. I stopped last night just as the needles approached the toe area.
Today, toe decreases, grafting and then James socks go into the box.

Knitting to a deadline isn't the most fun I've ever had with my needles (you'd wonder why I do it so often) so to alleviate the boredom factor, I started a pair of mittens for Fred.
Directly opposite the socks on the yarn scale, these are knit with local, Grey County yarn, unsophisticatedly spun and still containing much barn matter. Perfect for fishing mittens. Fred asked!!! for a pair of mittens to keep his hands warm while he fishes in sub-zero weather. Since his hands are so cold as he practices his 'haven't brought home a fish this year' kind of fishing, you'd wonder why he does it so often. Guess we both have our passions.

These mittens, I will make with both the thumb and index finger separate from the rest of the fingers. In less 'aware' times, they were called smokers mitts. Now that we are so enlightened about life's bad habits, I call them fishing mitts. With them, Fred can engage in another of life's dangerous habits -standing on the icy rocks along the side of the frigid river, throwing his weight behind a line toss into the rushing waters. I'm an knitting enabler!

Monday, November 29, 2010

To Party Or To Knit

My knitting plans goal for the weekend was to finish the mate to the solo green sock I've knit for James for Christmas.
That box of gifts needs to leave Thornbury soon! My plans were well founded because we were off to visit my sister - a three hour drive from home. That's a total of six knitting hours.

Going over, I did well. I finished the leg AND the heel flap of sock number two! The heel turn and foot I left for later. Wrongly, as it turned out, expecting some quiet, conversational visiting/knitting time. Heck no! The four of us can still party hardy. Unfortunately, we don't recover quickly. There was no knitting time as Sis' house. No problem, there was still the three hour drive home.

As soon as I buckled the seat belt, I picked up the needles. A round heel was the aim, and knowing that my heel flap had 28 stitches, I knit across to two stitches past centre. A few rows later, I was out of stitches on one side and still had some left on the other. What the heck? Counting was required. Oops! I had spent the three hour drive over to Sis' house creating a heel flap on the incorrect number of stitches. Rip!

Picking up little, tiny, sock stitches in the car, with poor lighting and bumpy roads didn't go well. In the end, I gave in, put away the sock and slept. Home again, Fred was off to a Grey Cup affair. Me? My partying time was over. I stayed home to knit. The sock now has a correct heel flap, a turned heel, and most of a gusset.
The box has to go soon. Mid-week, perhaps.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

No Pictures. No Excuses.

Knit group happened today without my camera. Which means there isn't much to post about. And Survivor last night was a review night, so no news there either.

I do have tons of excuses why I forgot the camera, but none of them are worth the telling.
You could, however, take a look at this other blog post, I wrote this morning - and was using my camera for - and did think, I must remember to put the camera back in my knitting bag before I leave the house. And oh so obviously didn't.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Finished Morgan

Morgan's Cardi - known in this house as Abi's Cardi - is finished.

Blocked overnight
and ready for the tying in of ends, it's finished! Buttons, hopefully on the weekend. Notice the very loose definition of finished here.

It fits my vision perfectly. A cute, little, cardi vest knit especially to show off the Dragon Fly necklace I am giving Abi for her Christmas Day birthday.

This pattern is from the Cabin Fever book Teens & Tweens. I made the second size - with a 31 inch finished chest but shortened it to 16 inches as per my instincts and Mom & Dad's confirmation. Other than sizing and the two-colour version I knit for Abi, the only major modification I made was to knit a smaller collar. The pattern calls for a five inch collar. That seemed to me that it might overwhelm little Abi, so I made it three inches instead.

The purple Zara yarn photographs poorly, looking drab and more pink than purple. In real life, it's a delightful purple heather. Purple being Abi's favourite colour, it made sense to couple it with the blue Cantata Crepe for the body of the sweater.

The pattern was well written and easy to follow, but I would make a couple of changes if I were to knit it again. Knit top down, the sweater begins with the collar. To help keep the collar from tugging tightly across the back of the neck, the collar cast-on is done with a large needle. Next time I would not only cast on but also knit a row or two before switching to the smaller needle. Just to really relieve the tugging problem.

The only other change I would make is to re-locate the buttonholes. The pattern calls for nine stitches to be knit before working the buttonhole. A few less stitches would put the buttonholes closer to the edge which IMO would be a better location.

Otherwise, great pattern, nice yarn, perfectly envisioned. Nice knit.

PS. You might have read the comment from Kim, Abi's Mom and my DIL a few days ago. I incorrectly mentioned in my post that Abi will turn ten! Not so. She will be nine this Christmas Day. Mom commented that I must have too many grand kids because I can't keep their ages straight. I'd like to ask who's fault is that? :):) LOL!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

About Time

Having just returned home from a meeting, I realized - it's here. The season. The sweater season that is. The auditorium was full of ladies wearing sweaters!

I saw a lovely chunky beige sweater with brown trim. A big snugly, warm, type of sweater with pockets for stuffing chilly hands. There was a lovely, designer-type, close-fitting, black sweater with sparkly trim, a bright green ribbed cardigan with set in sleeves, a great Norwegian pullover and a aqua, zip-front cardigan with raglan sleeves that was a dead ringer for Sarah.

The interesting thing about all these sweaters? All of them were commercially knit (at least, given the nature of the ladies in attendance, I would eat my hat if they were hand knit), but given the weight of yarn and the classic styles, they looked very much like hand knit sweaters. Often, as knitters (and perhaps sewers) we strive to make our home-made items look 'store bought'.

The sweaters I saw today, were all store bought. It would appear the marketing gurus for those sweater companies have decided that the hand knit look sells. That could mean for some knitters, a business is waiting. For the rest of us, it means - in case you doubted it - we are quite in Vogue. More correctly, the rest of the fashion industry has caught up to our hand knit, very Vogue ways. About time.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Close, But ---

Close! But, as the saying goes, no cigar!
Aib's cardi is now at 13 inches.
Mom and Dad confirmed, during Sunday's weekly phone call, that 16 inches is indeed the target. Three more inches.

That might have been accomplished over the weekend, except that I ran out of readily available yarn. You see, the blue yarn is left over from a previous project. I thought perhaps there was enough still in the ball to complete this little cardi, but at 13 inches, I ran out.

Not the brutal, needle-gnashing kind of 'run out'. Just the not so easily-accessible kind of 'run out'. The extra yarn I needed was still in a summer top I knit a couple of years back and never wore. Access available through ripping!

Let me tell you, I am a very good finisher. Nothing I make will ever fall apart. It can barely be taken apart. Perseverance pays off though, and by a late, bed-time last night, I had managed to rip back the never-worn top and now have enough yarn to finish. Today, back to knitting.

I have learned that each four row repeat adds one half inch to the cardi. Three more inches equals six more repeats. Somehow working that out makes it seem much more achievable. Will cigars be in order by tonight? Maybe! This type of pressure can sometimes make my needles fly.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Wager Anyone?

Was it just Wednesday that I brashly proclaimed to finish Abi's Cardi by the weekend?

Both Wednesday and Thursday evenings, I was tired. Really tired. Knitting was slow. The weekend is almost upon me and I have this much done.
That would be exactly this much.
Sadly for my knitting production, my weekends don't always lend themselves to staying home to knit. This weekend, I would like to take in the Pottawatomi Spinners and Weavers Sale in Owen Sound. While there, I should really stay to watch the lighting of the city for Christmas. And before all that, it is tradition for Fred and I to dine at Swiss Chalet. We like the Festive Special. Hmmm. There goes Friday.

Tomorrow, there is coffee with a friend before she leaves for the winter in Florida. Then a great Snowflake Bazaar just down the street. What about my commitment to take squash for 20 and a mince pie to a Church dinner? Hmmm. There goes Saturday.

Sunday it is my turn to read in Church. Then off to the Legion to help with the monthly Euchre party. Hmmm. There goes Sunday.

Well, exactly how much more knitting is required to finish this little cardi? The pattern, from Teens & Tweens - which Abi, just turning ten, isn't yet, calls for a 19 inch cardi. It is 16 inches to my waist, so 19 inches seems a bit excessive for my ten year old. How about 16? That should work. All of which means, these last two weeks of knitting sees me half way there. The most complicated half, mind you. So can I knit the other half in the next two days? Wagers anyone?

And because Laurie M asked for it, here are some pictures of my 90 year old, Jazz-loving, pony-tailed Dad.

In his legion uniform.

Showing off the cake at his 90th birthday celebration

and lastly, beating the pants off the great grand kids at Euchre.

Happy weekend to all.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Back in the upper room at the library, everyone found us today.

Wilma is knitting to a deadline. She wants to finish off the presents for the Christmas box going out west. Apparently her Grand daughters like Barbie dolls. Wilma has made some beautiful gowns for the dolls. These little dresses are crocheted. Here Wilma starts garment number three.

Sharon has a new wrap underway. Inspired by one her daughter wore to a recent wedding, she has some lovely, slubby, grey yarn and is knitting the wrap in stockinet stitch. It doesn't get much easier than that!

Gail, still sick with 'the cold that won't go away', models her latest stash buster. A beautiful Christmas gift for some lucky relative.

Ingrid wearing, no, working with, no, wearing AND working with Koigu shows me her latest dress in the making. This portion is the skirt section.

Notice how she shaped this piece. At the top there are very few stitches between cables. At the hem, look how many more stitches there are.

Bonnie shows off yet another adult sweater.
I tell you, we've created a non-stop knitter here. From never before to never ending - this knitter can't stop knitting adult sweaters. Great cuddly-looking sweater, Bonnie.

At this point, I got distracted. There are no pictures of Doreen who finished a scarf. Or Marlene knitting a Chemo Cap. And I didn't even ask Gloria what project she has on the needles. Next week.

My Survivor Review. Still, I think it should be Survivor Bonkers!
Let's see. It's raining. How can we protect the fire? I know! Let's put a wooden box on top of it, then leave camp for a few hours. Bonkers.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Abi's Cardigan

Abi's Dragon Fly Cardigan is moving along. The charm has arrived. Finally.

My gauge is still off, but I'm trying very hard to knit loosely and so far my bigger-than-required size seems to be compensating for my finer-than-required yarn. Fingers crossed.

Last night saw me zoom past the 'great divide'. Sleeves are now on hold and I am working only on the body. My limited supply of purple Zara - two balls only - got me this far
with just enough left to 'cap' off the little, cap sleeves. The rest of the cardi will be blue - just like the dragon fly necklace. I envision my little grand daughter being the height of Grade 4 fashion!

Ever since buying Sally Melville's book The Knitting Experience, Book 1 The Knit Stitch, when working a colour change, I copy the method of striping Sally used in the scarf on the cover. Change colours. Work two rows. Revert to the preceding colour and work two final rows, then on to the new colour. The transition from colour to colour is more interesting than just going from colour A to B. That is what I did here. Purple, then two rows of blue, then two rows of purple, then on to blue for keeps. I like it.

This shouldn't take too many more knit hours. I hope to have it done by the weekend. Should the charm stay with me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Knitters Everywhere

Toronto, a city where I know very few people, has knitters everywhere. Or so it seemed to me.

Friday night of our weekend jaunt to the big city, I finally met a knitter I had previously known only cyberly. Kim, is a knitter I met online through her now defunct blog, Curliegirl. Once I learned that Kim not only knits but runs, I introduced her - cyberly speaking - to my cousin the maniac marathoner. They since have become good friends, running marathons together throughout North America. Sadly, Km is now so busy running that she no longer blogs. I miss her blog.

Cousin Chuck, a die-hard Johnny Reid fan, brought Kim to the concert as his guest, just so I could meet her. Thanks, Chuck. Kim and I grabbed adjoining seats and talked knitting during the entire concert between songs.

Saturday afternoon, with a few spare minutes between Danny Marks and The Happy Pals, I dragged son Peter to Romni Wools. There, a lady stopped me to ask "Are you Brenda? Brenda from Meaford?"

Turns out, it was Nan. Nan and her hubby are retiring to our area next spring. Searching for local knitters, she came across me on ravelry and - cyberly speaking - introduced herself to me there. Nan, I must say, has her priorities in the correct knitterly order. Months before she moves in, she is lining up a knit group to join. Well, Nan, have I got a group for you. Nan said she recognized me from my picture on the blog. People, it pays to never change your hairstyle!

What fun! The www has certainly made it easy to make and meet knitting friends. Knitters everywhere. Just the way I like it.

Monday, November 15, 2010

What A Weekend

Sorry about not getting a post on the blog on Friday morning. Fred and I left earlier than anticipated for a weekend of wild, frolicking fun in Toronto. Well, as wild and frolicking as it gets for this set of grandparents.

The excuse for a dose of city life was a Johnny Reid concert. Having never heard a Johnny Reid song in my life, I had to ask Johnny who? Fortunately, I have lots of family members who are very enthusiastic fans.

Friday night I was in Massey Hall - a first for me - seeing a very lovable Johnny sing to extremely fanatical fans. What a hoot! It was a most enjoyable time.

Saturday there was lunch at The Rex while we listened to Danny Marks. It pays to have your 90 year old Dad along when you go to these events. Ninety year olds always attract attention and Dad, because he loves the attention and banters back, gets more than most. Danny didn't disappoint. Between songs, he had us howling with laughter as he tried to entice everyone who entered the place to sit with Dad. For a definition of the word askance, you only needed to see the look on the young ladies faces when they were asked to sit beside this old fella with a pony tail. No takers until son/grandson Peter came along.

After Danny we were off to Grossman's Tavern to hear The Happy Pals, a Dixieland Jazz group that have been playing Grossmans for 40 years. It is niece Katie's birthday this week and her choice for a birthday celebration was to spend the afternoon listening to The Happy Pals. Great fun.

I have to say, you city people must be tremendously fit. We walked miles and miles in Toronto. Of course, Toronto has a great public transit system, but it is underground. For those of us that only get an occasional glimpse of the bright lights, walking is the preferred method of getting around. Tough on the feet though.

This morning before leaving the big smoke, we had breakfast with son Peter and then went over to his studio to see his latest paintings.

All in all, a great weekend. A perfect antidote to our normally quiet, small-town life. Can't wait 'till next time.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

It's not my fault! I did remember my camera today, but nonetheless, there is only one picture. The library was closed due to Remembrance Day so we had agreed to meet at Christine's, a local tea room, for knitting. At least, Ingrid, Nicki and I thought we had agreed to meet there. But we were the only three to arrive.

Nicki was knitting a Christmas present, so no pictures allowed. Ingrid's new Koigu dress is my only picture.
This is the dress she was knitting last Thursday and she said it was 'just' finished. Another beautiful, original dress.

I started a pair of dual purpose socks. They are a Christmas present for Grand son James, but also one of my projects for the Sock 101 KAL. You can see pictures of the socks here on the KAL blog.

My Survivor Review. Chase aligned himself with the 'girls' - not a smart move. Will the guys let him forget that? And it surely would appear that the best way to ensure getting voted off is to appear to be a 'know-it-all'.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Elusive Charm

Third time is supposed to bring on the charm, but the 'sweater to match the Dragon Fly necklace' (STMTDFN) I want to knit for Abi is testing that point.

Once I realized my sizing was way off, I looked for a different pattern. Thank goodness, I suppressed my knitterly denial on this one, otherwise I would have finished the sweater, not simply the yoke. Not to be fussy, but I decided to look for a pattern with the same gauge of yarn as mine and a pattern sized for a child, not an adult.

That took a few hours of magazine reading research.

In the end I settled on Morgan's Cardigan from Teens & Tweens. It is definitely for a child and is 'close' to the same gauge as mine. Using a slightly larger needle, I think I can make it work.

Searching a bit early for that charm - after all it was only the second attempt - I cast on.

It's a top down pattern, with the cast on being at the edge of the collar. Ingeniously, the cast on is done with a much larger needle to give the collar enough fabric to turn without resistance or rolling. I remembered the larger needles but managed to work about 2 inches of the collar, before I realized I was working the wrong size. Abi is bigger than the doll-sized sweater previously started, but at nine, she sure doesn't have a 40 inch chest. Rip!

Third time's - well still not so charming. I was only into the collar by an inch this time when I realized I had forgotten to cast on with the larger needle. Rip.

Fourth time's - well, just too late at night after a tiring day to be correct. Rip.

Fifth time's on the needles now
and I'm sure the charm is just around the corner. Elusive it might be, but not impossible. Of course, that could be my knitterly denial talking.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Plan B

Abi, my youngest Grand daughter, will be nine years old on Christmas day. She is enamored with all things 'buggy' but especially the Dragon Fly.

I spotted this
a lovely, little, blue, Dragon Fly necklace at the Meaford Craft Show in October. A perfect birthday gift for Abi.

Then ambition set in. How nice would it be to knit a little sweater to show of the Dragon Fly necklace. I envisioned something with short sleeves, cardigan style, a couple of dramatic buttons and texture. Cables, perhaps? Or garter stitch?

Of course the sweater needed some blue, but my inner designer told me that all blue would only camouflage, rather than show off, the necklace. Hmmm. Abi's favourite colour is purple and . I just happened to have some lovely Purple Zara. One of the many yarny gifts in my goodie bag from my day in Ancaster last spring.

I settled on the pattern Shalom. Of course Shalom is an adult sized pattern and Abi isn't. Shalom calls for quite chunky yarn and mine isn't. But knitters, for generations have been turning out smaller sweaters simply by knitting with a smaller gauge yarn. Haven't they? I'm sure I've read that somewhere.

Mind you the details were a little sketchy. In fact, there were none. It was definitely a 'well, let's see what happens' kind of approach.

And what happened is that the size is WAY! off. I have a doll size sweater happening here.
Tonight, Plan B. Beginning with a search for an appropriate pattern. I'm thinking maybe Elizabeth Zimmermann can help me here. Maybe a 'yoke' sweater done EZ style, purple body, blue yoke. Keep the sleeves short. Instead of a yoke with colour work, a yoke with Shalom's twisted rib pattern. It could work.

All my 'vision' boxes ticked, I'm ready for round two.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

There were smiles all around at knit group today.

Marlene was smiling because she learned how to Kitchener the toes on her very first pair of socks.
And she had two finished scarves to show us. Great reasons to smile, Marlene.

Wilma had reasons to smile, today as well. Here she is modelling Gail's latest scarf.
Some adjustments required, according to Gail. Gail's scarf started with a cast on of 648 stitches! Yikes! Bring on the markers for that cast on.

In her own knitting, Wilma was smiling - did you say relief Wilma? - because she finished her grand daughter's sweater. Great little sweater - your grand daughter will love it, Wilma.

Lois, I think, just likes our company.
But she is progressing on her blue sweater. This yarn was purchased last spring, so the project isn't taking as long as some Lois has tackled.

Sharon, wearing her latest hat from Need A Hat? left early. She and hubby are off to Toronto for yarn shopping a wedding.

Ingrid has another Koigu dress almost complete.
Although Ingrid had complaints with this knit, it sure looked gorgeous to me.

On to Survivor. What are those players thinking? Naonka still there. How badly does she need to behave in order to turn on their lightbulbs?

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

More Fun With Fur

Both rabbit-trimmed hats are finished, ready for the Christmas box. One just slightly larger than the other.
Next up on the Christmas knitting programme are socks. Ten year old grandson James requested !! socks - green socks to be exact. I spent much time this fall searching for green sock yarn. It had to be plain green, not striped or patterned. Ten year old boys can be quite specific with their requests.

Eventually, I found Waikiki sock yarn by Naturally of New Zealand. Plain green.
Your basic sock yarn except --there's fur in it! Yep, fur. 10% Possum. Machine washable fur, no less. In this particular yarn there is also some Alpaca so the socks should be very warm.

I think I might wait a couple of weeks and start these socks with the Need A Sock? KAL we are hosting at the store and on ravelry. That will give me time to start what will likely be my last Elizabeth Zimmermann project of my year with EZ. As yet, I'm not sure what it will be, but it will involve no fur.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Silver Linings

Remember the fiasco of the black slippers inadvertently felted with tissue? I had wanted to knit those felted slippers so I could trim them out with rabbit fur. The fur 'yarn' had been purchased at a trade show this fall at the Paula Lishman booth. She had such gorgeous things on display

and I - silly me - thought I could so something just as spectacular.

Those felted-with-tissue slippers almost proved me wrong, but rare the cloud that doesn't have a silver lining. It occurred to me that it was not the best idea to put rabbit fur on sippers anyway. Why not a hat? A non-felted hat. Doesn't this look much better?
With Mission Falls wool and 4 1/2 mm needles, I started with cast-on numbers for my size and yarn as given in the Need A Hat? book and worked a reverse stockinet rolled edge as per pattern #10 in that book. Next I worked a band of my own design, bordered top and bottom by 5 rounds of plain stockinet stitch. In the middle of the band, I placed two rounds of
'YO, K2tog' stitches separated by another 5 rounds of stockinet. The yarn over holes gave me a spot to thread the fur through.

Because both my Grand daughters have lots of hair, after the band I increased adding eight stitches for Abigail - age 9 - and 16 for Sarah - age 13.
Hopefully, that accommodates the pony/pig tails. The top of the hat was finished as a normal hat - decreases made in multiples of eight - until just enough stitches remained to thread the yarn through and pull tightly.
Personally, feeling and working with the fur gives me the creeps, but I think my grand daughters will be enthralled. It is soft and soft does have it's appeal.