Monday, January 31, 2011

Sensational Saturday.

A day in the big city is always exciting for this small town knitter. But a day in the the big city when Peter is having a show is really fun.

First up, is my mandatory picture. Other families probably have their name in big letters and bright lights ad nauseum, but Peter is our only claim to fame. Whenever he has a show, I can't go into the gallery without stopping to snap this photo.

This second shot might appear that I'm taking credit but believe me, absolutely none is due. It's just the proud Mama shot.

Inside the gallery, the art seemed to be much appreciated. This photo captures fellow blogger, Marie and her thoughtfully posed hubby, along with 'Sis', BIL and a couple of nieces.

When Peter has a show, my entire family shows up. Are they interested in buying art? Not always. But for sure, they're interested in the fun that follows. After the show there was music. Which in my family never happens without dancing.
Twenty year old niece Katie and her Mom.

And of course, Dad.

Three generations on the dance floor.

Remember Katie's request for a red hat? Saturday the hat was delivered,worn all day and by the look of it, loved.

Of course, car time always means knitting time. My Pumpkin Pie pully is almost at the underarms.

A great show, great fun and lots of knitting. A sensational day.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Side Tracked

Working two projects at once means I should discipline myself to not get side-tracked. But self-discipline, for me, anyway, is such an elusive feature. Side-tracked is exactly what happened to me when I spotted this issue of Knitscene the other day. I could not, not bring it home.

Knitscene has come a long way, since it's inception. Better patterns, better layout, designs more appropriate for my age group. It's one of the few magazines I regularly buy.

This issue caught my attention because of the design-your-own feature about sizing -to-fit for raglan sleeves.
It has some great tips for knitting sleeves to fit broad-shouldered women or large upper-armed women or women that are both and women that are neither. Design tips like these help me to take my sweaters from the vision stage to the great-fitting, sweater stage.

There are some lovely pattern too. Like this one, on the cover.
This one,

and this one, to mention a few.

If I promise to only read at the close of the day, when the hands and eyes are too tired to knit, I won't be too terribly side tracked. My story and I'm sticking to it. - Why not? Sooner or later, those stories of mine will have to work. I'm convinced.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Today  most faces I saw were wearing their mid-winter, white look.  Thank goodness for bright colourful yarn, colourful knitters and off-colour  colourful stories to brighten a dreary day. 

Gail's lovely Noro Diagonal Scarf has great colour.  She held it just so - giving me a great shot of the scarf and a great shot of Mona.  Sorry you didn't make the cut, Gail.

Camera-shy Tanya has reached the decrease stage of her  colourful Fishy Hat. 
Great work for a knitter that three weeks ago, didn't know how to hold needles.   She did have a dropped stitch that Nicki offered to 'ladder' up for her.  Work that  took much concentration, it seems.

Nicki's own knitting is the  beginning of a colourful masterpiece.  Using left-over sock yarn, she has knit five squares in  Log Cabin style. 

She intends to knit another five to make a  shawl two squares deep.  Tanya asked her if it is taking a long time to knit.  Nicki's answer?  "Yes because I have to knit the socks first."  I do have bag of left-over sock yarn bits and pieces that I can contribute, Nicki. 

Her  squares brightened this dull winter's day. 

Bonnie has finished the body of her bright blue sweater and worked today on the sleeves.  It seems, though that something distracted both her and Joanne.

No colour in our faces, but lots of colour in our lives. What do non-knitters do for colour?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two At Once

Not normally a two-at-once knitter, January appears to be my exception month.  With so many bags of yarn waiting to be knit up, I'm anxious to start them all.  Knowing that to be a bit ambitious, even for me, I have started just two.  My KAL Pumpkin Pie sweater and now my Noro vest.

Using this pattern as a starting point I intend to not knit the sleeves and knit only a vest.  That means - I think - starting at the underarm and knitting in circles increasing at two points.  One increase spot forms the front mitre, the other the back.

This pattern was an impulse purchase and perhaps it's unfair to judge before knitting it, but it seems a bit 'hoky'.    It has a very home-made look to it - the charm, for some, I'm sure.  Me, I appreciate clarity and efficiency.  Just tell me where the starting line is - I'll figure out the rest myself.

With that approach, it wasn't immediately clear,  to me, about anything when I read the pattern.  Especially since I intend to begin in the middle.  But I think I've found my starting point.  Mind you, my gauge isn't what the pattern calls for, so I've had to re-do that too.

Here's my cast on and a few rounds of ribbing to keep the armholes under control. 
When I set this down for the night I really thought it called for a re-do. But this morning, it doesn't look too bad. I'll give it a time out and then re-assess.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pumpkin Pie

My Pumpkin Pie, Cotton Tweed arrived last week and it is the perfect colour for my next sweater.  Orange-ish but not too orange. Colourful but not   an 'in your face' colour.  Something to brighten a winter's day but still work the rest of the year.

By Sunday afternoon, I had cast on. My vision, as I mentioned last week, is a pullover.  One with an off-set-from-centre cable, three quarter sleeves and maybe a deep neck with a cowl-type collar.  I'll decide that finishing touch as I get closer to the top.  Right now, here's where I'm at.

I'm having fun with the cable.  It consists of 28 stitches and is knit in K1 P1 ribbing.
I wanted a 'honkin' big cable as it will be the only decorative feature of the sweater.  Boy oh boy.  Let me tell you, stretching across 14 stitches to reach the  far side of the cable takes some wrist strength.  And probably would work better in wool, which has a memory.  With my cotton, I do have a little hole.   I intend to work the cable every 20 rows.  It's big and it deserves, I think, a big space between repeats.   Between the deep spacing and gravity, here's hoping the holes will disappear. Well, at least not be noticeable. 

So far, this 'Pumpkin Pie' looks delicious.  This is my sweater to KAL with the sweater class group.  I will show it off to them tomorrow and hope that I have managed to keep up with them.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Requests Complete

Felted Bucket Hat number four is for 'Sis'. 
At her request, the hat was made exactly the same as the hat I knit   for our Christmas gift exchange.  Knit with black Rejuvenation yarn and decorated with three little buttons. 
All my post-Christmas requests are now complete.  Katie's hat and her non-requested, but matching mittens and 'Sis' black hat.  
Good thing too. I see them all this coming weekend in Toronto. The entire family is heading down because artist son, Peter, has a show.  I joke with him saying that he is the only 36 year old artist who has an entire family  show up for the opening of his shows.   He says he appreciates the support.  Oh, support.  I'd hate to tell him we come for the  crackers and cheese they always serve at show openings.

Katie and 'Sis' will arrive, bare-headed  and no doubt cold, at the show but leave stylishly warm and comfy.  Such gratification !

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fickle Woman

Was it just earlier this week that I posted the list of yarns and patterns patiently waiting their turn in my queue?  Indeed it was Tuesday.

Today is Friday.  A mere three days later and I have abandoned all intentions of starting one of the projects mentioned on Tuesday because I have fallen in love with a vision.  Like many fickle people I deny responsibility. The knitters at the store made me do it. 

You see, at Grey Heron, where I work one day a week, I am leading a 'learn to knit your first sweater' knit-a-long. Anal person that I am, I always feel, when leading knittters, that I shouldn't ask them to do what I don't do. If they are knitting a sweater, I'm knitting a sweater. 

Why I didn't   put the brakes on  my imagination sooner, I don't know.  Why I passed over my queue without so much as a glance, I don't know.  But a particular  vision kept popping into my brain.  A pullover.   A funky, fun,  'throw on and go out' kind of sweater.  Brightly coloured to banish winter blahs.  Three quarter sleeves so there's nothing to drag in my beer. (I'm going out in this sweater remember?)  A big cable, off-set from centre.  A lower than normal neck with perhaps a big cowl-like collar.  Yea, sounds good. 

Step one was the yarn.  I really like Cabin Fever's Cotton tweed.  I used it for my
Sit Com Chic Cardi.  It knits nicely, wears nicely,washes nicely and won't be too hot in the pub house.     A feature  more important in a pullover than a cardigan. A cardi, after all, can be removed.  Even though I intend to go out in my new sweater, where I go, the sweater stays on.  I chose colour number 18.  Pumpkin Pie

The yarn has arrived and I am working with Elizabeth, as I write, to determine stitch count. Felted Bucket Hat number four is near completion and tomorrow, I cast on for my first sweater of 2011.  Not one from my queue, fickle woman that I am, but a fun, pumpkin-coloured pullover.  Can't wait.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thursadays Are For Knit Group

With Wilma winging her way to Calgary to visit her daughter, Sandy B in Florida, Gloria heading to the airport to pick up relatives arriving for her daughter's wedding, numbers were down at Knit Group today. Knitting however is seldom 'down'.

Mona arrived wearing a great, hand knit hat.
Mona is another lady who wears hats well. This is not a hat she made, but it is hand knit nonetheless. Whoever knit this hat, stuffed the brim, so it stays 'perky'. What a great idea.

And finally, Mona's shoulder injury has healed well enough for her to bring her needles to knit group. It's been a long time. Glad to see those fingers flying again, Mona.

Sharon, working on socks again this week, brought a finished 'matching'
Easy Peasy scarf. Great colours, Sharon. Wouldn't it look great with Bonnie's Sit Com Chic Cardi? Feel like gifting, Sharon?

Doreen's daughter is soon to experience warm thighs.
Oops. This is a family-friendly blog. Perhaps, I should say 'will no longer be chilly because of her cold office.' Sound better?

Gail is proud of her socks that match so well.

She was even more impressed that it only took a short amount of yarn to locate the right starting point for sock number two.

Another great day at knitting. It comes as no surprise that so many of us at knit group proclaim Thursdays 'the best day of the week'.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Nice Mittens

Katie's Chimera mittens are done.
Double layers, cable fronts and texting thumb holes make them pretty special mittens.

Even when modelled by a housecoat-wearing, early-morning me, they look great with her new, but still undecorated, Felted Bucket Hat.

Both the mitten pattern by Laris Designs and the hat pattern by Chic Knits are terrific patterns. Unique designs for knitting Aunties who knit for their fashion-conscious, ever-texting, twenty-something nieces.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Where To Start?

Having set aside optional knitting for the entire year of 2010 to concentrate on Elizabeth Zimmermann's techniques and patterns I now have a stockpile of yarn and patterns I'm anxious to knit.

This orange/rust yarn
is meant for this lovely, cabled cardigan. From Creative Knitting,
I missed the name of the pattern when photocopying, so can't provide you with a link. This cardigan excited me for fall wear until last Thanksgiving weekend. Everywhere I went in my little town on Georgian Bay I saw city tourists wearing orange/rust. There were so many of them, it became funny as I imagined the high-end shop clerk selling them their sweaters/scarves/ hats/ jackets by saying the colour would be wonderful for a fall weekend in the country. Discouraged by my late-coming to the orange sweater-for-fall craze, but not defeated, I intend to join the ranks of those that 'know how to dress' for autumn.

Patiently waiting it's post-Elizabeth turn is this bag of creamy off-white Zara. A lovely, soft, New Zealand Merino.
It should look great in Peasy, a pattern by Heidi Kirrmeir I downloaded from her ravelry site.

A fun project, I've been anxious to begin is Kate Atherley's Moose Eh? Sweater.

I purchased this pattern and yarn as a kit from Toronto's The Purple Purl.
It is such a fun take on a typical Canadian sweater I imagine it will bring a smile to my face each time I wear it. Can't wait.

This soft, fussy yarn,
caught my eye because if that doesn't say Brenda's Colour, I don't know what will. I see this in a longish vest with cap sleeves and maybe a cable or two.

And, I purchased some Noro.
My colours again. In my mind, I have, until recently, seen it knit up in this vest pattern. The Summer Vest from Creative Knitting.
But lately, I've begun to think that maybe the yarn would look better knit in EZ's Rib Warmer Vest. With the Rib Warmer's mitred corners, the colours would turn a right angle. Wouldn't that look great in Noro?

Quite a stockpile. All intended to be knit in 2011. My biggest decision at the moment is where to start?

Monday, January 17, 2011

They're Pouring In

Requests are pouring, no dribbling in. Not even, but I do have another one.

When 'Sis' heard that I actually appreciated requests for hand knit items, she put in hers. A felted hat. A black one. The yarn is waiting, and as soon as I finish Katie's mittens, the hat will be next.

The mittens have been great fun to knit. Katie's pair, like Turtlegirls' , I knit with both the inner and outer layers as a complete mitten.
The pattern - Chimera, (scroll down for Chimera) by Julia Mueller - is quite unique in that it is a double layer mitten, with the outer layer being decreased away to expose the inner layer. Cables decorate the front, to give it some fashion flair.
When I finished the first mitt, I realized that the outer layer, being only attached at the cuff, could easily be ripped off by things like subway turnstiles or door handles. A few, same- colour black stitches tacked it down and solved that issue.

I did find the writing of the pattern to be a bit confusing. There is one point in the outer layer where the beginning of the round is moved a couple of stitches in one direction, then a few rows later, a couple of stitches back in the opposite direction. For the life of me I couldn't figure out the necessity of this step. And, it was never made clear, anywhere in the pattern -- that I could see -- where exactly the round began. Hard to move it, if you can't find it. Me, being me, I solved the problem by ignoring that part of the pattern. The mitten seems not to have suffered because of my omission.

Katie's mittens have my own special touch. A texting buttonhole.
About 3 rows from completion of the thumb, I did a three stitch Elizabeth Zimmermann one-row buttonhole Big enough for the tips of the thumb to protrude, text, then retreat without removing the mitt. I knit Katie a pair of mittens with that feature last winter and she tells me that she wears them daily.

Layer number one, of mitten number two, is almost done.
Then onto Felted Bucket Hat number four.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

With Survivor still on winter break, the singular great thing about mid-week is Knit Group. Since coming back in the new year, two new knitters have joined our ranks. Donna and Tanya. Sadly, I forgot to snap Donna's photo. Tanya, though, a brand new knitter, was so happy with her first-ever, 40 cast-on stitches that she proudly held them up for all to see. Along with her pattern. The Fish Hat from 40 first-ever, cast-on stitches are quite an accomplishment. But keep going Tanya. 90 are needed.
A little camera shy are we, Tanya?

Isn't this a perfect picture? Three knitters, side by side, chatting and all three, knitting socks.
Gail, Sharon and Bonnie are expert sock knitters. Marlene, though, has just been bitten by the sock-knitting bug.

This first pair of bright, cheerful, hand-knit socks, she is gifting to a friend. Or at least she will when she gets her hands on another ball of the yarn . Eight rows short of 'done' she ran out of yarn.

Wilma, soon to get on a plane to head out to Calgary to visit her daughter is knitting a top down hat.
This is the Top Down Igloo Hat from Cabin Fever's Need A Hat ? (the bright orange one on the left hand side in the link) This is Wilma's second Igloo Hat. The first, she reported was a success and received lots of compliments so another one is on the needles.

The cheerful, multi-coloured piece you see in front of Doreen is one of a set of Thigh Warmers.
Yep, that's right. Thigh Warmers. Her daughter works in a frigid office and complains of cold thighs while at her desk. Only a knitting Mom would know how to solve that issue. Thigh Warmers! I wonder if they will catch on? What I love about this picture is that Doreen' hand is a blur. Isn't that a typical knitter's hand?

Today, I wore my Nimbus to knit group.

Compliments are one thing, but when they take it right off your back! Wilma who has queued Nimbus, tried mine on. It fit her perfectly, so she measured it to know which size to make.

Lots of fun. Lots of laughs. Great to be back at knit group.