Friday, June 24, 2011

Wrapping Up

Life as I know it to be normal around the Harris Household wraps up today.  Tomorrow is the Church garage and bake sale.  Sunday two of the three Grand Kids come for 11 days then the four of us leave for Hearst for the summer. 

I made four loaves of Whole Wheat Cinnamon Bread and two  Whole Wheat French Baguettes with Sea Salt for the sale. 
The rest of today I will spend doing the things I can't fit in while managing two kids.  Getting my hair done, gong to a Fred Eaglesmith concert and generally 'girding my loins'. 

What I'm trying to tell you is that this is the beginning of the season of less knitting time, less blogging time.    Read sporadic summer blogging by Brenda. 

So I wish all of you, great summers.  Lots of fun with family and friends.  In Canada, for sure, lots of activities that our weather only permits in summer  time.  Regular blogging returns mid-August. Have a great summer everyone.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

There is no better way to spend a Thursday afternoon - or any afternoon for that matter - than knitting with other knitters.  Especially if those knitters are  the Meaford knitters.  Sadly, this is my last Thursday with them until I return from Hearst in late August.  Many of my readers tell me they feel as if they know this group of knitters from reading my Thursday posts.  So,  if you happen to be  travelling through Meaford on a Thursday afternoon this summer, stop into the library.  The knitters are upstairs.  Tell them Brenda sent you.  They will make you welcome.

Today, Ingrid showed me two of her latest completed creations. 

 The lovely  -and not surprisingly -  Lilac coat.  If that wasn't enough, there was also this soft blue vest. 

These are fine, small gauge yarns.  I could only imagine the number of stitches in each one of these garments.   I could say that Ingrid does nothing but knit, but that isn't so.  For one, she also spins.

New Nan finished her lovely baby sweater. 
Nan, like Ingrid, is a Koigu fan and that's what she used for this baby sweater.  Nothing too good for that first grand child.

Her next project is a blanket with her leftovers. 
Shaped like - Bow Ties - or is it Dog Bones -  Nan intends to knit enough to make a blanket then sew them all together.  She did suggest that perhaps we might all want to get in on the sewing.  Funny, Nan!

Donna crocheted this delightful, cupcake purse. 
It's one of those things that caused the room full of knitters to  exclaim in one voice " Ahhhh. "

Ruth brought in her embroidered 'Owl' piece for show and tell.  

I'm impressed, Ruth. That is way to painstaking for me.

Sharon has a good start on a top-down baby sweater from the Baby 'V' book.
Done in Super 10 Egyptian Cotton it will make a great all-season topper.

Sandy B loves those mitred squares.

This will be a pillow for her new Florida Condo.  Great beach colours, Sandy. 

Thursday afternoons will see me knitting, too.  Maybe in the boat while Fred fishes.  Maybe on the dock while the Grand Kids swim.  And I'll be back to the group in mid August.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

I Would Like You To Meet ---

Wednesdays, as long-time readers know,  I work in my LYS.  Last fall, in arranging workshop schedules for the season, the owner and I decided to change tactics.  Instead of a class where a specific technique is taught, or  instructions for a particular garment explained, we decided to let the knitters knit what they wanted to knit - within a pre-determined topic focus. 

Two week sessions were planned,  focusing on hats,  scarves, felting and mittens.  The choice of yarn and pattern was up to the knitter and I was there to guide them through their project.

At the first workshop in  September, those who came knew how to hold needles and make a knit stitch.  By November, they had learned various methods of casting on, left and right slanting increases and decreases, how to knit with double pointed needles,  knitting in the round, fixing dropped stitches and so much more.

By November,  they were ready for socks,   in January, their first sweaters.    Of course, I encouraged them to design  their own sweaters using Elizabeth Zimmermann's percentage system.  Some knit adult sweaters, some knit for grand children.  Some included cables, some stripes.  One knitter brought her six year old Philosophers Sweater Kit with two inches of one sleeve finished.  She  learned  two handed fairisle,  steeking  and buttonholes.  One knitter strolled into the store in the spring saying she knew how to make a knit stitch and wondered if  someone could teach her to knit socks.  She's now on her fifth pair. 

I am most wonderfully pleased with their progress.  There is little as rewarding as watching a new knitter accomplish so much, do it so  well and in so short a time. 

Since the end of the 'workshop season' is approaching  (not that the students are taking off, but rather me - their teacher.  I leave soon for Hearst,  the trailer and the grand kids for the summer) I would like to introduce these fantastic no-longer- new knitters to you and brag a bit about their accomplishments.

Meet  Diane.

She not only learned to knit along with the others, but with her husband,  this winter,  built a new house  and recently moved in.  That can seriously cut down on knitting time.  Here she shows you the sleeve of her EPS sweater.

This is Arlene.   
Her first sweater was an EPS raglan  for her grandson and she works here on Sally Melville's Einstein bunting suit for the new baby arriving in September.

Meet Carol.
Carol was the  knitter  so discouraged with her six year old Philosophers kit that she was intending to use the entire kit of yarn for socks.  Not only is that  sweater now finished, but also a top- down child's  pullover and this special request - "a John Deere Sweater, Nanny".    Intarsia, no less.

This is Ruth.    

A single lady who wanted a life-style change and last year -  after a visit to  Collingwood  -  uprooted herself and came here to live.  She is, now,  the life of our Wednesday knitting group. She has knit so many garments, that it is difficult to remember them all.  Alpaca socks, a cabled, EPS sweater for herself, felted hats, mittens, scarves and now this lovely baby blue sweater for her sister in England.   

And the sock knitting wonder of our group,  Audrey. 

Working today on pair number five.  Her first day, I told her I would have her turning heels while watching TV and chatting with her hubby.  She pooh poohed me then, but she doesn't now.

These ladies are remarkable.  From practically non-knitters to addicts with queues and stashes in mere months.   It doesn't get much better than that.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

How Long Can It Take?

Sharon finished her Featherweight in  record time.  Mine is taking s-o-o-o long.  How long can it take to knit nine inches?  Nine inches is the length the pattern suggests from the armhole down to the  beginning of the ribbing.  Since that would create an 18 inch sweater and my back-neck-to-waist length is 16 1/4 I've decided that a longer sweater would be better.  Ten inches is the goal, I've set for myself before beginning the ribbing.  And here I am. 
One inch still to go.  It's a 'forever' project chez moi.  I did  question Sharon about her speed and she admitted to knitting 'pretty steadily' on it.  Me, I'm trying to fit in canning, hiking, working, various and sundry other commitments as well as Featherweight.  If I intend to wear it much this season at all, I need to dedicate more time.

And, on the 'will I run out of yarn' front, here is what is left of the first skein.   So little it doesn't register.
I started with two skeins.  Skein number two needs to knit two inches of bottom ribbing, two sleeves and three and a half inches of ribbing for the front bands.   I still think I will need luck.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sandwiched In

I am a member of the sandwich generation.  Never more evident than on  'special' weekends.  Like this one just past - Fathers' Day. 

Friday saw me in Stratford meeting up with my two sisters

and Dorothy
to see Jesus Christ Superstar.  What a tremendous performance!  The artistic direction was beyond spectacular.  Too busy with toddlers and mortgage payments when the production  was popular in the seventies, this was the first time I had seen the show.  I  was stunned by the creativity of it.  Imagine combining the Passion Play and rock music and you begin to get the idea.

After the show I headed 'home' with the rest of the crew to celebrate with my Dad. 
Fathers' Day a bit early,  and his 91st birthday all rolled into one.  It was a great time.

 The next day - the other  half of the sandwich - I hurried home.   Number Two son, Peter, was arriving at our place to celebrate Fathers' Day with Fred. 

All of this sandwiching meant no knitting time for Brenda, this weekend.  I did manage to 'repair' a couple of things.  Some holey thrummed mitts for a neighbour,
and a Merino wool sweater for a friend.  

No knitting is not a good thing.  But being sandwiched by two loving generations of family makes up for it.  It was a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

The  Meaford knitters celebrated World Wide Knit In Public Week.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fingers Crossed

It seems hard to believe that only two skeins of yarn will make my Featherweight.  I have it on Sharon's authority that they do and the yarn is Americo Cotton Flamme with 100 grams and 400 metres to a skein   -
but  still, I'm  nervous.

So I ask you, how's your math?  Here I am at 12 inches in an 18 inch sweater. 
Another  six inches of sweater, a three inch ribbed collar/button bands, and two sleeves to go. 

There are 34 grams of skein number one, remaining.  Too complicated for me.  It's slowing me own a bit, but  I'm knitting on with fingers crossed. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Contagious Contiguous

This little Contiguous sweater has me in it's power.

What a great new way to knit a top-down sweater.

I like raglan sleeves and wear them well but still it is nice to have a choice -    Contiguous gives a set-in sleeve  - and still be able to knit top down.  Plus, what a great boost for those that dislike or can't wear raglan sleeves.  Contiguous is the way to go.

The cast on starts at the neck edge.  Stitches are set apart with markers and these denote the shoulder 'seam'.
Susie M suggests one or two stitches.  She also suggests that Contiguous works wonderfully well with saddle shoulders - and indeed I can see it would.

 Once the shoulder seam stitch(es) are marked off,  back and forth rows are worked with increases on each side of the markers.  That creates the fabric that marches towards the shoulder.  And according to Susie M creates a nicely sloped shoulder to boot.  That I haven't verified with an adult sized sweater, but look at my little, doll-sized sample above.  There seems to be a slope even on it's tiny frame.
Once the shoulder edge is reached, the markers are moved setting aside a few top-of-the-shoulder stitches. 
Increases are made on the body side of those stitches until the sleeve cap has been achieved. I tell you people, this ranks right up there with my first heel turn for knitting miracles.

In my earlier post about Contiguous, I mentioned the back neck increases whose purpose I was sure would be made clear to me eventually.

Well, Ms Susie M suggests that we think of them as the  back-neck darts found in a tailored garment.  That was  a light bulb AH HA! moment when I read that.  Of course, that is exactly what they are.  Tighter at the top, more fabric at the bottom of the dart.  Some fiddling is needed here to keep them in a straight line, but at least their purpose is now clear to me.  In the case of Contiguous, those darts apparently keep the back neck from riding up.  Again, with no adult version  verification, the test of that info will come with my next contiguous sweater. 

It's cute.  I've learned something new.  I like what I learned - and that is definitely contagious.  There will for sure be more Contiguous sweaters in my knitting queue.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Great Divide

Wikipedia defines The Great Divide as
       Partition of British India, or
       Continental Divide of the Americas
       Or more generally, any major hydrological divide or topographical divide.

Hah!  Wiki doesn't know everything!   We need to 'leak' the knitting definition.  The Great Divide is, as Deb Gemmell the queen of Top Down knitting says,  the point in your knitting where you separate the sleeves from the body.

And that is exactly where I am in my two, top-down projects.
The mini, Contiguous,  doll-size sample,  shown here,  just after the sleeves have been separated and waiting for a bit of  body to call it complete.  Not much more to do.

Featherweight, on the other hand still has a way to go.


There are 9 inches of body to be knit down from the sleeve separation point as well as    3/4 sleeves and  major -  three inch -  edgings. I did try it on last night, after dividing for the sleeves and it seems to fit. That first trying-on of a top-down garment is a suspenseful event.  Relief if it fits and there is no need to rip back and start over. Yet relief too, if it does need to be ripped back.  How great to do it at this point in the knitting instead of when the sweater is complete.  Such is the beauty of top-down knitting.

Once The Great Divide is passed, the knitting seems to go so much faster.  There are, after all, only body OR sleeves stitches on the needle at once, not both.  That makes The Great Divide, as Wiki says, major.  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Knit group, today, was a fashion show.  First, Wilma and Joanne, wearing the same sweater.
Joanne's knit by her daughter, Wilma's knit by Wilma.  Sorry 'bout your luck, Wilma.

Joanne was disgusted by the model's pose.
"How can you tell what this sweater will look like with that pose?" she asked.  She tried hard to duplicate the pose and almost got it.

New Nan brought in her 'Molly' for me to try.   Talk about a silly pose!    I appear to be  trying to skate off  with your scarf, Nan. 
I saw Nan's Molly  on ravelry and asked about the yarn and pattern.  She knit this one  with  Tanis Fibres.  It's glorious.  Long, soft and warm.  Queue that up, Brenda.

Gail finished a neat, sock-yarn hat  - with an I-Cord, top knot.  Very cute, Gail.

And, Wilma finished a lovely, pink, baby sweater.  So soft and lovely.   It appears to be smocked but that's really a ribbing of sorts. 

Lots of knitting and fun.  To top off my day, on the way home, I stopped at the fruit market.  There I saw something wonderful.  

My  first quart of Ontario strawberries.  Yummy!  A perfect dessert to end a great day.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Featherweight It Is

With two skeins of Americo Cotton Flamme, purchased earlier this spring, at the Creative Festival, burning a hole in my knitting bag, I couldn't decide whether to knit Amiga from the latest issue of Knitty or  Featherweight, a Hannah Fettig pattern I  downloaded months ago.

Amiga  has buttons.  Many of the Featherweights, shown on ravelry, seem to be  falling off the shoulders.  Is that due to the light-weight fabric?  Knitting a size too small?  Or the scant design that doesn't meet in the centre?  Whichever, I thought perhaps those button might come in handy.

Amiga is knit with Cotton Flamme.  I have the yarn.  The pattern is free.  Choice made.  Amiga it was.  Deciding the sweater itself would be my gauge swatch, I cast on with  the recommended 5 mm needle.  Holy Doodle,   that's a big needle for the Flamme.  Knit on Brenda.  Two inches into the sweater and I had cob webs on  the needle.  It seemed to me that it would never hold it's shape.  I could see myself tugging and pushing at it every time I wore it, not  to mention getting caught on every sharp edge I'd pass.  Rip.

Featherweight, calls for Malabrigo Lace Weight and 4 mm needles.  Sharon just knit one with Flamme and 3.75 needles.
Good enough for Sharon, good enough for me.  Thanks Sharon for knitting my test swatch!  I'm getting gauge, the fabric looks good and I'm pleased so far.