Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Off To A Better Start

My fingers are glad to be back in familiar territory.  This Linen scarf is being knit, not crocheted.
Still not much to show, but off to a better start than the torquing, crocheted scarf.  And thanks to
Needles & Pins who left a great tip in my comments - and if it works for me, I will explain once the scarf is finished -  it's knitting up faster and easier than expected.

There was no post yesterday as I was off to Toronto to meet up with  son Peter in the morning, then          Sel&Poivre   for the afternoon shift at  the One Of A Kind show.  I practised great restraint coming home with just a single item.   There have been years when I felt I should stop in for some consumer debt counselling on my way home from the OOAK show.  But yesterday all I brought home with me was a  Linen tea towel.
A lovely piece, woven by a fellow originally from France but living now in Montreal.

After a day of shopping and hours of driving in relentless rain, the Linen Stitch was the perfect evening companion.   How do non-knitters cope?

Monday, November 28, 2011

Toss The Crochet

Looking at my crocheted, left-torquing scarf, I agree with Denise of Needles and Things.  She commented that she sees Linen Stitch.  And so do I. 
In fact, when I first spotted the scarf at the KW Knitters Fair, I saw the crocheted facsimile of Linen Stitch.  Knowing that  crochet works up  much faster than knitting I purchased the pattern.  Hah!  The best laid plans ...

The pattern has now been  relegated to the garbage and this  pattern downloaded from ravelry.     Attempt number  two coming up.

Friday, November 25, 2011

One Winner, One Disappointment

A repeat post of sorts,  I know,  but my first-ever, lace scarf,  knit from  Patti-Ann's hand-spun,  deserves a modelled shot  --  

or two.

Fred and I are off to visit my sister and BIL for the weekend.  To this knitter, any excuse would do, but the visit is a perfect  opportunity to arrange the soft, delicate lusciousness that is the scarf on the blank canvas of my white shirt and show it off.  It looks, feels and makes me feel wonderful- especially since I found a necklace of similar colour in my drawer.  So chic.

As wonderful as this scarf is, my next one, is a disappointment.
It is crocheted and part of the problem is my rusty crochet skills.  The pattern, picked up at the KW Knitters Fair leaves a bit to be desired.  It calls for a 'split' single crochet which gives it a look similar to that of a slipped-stitch pattern in knitting.  Having read, re-read and re-read the directions for a split single crochet, I am almost certain that I am doing it correctly, but the entire scarf is torquing to the left.  Perhaps the display scarf had been artfully arranged to disguise the torque because I sure didn't see it.

Add to that disappointing result, my  poor colour choices
and a 'rip' is in order.  The colours that looked so good together  in ball form are not looking so great in crocheted form.    A double reason for a rip.  But before I rip, I'll let it sit  to see if it improves over the weekend.  It could happen, right?

In the meantime, I intend to have a great weekend and hope you do as well.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Knitters know a good knit when they see one.  Well, I can't speak for all knitters, but  Meaford knitters recognize that 'special' pattern.  Today's wardrobe choices  proved that for sure.

Gail, arrived first, wearing her Sit Com Chic cardi.
This cardi is a great  knit.  Easy to knit , a good fit and just  enough  detail to kick it up a notch beyond the  plain raglan.    I've knit one.   Gail has knit two, this green one  in Baby Bamboo.   Lovely, soft and drapey.

Then Wilma arrived wearing her Sit Com Chic.    A 'twin ' photo-op was just too irresistible.

From sweaters to scarves.  Sharon came in wearing her lovely Noro,  Entrelac scarf.   Such wonderful colours in that Noro.
She is also modelling for you, the Alpaca mittlets, I knit.  Sharon picked them up on one of my
'giveaways' and wears them often she claims.   

Next to arrive was  Nicki - and  what was she  wearing?  Her Noro sock yarn, Entrelac scarf.  Another twin photo op.
Nicki isn't fond of having her picture taken and this one came with the added blurb - "That's for you, Mom."    Mom being blog-reading,  Vera on Vancouver Island.

Surprising everyone today, was Ingrid.  She  had been  helping a loved one move to Victoria  and wasn't  expected home  until closer to Christmas.   What was she wearing?   What else - but a lovely Koigu shawl.  Welcome Home, Ingrid.

It is so nice to see knitters wearing their creations.   But when one knits with  lovely yarn like Bamboo, Koigu  and Noro, who could resist wearing them?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

One Thing Leads To Another

My good friend Patti-Ann is a wonderful knitter.  But last year she lost - what she calls - her 'mojo'.

What's a knitter to do when she loses her 'mojo'?   Many,  I think, do as Patti-Ann did.  She took up spinning.  Only dreaming about it at first  until her  husband bought her a wheel.   Now she is both a wonderful knitter and a wonderful spinner. 

And lucky me.  She gave me the special gift of one of her first 'perfect' efforts.   100 grams  of   hand-spun in a wool-silk blend and  the most wonderful shade of  fresh, delicate  green.  Perfect for a scarf. 

To me, the yarn said things like - delicate, lacey,  precious.  None of which normally  ever describes the things I knit.  But the yarn deserved it and so I searched for the perfect pattern that wouldn't suffer too much from my clumsy attempt at anything delicate, lacey or precious.  I chose My First Lace Scarf  from Sally Melvilles book Warm Knits, Cool Gifts.  
Not a lace knitter by a long shot, I figured I could probably handle a pattern called 'my first' anything. And Sally's  pattern was wonderful.  Easy to memorize despite it's eight-row repeat, and easy to 'see'.  A must for me. 

Started in the midst of the tedium of the teeny, tiny knitting of Ombre, I now have almost six feet of gorgeous, soft, lacey,  precious, delicate green wonderfulness to wrap around my neck.

It is beautiful - even in it's un-blocked state.  Thanks, Patti-Ann.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Need For Speed

After two months of knitting teeny, tiny yarn, I certainly felt the 'need for speed'.  Translate that into knitting terms and  read  - chunky yarn, simple pattern, simple garment.

With those thoughts in mind,  look what ended up in my shopping bag.  

James Brett Marble, chunky,  ACRYLIC!!!   I can't believe I did that.  And in blues and purples.  My friend Nicki who frequently challenges me  to wear something other than my normal colours of browns, greens, oranges and beiges, thought I had finally taken her advice.  Sorry, Nicki, this is for the gift exchange at the family Christmas.

At the 20th Anniversary celebrations at London Yarns, I spotted the scarf on display.     Perhaps it was the orange, greens and browns of their yarn choice that caught my eye, but I loved it. 

"Is there a pattern?"  I asked.   Janet's talented staff like to do a bit of designing on the side.  The pattern they handed me was designed by Cathy
and contains 14!!!  one-row scarf  patterns.    Holy Doodle!! 14 for the price of one.
"Why 14?" I asked Cathy, thinking that five would have been enough to make the pattern sell like hotcakes.

"I burnt out," she said.    No kidding.  14 patterns, with separate instructions and yardage requirements  to  knit each in either  DK, KW or Chunky weight yarn - heck that was 42 samples she had to knit.  Burnt out indeed!

Acrylic or not, it fit my post-Ombre, need for speed. Started Thursday at knit group and finished Sunday evening, I have a 75 x 8 inch scarf in beautiful colours, that no one can complain 'itches'.   
My dilemma now is whether to block or not.  The stitches need the  bit of separation that a good blocking would give.  Since steam blocking is my preferred blocking method,  I will  have to be careful that the    plastic   acrylic stitches don't melt.    I don't want my need for speed to go unsatisfied.


Friday, November 18, 2011

Ombre At Last

Need I say more?  Probably. 

Pattern - Ombre by Tanis of Tanis Fiber Arts.
Needles - 4mm
Yarn- Two skeins of Centolavaggi Lace Weight  held double throughout.  Two strands of the light colour at the top, one strand of each colour in the middle and two strands of the dark colour at the bottom.  
 I purchased the yarn on sale at KW Knitters Fair for $10 a skein,  so a very reasonable sweater.

The folding seed stitch border has been blocked into submission.  (You can still see the blocking pin indentations  along the border)  The fit is lovely.     I hate sweaters that are loosey goosey  under the arms - I've got enough loosey goosey things happening under my arms, I don't need sweaters like that too -   but this one fits closely.  I like it.  The only modification I made was to do a few increases as I approached the hip area to ensure  the sweater and I were the same shape.

Weighing only 140g, this is certainly a light-weight sweater.
Good in many ways, but I'm wondering how warm it will be.  Winter will tell.   If I were to knit it a second time,  I might use  lace-weight Mohair  for one of the yarns, to increase the warmth factor.

Taking nearly two months to complete,  the knitting of Ombre  seemed slow.   It wasn't so much the   teeny, tiny yarn but more the two strands at once.  The two, light strands weren't bad.  The one strand of each colour wasn't bad either. But the two strands of the dark yarn on the lower third was frustrating. Whether it was the darker colour, or end-of-project  fatigue I'm not sure.  But  many times, I  caught only one strand and so frequently found myself having to drop  down stitches to grab the second strand. 

Frustration behind me now, I love it.  The fit, the graduating colours and the style.  Tanis of course has her Ombre buttoned top to bottom.  But Tanis weighs what I did 40 years ago.  I did knit buttonholes but they are so small as to not be noticeable and my intentions are to wear Ombre a few times before deciding if I want buttons.

This is a very happy start to my weekend.   I hope all your knitting goes well this weekend.

ETA - I forgot about a major modification until I looked up  other Ombres on ravelry.  I eliminated the ribbed bottom, substituting it for a seed stitch border to match the button bands.  Much better for my non-Tanis-type bottom.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

It was baby-sweater day at knit group today.  Wilma,  back from her trip out west, brought in her finished baby sweater - the one  started at Knitfest.

 Creative knitter that she is, she added her own stitch pattern to the bottom edge.  Very cute, Wilma.

Sharon has finished one baby sweater and is knitting  a second one.

This big smile came as a result of us teasing Sharon about blending into the green wall with her green sweater. 

Nell, along with more baby booties,  has been busy making Christmas gifts for friends. Little hand-crafted boxes and inside them, sun catchers to brighten a kitchen window.

Gail, knows a bargain when she sees one.  Although she is a great hat knitter, she couldn't resist purchasing this one at the Church Bazaar for $2! 

Speaking of Church bazaars, I know you are all wondering what happened when Doreen presented her friend with the finished red sweater - Big Red as I called it.      Frustrating is a mild word to describe the difficulties Doreen had with that sweater.  Picking up in the middle of some one else's knitting is not easy and it took weeks of Doreen's knitting time to finish it . 

Turns out the friend asked   Doreen to finish the sweater on her behalf,  to make sure it got done in time to be donated to  the Church bazaar.  It sold for $20.   Doreen's question was - "They value the art of quilting enough to put a big price tag on the quilts, why not the knitting?"  Why not indeed!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Ready To Block

Ready to block is not quite as good as ready to wear, but close.  The end is in sight. 

While it looks great, seems to fit, is lightweight and will,  I think, be  easy to wear, the severely-folding, seed stitch borders are causing me worry. 
Here's hoping a firm blocking will cure that.  I did read, just yesterday,  that one secret to preventing folding seed stitch borders is to knit the seed stitch in little pyramids, or triangles.  Perhaps two or three solid rows of seed stitch, then seed stitch interspersed with stockinet with the final result being that the seed stitch forms a triangle.    Apparently this prevents the 'folding' but a tip too late for Ombre, so I holding out for the blocking.

Details will come after blocking, along with modelled shots.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not Yet

Friday, I was sure my Ombre would be finished by Saturday.  Saturday I thought I would finish it  Sunday.

And Sunday??   Well, enought to say  'not  yet'.

This little sweater has been on the needles for close to two months!  Way too long for my attention span!  Teeny, tiny yarn held double and it is taking me forever.   I recall bloggers using the term - 'marooned on sleeve island'.  Exactly where I am!  At times like these, I am  thankful my parents were not big people.

The sleeves keep shrinking.  Truly.  This is a top-down sweater and, as advised by all and sundry to do with top-down  construction,  I have been trying it on.  Several 'try-ons' ago the first sleeve was the perfect length.   I cast off.  Then it shrank.

By the time I noticed the shrinkage, sleeve number two was underway.  Forewarned, I knit the second sleeve for an additional two inches - trying it on to make sure that extra length gave me what I wanted.  It did.  Perfect.   I cast off  and ripped back  sleeve number one to lengthen it.

This morning, after taking photos of the 'not yet' state of the sweater, I tried it on once more.  Dang.  The finished  sleeve   shrunk.  It could use another two inches still. 

The 'not yet' description is the mild one I chose. The other was, in some circles, perhaps printable -  but not on a knitting blog.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Remembrance Day 2011

Last night I attended 'Women and War' at Meaford Hall, where four women spoke of their war and/or military experiences. 

The first to speak was a young female soldier who served for seven months in Afghanistan in 2010. Her heart-warming stories of the young children and the women of the villages revealed to us a softer side of the  military.

Next , was the story of a young woman who along with her husband, were among the many families forced from their land in 1942 to make way for  the Meaford Tank Range (known today as the Land Forces Area Training Base, Meaford).    Most families were farmers and they were forced to leave their farms  just as harvest-time approached.   Although some thought they would be allowed to return after the war, that was never to be.   The speaking role in that tribute was performed by the grand daughter of the young woman featured in the story.  She concluded by introducing that lady - her Grandma  - to the audience. 

Next was  an interview with a female, airplane mechanic.  An English lady who 'signed up' looking for adventure.  She was one of four, female,  airplane mechanics - grease monkeys, she called the four - to inspect and repair the allied planes. 

Last,  was a speech by  local Silver Cross Mother, Carol Mitchell.  Carol had two children.  Her oldest son  was killed while serving  in Afghanistan.  He 'knew' he wouldn't return and spoke to both his Mother and his wife about what to do in the event of his death.  The one thing he asked of them  was to never blame the military.  He said  "They are my family.  I will never be lonely."    While her oldest son was serving in  Afghanistan, her youngest son was diagnosed with brain  cancer.   He made the decision to not to tell his brother,  so as not to interfere with his mindset while serving in  Afghanistan.  Both boys are now gone and you  can read Carol's her story   here

It was a memorable evening. 

Lest we forget.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Well, look who arrived with a finished sweater today.  

If it isn't  'wound-up-tighter-than-a-drum'  Doreen.  We decided if the friend isn't thrilled with the final result  well ...   as luck would have it,  it fits Doreen.

Ruth arrived today with a baby blanket of 36 squares. 

The squares that last week, she warned me not to mix up as she had them all laid out in order.    

She looks pretty happy about it being finished. 

Her sister knit her that lovely pink vest.  She could be smiling because she told us she spilled pea soup on it at lunch time but managed to get it wiped off before her sister spied the offending stain.

Gail, managed to severely slice her thumb and is only knitting dish cloths.

Her reasoning is that if she bleeds on her knitting she can bleach out the stain.  Where there's a will - eh, Gail?  Nothing will stop a knitter.

Sharon has treated herself to a pair of pedicure socks.   

I guess a girl that gets frequent pedicures might need those socks.  I wouldn't know.

Nicki spent her afternoon ripping back the  baby sweater begun at Knitfest 2011.

She complained about running out of yarn until I advised her to measure the length of the sweater.  Dang!  An extra inch will do that. Ribbit!

 Nell began the afternoon with one baby bootie.  

By the time we were picking up to leave, bootie number two was finished  - including a croched tie.  That's speed knitting.

Fun again and lots of great knitting.  By next week we will know  Doreen's friend's response to Big Red.  Can't wait to hear, Doreen.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Another Great Day

My knitting fortunes are raining down on me.

Not only did I spend Saturday surrounded by yarn, in-store designs and long-time knitting friends, but Monday I did the same. 

Years ago, when I first set myself up with a home computer, there was such an Internet beast as newsgroups.  I belonged to a knitting newsgroup and one day there was a message from a knitter in nearby St. Marys.  She was my age - about -  married, as am I and a knitter. Despite dire warnings (from my children)  about the types of people that lurk on the 'net'  I didn't think I could get into too much trouble with a knitter.   I contacted her.

We agreed to meet.  Marlene brought along another knitting friend - her kids had given her those same warnings -  and the rest as they say is history.  A trio-of-knitting-friends  history.

Then, life  intervened.  Marlene lost her husband suddenly and retreated from life for awhile.  I moved away.  But thank goodness for the fibre that binds a knitting friendship.  This summer, Marlene came to  visit and yesterday I returned the favour, visiting her in her beautiful new home St. Mary's.

Lots of laughs.  Lots of food.  lots of fibre, lots of  patterns and knitting stories. Such fun.

Not to be maudlin, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that the light bulb went on to remind me of how rich my life is because of knitting.  Two recent, fabulous days - all because I like to knit.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I Had So Much Fun

Saturday was a very special day.    London Yarns, where I worked while living in London, celebrated it's 20th anniversary.

Being in business for 20 years is not to be sneezed at,  no matter   the type of business.  But small businesses  especially, and doubly especially,  yarn stores,  are not always long-lasting enterprises.  To celebrate 20 years, is very special.

Janet and her Mom,  Katy-Lu,
owners of London Yarns, called me back in the summer to tell me of the event and asked, as a previous employee, would I be able to attend.  Are you kidding?  I wouldn't  miss it for the world. 

By the busy  hectic  activity in the store from the moment the door's opened, it would seem that Janet's customers were also happy to take in the party celebrating  her 20 years in business.

All-too-kind Janet had sent out a customer email saying that previous-employee Brenda, (Janet always referred to me as her  'fearless knitter')  would be at the  party.  As a result, some of my London hiking, knitting buds dropped by.  Good to see you Diane (Trish - sorry I forgot the camera when you were in.)

New friend, blog-reading, sock- knitting fan,  Deb stopped in to meet me and say "Hi."

There was cake 


and cake cutting ceremonies.

New staff to meet

and the 'one -in-every-crowd'  member of the staff who never wants her picture taken.
Sorry, Dianne.  I couldn't resist.

Add to all this, a well-stocked store,

my dear friend Patti-Ann who shared so many Mondays with me at the store,

and amidst the revellers a Learn To Crochet class
 and you might have already guessed  - as I announced to Fred as soon as I opened the door - "I.  Had.  So.  Much.  Fun."

Thanks Janet for the invitation, and may you continue to sell yarn in good health for another 20 years.