Thursday, March 29, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

The question at knit group today  could certainly have been "How was your summer?"  Chilly, windy weather has returned and the 27 degree days we had a couple of weeks ago are sadly missed.  Good thing we have knitting to keep us happy - we sure  can't  depend on the weather.

Lauren was back today and  and all smiles as she accomplished the great divide on her first-ever baby sweater.
Her tension is a bit off - she is knitting this little sweater at about the same gauge as a pair of socks.  That takes time. 

Nell has another brightly coloured afghan to hide behind.  Really she is there.

Gail's Church  called for hand-knit, chemo caps in soft, non-wool yarns.  A perfect excuse for Gail to use up some of her stash.

This one has a beautiful lace edge.

I took Gloria's picture today simply because I haven't taken it in quite some time - and she has such a great smile.

 I told her I was sure her husband was checking the blog daily looking for his wife's photo.   That is 'just a baby hat' she is knitting.

Not-so-new Nan was up and brought  her double-roll brim hat for show and tell.  She missed our hat day - but never too late to show off great knitting.


 Ingrid is knitting with yarn that is not lilac in colour.
 For a top.  That she will wear.  Wonders never cease!

And me?  The knitter who should have been knitting  her 'When Debbie Met Sally' sweater as it has a tight deadline, knit slippers instead.  Left the sweater at work yesterday!  Arghhhh!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Lookin' Good

My 'When Debbie Met Sally'  sweater is lookin'  s-o-o-o- good.  Normally, I would shy away from a sweater knit entirely in garter stitch. "Too stiff, too square, too non-chic,"  I might have said.  Perhaps it is the combo of one small and  one large needle that is making this work, but I'm likin' this sweater.  Not to mention that it will be done within two weeks.  What a 'make this knitter happy' thing  that is!

With five balls of yarn in my stash,  I do have to think about how far the yarn will go.  What you see here has taken three balls.
I have stopped knitting body for the moment, and am knitting sleeves.  Once the sleeves are a length that I like, the rest of the yarn - or at least a portion thereof,  can go to additional body length. My vision at the moment,  but open to change depending on yarn quantity and appearance,  is to knit until the sweater is about  4 inches below the waist.

This picture tells me that it might be a good idea to short row the sleeves a bit.

 Lengthening the shoulder side of the sleeves via short-rows,  to sit evenly with the underarm section might be something to try.  I do have a short-sleeved, summer raglan   that I did not short-row. When I wear it,  I am always tugging downwards on the sleeve tops to bring them even with the underarm section.  While this never seems to be an issue with wrist-length sleeves, with short, cap-length sleeves, it is.  Short-rows might just be the solution to that problem.  I'll let you know.

Monday, March 26, 2012

A Look At The Fabric

I am knitting my  Debbie Met Sally cardi to wear with a little summer dress. A dress that I intend  to sew myself.  A dress that I intend to wear at my niece's wedding.  Why let a 35 year hiatus from sewing my own clothes stop me?  It's only my niece's wedding after all.
Marie asked to see the fabric.  So here  -   artfully arranged to appear completed when in fact it is just fabric  -   are what things looked like Saturday morning.

Both the sweater and the dress will have short summery sleeves and the sweater, yarn quantities permitting,  will come to just below the waist.

The fabric caught my eye because of it's delightful, summery feel.  Prints  are in fashion this season, I have decided.

The pattern , other than the skirt of 10 gores, is quite simple with the  one dash of style being the  very-obviously- inserted zipper.

I am making the one colour view but with the sleeves.  My oh-so-non-Michelle Obama-like, grandmotherly arms feature flex-a-flab that is best kept under cover. 

This morning, the dress looks like this.
Well on the way to being finished.  My only concern is  - will it fit?  Which leads to the concern of  'what will I wear if this project isn't a success?'

Friday, March 23, 2012

This Is More Like It

Struggling along, sloth-like, on my CTD was really damaging to my knitting mojo.  By comparison, my Debbie Met Sally summer cardi is a mojo booster.  I am, in a few short days, about three inches  past the great divide of sleeves and body.   It feels great to be knitting a 'speed-a-long'.
The cardi is totally garter stitch - with a twist. Although the trim is normal garter stitch, worked on a 3.75mm needle,  you can see that is is different than the garter stitch of the body.
Using circular, interchangeable needles, the body is being worked with a   3.75 mm pin at one end,  but a 6.5mm pin at the other end.  This gives the fabric a loose, open, stretchy appearance.  Once blocked and with  the full weight of the sweater lending it's gravitational forces to the fabric, I think it will be quite ''lacey''.  Perfect for my mid-April, New Orleans, wedding ensemble.

I have chosen to put three buttonholes  at the base of the V-Neck and let the rest of the sweater swing open.
That will offer a nice reveal of my Aunt-Of-The-Bride dress,   that at the moment is just a bolt of  fabric on my table.

I also chose to use the easy peasy, yarn-over, increase method.
 It's holey-ness is a great accompaniment to the light-weight, summery  look I'm hoping to achieve.

My only apprehension stems from the amount of yarn I have.  This is stash yarn and I have only  five balls.  So far, I have used the better part of two balls. Three to go.  I am hoping to get the sweater to at least waist length.  Short sleeves will do for summer, so the fingers are crossed.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

With spring-like   summer-like   weather today,   Ingrid thought most of our knitters were out in their gardens - or maybe, like Sharon and Nicki,  at the Home & Garden Show.

 But those of use that did show up had fun and lots of knitting.

Ruth has the most interesting project carrier.  She brings her knitting in a tea towel.

 Multi purpose carrier, I presume.  If things get wet, she is prepared.  Her current project is another little baby sweater.

Bonnie looks very pleased with her FO, a gorgeous cabled sweater,

as well as her almost FO, a baby 'sleeper'

I couldn't help but take Ingrid's picture today.

 Her dress simply screams  summer!   In March!  Ingrid loves to swim,  swimming every summer's day in Georgian Bay, just a few blocks from her home.  When I told her  that on the 6 o'clock news, there were pictures of children swimming in the bay, her eyes lit up.  She decided that  tomorrow she will take her first dip of the year.  The earliest ever.

Wilma is working on her 'featherweight' cardi.

 She is using Americo Cotton Flamme and is having trouble with the plys separating causing the outer ply to twist and bunch up.  Both Sharon and I knit Featherweight from Cotton Flamme and had no trouble.  Has anyone experienced this issue or does Wilma just have a funny twist to her wrist?  The sweater will be  a perfect accompaniment to the blouse she was wearing, don't you think?

I left early today.  I had a very important appointment.

Sorry I couldn't stay, but sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

When Debbie Met Sally

It's time to move on.  Time to put my Creative Top-Down in a time out.  I wasn't feeling the love - knitting was becoming a drag.  With the March Break providing me with non-knitting thinking time, I realized - it's only a month until my niece's wedding!  My niece's wedding that takes place on a swamp boat  in New Orleans.  Hot, humid New Orleans.  I don't need a fuzzy, furry, wool/alpaca blend sweater right now.  I need a summer cover up.

So, my CTD, has been set aside for the time being and I have started Creative Top-Down V2.  My 'Debbie Met Sally' summer cover up.

I was inspired by Audreypurrls.  She has been thinking of knitting Sally Melville's
 Where's The Opaque?   for a late summer wedding.
It is a see-through/opaque combo top, from The Knit Stitch Book.  It started me thinking.  Why not do the entire sweater in the see-through stitch?  Of course that would mean a cardi not a pullover.  But to top off  a little, summer, sun dress - it would be perfect for the wedding. The question then became - what summer cardi pattern would I use?
I chose Deb Gemmell's Shrug Those Shoulders  pattern - a variation of the basic DK weight, V Neck cardi from the book Button Up Your Top Down.

 Knitting it with a mint green cotton/acrylic combo from my stash,

I think it will be a  great addition  to my  'Aunt-of-the- Bride' dress.

There were a few false starts yesterday as I tried to estimate the number of stitches  for the cast on. Since the entire sweater is a form of garter stitch,   I am converting the  2X2 ribbing to garter stitch  for all the trim.  My knitterly instinct tells me, that  at the neck line, fewer stitches might be required to pull that off.  I played with it a bit and think hope I have it. 

Would Sally  be pleased at this adaption of her pattern?  Not sure.  Deb will be thrilled - that I know. 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Things I Learned On My March Break

As evidenced by the absence of March Break blogging, Grandchildren filled my time  last week.  And since old dogs are never too old to learn new tricks, I thought I'd share what I learned during their visit.

15 year old Granddaughters no longer think it cool to visit Grandma for March Break.

10 and 11 year old Grandkids still love to come.

My 11 year old Grandson  and I wear the same size shoe.  This we learned when, in the early morning of a still wintry north, he got into the car wearing his heavy winter boots, arriving 10 hours later in the sunny, spring-like south, to realize he had not packed any shoes.

11 year old boys have perfected the art of putting on and taking off shoes without undoing the laces.

I really enjoyed The Lorax.

Kids survive even when Grandma lets them eat  only candy and pop for lunch at the movies.

Alice In Wonderland, as a bed time story, still enchants. 

Grandkids doing tricks on their roller blades at the skate park can give Grandma a heart attack.

10 year old Abi plays better Euchre than I do.

Lucky Charms is the cereal of choice for spring 2012.

Both Grandkids understand the subtleties of the game of curling better than I do.

Both grand kids shoot pool as well as I do.

 The future of the world is in good hands.

Back to normal and knitting - if I can find my needles.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Creatively Plodding

Can one plod creatively? Only in my knitterly world, perhaps.

My creative top-down is coming - slowly. 
One sleeve has been started,

along with 'take two' of the neck line.
There will probably be a take three as this one still doesn't please me completely.

The body is finished -
or so I thought until I tried it on again and feel it needs another inch or so.

The triangle decorating the lower front
 didn't materialize quite like my vision.  It wasn't supposed to look quite so Christmas-tree like.  Oh well. 

That little bit of triangular, colour work necessitated a few inches of flat knitting, so there is a short seam to sew.

This sweater has been a real plodder for me. I can't seem to get excited about it.  Partly, I think because despite loving the softness and colour  of the yarn I am not sure it is meant to be sweater yarn.  Better perhaps as a shawl or an afghan.  But, if not in knitterly denial, at least in a state of knitterly  acquiescence, I plod on with what has become, most  definitely,  a process sweater.  If I don't like it when it is done, well, it will make a good give-away.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Not Much Knitting

Weekend visitors here at the Harris household meant not much knitting for Brenda.  But after waving good-bye to our guests, I did spend a quiet Sunday afternoon catching up on blog posts and reading ravelry.  As always, there was lots to capture my attention.

Stash Queen, Christy  posted about a group called Craftsy.    Christy, alreday a member,  had taken advantage of the  members-only 50% discount offer  and signed up for one of their on-line labs - Fit Your Knits.

Fit Your Knits sounded like a course I could use - something that might help me achieve my 2012 goals.  Immediately, I went to the site and looked up the course.  Ouch!  Too expensive for me for a course that,   save Christy's blog post,  I knew  nothing about.   I took the 'crafty' way out and for free,  simply joined the Craftsy group. Who knows, I thought,  maybe  someday they would offer another member  discount.  Well, lucky me, once signed up, my welcome package included my first on-line course for a greatly  (Sorry, Christy.  My price beat your price)  reduced fee.  Now that's what I'm talkin' about. 

The course is taught by Stephanie Japel, can be started/taken any time and re-taken as many times as I like  need.    Two free patterns come with the course and I am so excited - I can't wait for school to start.  Good thing the timing is at my leisure as tomorrow the Grand kids come for March Break, so there will be little knitting and no studying for Grandma while they are here.  Sacrifices, sacrifices!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Ingrid  declared today 'hat' day.  We all brought our hand-knit hats for one giant 'show and tell'.  Hats stretched the length of the table.

 Such variety!  Such fun!

There were unique hats for big people

 and unique hats for little people.

There were baby hats.

hats with pom poms,

hats with cables,

and hats with I-Cord toggles on top

There were hats with jewels,

hats with peaks

and hats with flowers.

There were felted hats,
favourite hats,


and reversible hats.

All those hats!   This was a   'hat trick' of the knitterly kind. At the drop of a hat, these knitters  came  and brought a  table full of hats.   Hats off to all hat knitters. Some might think us mad as hatters, but I'd throw my hat in the ring with knitters any day.  And you can hang your hat on that one!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Modified Duffers

Slippers, in particular felted slippers,  have been my go-to knitting this winter.  When struggling with or bored by  my larger projects, I have knit a pair of felted slippers. 

I have long been searching  for the 'perfect slipper pattern'.  And Woo Hoo!!   I think I've found it!  The 19 Row Felted Duffers pattern  is almost the perfect slipper pattern. 

This weekend's pair  of Duffers, shown here  pre-felting,
have black soles, knit with   Cabin Fever Northern Lights,  paired with  variegated brown tops, knit with  my last skein of the Made-In-China, Wal Mart yarn  snatched from Gloria's Great Give-Away. With perfection in mind, I did make a couple of modifications.

Instead of the 19 rows, I took the suggestion offered in the pattern and knit an additional  two rows. 21 rows in total.   This makes the slipper come up further along the foot, both on the sides and also on the toe portion.  My modified Duffers, shown below,  look much more like a traditional slipper
 than the slippers knit to pattern. 

The origial slippers have a ballet slipper look.  Both appealing in their own way, just different. 


There is one issue to be aware of though.  Once those two extra rows have been knit, the opening for the foot  - even before felting -  appeared quite small.  Not wanting a pair of slippers I couldn't get my foot into, I undid the cast off and re-knit - or that would be re-purled -  the last row, increasing the stitch count by a M1 every 7 stitches.  This resulted in a more spacious cast off and foot opening.

There is yet one more modification I have in mind,  so there is still another pair of Duffers on my winter, knitting horizon.   More  quick, fun, easy knitting!  Woo Hoo!