Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Red Infinity

On my needles today, I have a  red Infinity Scarf.  From what I can see on ravelry, Infinity is the name given to any scarf or cowl that goes on forever.  A piece of knitting Elizabeth Zimmermann would describe as somthing you 'knit until you can't stand it any longer or you run out of yarn.  Whichever comes first.'

A few weeks ago,  on a trip down south, to Ontario's Big Smoke, I noticed many young women wearing long, l - o - n - g  scarves wound round their necks.  Hung  once, they were navel-grazing.  Wrapped twice, they were big cowls. 

A day in Toronto being my fashion barometer, I knew that a navel-grazing  Infinity Scarf could be the hit I wanted for my family Christmas gift exchange  fight.  Last Thursday, on our Knitters Night Out, I spotted one on display at Riverside Yarns.  In  shades of red it was perfect.  Fortunately for me,  I was the first to spot it as there was only one ball of the red yarn  left on the shelf. 

The red yarn is  James Brett Chunky Marble , an acrylic yarn.
 Marble is known for it's gorgeous colours - a beer budget cousin to the champagne of gorgeously- coloured yarn,  Noro.  But considering either the perceived  itch issue or the laundry dilema, acrylic is the perfect  choice when knitttng for an unknown recipient under the age of 25.

The pattern I am making up as I go along.  Beginning with 200 stitches on a 6.5mm needles, I worked a few rows of K2, P2.  Then some stockinet, some reverse stockinet and back to the K2,  P2 and repeat.
 It is about 6 inches wide now so I will knit for another couple of inches.  Or until I get sick of it or run out of yarn - whichever comes first.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vignette In Purple

Finally finished, the purple Vignette needs just a final blocking and it is ready to wear as soon as the snow flies.

 Pattern:  Vignette  by Amy Herzog in Knitty.com
Yarn:  Lambs Pride Worsted by Brown Sheep Company Inc
Colour: Clematis # M56
Yarn Quantity:  4 1/2 balls at 173 M per ball.
Needles:  5mm
Happiness Level?  Time will tell. Right now, not 100%

What Did I Learn?  Certainly, I became much more aware of the fact that I do not enjoy knitting sweaters in pieces.  I much prefer knitting in the round.  Either Elizabeth Zimmermann's favoured method of bottom up, or Cabin Fever's preferred method of Top Down suit me better than knitting in pieces.  For me, unlike many knitters,  it is not  the sewing up that I dislike.  I can execute a masterful, mattress-stitch seam and am proud to see  one well finished.  The issue for me is the surprise.

 Not until the last minute do I know if the sweater will be a success for me.        Does it fit?  Does the style suit?  Does it have any funny lumps and bumps?  With a knit-in-the-round sweater, I can try it on and hopefully become aware of any negative issues long before finishing. To rip out a solid piece of knitting with no seams  is easy peasy.  A seamed piece?  Not so much. 

Vignette not only had the normal pieces   -  fronts,  back and sleeves  - to be sewn together, but  it also has the front bands. The bands, knit at the same time as the sweater,  stop  at the front shoulders.  Once the back is knit and sewn to the fronts at the shoulder seams, the bands are picked up, knit to centre back   ("they fit when stretched slightly".  You know how well that works)  then sewn to each other and  to the sweater body. Talk about  fiddly!  It took me three times to get that 'Until it fits when stretched slightly' thing right.

The entire knit-in-pieces method seemed  to me to be slow and very industrial age, cottage industry kind of old fashioned and out of touch with current knitting trends.  Sorry  Amy.

Besides the  'I Hate Pieces'  thing I had going on, I also have issues with the front bands.  Knit at the same time as the sweater, they are, of necessity then,  knit with the same size needle and the same number of stitches. Normally, in a K1, P1 ribbed band, a smaller needle and fewer stitches are used to produce a band that fits perfectly. That is, a band that neither sags nor pulls.  

IMO, there is too much band in this sweater.  If you lay the sweater flat on the bed as I did in the photo below, with front and back bottom edges even, somwhere up the front,  there is a glob too much of ribbing to be had.  Take a look. 

But if you let Vignette lay naturally on the bed and do not adjust the back and front bottom edges to be even,  you have a ribbing that falls below the sweater length.  It drapes.  I have knit sweaters with a drapey front -  on purpose.  But Vignette is not one of those.  It is supposed to hang even. 

Having said all that, Vignette  does fit me quite nicely.
 I made the 38 1/4" size for my 38 inch bust.  Looks as if it could use a bit more blocking to get it to meet in the middle.  If that doesn't happen, I will  not sew on any  buttons.  That way I can pretend it was meant to be an open sweater.

Next Time?  Should there be one, it would most definitely be knit in the round.  Vignette is a V Neck sweater, with 3/4 sleeves and  a lace panel up either side of the front bands and down the centre sleeves.  Easy enough to do with any bottom-up or top-down sweater.  Next time. 

The one other thing I might do next time is to use a lighter yarn.  I have become used to knitting a finer yarn at a larger gauge for  a lighter-weight sweater.  My  yarn was exactly the gauge called for  in the Vignette pattern but with it's combo of wool and mohair, it will be a sweater suitable for  only  the coldest days.

 But it does look great with my black, boiled-wool skirt with the purple trim.  Which was, of course the whole idea.  So, perhaps the wearing will be easier and bring more pleasure  than the knitting.  I hope.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group, Dinner, Knit Group #2 and Knit Night

Yesterday was not our normal Thursday Knit Group.  Following our regular get together, we set  off for Owen Sound to meet up with some of the Southampton Knitters for an evening that began with dinner at the Harison Park Inn, followed by  Knit Night at Riverside Yarns.  Such fun.

 First dinner,

then knitting.  23 knitters, I counted, 
in Colleen's lovely downtown store.  There was lots of show and tell.
A square baby blanket started with Emily Ocker's circular cast on 

 A red sweater knit with Philosophers wool  - 
Socks  -  
A new knitter with her first cowl  -  
Sharon grabbed the fish hat.  Tanya - we were thinking of you -
 Gina with her lovely Zauberball shawl
This young knitter below took up   the needles for the  first time ever   in the summer of 2012.  She is facing major surgery and knew she would need a soothing, quiet activity to occupy her time during her recovery.    Already she is on to sweaters.  Well done, newbie.
The evening went swimmingly until someone -  would that be Elena???  caught me on film, purchasing yarn. 

A great knitterly time was had by all.  Thanks, Southampton for joining us.  As Gina was about to leave she came to me and said " This was a great idea, Brenda."  You should know, Gina.  You had the inspiration way back at Knit In Public Day.  So thanks.  We'll do it again.  Next time they say they want a Wool & Wine Tour.  Local yarn stores and local wineries.  Who is it again that thinks knititng is a quiet, maybe even boring activity?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

New Baby

I live in what urban planners might call an 'established neighbourhood'.  In everyday speak that  means most of us on the courtyard are well beyond child-bearing age. 

But a couple of years ago, a younger, newly-married couple moved in.  Last week they had their first child.  A little girl, born 7 lbs 14 oz, named Lillian Grace. 

Luckily for me, I had some baby knits resting on my shelf.
 From 2010,  my year of knitting with Elizabeth Zimmermann, there was  the February Baby Sweater along with  EZ's   Bonnet and Booties, just waiting for a feminine new-born.  Our new neighbourhood baby with her beautiful name will get these in the next day or so. 

Patterns for the  Bonnet and Booties  came from The Opinionated Knitter or Newsletter #22 if you were an early collector. The February Baby Sweater pattern came from The Knitters Almanac.  Knit with Paton's Astra.

Small and delicate, just like a new born. I am sure Lillian Grace will be beautiful in them.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Knitters Reunion

Once or twice each year,  I get together with two of my'Friends Who Knit from   'down south' -  Southern Ontario that is - for a day of knitting, laughing and eating.

Yesterday was that day, and it couldn't have been better.  The weather was gorgeous for the drive, the show and tell was awesome and the company great fun. 

This year was Hilda's turn to host.  Hilda lives in a century-old, Victorian farm house.  A farm house complete with an elegant, curving, stair case,   deep, deep window sills, the complete quiet of a rural  location and a gorgeous, newly-renovated kitchen.  Add to all that a delicious vegetarian lunch and many, many knitting projects  and you have the perfect, knitterly day. 

Take a look.

 Hilda's cute baby outfit.

Hilda purchased a one pound cone of Shelridge Farms Fingering Weight yarn at the Woodstock Fleece Festival.  She could probably make several thousand of these fingerless mittens and hats with her cone.

This blanket is knit with Knit Picks Chroma.

 Marlene likes the sassy, short-sleeved sweater knit by Hilda.

Hilda likes the look of this hat OFF the head. 
 Not so much ON the head.

This wrap intrigued me.  The holey stitch, knit with several yarn overs,  was a new one for Hilda

And of course, there was Grandmotherly knitting.

And scarves.

Hilda has the cutest, little, white dog.  He didn't appreciate us intruding on his space though and growled every time we moved.  Nonetheless, Hilda has knit him a colourful coat using a  Sally Melville pattern.

Hilda is still working on this sock-yarn, crocheted blanket. I first saw it last year at our get together and I imagine I will see it next year too.

I loved Hilda's almost finished cable sweater.
A wonderful day.  An inspirational day.  Great food, great company.  Thanks Hilda and Marlene. 

Monday, October 22, 2012

My Nifty Scarf

My several shades of Grey scarf that I named Nifty Shades Of Grey is finished.  I love it.  Very simple.  Very geometric.  Very Frank Lloyd Wright-ish, I think. Very Swedish too, I feel.

 PATTERN:  A blatant imitation of Laura Aylor's All The Shades of Truth.
Needles;  4.5mm
Yarn:  One 50 G ball, DK, Loyal in  black  superwash  wool.  Only a few inches of yarn left.
2- 50 G balls, King Cole, Merino Blend, DK superwash Wool - one medium grey, 
the other light   grey
One 50G ball, Elann DK,  Merino Alpaca Blend in White
One 50 G ball Sandnes Garn  D,K Perfect wool nylon blend in dark grey

Imitating Laura Aylor's All The Shades Of Truth that I spotted on ravelry, I simply cast on 40 stitches and knit the entire scarf in garter stitch.  To begin, I knit 3 panels of equal depth, using all 40 cast-on stitches and  separated each grey section with 2 ridges (4 rows) of black, garter stitch.  Once in the middle of the scarf, I  knit across fewer stitiches, allowing  the outer edges to be knit at right angles to the centre of the scarf.

 All colour changes, as well as the outside edges are bordered by  2 ridges, 4 rows of black garter.

The cast off had to be very loose so I did my own variation of Jenny's Surprisingly Stretchy Cast Off.  Every 10 stitches more or less, I picked up an extra stitch by inserting my needle into the purl bump below the next stitch and lifting it to the left needle, then casting it off.  That gave me approximately a 10 percent increase in the number of stitches cast off, which seems to have done the trick.

This is intended for artist son,  Peter, as a Christmas gift.  I think he might appreciate the artistic nature of the design.  However, I have learned over my many  years of knitting that it is best to preface the gift opening with this statement.

 "  If you don't like it, will never wear it, my feelings won't be hurt. I  will keep it until I come across someone who likes it."   That will be my message on Christmas morning.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Unfinished, Unfinished And Unfinished

I am surrounded by UFOs.  Vignette - remind me next time that I hate knitting a sweater in pieces - languishes on my craft table.
 It is, you might remember, my sweater of modification.  The back - I am knitting on the machine - a major modification.  I got as far as the armholes  the other day and have not had time to return to it since. 

Sally Melville is a great advocate of not knitting in the round.  She said in one of her blog posts that when knitting in pieces, once you have finished a front if you realize it doesnt' fit, it is not a major thing to re-knit that one piece.  But I find it difficult to know if that one piece will fit.  What am I to do?  Pin one quarter of the sweater to my Duct Tape Diva? 
Oh!  Maybe that does work.

Then there is my Nifty Shades Of Grey.  Being an intellectual property thief, stealing the idea from the picture on ravelry instead of purchasing the pattern, I worked merrily and quickly away and finished it last week.  But the ends flared.  Badly.  The vertical garter stitch sections were wider than my horizontal stitch sections.  Yes I know, garter stitch is square.  My issue was I got lazy and didn't knit enough horizontal rows.  That would have been a relatively easy fix had I noticed it earlier.  But by the time I decided I couldn't block it into submission, I had already woven in the ends.  And as I have mentioned on previous posts, I am a dang good, weaver in of ends.  Nifty and I have spent several hours together this week, trying to un-assemble the original version to be able to re-knit it.

In the meantime, frustrated and needing something mindless to knit, I started a scarf for Fred.  Feeling generous and loving towards a man celebrating his 70th birthday, I told him I would knit his scarf with  Quiviut.  I had won a ball, last year,  in a blog contest.  Brown in colour,  softer than soft and warmer than warm, I thought it would be perfect.  Once started, though, I realized how delicately gossamer in nature was the Quiviut fibre.  Much more suited to a woman's fine fingers than a man's rough and tumble touch.  I switched out the Quiviut for Kroy sock yarn for Fred's scarf and have saved the Quiviut for a  scarf  for me.

Considerate of me, don't you think?  This way there won't be any friction between us should he put a hole in his scarf.

A busy weekend of social obligations awaits me, so my knitting projects might be just as finished/unfinished on Monday as they are today.  Nonetheless, have a great weekend, and thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursdays Are For knit Group

I start today with  a shout-out to our  Florida-bound knitters.  We missed you Sandy and Carol but did our best to carry on knitting without you  :-)

Doreen arrived looking very chipper, don't you think?  
You sure know how to wear a hat, Doreen.

 And it is nice to see that  you finished your vest.

Wilma is knitting boot toppers for her Grand daughters. 
Dark colours please, their Mom specified.  These should hide the mud and splatters well, Wilma.

Sharon's family is expecting a new niece or nephew and she is knitting this lovely sweater for the new baby with Timothy Street superwash wool.

I like that sleeve-to-sleeve construction, Sharon.  Somewhat Elizabeth Zimmermann's Tomten-esque with  it's all-in-one-piece method.

Ruth, it is good to see that you might finally be finished that baby sweater that has been occupying your knitting time for several weeks now.   You look surprised at that yourself.

This is sleeve number one.  One more to go.

Lots of fun and laughter again today. Bet you Florida-bound knitters missed us.