Thursday, May 30, 2013

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

What a difference seven days makes in the weather.  Last week, at knit group, complaints about the cold, grey weather circled the room.  Today, the opposite - exclamations about the heat.

Hot weather didn't stop Ruth from knitting on her latest project - a mohair sweater.
 The yarn was a gift.  The beautiful blue colour will really brighten a winter's  day for you Ruth.
 Ruth said it took her some time to find a pattern  that matched her gift yarn for both gauge and quantity.   She finally found one, but  she finds it  disconcerting as it is written in 'metric speak' only. 
She had to buy a tape measure that speaks both languages to help her  translate.

Sandy B, as promised, wore her newly-finished Linen top today. 

It is gorgeous.  Such a simple design - two rectangles, knit sideways, the front  longer than the back to provide extra fabric for the twist.  I suggested that her striped yarn gave the piece extra pizazz.  But Sandy said the display garment that originally caught her eye in her LYS in Florida was done in black.  It too was gorgeous, she said. 

We made her try it on backwards, just to see.
I'm thinking fancy, dress ball, Sandy.

Doreen pullled a very old work-in-progress scarf from her bag and asked me if I remembered it.
I didn't.  Until she reminded me that  it is knit in what, at the time, was a new-to-her stitch and   initially  it caused her great  grief.  Once she mastered it, she put the piece away.  It's now been sitting so long she wonders if  she remembers how to do it.

 I liked the scarf she was wearing. 
A long, ropey scarf, knit with a row  - or sometimes two  -  of garter in between rows of double, dropped stitches.  Very open and very summery, Doreen.

Doreen's other project of the day was to learn how to use her  new Ipad  a gift from her son.
Nicki, our Ipad specialist,  gave Doreen a lesson. 

Wilma, a relatively new Ipad owner herself and  wearing Gemini that she knit last summer,  listened in on Doreen's lesson.  In front of Wilma is her latest project. 
A sweater with a knitted upper portion and crocheted lower band.  In a colour that coordinates well with  her Gemini.  A twin set perhaps?

There was talk of  beach knitting now that the weather has turned.  What could be more perfect than knitting on the beach - unless it is knitting at the library.  Either one pleases.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Big Start

Thank goodness for foresight.  This morning, with a few 'found' hours due to a rain-cancelled hike, I decided to get started on my machine-knit Contrasts.  With the combination of unknowns in this project - yarn, pattern, machine -  I knew I would start with a gauge swatch.  Being a lace pattern the only accurate way to swatch would be in lace, not stockinet.  And since I had to knit lace to swatch, why  not just start the back of the sweater and see how it goes.  The no-swatch, gauge swatch, so to speak.

Noticed first - this lace pattern is not as easy as I'd like.  My machine, being an LK 150 and described as a 'hobby' machine, means that I have to hand manipulate the stitches to create the open lacey work.  The machine does not do that for me.  Contrasts'  pattern is manipulated every two rows. 
In between all that lace is what the pattern calls a 'tuck' stitch.  Another hand manipulated stitch.

Not wanting to do too many rows with all that hand manipulation only to find out the garment was not going to fit,  I took it off the needles after ten rows .

I am knitting the 40 inch size.  Take a look   at how many inches wide my swatch is.

Yikes!  A re-think is required.  Tighter gauge for one thing.  Perhaps a smaller size as well.   Backing up to square one here.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Mindless Still

The mindless  would be my knitting to which I am referring.  But if you thought it meant me - well, you wouldn't be the first.

This weekend, we had some driving to do to attend a family reunion.  With lots of  passenger-seat time, I finished tier two of Tink's Twirly Skirt and about an inch of tier three. I am in love with the colour of my Tink's but having never before knit a skirt, I am reserving judgement on the look of my hand knit skirt in the real world of wearing.  The range of imagined looks runs the gamut from hand-made/hippie to high-end, one-of-a-kind.  The latter has been my vision and inspiration and obviously my aim, but as  said  -  judgement reserved.

Regardless of the outcome - rip it or wear it  - the knitting of Tink's is FUN!  Round and round and round.  Easy peasy with  colour changes providing the motivation to go faster, faster, faster.

Here it is so far.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Mental Overload Loves Mindless Knitting

Lately, I have been whining about  mental overload.  One of those times in my life that I sure wished I had some drugs in the house.

It started, a month ago, with the new van. Always, in the past, we have had vehicles with the bow tie on the front  (Fred's extreme prejudice)  but this time we diverted our monies to another of the 'big three'.  One would think driving was driving, but there were so many things different about the new van, that I had a steep  curve to climb before I could even climb in.

Next was my ipod.  The van salesman told me I could plug my ipod into the van and listen to my own music.  All I needed was a cord. I bought the cord, plugged it in, and   -  nothing happened. Another learning curve to figure out what else I had to do to make that work.  Currently I have achieved 50% success with that item. I get music out of the driver's side speakers only.

Third up was a new camera.  The Hearst gang surprised me with a new camera for Mothers' Day.  What a wonderful thing to do.  It relieved me of the job of studying cameras and listening to sales reps, but of course there is still the  new-camera-different-from -old- camera curve to navigate.

Next up was WiFi.  Yep, as astonished as you will be to learn this,  despite owning a laptop, I did not have WiFi in the house.  I perused that market on the phone with the big R but had to go to the store to actually get the device, then  install it myself.  Not a bad curve that one, but still there is the curve accumulation factor.

Most recently, I decided to de-fossilize myself and get a cell phone.  One that can send those non-intrusive, text messages so favoured by the more enlightened amoung us.  Big, long, Rocky Mountain style curve here now.  First up, there were many emails arriving in my box before the phone came, keeping me informed about the status of delivery of the phone.  Every one that the big R sent, Canada Post sent a similar one saying "we have been asked by the big R to send you this email to say ..."    Double the number of emails.  Same amount of information.

Once the phone arrived, I suggested to Fred that he call me from the home phone to see if the cell worked.  It did.  It rang.  Too bad I couldn't figure out how to answer the call.  Had to call son #2 to find that out.

Then the Big R sent an email saying I had to activate an online account.  They gave me a temporary password and warned me to set my own password ASAP.  But, as often seems to happen, I ended up on one of those infernal, cyber loops. The system would not take my new password becaue it didn't recognize my temporary one. But, luckily for me, the-about-to-have-a- breakdown customer,  right there on the screen was a help desk called Live Chat.  Oh yea.  I had seen that advertised on TV.  Figuring it would be better - or at least not worse than being on hold on the phone, I logged on.  It reminded my of the old MSN system of messaging someone.  Except s-l-o-w-e-r.   By the wait time between communiques, I am sure my service rep was servicing multiple customers at one time.  My help took one hour.  As a result, I fell the big R should rename the service.  With all that dead air time, it is not so much live as dead.  It should be called Dead Chat. 

All this mental exercise has done nothing to improve my mood or keep my brain healthy for my old age.  In fact, I'm sure the brain is on life support right now.  But what it has meant is that I have become quite interested in mindless knitting.  No  Cinnie lace for me.  I am working on my skirt -

Tinks' Twirly Skirt.    
Plain old stockinet knitting.  Round and round and round.  Change a colour when I feel like it. I tried it on  to make sure  it would go  over the hips.  Seeing that it fit, I put it back on the needles and have knit comatosely since.

Have a great weekend everyone.  May all your techno gadgets work easily and as imagined.


Thursday, May 23, 2013

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Today we had company.  Doreen's daughter from England is visiting.  Doreen's knitting productivity has gone down, I'm sure. 
Don't they make a handsome pair?

Sandy B is almost finished her linen top.
 Knit sideways, in two pieces, the front piece is much wider than the other. That allows it to be twisted, revealing the reverse stockinet side and giving the front the big loop.

  Lovely piece and Sandy has promised to wear it next week.  Can't wait.

Sandy also started the mitered-square, kitchen rug I mentioned in last Thursday's post.
 Double stranded Handricrafter cotton.  My hands wouldn't survive that, I'm afraid.

Ruth wore her lovely, purple sweater today.  With the almost-snow  rain we were having, she needed it to keep warm.
Ruth's sister knit it for her and I have asked for the pattern only to be told "No pattern - anyone who can count to 7 can knit this sweater."  Sandy's sister Sue sent the purple yarn in one of her great yarn give-aways, so this picture is for you Sue.

Sharon has a good start on the '6 mile' Wensleydale yarn she brought back from England.
 This is the back of   'Essential Cardigan'.  My camera didn't do justice to the tweediness of this yarn.  It is a lovely, soft, tweedy green and 'Essential' seems to be the perfect pattern choice for the yarn.  Can't wait to see you wearing it, Sharon.  

 Jean finished her Baby Surprise Jacket while at knit group today and entertained us all while trying to decipher the correct folding.  The last few stitches happening here -


Still a surprise it seems," said Jean

But finally, the jacket reveals itself.  

And the back. 

Stash yarn, interesting knit.  Great fun.  I think I might have to put one of those on my list for my first great niece or nephew coming in October.

Another fun day at knit group and a great antidote to the crazy, annoyingly cool weather we had today. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I. T. News

As many of you know, Google Reader will soon no longer exist.  You know the gig - you no sooner  find the colour lipstick you like and they discontinue making it.  Same with Google.

Initially, when I  discovered blog reading, I simply 'bookmarked' the blog.  But that is cumbersome.  One needs to  look up the bookmarked pages then click on the blog to see IF there has been a posting since the last time the blog was read.  Too much work for a  person like me that reads several blogs daily.  Research, don't you know.  I needed a one-step approach.

Then I discovered Google's Reader.  Talk about enlightment!  You simply put the url (whatever the heck that stands for) or in other words,  the www. address  of the blog you want to track,  into the blank space and it captures that blog for future reading.  When the blogger has posted, the blog name is highlighted.  At a glance you can see where the recent, current postings are, making the reading of those blogs just one, easy click away. Then they announced it will no longer exist as of this summer.

I began  doing  research  asking other blog readers and bloggers what system they intended to switch to once Reader was gone.  I got a few suggestions but mostly I got groans and "I have no idea" statements.

That is until fellow blogger Jan emailed to say she had already switched to The Old Reader.  (Sorry, I cannot seem to link to that without directing you to my personnal Old Reader page.  But the url is  Jan's comment was that is was the most like Google's Reader that she had found.  I checked it out.  True - almost identical to Google's Reader and from what I read, developed in response to the need  created by the impending void that Reader's closing will leave.

In big bold print on the left side of their page it says +subsription.  All you do is put the www. address of the blog you want to follow in that spot, click  '+'  and you are there.  Put the 'theoldreader' site in your tool bar for easing clicking and vioila!  -  easy reading.

Thanks, Jan.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Fun With My Kntting Machine.

Still on a mission to improve my knitting machine skills, I waste a lot of time  do a lot of research on ravelry and other web sites that focus on machine knitting.  It was on one of those sites that I recently came across a simple pattern for a machine knit Tee.  T Time.
A  bodice  knit sideways and a body knit in the normal direction give this Tee it's distinctive look.  Sideways knitting, my research suggests, is common in machine-knitted garments.  Is it easier??  Fancier??  Simpler??  I am not sure, but to me it seems as if that style crops up more often in machine knit patterns than  it does in hand knits.

I am happy with my T Time.  Just a few hours on the machine and I am wearing a new top.


Pattern:  T Time
Yarn: Cotton Tweed by Cabin Fever
Tension:  Stitch Dial -  4,  Upper Tension -7.
Modifications:  I shortened  the sleeves from the suggested 3/4 length to elbow length.   More appropriate for summer wear, I thought. And, I lengthened the lower portion so my overall Tee is 22 inches long.

What Did I Learn?  
Sideways knitting looks quite attractive - especially when offset by contrasting,  vertical knitting. 

The sideways knit with it's boat neck shaping required no edging.  The slight, under curl at the neck provides just the right amount of neck shaping to make the Tee comfortable to wear.  

The pattern of 5 needles working, one needle not working creates a 'rib' like look and also means no curling at the lower edges. 
The combination of  using a DKweight yarn (22 sts) instead of a KW weight (20sts) suggested by the pattern, coupled with  the seam that joins the  horizontal section to the vertical portion  makes for a bit of a tight band across the chest.  My yarn, a cotton/acrylic blend will stretch with wear  - and has already done so - but next time I would sew a much looser seam and knit with yarn that comes closer to pattern gauge.
T Time would make a lovely winter pullover.  Knit in wool, with the longer sleeves, it would be a perfect candidate for self striping yarns, like Noro, Marble or any sock yarn.  And - it is done before dinner.  My favourite thing.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

The May Long Weekend

Whatever you might call it - The May 2-4,   The May Long Weekend,  The First Long Weekend Of Summer,   The Victoria Day Weekend,  it is happening now.

Named after Queen Victoria, a lady who didn't have to do dishes, cook, clean or transport kids.  So do exactly none of those things yourself, this weekend.  Just enjoy the time and the weather.

Happy long weekend everyone - and thanks for reading.


Thursday, May 16, 2013

Thursdays Are For knit Group

Sandy B began the day by showing off two balls of sock yarn.
Sandy intends to use this brightly coloured yarn  for baby hats.

Wilma arrived  and wanted to know if Sandy had purchased the yarn at  Riverside Yarns.     Yes, Sandy had.  That is when Wilma pulled the identical yarn out of her bag along with one completed sock.
Knitters  minds think alike I guess.  Socks and hats for the younger set in bright colours.

Sandy B was also excited about a mitered square rug pattern she purchased from Knitting Daily.
Sandy loves   knitting  mitered squares.  Straight away she headed  to Michaels to buy some Cotton in  blues and whites to match  her kitchen.  Imagine knitting something to walk on!  Artistry knows no bounds.

Bonnie demonstrated why most of the Meaford knitters love top-down construction.  This little baby sweater is knit in six - 6!!! - different pieces and then sewn together.
 Bonnie said she now remembers hating the pattern years ago and wonders why she kept it. Too bad she didn't remember all that before she started the 2013 version.

Sharon and Nicki both worked on socks today.  Sharon measures the foot here to see if it is time to start the toes. 
Nicki is wearing her Mothed.   Knit last summer with Americo Cotton Flamme, it was the garment she  knit  to wear over her bathing suit while walking on the beach with her husband on a summer's evening, eating ice cream.  Must remember to ask her how that worked out for her. 

See that bag on the table in front of Sharon and Nicki?  Know what's in it?  More Rhubarb.  Thanks, Nicki.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The White Cinnie

My second Cinnie, the white Cinnie is progressing nicely.


 Cinnie begins with the centre-back, lace panel, seen here on the left.
Worked over only 35 stitches, it knits up quickly.  Once the centre-back panel is complete, stitches are picked up along the long sides of the panel and knit out to form, first,  the sides then the sleeves of the sweater. 

For my size, this portion needs to be 7 inches before I move to the next step.  Measuring this morning, I see that I am there.

The next step is to fold the garment over at the shoulders and  seam the lower, underarm sections together.  That leaves a sleeve opening which is worked in lace until desired length. 

Hopefully, I have enough yarn to make the sleeves on this version  slightly longer than last year's green Cinnie. 
Those sleeves, I made to suggested length.   They work nicely over a sleeveless top or one with very short sleeves.  But with  slightly longer sleeves, Cinnie should be even more versatile.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Fun Of Lots

Recently, I have had a few great days  of yarn shopping.
Yarn shopping, of course is best done in the company of other yarn addicts, so I have also had a great, couple of  days  spent with like-minded, yarn lovers.

On a rainy, cool, wet, dreary day last week, Wilma from knit group  and I headed over to Port Elgin, on the shores of Lake Huron, to a new yarn store.  An hours drive, but what knitter can resist the lure of  'new yarn store'.  Docknits is  owned by a local Doctor, who gave the store it's very apt name describing both ownership and location.   Clever I thought.  A lovely store.  It is spacious, clean, neat, tidy, and well organized with lots of all that is important in a yarn store -  yarn, patterns and great display garments.  Wilma spent some money here, but I resisted the offerings.  I had a plan.

On to Riverside Yarns in Owen Sound. We both spent money here.  I found the perfect yarn for my newly-queued Contrasts.  Sidar, Crofter DK.
An acrylic/cotton, smooth yarn that should pass through the machine with no problems. 

Colleen, Riverside's owner, gave us the latest breaking news.  She is re-locating her shop to the main street of Owen Sound - 2nd Ave W.  The move takes place on the July 1st weekend.  You heard it here first.

Monday, with clearer but cooler weather for the drive, I headed off to Listowel and the
Spinrite Factory Outlet.  My two knitting friends from St. Mary's and I try to get together  a couple of times a year and a 'tent' sale at Spinrite seemed the perfect excuse.

There I bought lots.
Fortunately, the sale meant I got lots of yarn but didn't spend lots of money. This entire pile you see here, cost me - put a wet cloth to your brow, knitters  -  just $12.  I have 5 balls of discountinued Mission Falls Cotton reduced to $1 per ball.  There wasn't much left and the remaining colours were probably never listed as most popular, but there were 5 balls of white.  I took them all.  I also picked up 2 bags of America's Country Cotton Cabled.  Proudly displaying the American flag on the label and stating 'Made in the USA' - a rare thing in the world of yarn these days.  Offered in bags of 6 for  $1.  I bought 2 bags.  Regret later told me I should have purchased them all.  The other yarns  -  the rust/white twist and the teal/rust/cream variegated are Sugar&Cream.  Commonly used for discloths, reduced in price to 27 cents per ounce.  I have 21 ounces.  Whatever you math skills, it is not lots of money.

All the Spinrite yarn was purchased with Twirly Skirt in mind.  I couldn't decide whether I liked the combo of MF white, with  the rust/white twist and the rust cabled cotton,

 or the combo of rust and cream cabled cotton with  the teal/rust variegated. 

 Reason kicked in and I bought it all.  Skirts for both  2013 and 2014 perhaps. 

In all, I spent less than $50 on yarn.  Yarn that will give me lots of fun, occupy lots of time, allow lots of creativity, offers lots of memories of two great days spent with knitting friends and - my most compelling argument -'Lots cheaper than a round of golf.'

Monday, May 13, 2013

"What Is That Building Back There?"

After all the _ itching  complaining I have done about our slow, rainy, cool entrance to spring this year, I find I am wrong.  Seems spring is right on target.

My test for whether or not we are having a slow start to spring, as I have mentioned in previous years,   always happens on May 11.  It was on that day 7 years ago that the realtor first showed us our current home.  Fred stood at the patio doors in the dining room and looked across the back yard. It was obvious that there was a building way back there beyond the shed but,  hidden in the leaves of the Birch trees, it was unrecognizable.   It was certainly not another house but the thought of a commercial building was dampening our enthusiasm for the house.

"What is that building back there?" Fred asked.

"The United Church", the realtor  said.  A much more agreeable neighbour.  We bought the  house.

Each year on May 11, I stand at the patio doors to see how the view of the Church compares to what we saw in 2006.  Turns out  my thoughts on the spring of  2013 were wrong.  It isn't as cool or slow  as I thought.  In fact it is just about on par with the spring of 2006.    What is that building back there?

Friday, May 10, 2013

Real Men . . . .

Over the years, there have been a few 'real men' sayings.  Real men wear pink.  Real men wear black.  Real men eat quiche.

But in my house, the one I like best is   -  real men wash windows.

It's the kind of thing that makes me realize - He could have his way with me.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Thursday Are For Knit Group

All our knitters are home from their travels.

Wilma is back from  Vancouver and a visit with her grand daughters.

 Somewhere along the trip she picked up a nasty cold so socks were all she wanted to tackle today.

Sharon is back from England with yarn purchases.  This yarn - an entire bag full  - came from this store. 
It is a tweedy green Wensleydale yarn.  Lovely, Sharon.  For some unknown reason the bus that was supposed to run out past the store was no where to be seen  the day Sharon and hubby had  yarn shopping  on their schedule.  So they walked.  6 miles.  And hubby carried all the yarn all the way back.  Good man.

Carol has a grand daughter working on a school project.  You know those things - the kids are assigned the work, then they call Grandma to get the props.  Carol's grand daughter's project is about pioneers.  Carol sewed a pioneer girl's skirt, blouse, long apron and bonnet. 

So very Laura Ingalls, Carol.  Well done, Grandma.

Little Ruth arrived wearing a lovely shade of spring yellow. 
Then she proceeded to knit a yellow dishcloth.  Do you always knit colour co-ordinated projects, Ruth?

Nicki arrived with her spinning -
Nice as that is, Nicki, this is what I liked better.  

The gift of a  bag of fresh-cut Rhubarb.  Nicki is my dealer.  Each year she supplies me with lots and lots of Rhubarb.  Thanks, Nicki.  We love that first taste of spring at our house.

Glad everyone is home and glad to be eating Rhubarb from Nicki's  2013 crop.  Couldn't be better.