Friday, February 28, 2014

Lucy In The Mail

Just off the needles and soon off in the mail, my second Lucy Hat.  Not normally a knitter who knits for others - you all know my self-centered tendencies when it comes to knitting -  this Lucy is the exception.  It was a special request from Liisa whose friends call her Lucy.  Hence the request.

Pattern:  The Lucy Hat by Carina Spencer
Yarn:  The Green is Carioca part of the Luxury collection.  55% Alpaca, 20% Wool and  25% Acrylic. The vareigated is Twilleys Freedom Spirit.  100% wool.
Modifications:  None
Mistakes I made:  None - Yes it really was me that knit it.
What I learned:  It really doesn't hurt to knit for others once in a while.

Enjoy your hat, Miss Lucy.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

The Medals Ceremony

Despite  another Polar Vortex accompanied by blowing snow which meant    another   'most roads closed, many events cancelled'  day  in our area,  our knitting  Olympians received their medals today. 

Sharon's  doctor clearly doesn't understand  knitting.  She  insisted Sharon  have surgery!  Talk about interfering  big time with her Olympic knitting  plans.  Sharon soldiered on though and  managed a child's  pair of socks while recuperating. 

Bonnie and I were obviously   in a purple frame of mind for these Olympics.  Her  purple, patterned  socks  match my purple sweater well enough to be mine, don't you  think? 

Gail, despite  visiting grand kids impeding her progress, managed to finish her adult sized sweater during the Olympics.  It looks great, Gail.    Best fitting sweater she has ever knit, she claimed.  

Wilma, another of our knitters felled by health issues during the Olympics  still managed to finish a child's sweater with fair isle patterning.  Great troopers our knitters.

Rounding out the Olympic knitting even though you can't see their projects are  Ingrid's  house shoes  (left at home)  and Angela's hat   (too shy to wear it). 

Nicki, who managed to avoid having her picture taken did indeed finish that cute little sock yarn baby sweater.

Great fun and great knitting ladies.

If the Olympics are about inspiration,  take a look at  these two  knits.   Ingrid has an  almost- finished coat. 
Speechless, I was.

As I was again when I saw this. 


Sandy's sister - we call her Bag Lady Sue - knit this for her.  Have I ever mentioned that my sisters don't knit? 

In case you thought I exaggerated today's weather, take a look at Sharon #2 getting ready to walk home.


The winter Olympics might be over for another 4 years,  but obviously our winter isn't yet finished.  And of course, the knitting continues.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

What Next?

With  the Olympics done and over, does  focus and determination  wane?   If it is me being asked, the answer is yes. Since finishing Graylina on Saturday I have been poking along on a pair of socks.


We had lots of car time on the weekend and sock knitting is great for that.

You will see a big colour difference on sock #2. 
These socks were meant to use up stash yarn and use it up they did.  One and a half socks took all I had of my navy blue.  When I mentioned the yarn shortage on the blog several weeks back, Sandra came to my rescue.  She happened to have two full balls of navy blue  Lady Galt Kroy.  Vintage yarn for sure.  Not quite the same colour but close enough.  This pair  will be, as Ingrid says, 'house socks'.

But tonight, having recovered somewhat from the Olympic marathon, I will start on a post-Olympic commitment.  A hat, that I promised to knit as long as the recipient could wait until after the Olympics.  Back in the bag for the socks - until the next road trip.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Gold, Or, Kulta, Guld

Gold no matter how you say it.  French, Swedish, Finnish or any other language, I got GOLD!!
Graylina was finished during the USA  vs Finland Hockey Game with photos taken in front of the TV at our friends' house,  for absolute proof.

I am privileged to be part of two medal ceremonies.  They take place this coming Wednesday and Thursday.  More pictures then.  In the meantime, I give you the details.

Pattern:  Graylina by Gralina Frie.  A free pattern on ravelry.
Needles:  4.5mm for the trim and 6mm for the body
Yarn:  Cascade Eco + in Eggplant purple
Modifications:  - Do mistakes count?  If not, then none.
Mistakes Made:  I misread the pattern.  Twice.  Once in reading the lace pattern and once in reading the sweater length.  The lace pattern is easily memorized and easily worked to quite dramatic

Row one, a right-side, knit row is a repeat of P5, K2.  All purl rows are those rows well-loved-by-lace knitters: 'Knit what you see' rows.  In Graylinan's case, K5, P2.  That, then, describes rows 1&2. 

Th lace pattern  has 11 rows total and I - in my skim reading - thought the pattern repeat was from Row 1.  It is not.  It is from Row 3.  I had done about 6 inches before I realized this error and decided I really liked the sweater  the way I was knitting it.  Wouldn't any knitter?

The other mistake I made concerns the  body length.   I thought the pattern said the body length was  24 inches.  Although I like my sweaters to be 23 inches, 24,  I thought,  would be fine.  However, I was mistaken.  The 24 inches referred to sleeve length.  The body length I did eventually find  in the  page-one, pattern preamble.    That however didn't happen until the sweater was almost finished.  It wasn't so much denial on my part at that point in the Olympics as mush as  'too late now.' 

So my  sweater, at a stretch, is  a mere 21 inches.  Definitely too short.  Can I fix it?  Yes.  But it will require ripping back the button bands
cutting off the bottom ribbing, picking up those live stitches, and knitting down rather than up, which means interpreting the  pattern upside down.  I can do all that - but just now, my enthusiasm for such a task fails me.

Lastly, Blogger and I are still not getting along in the  adding  or editing gadgets department.  Gadgets are Blogger speak for those side bar info lists you see on the blog.  For 2014, then - or at least until I can get the issue corrected - there will not be a side bar called FOs2014. Instead, to get around the problem, I will label all posts for finished projects - such as this post - as FOs 2014.  Click on that label when you want to re-visit my FOs.  

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group.

Thursdays are for knit group but not for blog posting from a cell phone in the car.  My eyes and fingers are too old, too clumsy for that.  I left the knitters early on Thursday as we were off for a long weekend of visiting family and folks in our old haunt in Southern Ontario.   I do have pictures  - late but great - though of their Olympic progress.

I get Ingrid's house shoes now.  Felted and finished for a gold medal.  Very uniquely Ingrid, don't you think?

These are our two injured knitters. 
Nan, so much so, that she had to remove herself from the Olympic challenge.   Wilma participated but with a change of projects.    She  incurred a neck 'crink' just before the beginning of the Olympics which severely restricted her daily knitting time.  Instead of knitting  a sweater for herself as she had planned, she modified her goals and knit instead, a child's sweater.

 Maybe a different category but a great knit nonetheless, Wilma. 

Bonnie has almost finished her purple socks with a stitch pattern. 
She will be done for sure by the closing ceremonies, she predicts.

Gail, who had blood pressure problems trying to finish a child's sweater for  the 2010 Olympics, has taken on an adult sweater for Sochi. 

Seen here with her notes, and pattern, she plans on being    finished in time for the closing ceremonies.  I think you will make it, Gail.

Nicki has the baby sweater from sock yarn almost complete.  Very cute, Nicki.

And a PS.  You see a couple of people in the bakground of these photos who you haven't seen in a while.   Doreen has not been out for a few weeks as sadly, her husband passed away. 

You also see Sandy B who has been in Toronto since mid-December.  Her husband had back surgery and after the hospital stay  spent many weeks in a rehab facillity.  Sandy says she knew she wouldn't go to Florida this winter but she never thought she wouldn't even get to Meaford.

Next week, there will be medals.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Heading For the Podium

Faster, stronger, higher and I am almost there.  I know it is a  sure thing.  I can feel the gold in my hands. 

Graylina has all her pieces finished, the shoulders sewn together with a three-needle bind off and the neck trim complete.
All that remains is to do is to sew in  the sleeves - both of which are now finished, knit the button bands, sew on buttons and sew in ends.  All do-able in the car or while visiting.  I just have to pop into my LYS and buy the buttons  before we head out after knit group. 

All do-able.  I feel as good as Jennifer  Jones and her team must feel this minute.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Gold In Sight Once Again

Ahead of the game by a full 24 hours, I can once again imagine achieving the Gold Medal.  Yesterday, I had developed a mini schedule   that set aside Monday and Tuesday to knit the right front of Graylina.  But  Hurray!!  I finished that piece last night.  This morning it is on the blocking board beside its  partner.

Next step  and best step, I feel,  is to now do  a three-needle bind off at the shoulders and pin my one finished sleeve in place.  The sleeve seems awfully long to me and I don't want to knit a second one the same size if it is too long.  That finished sleeve remains unblocked  for just that  reason. 

With a shoulder seam  though, I can pin it in place to check for accurate length.  With a template for sleeve two, I can proceed from there. That is today's plan.

PS - For some reason, despite having ticked the box that tells Blogger to send all comments through to my email (which makes it easy for me to respond) Blogger is sending  only some comments.   I had no idea until I was playing with Blogger on the weekend and noticed comments from Sigrun, Teresa and others.  You didn't receive any response from me, because I didn't  know you had commented.   I will try to get that problem fixed.  And thanks for reading and commenting.

Monday, February 17, 2014

The Second Half

Yesterday, one of the Olympic announcers reported that in the second half, they expect Canada to get some medals.  I bet he was thinking of me.  Stay focused and keep knitting, Brenda.

At this point, I have the back, one sleeve, and the left front complete.  The left front was a quick knit - Friday evening and Saturday.  But then I ran into a Sunday hitch.  Too many social commitments meant practically no knitting at all.  It was evening before  I cast on for the right front.  I am up to round 4 of the lace.  It is at round 6 that armhole shaping begins.

Thinking forward to the end of the week, I have concerns about my medal-ing prospects.  Thursday afternoon, we leave home  to do a round of friends & family visiting.   It will be Sunday afternoon before we get back. What part of this Olympic project can I knit in the car and while visiting?  Perhaps not  Graylina's lace -  but sewing up and button bands  I should be able to manage.  That means things have to be blocked before we head out.  With that insight, blocking started  last night.

This morning, I laid out these pieces as they will be worn.  They look great.

Remaining still to be knit  - and blocked - before Thursday, are the second sleeve and the right front.    YIKES!!!  Can I do that?  Monday  and Tuesday for the right front.  Wednesday and Thursday for the sleeve.   That is the game plan.

 I vacillate between wanting to escape this pressure and thinking that I  should always have such deadlines    in my life.  Oh what I could accomplish!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Podium Potential

Here we are on Day 8 of the Sochi Olympics.    Day 8 is half way to the closing ceremonies.  Is Graylina half way to being finished?  I am not sure. 

Naively thinking, there are 4 parts: front, back and two sleeves.  I have one sleeve and the back finished.

  Plus a bit of the left front.
 So technically, perhaps I could fool myself into thinking that I am half way there.  But then of course, there is the sewing up - Graylina is a sweater made in pieces.  Add to the sewing  the button bands and the buttons - not even purchased yet.  Yikes !!!!

What am I doing blogging?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Back To Montreal

I have been waiting for a photo to arrive in my inbox  to tell you about an exciting thing that haappened to us in Montreal.

It was in the curling rink in Montreal  that I got my picture taken with two famous people. 

Both lovers of curling.  Both famous for what they do.  One has security guards, the other is simply secure.  One has a driver, the other  drives and has a husband who drives.  One has an accompanying  photographer. The  other?  Well, I think she owns a camera.  One had her picture taken once or twice.    The other had his picture taken  many, many times.  

But  which one knits? 

  In the company of famous people.  Cool!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Meaford Olympics

There may be Olympic athletes in Sochi, but they have nothing on the  knitters and Olympic knitting in Meaford.

Bonnie's Olympic challenge is a pair of socks with a fancy stitch pattern.  Although she is a great sock knitter, Bonnie has only ever knit  plain, stockinet socks.  This pair, with their patterned leg, is her challenge. Go Bonnie.

Also in the the foot-wear competition  is Ingrid.  As always, Ingrid knits without pattern.    These are slippers  - or house shoes - she says. 

I couldn't quite 'get' it so I took a close up.  Still not certain I get it, yet  I'm sure before the closing ceremonies, these will be house shoes.

Gail, during the 2010  Olympics, had blood pressure problems exacerbated in part from the stress of knitting a baby sweater.  Yet, this Olympics she has  taken on the challenge of knitting an adult sweater.  A sweater for herself, this is a top-down cardi from Button Up Your Top Down.  Looks like all that training has paid off, Gail.

Nicki has long wanted to sort out the complexities of  a particular top-down, baby sweater, knit in sock yarn.  She has taken it on as her Olympic Challenge.  So very cute, Nicki.
Nicki returned the photo-taking favour today and  snapped this shot of me in Sweatrrr.  It's a very comfy wear.

On track for gold, those Olympic projects are keeping everyone focused.  A great way to spend the TV time available to Olympic spectators like us.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Scottish Sweatrrr - Meet Scottish Skirrrt

Look what I am wearing today.  A debut of both the skirrt and the sweattrrr.  Skirrrt has been patiently hanging in my closet waiting for sweatrrr to come off the needles.  Today's the day.

There are no buttons yet.  Despite having button holes, I might decide to go button less - it won't be the first time.  I don't expect anyone but me would notice.  Scottish Sweatrrr has a perfect ending:  Vision matches execution perfectly.  Brenda is a happy knitter.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Montreal - The Scotties - And My Olympic Knitting.

Home again from a few days in Montreal.  What a great city.  It had been way too many years since Fred and I had been there and I have to ask myself  "Why did we wait so long?"

The raison d'etre for the visit was the Scotties  - the Canadian Women's Curling Championships.   Add to that the fact that my neice  - she of the red hat -
has just re-located to Montreal with her job and wisely outfitted her living room with a queen size pull-out chesterfield.  That meant free accomodations  -    silly not to go.
We did the really typical touritsty things.  Lunch  at Swartzes Montreal Smoked Meat Deli,

with their as-famous-as-the-sandwiches, dill pickels.  "Small today - you get two," our waiter said.

Beyond the food, there was the  Scotties.  That cute little girl on the close  right is Deb Gemmell's daughter, playing for Ontario.

Speaking of Deb Gemmell, Fred finally figured out my phone and took our picture.

As at  every Scotties, there is the elderly - I would guess in his eighties -  fan who runs around the arena waving the flag when his team makes a great shot.  Moving so fast, he blurred my photo as you can see.

During one of our great Montreal restaurant meals, we watched the opening ceremonies for the Olympics on the large screen TV. That meant time to start my Olympic knitting.  Not a knit I could manage while watching the curling, I nonetheless completed a good stretch of the first sleeve.  

Time now  to sit and watch some more of the games and knit. 13 days to go.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


Remember when I said that I hoped to finish Scottish Sweatrrr as well as these curling mittens before the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics?  And remember when I said it was totally do-able because at that time I still had 3 weeks?  Now, what do you expect I am about to tell you today?

The mittens will not get finished by Friday. This is curling mitten number one.

 No problem you might say.  Two mittens by Friday still a do-able thing.

No problem  - except  -  Fred and I have decided to head to Montreal to watch the Scotties.  That is the Canadian Women's Curling Championships for those of you that don't speak curling.  We leave today.  Knitting on vacation is something I always do but  this time, I am only taking one project.  My Olympic Knitting.   I have the yarn, the pattern and the needles all packed.  I have a day and a bit to do my gauge swatch and make sure I understand the lace pattern.  By Friday, I need to be ready to cast on.

While it would be a perfect combo to knit curling mittens while watching curling championships, a knitter has to prioritize.  Sochi, here I come.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Presenting --- Miss Scottish Sweatrrr

Today I present to you - still just a bit damp, from the blocking - Miss Scottish Sweatrrr.  So named because it is meant to match and be worn with a pleated Scottish wool skirt I scored at the Church garage sale and because its original incarnation was as this pattern -   Sweatrrr.  And  when you think about it, the Scots roll their RRRs.  So, a perfect name.   When Sweatrrr, after three atemps, still  didn't match my vision, I turned to my tried and true.  Elizabeth Zimmermann and in this case her Fair Isle Yoke Sweater.   Rather than second choice, in the end, I am more pleased with the fair isle yoke cardigan because its  style  seems more in tune with  the vintage-ness of a pleated wool skirt.

Pattern:  Eliazbeth Zimmermann, Fair Isle Yoke Sweater
Yarn:  Body knit with 3 strands held together.  2 strands of Centolavaggi Chine Lace Weight wool in a brown tweed along with one strand of Pollyanna  Hand Dyed, Polyester, Flax and Silk  All from stash.
The yoke consists of a couple of stash yarns - the brown and the caramel. The white and orange are both Cascade Superwash 22 Sport weight.

Needles:  4 mm for the body and lower bands of both body and sleeves.  3.5mm for the button bands and neck trim.

Modifications:  Yes  some.  
I added waist shaping by 3 sets of decreases above the hip area, straight knitting through the waist then 3 sets of increases above the waist.  All done at the side 'seam' line.
I made the front half of the sweater a  Half Plus.  Deb Gemmell taught me that in her
Need A Plus Size Cardigan book.  In that book she reminds knitters that  most women have bigger fronts than backs and suggests that we make our sweaters like that.  More anatomically correct -like Ken and Barbie.  I accomplished that goal  by adding bust darts from the underarm out towards the bust to increase each front side by one inch.  Two inches total for the entire front 'half'. 
I also made this pullover into a cardigan by adding 5 steek stitches up the centre front and cutting it open.  I did a crochet steek which Meg Swansen taught  me in a previous knit and which I have come to prefer because there are far fewer little threads to tidy up.

Did I Learn Anything?  After three attempts to make Sweatrrr work out for me, I learned that new is not always best.    Back to basics for me.
I learned how to take Deb Gemmell's instructions for a top-down bust dart and reverse the info to get a bottom up bust dart.   Could I ever to it twice?  Probably not.

Did I Make Any Mistakes?  Yep. I was intrigued by the neck trim on Alpine Tweed, Jared Flood's design from Ann Budd's Top Down book.  Completed with short rows to raise the back neck as is not uncommon, but leaving the front neck only  a few rows deep which is not common.  It gives  a  slanting form to the front trim.  I liked it.  Opposite to most finishings which start with the neck trim followed by the vertical bands, this design, I thought, would work better if the vertical bands were complete before the neck band was started.   But  - I forgot that placing the top buttonhole a half inch from the top of the vertical band - as is common - would actually make that top button about three fourths - ish -  of an inch from the top once the few rows of neck trim were added.  Is is bad enough to rip back?  Nah!
And the other mistake I made concerned the yoke decreases.  I read EZ's  3 step decrease  instructions then read Meg Swansens's  revised,  4 step instructions.  decided I liked Meg's better, then proceeded to decrease at Meg's 4 step rate but only at 3 locations -  as per Elizabeth's original pattern.  What happened?  Well - I reached the top of the neck, put the stitches on  a  piece of yarn to try on the sweater and said "What the heck?"  The neck was VERY wide.  Was it worth ripping back?  It might have been.  But a fix was worth a try.   One more row with a bunch of decreases and it looks fine.  Whew!

 All in all a great knit.  Nothing beats Elizabeth for trustworthiness in my books.  I hope the sweater lasts me as long as the skirt has done its previous owner.  If so, I'll be wearing it for years to come.