Monday, March 31, 2014

Thinkin' Spring

It has been a very long and fierce winter here, as it has been  in many other locales.  During January and February - I loved it. A good old fashioned winter.  Lots of 'can't go anywhere' days that meant  quiet times for  knitting and reading.  Lucky for us we not only don't have to drive to work anymore but we can also  walk to most amenities  in our village.  So, contrary to many, I enjoyed the winter.  But tomorrow is April 1 and I think that is a bit too late to still be winter.  I am thinkin' spring. 

Apparently so are a few other knitters.  Look at the spring colours posted by some of my ravelry friends.

A cotton cowl in spring colours -
More spring socks -
A spring coloured tunic -

And then the magazine I treated myself to on the weekend talks about Spring on the cover and features these spring-like  patterns.

But the most telling sign of them all, the sign that really has me thinkin' spring  - Curlerchick is wearing flip flops. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Nan had a great idea.

She suggested a Stash Swap
 and today was the day.   
'Bring what you don't want, take home what you do,'  she said. 
 What a great idea.  

She didn't have to tell us twice. 

We showed up with bags and bags of stuff.  We searched for those special items

and some of us   I  brought stuff home.  But less than I took so I feel good about that.

Now isn't that a fun way to spend a Thursday?

My 198 Yards Of Heaven

With thanks to the Lady With Balls whose struggles with this shawl challenged me to try it for myself, I give you my finished 198 Yards Of Heaven.
 It's airy lightness,  pointy points
 and near perfect knitting give me giddy giggles  of self satisfaction.

I say near perfect, because there is one mistake already noted.  Seen clearly here, with 198 Yards laid flat on my bed, is that extra  (not to mention extra large) hole at the top of an also not-so-perfect section of yarn over 'Vees'.   Lace though is nothing more than holey knitting  and here's hoping that once bunched up around my neck, a few wonky yarn overs  will disappear in the mix.  WOuld you - or I - correct this mistake?  If I had noticed it early on, maybe.  But having noticed it only once the shawl was complete and blocked, my answer is 'No'.

Pattern:  198 Yards Of Heaven.  I found the pattern instructions confusing.  While the pattern in terms of knit stitches was not difficult, the wording of the instructions  was.  My pattern was labelled 'version 3' and therefore was probably different from other versions but I definitely found it could have been clearer.  To that end and for my 'LWB', I wrote  a page of 'tips' and suggestions for (IMO) a better understanding.  If anyone is interested,  email  me and I'll send a copy.

Yarn:  Cabin Fever Sterling  Although the pattern calls for Worsted Weight, I used this much lighter, stash, fingering weight yarn.  Due to the  finer yarn, I had to knit 4 full repeats of the lace pattern rather than the two and a half suggested in the pattern to get a scarf of sufficient size. 

Needles:  4mm.  Smaller than called for but a size that gave me a nice fabric with my finer yarn.

Mods:  Yarn weight. needle size and number of pattern repeats as described above.

What I Learned:  At times,  no amount of pattern reading/studying  will help with understanding.  Sometimes you gotta' knit it to get it.
When you end the pattern repeat on a row different that the one the designer suggests, chances are the border won't line up properly. At least that is what happened to me.  I had to study each row of border  instructions  until I came to one that  would line up properly.     The lining up was important because  - as you see here -
 the series of 'V'-shaped yarn overs in the pattern morph directly into  the yarn overs that form the points of the border.  Things would have looked severely out of whack if they had not lined up.

Would I knit It Again?  Yes.  With Worsted Weight yarn, it would be a quick  knit.  Great for a gift that impresses.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

One Thing Leads To Another

I have passed through  that gate that  calls people my age  'seniors'.   My years are golden. I've been married for a long time and have cooked in many a kitchen.  But never have I ever had a back splash.

Behind my sink(s) and counter(s)  I have painted,  wall papered and faux tiled.  Never though,  have I ever had a back splash.  But enough is enough and I wanted one.  Fortunately for me, Fred gives me little argument on those 'I wants'...  He has learned, I think, all those axioms that keep marriages happy.  "Happy wife, happy life.  Or,   'If Mama's not happy,  nobody's happy'.  Or as our minister once said "Gentlemen, you can be right or you can be married, but you cannot be both".  Whatever the reason, if I present my point of view with calm sanity, Fred usually sees things my way. 

So  a new back splash it was to be.  But then I got thinking.  Our counter top was 8 years old.  It was the  type with a lip that climbed the wall for a few inches.  If we put in a new backspash and in a few years time wanted to upgrade to a newer-style counter top minus the back lip, then the back splash would have to be replaced.  Wouldn't that be silly?  So -  a new back splash and new counter top it was to be. 

But then I got thinking.  Our appliances were about ten years old.  If we were to put in a new  counter top and then our appliances died, what would happen if the new appliances didn't fit in the existing openings?  We would have to put in another new counter top.  Wouldn't that be silly?  So  - a new back splash, new counter top and new appliances it was to be. 

But once in, the old - and I thought very spicy -  red walls didn't look so good.  A decorator was called and  a change of colour was prescribed.    Fred and I have always done our own painting.  Even enjoyed doing our own painting.  But it has been 8 years since we have painted and we wondered if being 'golden' meant maybe we were too old to do it ourselves.  To prone to some disaster.  A painter was called and he assured us we could do it ourselves. That  assurance came in the form of  his quote. 

Yesterday we tackled the painting.  The last thing to be done to 'tart' up our kitchen.  Todays paints go on easily, dry quickly.  Even over hot & spicy red, with a tinted primer, we only needed one coat.  Today we are done.  This is Fred with his victory sign.

Here I give you the before to after.

 Measuring for the new counter top with a laser.  See the nice, spicy red?

 Installation of the new, quartz counter top.

 Counter top installed and waiting for glue to dry.  Still the red walls.

 Couldn't keep the old sink and faucet.  Wouldn't that be silly?

 Finished.  Fred looks for places that need a paint touch up.

One thing led to another.  New appliances.  New sink.  New faucet.  New counter tops.  And my very first back splash. Mama's happy.

Monday, March 24, 2014

I'm Stuck

198 Yards Of Heaven might just turn out to be my 198 Hours of  *&^#. 
I finished it once.  As I  finished, I threaded a life line through the last row of the pattern before starting the border.  Just in case.

Good thing I did, because once finished, cast off and tried on, the scarf was way too petite.  So much so that it wouldn't reach around my neck.  My fault.  My yarn is a fingering weight versus the worsted called for by the pattern.

Rip.  The pattern had suggested finishing at row 12, and that was were I had threaded my  lifeline. After ripping back to that point,  I knit to row 22 a third time, and then again a fourth time.  Another life line,  another try on and I am convinced that the shawlette is big enough.  SO.  I am  ready now,  for the second time, to begin the border.

But.   Houston, I have a problem.  The shawl has a series of columns of two purl stitches.
Conversely, the border has a series of columns of two knit stitches.  The two knits are meant to sit atop the two purls.    Turns out they  only sit there if you finish the scarf pattern on row 12 as prescribed before starting row one of the border.  I am sure I can figure this out, but it will mean a virtual knitting of several border rows to find the one where the columns of knit stitches  sit in the  right spot on my shawl which has a  complete pattern repeat of 22 rows. 

Having stopped  the shawl on a different  pattern row,  it stands to reason  I must start the border on a different  row.  But which row?  That is the question.  Right now, I'm stuck.  Until I find that row ---

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group.

A week away from knit group for March Break and Grand Kids and WOW!  What a  lot of knitting was done.

Wilma has almost completed the body of her original Olympic project.
Until a shoulder injury sidelined her, she intended to knit The Sarah from Button Up Your Top Down. as her Olympic project.    Instead, she nursed her shoulder while knitting a much smaller sweater. With the shoulder now healed, she  is back to The Sarah and  her normal productivity levels.

Sharon had Easter - and I'm sure better weather on her mind  - when she knit these   two, cute, little Easter bunnies.

Lorrie is back from her winter  away.   Keeping in  touch with us via our ravelry group and this blog, she decided to participate in our Olympic challenge from Arizona and Florida.  The challenge was a top-down sweater.
Cute as can be Lorrie, meaning another medal winner in our group.

With yarn left over, she decided to knit a second sweater, incorporating lace - another first for her.  Well done!

Deanna is having fun today.  Playing with yarn.  Well, really.  Who wouldn't have fun doing that?

Sandy B finished  THE  cutest baby hat today.  Mitered squares - Sandy's favourite knitting - in a baby hat. Beyond cute, Sandy.

Grand  kids are wonderful - wonderful enough to make me miss  knit group.  But a Thursday without grand kids means I'm at knit group.  Who would want to miss all this activity?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


My intentions for blogging,  having had almost the entire time of March Break away from the blog, were to post daily this week.  But a mid-March virus sent my laptop to the computer doctor.  My current laptop is about 3 years old.  Twice since last summer, it  has been to the doctor's.  I thought the low on-line price was a bargain but I am now close to the purchase price in repairs.  Next sickness - new computer.

With no 'surfing' time available to me, I have had time for this -  198 Yards Of Heaven.

 This little shawl was not on my radar but it challenged me.   First though, it challenged one of my Ladies With Balls.  She had decided to do the shawl for her Olympic project.  She did her homework, read ravelry reviews - mostly all of which said 'Easy Pattern' and thought she could manage this  -her first lace project as he Olympic challenge.  But the pattern defeated her.  She would bring it to our knitting classes and ask me about it.  I too was confused.  She struggle, I struggled. Eventually she switched  sports projects mid-Olympics.

I finished my Olympic sweater, then knit the promised Lucy Hat, finished my navy socks and finally have taken up the challenge of 198 Yards Of Not-So- Heavenly Heaven.

I have managed to figure out the pattern and other than having to knit more rows than prescribed due to my finer yarn, I am happy with the results.  Was the pattern easy to decipher? No.  Was the pattern  clear to me? No. Could the pattern have been written in an easier-to-decipher way?  IMO - for sure.  Once more, my knitting brain seems out of sync with 99% of the ravellers who knit this shawl.

As I like to do when I am faced with a pattern I think should be more clear, I've done it my way!  I re-wrote it for my own - and that of my lace-knitting friend - use.  The test of my re-write will be of course if my lady can figure out my version. 

In finishing this post, it seems that either my virus is not completely cured or blogger is not working 100% because I can neither spell check nor post pictures.  My apologies. ETA These are now working.  I hae added the photo. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

New Socks.

March Break is over.  The grand kids have gone home, leaving an extremely tired Grandma.  It is nice to see them come - and every grand parent knows how to finish that sentence.

I was lucky enough, despite the mega activity around here, to find some quiet/knitting time to finish item number four  for 2014 - a pair of much-needed socks. 
Freckles everywhere!
After finishing the book Need A Sock?   I took a hiatus from sock knitting  with the result that all of a sudden, many of my socks are coming to the end of their life expectancy.  I don't own any commercially made socks.  Nor do I want to.  So, the threat of being sockless was real and it  pointed me  to my sock yarn stash. 

Pattern:  Basic Sock  from Need A Sock?
Needles:  2.25mm
Stitches Cast On:  I wear a 7.5 - 8 ladies shoe and cast on 64 stitches. If I were using a larger needle - say a 2.75mm - I would have cast on only 60 stitiches.  The 2.25mm needle gives a nice, tightly-knit, long-wearing sock but I need a few more stitiches with the smaller needle.
Yarn:  Kroy Navy Blue, supplemented by Lady Galt Kroy when my stash ran out.  Thanks, Sandra, plus a bit of brand-name-long-forgotten variegated left over from my Linen Stitch Scarf.
Cuff:  2 X 2 Ribbing
Heel:  Round Heel.
Toe:    Round Toe.

I love Kroy sock yarn.    Some knitters rave over Mm-mm-mm soft, sock yarn, but considering the hours I put into the knititng,  give me tough and long-wearing any day.  This pair is warm and cozy and make a great addition to my sock drawer.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Break

Mid March in Ontario gives the school kids a week's vacation.  March break, it is called.  At my house it usually means there are  grand kids hanging out.

Our grand kids have been skiing since they were quite young.  But snow boarding was something they  hadn't yet done.  It has been on their bucket list for some time now, and today was the day.

Here they are ready for their lesson. 
Snow board teachers are really cute young dudes I'd say

While they took their lesson, I had my coffee  and knit. 

It might not surprise you to know that I was the only person in the ski lodge with a cute little pink sock sack.


Friday, March 7, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Sorry about a Friday post regarding Thursday's knitting but a girl's gotta have fun.  Right after knit group yesterday we knitters took off for Owen Sound, some great Chinese food and Riversides Yarn's previously-postponed-due-to-weather, post-Olympic party.  All of which meant by the time I got home and relayed the day's events to Fred it was too late to post.  Too late for me to post, that is.

So day-old, but-just-as-jaw-dropping, knitting news is what I present today.

Deanna is wearing her lovely, lovely scarf.  Knit with Sweaterkits Mulberry Silk, it is the perfect colour to brighten an end-of-winter day.  As well as your eyes, Deanna.  Gorgeous.

Gail has a scarf on the go.  A Diagonal Scarf,  she is knitting with a ball of Patons Lace  she scored on one of Sandy B's sister Sue's (bag lady Sue)  great give-aways. 
 Another bright colour to offset winter, but the perfect part of this knit is the way the colours are transitioning almost precisely on the directional change.

Wilma and Sharon, our two injured/sick Olympic knitters are back to full knitting steam.  Sharon working on a pair of cabled socks - a first for her -  and Wilma working on her intended Olympic project, The Sarah from Button Up Your Top Down. More knitting in Wilma's favourite colour!

Now what is Miss Jean doing?  

Seems to be socks.  Seems to be circs.  What!!! Seems to be two socks at once. Toe up, 2 socks on 2 circs.  Imagine!  A great psychological advantage over the one-at-a-time sock knitting which leads to second sock syndrome, claims Jean.

Doreen is working on a pair of the war-time socks for the gallery display in Owen Sound. 

With one finished  - according to pattern she wants you to know - she thought it the most bizarre shaped sock.  I suggested she give it to the enemy!

Michelle, new to knit group and new to knitting shows off her dishcloth.  Well - it was intended to be a dishcloth but - things went awry.  Or went down designer lane, because she ended up with a hat.  A darn nice hat, I might add.

She is now working on project number 2 and when asked what she was knitting replied  "I have no idea."  I predict big things from Michelle.

Another fun day with lots of laughs.  It has been said that we sure do liven up the library.  

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Much Better

Here is my original Graylina.  My 2014 Olympics project finished in time for the  medal ceremonies but - too short.  At least, too short for my liking.


Here is the newly lengthened version, blocked and buttons sewn on.  
Isn't this much better?  Seen here with the skirt that inspired the knit.  Black boiled wool with purple inserts and trim.  

Version two is much better.  I feel comfortable in it and it is an easy wear. No tugging or pulling. Always my test.  I am a happy knitter now.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Re-Do

Graylina was finished in time for the Olympics medal ceremony.  But.  It was so short.  Most that saw it said  "Just leave it. It will be your short sweater."

But it felt so uncomfortable that I was uncomfortable.  Then a happy coincedence happened.  Weather was so bad last Thursday that Riverside Yarn's post Olympic show & tell party was postponed until this week. 

Hmmm.  7 days to change the length of Graylina.  Who am I to resist that challenge?

Knowing that knitting can only be ripped back in the opposite direction from which it was knit, I knew that   Graylina would have to be ripped back from top down.  Did I want to re-knit a great portion of the sweater to lengthen the body by a mere two inches?  No, of course not.  The alternative and the method I chose,  was to cut the sweater just above the bottom ribbing,  pick up the stitches and knit down  for another couple of inches of lace pattern before ribbing and casting off.

First though I had to remove the button bands.  They were last to be knit, so first to be ripped.  Once the bands were off, I snipped the sweater just above the ribbing, unravelled the ribbing, picked up the stitches and began to knit down.  Easier written than done of course because there were seams to contend with and wool that had done what we praise it for - stuck to its neighbour.  But after a bit of work I managed to be in a position to start to knit.

Knitting the lace pattern downwards when it was written to be knit upwards required some brain work.  Not only did I have to work the pattern upside down, but also it   didn't take long to realize I also had to work it backwards.  That is, I not only had to  start at row #11 and work back to row #1 but also had to start  at the end of the line of instructions and work backwards to the beginning.  It did take concentration but seems to have worked out. 

The only thing I think I should have done differently was to work the  left-slanting decreases as right slanting and vice versa.  The decreases are there in the new portion but do look a bit different than their upstairs neighbours.  I am hoping that since these new decreases run across both my butt and front parts that no knitter or observer will peer too closely.  Take that as being forewarned.

Just a couple more rows to do  on the buttonhole band, then sewing in the new ends and I have a sweater I will wear with comfort.