Thursday, November 27, 2014

Not Your Normal Thursday

My apologies for not sharing Knit Group stories with you today.   Mind you,  I was MIA last week too so this makes two weeks in a row.  I sense withdrawal symptoms amongst my readers.   Last week  it was the weather/flu combo that  kept me away.  This week, my absence  is for more exciting reasons.   I am off to Montreal for a weekend.

Sis, I and Baby Sis are going to hop on a train and head to Montreal to visit Baby Sis's daughter, my niece.   Last January, she took a job transfer to Montreal and is now a proud and happy  Montrealer with a horrific accent to her French. 

Month's end is Sunday.  I will still be in Montreal.  I know you are wondering if my goal of having Hippie Blue finished has been  accomplished.  Bets anyone? 

The answer is almost.  Although  tradition  has it that close only counts in horseshoes and  hand grenades, I am  happy with my progress.  The trip  to sleeve island was done on a speed boat this time.  I knit sleeve number one on a circular needle, simply pulling out the excess cable as the sleeve narrowed.  Much faster than knitting it with double points.  Sleeve number one is done
 and number two has been started.
This sweater looks lovely.  I am very happy with it.  With bust darts, waist shaping and hip room, it has a beautiful shape.  Let's hope it is the correct fit.  I see this niece on December 13 for our family Christmas get together and the sweater will be presented then.  Fingers crossed.  Unless knitting of course.  

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Storm Productivity

It has been a long time since I have had  as high a knitting productivity level as I had last week.  It seems that stormy weather can greatly heighten my  knitting output.  In addition to the two and a half hats I mentioned in yesterday 's post, I also knit two scarves.
Washed out colour due to no flash.
Machine knit them,  mind you.  But machine knitting, for me at least, happens so infrequently that I begin from the beginning each time I use the machine.  Remind me again how  I cast on/ short row/ create lace.
 Last week, I decided to resurrect my machine and spend a couple of stormy afternoons using  some stash yarn and knitting  a few scarves. I had managed to acquire several patterns for machine knit scarves and wanted to try them out. In the end, I discarded all the new patterns as being too much work. I can't see the point of fussing for hours/days with a machine knit piece.    Isn't it the object of machine knitting  to be able to complete pieces faster  and with less frustration than hand knitting? 

Instead I returned to a lace, scarf pattern that I have knit previously.
 It is easy and fast.  I knit two of them last week with each one taking  about an hour to knit.  I made one slightly wider and experimented with a different bind off.  That new bind off  isn't as nice as it could be,  so that one is mine.  The other one, narrower but more perfectly knit,  will be gifted.  I know just the red head to wear this colour. 

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Fun For $2.

A knitter can only stand so much  same same.  Last week during the storm and the flu, I took a break from knitting  the Blue Hippie and turned my attention instead to hats. Inspiration for this switch, came from its usual source - ravelry  - where I came across this $2.00 pattern  from CHICknits. 

Why it is called the H2O Hat, I do not know.  I think I would have called it the One Hour hat.  Or the Pie Hat, as in easy-as-pie.  Knit with either bulky yarn or three stands of KW held together and only 23 rows,  it knits up fast!  

Waiting for the storm to pass and the headache to subside, I knit two hats and started a third.

The first two are knit with three stands of bits & bobs of stash stuff  held together while the one on the needles is Knitca Wool Slub.  Such fun.  While the pattern calls for knitting this flat and sewing a seam up the back, I couldn't  see the point of that.  Mine are knit in the round.  Even more fun.

My goal now is to have a box full of these in various colour combinations to take to the family Chirstmas get together and let the young ladies go at it.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What A Week

Last week was one not to be soon forgotten.  Our area was slammed for three days by high winds and snow, leaving many roads and schools closed.   I was housebound.  Normally not a bad thing in winter as it means more knitting time.  But last week, while bad weather ruled the outdoors, I was indoors and  under the weather.  My first - and hopefully last -  flu-like illness of the season.  Too snowy to go outside and too headachy to knit.

I did manage to finish the body of my niece's sweater

and get started on sleeve number one.
 I need 18 inches total, so a bit of knitting yet.    The end of the month fast approaches.

That second marker you see holds a dropped stitch.  I noticed it  when showing off my  bust darts to another knitter.  It would have been better to notice it when it first dropped,  but better now than after the sweater is gifted.

Thanks for your suggestions for a name for this sweater.  One reader suggested The Hippie Sweater after reading my remarks about  widening  the sweater to cover the wider hips of a young mother.   Thanks, Marie.  Another suggested  Hint or Touch Of Blue. Thanks, Deb .  So -  maybe Hippie Blue.

Monday, November 17, 2014

This Sweater Needs A Name

I keep referring to this current sweater

as 'My Niece's Sweater'.  Which of course it is.  But that is not a particularly catchy name.  The sweater  needs a better name.  Somehow, it reminds me of a Teddy Bear and  I need to come up with a  name that suits the look.  Any suggestions?

Will I get it finished in time for my  self-imposed,  end-of-November  deadline?  I'm still hoping.  The sweater needs to be 25 inches long and right now it is closing in on 21.  Another inch or so and I will start the trim.  I don't want the trim to  pull the sweater in over the hips at all.  My niece had her first baby last November.  They call him Jack.  Her post-childbirth hips might be called  - the hips that Jack built.

To accommodate  - and camouflage  - the hips, I am increasing the hip area by two inches more than  the bust area.  And I will finish off with a trim that doesn't pull in.  I am thinking garter rib.  That will mimic the button bands, and doesn't have the pull in effect of normal ribbing.

The next question is - should there be some blue at the bottom?  I think not.  That would have the effect of bringing the eye to the hip area.  After I've worked so hard to hide the bulge, I wouldn't want to have the eye drawn towards it.  Maybe some blue on the sleeve cuffs to tie it all together while having the eye focus on a prettier body part.  That's my plan at the moment. 

And the other part of my plan is to knit for extra time each day to be able to present this sweater at month's end.  And - to come up with a good name.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

The first snow squalls of the year happened minutes after we settled down to knit today. A few minutes sooner and many of us might have decided to stay home.  Now, what fun would that have been!

Jean was back today after her vacation to Utah.  Yep that's right.  The third knitter from our group to vacation in Utah this year.  She was wearing the wonderfully complicated vest she knit last year.  And she wasn't too happy with the fit.  Too large through the waist, Jean said.  Especially noticable through the back.
 Jean  had two solutions in mind.  Rip it and start again. Or knit a tab and button it to the back at the waist to draw in the excessive fabric..  Osa, our resident, retired seamstress said 'No.'  Osa suggested that a side seam, hand or machine sewn, would be must less intrusive on the design and so a better solution. To show Jean, she basted it in for her.   (See Nicki spin.)

Jean liked the new and improved look.  (See Nicki spin.)

 Sharon R was in a ripping mood today, too. This is last year's hat.  
Too small, says Sharon.  Given the price of the Manos with which she knit this hat,  Sharon has decided to rip and re-do.  I would do the same, Sharon.

Wilma crocheted two slouchy,  capped hats this week.

Wilma plans to give them both away.  But just in case she changes her mind, we decided she looks better in the plum one.    It is much more flattering on her than the grey.

Angela, our only 'working girl' doesn't get Thursdays off often enough.  But we enjoy her company when she does manage to knit with us.  She struck this glam pose to show me the infinity scarf she is knitting for an elderly  customer who is now, too arthritic to knit.

Gail showed off the diagonal scarf she knit last year.  Still looks good, Gail.

See Nicki spin.  Still.  Wrapped in  fleece she kept her drop spindle turning  all afternoon.  

Fortunately, by the time I drove home the squalls were minimal.   Perfect timing, 'old man winter.'

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembrance Day

Here, I give you the rich mosaic of a Remembrance Day in Canada.

I snapped a 'selfie' - all dressed in my Legion uniform ready to head to the meeting spot for the march to the cenotaph and Remembrance Day services. 

Fred has already left, also dressed in full uniform.  He is in charge of organizing the wreaths.  He picks them up a few days before Remembrance Day, tidies them up, straightens ribbons and  replaces any that are too decrepit to be respectful.   On Remembrance Day,  he leaves home early enough to place the wreaths at the entrance to the cenotaph,  in the order in which they are to be laid.  Once that chore is done, he will join me in ranks, and we will march together with our fellow Legionnaires,  to the cenotaph.

Then I snapped a photo of my neighbour raking her leaves. 
It would appear she isn't going to the cenotaph to pay her respects.

Does this bother me?  Do I think we should all be at the cenotaph?  Not at all.  I think my neighbour is living her life as she sees fit.  Isn't that what was  fought for?  The freedom to live life free from censor?  We should never forget.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Beyond The Great Divide

Thankfully I have a husband who likes to drive.  In fact, if asked, Fred will say he feels  he is a better driver than passenger.   Me? Well,   I like to think I do both well, but when there is knitting to be done, I prefer to be a passenger.

Saturday, Fred and I headed to the big smoke to take Number 2 son out to dinner to celebrate his 40th birthday. That's right 40th!  Don't worry, I'm not really that old.  I must have brought home a ten year old from the hospital.  Positive that is what must have happened.   Anyway, Fred drove and I knit all the  way down.  You see, I have set myself a goal of finishing my niece's sweater by month's end.  That is the goal at least.

Right now I am close to being ready to start waist shaping.  I am about three inches beyond the great divide of sleeves from body.  

At this point, bust darts have been incorporated as per the directions in  Cabin Fever's latest book Need a Circular Yoke?   At the edge of the underarm stitches an extra stitch is inserted on row one, then knit on row two as if it had always been there.  This creates an angled  line of increases that slant  from underarm towards the bust.  Although the dark walnut colour makes them difficult to see, if you look closely at the photo below, you can see the angled line.

To set up for the bust darts, I stopped knitting two inches shy of desired circumference.  The sleeve stitches were then put on hold and underarm stitches added.  With the sleeves out of the way, knitting continued and bust darts were added.  I added one inch of extra stitches via bust darts for each side of the front.  Two stitches total.

Ever since first reading of this 'less-on-the-back, more-on-the-front'  style of fit from the CF book Need a Plus Size Cardigan? I have used it on all my sweaters.  I prefer the fit and hope my niece does too.

Friday, November 7, 2014

One Last Post

At the risk of putting every reader to sleep, I want to show the people side of our trip.  The scenery was great but the company made the trip.

 Kolob Canyon.  About 2 hours north east of Vegas.

 Dixie National Forest

Fred, hat in hand - "Help me support this woman!"

 Bryce National Park

Zion National Park

Fred, hat over heart, at the edge of the Grand Canyon.    I expected the Star Spangled Banner or God Bless America to come issuing forth.
Grand Canyon

Hoover Dam


 Where??? I have no idea.  But looks as if I was having fun.  
Thanks for allowing me to reminisce with you.  Back to regular content next week, I promise.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

As this year's recent TV ad sings " Old man winter, old man winter, he will be here soon."   With the rain and cool winds, it sure felt like it today. The best place to be on a cool windy, almost-winter day?  Upstairs at the Meaford library.  Knitting.

Today we were thinking of Nan.  She has been knitting at home lately, keeping an eye on her hubby who  had surgery this fall.    We miss you Nan.  Everyone says 'Hi'.

Gail inherited some yarn when a friend passed away.  She is knitting a baby blanket with the yarn and will gift it back to the family.

 Very nice thing to do, Gail.

Deanna is knitting a diagonal scarf. 

It always amazes me how the colour changes work out  precisely at the directional change.  Like magic.  I asked Deanna if she was knitting it for herself, but no, she is gifting it.  I told her I thought she should keep it as it matches her hair. 
She seemed to think this funny.

We had a new-to-us knitter come today.  She wants to knit a baby blanket and was struggling with the cables in the pattern.  She was discouraged, saying she had ripped it out several times.  But by the end of knit group, she had finished two rows and kept the correct stitch count. A first for her.   She was thrilled.  We've all been there, Barb.

 No one mentioned Christmas knitting today.  Hmmm. I wonder f they know it's coming.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Where Where We Wednesday?

Wednesday was a grand day.  We started the morning with a tour of the Painted Dessert.  What a sight!  Vistas of rock formations that appear to have been coloured with crayons or paint by number kits.  Some pinks, some purples, some greens.  The only word to describe the landscape here is breathtaking.


Then we were off to see the Grand Canyon.    We wondered if we would be impressed after several days of being impressed at every turn.      The Grand canyon was by far the most visited, therefore the most tamed??? commercialized?? canyon we saw.  But impressive still.  The cost was so minimal - $25 per car to enter the park.  With four of us in the car - do the math.  Inside the gates are  trolleys which one can ride for free to whatever part of the canyon interests you.  They run every few minutes, so you can get off, explore and  get back on the trolley later.  We stayed until dark, the last trolley run.
 The sun setting on the Grand Canyon. 
My pictures of the canyon are the poorest of our trip.  A forest fire had been burning for 4 days and was sending a haze over the canyon

 Park management must try to keep the night skies brilliant  as there are no lights in the parking lot at the end of the trolley ride.  We had trouble finding our car then trouble finding the exit.  "Oh, well."  as I said often on the trip. " We're from Canada.  What do we know?"

Sitting next to us on the Canyon trolley was a Santa Claus of a gentleman.  Very large girth, red shirt, white hair and bushy beard.  The next time we saw him, he had climbed the railing at the edge of the trail to sit on a rock ledge, legs dangling over the canyon, watching the sunset.  His wife, we noticed, was  sitting several feet back on the safe side of the railing.  Guess Santa hadn't read the brochure that said almost 2 people per month die in the Grand Canyon.  Among the causes cited were  dehydration and  heat exhaustion.  They forgot stupidity.  The picture below is where we later saw him sitting, legs over the edge, of  that big rock beyond the railing. 

Hiking trails in the lower part of the Grand Canyon valley.  That's a long way down!

And how is my niece's cardi coming along?  Well, it backtracked a bit.  About to make the third buttonhole, I took a serious look at the buttonhole spacing.  I realized I had put mine so close together that by the bottom hem I would have 20 buttons.  Nah!  Ripped it was and I am back to where I left off.