Monday, January 26, 2015

Not All Of Us Fish

Fred has discovered surf fishing. You know - the only people on the beach not in a swim suit. Not covered in sun screen. Not carrying a beach towel. Instead he's one of the guys pulling a 'homeless'  fisherman's  cart. Filled with poles, bait, lunch, tackle, lawn chairs, cutting knife and most importantly, Fred says, enthusiasm. In this photo, he's at the locks,, rather than the beach, but same idea.

In the mean time,  I started a sweater. Called the Patchwork Sweater  - original name -😃! The changing colours and changing stitch pattern make it an interesting knit.  Here's how much fishing time Fred's had.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

No Knitting Here

Temperatures of 75'f, sandy beaches, lunch at the pier. Sure signs I'm not in Canada in January. Yep, Fred and are lucky enough to have friends in warm places. Friends with spare rooms.Friends who enjoy having  company. So here we are in Florida, walking the beach, and eating lunch on the pier. Not much knitting happening.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Fifteen's First Finish Object

Well, I am pretty pleased with myself.  Mid January and yesterday, I wore my first, finished knitting piece of 2015.  That must be a record.
Pattern:  Self Designed.  Inspired by these two differrent pieces seen on ravelry.   This - The Ophelia Vest  and  this, the one-piece sideways vest.

Needles: 5mm for the body.  4 1/2 mm for the first and last garter sections.  This vest, knit side to side, these two garter sections form the start and finish trim.  I thought they might be more supportive knit in a smaller needle size.

Yarn:  Lettt Lopi in a pinkish colour.  Because Nicki always tells me - my green wardrobe needs a refresher.
What I did:  I knit stripes of garter ridges and Yarn Over Knit Two Together,  stockinet sections.  The garter section has 4 ridges, the stockinet section is 6 rows deep with the yarn over row being  row three.

I planned the vest to have an off-centre closing and to have no separate trims.  I thought the pattern, with its garter ridges would be trim enough  in and of itself.  And it was - along the armholes, at the bottom and everywhere except across the top of the fronts.  They didn't hold themselves in place at all.  Instead of crossing above the bust as you see the improved product doing here,
they fell below the bust. Bringing to mind the teenage bra description of 'over the shoulder boulder holder'.  Or in my case -  pebble holder.  Either way, not an attractive look.  So I added, across the top of each the left and right fronts, an inch of horizontal garter.
That seems to have done the trick.

The vest  is warm but lightweight.  It is colourful but not green.  I like it.

Thursdays Are For Knit Group 2015

A day late.  Sorry. But I have a good excuse.  Yesterday was my birthday and after knit group, Fred took me out to dinner.  Yep. The 2-for-1 hamburger special at a local 'been there forever' restaurant.  Wilma's husband's birthday is the same day as mine, so they joined us for dinner.  Last of the big time spenders, the four of us. But we had fun.

Back to knit group.  Gail brought a suitcase of knits to knit group yesterday.  You can tell how she has been spending her snowy days.  First she showed me this great bulky cowl.  4 rows of knit followed by 4 rows of purl.

Then she showed me this great hat.  For a purple-loving grand daughter.  Such a great pom pom on the top of this hat.

Next up was another purple item.

And just look at the entire pile. Lots of hats and a little American Doll poncho and hat.

Wilma has been using up stash and doing some charity knitting.  Crocheting lap-ghans for the nursing home. These are two  she completed since Christmas.  She seems quite somber thinking about them.

We told her not to get used to the look.  She is much too young.

Jean has been working on My Valentine

An Elizabeth McCarten design published by Cabin Fever.  I have this pattern and it has long been in my mental queue.  Jean's version has inspired me.  It might have to be a next up  -  or at least a soon up.

A day late and perhaps a dollar short as the saying goes.  But still lots of inspiration at knit group yesterday.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The First And Almost Finished Object of 2015

Almost finished -   this is my new vest.

Of my own design and  knit with Lett Lopi, the knitting is done.  The only seam in the vest - the shoulder seam  - still needs to be sewn.  Easier to block while unseamed though, it is right now  resting following its steaming.

Look at the great shoulder and neck shaping.
Three stitches on either side of centre created the shaping.   Necks that ride up too high really bug me.  Often I have had to turn them under, sewing a bit of a facing at the back neck.  Trying to avoid such an issue here, I shaped the neck as I knit along.

The shoulders  I shaped with four stitiches across the shoulder width.  I either increased or decreased those stitches, depending  on whether I was heading towards or away from the centre back neck.  That has provided a nice slope to the shoulders and should avoid that square 'look the lady forgot her shoulder pads' look.

The proof will be in the wearing. Tomorrow, I hope.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

I've Been Robbed

My missing knitting bag is proof positive that I not am always the fastest to catch onto what is happening around me.  

Home on December 29th  from our Christmas travels, I discovered my knitting bag was missing.  Thinking through where I had been knitting over those travel days, I concluded that I had left my bag at Number Two son's condo in Toronto.  Unfortunately, he was out of the country until January 8th.

January 9th he called to tell me about his trip and I asked if he had seen my knitting bag sitting where I presumed I had left it - on the floor in the corner of the condo living room.
"I didn't notice it" he said.  "But then we got in at midnight and went straight to bed and I am at work already this morning. I'll check tonight."

The message later that day confirmed that there was no knitting bag in the condo.  Anywhere.

I had to re-think  where it might be.  The fact that none of the relatives had emailed to tell me I had left my bag at their homes, confirmed my memory.  I remembered that the only places  on our tour where I was knitting, was in the car  on the way to  Peter's condo, then,  while at  Peter's condo.

Then I remembered something.  When ready to leave Toronto, I opened the passenger side door of the van to see the contents of the glove compartment sitting on the front seat.
"Someone has been in the car," I said to Fred.   "I thought you locked it."
"I thought I had," replied Fred.  That made us laugh.  How old are we getting that we think we have locked the car but really didn't?  Something I remember Fred's parents doing on the way to Florida one year - and they were REALLY old at the time.

How old are we, really, when the only thing in the glove compartment is the car manual and a cheap $6 phone charger?  Obviously way too old to entice a savvy Toronto thief  as  both items were left on the front seat.  With no damage done to the van, we chuckled  all the way to our next Christmas visit, thinking ourselves quite clever to have outsmarted a thief - even if unknowingly.

But.  My knitting bag is missing.  If I had not taken it into the condo, I must have left it between the two front seats, where it had been placed when we packed the van for the trip.  And that savvy Toronto car thief took it.    Two kits of Knit Picks interchangeable needles.  One kit of multi-sized, Knit Picks sock needles.  A lovely satin case containing every size double pointed needle I own.  Plus a hand-woven case given to me as a gift by Sharon, containing all my accessories.   Scissors, darning needles, tape measures - well you  know what all is in  a kntiters' accessory bag. Not to mention that the knitting bag was purchased from the long-defunct Knitting Guild of Canada and therefore irreplaceable.

The only chuckle to be had now is the one I am having when imagining the look of incredulity on  the thief's face when the bag's contents were examined in the light of day.    Perhaps he/she will start to  spend their spare time in different - more woolly ways.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

November we had snowy, windy, can't-get-to-knit-group weather.  December gave us  balmy, temperate climes and green grass.  Today we were back to 'will-the-weather- keep-me-from-knit-group'  weather.  Not me.  I was there. What we lacked in numbers today, we made up for in enthusiasm. 

Sharon showed us this cute little poncho.

Knit to fit an American Doll, and to be gifted to one of the special little girls who came into Sharon's life in 2014.  It even has a matching head band.
American Doll seems to be a much easier size to knit for than the minuscule Barbie.

And of course, a little personal knitting never goes astray. 
This hat is knit with an Alpaca Mohair combo that Sharon purchased from an Alpaca farmer on her last trip to Alberta.

Gail is working on another bulky cowl. 
Thought the pattern calls for 15mm needles, Gail is using size 9.  Much easier on the hands, she says, not to mention that the smaller needle  makes a smaller cowl that lies more snugly around the neck.  Something to be appreciated on a day like today.   Can you hurry and finish that please, Gail?

Lorrie brought us a walk down memory lane today.  Old - really old, look at the price -  Canadian Living magazines she came across when doing some cleaning out.

Although I don't have a picture to show you, when leaving the library today, I noticed that Lori the Librarian was wearing a hat.  
"Did you get a new hat for Christmas, Lori?" I joked.
"No', she said, "It is wear your hat to work day."  
Hmm.  Really?  I hadn't heard about that.  
"We are wearing our hats at work today as an officeial protest against the weather," she said.  
 I hear 'ya, Lori, I hear 'ya.


Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A New Knit

My knits for 2014 are finished. That is, if you don't count the sleeve extension on Radicchio.  On to the first knit of 2015.

My first knit of the year is a vest.  Inspired by this - The Ophelia Vest by Macon

 and this, the one-piece sideways vest.


Mine looks like this.  Knit in stripes of garter stitch ridges followed by  stockinet sections which have  a centre row of yarn over knit 2 together.

 I am using Lett Lopi purchased specifically for this project.  It is lofty and  very lightweight but should still be quite warm. 

I am knitting it sideways just like both of the above inspiration pieces.  Mine will have the wide right front like the  top example.  It is being 'winged' or as we used to say in my business days -
 'wild a - - ed  guess' as I knit along.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Last FO of 2014

I seem to be still lingering in the year just past - but this will be the last post about things from 2014.  I promise.  I wanted to show you  Radicchio.

This sweater was started in August and set aside for more important things, -  Hippie Blue to be precise.  Since the yarn was purchased in May at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival and the knitting started in August, I thought it should be finished before another year rolled in.  So after Christmas, I got to work and knit the final touches.  Just missing  buttons, here she is.

Pattern:  Radicchio by Giovanna Vacchi. A  top-down with some basic, lace work in the yoke.

Yarn:  Cestari, Heather Collection  75% cotton, 25% wool.  Knits to 20 sts over 4 inches.  Called Knitting Worsted by we Canadians, but the US label refers to the yarn as DK weight.  I have long wanted to try a cotton/wool combo yarn.  I suspect  it will offer the best of both worlds.  The coolness of cotton for a summer's day, but the memory of wool to prevent stretch and sag.  

Needles:  4.5 mm for body and 3.75 mm for trims.

Objective:  I wanted a neutral-coloured, summer sweater with long sleeves.  I have a couple of short- sleeved summer cardis and one with 3/4 sleeves.  Fine for hot days but for cooler evenings, I wanted a colour that would go with anything and have full length sleeves.

What I Did: To begin, I started the top-down knit and did  exactly as the pattern suggested for the yoke portion.  Radicchio knits the  button-band trims at the same time as the sweater body.  The trims  were vertically-appearing ribs.  In my mind they were too bulky, not snug enough and just plain not pretty.  Check out some of the projects on ravelry to see what I mean.

On my second attempt, I subtracted a few stitches from the overall numbers given and knit just the sweater minus the trims. Those I added after completing the sweater and that gave me the same circumference as prescribed in the pattern.

Once I finished the yoke pattern, I tossed the official pattern and took out my new Need a Circular Yoke?  book.  From it, I used the numbers for total stitch count before the great divide, the bust darts and also waist and hip shaping.  That shaping was done as  the book suggests, on either side of the added underarm stitches.  This separates the increase/decrease lines by several stitches.  In my mind, they look better this way - they do not pull on each other as some side-by-side shapers do. 

In addition, I added a couple of Dowager Hump short rows into the back.  If I were to knit this again though, I would add a few stitches between lace patterns across the back.  Mine looks stretched much more tightly across the back than at the front. 
That stretching verifies the truth of what was once told to me by a customer at the yarn store where I worked. I was explaining to an elderly, little-old-lady customer  how to choose the correct  pattern size based on bust measurement.  Using myself as an example, I said
" For me, with a 38 inch bust ..."
That was as far as I got because this sweet, little old lady interrupted to exclaim
" 38 inches?  Must be all in your back!"
Radicchio proves she was right.

Radicchio fits eactly as I planned.  Not too much fabric under the arms,  defined bust, waist and hip areas and it is a perfect length.  But there  is one issue.  Having purchased only 4 skeins of yarn at 250 yards per skein, I had to get the sweater out of that 1,000 yards.  I knew it would be tight and in fact I finished with a mere 5 grams of yarn to spare. 

But, the sleeves are a bit short of perfect. 
Bracelet length some might say.  Too short I say. 
So I will divide the 5 grams into two parcels of 2.5 grams each and lengthen the sleeves.  It might just be enough. 

But of course I can't do that until I get my needles back.  Because   - I.  Forgot.  My.  Knitting.  Bag.  

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sad, Sorry, Year-End Yarn Tales

This December, Fred and I were, what I referred to as, the abandoned old folks.

#1 son in Hearst rarely comes south at Christmas time.  My DIL works retail and that  means lots of 9am - 9pm days throughout December and a 6 pm closing on Christmas Eve.  Add to that scenario the questionable weather and winter driving conditions  and they wisely stay home.

Son #2, living closer as he does, has always been home for Christmas. This year though, he and his Lady of Spain left Canada on December 19 to head to  her home  for a visit with the Spanish side of their family.  After a week on the Spain leg of their journey, they left for 10 days in Kenya.  Lady of Spain works for  Me to We.  With that organisation, she and Peter were going to spend 10 days in Kenya, visiting the Maasai Mamas that produce the bead work sold in the Me to We shops.

Luckily for Fred and me, my Peterborough Sis takes in abandoned old folks and feeds them Christmas dinner.   We even stayed overnight.  And what doesall this have to do with 'sad, sorry, year- end yarn tales'?

Well, after overnighting at Sis' house, we took advantage of having a spare set of keys to Peter's downtown Toronto Condo and treated ourselves to a couple of days in the big smoke.  On the Saturday we planned to lunch at my favourite, Saturday-in-Toronto lunch venue - The Rex.  The Rex is a great place with 24/7 music.  Every Saturday, 12 noon to 3pm, Danny Marks performs.  I love Danny. I have all his CDs - both of them.  He is a great entertainer, loves the audience and they love him.  He's not a bad singer either.

Now, you need to know that Romni Wools is conveniently located between  the condo and The Rex.  Remember the three most important things about real estate:  Location, Location, Location.    I left  the condo early so I could  spend an hour at Romni before meeting Fred at The Rex.  Little did I know that it was Romni's  Biggest Sale Day Of The Year.

My first clue came when  I walked in the door and a teenage girl was offering coat check services.  My second clue was when  I looked up to see Glenna C approaching the exit with a BIG bag of yarn.  "Oh, you made it" she said to me as if it were obvious  I had intended to come to the Biggest Sale Day Of The Year.    "I left you some yarn." she added.   Heading for the back of the store and the 'wall of worsted',  my third clue was the store-length line of customers waiting to check out and the incredibly crowded aisles.

If you know Romni Wools, you know that it doesn't take many shoppers  to fill the aisles and make shopping there an exercise in extreme gymnastics.  Whatever vision you may have of shopping at Romni,  multiply it many times over to get an idea of The Biggest Sale Day Of The Year.  It wasn't long before I couldn't stand the heat - literally - the temperature.  I headed to the basement.  Although cooler there, it was no less crowded.  I do not shop well under these extreme conditions, but eventually I did find a bag of '$2 a ball' yarn that had been  tossed onto the floor.  In it,  I found some gorgeous novelty yarn in spring shades of teal, orange and cream.  Three balls should be enough for a wonderful spring scarf, I thought and headed up the stairs.

The  line-up to pay now came all the way to the back of the store, crossed in front of the entire  'wall of worsted'  and  and snaked half way back towards the front of the store.  Yikes!  I glanced at my watch and still had lots of time, so chose to get in line.

It wasn't long before I overheard a customer talking  on her cell phone.  Her end of the conversation went something like this.  " Hi.  It's me.  Yea, I'm going to be late.  I've been in line at Romni Wools for half an hour and the line hasn't moved." 

That was enough for me.  I  wormed my way back to the far corner of the basement, returned my 3 balls of yarn to the $2 bag, retrieved my coat and left.  Sadly, empty handed.  But not before one of the clerks had told me that Romni was Canada's largest yarn store and the fourth largest store in North America.  All the more reason to avoid The Biggest Sale Day Of The Year.

And as often is the case, one sorry, sad yarn story leads to another.  When packing up to leave the condo at the end of our visit, I forgot my knitting bag.   FORGOT.    MY.    KNITTING.    BAG!    Never place your knitting bag in a hidden corner of the room.  My bag contains both sets of my needles of choice - my Knit Picks Needles and all their cables.  My entire set of sock knitting needles and my case with every double pointed needle I own. Thank goodness my Denise Needles were at home.

Two, sorry, sad, yarn tales to end my year.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Hippie Blue Twins

Happy New Year to all my readers.  Despite it being 2015 - yikes  - I have a couple of leftover 2014 knits to tell you about.

Today's story is about a baby-sized,  Hippie Blue for my Great Nephew, Jack.  As I knit Hippie Blue for my niece, Jack's Mom, I realized I was going to have some yarn left over and immediately started planning a baby size replica of Mom's sweater.  I finished Mom's in time for our big family get-together on December 13, but not Baby Jack's mini version.  I said nothing to Mom, but hoped I could surprise her with Jack's sweater by Christmas Day.  And so I did.

Jack's sweater,  I knit on the machine.  That should have made it a very quick knit.    But...
The struggle with   One of my struggles with machine knitting is the lack of patterns available.  I eventually found a baby-sized, raglan- sleeved pattern online and used it as a template.  There was one issue, though.  It was for a gauge of 28 sts/4 inches.  Sock yarn gauge.  I was using Cabin Fever Cotton Tweed at 22 sts/4inches.  There was math to be done.

When  the sweater was finished, the sleeves looked a bit wonky.  Additional internet research revealed that the pattern I was using gave very different sleeve directions than  a second  pattern for the same style and same gauge published by the same  designer.  I emailed her to ask which pattern would be the accurate one. Unfortunately, she replied to say she was 'slammed' with Christmas stuff and couldn't get back to me until after the new year.

Hmm.  That didn't do me any good.  More research.  A third pattern was found.  Still for sock yarn - what is it with baby sweaters out of sock yarn?  But this pattern  was for a dropped-shoulder style.  That straight, rectangular shaping, I thought, would be easier to translate to a different  gauge.  Rip effort number one and begin effort number two.

Even so, when that sweater was finished, the sleeves looked way too big around.  A 12 inch circumference at the upper arm.  Wow!  Almost adult in size.

Rip.  New sleeves reduced to a ten inch circumference were what I settled on.  Partly because the 25th was only hours away and partly because I really had no idea what circumference was best for a one year old for whom I was knitting a size two sweater.  See how things get confusing?

Anyway, the sweater was presented and  thrilled over. It fit and has been   worn.  No better thanks than that.  Take a look at my Hippie Blue Twins