Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Almost Ending the Year

One more photoless project recently....Just before I learned how to do two items at the same time on one circular by doing the Maine Morning Mitts, I made a pair of ribbed, tipless gloves like I've made in the past, for the same gift exchange game. They were in Sean's Sheep "Armytage" in the cream/grey/black colourway that I also used for felted clogs last year. So, go look at the clogs, then at the other fingerless gloves and photoshop them in your mind :)

But here is a project with some pictures. I loved the creamy alpaca stole I made for my mom in late summer, and made a black one for me, using an unknown cone yarn. I could have used some black alpaca, but I wanted the stole for the cruise, and didn't think I really needed it to be in alpaca. Although with the windy, cool nights, and the air conditioning on board, alpaca would have been fine. There were a couple of rough starts again....I set up the needles and the card with the same formation (opposite needles in working position to what the manual said), but it didn't work. So I had to do it like the manual showed, and it came out the same as my mom's. I hadn't kept track of how many needles I had used for hers, but I thought it was 80-0-80. I love it when it's weighted down on the machine, but once off the machine it relaxes and really loses the openness. I don't know if blocking the alpaca out tightly helped it, but I have since heard that this is a common problem with tuck lace.

At one point I thought I was up the creek without a cruiseship, but I kept my wits and fixed the error by ripping out and re-setting the punchcard. Made me feel like some highly trained mechanic, LOL.Another odd thing...the corners stretched out a bit. And, it collects dog hair like crazy! Lucy wrapped it around like a skirt one day and it got covered. I tried washing it, but the dog hair gets woven in and trapped. It also seems to have faded a touch. And the long edges curl under, but gosh, I really don't care. I'm just happy to finally have a black stole, LOL.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ugly and Odd but no Pictures.

I made Lucy a pair of mitts to her own specifications. She wanted pink with green spots, and to have flip tops, or a slit to slither her fingers out (like my own mitts). I wasn't happy with the start of the first one, so I started the second one to see if it would turn out better/different. It wasn't significantly different, and she didn't mind the differences, so I continued. I made them with an overlapping flap opening, but no individual fingers like convertible mitts. She liked them. However, the flaps didn't stay shut well enough, so I had to knit little bobble buttons and crocheted button loops. Better, but not anything I really want documented on here for perpetual acknowledgement, LOL.

Then I made a pair of "Maine Morning Mitts" (sorry I'm not searching for the link, but it's a popular free pattern on the internet). I used one of the Sean's Sheep yarns I got at Wal-Mart last year....about 51% wool, and has a gold thread too. This one was beiges and charcoal. I actually learned how to knit two things at once, on ONE circular needle. The cast on (especially starting the second half of the first one) and first row were scary, but now it's on my favourite technique list!!!! You do need long cables though, and flexible. So I might have to do two at once on two circulars sometime. I started these late on a Thursday afternoon before leaving for band practice, then some that night, Friday, and on Saturday all the way to near Peterborough (2 hour drive?), then wove the ends in before the surprise birthday party got rockin, then we went over to the Christmas party 20 minutes from there. They were added to a reversible 9West hat that never fit me well and a matching (commercial) scarf, to be part of a gift exchange gift. The recipient looked great in the hat, but it's not her colour so I think she might have gave them to her mother. Forgot to take a picture of them though.

Then it was time to make something for Lucy's teacher. I decided to make her a cowl that was big enough to pull up over her head and not disturb her hair. She had also been Huey's teacher two years ago, and I've never seen her wear a hat. I used Paton's Divine in the chocolatey brown and cast on a crap load of sts on the way home from that party. I had nothing else to work on in the dark. The next day I realized there were way too many sts, so I did a mini swatch, re-calculated, re-cast on, and knit away. But I did something different. I added short rows as I went down (started at the end that frames her face), so that the back would be longer to go over her hair and not be too bulky under her chin. Then, as I got near the bottom, I started increasing so it would flare out a bit on her shoulders. I had to draw a diagram cause it looked too much like a dead bunny in the gift bag, LOL.
I also decided at the last minute to make homemade hot chocolate mix for their teachers. It turned out really good (tip---use the 'ruddy' cocoa from Bulk Barn). There was a major storm fore casted for the last day of school. The day started out fine and I'm glad I had the gifts done so they could take them in the morning---Lucy's teacher (and other's from out of town) left at lunch time. It was a scary trip over!! It's only a mile, but it's hilly, and the entrance to the school is a sharp incline....
No picture of the dead bunny cowl either. LOL.
I have made a few things lately that did get their day in pictures, but they need to be loaded/edited, so you'll have to wait!

Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Knitting

I just found this link from one of my Yahoo knitting groups. Check it out and make the fastest holiday sweater ever! LOL.

Knitting Tips

This is going to be an on-going post, I hope, as I clear out my Yahoo email of all the 'some day I'll need that info' emails.

If you want, or have to, double yarns, or want to run two yarns together add the stitch gauge of each and divide by three. Why three? I have no knittin' idea!Example: Yarn 1 =6 st per inch. Yarn 2, = 8 stitches per inch. 6 plus 8 equals 14. Divide 14 by three equals 4.67 st. per inch. I'd round it out at 4.5. Remember this is only a guestimation. Try it and see if it works.

I always convert drop sleeves to set-in sleeves.Here's how I learned:Front:First row: bind off 1" of stitches.After this, count the remaining stitches to decrease and divide into thirds.For the first 1/3 of stitches: decrease 2 stitches every row.For the next 1/3 of stitches: decrease 1 stitch every row.For the last 1/3 of stitches: decrease 1 stitch every other row.The last stitch should be decreased after three rows.Back:First row: bind off 1" of stitches.After this, count the remaining stitches to decrease and divide into thirds.For the first 1/4 of stitches: decrease 2 stitches every row.For the next 1/2 of stitches: decrease 1 stitch every row.For the last 1/4 of stitches: decrease 1 stitch every other row.The last stitch should be decreased after three rows.

For those interested, here is a blog that compared three different methods of short rows:


I really want to thank everyone who left a comment, emailed me, or posted through the Yahoo group, about my Window Dressing bathing suit coverup. It really means a lot to me when a new machine knitter writes that they're happy to read about the real trials and issues of machine knitting, and not just see a lovely picture of a final result. If I could work through everything, and end up with a fabulous finished item, then they think they could too. And they can. I know how it feels!
I was especially pleased to read that Knitman Colin had dropped by to check out my project! I enjoy reading his blog, partly for his absolutely exquisite machine knitting (scroll down to Nov 22 to see his latest sweater), but also because of his honesty and humour, and I like reading his posts about 'religion' in particular.
Sometimes we get a bit of tunnel vision. We read a whole list of knitting blogs and one day, someone links to a blog that isn't about knitting. Imagine that! There are other blogs that don't talk about knitting at all? LOL. So then we explore, and find other blogs about our 'secondary' passion....for many, it's gardening, or cooking; for me, it's birth and babies. Then you start to wonder even more....if there are 'blog celebrities' in the knitting world, are there such people in the land of....Lego blogs? Are there blogs about African violets? Snowshoeing? Macrame?
The Internet has, at the same time, made the world so much smaller, AND so much huger. You don't know what you don't know until you find out you didn't know it! I challenge everyone today to pick the first word that pops into their head, and Google it! Find out about something you never even knew you wanted to know about!
Oh, that was quite the tangent! I just wanted to say thanks to everyone, LOL!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Something I'm Very Proud Of!

I can't believe I didn't include any pictures in that last post! Okay, I see why. I either haven't actually taken finished object pictures, or haven't downloaded them yet. I've been busy with my other blog and detailing our cruise, and doing Christmas knitting. But I did find a couple pictures to talk about!

This is a project I am VERY proud to have made and finished. In the summer of 2007, I subscribed to KnitWords, a CANADIAN machine knitting magazine and the first issue I got was #41, Summer 2007, now sold out! I was stunned at the patterns. Previously I had only a few magazines from 1999/2000 (not KnitWords), and I wasn't too impressed with the patterns. I didn't think they could be too outdated, only 7 years! but I guess fashion changes more than I do! There were a few things I wanted to make in this issue, but I had that silly white shawl stuck on the Singer 327. I really wanted to finish it for the cruise, so I finally buckled down. While I was working on it, I was planning the next project, a bathing suit cover up called "Window Dressing" from the KnitWords magazine. I could mail order the yarn from a not-too-far Ontario machine knitting source, but I was having a hard time choosing just one colour! I finally picked one, and also bought some part cones she had. I finally started the cover up about 10 days before we were leaving.

I'm not sure that I realized that I was kidding myself. In the picture, it looks straight forward. It says it's for intermediate knitters. I thought that by now, I was intermediate. Ha! This project nearly whipped my butt several times! There were so many things that I hadn't particular, hadn't done as part of a formal, machine knitting pattern. Sure, I had knit with needles out of work, even done shaping, but it was my own thing, not trying to interpret someone's pattern. There was SO much knitting off on waste yarn and re-hanging and knitting one row then casting off. And there were a few typos, and errors in the pattern. It was making my head hurt, LOL. I got a couple pieces knit before I gave up so I could finish the flowered dress I had been making, that was also supposed to be "EASY!" but wasn't.

For a long time, a piece of Window Dressing hung on the machine, waiting for me to go on to the next step. Last spring/summer, I finally did the next step (re-hang, knit one row, cast off) and it took me longer to figure out where I was in the pattern and where the stuff was and blow the dust off the cone, then it did to do the step. I worked on a couple other projects while it was off the machine (my mother's shawl, actually, that might have been the only project on the 327; I was using the LK150 a lot). I decided when we booked this year's cruise that I would finish it. I had 9 weeks. That would be enough, right?

I started corresponding with the designer, who lives near where I bought the yarn from. We're in several Yahoo machine knitting groups together, so I felt really blessed to be able to approach her and work through my many issues with the pattern. I don't think you could do this with some of the bigger hand knitting designers! Eileen had been on several cruises and had knit several versions of her cover up, and I truly would not have finished if it weren't for her letting me cyberhold her hand!

I am very proud to have finished such an ambitious project!! NOW, I feel like I really am an intermediate machine knitter!! LOL. And, I have to admit, it's the little details that made this a great finished item. When I first looked at the picture, I assumed it was knit from the bottom up, one piece for the back, one piece, then divided for the front. Add the neck band and's a run down:

1) Knit an inner casing (easy).
2)Knit another inner casing (easy).
3)Knit skirt.
4)Remove on waste yarn, rehang (tricky) involving some decreasing.
5)Hang casing over skirt, knit one row, remove on waste yarn
6)Rehang bottom of skirt (tricky), knit some 'marker rows' and a bunch of plain rows
7)Pick up the sts of the marker row onto the needles. (Very tricky).
8)Knit one row, bind off.

So, to sum up, there's a skirt with a bottom hem, and a casing, still open, at the top.

This is the bottom hem. I'm not sure I did the right cast off (but I also don't remember what I did). This is the wrong side, and on the right side, the join to the body looks tight, and tends to flip the hem up a little. The sleeves don't' do this.

There's one casing left in the workbasket, and the next step is to make the back. Which I did, however, there was an error, and two skirts should have been made first.

9)Upper back...not too hard until shaping for arms--didn't know what to do with the out of work needles, and then short rowing the shoulders.
10)Fill empty needles and take off on waste yarn. I forgot to do this with at least two of the shoulders.
11)pick up 4sts on each side of neck, knit 1 row, bind off.
12)Rehang bottom of upper back.

12b)Knit another casing because you don't think the one left in the workbasket is right. Screw up, then knit it again. Realize in the end that it's exactly the same as what's in the basket.

13)hang casings sts (already joined to the skirt) from waste yarn, and pull through.
14)Knit one row and bind off.

So, the upper back and skirt are joined by this casing, which was knit separately. Pretty sneaky---having you knit the easiest pieces first, LOL!

This is the inside where the bottom meets the casing, and the top where it joins the top and casts off.

15)Knit right front, again, not tricky until doing shaping. Part of my problem was that I wasn't sure I had done it right for the back, AND, it had been so long ago I couldn't remember anything.

16)Knit left front, same as right but in reverse.

17)Join fronts to skirt casing, like for the back, treating the two front pieces as one. That involves a few steps again.
18)Join shoulder seams. I did the first shoulder wrong THREE times!!! I kept putting the wrong sides together. I really wanted to do it on the machine, like real machine knitters, LOL, instead of grafting by hand. I would have only had to do it once if I did it by hand! Each time I had to rip it out, there were problems with the sts filling the empty needles, and the wraps from the short wasn't a fun day here that day!!!

The inside back neck and shoulder seams. I had a loop where something happened during the back neck shaping. As well, the yarn broke at one point and I didn't notice, so I had a barely two inch tail to secure. It's not too pretty on the inside, but I made sure when I took it off at the pool to fold it up right side out :)

19) Knit neckband....think you know what to do, but doubt yourself and follow the incorrect instructions anyway.
20)Get totally confused by the instructions to join the neckband to the body. Try really hard to figure it out on my own, but I'm clueless. Eileen to the rescue.
21)Knit second half of neckband after another email to Eileen to decipher the instructions.
22)Join rest of neckband to body.

Now, it's time for the sleeves. At this point, I was thinking of leaving it sleeveless. The neckband really kicked my butt, mainly because the pattern instructions were so vague. But the armhole openings curled and looked unfinished, and I figured I had probably knitted the hardest parts by now, LOL.

23)The main part was the same as starting the skirt, then there was the shaping
24)Hem the bottom as per the skirt--rehang sleeve sts, knit hem, pick up sts (I HATED this step), knit one row and cast off

25)Repeat for second sleeve!

Then there's the pocket. Cleverly designed to perfectly fit your cabin card, I couldn't leave it off.
26)Pick up sts from skirt
27)As you knit a row, you pick up a st from the body and put it on the end needle, so it joins the sides of the pocket to the body as you knit!
28)Knit a few more rows, then pick up hem sts to fold over top edge, Knit 1 row and bind off (there's a good picture of the pocket in the magazine).
29)Buttonloop--pick up 3 sts from top edge, knit 8rows, join to top edge, knit 1 row, bind off.

30)Sew all the #%$)@! seams, and buttons, and weave in the ends.

I found perfect buttons in the discount bin at Fabricland---35cents!!

Whew!! If I had really read the pattern, I would have realized there was no way I was doing all that in 10 days! I find with a lot of magazines that patterns start out with lots of detail, but as the pattern goes along, and space starts running out, details get more vague. That's what happened here I think. It could have easily used another page.

I was thinking I might sew the front two pieces closed and wear it as a dress. But I decided not to, because I thought once I wore it as a dress (and I had lots of dresses with me), I wouldn't want to wear it over my bathing suit again. Every time I wore it, Rob commented on how great it looked. He seemed really surprised that it turned out so good!

I can easily see this as a dress. On the model in the magazine, it comes to her upper thighs, on me, just above the knee! The upper pieces are a little long, but I need the length for the sleeve openings. It's as if the entire upper front needs to be raised a bit, but the armholes stay the same size. Often when I alter sleeveless tops/dresses I just shorten the straps. The back is also a little loose on me, causing the upper back to be a little baggy and droopy. I could have knitted a smaller size for the back (but I didn't feel up to altering the neck/sleeves). I had hoped that my breast reduction would stop the need for knitting smaller backs, but I guess not, LOL. I did put a ribbon inside the casing, but it was a little awkward trying to tie a bow on the inside. A wide elastic would work, but Eileen cautioned against that if using it as a bathing suit cover up over a bikini....any red marks left by the elastic would not be attractive, LOL.

All in all, I am very glad I didn't give up on this. It is a little heavier than I expected it to be, but if I did it as a cover up again, I would make it at least 4 inches shorter in the skirt, LOL. I meant to check my gauge and see how it compared to the pattern...I learned so much with this pattern and I can't wait to make something else. Funny thing is...there are other items in that issue I want to make...and they are listed as beginner level!!! LOL!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Vacation Knitting Gone Awry

First off, thanks to "Catbookmom" for acknowledging how I felt and identifying with it, regarding the various uses of Noro (and it's not just Noro, there are other expensive yarns out there making me feel the same way). I don't knit alot for myself, but over the past year I did do some scarves, hats and mitts/gloves for myself, so I am feeling a bit more generous when it comes to making those things for others. I don't think I could spend $30 on a baby sweater, even for a grandchild.....I don't like to spend that much on myself even. And there's some of the issue.....I know a baby is worthy of a $30 sweater, but I don't feel that I am, so therefor, how could a baby actually be? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first before helping children!
And "Needles of Steel"....I remember looking at your Lizard Ridge as you were making it. If I remember, you didn't just go out and buy all the yarn at once? That makes it more realistic, in my warped mind, then someone who just goes out and buys $125 worth of Noro to have just because they like the colour. Although, isn't that a heavy blanket? It's beautiful though.

Anyway. Onwards.
When packing for the cruise, I gave careful consideration to what projects I would take. I had the pink gloves that needed the ends woven in. I had ripped out the February Lady Sweater and re-planned to use two colours. I had the entrelac Socks That Rock socks that were in the middle of the first heel. There was also the "Enchanted" silk top. I decided to pack the FLS for the plane ride because most of the trip would be in the dark of evening and it was truly going to be mindless once I casted on. I couldn't fit the yarn in my "personal carry on" and not in my suitcase carry on, so I passed it to Rob to put in his bag. We got to the airport, through security, got my coffee and a snack and went to sit by the gate. I opened my big carry on, and there was no black yarn. Just two balls of the second colour. I opened Rob's carry on, and there was no yarn at all. Nothing. He said "Oh, I put it in the suitcase, you didn't tell me to put it in the carry on." OMG. We had over 4 hours of flying time ahead of us, not to mention waiting time.

After the initial shock, I took stock. I had the needles for the FLS, I had the pattern. I just didn't have the black yarn to start the yoke with. I decided I would cast on the number of sts where you start the lace. I got going. Normally I would do a crochet cast on, but didn't have a crochet hook. If it were a small project, I would just suffer with using a knitting needle as a crochet hook, but there were a LOT of sts to cast on. I decided to do a 'knitted cast on' so that it would be loose enough to pick up the yoke sts and work upwards later on. Started casting on, then remembered that the garter st bands were going to be in the black too. Decided I would just have to knit and attach those later.

We got into our seats on the tiny plane. I think it is the smallest commercial plane I had ever been on. It was only 4 seats across. Rob and I were sitting together, and I got out my knitting so I'd have something to do during take off, even though I get so freaked out that I can't even knit, LOL. As she passed, the stewardess reached across Rob and took my knitting. She said she "had to check the needle tips." "Why?" I said. "Some are really sharp and pointy and aren't' allowed." "Uh, the TSA website says knitting needles are allowed and there are no qualifiers given to the type of needles." "We still have to check." Okay, whatever. I was using old 4.5mm or 5mm fairly blunt circulars....perfect choking instrument, terrible stabbing tool, LOL. I told her it was a good thing I wasn't on 'her' plane last year when I was knitting socks on tiny, pointy, double pointed needles!
Then, Rob and I got out our ancient Canada 3000 headsets (that airline has been out of business for how long?) and plugged them in. This plane had the little screen in the seat back in front of you and I was curious to how that was going to work. I thought maybe the safety presentation would be on the screen. At the very least, I was hoping for some sound deadening affect. The same attendant came by and said we had to remove our headsets for takeoff...."TSA rules". Ummmm.....nothing was being broadcast over the plane's system and we weren't using any personal electronic devices!
I wonder if there's any relation between these instances and the Coke Classic that was added to my Diet Coke as they were serving drinks? LOL. I know she saw that I saw that she finished the can of Coke Classic into the cup she gave me!

So, I worked on the FLS for the short flight to Chicago, and while we waited in Chicago. Rob was happy we didn't have to claim our luggage, but I wouldn't have minded, LOL.
On the flight to Miami I was squashed in between two men. The man next to the window had left China that morning and was pretty tired and slept. The other man kept his little light on, and it was more than enough so I didn't need to use the new light I had bought.

One day near the beginning of the cruise (like, the second day, which is the first full day), we were lounging by the pools and I decided to go back down and get my knitting. I grabbed the entrelac sock and the instructions that I had copied just before we left. Finished off the heel (it didn't work out exactly like the instructions, but oh well) and read what was next. "Do little triangles as per the instructions for the very first row of triangles after the toe shaping". Well....I didn't copy the first page of instructions because I had already done that part of the sock! So that project became stalled. Later in the week I thought I'd give the Enchanted top a go. I couldn't remember what I had done last, except that I was in a transition area. I looked in the page protector where I had put the instructions for all the projects. It wasn't there. I looked in the suitcases, nothing. There was no going forward with that project either. While waiting in Miami to come back I wove the ends in on my gloves, and got working on the FLS again. I was worried that I might actually run out of yarn before we landed (I hadn't expected to get too far into the green section so I hadn't packed much of that colour). I did make it though.

Once home, I picked up the FLS again, and thought "I should just rip this back--again--and start over properly". But no, I didn't. Please don't remind me of that when I get to the button bands and am unhappy with how it's working/looking!!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Ravelry and Jealousy

I joined Ravelry awhile ago. I had been a little hesitant to join, as I had joined Facebook and I have limits to how much time to 'waste' on the computer. I also don't have a Flickr account so I can't post photos, and I'm not about to bring all my stash upstairs to catalogue it online. I joined a few groups, but I like Yahoo groups better cause all the notifications go to my email. I have found Ravelry great for comparing projects made of different yarns, and for looking at different projects made of the same yarn.

One of the yarns I frequently check out is Noro Kuryeon. I'm hoping to find THE pattern, but haven't yet. I am really surprised at the lack of interesting things people do with this yarn. It would lend itself really nicely to very creative garment structures, but this just isn't happening. Instead, there are a million hats, scarves, mitts, and teacosies. There are even longies and soakers. Now, these are all gorgeous items, due to the Noro, and if I could afford it, and had a local place to get it, perhaps I would make mitts or a Turn a Square hat. But what really gets me, are the things such as felted turtles and baby toys. I can't imagine spending $30 to make a baby sweater out of Noro (although it's gorgeous; it's just I can't spend that sort of money on that sort of item). But to buy Noro to make something like a felted turtle toy? Or a stuffed dinosaur?

On one hand, I am scoffing at their frivolousness. But I think, inside, I am actually jealous. I would love to be frivolous. I'm just too frugal. Lately I was trying to find a yarn in my stash for a special gift. Every yarn that I thought was nice enough for a gift, I wanted to keep to make something for myself. Wow, I'm pretty selfish. Yarn hog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yarn Contest!

No, not by me :( I read a fun knitting blog, "A Blog of My Own" and Toni is having a little yarn giveaway. You get extra points for blogging about the contest and linking to her! I enjoy her blog because she mostly sticks to knitting, and is a real life knitter--not someone who spends hours knitting, or writes knitting books, or going on book tours, etc. She could be your neighbour and you probably wouldn't know it. So, go enter her contest!


There's been so many little things going on since we got home! I have so much I want to write on this blog (and on the other one---for trip pictures, click on "Tracy's Non-Knitting Blog" in the side links). I never have time to sit and write a long post with everything I want to write, so I tend to not even try to right a short one. But I will right now.
This is superwash merino that I got in the boo boo bin at the Sweet Sheep's booth at the K-W Knitter's Fair. $3. For some reason, I had a really hard time getting a good photo of the colour. It's not purple at all.This colour is much better. I guess it just didn't want an artistic shot in the garden with same coloured flowers.So, I bought the wool on Sept. 13, and I started working on gloves on October 9. That's pretty quick, for me! There were a few false starts as I worked on getting the right number of sts and the right needles. I thought the yarn was a little finer than it is, but I ended up using 40st and 4mm needles (I think), which is the same as when I make mittens out of worsted weight yarn. I wanted a criss-cross pattern, like the Shedir ( hat, or like BrooklynTweed's "Koolhaus" hat, but I ended up using the motif I think I linked to in the last post. I wasn't sure what to do with the thumb gusset, so I just did all the increasing in purl sts. When I got up to the fingers, I tried to make the pattern blend like I had for the cuffs, but when there's only 12 sts, a k1, p3 rib just doesn't look like much. I ended up fiddling quite a bit, and getting the fingers in a 1x1 rib. I think the mitts would look better if they had been fingerless, so the pattern would have extended right up to the knuckles, but I wanted fingers. I also wanted the fingers a little longer, but it's alright.
I really love the wool. The purple bits don't bother me too much, even though they clustered in a few spots. Sort of looks like my pen exploded in my purse, LOL. I have about 1/2 the ball left over. I'd like a matching hat but highly doubt there's enough (there was no yardage). I'm thinking I might actually make a Calorimetry---you know, that wide ribbed headband/ear warmer from a while ago....
I had the gloves just awaiting finishing when we left for the cruise. Of the three projects I took, this one---the one requiring the least amount of work---was the only one that I could work on without a major issue. More on that later!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

So Much to Do!

I really want to write a nice, long knitterly post, with glorious pictures and technical details.

However, I'm running around like mad, getting ready for Lucy's birthday (Friday) and then Rob and I leave on Saturday for a cruise. We get back really late Sun. Nov 16, and the next day is Meg's birthday, and you better believe she knows all about birthdays now! LOL.

So here are a few teasers, of things I'm working on:

Heartland Lace Shawl from Evelyn Clark; on her website--FREE!! Jaggerspun 50-50 Wool-Silk laceweight, 3.5mm needles, many more pattern repeats than the pattern says, and re-worked edging.

Black stole on Singer 327, Card 3, EON out of work, 78-0-79, 1L in work, 1R out-or work, T10, 3 rows tuck, one row stockinette, up to row 632 and I'll keep going till I run out of time. Mystery cone identified by a handwritten sticker "T-3". Doesn't feel very good, but I wanted black and that's what I had.

Sweet Sheep Superwash Merino, DK? From BooBooBin at K-W Knitter's Fair---$3!! There are dark purple spots, and some very pale spots, but I love it. Tipless gloves in a lattice pattern like "Claudia Hat". I really like the Shefir hat from Knitty's Breast Cancer Awareness issue, and Koolhaas from Brooklyntweed, and this is similiar. They are almost done, and it's about 23C/73F outside today!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hey! There was Another FO!

I totally forgot about another FO, probably cause it's already in use! I made Meg a pair of longies from the pink Briggs & Little that I bought at the K-W Knitter's Fair. I did a cable up the leg, but that's a little hard to see. And I tried a ruffle at the bottom. It's okay, but somehow, the pants ended up too short. I made them on the LK150, and handknit the deep ribbed waist, and this time added a drawstring. They are not as soft as the Peace Fleece ones, but that's okay---she's always asleep when I put them on her, LOL. One morning she did decide to keep them on cause it was cold out :) Last Thursday I was feeling too sick to go to band practice, so I went to a special meeting of the Halton Hands in Motion Knitting and Crocheting Guild. This is the 'Georgetown Group' that I used to go to every month. They had their first meeting in Sept 98; I joined Sept 2000. The original members from the first meeting were all honoured with gifts and stuff and I'll admit, I felt a little left out. I had almost joined the years before, but we didn't get my little car until Nov 98 and I wasn't comfortable driving down there myself. I did get my picture taken for the local newspaper, and I mentioned that I had been coming for 8 years; all the way from O'ville! There were some little games, like at baby showers, and I won a package of "Kleenex" with sheep on it. Much more elegant than my roll of toilet paper that I had taken! We had been asked to bring something old, related to knitting. Most people brought their first/an old project. I had forgotten about it, and was looking around for items for the show and tell. I grabbed the longies from above, and when show and tell started and we were reminded about 'old items' I used the longies as an old 'idea' with a modern twist. LOL.

This isn't really finished, but I'm not sure when it will be. When will Zeller's have Bernat yarn on sale? I finally decided to stick with the tuck pattern I had used for the first blanket, but do 4 rows blue, 2 rows white. No switching around of the carriage for odd number rows. It was going fine until I noticed a section in the middle seemed to have a different tension!I really don't know what happened!! I hope it comes out in the blocking! Then, right near the end, I wasn't paying attention, and had every MK nightmare happen!!
The yarn came out of the carriage and that makes the knitting fall off when you zip across! Eek! I got it back on, tuck sts and all, and finished off. Then casted on for another baby blanket using stash yarn and a slightly different tuck pattern that I'm not enjoying much, and could probably have done much quicker and easily-er on the Singer 327 although I thought the yarn might be a tad too heavy. It's probably not, but I did need something for the machine in the garage to keep me busy when the kids are playing out front, LOL.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Finally, a FO

Sigh. It's been a FO drought, but I did a quickie project to help fight the chill. FiberTrends felted clogs! And, it stash busted! It's all Lopi (not Lite, not Bulky), one strand, and 8mm needles. I made the ladies' large, which is a size 10. They are a smidge big on me (I"m almost a 9), but I'll be able to wear them with thick socks. These are the first pair for myself!!

I bought the main colour from Camilla Valley Farm late June, the light blue and dark green for the soles came from Rob for Christmas a couple years ago, also from CVF. It took slightly more than one ball of the main colour--I think I started the second ball just after starting the cuff.

As usual, I thought they looked a little large pre-felting. Who doesn't think that?!Here's a little tip. Although you need hot water to felt, don't use the diaper load for the extra agitation and to try to conserve water. LOL. Plus, as usual, I put a bit too much detergent in. Oh yeah, total bubble bath in the machine!As usual, too, they didn't come out exactly the same. I tend to get one that has a nice shaped opening, and one that gets a little flared. I was a little worried that the light coloured yarn wouldn't felt well, but it was fine, and I quite like how the little specks of colour appeared after felting. They are quite hairy, not surprisingly though as the other Lopi ones I made last Christmas were quite hairy!

And because every other knitting blog seems to have a cat, I thought I'd show you a picture of our new cat:It's a new breed: GoldenFurline. can't seem to find the head?LOL!!!

Recognize the colouring?

No, it's not a cat. It's the result of a 5-minute Cooper brushing....after having plucked out a handful of loose hair while outside! He is shedding like crazy!

Yes, we choose our pet(s) to match our furniture. And our new carpeting, LOL.

Saturday, October 04, 2008


A brief history. Nothing important, LOL.

Before I moved to Orangeville, I had attended one or two Creative Needlework Festivals in Toronto. Back then, around 1996/97, there was not much knitting on the internet. I was a member of (Delphi back then) and spent a lot of time on the knitting forum---although not as much time as I spend on the computer now! We moved to O'ville late '98; I didn't go to the Festival that fall as we got married on Thanksgiving weekend, LOL. In O'ville, there wasn't much knitting going on either. You could get yarn at Wal-Mart and Zellers, and in a gift/art supply shop downtown. In March of 99, I saw an ad in the newspaper for a talk at a museum on the history of knitting/socks, and then weekly sock knitting classes. I thought "Why would I want to knit socks?" I had never used double pointed needles, and I"m not sure if I had knitted circularly at the time. Eager to meet other knitters, I went to the talk, and signed up for the classes. I learned about 'sock yarn' as opposed to regular yarn. We had to buy it from the teacher, who was also a weaver and got it from her supplier (people say it's like crack, LOL).

The classes were held in a little area of the county museum. It was a pretty drive up there, about 25 minutes. You could take either boring old Highway 10, or scenic but deadly Airport Rd/County Rd 18. I usually went up on Highway 10 (it was Sat. morning, LOL) and back on Airport Rd. If you go here and watch the "Main Gallery" show, you'll see a bit area between the log houses (yes, there are real log homes INSIDE the museum). This bright area is a large window which over looks Airport Rd and the farms. The view isn't spectacular; it's just a farm with a cedar woodlot, actually rather dreary in the spring. But I chose two yarns that looked like that farm---a grey/moss marl and a solid moss. Got started, knitted for a while on the 2x2 ribbing and found out the next week I was knitting inside out. LOL. Easily fixed. I finished the first sock and was so impressed with myself! I even knit the second one. The instructor handed out an old Patons/Baldwin/Beehive instruction sheet on grafting the toe, and I've never looked back.

Before the classes ended, I bought some more of the yarn, Schoeller-Esslinger Fortissima 6 ply to 'use up' the leftover yarn from these socks. A few months later, the teacher offered a few knit nights in her home and I bought a few more balls. I think this was the official start of stashing (as opposed to making the Kaffe Fasset sweaters when I bought lots of yarn but for a specific project that I then actually made).

I remember going to the Creative Needlework Festival in October 2000. I had signed up for my first classes that summer, never even thinking about the fact I had a newborn. On the Friday I took Huey and all the 'stuff' (this was pre-sling days when I was still hesitant on nursing in public--I knew I could, but it was physically awkward for me). The first class was something with Lucy Neatby. There were about 12 women around a table, in a large room that had several other classes going on in different corners (one was Lily Chin, one was a sewing class). Huey had slept all the way down of course, and woke up for the class. He was awake and active, but not crying or anything. Part way through, an 'official' came in and asked me to leave! I don't recall seeing 'no babies' in the booklet, but I didn't have it anymore. It was in there next time!

I spent the rest of the time shopping. One of the first booths was always Koigu. (It is possible I saw it before this time, at an earlier show). I bought two skeins, one cream, one brown/moss/purple. I wanted to make Rob socks. I had tried before, with some Kroy, but he didn't like them. The Koigu was $11/skein back seemed a fortune to me, but there wasn't much available in 'specialty' sock yarn! There was also Shelridge Farm, and I don't remember any other ones. Everyone seemed surprised that a) I knit, and b) I knit socks. They weren't quite the hot item they are now. I popped into the afternoon class I was supposed to take, and got the handouts.

The next day, Saturday, Huey stayed home and I went to my other class. It was about how to be a knitting teacher. At one point, a woman mentioned that some stupid lady had brought her baby to a class and thankfully she got asked to leave. I spoke up and said that stupid lady was me and I spoke with the instructor after and she was not the one who complained, and hadn't minded the baby....she was more upset about being in one room with other classes going on (especially Lily Chin's bright yellow sweater). It was interesting, to say the least.

Anyway. The Koigu. I played with it for a long time. I also got a mini skein from one of the classes and thought it matched, but it turned out to be slightly different (I think Koigu has way too many 'colours' that are very similar). I ended up with many mini skeins, getting the two multi colours mixed up. I learned that I didn't want anything stranded on the bottom of my foot, and I felt that a sock yarn blend would be better for the foot. At the time, that meant sewing the sole to the top. I decided on Kroy for the sole, using leftover yarn from the first pair of socks I made for Rob (that he didn't like and I now wear). I needed more. Bought more, found out it's 4ply and I had been using 3 ply. I think I kept the heel turn and toes in 4 ply. THe guage for the sole was different than the top of the foot. A simple project took forever (I don't know. It certainly was not instant gratification. I wanted perfection.) At some point I decided they would be for me instead of Rob when he kept insisting he doesn't like wool socks. Finally, I ended up with these:

Why do my ankles always look so thick in hand knit socks? I really don't think they are that thick in real life! Anyway. There is no stretch to these socks, and they are a pain to get on. Once on, they feel great, but I never wear them cause they are so unstretchy. They also got slightly felted. I put them on yesterday when I was so cold, but realized soon that the sole was still good old Kroy, and while warmer than Wal-Mart socks, not as warm as 100% wool. Also, I was surprised to find out the heels are wearing really thin---the same coloured/yarn Kroy socks that I made Rob that I now wear quite a bit are not that worn!

So, I actually do not have a pair of 100% wool socks yet! The Shelridge Farm wool I used finally last year, they accidentally got a little felted too and I gave them to my cousin's daughter. I guess I better hurry up and finish the entrelac socks in the STR. Of course, because I'm so cold, I'm working on a pair of felted clogs. They are going good and I guarantee you that next week when it warms up again---that's when they are being felted and dried! LOL.

I find social history of knitting very interesting. Have I ever posted why/how I learned to knit? Also, knitting trends are interesting. When I started knitting socks, people were like 'Why?' and there was very little sock yarn available, mostly boring standards like Kroy. The increase in popularity of socks can be directly linked to the Internet, and probably has a lot to do with too. You can see changes in sock pattern history, from lace, to plain but self-striping/hand dyed striping, to the current popularity of semi-solids paired with twisted stitches and large patterns taking the whole sock to show. THe number of yarn dyers specializing in sock yarns is phenomenal! There is a new interest in sock architecture too which is fabulous, although I do feel a little sorry for a new sock knitter trying to choose what to do! Back then, there was heel flap or short row heels, star toe or wedge toe, and all were done top down. That was it. Only a few sock books (but lots of old vintage patterns around), and the designs in some of them look quite old now, LOL. My nine years of sock knitting has been interesting, but I really wish I had more socks in my drawer to reflect this history!!!

Friday, October 03, 2008


I had no intentions of being 'away' for so long. I'm at the computer a lot, but I don't actually sit down much, LOL. Meg and I are still figuring out this 'home alone' thing and although we have some routines, each day is very different! I was also, I'll admit, hoping for some more comments/entries!! I know more than three people have read the blog!
Well, my random number generator (Meg and a cup) picked #2, which was ikkinlala. I don't know ANYTHING about you!! LOL. I think Marie needs to knit with some handpainted/multi-coloured yarn sometime soon, LOL, and Linda, anytime you want something, you just call me up and come shopping in my basement, LOL. So, Ikkinlala, send me an email tracykm at yahoo dot com so I can get your info!
I have nothing new to show. I'm working on a shawl. It's getting slow. My February Lady Sweater needs to be totally frogged. My entrelac socks got ripped back a bit, re-knit, and have just been waiting for when I need brainless work but not in the dark (it's short row heel time). I started Enchanting, from Fiddlesticks knitting, and it's been rough going. My Spring Thaw socks are frozen. There's a pile of little things that need buttons, etc. I can't remember the last time I actually finished something, other than the blankets I've been doing on the LK150. Oh yeah, another one to show, needs an edging though, but need more yarn for that. Sigh. And, to top it off, I'm FREEZING, so I've started a pair of Fiber Trends clogs for myself.

Now, I'm off to change from 75% wool socks to 100% wool socks (do I have some?) to see if that helps any. Seriously. I am so cold and stiff. But, I'm going to walk to get the kids---we have done it EVERY day so far, I'm so proud!!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Some Forgotten Projects

Recently my MIL asked if I had any of the cute 'flower' hats I had made a few years ago. I didn't have any left that were small enough for a newborn (and that Meg hadn't worn). But I took some pictures of a couple other outfits to show her. Then I realized that they were from before this blog started so I haven't shared them with you! I tried selling these in craft shows, fall 2003 and 2004.

I'm not sure if I knew about the Baby Surprise Jacket at that time, but I did have the pattern for the similiar Baby Surplice Jacket. The one thing that bothers me with these sweaters is the shoulder seams/top of arms is a little stiff compared to the sweater. Even though I do a kitchener grafting, it's still stitches to rows so I don't think there's anyway to avoid it.

Simple rectangular 'dishcloth' blanket with way too many ends to weave in.
Another EZ sweater that is currently very popular, the February Baby Sweater. I don't like how the ribbons are done; if anyone has suggestions for sewing on ribbons, I'd love to hear it.
I thought the bonnet looked a little big for a newborn although I'm sure I followed a pattern. But, maybe not:
What a cute little shrug it makes for an almost 3 year old!
AND! This is post #300!!! So, I think I will have a little giveaway. Last year at the K-W Knitter's Fair I scooped up one little skein of some handpainted Artisan NZ Merino Laceweight. It's so soft and pretty, but I think I'd like to pass it on to someone else who might appreciate it! Leave me a comment, about anything! and I'll draw a name. Contest closes Monday morning or afternoon, or whenever I get back to the blog, but not before Monday morning :)

Friday, September 19, 2008


The Internet has been a great way to connect with people from all over the world, and right in your own backyard too. Back in the summer, I wrote about test knitting some hat patterns on the LK150 for a guy named "Ray" who has a website; Ray is an evacuee from Hurricane Katrina, and relocated to Houston, where he totally rebuilt his life. He started his own yarn dyeing business. He dyes beautiful yarns, and does custom orders too.

Well, Ray was pretty hard hit from Hurricane Ike. No power, no Internet, etc. He can't dye wool, he can't take orders, he can't process orders. Hence, he can't make money either. If you're even slightly thinking of ordering gorgeous yarn in the next month or so, please consider him. Right now he's asking people to please be patient if you have ordered yarn, and to give him a couple weeks to clean up the damage and get everything back in order. But after that, please support this hardworking fiber loving fellow!

I also have his address, if you'd like to send donations of non-perishable foods that don't need power to cook them. I'm not sure what qualifies, but let me know if you'd like it.

We're very blessed in Southern Ontario; we don't get weather (often) that can cause such catastrophic events in people's lives. So we got some rain last weekend. At least we still have our house and family.


Ever have one of those projects that should be easy, but stupid things keep screwing up?
I was so thrilled with the tuck stitch baby blanket I just finished (even though the edging had me whipped for a bit). Then I moved on and did a whole bunch of different dishcloths to use up stash. I think I made 13, and gave my mom a couple. Then, I decided to use up more stash, and make a boy baby blanket. I choose a tuck pattern from a book and got started.

Right off, there was a problem. The pattern had three rows of the Main Colour, and two rows of Contrast Colour.'s no different in machine knitting than in handknitting. The MC is never going to be at the right end. I could lift the carriage and move it to the correct end, but I didn't know if this would mess anything up with the tuck. So, I changed the pattern to have four rows MC, two rows CC. Now it didn't look at all like the picture, but it was 'okay'. It definitely was taking longer than the original blanket, but still tolerable.

Until.....I was walking up the driveway and noticed that something looked 'off'.Can you see it? When working at the machine, you're looking at the purl side, and particularly in tuck stitches, there is not a lot of definition (especially when using yarns that don't have a high contrast). It's not very noticeable, but it just looked wrong somehow.

In about the middle of this picture, you can see where the colour pattern is off from the rest. It would actually have looked neat if the entire blanket was like that, but not one stripe!So, I ripped it off, and re-wound the yarn. It's Bernat Baby Co-ordinates, so big pull skeins---to big to wind on my winder. So now I'm dealing with having to pull of enough yarn for each row.

I decided to try the simple tuck pattern I used for that girly blanket, but do three rows MC, two rows CC, and just pick up the carriage and move it to the other end when needed. I wanted the odd number of MC rows because 1) I have more blue than white and 2) I thought it would make it more interesting.

More interesting? Not nearly enough so to justify the extra brain power needed. Indeed, after about 6", I looked carefully at the pattern that formed, and found that there didn't seem to be one. There should have been if I had just been repeating things correctly. I found the mistake row, and decided I didn't want to fix it, I ripped again!

Took a break, and made the longies from the Briggs & Little from the K-W fair. Started the blue and white baby blanket AGAIN after school yesterday. This time, the same simple tuck as the girl blanket, but 4 rows MC, 2 rows CC. It seems to be going great, even if the pattern is a little boring. Sometimes boring is the winner.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Yarn High

If you see me on Facebook, you would have read my status last week as "Selling off Baby Items to get Cash for K-W" or something. Didn't sell off as much that week as I would have liked, but the Kitchener-Waterloo Knitter's Fair was still great.

They made some changes, notably---using two ballrooms. The aisles were HUGE, so you're less tempted to jump back and forth, and to be more orderly, but the booths were still the same size, so they tended to get just as crowded as before. But, if you wanted to stand in the large aisle to chat with someone, there was plenty of room. It made it harder to run into friends, but I still spotted a few people I knew.

I got there just before 9:30, and by the time I organized myself, the line up was almost gone. I started with the room on the left. The second booth was "The Sweet Sheep". Now, at the end of the show last year, I ran into Zehava and Sharon, who took me and Cindy to that booth. Nice stuff, but I was at the end of my budget. I've look a few times at the website, but I'm not a big online shopper. Nor do I pay full price for many things :)

Well. Wouldn't you know. I spotted their "Boo Boo Bin" right away. Oh boy.

Can you see the tag? Superwash BFL (BlueFacedLeicester), 800yds, $20! But, you say, it was in the Boo Boo Bin. I couldn't find the booboo at first, but upon closer examining:I am thinking that I will cut out those bits as I come to them, and splice the yarn. There's about 14 really bad strands. A small annoyance, but worth it to me.

These are superwash Merino, 370yd, 430yds and 420yds. One of them feels a little different than the others.I assume this is the 'flaw' in the rosey skein (other than it's skimpier yardage). However, I think that once knitted, it will look fine. Definitely fine for $5. I could not find flaws in the green or the brown, although I could see knots and I heard the lady say some skeins had 'too many knots'.More superwash Merino. The pink is bright and a little thicker than the sock yarn. Their flaws?The ties on the green one were too tight, resulting in bits of bright green. It goes quite deep, but I think it will be fine when knitted. Visual interest.The bright pink has some blue speckles through one section. It might look fine knitted, or maybe I should add some more blue speckles? Before or after knitting? I'm thinking a hat or mitts for me :)

I'm excited to finally have some of The Sweet Sheep yarn, but after I found out she's from Oshawa (Rob's hometown), I felt bad that I didn't buy anything full price!

One yarn I really wanted to get is the new Noro Kuryeon sock yarn. Early on (right after The Sweet Sheep), I found the Purple Purl's booth, and they had it for $11 (an earlier booth had it 'on sale' for $18). The colours are all crazy bright mixes, or boring men colours. So I went crazy.

The bottom is 1375yds of Merino Lace by Skacel. It came in a creamy white too, and I thought maybe I'd buy it instead, and dye it myself. However, the thought of skeining up 1375 yds of yarn.....and at $16.95.....The hard part was choosing the colours. There was a gorgeous green and purples mix, but I choose this one as I've really been in a pink streak lately, but it also has brownish colours.

Every year I see a 'booth' with bags and bags of Briggs & Little, all on the floor. People always seemed excited at the price, but I never looked. But now that I've been making longies, I knew I had to stop and check it out. I bought 6 skeins of Regal, which the lady said was softer than the other one there. The pinkish coloured ones are not very soft compared to the other 4 skeins. But, they were only $1.50 each! It's 272yds, 20sts/4.5mm. I'm making a pair of XL longies for Meg, and I'm almost done and will have to dip into the second skein for a bit. The lilac, purple and whites are softer, but were $3 each! I'm planning to dye the whites. Maybe Meg and I will do it together one day. Would that make her more eager to wear them? LOL. It's definately not Merino wool, but it has a nice heathery effect, and feels like it will be a good, sturdy yarn. Great for a rugged sweater or mitts (but not a hat). There is even a bit of VM in it still.

I had really wanted to spend my money on books this time. But still, every time I looked at the sticker, I just couldn't get my wallet out. Not even for the softcover version of Victorian Lace Today. I REALLY want that book! There were other books I'd really like too, some I might be able to get through the Crafter's Choice Book Club, but others are too old. It was just 'easier' to grab $65 of booboo skeins, than two $25-$30 books.

But I did find, at the Shelridge Farm booth, many patterns by Cookie A. I got three that I really wanted, so that's cool.

After the show (I actually left the hall at 11:50 after running into Sharon), I had a long lunch and touchy feeling session in the back of my truck :) Then I went to Value Village and bought a variety of stuff for the girls, and making diapers. I asked for old polyester (satin) clothes on Freecycle, but apparently no one in Orangeville wore polyester. Then I went to Lens Mill and got some small size circulars. And one ball of sock yarn. Plain white. To dye. Someday.

There is one ball of yarn that I got but didn't show. More on it later.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Knot Much Happening

Absolutely nothing new to show. Nada. Zip. Zilch. I'm knitting away, every day, but nothing is finished, and somethings are going backwards. So, instead, I'll leave you with this:At first glance, you might think it's from LionBrand. But no! The Madonna lookalike is sporting a hat 'designed' by Teva Durham, featuring a new yarn by her, and offered free (the pattern, not the yarn) at . I didn't know we needed free patterns for ugliness. Teva's a great designer, a little edgy, but this?! Ick.