Monday, 31 December 2007

Clean Up

Yes the New Year is closing in and it's time to clean up those UFO's from 2007. The biggest one is the sweater for my 19 year old son which I started last spring and got sidetracked by knitting for the Button Up Your Top Down book and never got back to it. Leaving it this long has been praying on my mind since I hate to discourage a child who wants his mother's knitting but it has also given him the chance to Change His Mind. These are the new requests: it needs to be longer (OK, he has grown another inch, we can let that one pass but it's a really good thing I knit this from the Top Down), it needs a thumb hole in the cuff (I hadn't got to them yet), and it needs a hood (a what???).

I had the body and 1/2 of one sleeve done when the requests came in. Now I have finished one sleeve with the thumb hole, I have one more cuff to do, I can take out the cast off and put on one more stripe in lime green and then ... the hood. I'll have to research this. I've never knit a hood. I think I'll leave the ribbing in place and take out the cast on round and then we'll see. Could be interesting.

My son has a 34" chest (and he's almost 6' tall and yes I do feed him occasionally) and mapped out this sweater himself which is 42" around, with the new stripe on the bottom it will finish at 28" long and the sleeves including the cuffs are 23" long from the underarm. The beauty of knitting from the top is that I could do all of this and try it on to be sure as I went along. I have very oddly shaped people living in my house. I am 5' tall but if you take my son and add about 4 more inches and stretch everything up and a little out you have my husband. Yes we are one of those very odd looking couples you see on the street and I never realize how odd until I see photos of us standing together. Everyone looks tall to me.
I am especially glad to see the end of the 'black' phase. He now has a turquoise ski jacket, red snow pants and turquoise shoes. Yes my kid is back. And he wants a sunshine yellow hat to match his ensemble. I'm on it.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

Gift For Me

Do you love this week or what. It's like no man's land, the week between Christmas and New Years. Some are working but not everybody so it's iffy if you're going to get much done that involves others. So you do a little bit or none at all. I did a little bit yesterday and that felt good so today I'm taking another break.

I am sitting here at 2pm in my housecoat and I'm loving it. I've had 3 cups of coffee and breakfast with dessert (still lots of goodies around). And I might contemplate lunch soon. Aaannd I knit myself a present. New Mittens. My pattern (earlier blog) seems to work out fine (my daughter got those). I should try it in some other weight of yarn too but these are for me. I am tickled red to have a new pair of mittens. I am a walker and these curl around my fingers, the thumb is nice and roomy and I made them to my exact hand measurements. Lovely.

Tonight we are partying with friends and I have a second sock to knit. There will be lots of good food and plenty of music being played and after a quiet day or two of reading I'm ready to head out.

Hope you are enjoying this time. The new year is closing in fast.


Friday, 28 December 2007

I Cheated

Yes, I'm admitting it now. I cheated on the 'no knitting for Christmas'. I was so close to making it a no knit Christmas but I fell at the last moment.

My daughter has had the same boyfriend for a year and so I thought that if he is going to be around for awhile (??) I should initiate him into the knitted Christmas presents from the beginning of the giving. So I knit him a black scarf which got washed and was almost dry when it got put into the gift bag and delivered. It was such a quick turn around that I failed to get a photo. Although black is notoriously bad for photos anyway, all you would have seen is a scarf-like strip of black knitting, close your eyes and imagine, it's as good as the photo I could have gotten. It even had some yarn overs in it just to stretch his knitting appreciation and keep me awake during the knitting.

Why is a scarf the first project knitters are given to make? They are boring. I am thoroughly convinced that the first project should be a felted bag. The felting makes all the boo-boos disappear, you get lots of round and round knitting practice, it might be usable, it doesn't have to fit anyone, it is not destroyed if you don't follow the directions to the letter and you can always cut it up and resew it if it is so far from a purse that you can't imagine that the instructions had anything to do with the finished product.

This is my scarf frustration coming out. My scarf was very nice but knitting to deadline does take some of the pleasure away. I'm glad I did it and I hope he liked it. And I didn't even say 'this is just the beginning...' in an ominous voice. My daughter probably already has.

- Deb

Sunday, 23 December 2007

One Up, One Down

Left mitten is top down and right mitten is bottom up and does it seem that the right is slightly bigger than the left? Shhh don't tell my daughter since she asked for them. I was a little more relaxed once I had figured out what I was going to do which may explain the gauge difference.
I have a couple of comments now that I finished the bottom up version. The mittens are easier to do bottom up. I used the K2tog decrease at the top which looked better (I tried the ssk first and ripped it back). They are comfy to wear and I'm going to do another pair just to check them once more.
Overall I'm quite pleased with these mittens. If you have seen these somewhere else tell me. I'm sure they have been done. I just don't want to end up with something exactly like another designer's mitten. Once I do another pair I'm going to look at decorating them with a pattern and see what I can come up with. Have fun with these. (Pattern in the last post.)

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Now From the Bottom Up

I thought the bottom up version of these anatomical mittens would be easier and that has defintely been the case. I had to do the first mitten Top Down to see where to go and how many stitches I would need at the bottom, not being an abstract thinker and unable to do this without needles in my hands.
And now I am prepared to give you the low down on doing this mitten. I have decided to write it out for you in "inches" instead of stitch numbers since there is no reason you can't do this in any yarn you have. I would suggest knitting to a tighter tension than you would for a sweater so the mitten is warmer.
Anatomical Mitten - large child to medium adult. (8" around palm & back of mitten).
I knit this mitten in Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride on 3.75mm needles and got 5 sts = 1". So I'll put in the stitch numbers for this wool and gauge in brackets.
This is an untested pattern so BEWARE of pitfalls and please don't swear at me too much if I screwed up here (always assume any screw up is mine).
This is how it works: uses set of 5 dpns.
Cast On 7" of sts [35 sts]. Knit every round for desired length of cuff (the bottom 1" will roll up). Increase 1" worth of stitches [5 sts] evenly around (8" worth of stitches on needles [40 sts]). Knit every round for 1/2" for children and small adult, 3/4" for medium adult size.
All Rounds begins at right side of palm:
Distribute sts on needles as follows: Needle#1 has 3" [15sts] worth of sts (thumb), Needle#2 has 1" [5sts] worth of sts (palm), Needles#3 & #4 each has 2" [10sts] worth of sts (back of hand).
Every Round: Knit across N#1; N#2 - Increase 1 st (using backward loop) and knit to end of needle; Knit across N#3 & #4.
Note: Backward Loop: Put a loop on needle (same as an e-loop cast on st), in the next round knit into the back or front of this loop whichever will twist the loop around once more and tighten the stitch.
Repeat Every Round above until your palm needle (Needle#2) has 3 1/2" [17sts] worth of sts.
Next Round: Needle#1 - Put 3" [15sts] of thumb sts onto stitch holder, Cast On 1/2" [3sts] worth of sts onto empty N#1 and with same needle Knit 1 1/2" [7sts] from N#2 onto N#1 (2" [10sts] worth of sts on N#1); Knit across remaining 2" [10sts] worth of sts on Needles #2; Knit across Needles #3 & #4.
Reality Check: You now have 2" [10sts] worth of sts on each of the 4 needles and 3" [15 sts] of thumb sts are on stitch holder.
Note: If you checked the photo you will notice that I didn't put the thumb sts on a holder as most mitten pattern are written out to do. I knit the thumb first since I hate going back and doing the fiddly bits. So you can go directly to the thumb directions and do as I did or continue here as written. To do the thumb first I cast on 3 sts to make the thumb in the round and worked thumb as below. When I came back to the body of the mitten I picked up & knit from the 3 cast on sts of the thumb.
Distribute sts on needles as follows: Needle#1 has 1" [5sts] worth of sts (palm), Needle#2 has 3" [15sts] worth of sts (thumb), Needles#3 & #4 each has 2" [10sts] worth of sts (back of hand).
Every Round: Needle#1 - knit to end of needle and Increase 1 st (using backward loop); Knit across Needles #2, #3, #4.
Note: Backward Loop: as above.
Repeat Every Round until your palm needle (Needle#1) has 3 1/2" [17sts]worth of sts.
Next Round: N#1 - Knit across 3 1/2" [17sts] worth of sts; N#2 - put 3" [15sts] of thumb sts on stitch holder; Cast On 1/2" [3sts] worth of sts onto end of N#1 (4" [20sts] worth of sts on N#1) and redistribute sts so that you have 2" [10sts] worth of sts on N#1 and N#2; Knit across N#3 & N#4.
Reality Check: You now have 2" [10sts] worth of sts on each of the 4 needles and 3" [15sts] of thumb on stitch holder.
Knit every round until body of mitten reaches the top of index finger or 1 1/2" shy of desired mitten length.
To decrease the top of the mitten you are going to decrease on each needle every round:
You can swirl to the Right - Every Round: *Knit to last 2 sts on needle, K2tog; repeat from * to end of round.
OR you can swirl to the Left - Every Round: * SSK, knit to end of needle; repeat from * to end of round.
Repeat the Every Round of your choice until you have 8 sts in total remaining. Break wool and with blunt sewing needle thread through 8 sts, pull tight and secure.
Distribute 3" [15sts] worth of sts onto 2 needles.
Next Round: Attach wool and knit across 2 needles, pick up & knit 1 st in gap, pick up & knit 1/2" [3sts] worth of sts from cast on of body of mitten, pick up & knit 1 st in gap.
Next Round: Knit across 2 needles, on third needle SSK, knit to 2 sts before end of neeedle, K2tog. (decreasing the extra sts picked up in the gap)
Knit 2 rounds.
Decrease Round: Knit around decreasing 2 sts evenly. Distribute sts so more or less same number of sts on each of the 3 needles.
Knit every round until thumb is 1/2" shy of desired length.
Decrease Round: Decrease 1 st on each needle swirling to the right or left as body of mitten.
Repeat Decrease Round above decreasing 3 sts every round until you have approximately 3 or 4 sts remaining. Break wool and thread through sts, pull and secure.
That's it. I would normally test and retest but have a go and see how it works. Do you like the inches instructions? I'm going to see if I can get a contact email set up so you can let me know.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Anatomical Mitten

This mitten is the result of a conversation with Cynthia MacDougall who is the editor and owner of the Knit Together publication of the Canadian Guild of Knitters at our Guild meeting last night. Between munching on Christmas goodies we discussed "The mitten that is shaped like your hand". I'm sure it's been done before but not by me so it was an interesting exercise.

I used Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride with 3.75mm needles and I'm getting 5 sts to the inch.
Starting at the top with Cast On of 8 sts. Divide onto 4 needles and working in the round, increase in the first stitch of every needle (using Knit into front and back of same stitch) until you have 10 sts on every needle (40 sts total). Knit every round until you have reached the crotch of your palm and thumb.

Cast On 4 sts for the thumb (I used the yarn from the other end of the ball and 3 extra needles). Increase (using Kf/b above) in every stitch - 8 sts. Divide onto needles (I only had 2 so had thumb sts on 2 needle and knit with third needle) and increase (as before) in the first stitch of each of 4 sections of thumb until you have 16 sts total. Knit every round until 1/2" above crotch of thumb and palm. Increase 2 sts - 18 sts, knit every round until thumb is long enough.

Leave 4 sts from palm and 4 sts from thumb to be grafted together later.
Knit across the outside of the thumb (14 sts) across the palm (16 sts) and across the back (20 sts). Work 13 sts of thumb, work an SSK (last st of thumb and first st of palm) Every Round until you have 19 sts across the palm (thumb sts which remain at 14 sts + 5 palm sts). Work 4 round even on the 39 sts.
Decrease 5 sts evenly and knit every round for the cuff (as long as you wish). I haven't finished here but it's a very cool mitten.
Now I am going to work it from the bottom-up because I think it will be EASIER.
Did you catch the dancing needles in the bottom photo. The joys of photographing with a mitten on!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Click and Enjoy

Check out the click and enjoy! on Dec.12 blog entitled Knitted by Nana. It will give you your smile for the day.

We have been digging out and I'm showing you the marvelous shovelling job I did. It doesn't look like much but we got a ton of snow yesterday but today is a beautiful sunny day.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Knitting Merrily Along

I finished the bottom border on the wool/hemp (from Hemp for Knitting) and am very happy with it. It's definitely coming along. I have both sleeves to do with long lace cuffs. This is my latest Top Down formulating the deeper V-Neck but you won't really get a good feel for it until I try it on so hang on while I get these sleeves finished.

The excitement at our house of late is that my husband, paul, preformed his Donnelly Project on the Friday and Saturday evenings of the first weekend of December to a sold out crowd. This is a house concert setting where we put 30 people in a living room for a cozy, up close and personal concert. The evening was a live recording of stories (written by Sue) and songs (written by paul) to tell the story of the reign of terror and ultimate end of the Donnelly family in the 1800's. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and there will be a CD. Most exciting. That's my guy behind the mike and Sue the story teller in the left corner.

I pulled out my box of disaster projects and found a shawl that had been banished to the box for bad behaviour but could now be reworked into a shawl I could use. Our house is cold and drafty and I was in desperate need of some warm covering so I could knit in the evenings. I didn't waste any time in rewinding the wool or washing and straightening out the kinks I just undid the cast on and started. This shawl is not going outside my house. It was a wonderful project and my first Faroe shawl. It is the Fenna shawl from Stahman's Shawls & Scarves book by Myrna Stahman. It is Top Down with shoulder shaping so it sits well and doesn't slide off your shoulders. It needs a brooch or tie to keep it closed and I'm toasty and warm.

Just to keep you posted on the Non-Knitting Christmas, I have not given in to guilt and am still fairly stress-free.


Monday, 10 December 2007


I am going on record to say that "I am not knitting for Christmas this year !"

I feel so free now. No panic, no knitting Christmas Eve, no wondering if this is at all to the liking of the recipients - are they just saying they like it?, no wondering about fit or colour choice or ... Well, you all know exactly how this goes. This is a major sigh of relief for me. I do have one or two things stock piled, actually exactly 3 things, which will be gifted away. I can't believe what a burden off my shoulders this is.

I am going to work a bit on my house - paint, throw some more stuff out, move my 2 bookcases of knitting books to my office/garage, fix up my daughter's room since it's stuffed full (she's coming home this weekend). I am going to enjoy reading blogs of hysterical knitters counting down to the big day (I am NOT going to feel guilty - OK maybe a little bit, but I will not pick up my needles for the last minute quick little something). I might even bake some cookies this year since I won't be knitting for Christmas. I will still be knitting, of course, but I am going to knit some projects designed by other people which, for me, is a relief in itself.

So my best wishes go out to you, Christmas knitters, I hope you make the deadline without loosing too much sleep.


Thursday, 6 December 2007

I Got Nothing

I have a severe case of the tizzy's. I'm spinning around and around and accomplishing nothing. I finished my socks, yay! The pattern has been sent off to the pattern checker along with the Top Down for Tweenys. The sweaters are at the photographers and the socks are washed and waiting to go too. They got left behind and can't wait to be the glamour queens for a day. It's that restless time when one project is finished and I want to start 5 more but that's always a mistake so I'm trying a new thing - work on one project at a time. It's never worked before but...

The V-Neck Top Down in wool/hemp is progressing but the picture I took is lame. Oh alright I'll show you anyway. This is a tunic with side vents and this shows the back with the bottom edging finished. As of this afternoon I finished the front edging and progress is being made on the sleeves. (This sweater is really not pink. It is really a red/burgundy. And it's not fuzzy either.)

My goal to to wear this tunic at a Christmas party on Friday Dec. 21. Lots of time. I could start maybe one or two other small things like a hat or mittens or finish that second sock I've been carrying around since the beginning of November. This sweater is not the project to carry around anymore since it's getting large. Is this sounding familiar to anyone but me?
I pledge to work on the sleeves of this sweater as my major project until it is finished.


Sunday, 2 December 2007

Socks done, I think.

My Lacey Legs are finished or almost finished except for the ends and maybe one more go at the cuff but so close to being done that I'm celebrating a little.

On these Toe-Up socks there will be a choice of Leg Laciness. One could work the lace panel up the front and keep the back of the leg in stockinette stitch (gold sock in Fleece Artist wool) or for those who cannot control their lace passion there will be the all-over lace leg (orange sock in Shelridge Farm Ultra Soft - pattern slightly obscured by the bright colour but I do love them). I know you might think that designers have it all figured out ahead of time but for me that is not the case. There are two choices because I couldn't decide so I am passing the buck and letting you decide for yourself. I of course now have a pair of each and I remain undecided which pair I like best.

Each design comes with it's own problems. The laciness being only one of the decisions (which I didn't decide) but the other was where the beginning of the round is. I know this is usually not a problem and for most socks it is the centre of the back of the leg or centre bottom of the foot. seemed to me when I was knitting the socks that the beginning was definitely the lace panel on the foot. I divided the sock onto 3 needles with the lace panel on one needle (19 sts) and the other 2 needles (also with 19 sts each) in stockinette stitch. I would tell myself that I was beginning at the centre bottom of the foot (toe-up remember) and knit across the bottom of the foot to the edge of the lace panel. Then I could hear myself saying "OK here we go", check the chart and work across the 19 sts of lace pattern reaching the end of the needle, yes!, and knit across the back 2 needles as quick as I could. This to me means the lace pattern starts it all. I didn't just do this on one sock, no, I checked this out thoroughly on 6 socks and it never varied.

This is not a problem until you come to the top of the leg and - cast off. The yellow sock has the cast off on the front of the sock. Not good. I explained this to a knitting friend yesterday and she advised me to just leave it. But I cannot. The cast off should begin and end at the back where if you make a bit of a hash of sewing the end in it won't mar the perfection of your sock. So where to put the extra 2/3 of a round? Should you begin the round at the back of the leg just above the heel and work the whole leg that way? But that changes the flow of the knitting and was not satisfactory. How about before working the lace on all 3 needles (last 1" of yellow sock has lace on all around the sock) but then you are starting the lace in a different spot and it still felt awkward. So I am going to put the partial knit round above the lace and before you start the purled cuff. The tail isn't sewn in because I have to take out the purled cuff and put the partial round in there and then my cast off will be at the back where it should be!
Is this picky or what? I would tell you that I am not a detail person but I think I would be lying. I think I have been deluding myself thinking that I am a free and easy knitter. I spent way too much time thinking this over and now writing about it. Agonize that's me.

Monday, 26 November 2007

New home away from home

I have a new office. Nice, eh?

We, cabin fever that is, are in a warehouse, one of those storage places where people put all their extra stuff. In our space we have a small retail room and the rest is stacks of patterns and shelves with bags and bags of yarn and shipping materials and you know, all the other stuff it takes to do business. But no room for me. I have been for the most part working at home for the last 10 years, going into the shop on Wednesdays for my Drop-In class (it's like a knitters 'At Home' salon) and usually one other afternoon if I have a class going. But there have, for the last 4 years, been too many people in my house during the day and I am finding it more and more difficult to hold my thoughts together. So this lovely space is one of the garages across the hall from our shop and it is the new home for my classes and our guild meetings. It means I can sit quietly and contemplate my knitting without the phone ringing (except for any customer knitting questions), the need to answer domestic questions or tiptoe around while the 2 men in my house are sleeping since both work shifts. I don't even have to be in a good mood. How great is that.

It needs a little fixing up maybe? It now has 5 more rubber maid boxes in there and another big bin of wool and I will be filling it up with the 2 bookcases of reference books and magazines I have now at home. It's so wonderful to get this out of my teeny, tiny house. I have another sister who is going up to the cottage over Christmas and can retreive a quilt I have up there to go on one wall and maybe a room divider which my father made and my husband decorated which is beautiful and would cover some of the doorway. That will improve things a lot. And I want to get some kind of 4'x8' board to make a blocking table which will not be a table at all but go up on the wall too. I have shawls I want to pin out.

Plans, plans, this is kinda fun. Stay tuned. I didn't get much knitting done today though.


Sunday, 25 November 2007

Lace Panel or All-Over Lace?

Here they are. Two socks with 2 options for "how much lace do you want to work?" Just the Lace Panel (yellow sock) or All-Over Lace (orange sock).
Let's have a closer look at what they both look like.
Look Closer.
Closer Still.
Whoa, too close.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Back to the Socks

I am putting the pullover aside at the moment because I have to get these socks finished up. These are the DK version. I almost always do a DK and fingering versions because they look quite different and I love the speed of the DK socks.

I have come to a decision point once again. Do I work a lace panel up the front or switch to all over lace for the leg? These are toe up socks and I really like both socks.

I may have to wait until I write it out to see if it's not tooo complicated to put both options in. The sticking point here is that I have no idea, since they are knit from the toe up, where the knitter might be on the lace chart when they reached the heel. Makes it tricky for starting the all over lace since it would be on a second chart. Hmmm. Oh I'm sure I could work it out given some time since I do really like both socks.

From the front they both look similar.

But from the side they are different socks. I took the ballerina First Position photo with the camera upside down leaning over my feet. Not bad, eh?
So I am sock knitting this weekend. I have one lace panel fingering weight sock done. I guess I have to make an all-over lace one to compare. The pattern actually works out much better for the fingering pair (no second chart for the legs).
Enough, I must get back to my needles.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Sammie (see comment on last post) cast her vote for the cardigan. But I am trying to do pullovers since I just did a whole book for cardigans (whine, whine). I'm going to go with the pullover and see how it looks and if I change my mind I can always pull out the SCISSORS !! I am not daunted by those nasty snippers.


Friday, 16 November 2007

Pullover, Cardigan, Pullover??

I put several sets of circulars through my Top Down so I could spread it out and have a good look at it. The V is about 8 1/2" deep which is what I had hoped for.

The colour is closer to a burgundy/red than this pink which is showing in the photo.

But a problem has cropped up. As soon as I fold it over (like on the chair back photo) it seems to want to become a cardigan. I had a pullover in my head from the beginning but now...

I intended to put the same holey rib pattern on the cuffs and at the bottom of the pullover. If I stay with the pullover I am now envisioning a tunic style A-line where I could run increases down the sides starting about 4 or 5" below the underarm so that the bottom of the tunic would be about 4" wider than the top with about 6" of holey rib pattern on the bottom and on the 4" cuffs.

If I do a cardigan I would make it shorter, about hip length, with only 3" of holey rib on the bottom border.

I think I will just leave this for now and see if tomorrow it turns back into a pullover. I'm almost positive now that it will because I would really like to see how it would look. I do love a tunic style sweater and with the added A-line swing it could be good.

- Deb

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Two of the Three

I have finished the knitting of the Top Down pullovers for the tweeny set. The pattern will run from 32" to 38" finished measurement of sweater (4 sizes). I have now arranged with Dana to knit a third pullover with a stipe on the chest. This will give you 3 options for the sweater.

I am very pleased with how the ribbed cuff came out. It's always difficult to cast off at the end of the sleeve and so I am always trying any new cast off I come across to see if it would work better. This one worked very well. Not too tight or too loose and gives a nice purled edge to match the 2 purl rounds above the ribbing. Cast Off: With the wrong side facing, K1, *slip stitch on Right needle back onto the Left needle, K2tog (thru back loops); repeat from * until all sts cast off. I also used it to cast off the bottom of the pullover and am thrilled with how it looks.

I have a little more work to do on the pattern and then I will send it off to our pattern checker for a once over. Dana will be test knitting, checking the pattern again. You can't have too many checks on these patterns.

I'm also working on more pullovers. This one has a deeper V than the Button Up book V's have. I've worked out the math on it but am very excited to see if it works. I know that numbers don't lie but sometimes what you think the math is telling you does not actually work out in a sweater. It doesn't look like much at the moment. You can see the collar with the columns of YO's, below that there is a 1/2" section of ribbing so that it will flip over nicely, and then you might be able to see that I have started working some of the short rows across the back and top of the sleeves. At present I am much further along than this photo shows since I have been sneaking in the odd row or two. Tonight the short rows will be finished. I only have about 10 more Short Rows to work. It gets a little difficult to work the last couple of rows with my fingers crossed. - Deb

Monday, 12 November 2007

One More FO.

One Classic pullover with rolled neck finished. Not a glamour shot of it I'm afraid.
I even tried it on (with negative ease of 1") and it feels really good on even though it's several sizes too small for me. It's going to be a pattern for tweeny sizes. This one is finished 36" around, and the pattern will have one size bigger 38" and 2 sizes smaller, down to a 32" sweater. I am finishing up the 32" ribbed neck version today, maybe not all finished today since I have 2 sleeves to do.
Here's a shot of the increasing along the shapeline. I used a symmetrical backward loop on either side of 2 shapeline stitches instead of the standard M1 and I like how it looks. I also like using the loops over my finger because they are not disruptive when I am cruising along the round. I find the standard M1 makes me stop in order to work it and it interrupts the flow. One of the backwards loops is done over my finger and the second one over my thumb, then on the second round I knit into the back or the front of the loop whichever is going to twist the loop one more time. This keeps the increase nice and tight.
When you make a pullover you have to carefully consider your increase. Imagine you are knitting around working one round with increases and a second round of knit only, the phone rings and you go and have a short conversation, on your return you pick up your knitting and .. oh no .. which round was I on the Increase round or the Knit round?? You want to pick an increase where you can tell. On the Increase round you put the backward loop on the right needle and on the Knit round you knit the loop. If there is No Loop you put a loop on (Increase round), and if there Is A Loop you knit into it (Knit round). A Yarn Over works the same way (the YO is there or it isn't) but a M1 does not give you this information without some careful scrutiny of your increase. This only applies to pullovers because cardigans have a right side where you are working your increases and a wrong side where you are working back, so you can choose any increase that turns your crank.
Lecture is finished for today. I'm going to knit my sleeves now and look at the new project I started last night but am firmly putting aside to get this ribbed neck pullover done. If I get one sleeve done today, tonight I can work on the new project (yes the carrot still works for me).

Friday, 9 November 2007

Kawartha Hooks and Needles Guild

I was in Peterborough, ON last night talking about our book Button Up Your Top Down. I had 2 suitcases of samples to show and pass around and lots of information on Top Down knitting. The Peterborough knitters showed up even though it was snowing and were wonderfully friendly and asked great questions (which I love). They were a joy to talk to.

But I have failed dismally as a blogger. I took my camera but do you see a photo? No, I'm afraid not. A good looking group too. I will have to try to do better next time.

I am now on the second sleeve of my blue pullover and progressing but it's slow going at the moment. I have 2 movies lined up so that should finish the sleeve off. If it doesn't I'll have to think about changing professions or something equally drastic.

- Deb

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Progress I Think

I have to check back to see if I have made any progress at all. I have ripped out the bottom of this sleeve a couple of times but am now almost finished one sleeve. One Sleeve! Is that all!
The second sweater is much smaller and I am now working on the bottom ribbing. Could this one be short sleeved? Nah, I guess not. It's snowing here today and doesn't feel like short sleeved weather any more.
Do you have tricks to make yourself "keep on keeping on" when the interesting parts are all done and you just have to finish up? My plan is to watch a movie and ignore what I am knitting and maybe surprise myself by how much I have accomplished in 2 hours. Knitting 2 plainish sweaters at the same time is not the best idea. I am planning a cabled sweater in my head as I knit and knit and knit. Not that I hate it or anything I'm just getting a wee bit bored. My carrot is that I have lace socks to do after these 2 are finished.
Keeping my eye on the carrot,
- Deb

Monday, 5 November 2007

I got this much done while watching 2 curling games on the weekend. I did miss a few shots since there was quite a bit of increasing to be done but I'm very practiced at sports spectator knitting. I'm sure quite a few of us are. It eases the stress of not being out there playing where you might actually have some control over the game. It keeps me from biting my nails and muttering to myself. Although there might be a few tense rounds of knitting in this sweater I would rather be watching with something in my hands keeping them busy. I have many sweaters that have been knit in curling rinks across southern Ontario since my daughter has been curling competitively for the last 9 years. Including the time I knit a sock with 2 heels and didn't even realize until the sock was finished. The curling was very exciting that weekend.

This week I'm just trying to get this sweater finished. Lots of plain knitting for a bit so my library book is in a book stand and I'm ready to enjoy reading and knitting round and round. After this is competed I think there is some lace in my future.


Friday, 2 November 2007

Changing My Ways

If you read the last post you will note that I decided I would try to use 2 circular needles instead of double points when working the sleeve of the Top Down pullover. You may also note in the photo here that there are no circular needles in sight. Oops.
I believe in trying new ways of doing things so started with the 2 circular needles and I wish I could say I persevered since learning a new technique is not always comfortable but ... I lasted 1"/5cm. I then dug out my dpn's and even though it feels like one of them is one size smaller it's more comfortable for me than the 2 circs.
I like using dpn's. I am competent using dpn's. I like to finish one needle and switch to the next needle and feel like I'm motoring along. I don't get obvious ladders where the needles meet. Is this rationalizing big time? Yes. I tried it and if you hate double points then it's a good option but have I mentioned that I love dpn's? Enough said.

I am now working on a variation on the rolled neck pullover above. Several neck samples later (I have to do one more) I think I have it nailed down. I am going to start the real sweater today in a 32" finished measurement. This is what I would term my "boy" version and I am really liking it. It's more unisex than I thought it might be and I may work one up with the ribbed collar in my own size. We'll see what I think when I get some more done.
These two versions will be in one pattern to cover the tweeny sizes of Teen/Small Adult which have been missing in our pattern line. I have had many requests for the small adult sizes and for the 10-14 year old sizes. This is my answer to those requests. I am beginning the knitting of this version today and have to decide on the bottom edging yet so it's still in production for a bit.
I am going to have a fun weekend. I'm watching my daughter curl on Friday and going to a folk festival to listen to live music with my friends on Saturday. We'll see how much of this pullover I can get done.

Monday, 29 October 2007


I had a very restful weekend and I have Roger's Cable to thank for it. On Thursday they put TV cable through to my neighbour and cut through my telephone line. No phone, no internet, very quiet. I am now reconnected and ready to go.

My last post was completely bogus. I talked about UFO's and maybe finishing something soon. And that's why I started something new and I don't feel bad at all. All those UFO's are still there and they are pretty happy with their state of unfinishedness. I checked and they seem fairly restful and may be ruminating on things knitterly as they sit in their baskets and knitting bags. They are on pause, in a zen state, checked out and I am enjoying it.

I started a classic Top Down pullover with my crewneck shaping in a finished sweater measurement of 36". Way too small for me but I am trying to respond to requests for teen and small adult sizing. So this pattern will be for finished measurements of 32" - 38". And I think I will put in a ribbed variation for a classic boy style.

This is a very basic sweater. I have the Take It From The Top sweater in Aran weight (same basic style Cabin Fever pattern #602) and I wear it about 4 days a week for 8 months of the year and have for the last 6 years. It's the sweater I throw on to curl, to run around town, to wear with my jeans, to go to the shop. In fact it's starting to show wear so I might just knit it over again for another 6 years (in red this time with a cable down the front?). Might be time for a variation or two on this one too.

I am sticking with this one until it is finished. Only the sleeves to go and I am enjoying knitting it. I am going to try using 2 circulars to work the sleeves. I have tried this before but since I don't mind using double pointed needles at all, found it a bit finicky and switched back. I think I didn't give it enough of a try and it would cut down on the number of knitting needles I would have to carry around for a project if I could eliminate the double points. Double points being so heavy and cumbersome to carry! Not much of a reason now that I think of it. A new technique is worth learning and mastering just for the choice it gives you. That's my new reason. Whew a close call there.


Monday, 22 October 2007

UFO October 07

It's time once again to check what has piled up, been put aside and stuffed away in a corner. The Daily Knitter (Interweave) has done a survey of unfinished objects and I thought I should probably check out mine.

Here is the list:

Remake of the New Zealand sweater by Elizabeth Zimmermann. Collar to pick up and knit. I like this one and I think once the major changes had been made I put it down.

Pink tank top which I don't like now, it's also too big. Cut it and resew to fit or Toss?

Socks: 4 second socks to make. This is not a hardship it just takes having them in my face.

One Toe-Up lace sock pattern to write up. Can't decide how to finish the last inch at the top. I have knit 5 socks to this point, all on needles in my bag, all need to be finished. Time to make a decision.

As I look around the room I see a shawl I have done about 8" on. I liked it but got distracted by the socks.
Another shawl I started with lace weight. Had a hard time getting used to that so doubled it up and started again. Still not getting anywhere. Take that one out. I shouldn't waste lace weight wool.

2 Hats with new wool/cotton blend. The wool says worsted but I wonder how it would be knit to DK gauge. Can I change needles mid-stream? Hmm.

There is also a bag with dishcloth cotton in it. There will be at least one dishcloth on the go in there.

I am now working on V-neck shaping with my new method from the Button Up Your Top Down book. They are samples and therefore not supposed to be sweaters but if I don't keep at it and work out the formula I'm looking for that would count as a UFO.

I knit the Falling Leaves out of Button Up book and it still needs 4 buttons.

The purple and lime green striped sweater I started last winter for my son. Still languishing. This year it will see snow. He still wants it but now with a hood and a zipper. Yes that can all be done but that may be why it's still in that basket over in the corner. I'm not going to look underneath it either.

Well, that puts me at about 17. I suspect I have overlooked a sock or two. There is also a long To Do list that I can't get out of my head. Work out a tweeny pattern for a top down pullover. Another sample of the Tiny Top Down in a boy colour. Knit a sample of the garter stitch, multidirectional Jwalker coat (resizing of the Baby J).

I guess I should stop writing and pick up one of these projects and finish something. Sigh.

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Baltimore and Back

We hit the Baltimore Stitches East show and it was a blast.

Before the action it looks like this.

Booth is in readiness.

Then the knitters start to come in: And some lovely Cabin Fever models arrived.

This is Gayle wearing her Braids Cardigan in a lovely periwinke blue cotton.

Say hello to Annette in her green Lace Checks Shell, one of the two she has knit for herself. She loves it.

And Sarah is wearing her purple Lacey Vee cardigan with all over lace boxes, a modification to the original pattern. Well done.

I love to see knitters wearing their Cabin Fever sweaters.It keeps me coming back for more. We came home with lots of new ideas and a list of knitting to be done.

Also to a shift in the weather. The hand knit socks are on my feet and I'm glad to be curling again. I could do without the soreness of the first week though! It doesn't seem to get any easier year after year but we are back out there throwing rocks, sweeping, yelling and having a great time. (You might be guessing that we won our game today and you would be right. Yes!)

Here is Sarah in her purple Lacey Vee Cardigan with all over lace boxes. A logical and attractive modification to the pattern.
Well done ladies. I love it.

See you next year,

- Deb