Friday, 29 August 2008


I finished my cabled sock. I have even finished the pattern. Next week I will have to check it again and knit another sock to test knit it. Here are photos, unfortunately done inside with a light on. It's 9:30 in the morning so you can guess how dreary it is outside.There's the Star Toe.Heel and gusset: I use a box heel which is the same as a more standard heel except that when you turn the heel and work across the bottom of the heel the number of stitches between the decreases stays the same. It makes the underside of the heel a straight strip instead of a V shape.
Have I mentioned how hard it is to take a picture of your own foot? It's even harder to take a photo of the bottom of your foot but here is the box heel. Check it against the bottom of your own socks, have you ever looked? Some earlier shots which show the cables better.

I'm off this weekend for more outdoor knitting at the last folk festival of the season. Hope it doesn't rain too much.


Wednesday, 27 August 2008

North Shore

I've been up to the camp (cottage to southern folks) 3 times this year so far. I spent every summer of my childhood up there and most of my adult life too (except for 5 years I lived in British Columbia - bit of a hike back). Last weekend we went out for a little spin in the boat and this is what Lynda's cottage (which she graciously shares with me and my family) on the north shore of Lake Huron looks like from the water.
Yes, it's sort of hidden which we love. And there is our lovely beach where a grain of sand is the size of your fist. Not great for laying out and baking but we're not supposed to do that anymore anyway. Still good for sitting and reading or looking at the stars in the dark.
These are the set of islands which sit across from us. Rocks and trees,
trees and rocks - how do those trees grow there? It amazes me every time I see an island like this. A full grown white pine needs a surprisingly little earth to grow in.

And lots and lots of very cold water. At the horizon you can just see Manitoulin Island to the south of us. I was very sorry to leave, the end of another summer.


Tuesday, 26 August 2008


A weekend at the cottage: no TV, no internet, no phone, peaceful, sigh. Read another book and did a bit of dyeing as an experiment. I'm trying to get pale colours with some colour variation throughout.
First I wound two 50g skeins into one 100g skein, soaked it in water with a bit of detergent and vinegar in it.I'm trying to see if I can get the affect I want without having to hand dye it so I tied the large skein in a knot.I put it into a cold bath with a small amount of dye in it, about 1/2 the strength recommended by the Gaywool dye instructions (colour is Lily) and brought it up to the boil (this was not the recommended method). This took about 1/2 an hour and then I boiled it for 1/2 an hour and untied the knot near the end.
I have pretty good variation from a very, very pale colour (it's not white like it looks in the photo) up to a colour somewhat stronger than I wanted.

I tried it all again with another colour of blue, starting with the hot water (no sense in wasting it) in which the colour was supposed to set in 4 minutes. I put 2 50g knots in and then took the knots out after 3 minutes. I could have left the knots in longer because the colour variation is very slight. But there is some, which may show up in the knitting. I don't know enough about this to tell.

It's fun to play and see what happens. It's all knitable even if it doesn't turn out exactly as anticipated. A win-win situation.


Saturday, 23 August 2008

Stitches Mid-West

Megan Lacey and I are here in beautiful Schaumburg, IL for the Stitches Mid-West show. Here's Megan unpacking ....

and also, below, a picture of the Baby V part of the booth display. Our booth is right next to Shelridge Farms so that is fun for us as Buffy and Don Taylor are great friends that we don't see too often!

OK, off to the show!


Thursday, 21 August 2008

I got it

The sock got frogged once more. Do I hear you saying that swatch word? OK you're right, it's just that I thought I had it all figured out, really. And I love working round and round so I guess my sock legs are my swatches.This is what I wanted. The slightly exaggerated hourglass effect with simple cables.

The cables have great relief and not the 'whew she's finally decided on something' kind. I'm very pleased. The wool looks uneven but is standing up very well considering I have frogged this same section of knitting 4 times (I was sure I had it each and every time). This is Shelridge Farm Ultra Soft Touch wool ( and I'm totally impressed.

I am also trying to loosen up on my knitting and not hold the needles in a death grip which has caused problems with my wrist and shoulder, all in the cause of perfect tension - perfectionism will get you in the end. I had to take a week off knitting during my holidays. Of course reading 6 books during that week was not exactly torture and I'm not a fast reader, I just didn't do anything else.

My mother is a terrific knitter and one summer when I still lived at home in Toronto but was at our camp in the north country, the question of whether my mother could drive the 7 1/2 hour trip home came up. Just in case of emergency could she actually do it? She never had before since my dad always did all the driving. So it was decided that I should go with her and she would drive the whole way. We made it into the driveway, my mom stopped the car, got out and slammed the door. "That was a total waste of time, I could have knit a whole baby outfit by now!"

I come from good knitting stock.


Tuesday, 19 August 2008

It's toast

Ho-hum, my sock is not thrilling me particularly. This is the third pattern I've tried for my sock leg and nothing is really thrilling me. The first 2 didn't show up well against the colour variation and this one seems sort of conservative to me.

It's toast and getting frogged tonight! So say goodbye, it's been nice to know ya.
I can't even get a clear picture of the pattern so it must not be right.

I think I'm looking for a cable which gives me more of an hourglass pattern, not straight lines. So back to the drawing board. This poor wool is really taking a beating but it's still good for one more try (4th time is lucky right?).


Sunday, 17 August 2008

Sock before breakfast

It's almost noon and I am just eating my breakfast while I post. My usual routine is to read for a little bit while I drink a couple of cups of coffee and then start my day. Today I read half a page, made the coffee and starting knitting. So here I am with a finished sock before breakfast, sort of.
This is not the same sock which appears in a previous post. That sock has now been frogged (see last photo). I changed a few key elements and started a second sock yesterday while I wrote up the pattern. And no, I can't knit up an entire sock before breakfast - I wish! I now have some minor adjustments to make to the pattern but I think it's mostly done.
I, once again, started with a star toe and worked a short row heel. I like this construction a lot. It seems to fit my foot really well. The star toe hugs my toes and the deep pocket of the short row heel fits well. I make the heel with around 60% of the sock stitches which means there is a bit of 'redistribute the stitches' in the pattern but this gives the heel a deep cup and lots of room for the instep.
The lace pattern is easy to memorize and really easy to read as you work, which in my mind is even more important.
I'll get some better photos done, it's really difficult to photograph your own feet.
The first prototype sock is now wound up into a ball ready to begin a new life. I'm on a roll now and have started something new, from the top this time I think.

P.S. Commenters: I can't email you back with blogger but thanks for your comments everyone.

I think my massage therapist does a pressure point type of massage because it definitely works if I keep going regularly. The week off seems to have helped a lot too even though it was tough to not knit for that length of time.

A commenter gave the name of a group in Germany which finishes knitting for you - see August 2 comment. Wow, what a concept. Thanks for the information. Every once in a while someone comes into our shop with a half finished afghan which someone in their family started and now there are no instructions and no one to finish it. This is a problem solvers dream - Knitting Detective Agency type stuff, anyone looking for a new business?

Friday, 15 August 2008

no knitting

What does a knitter do when they can't knit? My wrist and shoulder were in bad shape so I put myself on a knitting holiday - can I call it a holiday when I can't do my favourite thing? I was very strict but half way through the week I tried to sneak in some knitting just to see if I could and after 2 rounds of my sock I knew it was no good and put it all away.

I thought about my next project and have a good idea of what I'm going to do. Maybe all this thinking will mean it will go faster once I get started. I painted the bunky (sleep cabin) which badly needed it. It looks very nice now and good for another 10 years. I read 7 books and did 2 very large puzzles. A couple of friends came up for 5 days and 3 more showed for 2 of those days during the week which was lots of fun and we had lots of music being played every evening. So I didn't have a lot of time to pine for my knitting until it was time to come home and I couldn't knit during the 5 hour trip home. I did knit for an hour last night, yay. I think my massage therapist has some work to do on me for the next couple weeks. Ouch.

Friday, 8 August 2008


The sock is lounging at the cottage for a week. It's on it's 4th book.And I mean it's really lounging since I have one very sore wrist and shoulder and need to rest it for several days so no work on the sock.
I'm really liking that pattern too. It's small and easy to work so I'm looking forward to getting back to it soon.

Sunday, 3 August 2008


After looking at this
up close
all afternoon, I could stand it no longer. They were still slightly damp and I was going to wait until today to start but then I thought...the oven. So I threw one skein in the oven. OK I was a little more careful than that. I turned the oven on to the lowest setting, warmed it up, then shut it off, put a tea towel on a baking sheet and put one skein in for an hour or so. It worked a treat.
I was trying to dye a pale colour with colour variations made by changes in the saturation level of the dye and so far I'm pretty pleased with this.
It's pale without being too pastelly.
The colour is fairly evenly distributed. Sort of like light denim. I'm going to try some sort of pattern on the leg to see how it looks but so far, so good.

Saturday, 2 August 2008


I am dangling a large carrot in front of my nose so that I finish the Summer Braids. Don't you wish you had a pet knitter who would finish up your projects when you really want to jump into the next one? You could feed them all the ends of your knitting projects and they would happily knit them up and look at you adoringly waiting for the next tidbit. You could throw them the odd treat of handpainted wool, but just a little bit because you don't want it to interfere with the finishing up jobs. Would startitis get totally out of control? Would I run out of stash? Am I becoming a better person by forcing myself to finish things even though it totally goes against my natural inclinations? Would I become a selfish, hedonistic knitter if left to my natural inclinations? Would the guilt of not going the distance myself lead me to the laying down of my needles? Not a chance!

This is the carrot.
8 skeins of handpainted fingering which I dyed myself. I was trying to dye a pale colour which would vary randomly in saturation level across the project. I am going to knit socks to see what this does. They are drying in my back yard and my standing in front of them longingly does not seem to be speeding up the process. So I can't do anything yet but by the end of today I should be able wind them up and then it will be really, really hard to leave them alone. I'm going to knit those sleeves right now...