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.