Saturday 31 May 2008

Getting there!

I've been madly knitting away trying to get a shrug done for tonight. I'm going to a movie premiere ... yes, really, with red carpet and everything! Very exciting. My cousin Jim is a movie editor/independent movie maker and he did the editing and the sound for the movie "Cycle of Fear". So a bunch of the cousins are going to see the movie and attend the gala. Which means, of course, that I needed "something to wear". Ominous words yes? I have a pretty, spaghetti strapped, dress that I want to wear and had knit a lacy little tiny shrug in April, when it was HOT. As it is now very much cooler (yes, we had May weather in April and April weather in May) I suddenly decided on Sunday that I needed something a tad warmer. So I cast on. Now this week has been pretty frantic with getting ready for the show (see below) so not too much knitting time. This morning I cast off the bottom, now I need to finish two sleeves. What time is it?

I got the boxes packed and shipped (for the show) on Tuesday and Wednesday and I have been working on getting the booklet to a stage where I can have 5 copies made up by the printer as "dummies" to take to show stores so they can place orders. The deadline was Friday at 8:15am. I made it there at 8:31am. Don't ask how much sleep I got the two previous nights. I've also been working on getting the new patterns ready to show as well - and need Deb to finish knitting hers so we can get photographs! Here's a photo of my new (really easy) reversable cable afghan (knit in our Northern Lights 100% wool). Quite pleased with it.


Friday 30 May 2008

barter works

I teach a couple of young women every Thursday evening (or almost every) at one of their homes. We have a good time, knitting and drinking tea. They are enthusiastic and a joy to teach. We decided that since they are both without income (a stay-at-home mom and a student) and they are both great cooks, that we could do a trade of expertise for expertise. I teach them knitting and they give me food. It's wonderful. Last week I came home with a rhubarb pie and pasta salad. Next meeting I am getting cinnamon buns and potato salad. I get a salad recipe too, so I am trying a couple of cold salads for the summer with the idea that I might be able to make them myself. Ha, lots of luck there.

This week I came home with curry, yummy, and from Alana B I purchased (with a barter discount) these earrings which I had seen on her etsy site ( . And asked for a pendant to match. I found an old silver chain in my drawer and now I have dress up jewels. These are quartz discs. Cool.

I love to see that entrepreneurial spirit, don't you? I am trying to come up with a good knitting stick idea for her to make.


Tuesday 27 May 2008

Nothing to show for my day

I have nothing, nada, zilch to show you today. I have been busy at the computer editing all day. But ... now I feel better. Editing is like a roller coaster, one moment everything is going along swimmingly. The patterns I am reading seem to fall into place, I can follow all the directions and imagine myself knitting them. And then I hit a snag. This part here doesn't read well, I can't have some poor knitter coping with working different rows on several patterns. There must be a way to clean this up. The designer and I rewrote parts of the pattern but it's still not really as clear as I would like. I let it sit for a day still fretting about it and yesterday I picked it up and still there was no blinding light shining on this pattern to show me the way. I woke up this morning with the idea that if I changed one word throughout the pattern that might just do it. So I rewrote again and I think I'm almost there but ... it's still not quite good enough. So I'm passing it over to a friend to look at and we'll have a conference call this weekend and maybe talking it through will do the trick. In the meantime I'm putting that one aside and working on my other patterns due for release next week. Not next week!

It's not that bad. I have them almost ready. I need to finish a couple of second socks for photographs and then one last look over the pattern. Next week is no problem.

Sunday 25 May 2008

One tiny sock

I did get one sock done. Cute, eh?
No other knitting to show. I've just been reading patterns and clicking my calculator and being generally boring. This is not exciting blogfodder but it's work that must be done. Pattern checking doesn't produce knitted garments very quickly. Math must be checked. Phone calls to designers made: does this sentence mean this or that, could we say this another way, could we work it out so all the sizes are working the same row of the patterns, could you check the buttonhole placement once more, there seems to be an extra stitch in this pattern repeat or am I going crazy? That's definitely a possibility at this point.

It's challenging and exciting work to do. I'm excited about the booklet, it's going to be good, but I still have several weeks of work ahead of me.

This evening I'm taking a break from baby sweaters and knitting my second King's Knight sock. Ahh.
Tomorrow back at the baby stuff.

Friday 23 May 2008

Shrugs .. vests ... what would you call it?

I think I might have mentioned that I was fooling around with shrugs? Or, are they vests? Vrugs? Shests? Any thoughts on names?

At any rate, poor Morgan, my niece, had a terrible cold while we were up at the cabin last weekend but was good enough to pose for me with the shrug/vest thingie. This was my first go, and alas was too small for me but seems to fit her fine. She's gone off with it and as it's a machine wash and dry cotton/acrylic it should do just fine! It's quite appropriate that it go to Morgan, as I was shopping with her a few months ago and was amusing myself looking at "knitted" items in the store while she was several hours (oops, minutes) in the change room. I'm sure the sales staff were wondering what on earth I was doing as I was examining this shrug thing in minute detail and trying to work out the proportions. It was knit in pieces, of course, and my first attempt does have a bit of sewing. My 2nd attempt, to hopefully fit me, is going to be knit in one piece of course as I am NOT a good finisher.

The lapel is in a loose rib with the back done in a simple lace. I like how the lace "curves" on the back and gives it an interesting look. The original one in the store had a cable back but I wanted something more summer-like and airier so thought the lace was a better choice. It looks VERY strange when you are holding the garment in your hand. It looks like a sweater except that there is no hole for the head! Which is exactly what Mom said "where's the head"???

Well, this was my break from working on the Baby booklet. Time to get back at it! Here's another picture from the booklet ... isn't she too cute??!!



Progress continues on the Baby V booklet. I have been busy doing the edit, have you smelled the smoke coming out of my ears? 'Relax, relax' I tell myself when I wake up at 3am thinking about some small change I just noticed in my sleep. How does that work anyway!

At one of my knitting classes I am teaching a phd. student to knit lace. She's starting on a patterned scarf as her second project ever (the first project, a felted purse, was a success) and I pointed out that if you knit a pattern from a chart you have to pay attention and was that what she wanted to do. She said that counting out the pattern was a pleasure after reading political philosophy all day. So maybe after a day crunching numbers I should be reading philosophy for relaxation. Not. I think I will continue to read my 'who done it' novels instead.

This is my first test knit. This pattern is done now and the sample is ready except for washing it and putting the *&$# buttons on. The photos for the booklet are all done but I thought I would try different colourways for the test knits anyway. We can put them up on the website as alternatives. And I have started on the matching socks.
The cuff flips over when the socks are done. I'll show you tomorrow.

Monday 19 May 2008

A Second Spring

We left spring here in Orillia, Ontario, to go to 'camp' (the 'cottage' to you southerners) on the north shore of Lake Huron where spring is just getting started. We have a row of camps which have come down the family line so that we have my dad's place, his sister and his brother have places next door. This weekend there were 3 generations in two of the cottages. Lots of family.

In the summer we cannot see much of the lake through there. None of the undergrowth is up yet and the trees are just starting to flush.
It was a little cool overnight (no insulation in our sleep bunkies) but 6 blankets on the bed seemed to do the trick. First thing in the morning we got the fire started in the main cabin real quick. After dinner Saturday evening we heard my cousin holler from outside and we all stood at the end of the driveway watching a big black bear amble down the middle of our road. He didn't seem concerned about the audience at all. Later I watched a rabbit feeding on the grass over the septic field. He was a little more skittish. I must remember to oil the hinges on the screen door.
Didn't get much knitting done but read 2 1/2 books which was the break I needed. I am refreshed, or I will be tomorrow, and ready to get back to work.

Wednesday 14 May 2008

Baby 'V' Booklet

I'm just working on the layout of the new baby booklet and thought I'd post a "rough" of the cover. This is not the final by any means but the picture is too cute not to show off!

This is Keegan, in Bernice's cardigan. How can you resist her or the sweater?

We're not yet sure how big the booklet will be as Deb is still madly checking the patterns. Then she'll be test knitting them, then I'll get them for layout. We decided to add a hat as well and I'm just writing that up now. Sometimes we do have trouble stopping!

This image will be in the Fall Issue of Vogue Knitting in their special advertising section. This issue is featuring knitting in Canada so it seemed appropriate to put an ad in.


Monday 12 May 2008

I'm making some progress on my matching socks. The man's sock foot looks like any other checkered sock but I've put the knots in the leg now and I think it really adds something.
I worked several, actually more than several, knots and finally ended up with a redo I had done for the Wellington Hat. I don't like to Turn to do one row of knitting so I slip the sts back onto the Left needle and work one more row (amounts to one row of I-cord). Pulling the wool across the back of the knot also makes it stand out and not want to burrow to the wrong side.
I'm knitting the purple Women's sock in finer wool at 8 sts = 1" from Shelridge Farm, Soft Touch Ultra ( This wool willl show up the pattern really well. The Man's sock is in Dream in Colour (, slightly heavier wool which has very subtle colour variations, lovely.
I have decided on names - Queen's Castle and King's Knight. Thanks for some chess names Samm. I don't think any of the pieces on the chess board are female except for the queen, so she got the mansion.

Thursday 8 May 2008


I finished the blue sock last night. I do like knitting this pattern. And that's a pretty good picture of the double wrap short row heel.
The sock on the left has been washed and the pattern still stands out nicely. This wool is knitting up to exactly 7 sts per inch. Is this a little heavy for a woman's sock?

I also started a man's version. It will not have holes in the boxes but I'm thinking of little knots on the leg portion. I want to name the man sock 'checkmate' but I don't know what to call the original sock. Any chess players out there?

Wednesday 7 May 2008

I did get some knitting done over the weekend away. Yes, I finished a second light purple Lacey Toe Up ( , that's been a while getting done. I don't carry the exact pattern with me, just a little tiny graph for the pattern. Had to do some fancy remembering to work out the top edging for the leg. I think it's the same as the other one I did, uh when was that first sock done, oh yeah in January.

Finished the new sock. I love this checkerboard pattern. It's the same as the Lacey Vee cardigan ( Sometimes you just want to put the same pattern in other garments because you like it. I haven't used it for several years but thought it would suit the socks. I'm afraid my flash took lots of the pattern out on the photo, it's been pouring rain all day today, so I'll try again in a couple of days when there will be some light. I'm going to knit it over in a lighter weight sock wool and see how it looks a tiny bit smaller. Argh, I want to run off right this second and try that - but must finish second blue sock NOW, tonight. Alright, alright, I'll be good and do that. Tomorrow I cast on with finer sock yarn. Yes.

Tuesday 6 May 2008

Clothing Teddys

There's Lynda working hard, well not really, showing some shop owners our patterns which is not hard since who doesn't love to talk about what they do. The New England Needlework Assoc. show is growing and there was lots of them to see.

See anyone you know? It was my first time there. All the shoppers are looking, touching, talking, soaking it all in. You wouldn't believe the amount of knitting at the show. Sometimes it's hard to believe there is one more thing to design. But of course there is. At least I keep telling myself that as I wander around.

These lovely knitters came to see me at the Fiber Loft store in Harvard MA. Over morning coffee we had a lovely chat and I got to talk about the construction of my garments. I brought 2 suitcases of sample sweaters which I thought were interesting to knit up. Fun, fun, fun for me. They seemed to enjoy themselves too. We had a class in the afternoon to learn Top Down knitting and everyone took home a tiny teddy bear sweater. Clothing teddy bears seems to be my mission.
Home for now and I'm going to enjoy it!

Sunday 4 May 2008

We are introducing a new product at this trade show in Sturbridge MA. These are fused glass shawl pins made by Paul Fogarty in Huntsville. He shares a store with our friend and Cabin Fever designer, Karen Lawrence at Sheepstrings wool shop ( He does stain glass work and jewellery work out of his shop. He also does lessons and lots of custom work. These will be on our website soon and run from $39 - $69. They are gorgeous.
We begin the trade show today. Lots of vendors I've never seen before so lots for me to explore, new product and putting faces to product I am familiar with. This is my first time here, Lynda has come to this show twice before but it's getting bigger all the time. I'll take some pics to show you where your local yarn store owner may be doing their shopping for you. It's always so much fun talking to store owners. They tell us who their customers are, what they are looking for and also what they are not finding and would like us to do in the future. Good info.
It's pouring rain but I really need a walk so I'm venturing out for a stroll along the country road the motel is on.

Thursday 1 May 2008

Babies everywhere!

So how does this work? I'm the one who's never had babies yet I'm doing the baby photoshoot? And what a laugh it was! I'll be able to show some pictures next week when I'm back from the show but believe me, these kids were seriously cute! Oliva at 18 mths, Keenan at 8 mths and Willow at 2 mths (ohmigod she was so little!).

All were amazingly happy to be photographed and so good . But it didn't hurt that our photographer, Leanne, has two kids of her own and can photograph babies for hours. I finally had to drag her away - I can only put 8 pages of pictures on the booklet!! She must have taken a zillion pictures. It was a sight to see all these women (Mom's and Grandma (Dana) and so forth in Karen's store (SheepStrings in Huntsville) all trying to make the kids laugh and stay still enough to snap the photo's. A serious hoot - and you got to give them back at the end. :)

Pictures to come next week!


On The Road Again

The buttons are all on and even before the deadline of last night. Yes!!
Lynda is taking the sweaters to Huntsville to photograph babies today.

Here are a few more baby sweaters which came in yesterday (deadline day). We are on a roll with this booklet. Still photography to do and the edits but we're definitely moving towards a finished product.

For anyone just tuning in, I wrote a top down V-necked baby cardigan pattern (see sweaters in top photo) and sent the pattern to my CabinFever design crew and these are the sweaters I got back. Isn't it amazing how so many different sweaters can be made from one pattern? And as we have found before, no duplication. If they can do this from a plain pattern, what could you do? I can't wait to see.

We are on the road again, off to Massachusetts. Lynda is going to do a trade show and I'm going to teach at the Fiber Loft store in Harvard on Saturday( . If you are in the area check it out. I'm doing a show & tell in the morning. I've packed some sweaters which I think are interesting to knit and were certainly interesting to design. In the afternoon I'm leading a workshop to explore V-neck cardigans from the top down and talk about alterations for a better fit. Then we are going to tackle tubular edgings for tank tops and buttonbands. I'm looking forward to it (now the buttons are done). Always a good time with Reba.

My suitcase of sweater samples is packed up and I have sufficient yarn projects in my knitting bag. I guess I should pack some clothes or something too. Hmm I don't even have my summer clothes out yet but I'm sure I can scare up a short sleeved shirt or two.

Maybe I'll see you in Mass.,