Friday 31 October 2008

major stall

I can't believe it. I have hit a major stall on my education project with hand painted wool. When I painted half of my living room floor last weekend I CLEANED UP. Note to self, I should never, never do this again. I have lost the second wound up ball of my blue hand painted wool. I have looked everywhere I can think of and even searched some places it could not possibly be. There is no second ball of wool.

Do I continue with the first sock knowing that it will show up some time? Do I abandon the wool and start with something else? Do I think that pattern was working anyway?

I'm just not sure about this one. Maybe it's the universe telling me this one is not working out. Maybe the knitting muse has taken that ball away until I can be trusted to do something better with it?

The pattern does show up more without the colour to distract one. But the point of hand painted wool is that the colour is wonderful, right? So back to the drawing board.

I know I didn't throw it out, a perfectly good ball of lovely blue on blue wool, I couldn't have could I? Could it be in the bathroom? I'm always leaving my glasses in there. How about the basket by the door? I should check every corner because those balls do roll.

Excuse me, I have some more searching to do,


Wednesday 29 October 2008

Hockey Night in Canada

Yes, it's hat time! We're working on a new hat booklet for children and adults with the patterns being available in most gauges of yarn. I thought of about 6 things I wanted to do but started with a(nother) flap cap. I really like them and they seem quite popular right now. But, just to be different, I decided to try to do one from the top down. Yes! It works great. Plus it has the added standard benefit of top down knitting - you can try it on while you go. Now, this was not of use for me as I knit the first one in the infant size (instant gratification kinda thing) but the theory holds. So, there was a hockey game on last night ....
And yes, that little cutie is on a toilet roll - no kiddies around the house to try this on so had to improvise.
So, there you go. A hat. I knit this in our Cabin Fever Cotton Tweed DK but now I'll have to knit this up in the various yarn weights but pleased with the first go. And naturally, immediately cast on for the next idea. I thought a slip stitch pattern would be cool but now I think my idea was a little too subtle.

In fact, not sure you can see much at all ..... rrrrriiiipppppp .... next!

- Lynda

Tuesday 28 October 2008

Weekend to myself

A whole weekend to myself. It was wonderful. My husband went to a music conference in Ottawa so I didn't have to consider anyone but 'me, me, me'. My son's still around but he just gets up, showers and goes off to work. Not a high maintenance guy.So I decided I should start a major household project while there were fewer people around. This is my living room floor. It's painted, but now it's in rough shape since we did it many, many years ago. It now looks like this.Lots of wood showing where the paint has chipped off. But it's lasted about 8 or 9 years so I'm not complaining at all. It needed a new coat of paint and a new look while I was at it.It's brick red and wet but it looks good. I need to sponge it with another colour so you can't see every little scratch but I opened some other used cans of paint I had around and nothing worked. I tried another red on it but it looked pink when it dried. And I tried a browny colour but it was very light in colour. One day when my husband and I have had a couple of beers we'll get some paint colours together and decorate the floor by splashing it around. Last time we did it from one end to the other and backed ourselves into the bedroom for the night. Didn't really know what it was going to look like until the next day. But it was all good.

I then spent the next 2 days watching it dry. That was fun too. Remember these 2 hats? They are the same pattern but knit in 2 very different wools. The one on the right is in sock wool (fingering) in a small adult size and the left pink one is in aran (heavy worsted) weight wool for a child's size. Same pattern, different number of stitches and different sizes. My daughter liked the sock wool hat and asked for one in white to match her winter coat. I started that in Kroy's Sock wool which was the whitest sock wool I could find and wrote out a more formal pattern as I went (from the scratchings on the back of an envelope that not even I could entirely decode). This is my pattern to enter into the running for our new project - the Hat booklet (I will think of a better name but for now. . .). We will be at this for several months but the weather is perfect for hat knitting and I can't wait to see what the other designers come up with. Always a surprise and lots of fun.

I even got so excited about being alone that I started a garter stitch project I have been thinking about for some time. A top down garter stitch striped cardigan in brown and royal blue. I really like garter stitch at this gauge. OK, I like garter stitch at any gauge but it's classy when it's at a finer gauge.I'm almost up to my preferred number of projects. Just one more to make things interesting. I like to give myself an exploratory project too. So for my own education I am going to explore how best to use handpainted wools. This one goes from navy to light blue in large segments and ends up very stripy. I tried the pattern above and decided that the stripes obscure the lace pattern so tried again with a larger pattern. This seems to work better. I can see the pattern despite the stripes. I have divided the stitches onto 3 needles and am working the pattern across one of the needles for the top of the foot. This makes my pattern 21 sts across which is fairly large I think. When I get to the leg I will work it around the whole leg, one pattern repeat per needle (3 needles). At least that's the plan so far.


Monday 27 October 2008

It's so close ...

Almost there now! Both (frustrating) sleeves are done and now working on the bottom of the sweater. The sleeves were frustrating and satisfying at the same time. I wasn't best pleased by the number of joins in the two balls used for the sleeves (5 joins in one and 4 in the other). Not only were the joins too many but they were fairly close together which meant that I felt I should rip out the joins so re-knit the same 2" on the sleeve top of the right sleeve way too many times and the bottom cuff of the left sleeve has too many joins for my taste but gave up on the ripping out just to be done!
The satisfaction comes from the fact that the sleeves fit me perfectly. I am so pleased with the ability to try on the sweater and believe me, it's been on and off and on and off. It's really easy for a chunky weight sweater to be too bulky in the sleeve or, after you've done the decreasing, look too tight. Yes, the one sleeve did get ripped out multiple times but I am very pleased with the result.
I made a slightly longer sleeve than usual with a long rib cuff. I want it to bell out slightly at the bottom so used the body sized needle. I think once it's blocked it will shape itself but I can always give it a little hand.
And yes, Sammie, I am writing the pattern as I go. Mind you, I still need to knit it again myself, then have it test knit ... pattern checked ... it'll be a while yet :)

Friday 24 October 2008

Kawartha Hooks and Needles

The Kawartha Hooks and Needles Guild asked me to come to their guild. And a terrific group they are. They asked questions as we went along. And afterwards brought over some knitting projects where they needed a bit of help. I am so happy to demonstrate a technique because words quite often are not enough and nothing duplicates the hands-on experience.I went through a basket of samples, even took my socks off and passed them around. I was in a quandary about patterning socks so posed the question: When you put a pattern on the centre top of the foot, should the pattern look correct to the knitter looking down at their own sock as it's being worn or should the pattern look correct to the casual observer of the sock? The vote was very close but the "knitter looking down at their own socks" won. Must be some sock knitters in the crowd, Thanks.

I'll keep my next quandary until next year (yes, they're asking me back, yay!). I'll be coming earlier in the fall with the Hat Booklet which will be out then, so they can get started knitting hats for their Christmas charity hat drive. It's exciting to know that the new hat project will be helping people in their community.

Thanks Wilma and Mildred,


Monday 20 October 2008

I know, I know . . .

I know I haven't blogged for almost a week. But I was working monogamously on one project and other than saying that I was progressing there wasn't much to say.
I have worked back and forth on the buttonband stitches attaching it to the back of neck stitches as I worked across to the centre back of neck from both sides.
Then the two sides of the buttonbands which meet at the centre back of neck were joined with a 3-Needle cast off.
Really looks like a sweater now. I have knit the sleeves to just above the elbow. Did I show you how the sleeves come out?Here it is sans person.One evenings work and the first sleeve is completed. One more evening and the second sleeve was done. Popped it in the washing machine on delicate and there it is. It's drying now and I have some wooden buttons for it.I have the Guenevere ( knit in Briggs and Little Regal which I knit for myself in 2005. It's still going strong and very comfortable.

Now what's next? I cast on a sock to celebrate.And I'm going to redo my pink hat in this. There is some orange and the littlest bit of green in there with the pink (from there MUST be something I can do with all these little balls in the bottom of my sock wool box.It will come to me, probably in the middle of the night!


Wednesday 15 October 2008


Oh, my. I can't move. Well, that was my excuse on Monday. This past weekend was the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend and I managed to have Thanksgiving dinner twice - and not cook anything either time! The younger daughter (of my "man about the house") was, with her 3 house-mates, hosting their first big dinner on Saturday, as they were working on Sunday, the traditional dinner day. Wow, what a great meal. I gave a "making gravy 101" and "how to steam veggies - advanced" classes in the kitchen, but mostly all I had to do was drink wine and eat. Life is good. (I am also still completely amazed to watch young men eat ... and eat, and eat, and eat ... and still be skinny!!!)

Sunday was a traditional family dinner of 20 or so, with turkey and ham and veggies and dessert. Very, very good. It was a surprisingly warm day so most of it was spent outside and that was a lovely treat. So I decided on Monday, after such an exhausting weekend, to devote the day to knitting, to recuperate.

When I was did the Stitches Mid-West show in August, I was gifted with some beautiful, beautiful baby alpaca yarn (Catalina, Chunky, 100% Baby Alpaca). It is to die for. Really, really gorgeous. So, I decided to make a chunky pullover with a simple (ish) cable on the front. I also decided on Top Down as I'm not yet entirely sure how much yarn it will take. So the length may be determined by the number of skeins I have! Not a new concept is it :)

The prototype is being knit in some good, sturdy, Canadian yarn as I expected to (and did) rip it out more than once (OK, 3 times) before I settled into what it would do. I changed the collar a couple of times and have now decided on a large 2 x 2 rib collar with a crew neck short-row shaping. I used open increases (yarn overs) to it was easy to count where I was (for making notes) and I like the look of them.
I was particularly pleased to get the ribbing to blend into the cable at the front. Can you see it? Here's a close up.
And the back has the ribbing in the middle, which will continue and blend again into the ribbing at the bottom.

I really do like how easy it is, with the top down method, for trying on as you go. I wanted the underarms to be fairly close to the body, as I don't think you'd wear this over anything else. I put on a little cap sleeve T-shirt as my guide and had the sweater on and off to check the length of the sleeve/body to get it right. I've now split the body and sleeves. Practically the home stretch!

Can't wait to get it done - and I will FORCE myself to finish it in this wool - before I cast on with the lucious baby alpaca.


Tuesday 14 October 2008

That's a sleeve?

The sleeve is getting bigger and bigger.

And I have a ton of stitches on my needle. How does that blob become a sweater with sleeves?
Here it is roughly folded. Imagine yourself knitting merrily across the Back of the sweater in pattern, you hit the shapeline (the diagonal line), turn a 90 degree corner (made by increasing) and work the plain knit part (which is the sleeve) knitting around under the arm, turn another corner and work across the Front in pattern to the buttonband edge. Weird but wonderful.
I have worked a 3-Needle Cast Off along the shoulder from the shapelines to the neck edge and my sleeve is made. The sleeve stitches are open and sitting on spare yarn ready for me to slip my short circular needle into the stitches and work the sleeve down to the cuff.
I worked the 3-Needle Cast Off on the right side of the cardigan because I think it adds a nice ridge.

Can't seem to get the colour to come out quite right, especially when I'm taking pictures in the late afternoon when it's getting dark. You can see that the sweater is coming along. Still some ways to go. I have to finish the neckband and knit both sleeves down to the wrists.

This shaping comes to you from the brain of Elizabeth Zimmermann ( from her Knitting Workshop book. It's the nalgar shaping and fun to do. Especially when it stumps your knitting friends. That, apparently, was one of her favourite things.

Friday 10 October 2008

Would I lie?

I know you've been dying for a progress report. You can hardly wait for this mysterious sleeve to appear. How can you make the sleeve as you continue knitting? Ta, da. There it is.Where? It's right there, yes, that little V at the top. That is the beginning of the sleeve. Honest. And there are two of them.Would I lie to you? This sweater is getting big and will get bigger still. And they will start to look like sleeves pretty soon. I also have some swamp, er, drought-free land for sale. Any takers?


Thursday 9 October 2008


This monogamous knitting is rather boring for you I'm afraid. But I am further along on my Guenevere. The V-neck is coming along nicely.
I am up to the underarms and have placed 2 markers at each underarm.
And now I am going to increase at these 2 markers and make my sleeve as I go. This is based on Elizabeth Zimmermann's Nalgar shaping and it is the most amazing thing. Wait and see. I'll hope to have enough done tomorrow so you can see the sleeves emerging.


Monday 6 October 2008

Back to it

It feels good to be over the worst of my fall cold and back in my knitting chair with a clear head and rested fingers. Today I wanted to get to the beginning of the V-neck shaping on the Guenevere ( and here it is. The pattern is showing up really well.
As we tour the Guenever I will point out some features. The first being the beginning of the V-neck shaping.The thumbtack is in the last buttonhole and you will notice that above it there is an extra ridge (3 ridges instead of the previous 2 ridges). The extra ridge is 2 extra short rows which are worked in buttonband only, just below the beginning of the decreasing for the V neck, to make a better corner for the buttonband. Both buttonbands have this. The scissors point to the first decrease which is in the Body beside the buttonband. The second decrease has just been worked right beside the marker. The texture pattern is so nice and easy that working the decreases and working the pattern at the same time is no problem.

We will move along on our tour . . . ah sorry there will be a slight delay as we wait for our knitter to get some more finished. Please talk among yourselves. Stay tuned . . .


Friday 3 October 2008


My accessory of the moment, the one thing I cannot do without, is unfortunately the kleenex box. No knitting is being done because of the woolly head I have. I had started the pattern of the Guenevere but no more progress has been made since then.

This weekend should see a return to a sharper state of mind.