Thursday 27 November 2008


NOT a hat post. Yes I did something other than knit another hat last night. Our Guild and everyone showed off their braids.
This is braiding with 6 strands, on a Kumihimo disk. The blue braid above is done with wool which is held in the bobbins. Speaking of those bobbins - did anyone else use spoollies to curl their hair in their youth? Spoollies are curlers just like these bobbins, but pink, and you wound your hair around and around and then flipped them closed. Because they were soft rubber you could sleep with them hanging all over your head and wake up with kinky hair. Ahh, the sacrifices I used to make to be beautiful!
These fancier braids were are made with 4 strands of ribbon and 2 strands of beads on thread. They come out gorgeous and look like those crystal experiments where you stick a toothpick in a jar of salt or sugar solution (I can't remember which but sugar would be more fun) and crystals form on the stick. Pardon me, everything seems to be reminding me of high school today.
The braids are pretty aren't they. The shawl is a Pie Shawl in progress and it's gorgeous too. But I didn't do any of this. NO, too busy knitting hats but I did put a hat aside last night to make a bracelet.
Is this cool or what. My first bead project and it was fun, fun, fun. We strung beads on no.26 wire (available at craft stores) and then cast on, slipping a bead between each stitch. We knit one row and then Cast Off, slipping beads between all these stitches. It was great and took about 45 minutes and a second bracelet would take about half an hour now that I am sort of used to the wire. It has no give at all, well of course it doesn't, but this takes some time to penetrate a thick skull. You have to do all of this loose, as loose as you can.
It's fun to see the different sized beads come up in line. I enjoyed doing it and it's not a hat!

Monday 24 November 2008

Watch Caps

Some more hats. You are going to be sick of them after a couple more months of 'more hats'. But I assume you are tuned into this blog to see what goes on behind the scenes of Cabin Fever and this is it - months and months of hats.

Here are the watch caps with a 2/2 rib done in fingering sock wool on the right and aran weight (heavy worsted) on the left. Very different yarn weights which produce the same hat. They feel different on and they took a hugely different amount of time to knit. As you might imagine, the brown sock wool hat took just into a second 50gm ball so that's longer than one sock's worth of knitting, and the heavy worsted hat took one evening - yay! But the brown sock wool hat feels great and will be warmer. The red aran weight hat is lighter but not as dense, but fast to knit. Pros and cons, the choice will be up to you because you get to decide which weight to knit each of the hats in.

That's the whole premise of this booklet - that every pattern can be knit in any weight of yarn from sock yarn knit at 32 sts = 4"/10cm up to chunky weight yarn knit to 14 sts = 4"/10cm. Sizes will range from Newborn up to Large Adult. Lots and lots of possibility here.

A close up and personal look at the same hat in two different gauges. This idea has made writing the patterns very interesting. Usually when writing a pattern for this type of hat I would divide the crown into 4 sections and use one of the K2 ribs in the centre of each section to work the decreases. But ... when I tried dividing some of the cast on numbers of stitches for some of the yarn weights and sizes, the decrease line ended up in the centre of a P2 rib. Not too interesting as a decrease line.
So I have written the pattern with 4 distinct rounds of decrease. You can see the circles there (the hats haven't been blocked yet and some of it should disappear). This worked for every yarn weight and every size. I am going to knit a child's size hat now for confirmation.

Stay Tuned for more hats tomorrow, or skip to next month. I'll still be knitting hats.


Thursday 20 November 2008


To Elizabeth, Valerie and anonymous from the comments, this hat booklet is a long, long journey. Please don't be holding your breath waiting for a immediate release of these hat patterns. I don't want to be responsible for black outs from lack of oxygen. The last booklet "Baby V" was done in 4 months and the one thing I learned was that 4 months is not enough time. So this booklet, which started last month, will be available in April, no sooner. I'm afraid you will be in for lots of pics of hats in the coming months.

Here's another one.
(Colour is off here. Imagine it in yellow and cinnamon colours.)I have given all the hat instructions to the designers and am now endeavouring to fill in some holes. The first of which will be the Beginner hats. You can bet none of the designers are going to give me one of those. I thought we should have some watch caps, nice toques to wear with a folded up brim for extra warmth. This is a standard 1/1 rib in handpainted sock wool. I thought I would divide the crown into 4 sections but I found it difficult to write at the beginner level using double decreases. So that got frogged.
Now it has a crown with 8 sections using SSK decreases. Nice and straight forward and easy to work.

With a nice swirl at the top.

I have set up my 'hat work' for the weekend with a movie or two and an audio book at the ready. The premise of the booklet will become apparent as I knit more hats. Stay tuned.


Wednesday 19 November 2008

Ah .... Winter!

I forgot to take my camera for the trip but I got it out once we got home. And it is winter here now! On Friday, in Baltimore, after the first full day of the Stitches East show, we sat outside at the Wharf Rat Brew Pub and had dinner. Really! It was that warm. It seemed sureal to be outside and not have mittens and coats on ... here was my drive to our warehouse a week later ...
I didn't get too much knitting done with all the running around with the show and the driving and visiting the Rochester Guild and Erin's store. However, I did decide in the end to take some very simple knitting when packing up to go. We still have some beautiful yarn from when we had a small retail store. Often though, we have only a very limited amount of the yarn left or a limited number of colours. I'm working through our store stash by making samples and making kits with some of these lovely yarns and here is the one I knit at the show.
This is a beautiful, chunky weight, merino wool from New Zealand with a polyester thread running through it. It felts beautifully, and as you can see, makes a terrific bag. Easy knitting for the trip and a very nice result. I used our SheepStrings Big Bag #708 and added a second colour - oh, and I also made the straps longer. Not on purpose you understand, but I do like the longer strap now that it's done! I think this will become a handbag for moi, once I sell the yarn! :)
Speaking of the Big Bag, Elizabeth sent me a photo of the Big Bag done in our Northern Lights Kiwi ... with her own special addition ... Siggy.

It was -10 degrees when I got up and today is my working at home day - a perfect knitting day! So ... which project?? Finish my pullover prototype so I can start with the baby alpaca final version? Work up another flap cap for the booklet and finish writing the pattern? Finish the mock cable cap and write up the pattern? Do some Christmas knitting. Start something else completely new? mmmmm ... No, no! That would be wrong ... finish something, finish, finish ... ! Mutter mutter ...


Monday 17 November 2008


Can we have a collective "Oh NO!".
Yes, a horrible, gigantic hole in my Monkey Socks (go to and search for the pattern, it's great). The first pair of fancy socks I ever knit myself.

This is torture! It's too big to darn so they are going into the garbage. I will remember them fondly. I don't even have a pair of socks on the needles for me so I guess I will be fixing that. You'll have to excuse me, I'm still in recovery.


Friday 14 November 2008


The hat booklet is in it's infancy. I am doing some easy hats to get the ball rolling. I finished a standard pillbox hat in worsted.Then I started a watch cap in K1,P1 rib in handpainted sock wool. I had to abandon this one on the trip because it was too hard to keep up the rib without looking while standing and talking to knitters.

So I started a 2/2 rib watchcap instead. Again in sock wool.

Lots and lots of knitting in the fine wool but you can roll it up and stick it in your pocket easily and they are wonderfully light on the head.


Thursday 13 November 2008

We're back. We had a terrific time in Baltimore at the Stitches East show ( Lots of knitters, lots of vendors. I even bought some stuff this time.Not a lot of stuff, obviously, but these 3 patterns from Knitspot ( have always intrigued me and there they were so I scooped them up. I don't know when I will have time to do them but I am beginning to think I need to actively work on having a division between knitting for work and knitting for pleasure. Although knitting for work is fun, it's still my job and this type of knitting would be just for myself.
I also visited the TKGA booth (the knitting guild of america and picked up their magazine Cast On. It has a brand new feature - designer tips. It's terrific. All the stuff that a magazine usually strips out of a pattern, they are putting back in and highlighting it in RED.
In this pattern there are tips on how to join up the cast on stitches on your double points, another tip on cabling, an explanation for resting your instep stitches while you work the heel, and some finishing tips. Every pattern has these highlighted areas. I think this is a giant step in the right direction and will help advance the education of knitters which is the mission of the TKGA.
We packed up Baltimore and headed for the Rochester Guild to give a talk there.

They have a huge guild of about 300 members and about 1/2 of them come to each meeting. That's a lot of knitters. They had questions and several knitters came up afterwards for a chat and a demonstration of continental knitting. I even had a discussion with a gentleman in the back who is making a Totem jacket (by Elizabeth Zimmermann) for himself. There are some interesting modifications which need to be made so it will fit him well. And he was using his own handspun too. Thanks Jeanine and Michele for inviting us.
We then headed to Hamburg, NY to sign books at the Embraceable Ewe ( Erin had assembled a terrific crowd in her Victorian home and shop.
Erin has several generations of knitters behind her. She's here with her mom, Chris, and I missed getting a photo of her grandmother who helps out at their Tuesday Help nights. It often takes a family and friends to run a wool store and Erin is the energetic hub of her knitting community.

Back home, sigh. Today I will do some knitting, read a bit and think about when I can start one of those patterns I bought.

Tuesday 4 November 2008

2nd attempt at a slip stitch hat

Not too much knitting got done last week between getting everything ordered, organised and packed up for the Stitches East show in Baltimore, then shipping out books and things for the Rochester Guild talk and our book signing at Embraceable Ewe in Hamburg (both on the way back home from the show), all while carrying on with business as usual (and it is our busy season). And no relaxing on the weekend either as I had company!
But I wanted to try another slip stitch hat for our new booklet and the first attempt was not ideal ... you could barely see the pattern at all! So, here is the 2nd attempt. It's a "mock cable" slip stitch. I can't be bothered to use a cable needle for a 1 stitch cable and as I'm working in wool, I just slip it off the needle and hold it behind with my fingers. Works great and no constant seaching for that darn cable needle!
I'm having a hard time, as usual, planning the trip knitting. I'd love to take (and try very hard to finish) my pullover, I want to finish the mock cable hat and I'm winding some yarn to do some adult sizes of my new flap cap. The knitting is tricky because I hate having idle hands at a show but when I get busy, then the knitting is up and down and up and down and it's very easy to make a mistake (it is not at all unusual for me to rip out any knitting I've done while at a show unless it's a really easy hat or sock). And I really can't take anything I have to concentrate on! However, there's the LONG drive (we take turns) and the evenings in the hotel room ... And it's far too dangerous NOT to take knitting as then I end up buying yarn and starting something new! I've way too many things to finish before I start anything else new. Well, except for my Christmas knitting. :-)
I will have to make some decisions soon as we'll be leaving at the crack of stupid tomorrow morning.
Now I'm off to print off directions. I love Mapquest!

Monday 3 November 2008

Impatience, bad.

I have knit a hat for my daughter but . . .

it's a little too short. I'm sure it measured 5" before I started the decreases for the crown but NOT NOW. Suddenly it's shrunk. How does this happen! I remember a quote I read, no idea where, that "you don't have to have patience, you only have to wait". I should have waited one more inch. At least I checked my pattern as written so that's done. The redo will have to wait until we get back from our trip. Waiting is hard and this hat can just get a taste of it, so there.

We are off to Baltimore early Wednesday morning to do a Stitches show. Then I am giving a talk to the Rochester Knitting Guild on Nov.10 and another in Hamburg, NY on Tuesday Nov.11. A busy week but should be fun.


Thanks everyone for the comments on my lost wool. Nice to know I am not alone. I did check the kitchen cupboards and the fridge and still no luck. Anyone else err on the short side of their knitting? Ha, ha, and this from a 5' woman who can still knit her own sleeves too short.