Thursday 24 December 2009

Birthday Sox

I just had my birthday and I thought I'd share my Birthday Sox's from Deb.You might notice that they've been worn, natch, and are about to go into the wash.

I pretty much always get socks on my birthday from Deb, but it wasn't always that way. Well, it was for years, but one year Deb decided that I should learn to knit socks (now you need to remember, Deb is my older sister and the one who taught me to knit ... so, you get the picture). So, that birthday ... *gasp* ... no socks!!! I was devastated. So, while I may be stubborn (like my older sister, mmm?), I'm not stupid. I learned to knit socks. And guess what? Yup, socks started showing up again on my birthday. And, it's weird, I can easily knit myself socks and do as well, but somehow, it's those birthday socks I look forward to each year. Thanks Deb!

May you have a safe and happy holiday season,
- Lyn

Tuesday 22 December 2009

Time for a holiday

I've finished the last Christmas hat and have one orange pom pom to make and that's all. Done, Over. Time to block a couple scarves and wrap 'em up.

Yesterday we had one last meeting for the Teen booklet before we go our separate ways for the holidays.

It was a little dark in the restaurant but I'm not complaining because they let us sit and knit for 4 hours. We did eat lunch too but that was totally an aside. These are the beginnings of 3 of the sweaters. My brown cardigan which you've seen, Bernice is working on a cabled hoodie and Dana is swatching for a tunic with a chevron pattern.

In January we are going to go hard at it because we will be ticking the days off on our 2 month deadline. Time for a break I think.

Today I'm officially declaring myself on holidays. No knitting for work is to ensue for 2 weeks. I'm having an awful time gearing up for this. I work at home and my knitting work surrounds me. It's beside my chair in the livingroom, it's beside my bed, under my bed and stacked up beside the computer. The temptation to just do one last little thing is very strong. It's not easy to ignore so today I put it all away. The Valentine sweater is away, the Teen project work is away, the beginnings of a sock book is away, the cross-over sweater I would like to reknit is away, my teaching gear is away. Not far away but in one pile under a bookshelf with a Do Not Look At sign on it. Now I need to switch my mind over to any projects I might like to knit just for fun. Hmmm.

Saturday 19 December 2009

How's your Christmas knitting coming? I'm on a couple of the last items - the boyfriend list.

On the right is the crown of a brown hat for Lynda's boyfriend. It's chocolate brown, nice guy colour. I'm doing Lynda's pattern from the Need A HAT booklet, thought he might like that. The orange is for my daughter's boyfriend. He bought himself a 'old school' 3 wood (golf club) and would like an 'old school' cover for it. How can I resist such a request.

Friday 18 December 2009

It's a winter wonderland here. Just a couple days of snow and everyone's worries of a green Christmas are over. I walked home on Wednesday on the Lightfoot Trail. It was a bit of a slog as you can see, snow up to my knees. And I was almost properly dressed. I had wool socks on, 2 pairs of wool mittens, a wool neckwarmer and a wool hat. About half way down that stretch I was wishing I had thought to put my long johns on or at least had thought to wear my flannel lined jeans. It was a lovely day and a beautiful walk.

Yesterday was a bit of a family day for me. My dad came over and we put the wood panelling back on this wall. My mom walked over and made us lunch which was really nice. Because of water damage, we had removed the panelling in the spring. My husband and I had reshingled the roof in the summer and Tom came over and sealed up the last 2 places it was dripping. So now I think we're water-tight (my fingers are crossed). It's so nice to have it done. I still have to put up some trim but it's sure nice too look at wood and not plastic and pink insulation.

I got to some knitting in the evening.

Moving right along.

Tuesday 15 December 2009

I'm moving along with my Teen knit. It's a little hard to knit with my fingers crossed but I'm at the great divide now and had to take a run to the shop to collect a couple more skiens of wool.

There is some more knitting on this sweater on the program tonight.
Last night I made a mitten.

And this morning I started the second mitten. I had put in some short rows across the back of the hand and when I got to that point this morning I couldn't remember how often I had worked them. Last night I thought 'I'll remember how many rows I did'. HA, HA, HA, HA. What is it they say about us being our own worst enemy?! I don't know what I was thinking. I was being delusional. So... I ripped back so they were both at the same point and thought I would knit them both together. Have you ever done this?

Both the backs of the hand are on one circular needle and the palms are on a second. I tried knitting them this way for a bit and finally resorted to using a third circular needle, like knitting with 3 very long double pointed needles, which worked pretty good. They will match now but I must admit it's a bit awkward since I kept dropping the empty needle as it emptied (if that makes any sense).

They are drying now on my mitten dryer over the hot air vent.

Saturday 12 December 2009

Step Forward

I'm stepping forward on a couple of projects now. The process of 1 step forward, 2 steps back, is pretty normal for me, not being an abstract visualizer I have to do it to see it. But it usually leads to something good and a giant step forward. I started up my scarf again and after aborting the Feather and Fan pattern after a couple of inches I've settled on the Dewdrop pattern (the blue Treasury of Knitting Pattern book).

Here's a closer look at the pattern. It's fairly easy to memorize and if I can just get the row beginnings worked out I will be able to do this without carrying the pattern around with me.

And now for my new Teen cardigan.

I'm pleased with the collar which runs into the Front Panels which will go down the entire length. Ignore the colour of the button. It was the only one I had at home which is the right size, nice and big.

That's the end of the first skein of wool. It's almost a garment already. A short capelet? A large neck cozy? I can see where it's going now. I'm sure there will be a couple more hurdles to get over but it's coming together.

Thursday 10 December 2009

Rip it

My goodness, blogspot's site has just improved a lot. Wow. Now I can underline, oops, nope. I can highlight, OK now I can't get out, rats, how do I get out of here? There, Phew. This might not be a great idea for me. I'll just stick to what I can do. Although, there are some possibilities here.
You haven't heard too much from me because I haven't felt like I've been very productive. It may have something to do with 1 step forward and 2 steps back on several projects. I knitting this,

which had some problems, so I frogged it. Yes it's gone, gone, gone. But I reknit it in this colour, more Valentine-like I thought and very gorgeous too.

And I had a scarf half way done but have decided as I look at it more and more that the colour is too dark for the pattern and so this got ripped out too.

I reskeined the wool, wet it and it's drying looped over a door handle as we speak. It should be dry by tonight. I'm going to simplify the stitch pattern since the very dark navy hides the pattern but I sooo love the colour. I think a simple Feather and Fan pattern would be more suitable.

In the meantime I've reknit the buff coloured wool,

into this but it's going to get frogged too. I know! I'm thinking of buying a condo on the shores of the frog pond.

This sweater is for a project which I haven't told you about. It's a Teen booklet which will be finished in the spring (May, 2010). The sizing will start at a 28" finished sweater and go up to a 40" sweater (small/medium adult size) with the emphasis on the 12-15 year old teen. But that doesn't take the rest of us out of the loop if the sizing works. I think I may knit one of the sweaters for myself. This is my first attempt at my entry, a long cardigan with a large collar and cuffs. I like the pattern in the collar but I made the panel in the front too wide with too great an overlap. I was going for a double breasted look and on paper I thought it worked but it's not doing what I wanted. So I'm back to thinking of a single row of buttons and this is getting the rip it, rip it, rip it treatment.

I wonder if I could launch a small boat on the frog pond to take a little trip around and see what other knitters are doing there (it's always summer at the frog pond). Is anyone else sitting on the shore? We could wave to each other and maybe meet for 'happy hour'.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

New Pattern Now Out

I've just posted Deb's new pattern #622 Last Minute Baby on our web site and in a downloadable format on PatternFish. Here's the final image ... but you've watched the work in progress the last little while! It's a top down, super fast knit using heavy worsted/aran weight yarn. You change the size by adjusting the needles. If you need a quick baby gift, this pattern is the one!

I've got some lovely yarn to dye and try it out myself!

Monday 7 December 2009

Putting Beads in

I've been doing the test knitting for the Beaded Mittlets (by Shirl the Purl). I was interested to see if different methods would display the beads differently. So I thought I'd explore:
  • stringing the beads onto the yarn and placing them by purling them on one round, and knitting through the back of the stitch on the following round (which is how it's written in the pattern itself);
  • the crochet hook method of placing beads as you come to the point in the pattern of needing the bead (which I used on my shawl shown last month).
So, I tried it on my next pair of mittlets (Christmas present for younger sister Heather). And the answer was? Yes, there is a difference. See below:

The pink and red mittlets (far left and middle) used the pattern method (stringing the beads) and the blue version in progress, on the right, used the crochet hook method. Can you see the difference? Here's a close up:
The beads on the left show better. They are more prominently displayed as they sit more "on top" of the yarn. The blue version almost hides one bead in the cable. They also sit further "in" the yarn. I doubled checked this by turning the mittlets inside-out and sure enough, you can see much more of the beads on the blue version on the inside. I think the cable also looks like it crowds the beads on the blue version.

So, I think it depends on what you're doing. I would NOT have liked to carry the beads for my shawl all the way to the end just to use them on the 2nd last row. Also, the fact that the beads show on both sides works very well for the shawl. So, for the shawl, the crochet hook method works better and for the mittlets (or The Beaded Hat or The Beaded Mittens) the stringing the beads on method is better.

Good to know.


Thursday 3 December 2009

cables and stripes

I've come a long way baby.I'm below the decreases for the waist and starting to add on stitches for the hip, which you can't see because my needle is pulling it in. It's coming along swimmingly. It's not my size and I am dying to try it on someone. I might have to wait until it's finished.

In between crossing cables I am ribbing the Noro scarf, sans Noro. I'm picking up whatever wool I can find which changes colour throughout the ball and casting on. These stripes are the result of 2 different colourways in 2 different kinds of wool. I love it. Today I am going to cruise through my local craft store and see if there are any more combinations I can find there to make. I've run out of stuff from our own shop.

My son is asking for black again. He did come out of the black phase and into rainbow colours for a couple of years but moving to the big city for a couple months has him right back into the black. What is that? And I was having such fun with all these coloured stipes. He might have talked himself out of a scarf.


Sunday 29 November 2009


Test knitting again.I think this is a much more appropriate colour for the Valentine sweater, don't you? It's Cranberry and has little pink blips in it. I think it is going to be a new worsted weight superwash wool we are going to carry because I love it already.Here's the back where you can see more of the cable pattern, it's fun. I am coming up to the waist shaping soon. Oh boy, oh boy. I can't wait to see how that looks. And I have finished something, there has not been too much of that going on lately. These socks are for Tom, my carpentry friend, as a thank you for helping us out with our dripping house. The snow is going to fly this week and I'm much more confident that next spring it will not end up inside my house. Next week is finishing week. I need to sew in the ends of these socks and sew some buttons on, get some photos done and then there will be a couple of new patterns ready to go. Stay tuned.


Thursday 26 November 2009

Ravelry Group

Yesterday I set up a Cabin Fever Group in Ravelry ( While I was still trying to get the group image to stop being totally squished two "threads" (I think that's the term) were already being added!
Bev was totally on top of the whole group thing and started a thread about Your Fav Cabin Fever Pattern and the knitter with the question was right there with her. It was very cool. So, Deb and I sat down yesterday afternoon and Deb answered the question and we tried to figure our way around the group.

I think you can set up rules and post them (need to learn where and how) but right now our initial thing is we'd like people to put their name in with their comments/questions/discussions. Or is this not done? I'm not totally sure of the protocol. However, Deb and I prefer to have names to respond to as it seems more personal. Like a real conversation.

So, please feel free to join in! If anyone has suggestions about set-up or things I need to know or should know to administer or moderate the group please drop me an email, either at our email in Ravelry or - I'd appreciate it. This is a big learning curve for us!

I just finished the test knit for the yet un-named beaded mittlets (which will likely BE the name) from Shirl the Purl. Have made a coupla changes and went over them with Deb yesterday before I sewed in the ends. They came out terrific but I'll pull off the cast-off edges and add a couple of decreases just to keep them snug. After you wear mittlets for a bit, if there's not a decrease there, they tend to stretch a bit around you fingers.
You may, as I did, think that these are a tad large for my hand. They fit but are not "snug". Both Deb and I have relatively small hands (and stubby fingers). I tried these on several other people, including Al, and they fit great. So I am planning to knit these again, in DK weight for smaller hands. The red version(which will be the Medium/Large size) was done in Shelridge Farm's W4 (worsted weight) in Cranberry (lovely red) and I think I'll do the DK version (Small/Medium) in their yarn in one of two green's that I have. Can't quite make up my mind which one.

I am going to finish the editing of the pattern today, then cast on with a pink pair (worsted weight) for the 2nd test knit and the 2nd Christmas present. After I do that, Deb will take a turn and then we'll have them out. Would be nice to get them done soon as they'll make great Christmas presents (the red version is already pegged for one of Al's girls) and they are fast! A really quick knit.


Tuesday 24 November 2009


I've been taking Sally's advice and was sleeping yesterday. These weekends away are not known for vast quantities of snoozing time. The Nor'Loch lodge was lovely.I bunked in with 3 women from the Aurora Guild, snug in our own little cottage.But the real fun was in the classes. Here's Sally giving some fashion advice.
Karen from Sheepstrings doesn't need any help at all. She's got it all together. That's one of the sweaters out of Sally's new book Mother-Daughter Knits.I learned that the shorter the knitted top you are wearing the wider your bottom should be. Ha, Ha. Got that one covered! OK she means the wider the pants or skirt you can wear, like straight pants or an A-line skirt. And the longer the top the skinnier the pants should be.Not being a naturally stylish person this was very interesting information. I took note of everything you can wear with jeans. It's all in her book and the big sweater is by no means a no-no you just gotta get the leggings out again girls.


Sunday 22 November 2009

Purls of Wisdom

Deb and I are at the "Purls of Wisdom" Retreat here up at Norloch Resort outside Huntsville. And the instructor is Sally Melville; a smart, smart, stylish and clever Canadian designer/author/teacher. I think the name of this weekend was extremely descriptive. I'm sure Deb will have lots more to say, but I just was struck yesterday, quite forceably, at a key, no, fundamental, critical? no, an epiphany? No, that's still not the right word ... but one CRUCIAL, important, strikingly obviously but completely ignored piece of information in our daily lives .... we need to get sleep. Yes, sleep. LOTS of sleep (yes, I know I'm shouting with the capital letters but that's how it struck me and the 6 of us in our cabin ... it's been quite the discussion this morning).

Sleep is hugely important to our creative ability. Hugely important to life. And the striking piece of information? The vast majority of dreaming doesn't actually occur until the end of the sleep cycle and not until your body had completed its healing etc, and so on, but the key part is the largest amount of dreaming doesn't occur until something around the 7th hour ... of sleep. Yes, you absolutely need 8 hours of sleep a night to function at your best and to be creative. Period.

Ignore the implications rampant in our society that it's weak to require 8 hours of sleep each and every night. That it is something to be proud of to only get, or need, 6 hours. Science shows that this is not true. And quite dangerous, but for me and the creative force in this little cabin? It's the negative impact on our creative life that's struck us. So, that's our purl of wisdom for you this morning. Get some sleep. Please.

So, signing off from Norloch from Laura, Darlene, Elissa, Karen, Karen (yeah 2 of them!) oh, and me, Lynda. And we all had a great nights' sleep and we're going to go and be creative this morning. : )

Friday 20 November 2009

Last Minute

I've finished the last test knit of the Last Minute Baby. At least that's what I'm calling it for now. Meant as a last minute gift and the vest option is very quick indeed. I've used 3 different needle sizes to determine 3 different sizes from newborn to 6 months old. I think this works well for a fast project. You may have noticed that finished for me excludes putting the buttons on, those will go on when I get to the official photo stage next week when it has to be really finished, a fine distinction. I've been carrying these around in my purse as a project to knit a round or two as catch can but I wasn't getting anywhere quick. So I sat down the last couple of evenings to catch up. Don't you love denim coloured wool?And for some fun knitting I'm working on this scarf and it is lots of fun. It's the scarf that was talked about a couple of years ago (yes, once again I'm late for the party). If you look for Brooklyn Tweed you'll find the scarf there

Take 2 balls of yarn which change colour throughout, start so that the colours don't match up (or use two different colourways for the best effect). I started with the inside of one ball and the outside of the second ball since they were the same colourway.

Cast On an odd number of stitches.

Row 1: work [K1, P1] to last stitch, K1.

Row 2: with yarn in front slip first stitch, work [K1, P1] to last 2 sts, K1, slip one.

Repeat 2 rows with second ball.

That's it, work 2 rows with yarn from one ball and 2 rows with yarn from second ball and see what happens with the colours. Easy but interesting.

Going on a knitting retreat this weekend, yay, and taking these two unfinished projects with me. Of course I will have no time since I'm taking 3 courses but how can I leave the house without several kinds of knitting in my bag! I'm hoping there's a hot tub.


Saturday 14 November 2009

I'm in LOVE ...

Oh, oh, oh ... I'm so pleased. I've been working away at this shawl, two steps forward and four steps back ... or at least that's what it felt like at times. I could so easily keep the leaf pattern in my head but the medallion pattern, which I really like, not so much. And when I get more than 300 stitches on my needles ... well that's a long rip out when you notice a mistake that you can't fix.

So here it is off the needles:
And here it is, pinned on the spare bed (I had to stand on
the dresser to take this shot) but ... oh, I am SO pleased, it is sooo beautiful : )
Just for fun, I timed the knitting of the last row of the medallion pattern. Turns out it was an HOUR!! Wow. Mind you, that included working it, counting it twice, grumble, grumble, not the same numbers on each side, figuring out what the mistake was, fixing the mistake, counting 3 more times, each in a different way, just to be sure (can you tell I was getting very fixated by this point of the shawl?).

I decided then that it was time to do the transition row for the edging and a good thing I did. I actually skimped on the edge and skipped 2 rows (which I don't think you can really notice) as I was getting really worried about getting it finished with the yarn I had left. The last few rows really used up a lot of yarn. I ended the edging with 3 beads on each scalloped edge and I had a tiny butterfly worth of yarn left. Whew, that was close. I found myself knitting faster and faster as I was coming to the end. Like if I went faster I could get to the end before I ran out? I really wanted to get it done with 100g of the yarn - mainly because that's what I had. That's serious motivation.

Not sure you can actually see the beads in the photograph. I used clear glass beads as I didn't want them to draw too much attention but still have a subtle effect.
The "off the needle" size was 36" x 18" and the "wet, pinned out" size was 64" x 24". I'll be interested to see what the size is, once I take out the pins.

I feel an amazing sense of achievement as this is my first lace weight, lace shawl. I actually feel quite excited and want to immediately cast on for my next one. Mmmmm, I want to make one in a heavier weight yarn ... Buffy gave me some in DK that is a lovely, creamy, soft green ...

Tomorrow, some more dyeing.

- Lyn

PS - Here's the shawl all nicely blocked and done. The size hasn't changed, so I assume that it would be possible to block it a bit larger but I'm pretty pleased (OK, really, really, pleased) with how it looks now.

Friday 13 November 2009

I don't have any blog fodder. Test knitting and pattern tweeking don't produce anything you want to see a photo of. Although I did get far enough on the Valentine to take one photo.It's going to be a lovely sweater. I've enjoyed knitting it this far but I'm afraid it's going to the frog pond. Yup, that's the way it goes. I think it needs some tweeking right at the beginning, wouldn't you know! But we are that much closer to the finished product. I'm looking forward to the next knit being 'the one'.

That's it. I don't have another thing to show you. I have plans to finish a couple things over the weekend though. We'll see how that goes.


Monday 9 November 2009

The class on Saturday at the Grey Heron in Collingwood went really well. A lovely clothing store with a really inviting wool room. Nice combination.
We had lunch after the class, thanks Karen that was really terrific. It gave us a chance to have a more casual chat because during the class we have to move along as you know if you've been a knitting student. We had a great time and every student had knit at least one top down before, which opens up lots of discussion on substituting increases and alterations of patterns for a better fit.
Brenda wore her top down to class. Isn't it beautiful? She took one of the solid coloured patterns out of the Button Up Your Top Down and really jazzed it up. It's gorgeous. For more photos check out her blog

Back at the ranch I have made some progress on all fronts. My socks are getting a little longer and I have sketched out a rough pattern. This means I have drawn little squares on a piece of paper which represent the number of stitches on each of the needles at different points of the sock. Nothing in writing yet but it's coming along.Oops, you'll have to cock your head to see that properly. And my quickie baby pattern is almost done. I'm doing the last test knit. I now have 3 little tiny baby sweaters. One will go to some shows with Lynda, one will go to the shop which gave me the yarn and one will be in residence at our warehouse shop.
I'm also really enjoying testknitting the Valentine. Here is the original sample in a more appropriate colour.It's a fun pattern to work. Excuse me while I go and work a couple more inches.