Thursday 30 July 2009


I just had a lovely chat on the phone with a customer from northern Virginia. She was telling me that she took classes at one time from Elizabeth Zimmermann. She still has the sweater she knit and is now replacing the buttons and passing it on to her daughter. How cool is that. The closest I've come to EZ is watching one of her videos. So does talking to this customer make it 2 or 3 degrees of separation between me and Elizabeth? Sometime I must tally up the number of garments I have made out of her books. The last time I counted I think I was up to 18 but that seems rather low and doesn't count the patterns I have knit multiple times. Do you find that there are some designers that just call to you? Elizabeth Zimmermann still calls to me.

I'm not getting much knitting done. The J Jacket is not pulling it's weight at all. It's just lounging around on the couch.
I keep telling it that I need to get some work done but . . .it just curls up in a ball and tucks it's needle ends in. I think it's sulking. J obviously needs some 'alone' time. I think I'll just leave a movie on and sneak out to do some errands. It might be in a better mood later.


Monday 27 July 2009

scarf x 3

This is a lot like scarf knitting. Lots and lots of garter stitch.
With a little attached I-Cord for the Front edges. I now have the collar, both front panels and the back panel finished.
It's a little blurry but it's so dark here these days that I can't get a clear photo. It rained all day long with two sets of lightening and thunder rolling past. Good to have a low tech project to do because the power went off several times. Now this piece of knitting, which looks like 3 scarfs, corresponds to the schematic sections #2, 3, 4 (last post). It's fun that way. Only one section to work at a time. I have picked up along the left side from the bottom of the Front all the way across to the bottom of the Back. Lots of stitches and of course it now looks like a big blob.
Nope, there is no way to make this look better at this point. But it gets better from here on in because it's going to look like half a sweater real soon. OK, I have to knit some more, quite a bit more but it's coming, soon.

Friday 24 July 2009

JJ's not looking impressive

I had some further comments about why we shop at the yarn stores we do (thanks E. - check out the last post comments). Location does dictate what a shop might stock. I also got an email from a store owner saying that it doesn't matter what the latest craze is, a store owner has to know her customers and whether the stock she's buying is going to appeal to her knitters. A suburban shop or the 'only store in town' has to cater to a much more varied customer base and this can be very tricky since such a wide range of products and price points are needed. You might imagine yourself in the shop owners place next time you are in your local yarn shop. It does look different from the other side of the counter. Thanks for your input everybody. Lots of very interesting comments.
Speaking of yarn shop products here is my latest being knit up. Is it just me or do you find that sometimes sweaters just don't do us any service by looking extremely goofy for so long. "Yes, it's a sweater, at least it's going to be, really, would I lie to you?"
This is the schematic for the red sweater above. I'm not too far along yet but #1 is the collar. On my 'girl' you can plainly see it is a garter stitch flipped over collar which is going to be quite lovely. I have finished panel #2 down the Left front.I just started on the Back panel #3. And I mean just started. I think I have worked 2 ridges there and obviously need a longer needle than that double pointed needle to get going. The clothes pin is pinning the first buttonholes together just to show you what's what. If you want to see it a little further along go to because Bernice is motoring on ahead. This is her design and based on her Baby J (

I think it's movie night at our house tonight and that means lots of garter stitch and popcorn.


Tuesday 21 July 2009

What's first

Thanks, thanks, thanks for all of the comments. I really appreciate the response. They were great to read. I tallied up the answers to the question: If you had several yarn shops to choose from why would you go back to one over and over?

More than half said staff and service were the most important. Next was location because, like going to the gym, convenience makes a difference. The last was yarn selection although some of you would travel to a store when you needed a larger selection to choose from. Those of us who are so fortunate as to have a couple of stores to choose from know what the differences are between the stores we frequent and go to each one for a particular reason.

This was not a cabinfever shop question. We work out of a warehouse which is why we are so hard to find. It's a very unglamourous location with corrugated metal walls and black metal gates but this space works really well for us. We have a very small room where we have some retail yarns out but mostly we have the yarns we sell under our label. It's messy, with boxes of yarn and piles of samples and when we are packing for a show it definitely looks like a working shop! We do 8 - 10 shows a year which ties up lots of weekends and makes for a few busy weeks approaching these dates. I hold a 'drop-in' class on Wednesday afternoons during the fall and winter and our knitting guild meets there once a month which is where I see knitters in our shop on a regular basis.

The question springs from speaking to store owners about getting a trade show going in Ontario. This would be an industry show where small and large wholesalers display their wares and store owners come to see what they could buy for their shops - yarn, needles, books, patterns, notions, novelty items, etc. If store owners in the area all shop at the same trade show some of the same products would show up in lots of the shops. Would that result in fewer customers walking through the door? If staff, service and how comfortable you feel in the shop is the largest draw to repeat visits then some overlap of product is not a problem. Any other comments?

And though I was checking this site every 5 minutes to see if there were any more comments, I did finish my Lacey Legs sock ( is a sample sock so there is only one. Sample socks are happy singles, really they are. Now I have no excuse for doddling. I have to get back to that long list of 'knitting things to do'. I'm working on the JJ Adult jacket, editing a couple of other patterns and . . . that's as far as I've gotten. That giant basket of left behind projects is sitting beside my knitting chair and not clearing itself. Time to dig into it.

Thanks again for your input,


Sunday 19 July 2009

I have a question

I put this question in the last post but didn't get any answers so I'm putting it in again and hoping for some feedback. I know you were out in your garden or away for the weekend or barbequing or something. But I am really curious about the answer. I have my own opinion, based solely on my own buying criteria and I'm wondering if you can validate my suspicions.

Question: If you had several knitting stores in your area (say within an hours travelling time) which carried more or less the same type of yarns, why would you shop at one store as opposed to another? Is it the convenience of location, the store's staff, the selection of yarns, price point, the service after your purchase? Each of us probably likes a different shopping experience but what makes you go back and back and back to the same store?

If you don't have the option of several stores in your area, imagine that you did.

Back to the knitting. I finished my King's Knight sock in the Fibre-Isle Bison ( and it's lovely.
This is the woman's version ( with finer sock yarn. You can use the same pattern for both, using the same numbers with the finer sock wool will give you a sock with a narrower 8" circumference around the foot instead of the men's 9" foot.

Yikes, a change of 1 stitch per inch can make quite a difference. You would think that the blue men's sock was faster to knit but no . . . it's the largest men's size so actually took longer. Big feet. I started a second sock sample ( Toe Up Lacey Legs.

I love knitting this pattern. You get a lot for your lace work here. Time to get back to it.


Friday 17 July 2009


Here is the bison ( in knots. I love making these little guys. Not the big to-do that bobbles are, just a little maneuvering and there it is, a perky little knot.
They are coming out beautifully in this luscious wool. Still the rest of the cuff to go but it's no problem at all. In fact it's calling to me.

Today in the car I got over 2" done on the collar of the JJ Jacket. Latest bulletin: At lunch time today Bernice informed me she was half way down her collar.

This is going to be good knitting for the car, in front of the TV or while I'm talking to friends. It's very relaxing to just knit, knit, knit along.

Tonight I'll be answering the call of the bison. But before I give in, I have a question. If you had several knitting stores in your area which carried more or less the same type of yarns, why would you shop at one store as opposed to another? Is it the convenience of location, the store's staff, the selection of yarns, the service after your purchase? Each of us probably likes a different shopping experience but what makes you go back and back and back to the same store?


Thursday 16 July 2009


My previous plan of work has been interrupted by sample knitting for the Sock Summit ( . Lynda is going to have a cabinfever booth there and will be selling some lovely sock wool with bison in it - yeah, bison - cool eh?
It's spun by Sylvie and Jacque at their Fibre-Isle mill in P.E.I. ( and it's gorgeous. I have the natural colour which feels so soft in the skein you just want to keep squeezing it. It knits up beautifully too.
I'll get some more done by tomorrow so you can see the little knots on the leg of this sock ( I'm knitting the women's version. The men's version calls for sock wool which knits to 28 sts = 4"/10cm giving the sock a 9"/23cm circumference. I am going this one with the Lovit Bison at a gauge of 32 sts = 4"/10cm for a sock circumference of 8"/20 cm. The same number of stitches for both sexes, just playing with the gauge and weight of sock wool. I can't wait to wash this sock and see if it blooms up a little. It's lovely to work with.

I expect that Bernice is way ahead of me on the Adult J jacket. I will be casting on soon to try and catch up to her.

Monday 13 July 2009

back to work

Cabin Fever has been closed for 2 weeks and now it's time to get back at it. I have a list of patterns to write up.
The Swirl Sock.
The Double Cross Sock has to be reknit with some small changes but it's close to finished.The Tuxedo Jacket for babies still needs some work on the side panels. Not quite sure if it's ready quite yet.
The Cross-Over jacket which needs some work.
The Pine Cone Sock which has test knit but I still have to redo the toe. It's almost there.
This summer top is further along than this so I should write it up before the snow flies. But FIRST on the list is this one. I finally convinced Bernice that we must have an adult version of the Baby J and Junior J ( and, both of which she designed. So last week, after lunch in our favourite fish and chip place, we worked out the plan for the sweater. I will be writing it up and then we are both going to knit it at the same time. That's a double check on the pattern. It will be a great knit for the fall.

I have my work cut out for me for the next month. The summer is speeding by.


Friday 10 July 2009

cool enough

How is your summer weather? Here it's not too hot and sometimes even unseasonally cool but great weather for knitters. I have progressed on my pullover.I've started the waist shaping which won't be much because I run out of room between my bust and my waist pretty quickly. I have a very short torso, being short all around, so I'm decreasing 2 sts at each side (where the imaginary side seam would be). Then work 1" and decrease 2 sts at each side again for a reduction of 8 sts which will bring it in about 1 1/2". Then I will start to put in paired increases to take to out again and then some. I'm making the hips at least 2" wider. I have tried it on about 4 times so far and it's looking good.

I have added several more repeats to my scarf ( pattern by Anne Hanson.I'm not anywhere close to finished yet, possibly one third done. This pattern is easy to memorize and I am finally getting used to the lace weight yarn. Yay. Makes my worsted weight yarn for the sweater seem thick and fast, fast, fast.


Tuesday 7 July 2009

Long, long weekend

It was the big weekend of the year here in Orillia. Mariposa Folk Festival ( started going up on Thursday. It's amazing that it ever gets off the ground. It takes 500 volunteers to do it and somehow out of the kaos rises a miracle of music and good will. We started our weekend on Thursday with the launch of ArtsU, an arts school funded by Mariposa and located at Lakehead University ( It was a smashing success. We started small with 6 classes offered and we needed 30 registrations to carry it, we got 76 class sign ups. Yes, we did it. Now we are on our way. Next year a tiny bit bigger and a tiny bit better. That was my volunteer work for Mariposa and the weekend was free to enjoy.
There were lots of people there (this was taken through a fence while in line for dinner at the tent behind the stage).
Our friends Don Bray and Alyssa Wright, The Brights, played ( Isn't it a thrill when you know the people up on stage?And what festival would be complete without the dancing celery stick!

I did some knitting. When I got home and was functioning on Monday I tried it on. Hmm looks a little big but if I knit one more row that will fix it. Tried it on again and guess what, still too big. Took it off, ate lunch, tried it on again and as I was now revived by food, could admit that it wasn't a little big, it was a lot big. I measured it and I now have 6" of ease, yikes. Measured my gauge and sure enough it was off. This is not unusual for me. I never knit to gauge unless I really work on tightening up. As soon as I relax I loosen up and the result is 6" of ease. That is why swatches don't work for me. I pay attention to them and then they lead me down the garden path.
But ... I am knitting top down and can correct this on the fly. I ripped back to the divide where I had put the sleeves on a string and originally cast on 14 sts for the underarm. I can adjust the size there.

I now cast on only 6 sts at the underarm. That eliminates 16 sts from my body and now I should have 2-3" of ease which is what I wanted. I will continue merrily on my way with my relaxed gauge.


P.S. Hi commenters: The yarn is Perfection a new yarn from Kraemer ( but I see it's not up on the site yet. The colour is gorgeous.

And I also like the wide neck. I really was looking for a collar that stood up and this appears to have the intestinal fortitude to do that so far.

Thursday 2 July 2009


I got it blocked after washing the dishes and vacuuming the floor which was all worth it. It measured 18" long down the centre back and 18" from the centre to the outside point before I soaked it. In it's blocked state it now measures 25" long down the centre back and 26" wide from centre to outside point or 52" across the neck edge in total. Wow. I didn't expect to get that much extra.
I thought that the elongated leaves would show better then they do. Even at an angle they are not as noticeable as I had hoped.
But they do break up the diagonal line of the diamond leaves. It may be more effective when off the blocking wires.
I started a new sweater for myself. It's my party and I'll knit what I want to . . . it's my holidays that is. I'm testing out a new yarn we have been given. Nothing like doing a very large swatch to wash up.
It's a pullover top down and if it turns out I'll write it up. Does the neck look a little big?
It has ribbed sleeves which I think will look good. It's Mariposa Folk Festival weekend here and this is my project to take with me. Nice easy knitting as I listen to live music sitting in my lawn chair under the trees.
Gotta run, I'll do a catch up next week.

Wednesday 1 July 2009


I don't have this lace weight figured out at all. Every time I pick it up it's a struggle for the first several rows, then I seem to settle down for a bit but not for too long before the unease sets in again. I am using metal needles and I wonder if they are too slippery?It is getting a little longer, though slowly. And my shawl is done, yay. I don't have any problem with the fingering weight most of the time and this went fairly quickly for me. And now that it's off the needles I can see where I elongated the leaves. I couldn't see that while I was knitting it. Now I can't wait to block it. Oops there is a counter full of dishes to wash before I can get near the sink to soak it. And then I suppose I should vacuum the living room floor before I have to get down on my hands and knees to block the shawl out. That's a better reason than most for getting it done I guess.