Friday 30 October 2009


I have been a bit busy with non-knitterly things lately. The house needed to be patched up for the winter.And this required some work, unfortunately quite a bit of work, to replace 4 big patches of stucco.But now the stucco is back in place and all I have to do is paint it, if it would just stop raining.I go out and admire it daily.
And I have been knitting too. Socks, socks and more socks. These are my carpenter's socks.
I also finished up my pair of 'ice chip' socks. Yes, this is a pair and I don't have another pair just like it. Just those 2, that's it. Ha, ha.
I'm really liking the blips in this wool. I have a couple of other projects on the go too which I will reveal as soon as they gel up a bit. But I am officially back on the blog wagon again. So, see ya a little more often,

Saturday 24 October 2009


So now, from the last class I taught, I have a small baby sweater pattern which is really quick to knit. Yay!
I am doing a test knit so I can show you the short rows and what they can do. First I cast on stitches for the neckband and worked a garter stitch neckband with the first buttonhole in it. The short rows begin here. When you work short rows you don't work across all of the stitches on the row. You turn part way across the row, turn and leave some stitches on the needle unworked.
I am now at the end of the second set of short rows. At this point I have turned and am ready to do a knit row leaving the 7 sts at the end of that row unworked (on the right of photo). Every time you turn in the middle of a row you create a gap. The last time I turned is indicated by the guitar pick on the left. On the next short row I will work past the gap indicated, close the gap as I pass by it, turn again a little further along, leaving only 5 sts unworked.
I have worked to the second last short row here. On the left, I have worked all the way to the end of the row (the hole you see on the left near the end of the row is the buttonhole in the neckband). I am going to put my camera down, turn my work to the wrong side and work the last purl short row which will close the gap indicated by the guitar pick and work to the end of that row.All done. You can see that across the Back (top of the photo) you have 8 rows of knitting. At the Front edge of the sweater I have 2 rows next to the neckband. More rows across the back of the neck than at the Front edge means the Front will be lower than the Back and in this case form a V neck like in the red sweater above. Aren't short rows the most amazing things?

I got all that done with my first coffee, I told you it was quick. Have a great weekend.


Tuesday 20 October 2009

The Teacher's Side

That's very interesting. All three commenters (including an added fourth opinion) would prefer to work on a real garment, in this case a baby sweater, than a miniature sample garment.

The question on the last post was: Would you prefer to learn on a sample, like a teddy bear sized sweater, or does working on a real project (for example, starting a 3 month old baby sweater) which you will have to finish after the class, have more appeal?

Check out their comments on the last post.

So here's my side of this question, the teacher's side. When I teach this class I would like to introduce 3 different increases which all look different. On your real baby sweater you don't want to see some increases with holes and some without holes (but your teddy bear may not mind). These increases are all interchangeable and a knitter could use one of the new ones they learned instead of the one used in a future pattern they pick up. I also like to give students lots of license to make mistakes and not have to go back and fix any mistakes they have made. If you are concentrating on getting the increases in the right place because this is all new to you, you may not be paying close attention to the garter stitch buttonbands and end up with mistakes there. On a real garment you have to go back and correct that. I also can't spring something on you like having you add on an I-Cord edge to the buttonband when a student says that they find their garter stitch bands are sloppy on the edge.

I think that's the catch for me, I find that when students are knitting a real garment, it prevents me from responding spontaneously with a change which could solve a problem or open up some design ideas. For me, the classroom is where you try out new techniques so that when you choose to knit your real garment all of the terms and ideas in the sweater will be familiar even if you didn't totally master them in class. So maybe what I'm teaching is a Top Down technique class.

What do you think?

Monday 19 October 2009


I have cast on a new sock. It's a barter sock for some work I had done on my house. I love that I have one service I can offer in exchange.

Gray seemed a safe colour but it's occurring to me that it might be a little too safe. I'm considering restarting this in a lighter colour. I can't see the pattern as well as I would like. Hmm, this might get frogged.

Sometimes it seems that I am ripping out more than I am knitting up. That can be good if abandoned projects are going to get a new life.
Like this green wool which was a scarf and is now going to be a second 'Last Minute Baby' sweater, after it's dry. I've written the pattern and knit one sweater. This is a quick knit on large needles for a fast last minute gift. Not fancy but cute enough I think.
I'll knit a second one in the green yarn to check all the numbers for the 3 month old size.

Here's a dilemma you can help me out with. I taught a class on Top Down knitting yesterday and I tried something different for me. I made it a project class which this stores' customers prefer. They started the little red sweater above. It's worked on 6.0mm/US10 needles with heavy worsted weight yarn and is a quick knit. Starting with the collar cast on, in a 3 hour class a knitter can get to, or close to, the underarms even with my teacher chat thrown in. That covers all the neck shaping, the increasing for the raglan lines and the divide into the body and sleeves. This is all good stuff and the class went really well.

Usually when I teach this class I have the knitters work on a miniature sweater about the size for a teddy bear. The sweater is smaller so the knitters get further along. Most of them have the sweater knit past the dividing row. With their sweaters divided into body and sleeves, they can usually get an inch of the body done and then they can get some or all of one sleeve finished.

What I would like is your comments on this:

If you were taking this class and knitting a 3 month old sized sweater for a real baby, does the fact that it's a real project interfere with the learning process?

Would you prefer to learn on a sample which doesn't have to be anything, like a half finished teddy bear sweater, or does working on a real project which you will have after you finish it, have more appeal?

Comments, anyone?


Tuesday 13 October 2009

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving

Home from our long weekend at camp. This was a fairly typical, and enjoyable, Thanksgiving weekend for me (Lynda). It's the last weekend at camp which means we "close up" for the year. This means bringing in all the outdoor furniture and ... burrrr ... bringing in the water (and draining the water from the cottage, and pouring anti-freeze in, etc etc). Luckily I don't have to do the actual getting in the lake part myself. It's a "manly" job so a job for Al, with assistance from Dad (supervision) and brother-in-law Mark (laughing his head off). Lake Huron is pretty darn cool at this time of year. Happily the weather was brisk but dry, the sun was out during the day.

Saturday was the Gemmell dinner at our place (spaghetti) and I continue to be amazed at how much young men (early 20's) can eat!! Sunday was the BIG DINNER at Aunt Fran's cottage. Mom (now younger sister Heather) & Aunt Fran (now her kids) prepare two full turkey dinners and then set them out together for the family. We had 20 sitting down this year with the age range from 10 (ish) to 80 (ish). It was loud and crowded and great fun!

Al and I also did some last work on the kitchen and more insulation but I did get some knitting done. I'm the "helper" so I can sit and knit between helping measure and lift things or hold something while screws are being applied ...

I knit up a pair of Shirl's Mittlet's as a sample for the show I'm doing this coming weekend in Woodstock. They are, surprise! exactly my size. The colour is off a bit in my photograph I think, but they're a rich gold and the yarn is a lovely silk/wool blend. Perfect for keeping my hands warm while working on the computer.
The shrivelled little item on the right is the start of a shawl that I was knitting on the drive home. I've got Evelyn A. Clark's extremely excellent book Knitting Lace Triangles. Well worth adding to your collection. I'm using a soft bison, cashmere, fine merino blend from FibreIsles and it is going to make a wonderful shawl. I will have some of this beautiful yarn at Stitches East show in CT that I'm doing in two weeks (ie not this weekend coming, but the following weekend).

We won't be at the Creative Festival in Toronto this weekend (I'll be at the Fibre Festival in Woodstock) but Jennifer & Miko, owners of The Purple Purl in Toronto will be there, featuring our Northern Lights wool. Please stop by and say "hi" to them if you're there (the show is this weekend at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre).

Here's the cupboards back up again, freshly painted, against the new panelling (the cutie in the background is Al). The cupboards were built by my Dad and his uncle over 50 years ago. They used to be in Grandma's cottage kitchen but when it was pulled down (before it fell down) some items were rescued and now reside in our place.

Thursday 8 October 2009


Where has the week gone? I'm on my way out the door again. The one-armed Swing Coat is going to a knit nite in Barrie. Ever hopeful that it's next sleeve is going to get started.
Maybe, maybe not. We'll see what happens. Tuesday night was Aurora Guild night where I spoke on the hero's journey as applied to knitting. Ha, ha. There was some entertainment value there if not a lot of illumination. But it's always nice to think of yourself as a hero isn't it, slaying dragons and overcoming obstacles which lie in the way of finishing your sweater?
And Maureen had another couple of sweaters knit from the Top Down For Toddlers Book.
She made it a larger size by continuing to work more Increase and Straight rows before the great Divide. Way to go. And I love this colourway. It's gogeous Maureen.

Gotta run,


Monday 5 October 2009


It's almost a coat.You can see that I will have to block out the front edges. The built-in I-Cord works a treat but when the fronts are long, like in this coat, they start to pull up a bit. Blocking takes care of all that and this coat will never have a droopy front, believe me. The coat has a swing to it but my wooden girl has NO hips at all so she can't really show it off. The wool is showing the garter stitch lines really well. I'm pleased with how it's coming along. For a big project this one went fairly quickly. In fact one audio book took me a very long way and I still have one more book to go.


Saturday 3 October 2009


Hi guys,
Yes, wasn't that cake amazing. The decorations were made from marzipan. And it was as delicious as it looked. Also another catch up from the last post, I made my moebius neckwarmer in a strip and then folded it and kitchener stitched it together. I could have used Cat Bordhi's cast on, which everyone else in the class was using, but I wanted to be sure to get the exact size I needed and wasn't confident I could do that. You can check out moebius instructions on the internet and give it a try. And just to show you how silly women (me, that is) can get when a camera is being snapped all around for a couple of days. I present the ninja knitter:
Fun with your knitting. Ha, ha.
And now to more serious business.
My Swing Coat ( is past the great divide now. I took a couple of audio books out of the library with the idea of getting the body done this weekend. That may be optimistic but I'm working towards that goal. I'm sure I read somewhere that mature people have goals. I realize that my maturity level may be somewhat suspect now so I'm trying to recover some ground here. Is it working?