Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone. I hope you have a great one. We have lots of snow and the kids are home and there is only one more sleep. Tonight we have our big dinner so I have to get going on my turnip casserole. Everyone else in my immediate family hates turnips but my parents and I love it so the tradition stands, yum.

Have a happy, merry day,

Tuesday 21 December 2010

I finished up the shrug with the sparkle. It's easy big needle knitting (6.5mm/US10 1/2 needle). The sparkle is great and unfortunately doesn't photograph so you'll have to imagine it. I held one strand of black and one strand of hand-dyed blue together throughout. I like the tweedy affect it makes. It can easily be worn without closing the front or a stick can be put through the front to close it up. I am going to see if I can get someone to model it soon.

I've also, in lieu of Christmas knitting (and my sympathies go out to those of you who are under pressure to get it all done), been finishing up a couple of projects that have been languishing in my knitting basket.
This was a gift which Lynda gave me about 18 months ago and because it's knitting for me it usually gets put to the back of the knitting queue. I love the shape of it and the colour shading is amazing. It's by Candice Eisner Strick.
And because I'm like the cobbler's children who have no shoes except I guess I'm really the cobbler who is shoeless, I made myself a new pair of mittens in Northern Lights wool.
In this climate it is quite often necessary to wear two pairs of mittens and the inside pair were knit so long ago I can't remember when and every year I say I'm going to make an outer pair and now there they are. My hands are going to be toasty this winter. And a good thing too because I think it's going to be a doozy.

Hope you're not lost in a snowdrift or stalled in your car or stuck in an airport somewhere but snug at home knitting over the holidays. Have a very merry,

Thanks MommaBear, I'm liking the collar too.
Liz, I too am drinking lots of tea as I enjoy some non-work knitting.
Brenda I see you got some of your Christmas knitting in the mail already. Good going, I'm cheering for you.

Friday 17 December 2010

I'm making progress but not too quickly. I have now turned the corner on getting my shoulder back in shape. But having to cut down on my knitting time is a bit frustrating. AARRGH.
Good new, I can try on the shrug now that I have passed the great divide. (Boy, this is a tricky business taking pictures of oneself!) And unfortunately you can't see the sparkle the silver makes but it's there.
I'm almost done the body, just a couple more rows to go and then I think it's going to get short sleeves.

So how is the Christmas knitting going for everyone? I'm not doing anything specifically for Christmas this year, or at least so far I haven't. There might be a short spell of panic knitting before the day though.

Thursday 9 December 2010

I've got a couple of things cooking at the moment, maybe too many. Besides the blue/black sparkly Top Down I have the baby project going too. I started on it again after I consulted with 2 Friends of Cabin Fever, Dana Gibbons who wrote the Buttons Cardigan and Bernice Vollick who wrote the Baby J, who are obviously wonderful baby garment knitters and convinced me to make the neck cast on a little bigger for my smallest sizes. So I cast on again and changed the ribbing to my favourite K2, P2.
I'll finish knitting this sweater in sock wool (somehow it looks much bigger here than it actually is - sock wool on 3.0mm needle) and then I'll try it again in a bigger size in a heavier weight of yarn.

I also have a sock going which is following the Fancy Sock set-up in the Need A Sock booklet . It's a step away from the sock patterns in the book although I'm still using the Sock Percentage System to work out the numbers.
I'm finding that this 6-stitch slip stitch pattern works really well with the very stripey hand-dyed wool. If you're interested in socks then take a look at the other socks being knit from the book on the sock KAL blog. If you are a sock knitter you may want to join us. Send me your email  at for an invite to blog along with us as we knit socks over the winter.

And now we have winter. It's odd isn't it that for lots of us it takes snow to make it winter. I think as long as I can wear my running shoes, even in below freezing weather, it's still fall. Some years it's fall until Christmas. But as soon as the snow covers the ground then it's winter. It happened over night this week, donning the winter boots makes it official, it's winter. The sock needles are now clicking merrily.

Tuesday 7 December 2010

I've added in some more stitches on the collar. In fact I added quite a few more as you can see.
And now it's moving along quite well.
I'm loving the colour that the combination of wools is making - one strand of black and one strand of hand-dyed blue. Now it just needs some more knitting time.

Comments: Hi Brenda, this would be wonderful for the upcoming season, maybe New Year's?
Hi Deirdre, the EZ pattern I would like to do is her Top Down Epaulet Jacket. I see you are a Zimmermania member, have you by any chance done this one? And next in line would be the Long-Collared Jacket-Sweater in garter stitch. Both are Spun Out patterns.

Monday 6 December 2010

I still have a couple of Elizabeth Zimmermann patterns I want to knit and learn from. There is so much in every pattern.
Now back to my new pattern. I'm working on a shrug. Although it's become more about the frogging than the knitting lately.
I thought I had this pretty much worked out but wanted to add some more stitches onto the Fronts so that a stick could be used as the front closure for this sweater. But now I don't think the collar is wide enough. So rip, rip and start again with more stitches. Otherwise this is going just fine.

I do like the sparkle. -Deb

Friday 3 December 2010

I've recently been digging down to the bottom of my stash boxes and have found several UFO's which if I just took an hours or two could be finished. Here's one that I found which was finished except for the neckband. Not having any idea what lace pattern I used for the borders (I would have needed to write down what I did, not likely, ha, ha) I worked a picot cast off to match the bobbles on the bottom border. It's a UFO no longer.
This is my own adaptation of an early Elizabeth Zimmermann pattern which is now available from schoolhousepress as one of the Spun Out patterns. This one is the New Zealand Sweater, Spun Out #2.

I really liked the garter stitch yoke. This sweater starts at the bottom and you can see that the garter stitch yoke begins even with the underarm for the men. I started the short rows much lower so that the garter stitch yoke section covers my bust. It's a lovely sweater.
And best of all it's finished!

Thursday 2 December 2010

I worked up a swatch for the sparkly. This is one strand of black Silk and Silver and one strand of blue hand-dyed sock wool held together throughout.
I tried 4 different needles sizes from 4.5mm to 6.0mm. All would be great in a sweater. I just have to pick the gauge I like the best. But I like them all !!
I also finished my hat.
So I have something to put in the charity basket at the next Aurora Guild meeting.
I started another one just to be a keener.

Comments: Brenda, good luck with your mailing for Christmas deadline.

Tuesday 30 November 2010

What's on your needles? I have a second baby sweater with ribbed borders in sock wool. This is to follow up on the Basic pink baby sweater and the idea of a pattern which will ask you to add in some design work yourself.
I must admit to preferring heavier yarn in general. I have mastered knitting socks with sock wool but this is the first garment I have tried to knit at a sweater-type gauge with sock wool. No, that's not true, now that I think of it I have knit a hat in sock wool and a couple of shawls too. But this is my first sock wool sweater. You might guess that the switch in gauge from a sock gauge of 8 sts = 4" on 2.25mm needles to the sweater gauge of 7 sts = 4" on 3.0mm is for some reason throwing me a bit. I keep wanting to tighten it up. It's going slowly.

I also have a hat on the go for our Christmas charity knitting at the Aurora Knitting Guild. They especially need hats for men and boys so I will have one ready for next week.
And I'm starting a newer project which although it's knit with sock weight wool will be worked with 2 strands held together. And it's going to glitter.
It will be black and blue! -Deb

Friday 26 November 2010

I was signed up to teach a class this weekend on Top Down Designing for the Faint of Heart. But unfortunately it's not running due to lack of students. So . . . I thought I might go ahead and do a many paged pattern or a small booklet on the same subject. Because I think it could be a lot of fun. I might will do a KAL-DIY (design it yourself) once I have it all done. How does after Christmas sound? We might all have more time to play around with our knitting by then.

My idea is to do a NO-SEW Top Down blank canvas sweater with all the numbers worked out so that we could have some fun jazzing it up. And because little tiny sweaters are so much faster to knit up and also rip back on to try again, that's the sizes I'm writing up. Here's the first blank canvas cardigan, size 6 months.
Can you imagine it with cables, a favourite knit/purl pattern, some lace (wouldn't that be nice), a collar or a wide decorated buttonband? I'll let you think about it while I get my calculator warmed up.

Tuesday 23 November 2010

On my little holiday we took advantage of all the public transport we could. My friend's husband drove us to the GO station in Barrie where we took the GO train to Union Station, walked to the Royal York Hotel where we boarded a shuttle bus to the ferry which took us over to the island airport.What a hoot that was.
At the other end, in Chicago at the Midway airport, we took the elevated L train right downtown. A seamless and marvelous way to travel. Can you tell I don't get out much? I have no other photos being a camera carrying non-photographer. But I did get a tiny bit of knitting done.

But my production is limited now because I've screwed up my shoulder (that repetitive knitting thing I suspect). I'm getting some advice today on how much I can do until it settles down. Very frustrating which you know if you've had any problems this way. But I'm keeping busy crunching numbers on some other knitting projects.

Comments: Hey Gerry, great to hear from you. I'm sure you'll be enjoying Paulina's store.

Monday 15 November 2010

I'm off for a little weekend holiday and giving the sock knitting a break (although some other people are hard at it on if you want to check it out). I'm going to be doing some baby sweater knitting.
I'm working a on baby Top Down sweater in several different weights of yarn. These are my yarn choices for testknitting: Shelridge Farm W4 in a rich brown, blue hand-dyed sock wool that Lynda dyed and Cotton Tweed in soft pink.

All this is for a class I'm teaching at the Unwind Yarn House on November 27 and December 4. It's the Top Down Designing for the Faint of Heart class. Does that sound intriguing? If you're in the Newmarket, ON area I hope you'll join us because this is going to be fun. Everyone is going to do a little designing on a baby sweater. They're fast because they're so small and I hope knitters will do a couple over the 2 week course. It will be interesting to see what everyone comes up with starting from the same basic pattern (which I am now writing up). They will be very different, that's the great part. And they will all be the designer's own creation! Yay! I'm really looking forward to it. I'll have 3 samples done by then.

Thursday 11 November 2010

A brand new store has opened in our region. Congratulations Paulina. She's been open almost one whole week. And I've heard it's been going really well.
This store is in Sudbury, ON. So if you're around that area be sure to drop in at 2354 Long Lake Road.
Last time I saw the store it looked like this.
It seems to have filled out a bit now. There's Paulina's very supportive husband ready to man the till. Great.
Paulina and Alison run the Sticks, String and Stewardship Retreat in Sudbury which is a great time. I know all the retreaters were looking forward to this opening. And I heard there was going to be knitterly cupcakes. Sorry I missed them.

Comments: Hi sock knitters at the Grey Heron and Nature Girl. I'm really glad you're going to join in with the KAL with the Need A Sock? book. I can't wait to see some new socks being made from the book.

Tuesday 9 November 2010

Daylight Savings is in place and now it's dark by 5pm so that means it's time to knit socks. I've started a sock knit-a-long on working with the Need A Sock? book. This book will teach you how to make a sock without a specific pattern. It's based on percentages. You don't have to go hunting for your calculator because we give you all the numbers to go along with the percentages. (I do realize that not everyone carries 2 calculators around with them just in case they might need to make a quick calculation, like I do.)
You can also catch the KAL on ravelry at . I hope you'll knit along. I'm going to see if I can work out the administation part so you can put photos on the blog too.
Let's knit a pile.

Monday 8 November 2010

I had a blast in Gananaque this weekend at the Eastern Ontario Needlers' Retreat. I taught a class on Top Downs That Fit and Pat finished her little sample sweater later that evening.
And since I was teaching and never thought to get my camera out I have only one more photo from the weekend.
Debbie Wilson in the centre runs the Needlers' Retreat from . It's a fun weekend and if you're free next year at this time come on down. I'm on the left with two other teachers: Nancy Knot, Style Your Knit to Suit You and Patte Fullwiler, Two-ended Knitting with Colour. A good variety of classes offerred. And the Show and Tell was, well, it was just terrific. So thanks Debbie for a very well run retreat and thanks to all the participants for making me feel very welcome.

Thursday 4 November 2010

I'm getting ready to go to the Gananoque area for the weekend. The Eastern Ontario Needlers' Retreat is this weekend and they are going to learn about, what else?, top down knitting.
My notes are being printed out.
I have one more demonstration sample to knit up tonight. That will keep me busy.
And my car is packed with not much room left. I think I'm ready to get going.

Tuesday 2 November 2010

I did a little more work over the weekend at my favourite winter knitting place - the curling rink, Brampton this time. I finished 2 yoke swatches.
Knitting while watching curling is perfect, it keeps me from biting my nails. We follow these girls from bonspiel to bonspiel, Team Spenser. Our daughter is on the right.

And it gives me a chance to do some straight knitting because sometimes an idea is good on paper but it has to be tried out in a normal sweater-sized swatch. And once again I think I almost have something. But I've been saying that for a week or two so you might not want to believe me. And I had another really good idea yesterday driving to Sudbury so now I'm fine tuning and need to knit . . . another swatch!!

Wednesday 27 October 2010

I'm working on getting 2 different depths of the V-neck on my Top Down pullover. The shallow V I have worked out.
But the deeper V was not working out as I had hoped. But yesterday I woke up with a little idea. And now I think I have something. This V would end just below the bottom of the armhole. I think that's a good spot.
I'm on to something here. I'm going to rip out a couple of my early samples, do some number crunching and start again. Then I might even get past the V. Ha, Ha.

Friday 22 October 2010

I'm working a on basic V-neck top down pullover and it's, well, it's sort of coming along but not quickly. I started with this one . . .
. . . and had to rip it out because it's too small around the neck. I kept the neckband for comparison.
I then did some more number crunching and made another sample . . .
which is the right depth for the V at the front but a bit too wide across the back of the neck. Some of my ideas worked out so it wasn't a waste of time at all. Now I think I have a neckband and yoke which will be just right.
It does sometimes take three times to get it right.

Snow Day?

Today I'm doing the final touches for the Woodstock Fleece Festival, which is tomorrow. Waking up to this:
 is seriously putting me in the mood for knitting. Yes, that's snow! And a fair bit of it. Flakes were flying yesterday but nothing was staying white on the ground, until this morning that is!
So I've dyed my yarn:
And now I'm winding it and putting labels on:
And in an hour or so I'll be jumping in the car (which doesn't have it's snow tires on yet because it's only October!) and driving down to Woodstock. If you're in the neighbourhood, drop by tomorrow. This is a new show, only the 2nd year, but it's got a great selection of fibre related goodies!

Tuesday 19 October 2010


Things, knitting-wise, seem to moving slowly here. But I did finish another pair of socks. Yay. These are shorties which I tried to get out of a single 50gm ball of sock yarn that my daughter picked out.
I scrounged around in my jar of little left-over sock balls and found a matching colour for the heel and toes. I knit them toe-up so that I could use all of the wool and I worked a sewn-off cast off for the first time. I think I didn't do it quite right but I still like it. I have to look up the proper positioning of the wool and then I think I might use it quite often.

I was working on my cardigan and getting a little worried about how the A-Line was coming out so I blocked the bottom out.
I think it's going to be fine and I'm happy with the border pattern. But as I was stuffing it back into my knitting bag I was wondering why it wasn't fitting so well. I discovered that I had started a couple more projects while it was drying out. How does that happen!
A V-neck top down in an adult size is in there. I'm about 2/3 of the way through the short rows for the neck. And a new sock.
Which might account for the lack of space. I may have to leave one of the adult-sized sweaters at home. Carrying around 2 is a little over my weight limit.