Sunday 31 January 2010

It's done and I like it very much. I have been interested in working on closer fitting Top Downs and working with this design by Elizabeth McCarten has been very interesting. She did a great job. I still have some work to do though before it goes out to the wide world, drawing a schematic of it is going to be an interesting job, sending it once more to the pattern checker and getting it photographed (and note to self, good idea to wash and block it first). That's my 'to do' list on this one.

I'm getting together with the Teen book designers this coming week too. It will be exciting to see what the sweaters we are working on look like and scary to see what we still have to do. Yicks time is ticking away. Lots of exciting work to come.

Friday 29 January 2010

We woke up to a double, small 'd', disaster - the internet was out and our car wouldn't start! Now why the internet being out provokes such panic escapes me but it certainly does. It's illogical, we're not cut off from the world. The phone is still working. We have neighbours. We can walk out the door and go to the library and log on. Oh wait, I need to drive to the library and the car won't start. I could go to the shop and check my email there except that's an hour's walk and it's -19 degrees which is of course why the car won't start. We wiggled every connection between the phone and the computer, tried to calm down and wait for the sun to thaw our car. I'm not sure which wiggle worked but eventually the internet kicked back in and by mid-afternoon the car started. So we are back in connection with the world. Phew. And I finished the second sleeve on the Valentine which in the flurry of adrenaline I didn't photograph when the sun was shining (I was directing all available rays at the car).

Tuesday 26 January 2010

In the middle of lots of knitting to do, I have had the urge to begin a project which has been sitting on the top of my stash for quite some time. Last summer Lynda arranged for me to get a kit from Strickwear . I have always admired Candace Eisner Strick's work. I am making the Adagio Shawl in the Cape Cod (blue to green) colourway.

It's a fairly simple pattern but the fun is watching the colours change. You begin with 3 small balls of the same blue colour, holding 3 strands of wool throughout, every so many ridges you change one of the strands to a paler blue.

I am going to work through all of these colours by the end. So far I am on the second colour of blue. I can't wait to get to the greens.

I have had a bout of the flu, am now recovering but during that time couldn't think too clearly so knitting someone else's pattern is wonderful. All of my own projects are exactly where they were before the weekend. I'll get back to them very soon. I'm sure they will forgive me for the delay.

Friday 22 January 2010

While Lynda is getting ready to go to Stitches West I am recovering from my other interests. Last weekend I went to adult camp - a music DIY weekend. It's just like a knitting retreat. It's relaxing,

there are intense conversations about equipment,

groups get together to do what they do best,

and sometimes things happen so fast you cannot capture them on film (that must have been Saturday because no one was moving that fast by Sunday - late, late nights).

Everyone is given a chance to shine.

A wonderful sense of community springs up.

And I must confess I did not knit one stitch! So I have been making up for lost time this week.

I am working on the sleeve flare of the Valentine. The pattern is pretty close to a final version. I have to reknit the bottom section since Elizabeth and I both felt that we would like to see the hip a little wider than the bust since this is a close fitting garment. Most of us could use an extra inch or so over the hip, right? A pleasure for me, I have another chance to knit that beautiful cable pattern.

And I am almost there on the Teen cardigan. No more sleevelessness. But I think I made the cuff on the sleeve too long. I had it on, even though it is about 3 sizes too small (no one is seeing a photo of that!), and the sleeve looks like it's a short sleeve instead of a cap sleeve. So I'm going to rip back 2 of the pattern repeats and leave 1 pattern repeat for the edging. I think that will do it. It's A-lined so that the bottom is about 7" wider than the bust to give it a
bit of s-w-ing.

Have you been to a retreat and was it great or what?!

Sunday 17 January 2010

Getting Ready for Stitches West

February is creeping ever closer and I'm trying to get ready for the Stitches West show. Karen, from SheepStrings Yarn Art Studio and I are again sharing a booth. We have to ship our goods early in February so time is getting short! I'm madly knitting away on some samples and doing a bit of shopping. I like to have some new items at each show, either our own or some cool things I've seen. So this year I'll have our new patterns (Last Minute Baby and Delicious Diamonds), some kits of the the terrific JJ Jacket and new Beaded Mittlets plus some new yarn I've dyed and am knitting the shawl right now, pictures to come. And I'll also have some new pretties, see below:

Adrianne, who does these, works with pewter and these are shaped like spools of yarn. Very beautiful and have matching earrings as well (I don't have quite the swan neck to wear the earrings myself, but am having trouble picking out only one of the necklaces to wear).

The "dog tags" are very funky.

And these ae sweater sticks/shawl pins. The top ones are coloured, wooden beads, pretty, simple and light. The stick on the right is absolutely stunning on a heavier stole or sweater that needs a closure. Very celtic looking as is the round pin below.

If anyone is going to the show and wants me to bring anything in particular - please let me know soon! 

Friday 15 January 2010

I have a model. It's wonderful to see it on someone.

This is the Valentine sweater sans sleeves.

And the Teen cardigan, again, no sleeves. This seems to be a theme at the moment. Maybe I should make it with small cap sleeves? This new trend saves some knitting.

Gotta run,

Thursday 14 January 2010

What do you think of the 'comment reply or not' question? Blogger doesn't give me the option of tracking back to your email so I can't reply to you personally right now. And that seems like a one-way communication that is not entirely satisfactory. I know I don't comment on very many blogs for that reason. But maybe if I could reply I would feel I had to reply and that might mean a 'thanks for the comment' when there is not much else to say. I do check to see if the commenter has a blog and I visit them and sometimes leave a comment there. Any thoughts?

I have one more project on the needles. Or rather I just took it off the needles for a moment.  I've finished the Valentine body and am ready to do a big push to finish the sleeves.

The cabling was really fun to do and I'm sorry it's over.

I am at the bottom border of the Teen cardigan. Now I'm excited to see how it looks off the needles.

And in between a trip to Toronto and a rehearsal tonight for a music show we're going to do in the spring, we are packing for a music weekend.

The big bag is a drum I'll be playing this weekend. It was a Christmas present to ourselves and it's fun, fun, fun. I'm looking forward to banging away over the weekend. There may not be much knitting done.

Wednesday 13 January 2010

Test Blog

I'm doing a test blog (it's Lynda). Deb would like the ability to reply to comments so I'm checking out anything that might move us in that direction. I made a change to the "comments" feature and wanted to see if they now show up on the bottom of the blog (this is a new feature that's in beta testing so let's see if it works).

So, sorry, no fun pictures but I sure would appreciate a comment or two to see how the new feature works!

- Lynda

Monday 11 January 2010

I'm ready to 'fess up. I have . . . this many projects on the needles.

This one is stalled because I'm not sure I like it. I think I made the overlap on the front too wide.

This one is the speculative knitting which I think I will probably rip out. Or maybe cast off so I have it to refer to. Yes, a much better plan.

Remember this one? I am stuck in a huge 'second sock symdrome' but I think I could get it out now that it's almost brand new again.

The Double Cross sock still needs some work at the top of the ribbing. Sigh.

I'm test knitting the Swirl Sock and carry it around in my purse. It's coming along very slowly because I never think to take it out of my purse!

And this is my current project, the Teen cardigan.

And I wish that was all but there is a shawl that I started somewhere, an angora scarf which sits languishing, and a single sock which needs a mate. So that adds up to 9 projects which I can put my hands on which are in the UFO pile. And they are laying on the floor which I am going to paint this winter or spring or sometime soonish. I am naming January - Begin the Finishing Month - a little work on everything gets everything done, right? Does this really work? How about you?

Saturday 9 January 2010

I've done buttonhole #6 and have one more to go before I begin the bottom border. Yes!

I had to scramble around to find 2 more circular needles so I could lay it out to take a photo. So today I picked up any stray needles I could find, sorted them and put them back into the terrific needle holder my mom made me many, many years ago. Unfortunately it's having a little trouble with the load of needles these days.

Do you want a closer look?

How, in that jungle of needles, could I not find the needles I needed. I found some more over on a table

that would do but I know I have a couple needles which are nice and long. Ah, yes, they would be the ones in the green sweater that I tried on yesterday. There are probably about 10 needles stuck in projects which are not here either. Yikes! Needle Overload.

Thursday 7 January 2010

It seems to work.

I think the raglan line fits better along the sleeve.

It's closer to a set-in sleeve with the straight body line and an angled sleeve.

I'm liking it. And it's not hard to keep track of either.

The sleeve doesn't stick straight out sideways but slopes down slightly. It does look odd though, doesn't it. This definitely has potential. More experimenting is needed.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

I need a better word than 'exploratory knitting'. It's trying an idea out, seeing what it does and if I can learn anything more about top down knitting. I guess exploring is a good word for this type of work. Here are some results.
I did a V-neck with the standard rate of increase, one pair of increases at each of the 4 raglan lines every other round ...

right there. Then I thought, what would happen if I worked increases on the sleeve only every other round,

starting there. I didn't add any more stitches to the body at all.

The raglan line straightens out for a bit. I did this until I had the number of stitches I wanted on the sleeve. Then I stopped increasing on the sleeve altogether and increased on the body again. But to make up the stitches I now needed for the body I doubled up the increases for the last bit. I increased on every single round.

It's a bit messy. I need to take a look at some different ways of increasing every round. The raglan line takes a dive towards the underarm which is a terrific thing.

Hmm, in-ter-est-ing. It needs the final fit test which I thought I would try tomorrow. I need to separate the body and sleeves so I can try it on. Will it look totally weird? Probably.
And speaking of oddities, what did I find today on Sophy's desk? The ultimate tool for the femme handiwoman.

Eat your hearts out handy guys. Is this a wicked looking tool or what!

Tuesday 5 January 2010

I decided today that I would get up really early to do my exploratory knitting because I had to leave the house at 8:30 to go curling. I'm really trying, for at least one week, to stick to my new plan of knitting to explore new ideas first thing in the day. My husband very nicely brought me coffee in bed at 6:30 when he left for work. How lovely, coffee in bed, read a little bit . . . to be abruptly awakened by a burning sensation!! Yes, I spilled hot coffee all over eveything. I'm fine but I did have to spend the afternoon at the laundromat washing 2 comforters and a sheet. The good news is I got buttonhole #5 done, yay!

That's snow on the sweater. I always think about taking pictures of the blog about 4pm and now adays it's dark in the house at that time so I ventured outside.

It's a little snowy here today.

My sweater is getting to be a nice length now.
The coffee woke me up enought to do my exploratory knitting but I couldn't get a decent photo of it. Maybe tomorrow.

Monday 4 January 2010

New Year plans

So the new year is upon us. Happy New Year to you. Do you have any big plans for your knitting in the next year?

I have decided that every day I am going to spend some time on playing around with design ideas. Today I spent some time setting up for an idea I have for a better fitting raglan. I'm playing with the line of the raglan and seeing if changing it a bit makes it fit better.

Nothing new here so far, regular set-up for a raglan with short rows to make the V. I don't think the V-neck is going to work out as it is. But that's what exploring is for, to find out what does and, in this case, what doesn't work. I have started the raglan in the normal way, increasing 2 sts at every raglan line, and then I am going to change the degree of slant by changing where and how much I increase. In a day or two I should have the yoke to a point where you can see what I'm trying to do. I've started it and maybe by tomorrow it will show better.

Yesterday I worked on my Teen cardigan for the Teen booklet. One more buttonhole done.

I realized that there is no button on it so you'll have to take it on faith that there are now 4 buttonholes finished. Those are my milestones, the buttonholes and my goal is to knit to one more buttonhole every day. Long projects need some way of determining progress don't you think?

My swirl sock testknit, the prototype which Lynda got for her birthday, is nearly finished. I'm going to have real 'second sock syndrome' on this one since I've already knit one pair. I suppose it will actually be 'fourth sock syndrome'.

But I do need another pair of socks.

I'm not going to pull out everything I'm working on in one day, it's way too overwhelming. Over the week I'm going to see exactly what I have started and how I'm going to set myself up to get it all done. I guess this is what I have decided to do with my knitting for the new year, prioritize and organize. Hopefully it lasts more than one week. How about you, any plans?

P.S. Comments
The blue shawl I knit is very similar to the Forest Canopy Shawl (you can find it on the internet) and based on Evelyn Clark's book "Knitting Lace Triangles". Triangle shawls are a lot of fun to do but they are way more fun when you get a stitch pattern which you like knitting. I really like the leaf patterns. I find them easy to follow so I can tell where I am whenever I pick up the shawl to knit a couple more rows. For me, that makes it much more likely that I will finish.

Saturday 2 January 2010

I knit myself a little treat over the holidays. A smallish shawl with a standard leaf pattern (the only lace pattern I have memorized) with an Evelyn Clark scalloped border. The yarn is a fine fingering which changes from a navy/black colour to a light blue. I love it.

If I stick with the same pattern on the next shawl I would definitely start playing with the pattern itself. Maybe make the leaves bigger and put more holes with corresponding decreases in the leaves. I have found that the beauty of doing something over and over is that boredom pushes one to explore some more options and familiarity with the pattern creates security so it becomes fun. A small change in the leaf pattern could make it look really different and make knitting another one interesting again.