Saturday 31 December 2011

It's a winter wonderland here.
Have a HAPPY NEW YEAR. It's almost time to make some knitting commitments for the winter. UFO's show your faces, it's your chance. I know I have a few around somewhere, ha, ha.

Monday 26 December 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY HOLIDAYS to everyone. I hope now that the major festivities are over that you get some time to knit for yourself. Here's hoping this next week is relaxing and that you get some 'me' time.

Tuesday 20 December 2011

This is my adaptation of my own pattern the Take It From The Top. I added a cable down the Front which adds quite a bit of interest to the knitting. Cables pull the fabric in so on the first round after finishing the short rows I increased 4 stitches across the cable panel, 2 sts for each cable crossing (cable crossing on the right side and cable crossing on the left side makes 2 sets of crossings, at least that's what I figure). At the bottom I'll decrease 4 sts so that the bottom edge won't flare out.
This a little big due to my slightly looser gauge - because swatches lie! I seem to relax as I knit and revert to my loosey goosey ways. To correct this I'm knitting 2 more inches to the bottom of my bust and then I'm going to decrease at the imaginary side seams to get the body a little smaller, 1-2" less or 2 sets of decreases. I love the top down for this. I can adjust as I go. Each time I knit myself a sweater I get a better idea of how to make it look a little better on me. Fingers crossed on this one.

Monday 12 December 2011

I've been a bad blogger. I'm not absent, just knitting on several projects at the same time. I'm running 2 KALs (knit-a-longs) so thought I would knit both of these sweaters for myself.
The Braids Cardigan is coming along really well. I'm now on the first sleeve (which makes a very awkward photo so I'm waiting until the sleeve is done). I'm enjoying visiting this pattern again and can't wait to have this one to wear.

My Take It From The Top pullover with the added cable in the Front is really fun to knit. I love that cables keep me moving forward, ticking off each crossing. I almost have it sorted out where I have to cross next so I can lose the cable directions.

I have also been working diligently on the Plus Cardigan book. One sweater done and working on two more. They are my secret projects which will be revealed in January when I get them finished. Lots and lots of knitting going on here. Time to get back to it.

Knit on,

Friday 2 December 2011

I'm starting a new KAL (knit - along) on Ravelry for the Take It From The Top pullover, Cabin Fever pattern#602.
 You can knit it just as it is or do some design work on it. That's what I'm going to do. I've knit this a couple of times and since I noticed that the pullover I've been wearing has a mysterious hole in the front (zipper mishap I think) it's time for a new one.

I'll be showing how to size it for yourself and put a design down the centre front if you like. It's time to play with this pattern. Join me?

Thursday 17 November 2011

I knit a lot as you can tell. I really like knitting full garments. I'm fairly fast being a continental knitter but as Brenda (in the comments) mentioned we had tried to get into a Stephanie Pearl Mcphee class called 'Efficient and Speedy Knitting'. A tip or two never hurts. Here's a video of Stephanie doing her stuff.
Lever Knitting

What boggled my mind is that she is using a different finger to guide the yarn. Check it again to see. I tried this one whole weekend on a pair of socks but I'm not an English style knitter and am not ready to switch. It makes me look at my knitting differently though. What if I changed the finger that guides the yarn, would that make purling faster? Food for thought.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

Purple seems to be the colour of the moment.
Finished the knitting but there is all that tidying up still to do. Purple colour of KnitEast wool by Fleece Artist.
And this yoke is awaiting further design decisions. It's the Plum colour of Regal by Briggs and Little.
A slight departure from the purple theme into Cranberry by Cascade220 for the Braids KAL.
But now I'm departing the purple realm entirely to go green.
It's Tadpole Naturally Nazareth by Kraemer Yarns and is more yellow than this photo shows. Anyway, green for the next one.

What colours are catching your knitting eye these days?

Tuesday 15 November 2011

I'm knitting sleeves and more sleeves.
Good knitting, round and round, calming, progressive and has to be done right? I'm deciding what to do with the rest of the sweater. Lots of options after working the plainish yoke: patterned cuffs, patterned front bands, A-lined body with some vertical patterning? So many options, so many decisions. Part of the fun.

Friday 11 November 2011

And now to get going on our own Cabin Fever Retreat, only 7 more sleeps. I'm writing up class notes. First we have to measure.
I'm working through a lot of literature with different opinions on this vital subject. What to measure and how to use it has become a hot topic as more knitters want a sweater that really fits. It's still a trial and error operation to figure out what you need for a well fitting sweater.

And some of it is personal preference. What is your major shaping challenge for shaping a sweater?

I'm really short and mostly have that figured out. Now I want to get the added hip shaping just right. I want some shaping to avoid that upside down Vgap in my cardigans. I don't like my sweaters tight so I tend to add too much especially when I knit a hip length sweater. On a long, below the butt cardigan there is much more room (ha, ha) to get close enough.

Monday 7 November 2011

I was retreating over the weekend.
It was lovely. There were lots of knitters cabling with Fiona Ellis and the next day we were picking up around the armhole with MaryPat. There was great food and a swim in the indoor pool. I roomed with Diane of Georgetown Yarns and had a visit with Elizabeth (who was knitting those very mittletts which are on her blog). Debbie of SheepsAhoy runs this great retreat and I wanted to send her a big thank you.

And that means the next event is our own Cabin Fever Knitting Retreat. It's coming up on Nov.18, soon, very soon. Have you been on a retreat? What did you especially love about it? Yes, I'm looking for ideas to make this retreat lots of fun.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

I should know better. I don't know many times I say that to myself! Once I change my mind about how I'm going to do something I should NOT try to jimmy what I started with. I should take a deep breath, rip out and begin again fresh (maybe the next day). Note to self.

What do you do when your knitting mojo has taken the bus out of town?

Monday 31 October 2011

What a lovely day Karen and Brenda of Grey Heron store put on for their Knitfest 2011 day. I taught a class on top down knitting and then we added in patterning. A jump for most of the knitters but they were terrific sports and I hope the stretch in their knitting abilities takes them further on their knitting journey. I'll let Brenda tell you about it on her blog

I'm having a lovely day knitting, ripping, knitting some more and ripping some more.
Frog pond casualties. Are we having fun yet?

Friday 28 October 2011

Progress on the hand-painted. I'm working stockinette stitch and I just can't leave this alone. A little bit of colour makes a big difference I guess.
I'm on the bottom ribbing but have to abandon it for a few days because . . . I'm teaching an all day workshop in Collingwood with Grey Heron shop . It's based on the
and we are going to knit a basic baby top down cardigan and then we are going to knit a second one and play with it by adding stitch patterns. A little bit of designing  (not that scary d-word) creative knitting which everyone will be able to do. I'm looking forward to it. I need to knit up a couple of small samples to show one or two techniques and then I'm ready to go!

Tuesday 25 October 2011

I did make a little tiny sweater out of the new cotton/acrylic fingering weight yarn Saucon we're now carrying. It knits up really nicely.
This is the basic top down out of the Need A Baby Cardigan? booklet . A simple knit which looks great in fingering. I knit it with a 2.5mm needle and could have gone up a size quite easily. Next time.

Went button shoping today so these sweaters will soon have buttons, soon, really soon.
If I write it enough times buttons may actually happen. I do want to wear both of them. And then I just have to write up the patterns. Piece of cake. Really big piece of cake! I've started so one step at a time and it will happen. (One button at a time doesn't really work!)

Sunday 23 October 2011

Big sweaters, little sweaters, lots of sweaters. I finished knitting a sweater which now needs buttons, knit a little newborn sweater (no photo) and now have started another sweater.
It's done with hand-painted wool. To stop the pooling of colours you are supposed to work with 2 balls, 2 rows with one ball and then 2 balls with the second ball, carrying the yarn up (or in this case down) the edge as you work. But that makes all the carries on one edge. So I'm using 3 balls, one row each. This has me carry yarn down both sides of the V-neck. I thought this would be really awkward but it's not too bad. I keep 2 balls in my knitting bag separated by a book and then put the 3rd ball beside me. I keep the wool from the two balls untangled by changing how I pick up the yarn when I start using it. The 3rd ball I untangle as I need to. Sounds complicated but it's not bad at all.
 The colour is nicely distributed. This is KnitEast wool, a 1 ply softspun from Briggs & Little, dyed by Fleece Artist. I'm loving it. It still has the little bits of vegetable matter in it because B&L don't do an acid bath to burn it out. They try to keep the chemicals down. It's nice and soft and the colours are fun.

Monday 17 October 2011

It's official, it's a sweater. Now I can go button shopping. And the next task is to get out my calculator and do the math since I made so many changes my original layout is not going to work now. But I have a sweater for myself!! Good timing since today I had my winter coat on.

Thursday 13 October 2011

Don't you love this moment? The moment when you're garment actually looks like a sweater.
Even to a non-knitter it's apparent what it's going to be which is not the case in the early stages of knitting. To me it always looks like the finished garment right from the start. It's as if the whole garment is there in outline and as I knit I'm filling it in. But for the non-knitters it's a complete mystery. Maybe that's why we're a little difficult to understand, doing this knitting thing with such enthusiasm.

Friday 7 October 2011

When I've been away I come home and have to clean something. Is this some sort of nesting thing? My mom will be laughing because I'm a dreadful housekeeper and unless I go away I do almost nothing all the rest of the time. I tackled the junk drawer, actually 2 junk drawers because I was looking for pantyhose. I don't wear them but I keep several packages around for this time of year. I cover the furnace vents with the cut-off legs because it keeps the mice out of the house in the fall. I live in a very old house with a crawlspace underneath and this really, really works. In the first junk drawer was what I would expect: shoe laces, take-out menus, warranty pages, fuses, birthday candles, etc. The second drawer was the surprise. I took out 12 handfuls of used twist ties. Not those neat rows of twist ties that come in the garbage bag package, they were there too. These are all used, 12 handfuls. I'm not sure what rainy day would require this many twist ties but we are prepared!!

I'm working on my square neck cardigan. I'm doing a size for myself first to see if it's going to work.

So far I'm liking it.
I want to see how it blocks out on the back and if I like how it looks. I have another plan if it doesn't work like I hope it does. I'm get some more knit tonight. I need the sleeves done to really see it.

Monday 3 October 2011

On the way home

We're on our way home. Somewhere in New Brunswick. It was dark and very wet. Somehow we did manage to find Debi in her new store, Wool Inspirations, in Harvey Station. I think we've trained the car - or the GPS - to find us yarn shops. Unfortunately, again, completely forgot to take a picture of her cute little shop. Wonder if we could train the GPS to take photo's?

Today Deb and I will make the run right across Quebec (and try not to get turned around in the construction around Montreal) and into Ontario with tomorrow seeing us home. Yea!


Sunday 2 October 2011

The Road Trip continues to continue ...

We set out on Thursday to visit more stores. We stopped to see Helene at the Wool Emporium in St Stephen’s (and I completely forgot to take a picture, my apologies) and what a blast it was to walk in and the first thing we see is our books out on display. It's still such a pleasure.

After that we paid a visit to the local Tourist Information office for some directions and had a chat with Michelle of Fondle Knits's, Dad! It's a small world isn't it? Dad is very proud and Deb tracked Michelle down at the show later and had a lovely chat. Then we were off to St John to visit (another) Trish. 
Trish of Trish's Crafty Corner
 It's the kind of place where you just want to sit down and knit ... and guess what happened?
Cyndi, Deb & Alli
Having had a lovely break at Trish's shop we booted it back to St. Andrews. We'd been warned about driving in the dark as moose are a major driving hazard. Sadly we didn't see a single moose but we did see two white-tailed deer the next evening driving back to our hotel (we were driving, not the deer).

Up bright and early on Friday to set up for the show. 
 Ta da!

After setting up the show opened for 3 hours. There were a lot of seriously happy knitters! Anticipation was high for the weekend. There was a reception in the hotel after the show preview and we met up with our friends Elizabeth & janie h and inspected their goodie bags which were full of amazing stuff. Said "hi" to Lucy (Neatby) as she did book signings with Stephanie Pearl McPhee and Cat Bordhi (If you don't know Lucy, she's the one with the hot pink hair).
Donna, of Cricket Cove, is amazing. The show was beautifully organised and she gave us a wonderful welcome and a great position for our booth. We've had a tremendous weekend so far (it's now Sunday morning), Deb took a class, I watched a dye demo by the Hand Maiden (daughter of Kathryn) we got caught up with Kathryn (the Fleece Artist), we hung out with Amy of Good Karma Yarns (great yarn) and Diane and Susan from Lucy's booth, we've eaten lots of fish and tried out the various local beers. We'll be at the show till 3:00pm today, pack up the booth and make one more store visit on the way out of the province. Whew!


Saturday 1 October 2011

East Coast Road Trip continued!

But the day isn’t over yet (I'm still working on Wednesday)! We jump back into the car and arrive at St Andrews by the Sea, in time for a quick look before the sun sets:

Deb at sea ... tee hee

Thursday morning we head over to see where KnitEast is going to be held ... lovely place isn't it?


Friday 30 September 2011

East Coast Road Trip

Deb and I set out on Monday to begin the drive to New Brunswick for the KnitEast show. Monday was Ontario, Tuesday was Quebec, Wednesday was New Brunswick. By Friday, we feel like we’ve been living in the car for weeks although it’s only been a few days. But you know we couldn’t resist visiting yarn shops on our way. Our first stop? Yarns on York in Fredericton, NB.

Trish’s shop is in a lovely old part of the city with tall ceilings and great window displays.

Then off for a wonderful lunch up the street and back into the car and on to visit the two John’s at the Briggs & Little Mill.Check out these two handsome men who work with wool all day long – how could you resist them?

Deb and I have been knitting with this traditional Canadian wool for years (our first patterns – back in 1998 I think - were all in Briggs & Little yarns), but we’d never been to see the mill till now. It was extremely interesting to see the mill in action and the processing of the fleece from it’s arrival in the mill through to the finished product.

John & John’s newest product 
is Soft Spun, beautifully hand-painted by the Fleece Artist (Kathryn) another Maritimer.

But must run - more tomorrow!

Wednesday 28 September 2011

I got an answer to Julie's (from the comments) question. I thought I knew the answer but then I started wondering if maybe it would work in stocking stitch. I wanted to knit it up to see. And what I see is that bubble thing which isn't going to work.
Why did I need to use Garter Stitch for the 'back of neck square' I was trying to fill in?
Garter Stitch works because the gauge of the ridges is the same as the stitch gauge. As I worked this square in stocking stitch, I knit down from the shoulder, worked the increases at the raglan line which turned the stitches 90 degrees, work horizontally across the centre back, work increases at raglan line and then work up to the top of the shoulder where I join the stitches to the neckband and turned.
The stitches, as I approach the shoulder, are running perpendicular to the neckband so I'm attaching rows to stitches. Since garter stitch knits to 3.5 sts = 1" and 3.5 Ridges = 1" I can attach ridges to the stitches of the neckband with little distortion.
Now I need to make it look a little prettier.

Sunday 25 September 2011

On the Road Again, you can sing along if you like. We're off to New Brunswick to the Knit East show. Should be a fun trip. I've got sweaters to work on and socks to knit. Lots to keep me busy when I'm not driving. Lots to think about even when I am.
My new sweater, which I thought would work out fine, did not. But I have a solution which I'm happy with and it almost works. Almost meaning some very slight adjustments are still needed and then we're good.
The front is the square I had envisioned. And now the back is a filled in square.

It's going to sit really well on the shoulders with this filled in back. The numbers work only with garter stitch so it's staying this way. I'm going to knit the full sweater on the trip. Hmm, now to decide what colour?

Thursday 22 September 2011

Division of Labour and a BIG THANK YOU

When there's only two of you in the entire company, division of labour is both essential and encouraged. Deb is off working away on our newest book and also working on the course program for our Knitting Retreat on November 18th (if you've not gotten the info and wish to have it, click here.

I'm still unpacking and filling orders from back to back shows (the Knitter's Fair and our own trade show KnitTrade) but I need to step that up as I'm supposed to start packing up for our trip out to KnitEast as we'll leave for the show early next week.

Here's how we looked minutes before Knitters Fair opened:
And here's what it looked like about 3 minutes later!
You can't do a show of that size without serious help. Here's our team - they were tireless and cheery and we couldn't do a show without them!
Barbara, Zelda, Dana and Carolyn
Al and Paul were a huge help last weekend at KnitTrade (sorry, didn't manage to take pictures of our guys lugging tables and boxes about) and that may have been the only time they saw us all weekend! We also had terrific help from Dylan (Deb's son), our sister Heather & husband Mark, Sandy (intrepid guild member), Glenda our book keeper, Dana, Carolyn and Barbara (yes, those three were hard at work two weekends in a row). Barbara was actually at both shows to represent her company Denise Interchangeable Needles but she volunteered to help and was pressed into hauling boxes, setting up displays and packing, unpacking and packing again both weekends. Oh, and Brenda! from Grey Heron (one of our stores) came and helped me out in the Cabin Fever booth! 

So, although I started this blog saying it was just Deb and I? Well, it really isn't. We have amazing help and support from our friends and families (and yes, both guys are helping me pack orders and our trailer over the next couple of days).


Friday 16 September 2011

I told you it wouldn't be impressive but there it is. A rectangle of knitting is the answer.
I want to make a sweater like this with a square neck on the Front and Back. But everyone who tried on the larger size hunched it up at the back.
So I'm going to fill in the rectangle at the back of neck with a rectangle of knitting.
The Front will be square and the back will have a square filled in so it will be up against the back of neck. This is the square worked first, break the yarn and then with new yarn cast on the Front, shoulder, pick up around the square and cast on the other side the same. At a designer get-together I was asking for advice and Fiona Ellis asked if it was possible to have the 3 sides of the rectangle be open stitches so you wouldn't have to picked up. Yes, it is possible.
So although I totally screwed up the numbers at the beginning (it is not an assymetrical front), this is it starting with the neckband, work the rectangle at the back and then work all the way around. Still some way to go but I'm getting there.