Tuesday, August 29, 2006

...and it's in pdf, too

The Camel Shawlette, that is. I had an email in my Yahoo account this morning asking if I could convert the file from a Word document to a pdf file. Now, normally, that's not a problem for most people. For me, though, I write my patterns in Word; on my computer, Word and Adobe Acrobat do not like each other. I have to use PageMaker (which I love, but don't use for writing my patterns). So, I had to design my template in PageMaker, copy and paste all the individual bits of the pattern, save it and print it to Distiller.

I now have a Strings 'n Things template set up in PageMaker. From here on in, it will be easier to do up the patterns in dual formats.

As ususal, the pattern is in the "My Patterns" section in the right hand sidebar. Now, for knitting content. I'm being seduced. Truly, I am. There's this pattern that's calling my name with a siren voice. I'm not sure how long I can resist it. I'm going downstairs now to work on ... oh... maybe Icarus... maybe the Barbara Shawl... maybe John's socks....something, anything to keep me from starting Cheryl Oberle's Irish Diamond Shawl.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

It's up!

I could have edited my earlier post, but Blogger's been a little stubborn when I've tried to do that in the past, so you get a second post today. Aren't you lucky?

The shawlette pattern is up in "My Patterns". It's my gift to you, my faithful readers. The only thing missing is the approximate yardage, and I will update that when I know.

As always, let me know if you find any glaring errors. Enjoy!

Good Morning!

It's another lovely, sunny, soon-to-be hot day in the gorgeous Okanagan. The sky is blue, blue, blue with just a few wisps of white streaked across the horizon. Just the kind of day I like. I'm off today. John's working. But... just because I'm off doesn't mean I have the house to myself. Far from it. The roomies are off today, too. And we have a friend couch surfing here for a few days. I am, however, taking time for me!

I promised pictures yesterday. I have pictures.

I came in to work one day and noticed a lot of new sock yarn in the sock yarn unit. Did anyone really expect me to resist? I mean, come on. It's like putting cookies on the counter and expecting your kids not to touch them. Ain't gonna happen. I bought three balls.

It's all Trekking XXL. The colours I chose are (from left to right) #166 (blues), #108, and #155 (socks for John). As you can see, the last colour, 155, is being used already. I've decided to knit John some more socks. He says he doesn't need socks right now. I said you can't have too many handknit socks.

I had no idea how this yarn would knit up, whether it would be a jacquard pattern or stripes or what. This isn't what I expected. It reminds me of a forest walk along a creek, with sunlight dappling the scene. I love the colours in the yarn (which is why I bought it, obviously) and I love the way it's knitting up.

Yesterday, I wrote about the second faroese shawlette I'm knitting up to get an approximate yardage for the camel shawlette. Here's a picture of the second shawlette. The yarn is Prism by Zitron, a mohair and nylon blend. I must admit that mohair isn't my favorite yarn to knit with, but I do like the colours in this yarn and I like the way it's working up so far. The yarn is downstairs and I'm upstairs, so don't make me run downstairs to get the colour number, ok? I'll post that next time.

It will, I think, be a cozy shawl that will reside on the sofa in the living room, with the other 2 or 3 shawls down there. I think I've mentioned that this house can get pretty cold in the winter. Something to wrap around yourself is always a nice treat... and I don't do afghans.

It isn't often that I send you off to another blog, but I've been reading Eunny Jang's blog off and on now for a while. That woman is a true inspiration! Her designs are beautiful and she writes about them very well, from inception to completion. Whenever I see one of her completed designs, I'm inspired all over again. Check out her blog at See Eunny Knit

Now, I'm going downstairs to find my note book and the chart for the edging of the camel shawl and I'm coming back up here to finish writing up the pattern for the camel shawlette. I hope you all enjoy your day as much as I intend to enjoy mine.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Good News.... we think

First, thank you so much for your moral support. You have no idea how much your kind words and thoughts (and prayers) mean to me. Even though I've never met most of you, your friendship is so appreciated.

The update. John had his ultrasound this morning and it's unconclusive. The doctor who looked at the results is 95% sure that it's not a detached retina. Yesssssss! The opthamologist still can't see much and wants to see John again after the weekend. Though no one is really sure what's going on, it seems there's some bleeding inside the eye, but no one's willing to say yet where it might be coming from, and it appears to be clearing up somewhat.

So, all in all, good news so far. I will keep you posted.

As for knitting, I'll update that tomorrow. John works; I don't, so I'll have time to myself for taking pictures and writing. I intend to have the shawlette pattern written up tomorrow. There is only one thing holding me back from posting it. The camel yarn has no posted yardage. I'm working up another shawlette with a yarn that does have the yardage on the tag to figure out the approximate yardage used. Other than that, and the chart for the edging, the pattern is pretty much written already. I take it there's interest?

Now, I really should call my sister (one of the two sisters in Abbotsford) and wish her happy 50th birthday. It's my turn to rub it in a little. Big sisters are allowed to do that, right?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


Today did not go as I had envisioned it. Last night, while closing the store, John motioned me to hurry up; when I got out to the car, he let me know that he had to go to emergency, that he'd already been to the doctor who told him to go. We went home first for a quick bite to eat (hot dogs... doesn't get much quicker), then went to the hospital.

The diagnosis, at first blush, is a detached retina. At emergency, after an examination, the doctor on call made a call to the opthamologist who told John to come to his office today. And no work. This afternoon, we went to the opthamologist. It seems his eye has improved somewhat, which may mean that it's not a detached retina, but all of the doctors who've examined him so far have had a hard time seeing anything in his eye. One thing they all agree on is that there's blood inside his eye, but no one really knows why yet. He has to go for an ultrasound scan on his eye tomorrow morning, and back to the opthamologist tomorrow afternoon. Hopefully, the scan will show what's going on.

I did manage to do some knitting today, most of it while waiting at the opthamologist's office. I started the second sock last night, at the hospital, and worked on it today. The first sock is at the heel flap; I'll get the second sock to that stage and continue on from there. Two socks at the same time; no second sock syndrome this time. I also did a couple of rows on the Icarus shawl. It's time to get that one finished, too.

Tomorrow's going to be a busy, worry-filled day for me. I work; John will be working some and going to doctor's appointments and scan appointments as necessary. Hopefully, all will be well. Keep your fingers crossed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Blocked and Dry

The camel shawlette is done, fait accompli, blocked, dry and ready for chilly shoulders this autumn and winter.

Blocking did make a difference in the softness of the yarn (not unexpected, I suppose). I tried it on bare skin (my shoulders) last night just to see if it would be itchy or not. I still don't think I'd want this as a scarf around my neck, but as a shoulder covering, I think it will be just fine.

Both John and I love the finished product. It's amazing what you find out about your spouse when you make something like this. His comment included the statement, "I like things that are simple; this is a simple shawl. I like it."

For anyone who might be curious, the "shawl pin" on the shawl isn't a shawl pin of any kind. It's my wedding ring with a small bamboo skewer. I needed something to keep the shawl in place for it's photo shoot. It's all I could come up with as I don't have anything that would qualify as a shawl pin.

So, now that the shawl is finished, I need another simple project to work on when I don't want to concentrate on lace knitting (or have to think about what I'm doing). To that end, I picked up some more sock yarn and started a pair of socks for John. I'll post pictures of that tomorrow. For now, it's time for me to start getting ready for work. Till tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Finally, Another FO

It feels like it's been forever since I've finished something. I know, that in reality, it's only been a week or so since I finished the two hats, but it still feels like forever.

The camel shawlette in the faroese style is finished. It's drying in my dining room as I type. Oh, you want to see?

The shiny lines? Those are welding "tig" rods I borrowed from one of the roomies. He's a welder. He has these things. He's getting me some full length ones. The ones I used today are half size. He cut them in half to get them home from the shop. They work very well!

I know my blocking job isn't perfect; I didn't really want it to be on this shawl. The yarn is very rustic; I wanted it to look somewhat rustic. Incidentally, see that bit of yarn over in the top right hand corner? Here's a closer view...

I'm not sure exactly what happened there, whether it was a dropped stitch or the yarn broke, but when I pinned it out, there was a hole. I tried not to aggravate it. With a crochet hook, I picked up any loops I could find and sort of repaired it. When the shawl's dry, I'll weave in the ends as best I can.

The pattern is not available yet, but I will be writing it out another day. Not to worry, I made notes. I do that now.

Now, for my observations and thoughts. Would I knit with this yarn again? Perhaps. Both John and I like the rustic look of the yarn when it's knit up. Both of us like the colour variations in the yarn; quite dramatic in this particular skein, wouldn't you agree? I like the fact that a portion of the yarn sales go to support the women who make the yarn.

I must admit some disappointment, though, in the softness (or lack thereof) of the yarn. The camel down itself is extremely soft and light. There are, however, a LOT of long, coarse hairs spun in with the down, giving it a roughness that I'll probably only be able to bear wearing over a turtleneck top or, at the least, a long sleeved top.
I'm thinking I'd like to try this pattern again with a nice alpaca handspun, perhaps. Something soft and yummy, you know?

Now, on to the next UFO.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

A Picture Post

...and a note. The camel yarn is not $35/skein as I said earlier. It's actually $44/skein. So, no, I don't want to get into a second skein if I don't absolutely have to. I've started the edging; I'm not taking any chances. With the stitch count as it is, I'd have to knit another 10 rows to have the right amount of stitches for the edge. I don't think I'd have enough yarn for that.

Without further ado...

How it's knitting up. The colour variation is the yarn itself. This stuff has not been dyed at all.

The beginning of the end (sans blocking, of course). Almost three repeats of the edge pattern, from Myrna Stahman's book, "Shawls and Scarves".

And the stitch used in the scarf that's being test knitted...

Yes, that colour is pretty close to what it really is, in real life, so to speak. As I said, very masculine in my humble opinion.

Now, do you think I can tear John away from golf long enough to .......

Don't mind me

For some reason, I woke up grumpy this morning. It doesn't help when you've gone to bed at a decent time because you're sleepy and someone comes into the room and decides to watch a rerun of Monty Python and turns the volume up because it's something "you really need to see". No, I don't! I'm not into Monty Python, never have been, never will be. Then, as I tried to doze, he fell asleep. With the TV on. At a higher volume than I usually like. With his glasses on. On top of the covers. Need I say more?

I'm still tired, but I have a hard time sleeping in. The brain kicks in and won't allow me to go back to sleep after about 8 A.M. So I'm up. And now, I've got coffee. Breathe, Evelyn, breathe deeply. Let it go.

Ok, on to knitting. I have my test knitters. Thank you for your willingness to help me out in this effort. I've never done this before (asked for test knitters) and I really appreciate whatever input I'll be getting from each of you. As for me, I'm finding the pattern working up very quickly. My own version of it is almost halfway done and looking good, if I do say so myself.

Then, there's another small project I've been working on. For those of you who have shopped at Art of Yarn and get their newsletter, you'll know about the yarns with a story, including the camel hair yarn from Mongolia. The yarn came to the store in bundles of five skeins; each bundle had a red paper tag with the name of the spinner and the herding community she belongs to. Each skein is 100 grams, no yardage given. It's an interesting yarn, very rustic. Camel hair is very soft, but there are quite a few long, coarse hairs and a fair bit of organic matter remaining in the yarn.

Anyway, the small project I'm working on... I've decided to take a skein and make a faroese-style shawlette, from the top down รก la Myrna Stahman. I'm using 5.5 mm needles (US 9) and have, at this point, close to 200 stitches. It's looking really good. John even commented on it last night; he loves it. I figured he would. He really likes natural fibers and that "rustic" (for lack of a better word) look. So far, I've used up about half of one skein. I'm doing the whole thing in stocking stitch with a garter stitch neck edge and I intend to work a lacy edge around the bottom edge. That's where my problem (if you can call it that) comes in. I think I have the edge stitch picked out, but I'm not sure how much yarn it will take. I don't want to go into a second skein (not at $35/skein). I don't know how to figure out how much yarn my chosen edge would take.

Here's what I'm thinking: if I knit up one repeat of the chosen edge pattern (from the opposite end of the ball), measure how much yarn it uses up, then multiply that by the number of pattern repeats it will require to finish the bottom edge, I should have an approximate yardage of how much I'd need, wouldn't I? Does that make sense?

Then, I'd have to measure how much yarn I have remaining (yardage, not weight) and go from there. Ok, you knitting fiends out there, does that make sense? Would that work? Is there an easier method that I'm not aware of?

Enough for now. I'll try to take some pictures today of the shawlette and maybe even of the scarf (well, of the stitch pattern at least... can't have John getting a sneak peek, can we?)

I'm starting to feel better.... just don't cross me yet!

Friday, August 18, 2006


Are any of you interested in helping me test drive a pattern? I know that most of you who read this blog have a significant other of the male persuasion, or at least a male in your life. I've come up with a design for a scarf pattern for a man, worked in the seaman's style.

Without giving too much away, I'm finding that it's working up into a nice, masculine looking scarf that any man would be happy to receive on his special day (or any special day). I think.

If you're interested, email me at stringsnthings at shaw dot ca (edited to change from dot com to dot ca) and I'll send you a copy of the pattern in Word format (for now, so that it's easier to make changes if necessary). I'd post a picture of the stitch, but that certain someone might see it.

Oh, the yarn I'm using is a 4-ply yarn that calls for 4.0 mm needles. Any DK weight yarn would work, especially since gauge isn't crucial on a scarf.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

And now for something completely different

First, though, there's not a lot happening on the knitting front. I've been trying to cast on something totally mindless, but it just hasn't been cooperating, for some reason. Perhaps it just wasn't mindless enough? I have some gorgeous Fleece Artist Kid Merino Sock yarn in shades of blues and greens that I wanted to turn into a wrap of some kind. First, I thought I'd do a take off on the Midwest Moonlight scarf (based on Barbara Walker's Tilting Blocks stitch pattern), but I was making mistakes continuously. Obviously, the yarn didn't want to be done up in that pattern. Then I tried the Crest of the Wave stitch pattern, a variation of the feather & fan stitch. Again, simple pattern, but I was making mistakes all over the place. I'd fix the error, work the next pattern row and again end up with extra stitches or too few stitches. I frogged it and put the yarn aside for now. When it decides what it really wants to be, I'll be ready for it.

Because it's been a long weekend of celebration and way too much wine, I didn't pick up the needles very much. My sister and I had a lovely lunch at Cedar Creek Winery on Monday and that evening, John and one of the roomies cooked a lovely roast beef dinner, complete with yorkshire pudding. The roomie even cracked a bottle of Mission Hill Occulus, a beautiful red wine that retails for about $45.00 Cdn, if I'm not mistaken. It truly topped of the night. All in all, I had a great **nd birthday.

Now, for the something completely different. This little creature was motionless on the lower deck one afternoon. John and I both saw it and assumed it was dead. After all, it was the middle of the afternoon and it was motionless. Then, I saw it move. John got close to it and realized it was, indeed, alive. We left it alone, but watched it from the upper deck. Eventually, it climed up the post and rested on the platform at the top. About an hour later, it was gone. If you're freaked out by bats, don't go any further.

And that's all for today.

Edited to reduce the size of the pictures

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Briefly... very briefly

Check out what my sister's doing with knitting. I'll bet you've never seen anything like it. Her blog is Capricious Cogitation (just click).

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Ok, So It's Not Friday

Yesterday got busy, so no post. I did go to the doctor. We were right; I did tear a ligament in my ankle. It will, apparently, take longer than normal to heal because I tore that ligament before, about six years ago. Since there was no bruising this time (last time I had an amazing bruise!), the doctor figured I tore the scar tissue from the previous injury. As scar tissue has less blood flow, it will take longer to heal. And there's really not much that can be done, other than some physiotherapy, if I want it, anti-inflammatories for the pain, and ice for the swelling. I don't really want the physio, so it will simply be a matter of time.

Last night, I got a surprising phone call. I didn't recognize the phone number that came up on call display, but when I answered, it was one of my sisters, who lives out at the coast. She asked me if I'd like to go out for lunch on Monday, which just happens to be my...... ahem.... Anyway, I asked her where she was; she was visiting my parents, also out at the coast. She asked me again if I'd like to go out for lunch on Monday. Of course I said yes. She said, "Great; I'll drive out on Sunday, take you out for lunch on Monday, and head back home on Tuesday morning." Colour me surprised!

Now, on to the promised pictures and the story of the Butterfly hat's adventure. It looked just great when it came off the needles, but the brim (folded up to the inside) looked a little loose to me, a little too big. Everything else was perfect, if a touch on the big side. It would have been just fine for someone with a slightly larger head than mine. So I decided to wet it, perhaps block it a little smaller. But when I did that, it really stretched and I wasn't sure of how exactly I'd block it. I figured I'd throw it into the dryer for just a few minutes.

If you ever decide to try that, with a pure wool hat.... don't.

Don't get me wrong. I like how it turned out. It just wasn't supposed to look like it does now. I'm actually liking it more and more. The butterfly stitch, even though it's not as visible as I wanted it to be, looks kind of interesting after fulling it. The hat has a little more body to it now than it did before the fulling process. I'm calling it a happy mistake.

Another view, showing the top of the hat. John says it has an almost fez-like shape to it. I did intend for it to have a flattish top, so that worked out well. I blocked it, incidentally, over a coffee can, which worked perfectly.

And a close up of the butterfly stitch...

I really like the butterfly stitch. I like it so much that I made another hat using the same stitch. I'm calling this one the Butterfly Garden hat.

This was a fun hat to make. I had no idea how it was going to turn out when I started; I just knew I wanted to use the butterfly stitch, the Fleece Artist yarn and a strongly contrasting yarn, in this case Gjestal Superwool in black (navy would have looked good, too). I'm calling it the Butterfly Garden hat because the slipped stitch band reminds me of a picket fence, with the bobbles as flowers on either side of it and the horizontal stripes remind me of the rows and furrows of a garden, with the butterflies flying above it. I finished it off with an I-cord knot. It's fun and it's mine.

Instead of just doing the butterflies as the stitch pattern described, I decided to add a pebble bead to each. It just adds that little someting special, don't you think?

Now, I mentioned to John yesterday that I might bake some bread today, use up some of the whole wheat flour we've got languishing in the freezer. A little more knitting and I think I'll do just that. Bread's fun to bake. I like having fun. Off and running........ enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Two by Two

I've had a request for the Basic 2x2 Rib Toque pattern, so it's been posted in my Pattern section (right sidebar). It's in Word format for now. I'll eventually turn it into a pdf file, but for the moment, the pattern is up. Enjoy!

Now, regarding that butterly in the previous post. It became part of a hat. Fairly easy guess as that's what I seem to be making at the moment. I must say, I'm really enjoying the Fleece Artist Blue Faced Leicester yarn. It's very nice to knit with. I'd show you a picture, but the hat is at the store. It had an adventure. I'll explain when I get the hat home to photograph it. Suffice it to say, it don't look like it was s'posed to.

I also have another hat almost finished. I work tomorrow and am off on Friday, so I'll try to post some pictures then. I'll try. I have to stop in and visit with my doctor as well. About three weeks ago, I slipped down some stairs (clay steps leading down to the lake) and twisted my ankle. It's not improving; it's still puffy and quite tender. It's not a broken bone, that we're quite sure of. We're thinking a partially torn ligament. I want to get it checked out, just to be on the safe side.

Till Friday then....

Friday, August 04, 2006

Such a tease...

That's what I'm doing today. I have to get ready for work shortly (we're having a celebration at the store today... our second anniversary is coming up this weekend, as well as Sally's birthday... any excuse for a party, yanno?) but I wanted to leave you with a clue as to my latest design.

That's all you get to see for now. Any guesses?

I've written up the pattern for the ribbed toque, except for a picture of the finished hat, and if anyone would like it, I'll post it in the Pattern section. Right now, it's only written for 4 years to Adult Small (21"), but is easily adapted to larger or smaller sizes. Let me know.

Off and running.........

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Where am I, anyway?

It must be Thursday today; I heard the garbage truck outside our bedroom window this morning. This week is flying by so quickly I'm losing track of time.

I promised pictures. I have pictures. First... Icarus.

That's one pattern row short of Chart 2 (which I've now done and am ready for Chart 3). It was a little confusing at first, after all those repeats of Chart 1. Chart 1 is very repetitive, easy to learn. The remainder of the charts require a little more concentration. I'm taking it slowly. As well, I've almost used up one ball of the Jaggerspun Zephyr. There might be enough left for one more row. It's a good thing I have two more balls of it in the stash.

Second... Barbara

The yarn I'm using is Louet Gems Pearl on 4.5 mm needles. We have it at the store in 1/2 lb. skeins, meant for dyeing your own; I like the fact that, as 1275 metres, I won't have to tie in another skein. It's almost time to transfer to a circular needle. I'm noticing that the edge stitches are beginning to stretch a little on the straights. I thought about dyeing the yarn first, but I have no idea what colour I might like this shawl in. I could dye it afterwards, right? If I decide I want it coloured rather than cream, that is.

Here's a close up of how it's looking so far. Notice the arrow? It's pointing to the shoulder shaping. It's almost like a "seam", for lack of a better word, with yarn overs on either side. It's only 20 or so rows deep, but gives the shawl a bit of shape, enabling it to stay on the shoulders, rather than sliding down all the time.

I told John last night that I wanted/needed some mindless knitting to keep my hands occupied while watching TV or whenever I don't want to concentrate on what I'm doing. To that end, I started this little project last night.

I'm using Fleece Artist Blue Face Leicester DK on 4.5 mm needles. Even though the tag recommends 4.0 mm, I'm finding it a fairly heavy DK weight yarn and I'm liking the feel of it on 4.5 mm needles. It's a simple 2x2 rib toque (stocking cap for those of you who have no idea what a toque is). At first, I was going to make it a fold up cuff, but after seeing it on the trusty old spaghetti squash, I kind of like it without the fold up cuff.

What do you think?

The pattern I'm (sort of) following calls for a "cuff" of 2.5" and then 8.75" of body before working the top. I'm thinking I'll try working the ribbing for 8", then going straight to the top shaping. Incidentally, the pattern I'm using is from (where else?) Ann Budd's "Handy Book of Patterns". Have I mentioned that I love her books?

The yarn, by the way, wasn't intended for knitting hats. I wanted to make a very basic Faroese shawl, garter stitch edges, stocking stitch body. However, after about 3" of knitting it, I really didn't like how the variegated yarn was working up, so I frogged it. The colours really are a little on the bright side, so I wasn't really sure what to do with it. Someone will love this hat, I'm sure. I even like it better in a hat than I did in the shawl. Any other suggestions for wildly coloured yarn?

Now, I wonder if that pie has cooled enough to cut. A customer/friend kindly gave me some rhubarb earlier this week and I've just turned half of it into a rhubarb pie. The house smells heavenly! And I'm hungry.

Rhubarb pie and vanilla ice cream... *drool*

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

No pics today

Sorry about that, but there's really not much to show you today. I AM knitting. Lace. Row by inexorable row. Icarus. Barbara. Barbara who? Or what?

Well, remember I took Myrna Stahman's book out of the library? She gives her shawls women's names. I started the Barbara shawl. I like it. The Faroese shaping intrigues me. For those of you not familiar with Faroese shawls, they incorporate shoulder shaping in the shawl, as well as a back "gusset". The shoulder shaping keeps the shawl on your shoulders without having to hold it in place constantly. I've been intrigued with Faroese shawls ever since I read about them. It was very hard to choose one.

What is it about lace knitting that's so addictive? I'm having a lot of fun working on these two shawls. I know I said I wanted Icarus off the needles before I started another one, but I just couldn't resist. I'll try to post a pic or two tomorrow of both shawls.

Also, I want to draw your attention to my sidebar. I've added two links in (you'll never guess) the Links section. One is to John's blog; he's got nothing posted there yet, but it will be his place to vent about whatever topic he chooses to vent about. The other is my sister's blog. I finally convinced her to start one. The working title is "Capricious Cogitation". In her words, "Expect to see photos (I like taking pictures), updates on whatever project I am working on, reviews of books and movies I liked, my thoughts on art and the creative process, and whatever else I feel like posting about (hmm..food?)". She's even more creative than I am.

That's it for today. Oh, except for one last thought. The comments on my last post were much appreciated and even gave me a chuckle or two. Who knows, Lisa, it might even get cold enough in this house for three shawls. ;)