Monday, February 27, 2006

Where does time go???

Ack! It's been far too long since I updated the blog. I was beginning to feel guilty! There has, however, been a lot happening in my "other" life. You know... the one away from the computer? Yes, Virginia, there IS life away from the computer!

I have not stopped knitting, though. Far from it. I'm almost knitting too much, if there is such a thing. I keep finding new projects to start. I simply cannot understand how any knitter could have nothing on their needles and not know what to knit next.

Ok, so here goes...

This is the vest that I'm doing on order. I'm about 2" from the shoulder shaping. Then the fronts. With no button holes and a crochet edge, I'll have this vest done in plenty of time. No problem!


There's been progress on the mermaid socks. This is, granted, still the first sock but I am up to the heel. I want to make sure I have the time to sit and follow the directions for the garter stitch heel, so it's temporarily on hold (until I have a day to myself). I'm sure it won't be difficult, but I want to be able to concentrate on it without interruption. You know what I mean?

And then, I've been playing with this...

It's for my granddaughter, Trinity. Her second birthday is coming up in April and I thought this would be a fun little something for her. If you haven't seen anything like it before, you haven't seen Cat Bordhi's "Second Treasury of Magical Knitting". I'll post another picture of this bag after it's been felted. It really is fun... and I know how to pick up waste yarn stitches now.... really well! Incidentally, little Miss Trinity spent a couple of nights in the hospital this past weekend, suffering from pneumonia. She's been battling croup and a touch of pneumonia all winter and when she started showing signs of dehydration, she was admitted to the hospital. She is now back at home, drinking plenty of fluids and is, hopefully, on the mend. Needless to say, I've been worried sick!

Oh, Leslie? The socks that I had on the needle I had to frog. I just wasn't happy with the knitting so the needle is resting comfortably with it's compatriots, all of whom are patiently waiting their turn.

pssst... Dianne? I finally got around to updating the blog.... ;)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


There are times when you, my readers, overwhelm me. Yesterday was one of those days. When I got home from work yesterday, there was a manilla envelope waiting for me. In it was a 2.25 mm, 100 cm (40") Inox nickel plated circular needle. It is a gift from Leslie, who sympathized with my bemoaning the lack of said size in the Addi Turbos.

Thank you, Leslie. The needle will be put to good use. I'll make sure to show you a sock in progress on your gift as soon as I get something on it. Right now, I have a few projects to work on. I'll elaborate a little on those in another post.

For today, well, I start a second part time job. It's an office job. I'll be working for (and with) a friend who purchased a business earlier this year. I'll fill you in when I know a little more.

Pictures and explanations will be forthcoming when I have a little more time. One last time, thank you Leslie!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Sunny, Cold and Productive

That pretty much describes what today will be like. It's already sunny, already cold (-10C) and will be productive. I'm positive about that!

First things first. I finished the Country Style DK toe up magic loop socks. Phew! That's a mouthful. For your perusal...

They're on my feet right now. Considering the temperature here today, that's a very logical place for them to be. And my toes are still cold!

Remember how I said I wanted to finish the Donegal Tweed cardigan by the time the Olympics are done? Well, it should be a reachable goal, but it has recently been put on hold. Not because of my wrist or anything like that. Why is it that as soon as one person asks you to knit something for them (and comes up with a couple more orders at the same time... thanks Tara), two others come around asking for your help as well? That's what happened. An out-of-town customer was in and wants a vest knitted. It's a simple knit and I caved. And so, my cardigan is on hold.

Here's the vest she wants copied. Apparently, its a favourite of hers and it's showing it's age. She simply wants another one like it. By the middle of March. Thankfully, it's just stocking stitch with a crocheted edge around the armholes and front opening.

As you can see, I already have a couple of inches knit up. I used a tubular cast on, which does look really good. The yarn is Aymara (EcoCollection) from Bertagna Filati, 50% merino, 50% alpaca. It's very nice to work with, and once blocked, I'm sure the vest will meet with her approval.

Then, being me, I can't leave my sock needles empty.

I've started these. The Mermaid Socks from Lucy Neatby's "Cool Socks, Warm Feet". With the sideways cuff. Which is much fussier to knit that a standard cuff. Which looks really cool in the picture. Which I wanted to try. Am I crazy or what?

The goal for today is to finish one of the moebius hats (almost done) and continue working on the vest. The sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can get back to work on my cardigan. Incidentally, I've changed my mind on the patterning on the front of the cardigan. I decided that the cable pattern I had picked was simply too much for the yarn and the width of the front panels. I'll tell you more about that in another post.

On a completely different note, we found out last night that Rob & Carol (our housemates) will be moving out at the end of the month. We knew they were planning on it, but we had no idea about their timing. Communication around this house is definitely in short order. I'm not sure what's going to be happening with us yet. We certainly can't afford this house on our own. I think this truly qualifies as a mixed blessing.

For now, I think the washing machine has stopped; time to put the sheets in the dryer. On with my day....

Sunday, February 12, 2006

This and that

I have nothing to show you today. I'm making progress on several fronts, though; that's a good thing. One of the Lotus hats Tara ordered is almost done (Addi Turbos made all the difference); the second toe-up magic loop sock is past the heel, so it's in the home stretch now; the back of the Donegal Tweed cardi has about an inch to go for the shoulder shaping, so it's in the home stretch too. The cardi is my "finish-it-by-the-time-the-Olympics-are-done" project. Basically, all that needs to be done is the two front panels and the sleeve cap of the second sleeve. I think I can manage that within two weeks.

Incidentally, my wrist is much better. I think the thing that aggravated it was working the moebius on the Denise needles. Don't get me wrong; I love my Denise needles. However, the Tentacao yarn on the Denise needles just didn't slide very well and I fought with it for the entire moebius band. It was a case of the wrong needle for the yarn, that's all. As well, the cut thumb is healing nicely.

Being a passionate knitter, I don't always realize how my constant knitting (and talking about knitting) affects those around me. Last night, I found out. When we got home last evening, we found that we had the house to ourselves. John suggested that we spend the evening in the bedroom, where he had a fire ready to light (in more ways than one). He suggested I have a nice hot bubble bath, something I never say no to. After colouring my hair and enjoying my bath (with a knitting book to keep me occupied), he had a shower. Then I had to share some of my day with him. Nothing wrong with that, right?

He listened patiently, then informed me that it took something away from the mood to realize that he wanted to "share a moment" (you know what I mean) with a grandmother who's talking about knitting and her day with other knitters, rather than a woman who's appreciating what her man's done to help get her "ready". I explained that it was my way of debriefing, getting past my working day; he understood. After dinner, a movie and a couple glasses of wine, we did resolve the issue satisfactorily. *grin*

And we still have the house to ourselves.

Incidentally, the movie we watched was "Antwone Fisher", one neither of us had seen. I highly recommend it. We really enjoyed it. I, of course, cried.

Goal for today... finish the back and second sleeve of the cardigan and solidify in my mind what I'll be doing for the fronts. It is, after all, my own design. I'd better know what I'm going to do with it. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

A quick note in response

A number of people have asked me about the yarn I used for the Embossed Leaves sock. I knew that would happen. I lost the ball band so I wasn't exactly sure which yarn it was, but I did figure it out. It's Cherry Tree Hill supersock, a superwash merino wool. The colour name is Spring Frost (click to see it on their website). It really is a nice yarn to work with.

One Toe Up

Yup, I've finished one toe up sock done Magic Loop style. Here's the sock in progress...

Ready to start the heel. The pattern I used has a gusset and heel flap heel, which I like. I find that, generally speaking, it's a style of heel that I find most comfortable and fits me best.

The heel is complete. Now that I've done one sock, I can figure out how to make the heel flap a little deeper... not a big deal.

And onwards, up the leg. I did this sock in 2x2 rib, which I find most comfortable. Interestingly, John was watching me knit this sock and commented on the "pattern". He likes this rib, too, and loved the colour. He was a little disappointed when I told him this was an experimental sock and was being knit to fit MY foot, not his.

Part way up the leg. That's pretty much where I left off last night.

This morning, while waiting for John to get ready for work, I got the leg done to about 6.5" and when I got home from dropping him off, I cast off. After reading all sorts of sources that say the cast off needs to be loose, I did it my way. As I said, I did a 2x2 rib (2 knit, 2 purl), so one round before the actual cast off, I increased one stitch between each of the 2 knit stitches, giving me 3 knit, 2 purl all the way around. Then I did a standard cast off. It worked perfectly.

Now I feel empowered! Now I know I can do what's been on my mind to do... knit each of the socks in the Lucy Neatby book, "Cool Socks, Warm Feet". I keep looking at that book; I love the socks in it. The toe up socks intimidated me. Not any more! I'm not giving myself a time limit on that project, but I will do it. Just you wait and see!

Oh yes, the pattern I followed... You can find it at "Chery Knits". It's in her left sidebar, under "Patterns". It's well written and easy to follow. Though it's written for 2 socks on 2 circulars, it was very easy to adapt to the Magic Loop method. Thanks Chery!!

It's a beautiful, sunny, crisp day in the Okanagan today and I have the car, so I'm off to run a few errands. Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Always Keep Learning

I love learning new things when it comes to the craft I love. Thanks to Jacquie, I now know how to work the Magic Loop. It's easy! And, as posted yesterday, I'm trying a toe-up sock, my first. If it turns out alright, I might even make the second sock of the pair.

Just past the cast on for the toe. I used a figure 8 cast on, as described in the booklet. After doing it about three times, it's looking good (that was just for the sake of practice).

I had to try it on, right? And I had to try it on over another pair of hand knit socks, just cuz I was wearing them. The yarn I'm using for this sock is Sirdar's Country Style DK on a 3 mm 40" Addi Turbo. I must admit that doing toe-up socks using this method is a lot easier than doing it using double-pointed needles.

It seems I won't be doing much knitting again today. The wrist is feeling a little better, but is still aching, and my thumb won't make it any easier. I suppose I'd better listen to that voice telling me to slow it down. It's very frustrating, though. I'm not a person who can just sit and do nothing and right now, there's not a lot I CAN do around here. Even working on the computer isn't easy; we have a thumb-controlled roller ball mouse and the bandages slide on the roller ball, making it very awkward to operate. Perhaps today would be a good day to go for a long walk.

I'm still waiting for feedback and advice on toe-up socks, by the way. One of these days, I WILL get to the heel of this sock and I'll want to know the best way to go... help me out here!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

One down, One to go

I finished the first of the Embossed Leaves socks yesterday.

The star toe. I'll use that toe again; I think it's a pretty one for a lacy sock, don't you?

It fits well, it looks good... I like it! I would have cast on for the second one right away, but I have a rather achy wrist at the moment and have to take it easy with the knitting right now. That's really, really hard! There are so many things I want to do, to try.

Like toe up socks on a circular needle, as in Magic Loop. Jacqui came into the store yesterday and slid the Magic Loop booklet across the counter to me; she wants me to learn how to do it so I can, in turn, teach her. Nooooooo problem. Once the EL socks were off the needles, I immediately picked up a circ and some waste yarn and tried it. I think I could get used to working on one long circular. There's only one small problem. Addi Turbos don't come in 2.25 mm. That's the size I use all the time for socks done in 4 ply fingering weight. That's the size that gives me 8.5st/inch, which I find to be just right.

If you've done toe up socks, give me some input. What's your favourite cast on for toe up socks? What's your favourite heel? What's your favourite resource for toe up socks? A favourite pattern? Help me out here. I have a few patterns for toe up socks, but obviously haven't tried any of them yet.

Input.... please? If I can't knit, at least I can read and research!

P.S. It's one thing when your wrist tells you it's time to take a break from knitting; it's quite another when it's the entire cosmos. What do I mean? Well, I was doing some prep for dinner, making sweet potato fries, and I cut my thumb along with the fries. *sigh* It bled for quite a while before I could bandage it. It's okay now, but I won't be doing much knitting for the next day or so.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl Sunday Update

I'm not into American football... didn't grow up with it, don't know the rules, makes no sense to me at all. As far as sports go, the only ones I enjoy watching are hockey and baseball. That aside, though, it's Super Bowl Sunday and around here, it means that every television set in the house is set to the game.

We are expecting some company, not sure how many, but not a lot. I've got munchies ready to go as I know there will be some alcohol flowing. Let's see.. I've made spring rolls, deep fried wonton and will be making a couple of pizzas. (Sounds like International day at our house, doesn't it?) Now, before the game starts, I decided to take some time out for me... and you.

I've been steadily working on the Embossed Leaves sock and I think it's going to work this time. Here's where I'm at right now...

I tried the sock on earlier this morning, once I'd gotten past the gusset shaping and this time the tubular cast on fits much better. I decided to go with an Eye of Partridge heel instead of the heel flap used in the original pattern. I like how the EoP heel looks with a lacy pattern. I will, however, incorporate the star toe that the pattern uses. I really want to see how that one turns out; it's one I haven't done before.

By now, I'm sure every knitter who reads any blogs at all is aware of the Knitting Olympics started by the Yarn Harlot. I'm not getting involved. At least, not officially. After a great deal of thought and soul searching, I've decided that I will finish the Donegal Tweed cardi instead of starting a new project. The Olympics is ten days, right? I should be able to complete the sweater in that time frame. It's a great idea, but I'm trying to finish projects, not start new ones. I'm already good at that!

On another note, a couple of Christmases ago, I bought some small poinsettias. I've never had much luck with them and they usually end up in the compost pile by the time all the Christmas trappings have been packed away. However, with John's green thumb, we've managed to keep two of the plants (in one large pot) alive for another year. This summer, the whole pot went outdoors, where the plants thrived. When the weather started to cool, we brought the pot back inside and put it into a corner in the living room. We've researched what poinsettias need in order to "bloom" (a misnomer because it's the leaves that turn red, not the flower). Last year, the plants didn't turn red. We didn't manage to get red leaves for Christmas, but........

Check this out!

...and this...

I'm thrilled! We didn't even TRY to force the plant to turn to red. It's past Christmas, but we did it! (Little things excite me to no end... *grin*)

Back to the sock..... and, yeah, the pre-game stuff, too.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Another post???

Ok, I've got four days off. John's working. What else am I supposed to be doing? Besides knitting, that is. And since my adventures in knitting yesterday were not very successful, I decided to re-do the Embossed Leaves socks. You know, the one from the latest Interweave Knits. The one that I've already frogged twice. And I'm subjecting you to the process. Evil, aren't I?

I've already done actual tubular cast on in these pictures because I didn't think about taking pictures until I'd already gotten to this point. I did it the way posted it. I'll put that link in my sidebar as well, just for the sake of convenience. In these pictures, I've taken out half of the original backward loop cast on.

I really like the look of this cast on. If you remember my other post about the Embossed Leaves socks, you'll remember I frogged the last one because the cast on was way too snug for my liking. This time, I did the original cast on on 3 mm needles, worked the four rows of stocking stitch and the pick up row on the same needles, 3 mm. Then I transferred the stitches to the needles I'll be using for the rest of the sock, 2.25 mm (I do believe that's US 1). As of my writing this, the ribbing is almost to one inch and I'm debating whether or not I really want to do the embossed leaves pattern or pick one of my own choosing. After all, I do have all four of the Barbara Walker treasuries. I have a lot of choice.

I will stay with the star toe that the Embossed Leaves socks uses. I really do want to see how that one knits up. I'll keep you posted.

I'd also like to leave you with another link to check out. On January 21, one of CBC radio's programs, North by Northwest, did an entire show about knitting. I missed it, but that's not the point. I tried to find the archive to the entire show, but couldn't find it. I did, however, find some of the interviews featured on the show. They're interesting. Now I wish I had gotten up at 6 a.m. on a Saturday morning to hear the show..... NOT! Anyway, check it out. Just click here.

It was a bust!

Yesterday, that is. I had every intention of spending the day knitting on the orders I'd received from Tara. I started on the first of the moebius hats. It was coming along... not great, but it was coming along. The first thing that worked against me was the needle. I was positive I had a 5.5 mm Addi Turbo, 40" long. Do you think I could find it? Of course not. I dug out the Denise needles and put together the right length, cast on and started knitting the moebius band of the hat. There's one thing that turns the pleasure of knitting into the work of knitting. Fighting with the needles and yarn. All I did for that entire band was fight with the needles and yarn. It just did NOT want to slide along the needles the way it should have. I fought to get that band done without tossing the entire thing across the room. My right wrist was aching. I should have quit right then, right? Well, I perservered. I finished the band. I casted off half the stitches as laid out in the pattern. I was ready to start the top of the hat. That's when I realized there seemed to be an extra twist in the moebius that shouldn't have been there. No matter what I did, I couldn't get it to look right. Notice I said "look right".

I pulled it off the needles. I tried to frog it. I fought with the yarn for a minute. It only let me unravel one stitch before the next stitch was so tangled I couldn't do anything with it. I looked at it again, more carefully this time. Know what? It was a perfect moebius, just the way it should have been. I was so disgusted, I tossed it into the garbage can. Oh, did I mention it was black? There was no way I was going to even try to get it back on the needles. Sometimes, you simply do not want to be reminded that you shouldn't start something when you're really not in the right frame of mind to work on it. *sigh*

Then I started one of the pairs of Mrs. Beetons that Tara ordered. I'm usually a well tensioned knitter. Well intentioned, and well tensioned. I usually cast on fairly loosely. Not this time. That beaded cast on was tighter than I've ever cast on. That first round was a *&%^$*^ nightmare!

Lesson learned: never, EVER, start a new project when the one you've been working on doesn't work out and you're really uptight and frustrated. I put the Mrs. Beetons away and picked up my Donegal Tweed cardigan. At least, that one's just stocking stitch and my tension's never off in stocking stitch.

Hopefully, today will be a better, more productive knitting day. And I'm putting off the moebius hats until I can find my 5.5 mm Addi Turbo.

Off to start my day with a shower. I'll let you know how the day turns out.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

One more FO for January

It's a lovely morning here in the Okanagan. I just got back from a one-hour walk. And it's only 9 a.m.! I wonder what the rest of the day will bring.

As far as knitting goes, this week I finally finished John's second work sock. It's about time, too. He started a new job this week. As a matter of fact, I have today all to myself! Anyway, here's a picture of the socks. They're pretty basic.

I've also sold some of my knitting. A young friend saw the moebius hat I made and fell in love with it instantly. She HAD to have it, so I sold it to her. Now, she's got me making another two of the hats because two of her friends each want one, too. And wrist warmers. I have to make another two pairs of those, too. It's a good thing Tara's moving back to Ontario in a couple of months; I wouldn't have time to knit for ME if she stayed around here. It does, however, help to have a few extra dollars to spend on.......... yeah..... more yarn.

Earlier this week, I got an email from my sister in Lethbridge (Hi Gloria!). She got inspired and decided to try knitting socks (hmmm..... where'd THAT inspiration come from, I wonder). This is her first pair. I'm sure it won't be her last.

She did them in Paton's Shetland Chunky (the grey) and some leftover yarn that she bought when they lived in Holland. Not bad for a first pair! I'm really looking forward to what she'll come up with for her next pair if this is the first one. She used Ann Budd's Handy Book of Patterns for the basic pattern. When she realized that one ball of the Shetland Chunky wouldn't finish the socks, she added the red.

I've been trying to convince her to start a blog of her own; this woman is very talented and artistic. And she's my baby sister. (Sorry Gloria.. had to throw that in... love you!)