Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post of '07

First off, I hope you all have a Happy New Year; I hope 2008 brings you much joy and lots of FO's! ;)

I have one last finished object to share with you.


I started these in March '07 (click here). I finished them last night and they are now happily residing in John's sock drawer.

The yarn (to rehash) is Scheepjes (pronounced like "scape-yes") Invicta Extra, colour #1361, a lovely charcoal grey with a black and white thread running through it. I used 2 balls on 2.25 mm (US 1) double pointed needles.

I should have had these finished a long time ago, but once I got to the gusset stitches, I simply lost interest. Now, I don't have to look at them anymore. They're done. (and just what will I do with the other 4 or so balls of this yarn I've got.... hmmm... might make nice gloves)

There was a chance of one more FO for 2007, but I'm not going to push it. I'd rather take my time and make the scarf a suitable length instead of just trying to get things off the needles. It will be my first FO of 2008. Sounds good to me!

Have a great night, all... see you next year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

I've been very good about working on a limited number of projects, trying to finish up a few things before moving on to other projects. Yesterday was spent working on John's "On Your Toes" socks.

On Saturday, I got to this point...


That's sock #2. See that little ball of yarn? See the sock and how much more I need to do? John's socks require a foot length of 9.25" before starting the decreases for the toe; that sock is at about 7". I was more than a little concerned. That was Saturday. Yesterday, I weighed sock #1; it was 48 grams. Then I weighed another ball of the same yarn that was/is in my stash. It weighed 96 grams (wait a second, the ball band says 100 grams! That's 4 grams less than what I paid for!). That meant I had 48 grams remaining for the second sock; it should be enough, right?


This is all that remains of the yarn. It was, indeed, enough; just barely, but it was. And the socks?



John loves them! They fit him well and I have a feeling they'll be staying on those feet till he goes to bed tonight. I had only one small glitch; at one point, about halfway through the toe shaping of the second sock, I found I'd dropped a stitch about an inch down; I sutured it. There was no way I was going to frog it back to pick it up. It's invisible and well anchored. I'm such a rebel!

Now, I've pulled out another pair of socks for him that needs finishing. I'm hoping to have that pair (one's already done and the second was up to the point of picking up gusset stitches) done by the end of today. This pair is stocking stitch from the heel down and that will go faster than ribbing. I'll post pictures and details when they're actually finished; I did post about this pair before, but I can't even remember when I started them. It's been a while!

Back to knitting!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Knitting, knitting and more knitting!

Because I've had a few days off, I've had knitting time! Not just knitting time, though. I have reorganized the computer/storage room so that everything is relatively neat. I now know where my entire stash is. That's all that's important, right? And we prepared our own private Christmas dinner, not with turkey, but we did stuff and bake a chicken. It was absolutely delicious!

Back to knitting. I think I mentioned earlier that I'm only working on two projects right now, John's "On Your Toes" socks and my Little Arrowhead Lace cardi. Yesterday, Christmas Day, the cardi was my project of choice. I had cast on for the sleeves a couple of nights ago, but didn't get any further until yesterday. Here's where I'm at now...


I found the instructions a little vague at the point where it said to "increase one stitch at either end every 4th row, in pattern", so I charted out the entire sleeve. I'd say that's a pretty good day's worth of knitting. Originally, I had both sleeves on one needle, but made a mistake on one of them and couldn't figure out just where, so I continued on the other sleeve and came back to the second sleeve later (actually, I restarted it). I'm hoping to have one sleeve finished today. I'm really looking forward to having this cardi off the needles; I think I'm going to enjoy wearing it.

Other knitting has occupied my needles over the last two months as well. While in Gibsons, I started on IK's Icelandic Shawl (a free download, but you have to join Knitting Daily). It was my "keep my mind from thinking about anything else" project and it did work. This will be the next project to finish after the cardi and socks are done.


And a closeup...


Off the top of my head, I can't remember the name of the yarn (I did blog about it before), but it's from Sweden and a joy to knit with. I would definitely work with this yarn again!

All that needs to be done on this shawl is to finish the top (it's worked from the outer edges in) and then I have to pick up the stitches for the border, which is (obviously) worked from the lower edge out. It won't take long to finish once I get working on it again and I think I'll be very happy with the finished shawl. And... now, I even have floor space for blocking! With carpets!

Then, there's one sort-of finished project. The camel shawl is off the needles, but it needs to be bigger, longer. When I can afford it, I'll be picking up another ball of the Nomad Yarns 100% camel yarn to add some length to this simple, little shawl.


I was going to frog it and use the yarn for something else, but when John found out I had improvised it, not using a pattern, he forbade it. He's the one that suggested I have a ball of the yarn put aside so I could make it longer. He's definitely proud of my work.

Monday, December 24, 2007


Margie, could you email me at the_skaes at shaw dot ca? I've lost all the contact information I had in MS Outlook and I'd like to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.

Told you it was brief. :)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Couple of Things

First thing... I forgot to mention that the patterns are all up again on my free pattern blog. The link is in the sidebar.

Second thing... Calorimetry #2 is finished. I do love quick knits! This was the perfect knit for finishing in front of the tv. There was only one small problem to be overcome: where did my sewing box go? I needed thread to sew on the button and couldn't remember where I'd seen (I did remember seeing) it. This morning, I found it and Calorimetry is ready to face the snow (it's snowing here right now).


The finished product. It is, as I wrote yestereday, Noro Kureyon. I do love that yarn. This was frogged from another project and I'm finding it even softer to knit with this time around. Wait a second... it is NOT Kureyon... I just realized that it's Noro Silk Garden. Sheesh!! I guess that's what happens when you throw ball bands away, huh?


I wanted to find the perfect button for it, but nothing in my button tin really worked. That is, nothing worked until I put two buttons together. Yup, two buttons! The bottom one is just a plain pearlish white button; the top button was too small on it's own, but when I put the small one on top of the larger one, I liked it! I guess it really wouldn't have mattered what kind of button I'd used; my hair is long enough that the button wouldn't be visible. However, I'll know what the button looks like and I like knowing that the button works with the yarn. At least, I think it does. Incidentally, the small button looks more turquoise in the picture; in reality, it's definitely green.


...and a "just cuz" picture. John hung this wreath on the inside of our deck when we moved in. It managed to catch some snow and it just looked..... well.... cool. The red background is a panel in the railing (not the prettiest, really, but what can you do?).

Friday, December 21, 2007

Back to Knitting!

It may be wise for me to put off writing this post until tomorrow. I'm having issues with my computer... and my own memory. For some reason, all of the information I had in Microsoft Outlook has disappeared... everything. Then, to top it off, I tried to get into my alternate Flickr account, the one I use for Ravelry, and I can't remember my username! I had it on a note in MS Outlook. *sigh*

Deep breath. At least I remember my Photobucket login and I can blog!

It may not have sounded like it in the last few posts, but I have been knitting. In the last couple of weeks there hasn't been a lot of it, but I haven't stopped. Once we got into the apartment, I decided I needed a small, simple project to occupy my hands and brain. To that end, I made this...


There ARE two of them, trust me. The pattern is Acorn. I'm afraid I can't tell you for sure where the original pattern comes from, but I think it's a Colinette pattern. I got the pattern from a friend, as part of a knitalong for one of the Ravelry groups I'm a member of. It was supposed to have been done months ago, but we all know what's been going on in our lives here. I started the mittens last week and finished them yesterday... sort of. Check this out...


I could have sworn I had this one set up properly when I started to sew it together. When I had the stitching all done and well anchored, I discovered that both mitts would fit the left hand. Ooooooooops!

They don't show up very well in the picture, but they're beaded. I used gold coloured glass beads for the edge beads, and green glass beads for the rest. They do show up much better "in person" than they do in the photos. "Festive" was the word one of my co-workers used. I agree.

Oh yes, the details: they yarn is Rowan Kidsilk Haze, worked on 2.75 mm needles. One skein of RKH did the entire pair, with enough left over for a second pair, I'm thinking. The pattern called for 3.25 mm needles, but when I used that size, though I did achieve gauge, the mittens were far too big for my (apparently) slender hands.

As of today, I do not have the patience to pick the seam apart and restitch it. My excuse is that by the time I get home from work, it's far too dark to properly see what I'm doing, even with all the lights on. Only daylight will work. That makes sense, doesn't it?

I've also been working on these socks for John:


As you can see, one sock is finished, while the second has a ways to go. This is my semi-mindless knitting at the moment (well, that and the Little Arrowhead Lace cardi for me). The yarn is SRK (Kertzer) "On Your Toes", a 4-ply sock yarn with Aloe Vera; it's 75% superwash wool and 25% nylon, in shade #ON222004, a nice, neutral green. The pattern is my own, a very basic one. It starts out with 1.5" 1x1 rib, then 3x1 rib to a length of 7" for the leg. The 3x1 ribbing is carried down the intsep. As I said, pretty basic, with a standard heel flap and toe.

I did, incidentally, finish a pair of 6-ply work socks for John while we were in Gibsons. He's been wearing them quite a bit, which is why there's no picture of them. I'll be working on more socks for him in the near future, as I still have seven balls of the 6-ply Regia in my stash, purchased just for John's works socks.

Last night, I also cast on for another Calorimetry ( for myself. As much as I love all the hats I've made for myself, I somehimes wear a clip to keep my hair back and that makes a hat awkward to wear. I'm using some Noro Kureyon that I had in my stash, frogged from another project. I'll post pictures when I have it finished.

Next time, too, I'll post some pictures of other works in progress, started or worked on since the ill-fated move to Gibsons.

Monday, December 17, 2007

And... I'm Back!!

Today is an anniversary of sorts for us. On this day, one year ago, the water stopped flowing in our home on Campbell Place. One year ago, a journey began. 2007 has been a year of upheaval for us and today, hopefully, it ends.

For most people, the new year begins on the first day of a new year. For me, for us, today marks the beginning of a new year, hopefully one with no further major upheavals.

We endured six weeks of no water, in the middle of winter. Thanks to the kindness of friends, we had occasional respite; my employer and another friend allowed us to use their respective homes while they were away. We moved into a basement suite at the beginning of February and shortly after that, John’s father came to live with us. He was with us for only a few months, but our lives, of necessity, had to conform to his needs.

Then, in October, John was offered a job at the coast and we packed up all our things, put most of it into storage and went there. That, as you know, didn’t work out as planned and we returned to Kelowna after just three weeks.

We had no idea what we would find in our search for a new home and, thankfully, we found what seems to have been the last available apartment in this town (a story in our local paper puts the apartment vacancy rate in Kelowna at 0%), a third floor walk up. We had very little help in moving everything in; into our fifties, you can imagine how our bodies feel, I’m sure. We did it though. Only one sofa, a three piece sectional that measures over 8’ long, wouldn’t make it up the stairs. Apart from a room full of boxes to unpack, we’ve moved in. We’ve made most of the space livable and fairly comfortable. As yet, there are no pictures on the walls and our plants are still at a friend’s home, but we’re comfortable (it's warm and has plenty of hot water!).

Now, we recuperate. I’ve gone back to work and John will be working again shortly. Now, our lives can settle into a comfortable, and comforting, routine… I hope. Slowly, over the next weeks and months, we’ll unpack the boxes and decide just what to do with all of the things we no longer need, or want.

One year. A year of uncertainty, sometimes of quiet desperation, sometimes of not so quiet desperation, a year of trials and tears, has come to an end. For us, on December 18, a new year begins.

To all of you who read this blog, thank you. Your kind thoughts, prayers and words of encouragement have been instrumental in keeping me, and us, sane. You are so appreciated and I wish I could give each of you the hug you so richly deserve. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Another (very quick) update

As of yesterday, we have a place to live. We've rented an apartment and will be moving in on Saturday. As well, I'm back at work, part time for this week and beginning full time next week.

I'll post more once we get our computer and internet connection up and running.

Monday, December 03, 2007


We're now in Kelowna, staying at a friend's while we hunt for a new home. We've looked at a few places, but some are way too far out of town, some are way too expensive. It's an interesting time, to say the least.

Thank you all for your support. This truly isn't an easy time and I'm trying very hard not to let it all get me down. Not easy, as I've also got a nasty cold on top of it all. *sigh*

I'll stay as in touch as I can. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

So.... We Have News... (and it ain't good)

As of this afternoon, we are officially homeless. John has been working at the restaurant for three weeks. Today, he was let go, no reason given.

I'm not in Gibsons at the moment. I'm in Abbotsford visiting family. John called me at about 5:30 p.m. with the news. To say it's a shock is an understatement. We have a home lined up; we were in the process of renting a truck to move the rest of our things down. Now, we're at loose ends. Neither of us now has a job. What comes next?

I'm not sure what will happen now. John will be packing up the trailer tomorrow and driving up to Abbotsford, either tomorrow or Saturday. From there, we will be sitting down and discussing our options. I'll try to stay in touch, but I really can't say when I'll be able to blog next.

Keep us in your thoughts... please.

Monday, November 05, 2007

News from the Sunshine Coast

It's coming up on a week since we arrived here in Gibsons. So far, we've seen the wet side of things (ah, yes, I DO remember the rain...... *sigh*) and we've seen glorious sunshine. Today is one of the sunny days. It's really nice out and I'm inside waiting for a couple of phone calls. Not to worry, though, I have every intention of getting out there some time today and doing a little more exploring.

I must admit that I do love being near the water. It's very soothing and calming. And I've had the need for calming over the last couple of days. I have a lot of me time right now and it's something I'll need to get used to again. I'll be very happy once I have my own computer and internet hookup back up and running. Right now, I'm posting from our hosts' home. Brad & Kristi are having to go through what John and I went through about a year ago... remember the saga of John's eyes? Well, Brad's going through it right now, and from the sound of things, it's not going as smoothly as John's did. They're in Vancouver right now (Brad's been there since Friday) and he's undergoing laser surgery again. In the interim, I'm taking full advantage of the warmth here in their house. The trailer is out of propane and it's rather chilly in there. And while I'm in the house, I'm taking full advantage, as well, of Kristi's laptop.

I've been doing a lot of knitting over the last few days, but still haven't taken any pictures. I will. I've been working on a scarf mostly, although yesterday I cast on for the Icelandic Shawl (via Knitting Daily.. it's a members only download) but I'll be frogging it later this morning. I got lost and I think my stitch count is out. There is no way I'm going to sit down and count 368 stitches on a circular needle just to make sure.

I'll be picking up the VLT scarf again today, hopefully getting it finished or, at least nearly, finished. I'm thinking it needs another 12" or so until I start the final section. I'll try to take some pictures today.

Speaking of pictures, allow me to share a picture I took last week on one of my walks.

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The first is a piece of driftwood on the beach. I don't know if that stone was put there purposely or not, but I thought it was pretty neat.

Oh, the news part... we've found a place to live. Unfortunately, we can't move in until December 1, but we have a home. That makes the fifth wheel acceptable as temporary lodging... as long as we keep ourselves supplied with propane.

To all of you who welcomed us to the coast through your comments, thank you. You have no idea how much it was appreciated. I didn't feel quite so alone in this whole thing. Siew, I'm looking forward to meeting you soon. We don't have our own telephone yet, but once I get the cell phone up and running, I'll call you for sure!

Ok, that's a long enough post for one day. Knitting pictures tomorrow??

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Update...We're Here!

We are in Gibsons! We left Kelowna on Monday, a little later than expected, around 2:30 p.m. There were a few last minute things that needed to be put into storage, then the car needed packing and a few more things needed to be put into storage. Yes, the car was LOADED! Even the rooftop carrier was packed to the gills. We were a little worried about how full the car was, but it behaved very well.

We chose not to take the most direct route to the coast (the Coquihalla Highway) because of some of the hills and the possibility of snow in the higher elevations. Instead, we took the Hope Princeton Highway and pulled in to my mother's driveway at about 8:00 p.m. That night, after a quick supper of steak that needed to be eaten, we stopped in to see my son and my newest grandson, Jonathan. The following morning, we visited my youngest daughter and her two kids and then stopped in at my older daughter's workplace to chat with her for a few minutes. That done, we continued on to Vancouver, where we enjoyed lunch with John's dad and 3 of his former golfing buddies. I haven't laughed so hard in a long time! What a lively bunch of men, all of them 70+.

Once we'd finished lunch, we visited with John's dad for an hour or so and then headed to the ferry, where we managed to catch the 3:30 ferry, arriving in Gibsons shortly after 4 p.m. Right now, we're staying in a friend's fifth wheel. It's comfortable, so it will do for now. We're actively looking for a place to live, but if we can't move into something right away, the trailer will do nicely in the interim.

John started working at the restaurant today and I'm looking after business stuff in the restaurant office (our business, not restaurant business). Cara has graciously allowed me to use the computer here for anything I need it for.

As for knitting, I had absolutely no inclination to knit on the trip down. The only time I picked up the needles was on the ferry, where I met two women who were knitting to pass the time. I struck up a conversation and later joined them for the last part of the 40 minute ferry ride. Since then, though, I've been working on a Malabrigo lace scarf (from Victorian Lace Today). When I can, I'll post pictures. I don't have the camera with me today and I'd have to figure out how to download pictures from my camera on to someone else's computer (well, to one of my memory sticks...wouldn't want to clutter up someone else's computer with my pictures, would I?).

Ok, this wasn't such a quick update. At least, you know that we've made it here safely. And, so far, the scenery!! Oh my.... I will post pictures, I promise! And now, I'm off to explore some more.

Sunday, October 21, 2007


This will be my last blog post for a little while. I'm not sure when I'll next be able to post, but I did want to, at least, let you know that I WILL be back. When, and if, I have the chance, I'll upload files to Mediamax so they'll be available again. I'm just not sure when that will be. Thankfully, all my knitting files are now on a finger drive, so I'll have them with me wherever I go.

Today, we're moving the bulk of our belongings into storage. I'm not sure if the computer is going today, but I do know that I won't have much time to be online this week, and by this time next week, we'll be on the road (or in Gibsons already) for sure. I'm hoping we can spend at least a little time with family.

Once I'm back up and running, I'll post all sorts of progress pictures, both knitting and move related. I promise! In the meantime, stay safe, everyone.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Keeping My Fingers Crossed

I need your help. I have found an online file sharing web site and I'm testing it out on you. Let me know whether or not this works, please??

Triangle Check Hat (click here)


Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Shrug

Last night, on Chatters, we were talking about my shrug and how it's constructed. Up until yesterday, it was a difficult project to photograph because of what lace does naturally... scrunches up and looks like nothing.

Today, however, it's a little easier to see how it's all put together. To that end, I did this...

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With this picture, you can see the construction of the shrug. The cast on is at the neck edge. It incorporates four "seams", the raglan shaping, worked down with increases on every right side row on the "seams" and every fourth row at the front edges, giving it the V-neck shaping. Right now, I'm working down the left hand sleeve (right hand side of the picture); once that sleeve is finished, I'll pick up the stitches for the second sleeve and work it to match the first.

After that, I'll pick up all the remaining stitches, fronts and back, and continue on down. The pattern says to work about one inch without shaping, then to decrease on every right side row on each side of the front until no stitches remain. That will create the point at the back. The best part of this pattern? No seams!

Incidentally, the colour in this picture is much closer to the actual colour of the yarn that the shot in the previous blog post.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Time for Knitting News

Enough about the move for today. It's time to concentrate on some knitting updates. Even with the upheaval of packing, I've made it a point to find some knitting time every day, even if it's only to do a couple of rows. It definitely grounds me and calms me.

The only problem I'm having right now is a terrible case of startitis. Every day, there's something else I want to start, but I've been behaving. Although there are things I should be trying to finish, I've been concentrating on three projects, all recent additions to my works-in-progress.

The Luna Moth shawl (free at is coming along nicely, but I've been unable, mentally, to work on it this past week. I'm finding that this week is for mindless, or semi-mindless, projects. However, I haven't shown you a recent picture of the progress I have made.

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I'm really liking how it's turning out and I think this will make a great summer evening shawl. I like the hemp yarn so much, I've been buying more of it. This one is, of course, 100% hemp. A while back, I bought 50 grams of a hemp/cotton blend and this week picked up another ball of it. That will be a project for another day. It was called "stash enhancement". ;)

The other shawl I've allowed to rest for a while is the camel shawl. That's not to say I haven't been working on it; it still is the perfect tv knit, mostly mindless.

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I've decided to change the shape somewhat, as you can see. That's the nice thing about working from the top down on a shawl like this; you can change the shape quite easily. This eliminates the point of the triangle, making it more of a........ what? I guess it's a triangle with the point cut off. I think this will be a fairly large shawl once I've used up both balls of the camel yarn. That was the intention; it will be the kind of shawl I can cuddle up in, light but warm. Perfect on those coolish, damp west coast nights.

The other project I've been working on is the Shawl Back Shrug from I posted a picture of the shrug a couple posts back; I bought the yarn for it last week. I would show you a picture of the shrug in progress, but right now, it really doesn't look like much. I'm having fun knitting it, though.

It's worked from the top down (no seams... yeah!!). As of this morning, I've reached the underarm separation and have started working down one sleeve. The yarn I'm using is Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light, on 4.5 mm needles. I honestly thought I was using 4.0 mm needles, until this morning. Oh well, even though the needles are not what the yarn calls for, I love the way it's knitting up and the tension looks good. I'm not frogging it, that's for sure.

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The pattern calls for two different stitch patterns, Flickering Flames on the sleeves and Fir Cone on the back. I've decided to go with just the Fir Cone pattern. It's easy to remember and recognize. The colour of the yarn is a little darker than in the picture, a lovely denim blue with a somewhat tweedy look to it. I've noticed some purple in it, as well as bits of white. All in all, I'm loving it!

As for the pattern, it really isn't difficult, but I do find the directions a little confusing in some spots. The author leaves a lot up to the knitter, as far as measurements, stitch counts and such, goes. Once I realized how it all fits together, it wasn't difficult to figure out what to do next. Once the sleeves are done, I'll be picking up the fronts and the back and working them down, decreasing on either end until I have no stitches left. Then, it's just a matter of picking up a hundred zillion stitches around the entire body and finishing the shrug up with a ribbed edging. Won't that be fun? (uh huh, right!)

And that's a knitting update. Now, it's time to pack up the living room. Considering we've only lived here for eight months, where did all this STUFF come from???

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Change is good, right?

I just got off the phone with my cable provider. The news is not good, at least it isn't what I wanted to hear.

It turns out that Shaw does not service the Sunshine Coast, where we'll be moving. That means that all my web space and email addresses will disappear. And that means that whatever information I have stored in those web spaces will no longer be accessible via my blogs. And THAT means I'll have to find alternate storage space for patterns and stuff. Anyone know of a safe document storage place online?

What it also means is that some of the links to photos (before I started using Photobucket and other photo sites) will be broken. In other words, a royal pain in the nether regions.

I've been trying to set up Strings 'n Things as a gmail account, but it seems someone has already beaten me to all variations of that name, so, for now, I'll stay with evskae at gmail dot com. If you want to email me, you can reach me there.

I'll slowly be starting to delete files from my web space and I hope it isn't too disruptive to anyone, including me!

Have I mentioned how much I hate moving?

Edited to add: I fear I've given the wrong impression. My blog won't be disappearing; it's a Blogger blog and isn't stored in my own web space. Some of my files, however, were stored in my own webspace. I used to store photographs in my own web space. My blog, especially older posts, will be affected in that pictures may have broken links. Thankfully, Blogger's not going anywhere! And as long as I have access to a computer that's hooked up to the internet, I'll continue to blog.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

I Had An Idea

I was going to start this blog post with an artsy shot of one of my works in progress. Taking pictures, however, at 6 a.m., when you're not quite awake and thinking straight does not make for art. So, no artsy pictures. No pictures at all.

I had an idea... as the title intimates. There are a number of you who read this blog who live here in Kelowna. Some of you know me through Art of Yarn and you know that I no longer work there. You know that John and I will be leaving for Gibsons in about three weeks.

I thought it might be nice to have one last Stitch and Bitch at Blenz before we leave. Our last day of work is October 26, a Friday. Let's have SnB that Thursday, October 25, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. at Blenz. It will be your chance, and mine, to say our goodbyes, tears and all.

What do you think? Good idea? If so, join me at Blenz, October 25, 7-9 p.m. See you there, one last time!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

TV Knitting

Yesterday (or Monday? whenever!), I showed you my escape reality project. Today, I present my mindless, tv knitting project. No project is totally mindless, really, unless you're knitting a garter stitch endless scarf.

That's not what this is. It is, however, mindless enough that I can knit and watch tv without having to concentrate on what I'm doing.

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The yarn is, of course, the camel yarn I wound up last weekend. Because I have two balls, I figure I have enough to make myself a nice cozy shawl to wrap around me on those bleak, wet, wintery evenings on the West (wet) Coast. For those of you who don't know what the west coast is like, it is part of the coastal rain forest. The temperatures are pretty mild in the winters (we can get snow there, not usually a lot), but it rains. And rains. And it's gray. But not usually cold.

Anyway, back to the shawl. It's a basic, simple, top down shawl for now. I'm thinking of changing the shape a bit for the sake of interest, but we'll see. For now, it's a basic stocking stitch, triangular, top down shawl. And it's perfect for working on in front of the tv.

On the moving front (hmm.... no, the front's not moving, we are... sorry, couldn't resist... bad!), there's been an interesting (read... arghhhh!) development. John found out yesterday that by the 15th of October, he'll be the only one left at his job. Right now, he's doing landscaping at the college. It's a 2 acre property. They're getting it ready for winter, but it's definitely not a one person kind of job. That means he won't have a lot of time or energy to be putting into getting the house packed up. In addition, he's trying to find the time to acquaint himself with the menus and recipes he's been sent.

On a positive note, I've been in touch with a lovely reader who lives in Gibsons (hi Siew!). She's already been an encouragement and a source of information. I'm looking forward to meeting her face to face. Already it seems Gibsons is a friendly place.

Shower time.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I Like THIS Moth!

One box has been packed. We've officially started 'the move' now. We've also given our notice here at the house. Now begins the list making, the organizing, the decisions whether to keep, toss or give away. Oh, the joy of it all!

I did warn John that it wasn't going to be all packing. I had every intention of running away to my knitting and that's just what I did. The Luna Moth Shawl is a joy to work on, now that I've got the chart figured out. I've completed Chart 1 and have completed two repeats of chart 2. I'm really, really liking this shawl. When done, it will be gorgeous!

When I bought this yarn, I wasn't really sure how much to purchase. Ann, who runs Kelowna Yarn & Needlecraft with her husband Stephen, suggested about 100 grams for a shawl, so that's what I bought. It wasn't cheap ($34ish), and I didn't know if I'd even like working with lace weight hemp, but I do. I can already tell that it will soften up with use. Lovely stuff!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Back to Knitting

First, though, Siew, could you email me? I have questions!! :)

With the impending move, I really shouldn't be starting anything, should I? I should be finishing things, right? Yup, I thought so. But there was this yarn, in my stash, calling me, wanting to be played with. I yielded.

I had to find a pattern for this yarn. I did sort of have a pattern in mind and it seems the yarn is quite happy with my choice.

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The yarn is LanaKnits 100% laceweight hemp. The pattern is Elann's Luna Moth shawl. The needles are 3.25 mm (US 3). I could probably have gone a little bigger on the needles, but I'm really liking the texture I'm getting, so I'm not going to bother changing it. I'm almost through the first pattern repeat and I do like it already. This will be, I'm thinking, my leave me alone, I need to escape knitting.

While exploring on Elann's website, I also came across this little gem... click here. A shawl back shrug! It's worked up in a dk weight yarn. I like shrugs, but most of them are short in the back. That's not always a bad thing, but I do find that my kidney area feels the cold more than my other parts do, so I like the idea of a longer back. I'm adding this to my list of projects... my to do list.... or might I be right in calling it my UFO list? ;)

Here's what the front looks like (you have to scroll down in the pattern). I think it would be a fun little project. Now, I need to think about what yarn I'd like to knit it in.

Now, off to have a shower and I think we'll be starting some packing today. *sigh*

Friday, September 28, 2007

Ok, I can tell you now

I gave my notice at work today. I will be leaving the print shop at the end of October. I had to wait until I could talk to my boss before I could tell anyone anything.

John and I are moving. Not just to another house, but to another town. For anyone familiar with British Columbia's west coast, you'll know the Sunshine Coast and the town of Gibsons. That's where we're headed. It's about half an hour or so north east of Vancouver, about 3 hours closer to my family than we are now.

Beginning in November, John will be the new general manager of a restaurant, Molly's Reach. This is what we'll see every day...

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And this is where John will be working...

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Those of you who read this blog and grew up in Canada (and perhaps other parts of the world where I understand it may still be in reruns) will recognize Molly's Reach from the old TV show "The Beachcombers".

This has been in the works for a little over a month now. This week, we made the decision to accept the position and move there. I will not be involved in the restaurant. I have no problem with that. I have every intention of finding myself another job, and with my various skills, I'm sure I won't have a difficult time.

So, there you have it. No need to hold your collective breaths any longer.

I have an announcement to make

But not until Monday......... or maybe tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Here camel, camel

A while back, I got some camel yarn. If you remember wayyyyy back, you'll know that I designed and knitted a shawlette with camel yarn. I love the stuff! It's warm, cozy, feels like a hug on the shoulders. Speaking of which, it's almost time to dig it out; it's getting pretty chilly in this basement suite.

Anyway, I digress. I have more of it. It's been hanging around on a door handle and finally, this weekend, it said "Enough is enough! Wind me up!" There was one small problem.

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Have you ever seen a skein wound this way? If you have, and even if you haven't, you can imagine that you can't simply put it on to a swift and winder.

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I was going to get John to do the job of the two chairs, but he was fixing the toilet and I don't think he'd have had the patience to play the part of a yarn swift. The chairs had to do.

Fifteen or so minutes and half a cup of coffee later, I ended up with this...

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It was quite tangled in a couple of spots, but all in all, it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Now, I have to decide what to do with it. I have two balls of it, about the same amount in each (hmm... how much DO I have?....122 grams total... just weighed it). I could make another shawl with it, but I'm leaning towards a cozy pair of wrist warmers. I have a feeling that, if we stay here, I will be needing something to keep my wrists and hands warm while I'm on my computer first thing in the morning.

I could get a few pairs out of 122 grams. I'll wait till the yarn tells me what it wants to be. In the meantime, I'll be storing it in one of those Ziploc veggie bags, just to keep it safe. If you have any good ideas for me, design suggestions, please feel free to pass them on.

On another subject, I did do a little bit of knitting yesterday. As you may remember, I bought Cat Bordhi's latest book, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters" a couple of weeks ago. I made one pair of baby socks from the book and yesterday I finished this little sock...

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It's a Coriolis sock. I love the construction! The "gusset" increases swirl across the top of the foot and the whole thing just looks so cool! I haven't decided whether I want to knit the second sock just yet (I probably should, huh?), or just go ahead and start a pair for me. I've already got yarn in mind (from the stash!). One smart lady, that Cat Bordhi!

Well, the sun is shining here. I think John and I had better get out and enjoy it while we have the opportunity. Who knows how much nice weather we still have ahead of us.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Saturday Again

Time just seems to fly by now that I'm working full time; I seem to have gotten on to the same treadmill that many employees have... eagerly waiting for the weekend. Now that it's here, I hate to admit that I'm kind of bored. Oh well, Monday will be here soon enough.

On to knitting. I'm afraid I don't have much actual knitting to show you. I'm slowly working away at a couple of projects, but I'm finding that knitting in the evenings isn't the easiest thing to do around here. The lighting at this time of year, in a basement suite, just isn't conducive to complicated knitting.

I do, however, have a couple of purchases to share with you. The first is this book...

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I saw it and decided it deserved a place in my knitting library. It's "Sweater Design in Plain English" by Maggie Righetti. It's well written, easy to read and full of sensible information. The first half of the book explains the basics of measuring, body types and what styles suit those body types, as well as explaining the math involved in knitting and designing. For those of us who are mathematically challenged (read ME), it's explained simply and logically. This book definitely deserves a place in my knitting library!

The second half of the book contains some designs and explains how they're designed. Helpful, yes, but the designs are extremely dated (batwing sweaters???) and I can't see myself referring to that section. That said, it was worth the price just for the first half of the book.

Last weekend, when John was away (still can't talk about that), I went for a walk and checked out Art of Yarn's new home. They've moved across the street into a larger, brighter and much cozier location. (This is the yarn store I worked at for 3 years, until just last month.) Sally's also been bringing in some new, and luscious yarns. Could I resist?? Nope!

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I bought two skeins of this yarn, Hacho. I've never heard of it, but it's lovely. It's 100% hand dyed merino wool from Peru. This one is DK weight and I thought a cap would be perfect in this yarn. If I read the label correctly, the yarn company is Mirasol. They have a web site... MirasolPeru. According to the tag, "A portion of every purchase is dedicated directly to the funding of a school in the remote area of Munani in the region of Puno."

Then, I saw this...

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It's from the same company; this one is called Sulka. It's an absolutely decadent blend of 60% merino, 20% alpaca and 20% silk. It has a gorgeous sheen to it and is super soft. I could just stroke it and be content! It's a chunky weight yarn, 16 sts=4" on 6 mm (US10) needles. I'm thinking of making myself a hat with it. The main colour will be the charcoal, with the three other colours worked into a fairisle design. I'm still in the considering stage... considering what design I want to use. I'm content to think about it for now.

Incidentally, the price of these yarns wasn't bad at all. The Sulka is $7.95 for 50 grams (only 55 yards though) and the Hacho was $7.99 for 50 grams, 137 yards. Not outrageous for the quality.

In the meantime, I'm bound and determined to finish a couple of projects before starting anything new. Period!

...but that yarn is sure calling, whining, wheedling... pleading....

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No Pictures This Time

That's because John has the camera and he's away this weekend. I can't give out details yet as to why he's away, so let's just leave it at that for the moment.

I've had the entire weekend to myself and have I knitted a single stitch? Here it is, Sunday afternoon, and I haven't even picked up knitting needles. Well, that's not entirely true. I tidied up my knitting baskets (yes, baskets) yesterday and discovered a few sets of errant knitting needles. They're the only ones I've had in my hands, as I put them away. I also frogged a couple of projects I knew I'd never finish. At one point, I left everything sitting where it was, with firm instructions not to move, and walked to the grocery store to pick up some Ziploc bags, for storage. Now, my knitting is (more or less) organized into either small, single project baggies, or vegetable baggies for safe keeping (they're the ones with the tiny airholes that let air in, but keep critters out), or into the extra large storage bags. I filled three of the large bags. Ouch.

This morning has been spent processing the 20 lbs of peaches I picked yesterday. I now have 6 quarts of peaches, 3 pints of peaches and some peach puree, cooling, and waiting to be put into storage containers and frozen.

I feel good. Now, it's just past noon and I'm going have some lunch, go for a walk and then start knitting (after I finish washing up all the dishes I used in processing the peaches, now soaking in very hot water). And I'll be eagerly waiting for John to pull into the driveway.

Monday, September 10, 2007

A Dilemma

Sunday was spent around the house and I got quite a bit of knitting done. Unfortunately, on one small project, I'm at a standstill. I have a decision to make and I really don't know what to do. That's where you come in; I need your help in deciding.

Here's the little project...

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...a little wrap cardigan from the October 2007 Canadian Living magazine, but taken from a Louisa Harding book. The yarn I'm using is an Online Supersocke 6-ply yarn on 3.75 mm needles.

So, why am I stuck? Well, if I make the back in the same yarn, the stripes won't line up on the sides. Will that matter? I was thinking of working the sleeves in a complimentary solid yarn; I could do the back in the same solid colour, which isn't what I wanted going into this project. I wanted the front and back to be in the patternend yarn and the sleeves in a solid yarn (which I still need to find; it really should be the same sort of yarn... 75% wool, 25% nylon... shouldn't it?) I'm torn. I'm looking for input.

It's interesting how the two front pieces ended up not matching at the top. I started knitting at the same point in the self-patterning yarn and yet one piece ended up farther in the patterning than the other. I wonder why.

When I reached the decision-making point of this sweater, I turned to another small project. I started a pair of wrist warmers for a knitalong one of my Ravelry groups is doing. The group is meant to be a localized group (from Friesland, a province in the north of Holland); they're intending to get together for a SnB session and wanted a knitalong project for that day. I'm a long distance member of that group. I started the wristers yesterday. The pattern is Colinette's Acorn, done in a kid mohair yarn with 90 beads on each wrister. I'll post pictures when there's a little more than one inch of knitting to show you.

Now, it's on with my morning... catching up online and then getting ready for work.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Where do I start?

Let's jump right in. Robbyn asked me to elaborate on the top shaping and finishing of the baby rib hat.

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The hat is knit from the bottom up, in the round. When you reach the required length, it is split into two and each half is worked separately, using short rows. Each row is four stitches shorter than the previous row, until about 1/3 of the stitches remain. Once both sides have been completed (and you work the stitches to the end of the row), you still have the original number of stitches remaining on the needles, and each half is crescent shaped. Make sense so far? Then, the two halves are bound off, using a three-needle bind off. Ingenious! And no sewing involved!


If you look at the above picture carefully, you'll notice the corner of a book in the corner of the picture. That book is Cat Bordhi's new book, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters". Yup, I bought it this week. I made the mistake of going into the LYS near my workplace. Steven announced that the book had arrived that very day. Well, it just HAD to come home with me.

That night, I cast on for this...

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It's the Little Sky sock, one of the socks Cat recommends you make before jumping into the book with both feet. What a fun little sock to knit! And, no, I haven't made the second one yet. I will, though. I thought I might do that today because John was going to be working today, but those plans have changed. Apparently his work partner (who's also the boss's son) is not only still drunk, but is getting drunker still. So, no work today. Which means very little knitting today. At least I get to spend time with John. :)

Anyway, back to the topic at hand... or foot. I love this book! The socks in it are brilliant! I'd like to make every single one of them! And to think she's got another two books worth of ideas! I love this woman. Did I mention that I love this book? I honestly think that anyone who likes to knit socks needs to add this book to their knitting library.

I have been knitting on something else as well. I mentioned this project once on Chatters, and was chided for not having blogged about it. Well, I am now.

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This is the back of a little, lacy cardigan for myself. The yarn is Sirdar Country Style DK, and I'm working the little arrowhead lace pattern on 4.5 mm needles. I'm not rushing this project, but I would like it done before next summer. I'm finding it a relaxing, enjoyable knit with just enough interest to keep it from being boring. The little arrowhead lace is an easy one to read and it works up reasonably quickly. At least, it does if you work on it daily, which I don't. Which is why just the back has taken me all summer to knit.

Ah! What is it supposed to look like when it's finshed, you ask? I'm glad you asked because I just happen to have a picture of the pattern.

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It's a Sirdar pattern leaflet, #8648. I don't mind the turquoise colour used for the model, but it does not go with anything in my wardrobe. The brown does. And I'm loving it. I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this little cardigan. I am making one or two minor changes; the pattern calls for only two rows of garter stitch at the bottom edge, but I like it better with four rows. It gives it just a little bit more substance. I'm also making the body slightly longer than the pattern calls for. One thing I really like about this yarn (45% acrylic, 40% nylon, 15% wool and 348 yards) is that the pattern calls for 3 balls. At about $9.00 per ball, the sweater comes in at under $30.00. Not bad! And it's a yarn that washes well and wears well. No complaints here.

I could go on, but this post is getting pretty long as it is and there are things to be done around here, with John. So, I leave you with one last thing...

Have you seen the new Knit Picks Harmony wood needles?? OHMY!!! Go there!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Some quick knitting content

Baby Rib Hat
Originally uploaded by Strings 'n Things
We've been away for the weekend, and just got home last night. This is just a quick blog post; once I get organized again, I'll type up a longer, more descriptive (with pictures) post about our trip.

On the way home, I managed to finish this little cap for Jonathan, my newest grandson. I love the top finish on this cap. It is, obviously, knit from the bottom up. The hat is knit in the round, but split for the top shaping and finishing. It's shaped with short rows and then a 3-needle bind off "sews" the two sides together. I love it! I'll have to remember it so that I can use it in other hats.

Incidentally, I finished it while on a nail-biting gravel road that took us from one highway to another, moving from the prairies of Alberta into the foothils. It was the only way I could ignore the road and the engine thermometer, and keep my sanity and fingernails intact!

It was a fun weekend, but it's good to be home.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I've been working on another hat pattern. As I stated earlier, I was given a garbage bag of this yarn and I'd really like to use some (or most) of it up before any little critters or beasties can get to it. It really is knitting up into warm and cozy caps (or toques for you fellow canucks). This time, the process hasn't been quite so straightforward. It seems I'm mathematically challenged. That's not news to me, but this past week, it really made itself evident.

For some reason, I thought, correctly, that 98 was divisible by 14. As I say, correctly. However, my pattern repeat is 8 stitches and 14 rows... 14 rows... 98 is NOT divisible by 8. I didn't discover that until I had finished the ribbing and gotten to row 2 of the pattern repeat. Needless to say, I frogged it. It was only after I'd reknit the ribbing that it occurred to me that I could simply have decreased my first row by 2 stitches and everything would have been just fine.

Oh well. The brain, apparently, was not fully engaged at the time.

Today, I've been spending some time with yarn and needles in hand and have made good progress on what I'm calling The Fairisle Cap. It's based, once again, on one of Anna Zilboorg's Turkish stitch patterns. She did hers in a pleasing variety of colours; I chose to stay with three colours. Here's where it's at so far...

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This one is sized to fit John, or someone with a 23" head. Again, this yarn is knitting up quite nicely and will be a warm and cozy hat for him, or someone, this winter.

In Chatters last night, at one point I had gotten up to check on John, to see if there was anything I could get for him as he was soaking his feet. This is what I found...

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Apparently, he didn't need anything. Fellow Chatters, I said I'd post it. There ya go! ;)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Don't Get... really, I don't

So, I'm on Ravelry now. I haven't been anxiously waiting my turn to get in; until last weekend, I'd never even checked to see where I was on the list.

Now, I'm in. Do I feel like I've joined an exclusive club of some kind? Nope. Am I impressed with it? Not really.

I've joined two groups, neither of which has had any activity since I introduced myself. One has a total of 8 posts (in one month) and the other has 4 posts (also in one month). Hmm... quiet people or what?

A good number of the knitting books I own have been duly catalogued and are on display (I do like the bookshelves), but what's the purpose? Is it so that other people can see what books you own and ask you for patterns? Or offer to buy books from you? What?

Cataloguing one's stash could be a good idea, but seeing as I regularly fondle my stash, again, why have your stash on public display other than to prove to people you're totally addicted to yarn and we already know that anyway?

In all honesty, I'm rather ambivalent about Ravelry. A place for knitters to get together and compare what they have and what they've done... do we really need that? Like I said, I don't really get why everyone else is so excited about Ravelry.

Oh, I'd post about knitting and what I've done this week, but it seems I've been frogging more than knitting. My knitting time has been very limited this week and nothing has progressed. *sigh*

Sunday, August 19, 2007

No Drooling Allowed

Just for Robbyn and Rob, who hadn't previously seen my completed Clapotis...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket all it's purple alpaca scrumptiousness. I finished this one a long time ago, perhaps two years or more ago. It was two houses back, at any rate. We were talking about knitting trends when one of them mentioned Clapotis, and that they wouldn't knit it because everyone else was knitting it, too. Well, I did knit it, but long before all the fuss and bother. The yarn is, I believe, Luxury Yarns, Alpaca Peru, but I could be wrong on that. It is a Luxury yarn, and it is alpaca, and it is cozy and warm and yummy. Putting this shawl around your shoulders truly is like putting on a hug.

Another topic we discussed in Chatters was Ravelry. During the course of the conversation, I went to the Ravelry site to check where I stood on the list. I was surprised to find that I was #72. When I checkd this morning, I'd moved up into the #3 position. So, I suppose I'll be finding out very shortly what all the hype is about. I did discover that at least one of my patterns is either posted on Ravelry or linked to on Ravelry. If it's posted there, I might have reason to be upset. I'm hoping it's just linked. I guess I'll find out soon enough, right?

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Pattern Posted

The Gates of Paradise Cap pattern has just been posted on my freebies site... click here. If you do make a hat using my pattern, let me know, send me a picture. I love seeing what you do with my patterns.

Now, on to other things. Hmmmm... I'm thinking of making a couple more hats, actually. That was a fun, quick knit; there are a lot more patterns in Anna Zilboorg's book and a lot more of that same yarn. The hats will definitely be warm and cozy enough for just about any kind of winter, I'm thinking.

That's one option. Of course, there are a LOT of UFO's around this house that I really should be working on. Oh, the dilemma!!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Step 3 and the Grand Finale

Where were we? Ah yes, I was working the second chart. At this point, it's pretty mindless, other than making sure you're working on the right line and your brain and eyes coordinate.

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There! The second chart has been completed. Now, it's time to measure. This turned out to be 6". A previously knit hat had a body of 5" and I found that a bit short for me, so 6" is good. It won't be sliding off my head like the 5" hat might. There is nothing worse on a cold day than having to keep pulling your hat down over your ears when you're trying to hold on to other things, too!

At any rate, the body of the hat is just the right length. Had it been a little shorter, I could have added one more repeat of the first chart, but I don't think it's needed, really. So, it's on to the grand finale.

Remember I said at the beginning that 84 stitches is divisible by 6? Here's where that comes into play. We're going to work the top shaping in six "wedges". 84 stitches divided by 6 sections gives us 14 stitches in each section, right? What we'll be doing is decreasing each of those 14-stitch sections on every other round until we have 42 stiches remaining; that's half of the original 84 stitches. From that point on, we'll decrease on every round until only 6 stitches remain. That will give the top a nice rounded finish. If we were to continue decreasing on every other round, the top would come out somewhat pointed.

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In the process of making this hat, I did find one small error in my chart, so I'll have to go back and correct that. Tomorrow, I'll write up the complete pattern and it will be posted to my Freebies page.

Incidentally, it fits me perfectly, is just the right length and, according to John, looks good! I'll try to get him to take a picture of the hat on me so you can see, too.

When writing up a pattern, I use Word for Windows for the written part, then copy and paste it into a template I've made in PageMaker. I know I could do the entire thing in Word, but with the version I have, I can't make a .pdf file; I can with PageMaker.

One more note about this yarn; as stated before, this yarn came without labels of any kind. It's like the White Buffalo yarn, but finer, so I'm thinking it's a worsted weight, which is pretty much what it knit up as. That being the case, any worsted weight yarn may be substituted in this pattern. Just because I used this yarn (whatever it may be) doesn't mean the hat won't work with another yarn. Make sure you check your gauge!

There you have it, the process I go through when designing a pattern. Granted, it's a very simple pattern, not a lot of ripping, tearing and hair-pulling involved. It does, hopefully, show you some of the thinking and planning involved. If you've never tried to design your own hat, sock, or whatever, maybe this will have inspired you just a little bit to try it yourself. All you really need to start is a basic hat pattern that you can customize, either with a fair isle-type pattern or a stitch pattern. Then, just play with it! Have fun!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

First, a Digression; Then, Step 3

The digression... just over half an hour ago, I received the best phone call any grandmother could get on her birthday. My sixth grandchild, a 10 lb. baby boy named Jonathan Pierce, was born at 5:38 a.m. He decided to take his time joining the world, but I'm thrilled that he arrived on my 53rd birthday. Welcome to the world, little boy! (I'll share pictures when I get them.)

On to step 3.

I've finally decided which stitch patterns I want to use. In going through Anna Zilboorg's book, there were a couple of things I had to keep in mind. First, the stitch multiple has to fit into my stitch count of 84 stitches. Second, the row multiple has to be of a size that will fit onto the body of the hat. In other words, I have to remember that I already have 1.5" of ribbing for the hat band. If I choose a pattern of, oh let's say, 28 rows, with a row gauge of 6 rows per inch, the pattern will be about 4.5". Add that to the 1.5" of cuff and I have a hat body of 7". That's a bit deep for a hat, so the pattern is too big.

With that in mind, this is what I've chosen...

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I'll use this one to start with, just to give the hat a bit of balance. This design is a 4 stitch, 3 row repeat, so 1/2". I've put three rows of stocking stitch between this pattern and the main pattern, but I don't think I really needed to.

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This will be the main pattern on the hat. The pattern is a 12 stitch, 17 row repeat. That means it will give me a body of about 3" at my row gauge. The body may still be a bit deep, but I can adapt the top shaping if necessary.
Incidentally, the name of the pattern I chose is "Gates of Paradise", so I've decided to call this the Gates of Paradise hat. Sounds ok?
Once I've decided on the patterns, I take the book to my computer and type the pattern into Excel. I won't go into the entire procedure of setting it all up, unless you want me to explain all of that to you. It's pretty straightforward, really. When I have the pattern typed in, I highlight it, copy it, then paste it into PageMaker, where I have a pattern template already set up.
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At this point, I can print up the chart for the pattern and then, continue knitting. Which, once I'm dressed, I have every intention of doing. The next step will be to decide on the shaping of the top of the hat. I'll get back to you on that once I've finished working the chart, probably Thursday or Friday.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Step 2

I went back and swatched again on 4.5 mm needles. Now, I have everything I need to go on to the next step.

On the larger needles, I got a gauge of 9 stitches and 12 rows to 2". That means I have 4.5 stitches to one inch. I've decided to make this hat to fit an average woman, or about 21". So, how many stitches to cast on? Well, let's see...

21 inches multiplied by 4.5 stitches/inch = 94.5 stitches. We'll subtract 10% because we want the hat to be a little snug, not just fit loosely on the head, right? So, 94.5 x .90 = 85.05. That's not divisible by much of anything, an awkward number, so let's round it down to the nearest multiple of 6. That would be 84 stitches. Why a multiple of 6? Just cuz I like the way the top of the hat comes out when it's done in 6 sections. And, it's a nice even number.

So, now that we have our number of stitches to cast on, we can start. Using the 4.0 mm needles, cast on 84 stitches. Join in the round, being careful not to twist the stitches. Place a marker to mark the beginning of the round and rib (I chose 1x1... or knit 1, purl 1... rib) for about 1.5", or whatever you'd like.

Then, change to the larger (4.5 mm) needle and work 2 rounds in stocking stitch (just knit). Now it's time to start the fair isle patterning. We'll get to that tomorrow, with pictures.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Swatching and the Process

I thought it might be kind of interesting (to me, at least) to chronicle the process I use to finish a project. Allow me to ramble.

Remember this?

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Well, this morning, I decided to dip into this wealth of fibery yumminess and design a cap, either for John or for myself (or just to give away or sell... we'll see).

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I chose these two colours, and may throw in a little of the dark brown as well. I haven't completely decided that yet. There's also a blue in this same yarn, but I must admit it's not my favourite shade of blue. It's a little too..... blue. You know what I mean? Anyway, I swatched the brown.

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I tried to remember what I came up with before; I did swatch this yarn before, using two different sizes of needles, 4.5 mm (US 7) and 5.0 mm (US 8). From what I remember, I preferred the 4.5 mm swatch. It just felt firmer, more stable. This time, I swatched with 4.0 mm (US 6) needles. The resulting gauge is 10 sts to 2" or 5 stitches to the inch. The fabric is quite firm, so I'm thinking that the 4.0 mm will be good for the ribbing on the hat, but I'll have to switch to 4.5 mm for the body of the hat. I think I need to work one more swatch, this time on 4.5 mm needles.

The intention is to use the creamy yarn for a fair isle pattern in the body of the that; the brown yarn will be my main colour. I still haven't decided on a pattern, but I'm thinking I'll find something interesting in Anna Zilboorg's book, "Simply Socks". Her designs are based on Turkish colour work and some of them are quite stunning; there are a number of designs that use just two colours, so I'll probably choose one of those.

I've decided that this will be a hat worked from the lower edge to the top; I like top down hats, but with this yarn, I would need a stretchy cast off and the one I like best is a sewn cast off. Because the yarn breaks VERY easily, I'm not sure that the sewn cast off would work all that well. I think it would cause me more frustration that it would be worth.

So, from the bottom up, two colours, worked on 4.0 mm needles for the cuff and 4.5 mm needles for the body, worked in the round. So far, so good.

Next, I need to decide what size to make it. First, though, I'm going to go swatch on 4.5 mm needles to see what gauge I get for the body. I'll keep you informed.