Sunday, April 29, 2007

Warning - Picture Intensive --- For Leanne

One of our customers at the store is in France right now. She's been there for about three months so far and will be spending, in total, a year there. She called the store a couple days ago, while I was working; we had a lovely chat. One of the things she said she was missing was this...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket, not the buildings in the background, but the yellow flowers. They look like mini sunflowers.

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They are, in actuality, Arrowleaf Balsamroot. I know this because I looked them up online a couple of years ago, shortly after we moved to Kelowna. I'd never seen these flowers anywhere else and they definitely say "spring" in the Okanagan. In native lore, they are a medicinal plant. Right now, I forget just what they'd be used for and it really doesn't matter. I can understand why Leanne might miss the sight of these harbingers of spring. The other yellow flowers in the picture are Oregon Grape. Right now, they're blooming everywhere, too. Later, they'll have tiny purple berries, which are edible, but quite sour. John has an old recipe for Oregon Grape jelly, which we may just have to try this year.

And, just because I didn't only take pictures of these flowers, I thought these might make Leanne REALLY miss Canada and the Okanagan.

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Enjoy, Leanne!

Saturday, April 28, 2007

I'm not doin' nuthin'

Lest you think I've been doing nothing, have a look at this...

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What, you ask, is that? Well, the yarn is Grignasco Tango, a lovely blend of 50% virgin wool, 25% alpaca and 25% viscose. The pattern is from the latest Interweave Crochet.

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I've been watching for just the right yarn for that pattern and one day, while having lunch in the back room of the store, I spotted a bag of the Tango on the shelf and just knew it was the right yarn. I bought it immediately, went home and cast on. That was April 19. Here's where I'm at so far...

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On the right is a completed sleeve; to the left of the sleeve is one of the front pieces. Resting on the two pieces is the second front and the back. The way this pattern is worked, all the crochet is done on the knitted pieces before the sweater is assembled. I decided to knit all the pieces first, then do all the crochet. It's coming along very nicely. I'm hoping to have it finished within the next week or two.

Here's a close-up of the crochet work...

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And then, because this is me we're talking about, I started a couple other small things. Oh, incidentally, the Estonian Garden scarf is on hold. I just don't think I can get it done in time for the auction it's intended for. I'm really struggling with the end sections. My needles just don't feel sharp enough. I have Addi Lace needles, but working such a small number of stitches on circulars...well, I just don't like it. So, one of these will be earmarked as a substitute.

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This one is the Leaf Scarf from Vogue Knitting, Summer 2005. For anyone wanting to make this pretty scarf, be aware that the pattern has a mistake. As written, you will end up with 2 stitches less every time you finish a leaf. Visit the Vogue Knitting web site for the corrections.

I'm using a combination of yarns, but essentially it's the exact same yarn. The white yarn is SRK's answer to Rowan Kid Silk Haze. The leaves will be done with KSH, in three different colours. I'll show you more when I have more knit. So far, it's a fun knit and I think it will be a very pretty little scarf.

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This is Branching Out, from Knitty. I'm using Louet's Kidlin Pixie, a laceweight blend of kid mohair and linen. After working with the linen, I wasn't sure how I'd like the Kidlin, but I do. It's not bad to work with at all.

As I said, one of these two scarves will be donated to the cancer lodge at our local hospital for their annual silent auction. Help me decide which one I should give away, which one I should concentrate on first.

Now, I need to get moving. The weather's looking promising (blue sky, sunshine... yup, that's pretty nice!) and both John and I are off. There are dishes to be done and shopping to do and I have every intention of enjoying the day!

Monday, April 23, 2007

UFO Flashathon!

As mentioned in my last post, today is the day to flash your UFOs (unfinished objects). You can also check out other "flashes" at The Yarnpath and Musings of a Silver Rose. We three decided to "bare it all", but I was adamant that I was NOT going to itemize my UFOs because there are just too many of them and I don't want to embarass myself unnecessarily, yanno?

Here's where they're stashed, though.

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In a back corner of the living room. Generally, this is my work-in-progress area, but some of those works in progress have become UFOs.

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Just around the corner from the fireplace, out of sight from the room in general.

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In my office. The desk isn't really used for anything but UFO storage. Ouch.

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This is not all UFO storage. Only the Rubbermaid Storage container with the blue lid (center of the picture) contains UFOs. The other container above it is stash yarn, as is the plastic "bag" (space bag... you know... the kind you suck the air out of with a vaccuum cleaner). The container with the green lid contains my rubber stamps. I AM a crafter, after all, not just a knitter.

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And, finally, the kitchen. One basket contains a couple of small projects that have been conveniently forgotten. The other basket has the remnants of John's sweater that simply haven't been put away yet.

And there you have it... my UFO stash(es). Some of the projects hidden away are destined to be frogged. Some I started, and then put away because I really wasn't too sure of them. They'll probably be frogged. Others, I'll re-evaluate and decide whether or not to finish them. This has been a good exercise for me. I really do have too much on the go; I guess I like starting things, but not finishing. I wonder why that is?

Now that I've "bared it all", consider doing the same. Let me know if you decide to flash your UFOs.

On to other things.

Stitchywitch commented on the Boteh scarf with a question:

"Your scarf is so pretty! I'm trying to make one as well, and I was wondering... are you following the chart or the written directions? I'm having some difficulties with my triangles wanting to go in a spiral, and I'm not certain that's correct. I'd appreciate any help!"

I followed the chart. You can see on my scarf that the "straight" edge has to be at the outside edge; the dtr row is to the inside. I find it much easier to follow a chart than the written directions. Mine did twist as well, until I realized that the beginning rows of each "leaf" have two 15 stitch rows, putting the straight edge to the outside. Does that make sense?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Updates and Some Fun

I have a few minutes before I absolutely have to get dressed and out the door. Care to see some progress pictures? Since I had the camera in hand this morning (more on the reason at the end of this post), I decided to snap some pictures of the works in progress... the active ones.

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The Estonian Garden scarf is moving along nicely now that I've got the purl 5 togethers down, sort of. I did install a lifeline, thankfully. I've already frogged back to it at least four times. After each repeat of the lily of the valley section, I think I'll install another lifeline. Just in case.

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This little piece will someday be a scarf for someone. I'm using Online Supersocke (don't ask which colourway... I'm in the office, the yarn is in the living room) on 4.0 mm needles (US 6?). The stitch is the linen stitch, basically a slip stitch pattern. I got the stitch pattern from my Knitting Pattern a Day calendar and decided to try it with sock yarn rather than the worsted weight yarn the pattern called for. I like it. It's a nice, flat fabric that has just the right amount of drape, and it looks woven more than knitted. It's a fairly mindless knit, so will make good tv knitting.

And then, there's this little piece of work. I'm really having fun knitting this one.

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This is the Two-Way Lace cardi for me. Yesterday, I finished off the first skein of yarn and got well into the second skein. I will be making one alteration to the pattern; I'm making it at least 2" longer. The pattern calls for a body length of 9.5". That barely reaches my waist and I like my sweaters to reach at least to the top of my hip; I'll be making it about 12" in length, which means I'll have to put a couple of skeins of yarn aside. I WILL need more. As I said, though, it's a fun knit that's working up fairly quickly. Who knows, perhaps I'll even be able to wear it before the weather warms up completely.

Incidentally, I love working with this yarn. It's the Louet Gems, light worsted weight, 100% superwash wool. It's soft and lovely on the hands. I think I may have mentioned that before, yes?

Ok, on to the fun stuff. On Chatters last night (see Robbyn's blog here), we decided to have a UFO Flashathon. What, do you ask, is THAT? Well, every knitter (unless you're somewhat anal about having more than one project on the go at any given time) has more than one project on the needles at any one time. On Monday, we're going to flash our UFO stash(es). On Monday. Not before then.

There's no little button or anything, but if you'd care to join us in flashing your UFO stash, feel free to post pictures of every little nook or cranny you use to hide your UFOs. There's no need to count them or itemize them (ain't no way I want to go that far!), just show us where you hide them.

On Monday.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

2 posts in 2 days??? What's going on?

Well, the needles are empty, the ends are woven in and he's tried it on...

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What more can I say? He's happy, I'm happy. No, I'm ecstatic!
You want details? If you've been reading this blog for any length of time, you'll know that the design is my own, with help from Barbara G. Walker's "Knitting from the Top". The yarn is Online's Tessa, needles are 4.5 mm (US 7). How long did it take to knit it? Well, according to him, too long. I'm not even sure at this time when I started it. I'm just thrilled that it's finished. Now, I can concentrate on MY cardigan without guilt.
Oh yes, Lisa (Lady Lung Doc) asked if I'm knitting a pullover or the cardigan shown in the picture. I'm knitting the cardigan, as pictured. I just think a cardigan will be a little more practical for me right now. A pullover may be in the cards at some time, but not right now.
For now, I'm having a glass of wine (or two) to celebrate John's new sweater.

Saturday, April 14, 2007


So, yesterday, the Spring 2007 Interweave Crochet magazine arrived. Did you know that I crochet, too? I perused it and decided to buy it. Occasionally, I buy it just to pass on to my daughter, but this time I bought it for me. I now have a "to do" list, a few crochet projects that I think I'd like to make for myself.

I did start this little item, as a store sample.

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It's the Boteh Scarf, designed by Kathy Merrick. I'm using Koigu KPPM with a 4.0 mm hook. I love it! The scarf (so far I've done four "leaves") is cushy and soft and the yarn is sooooooo nice to work with. The pattern calls for Lorna's Laces sock yarn, which I don't have. It's a very quick (I was about to type "knit", but this isn't knitting) project. What I've done so far, I did in about three hours. The pattern calls for 16 repeats; I'm 1/4 of the way there already!

The other patterns that intrigue me, and I can see myself doing eventually are these two:

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The first is the Seafoam Vest, worked with Rowan's Summer Tweed (which we do have at the store, but not in colours I like), designed by Chloe Nightingale. It just looks like a comfy, wear anywhere, with almost anything, kind of vest, yanno?

The second is the Beachcomber Tunic, designed by Jennifer Appleby and worked with Garnstudio's Silke Tweed, which we do not stock at the store, so I'll have to find a suitable substitute. I just love the combination of knit and crochet in this top. I think it's something I could get a lot of wear out of.

Enough dreaming! I'm still knitting, not to worry. As a matter of fact (you know what's coming, don't you?), I started a cardigan for myself. John chided me this week, told me to stop knitting shawls and knit myself a sweater. Believe it or not, I don't have a handknitted sweater. I have very few sweaters, actually. I do need one. Here's what I've chosen.

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It's from an XRX publication, "Jackets for Work and Play". This one is Two-Way Lace. The pattern is done in two weights of yarn; I'm doing the lighter, closer to the body, version in Louet Gems light worsted weight on 3.5 mm needles. It's knitting up fairly quickly. The resulting fabric is firm without being "hard". I think I'll get a lot of wear out of this sweater.

I have a feeling I'll be getting a fair bit of knitting done over the next few days. You see, a cold caught up with me. I've avoided one for a long time (years, even), but now I have one, and it's a good one. Rest and relaxation is on the books for me (Dr. John's orders) and, for me, relaxation entails plenty of knitting time. And sherry. It helps soothe the cough, believe it or not. And it doesn't taste like medicine.

Back to taking 'er easy.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Time seems to be flying at a much more rapid pace than usual these days. I can't believe it's been more than a week since I last posted. It doesn't feel that I've been busier than usual, but I suppose there's just so much going on that I simply haven't found the time (or energy) to post. I had intended to post earlier this past weekend, but with everything going on around here, it just never happened.

I have been knitting. John's sweater now has two completed sleeves and I'm working at finishing the body. I only have to work a couple more rounds and then do the ribbing. I was concerned that I might not have quite enough of the main colour when I bought the yarn, but I still have one untouched ball and another half ball in the denim blue. That will be plenty to finish off two inches of ribbing. When I have it finished, I'll post a picture. I'll even try to get John to model the sweater for you. (He's a little camera shy.)

That's really the only knitting I've been doing, other than a repeat on the Estonian Garden scarves now and then.

Have any of you knitted with Louet's Euroflax Linen? What's your opinion of it? I bought the yarn, pattern and needles to knit a nice, lacy, sleeveless top; I cast on 272 stitches on waste yarn, on a 2.0 mm needle (US 1). I worked the first 3 rounds in stocking stitch, as required. Then, I had to switch to a 2.5 mm needle (US 2) for the picot round. Have you ever gone from smaller needle to larger needle, with a yarn that has NO stretch, and knitted 2 together all the way around? That round nearly killed my wrist! It took me three hours to work that round. And then I found that I was 3 stitches short. *big sigh* My wrist still hasn't recuperated.

I frogged it.

Let me know what you think; is the yarn worth the pain of re-doing that first part? Or should I just go ahead, wimp out and do the alternate garter stitch edge? Or... should I return the unwound skeins and purchase fingering weight wool instead? It is a summery top and a wool summer top might not be the best idea around these parts. The temperatures can reach into the mid to high 90's, after all.

Enough of the rambling. Let me know what you would do. In the meantime, here are a couple of pictures I took this morning, right outside our back door. Enjoy!

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Still no FO's, but lots of knitting

First things first. Lisa? I will be at SnB on Thursday.

Now, on to knitting. I've been knitting a lot during the past week and my wrist is letting me know it. I've discovered that knitting with circular needles, or knitting really small gauge stuff, like socks, aggravates it more than knitting with straight needles. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that my right needle (straight) is held under my arm. To that end, I've been working more on projects using straights, than knitting in the round.

That doesn't mean I haven't been knitting on the socks.

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I have. Both of these are the first sock of their respective pairs. I do have to limit the amount of time I spend working on them. The first one is, of course, for John. I wrote about that pair in my last post. The second pair is for me. The yarn is one of the Online Supersocke's Tropical collection. Again, the sock is a basic 3x1 rib, worked on 2.25 mm needles.

I've also been working on this...

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I think I mentioned that I'd started a special project, didn't I? This is it. It's an Estonian Garden scarf (yes, another one) and it will be donated to the local hospital's cancer lodge for their upcoming fundraiser. The yarn for this one is Misti Alpaca's laceweight. I love the pattern; I love this yarn.

I've also cast on (again) for my Mom's EG scarf. This time, though, I've gone down in needle size. I think it will be easier to knit on a smaller size needle. So far, I've done three pattern repeats and it does "feel" better to me.

Another thing I did this week was to frog the shadow knitting project. I just wasn't going to have enough yarn. I still want to make it, but I'll wait till we get another shipment of Louet yarns in. The yarn from that project has already been put to use in another project.

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Thise book arrived in my mailbox last Monday and I've been carting it around with me almost everywhere. The knitted piece? Well, the yarn is Koigu (what a lovely yarn to work with!) and the pattern, in case you don't recognize it, is EZ's Baby Surprise jacket. This little jacket is all over the blog-o-sphere right now. I don't really like to jump on to bandwagons, but this one intrigued me. It intrigued me so much that I bought the book and started it almost immediately.

Incidentally, I can't say enough about Elizabeth Zimmerman's books. If they're not in your knitting library, get them. I have two of her books now, "Knitting Without Tears" and "the Opinionated Knitter". I will be keeping my eyes open for more of her books.

I could go on and on and tell you about our Sunday, show you some of the pictures I took, but that will have to wait for another day. For now, I'm off to get a few things done around here. Then, I'm going to work on John's sweater again. I promised him I'd have it done this week. The second sleeve is almost half done now. Once the sleeve is done, all I have to do is get the sweater to it's final body length (perhaps another 2 inches or so), work the bottom ribbing, cast off and weave in the ends. No sewing. Gotta love it!