Sunday, December 21, 2008

Last Post Before Christmas

The snow is still falling. Baking's been done. Packing's been started. Tomorrow morning, John and I will be taking the bus out to the coast to visit family for Christmas. Before we leave, though, I wanted to show you what I've been working on this past week.

Now that my mom's shawl is finished, I decided that I still had time to make a little something for each of the grandkids. There are five of them out at the coast, and I found two little hats in a bag of things I'd knit before. No pics of those as I've posted them before, but those two will be for the two little guys (2 and 1 y.o.). For the two little girls (4 and 3 y.o.), I made these...

Ear Cozies, a FiberTrends pattern by Bev Galeskas. They knit up quickly and turned out really well. I just hope they fit right. The yarn is one I've not heard of before. It's Rozetti Two Fold, worsted weight, 75% acrylic, 25% wool. That means it's machine washable and dryable. It certainly steam blocked nicely. The yarn has a nice softness to it, not like sock yarns which can be a little scratchy.

While I was trying to decide what kind of hat to make for my 8 year old grandson, I asked John for some input. When I asked him what colour to make Adrian's hat, he immediately said "black!". Then, I asked if it should be just a basic toque or something different, he thought for a moment and said, "Well, if you can put a skull on it, it would be perfect".

So, that's what I did.

I'm calling this one "Adrian's Skull Cap". It's a very basic toque with decreases a la Jared Flood's "Turn A Square" cap. That is to say, the decreases are like raglan shaping, giving the top a squared shape. The skull design was taken from, from Adrian Bizilia's "We Call Them Pirates" hat.

If you want it, you can grab the pattern (in pdf format) here:

Finally, because we won't be around for the next week, I'd like to wish you all a wonderful Christmas, no matter how you celebrate it (or not). Stay warm. Stay safe.
Best wishes from John and myself (yes, that's us).

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


The Faroese shawl, from "A Gathering of Lace", came off the needles last night. As in, finished. As in, Yay, now I get to use my new blocking wires!

I know it's a little difficult to see detail in the first picture. The flannel sheet is my blocking sheet and cream on off-white doesn't really show well.

The shawl was considered done at about 10:00 last night and I was going to wait to tonight to block it, but there wasn't much to watch on tv, so I went ahead with blocking. All in all, from washing to considering it blocked took almost an hour. The wires made the job of blocking this shawl, in particular, a breeze! Because there are no points to block out, it would have meant a ton of pins just to make sure that both sides were even. I think I used about a dozen pins. Threading the wires through the edges took the longest and because I'd ground the ends of about eight rods to rounded points, it went very easily and quickly. I used all eight of the rounded wires, plus a half rod, cut for small bits (which I knew I'd need).

I'm very happy with how this shawl turned out and I'm sure my mother will enjoy it. This morning is the perfect morning for a shawl (or two or three... it's really cold here!)

The details again? The Faroese shawl by Marilyn Van Keppel from "A Gathering of Lace", Louet Gems Pearl, undyed, approximately 4 hanks (I think.. it was all in one large skein) on 3.75 mm needles.

This last picture, though not a pretty picture was taken just to show the detail. Cream against the ugly brown carpet that came with the apartment is a much better contrast. All in all, a very satisfactory FO.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Faroese Update

It is a winter wonderland here today. It's cold, about -11 C (about 12 F) and supposed to get even colder. In other words, the perfect kind of day to stay inside and knit, which is exactly what I intend to do.

Yesterday was spent working on the Faroese shawl, at least, until Brent arrived with beer, wine and subs. After one glass of wine, the knitting was put away. I've already had to repair too many little oopses (that's a word, isn't it?).

Here's how it's looking as of this morning...

I put it on blocking wires to take the pic; that really works well! At this point, I'm more than halfway through the charts, so I should be able to finish it in time for Christmas with no problem.

Ok, now, back to being sociable. Brent spent the night (didn't want him driving!) and now there's a football game on the tv and the remaining pizza's being served.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm awake... enough already!

It's Saturday. It's 7:00 a.m. It snowed. We live on a bus route. I'm up.

Why am I up? Because we live on a bus route, the city makes sure that this street is plowed. That means snow plows. They're loud. As well, we live across the street from a mall. By 6:00 a.m., they have their parking lot cleared. They use snow plows, too. Did I mention that they're noisy? And then there are the sirens. First snowfall = accidents.

I'm up, so I may as well be productive and blog (and then get back to my knitting).

This picture was taken about half an hour ago. Apparently, there's more of this stuff on the way and the temperatures are supposed to drop. According to one forecaster, we may see temperatures lower than we've seen in the last 20 years this winter. I guess we can say that winter has finally arrived. At least, the skiers will be happy. For those, like me, who have never and will never be skiers (what? and break my bones?? no thanks!), this is knitting weather. Now, if only there was a fire place to go along with the knitting.

And speaking of knitting, this week, a ball of Drops Alpaca shouted at me that it wanted to be a Zetor shawl. Who am I to ignore a ball of yarn? I did start the Zetor once before in some lovely yarn that Robbyn sent me, but it just didn't feel right. (When that little skein of lovliness lets me know what it wants to be, I'll listen!)

So far, I've done three repeats of the second chart (the main body of the shawl) and am very happy with how it's looking.

To take this picture, I slid all the stitches on to blocking wires and pinned out the top edge. So much easier than trying to pin it out so you can see the pattern.

Blocking wires.... now, there's a purchase I won't regret! Already I can tell that blocking, from here on in, will be a dream. A wire down each side, one down the centre to keep it straight, perhaps two along the top edge (the wires are 36"; the shawl will be wider than that), a few pins to keep everything in place..... oh yeah! Blocking will be a breeze.

I've also been spending time with the Faroese shawl for my mom, but it hasn't had it's picture taken this week. I'd say that, stitch-wise, I'm about half way. Row-wise, I'm about a third of the way, but the rows are getting shorter and shorter. There were a couple of hiccups in the process, but they've been sorted out and it's knitting up nicely now.

At one point (the day I started Zetor), I'd worked on the shawl during my lunch break and noticed a dropped stitch... three rows down. I anchored the stitches (a k2tog) and put it away until I could concentrate enough to repair it. The following afternoon, I pinned it out, re-knit those stitches and continued on. Sounds easy, but it does take some concentration and the ability to read your stitches. Apart from that, it isn't difficult, just fiddly.

Ok, I'm rambling now. Time for another cup of tea.... and more knitting.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

That reminds me

A long time ago, when my kids were toddlers and I used to sew, I made myself a dress. It was a combination of two patterns, in a pretty, summery poly cotton. I also made a pair of overalls for my daughter. You know the kind with the buttons at the bib and the straps that come up over the shoulder, with a clip/buckle?

Well, one day, these two articles of clothing found themselves together in the laundry hamper, one on top of the other. The fabric of the dress and the buckle/clip of the pants were in direct contact, near the shoulder of the dress. When laundry day came around, there was a perfect imprint of the buckle on the dress....... in rust.

I was devastated. This was a great summer dress and it was comfortable and it looked good on me. I certainly couldn't wear it anywhere but around the house with this glaring rust stain on it. So I consulted a couple of books of household hints I'd received from my mother-in-law. In one, I found a way of removing rust from clothing. What did I have to lose? The dress would have ended up in the garbage if the rust didn't come out, so if it was ruined in the process, it really didn't matter, did it?

I did what the book suggested and it worked! I wore that dress for the next couple of summers and, unless they were told the story, no one knew that the dress had come close to being nothing but trash.

So, why am I telling you this? Tina left a comment on my last post, telling me about her disaster with blocking wires and rust. Maybe this will help rescue someone else's pride and joy.

Pour some salt into a small bowl; squeeze some lemon juice (fresh is best, but the fake stuff does work) onto the salt, enough to make a paste. Now take that paste and put it onto the rust stain. Allow it to soak in for a few minutes. Add more if you wish. Then, get a kettle of water and bring it to a boil, a good strong boil. Keep it boiling; you need the steam. Now comes the magical part. Hold the rust stained fabric over the steaming kettle.... perhaps you should be wearing some hand protection; you don't want to burn yourself. I held the dress almost directly on the spout of the kettle. You should, within a short time, begin to see the rust stain disappear before your very eyes!

Once you're happy, turn off the kettle and launder your whatever it is. From what the booklet said, you can use this method on most fabrics, but if you're concerned, try it out on a swatch or an inside seam first.

As an aside, I'm not sure what kind of blocking wires Tina used. The ones I bought were stainless steel tig rods, as recommended by numerous knitters in the Laceknitters Yahoo group. They were very specific.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

This, That and Another Thing

Today, I'll just ramble on about a few things, if you don't mind.

Yesterday, I mentioned the Faroese shawl I started for my mom. I've just about finished the first section, the zigzags along the bottom edge, so I decided it was a suitable time for a picture. The yarn is Louet Gems Pearl, undyed. I bought this yarn a while back (while I was still working at the yarn store) for another project, a Myrna Stahmann shawl. I wasn't very happy how it was knitting up, so it was frogged in favour of this pattern.

The fabric is, as I said yesterday, nice and cushy and I think it will make a lovely, cozy shawl that will be just right for cuddling up in front of the tv.

So, Christmas is just around the corner. Around here, because it's just the two of us, we really don't do a lot. We don't set up a tree (the apartment's just way too small for that); we don't do much decorating and we don't do the whole gift thing. We decided that we just don't need or want that extra pressure and expense. I do, however, like to do some special baking. There are a few recipes in our family that are reserved for this time of year.

Gevulde Speculaas (Filled Speculaas) is one of those recipes. I had never baked it before, but my mother-in-law did. For any of you not familiar with speculaas, it is a dutch spiced cookie. In this case, it's made into squares and has an almond paste filling. I've come to associate this recipe with the Christmas season and decided to bake it, finally.

Not only will I tease you with pictures, but I'll also provide the recipe. It takes a bit of time to make, but certainly isn't difficult. The almond filling can be made up to a week ahead, and should be. The standing time allows the flavours to develop. The dough for the top and bottom layer, as well, can be made ahead of time.

Lining the baking pan allows the speculaas to be easily removed from the pan.

The recipe is in pdf form in the sidebar and yes, they taste as good as they look! If you do try the recipe, let me know how it turns out.
And finally, I mentioned to John a while back that with part of the "dress money", I really wanted to get a set of blocking wires. I do knit a fair bit of lace and, from everything I've read, I knew it would make blocking a lot easier and more uniform. Checking online, though, I found that the sets available were quite expensive. I saw one online place that was selling them for $35 cdn, with $14 postage added. Add the taxes and one set of blocking wires would be over $50.
In one of the Yahoo groups I'm a member of, there was a discussion about blocking wires and quite a few of the knitters suggested welding rods. More specifically, they recommended stainless steel tig rods. Well, yesterday, I went online to find local welding supply stores and found one quite close to where we live. However, when we found the location, we discovered that they had merged with another welding supply company and were doing business at the other end of town.
One of the Canadians in the laceknitting group had mentioned that Princess Auto also carried said welding rods, so we went there and, after some hunting discovered these...

This is one pound of welding rods, 31 of them, 1/16" in diameter. That should block a lot of shawls! And the best part? The price for this tube, including the taxes, came in at just under $17.

I'm happy! Now, I just have to finish a shawl so I can try them out....... bye! :)

Saturday, December 06, 2008

The wait is over

You've all been so patiently waiting for pictures of THE dress on a live body. I won't make you wait any longer. Stacey came to pick up the dress on Thursday evening and tried it on for the two ladies she was with. Naturally, it was a great photo op.

It was also a big hit. The dress looks fantastic on her, if I do say so myself. Actual wedding pictures have been promised and will be posted when I get them.

In other things, I've cast on a shawl that will be a gift for my mother. (Are you surprised?) It's the Faroese shawl from "A Gathering of Lace". I haven't taken any pictures of it yet because, at the moment, it's a 2-3" wide strip. The shawl is worked from the outside edge to the center top. It's a garter stitch shawl, which is making it very "cushy". I promised my mother a shawl last time I was there, with the proviso that she wear it and not tuck it away in a drawer. Shawls should be used, even if it's only to wrap yourself in while watching tv.

Pictures will follow in time.

One more note... I've added a couple more patterns to my free pattern site. New this moring are the Top Down Slip Stitch hat, the Men's Toque a la Strellson, and the Bubblehead hat patterns.
Let me see if I can find pics for these patterns...


Top Down Slip Stitch hat, worked from the top down in worsted weight wool. I did this particular one in Paton's Classic Wool.


Men's Toque a la Strellson. The inspiration for this hat came from a magazine ad for Strellson, a men's wear designer. John liked the look of the hat and asked if I could copy it. I did and it is one of his favourite hats.


The Bubblehead hat. This particular one is made with a Fleece Artist variegated yarn and a solid contrasting colour. The original yarn was classified as a dk weight, but I found it to be more of a worsted weight. It's a fun hat and has been a fairly popular pattern.

These patterns and more can be found at Strings 'n Things Designs, the free pattern page. Enjoy!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Just One Thing Left To Do

Well, maybe two. As of a few minutes ago, I no longer have pieces of a Butterfly Dress. I have a slightly incomplete dress.

It took me two hours to sew the pieces together, but it's finally done. I'll be working on the neck and underarm bands and the straps this afternoon, after some lunch.

Pictures tomorrow, probably. Oh, the second thing left? That's where Stacey, and perhaps a camera, comes in.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Beaded Swallowtail

By 2:00 Saturday afternoon, the shawl was dry and out of it's pins. It was worn last night and received rave reviews.

All in all, I think this one will become a favourite. The beads are definitely not too heavy, but give the shawl a nice drape. The yarn feels yummy, the colour is rich (much truer in this picture than yesterday's shot), and the pattern is a great one.

Speaking of the pattern, I did enlarge it. The original pattern calls for 14 repeats of the budding lace section (the body of the shawl), but that makes a scarf-sized shawl. I wanted a full-sized shawl, so I did some research on Ravelry. Others who had enlarged the shawl indicated that, in order to make the lily of the valley section work properly, you have to work repeats in increments of 5. In other words, you'd have to work 19, 24, 29, etc. repeats. I did 24; the lily of the valley section worked perfectly, but when I got to the next small section, I found I needed 4 more stitches on each half of the shawl, so I worked an extra transition row, which gave me 2 more stitches per half, as well as working 2 increases in each half. That gave me the right number of stitches to finish the remainder of the shawl.

Remember yesterday's picture of the Luna Moth shawl? Well, I've frogged it. It just wasn't looking right somehow. I'm not sure why. I'll probably cast on for it again at some point, but in the interim, I've picked up the Icarus shawl again and will get that one done. It's been very patiently waiting.

Now, on with the rest of the day...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Another Finished Object!

I do love finishing things. The little thrill when thate last stitch comes off the needles is so rewarding. This time, the finished object is a little bigger than the small, quick projects I've been finishing lately.

The beaded Swallowtail shawl is finished and blocking. And she is lovely!

The colour is a little off in this pic; it's actually more of a spring leaf green (and I did straighten out the edge after taking the picture and realizing how crooked it was). You can see the beads I used for the Lily of the Valley section and the swallowtail edging. I was concerned at first that the amount of beads, and their sizes, might be too much weight for the shawl, but in the end, it all worked out just fine. The beads will contribute just enough weight to help the shawl drape nicely. Size-wise, the shawl blocked out to 65" x 30", a nice size.

The details: the yarn is KnitPicks Shadow (100% merino) in colour #24204, Spring Green Heather; I used 1.5 skeins. I'd bought three skeins, so I'll be able to make another shawl with the remaining skein and a half. I knitted the shawl on 3.5 mm (US4) KP Harmony circulars (love them!)

I have every intention of wearing this shawl later today. We're having a staff Christmas bowling party this evening and, because it's bowling, the dress is casual. I think the shawl will be a nice, festive accent, especially with forest green cords and an off-white top.

Being me, you know that there's never just one project on my needles. I started another shawl last week and have been working on it during my lunch breaks. I did mention the Luna Moth shawl (from before. Here's how it's looking so far...

The yarn is another Knit Picks yarn, Gloss (70% merino, 30% silk). I'm really liking the feel of it and how it's knitting up. This time, I'm using 4.0 mm needles. I want this one to be more open, lacier.

This is not a difficult knit; it's not intuitive, but certainly not difficult. I'm finding it quite easy to recognize where I am in the pattern; because I'm working on it at work, I fear sometimes that my magnets will move around on the chart (I carry it in my bag, to and from work). So far, that hasn't been a problem. Again, I'm in no hurry to finish the shawl; I love the process of knitting lace. I have a feeling that it won't take very long; it's a pleasurable knit.

Next on my list of shawls to finish, though, is Icarus. It has been languishing long enough and is not far from being completed. If I remember correctly, the body of the shawl is pretty much complete and all that needs to be done is the border (the hardest part, of course).

It feels good to be working on MY projects again. News on the Butterfly dress another day.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh, the Joy of an FO!

Almost a month ago, I started what should have been a small project as a thank you for one of the ladies I work with. She very graciously agreed to shorten my lovely long, black winter coat. I'd purchased the coat almost 10 years ago, while living in Calgary, but, because it was so long, I found it to be rather impractical, except for those special outings, which were rare. I think I'd worn the coat less than ten times. Since she shortened it for me, I've worn it more than I've ever worn it, and I know it will get plenty of wear from here on in.

Hazel wouldn't take payment for the task, so I told her I'd make her a scarf. It should have, and would have, been done long before now, but with the Butterfly dress being my first priority, the scarf, and most other projects, have been moving slowly. Yesterday, though, I finished it. When I finally gave it the attention it deserved, it worked up very quickly.

Here is the Backyard Leaves scarf, from Interweave's "Scarf Style". The yarn, if I remember correctly (I don't have the ball bands anymore) is a Louet worsted weight. It's worked on 5.0 mm needles and took 2 skeins, with very little left over. I worked one less repeat of the leaves than the pattern called for (it called for 11 reps per half; I worked 10) as it's recipient is petite. Even so, this scarf is about 6' long, plenty long enough, I think.

I like how this scarf turned out. If I were to make it again (and I might), I'd be careful to use a looser cast on. The two halves are worked separately and joined at the middle. I had thought about using a provisional cast on, but I'm not sure it would have worked out correctly. I'll have to play with that idea a little. Anyway, the center seam is a little tight, but not overwhelmingly so.

All in all, it's a satisfying FO. I hope Hazel likes it.

Oh! We have some news concerning the Butterfly dress. When I spoke to Stacey this week, she'd been unable to find the little ball of yarn I'd given her; she went online to order another ball of the yarn and said it was a rush. Yesterday, she called to let me know that the yarn had arrived! Now, I have plenty to finish the dress. I had started to sew the dress together as per the instructions in the book (backstitch seam), but I didn't like how it was looking. I took out the stitching and will re-do the seam using a mattress stitch. It has to look right; it has to look perfect.

Hopefully, this week I'll be able to sit down with a good light, sew it all together, graft the ruffles and finish the edgings and straps. I can see the finish line now and I'm ready for the final sprint.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Butterfly Update and an Experiment

Yes, we have an update on the Butterfly dress! Finally!

The front AND back are now complete!

I didn't do any arranging of the pieces for photographic aesthetics; they've just been draped on the bed. The second piece just came off the needles about 15 minutes ago. I took the pictures primarily to let Stacey know her dress is almost done. I had another reason to email her.

See the matchbox? It's a small matchbox. See the ball of yarn above it? It's a small ball of yarn. That's all the yarn I have left to do the bands at the underarms and the neck edges and to make the straps. I did give Stacey a similarly sized ball of yarn to take along in her search for a slip/underdress to wear, so I hope she still has it. I have a feeling I will need it.

The biggest part of the task is completed. Now, it's just finishing. I'll be blocking the ruffles after I get off of here. They'll get a gentle blocking; basically, I'll just pin out the points and lay a damp towel over the ruffles and let them dry. I don't think I'll do anything with the body of the dress until it's been stitched together and Stacey's tried it on. I have a feeling it will only need a very light pressing.

I feel good!!

Oh.. the experiment? This time, I've posted the pictures directly from Blogger through Picasa. Are they visible now? If so, I'll use Picasa from here on in for blog pics. Let me know.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The Joy of Little Things

When you're a knitter, there's a lovely feeling when you've completed a project. It really doesn't matter the size of the project; large or small, when it comes off the needles, there's a sense of accomplishment.

That's one of the reason I like knitting little things. Like this...

Ear Cozy

It only took a couple of hours to knit this up; I finished it at Sit & Stitch this afternoon. The pattern is from Fibertrends, Ear Cozies by Bev Galeskas. Don't ask me about the yarn; all I can tell you is that it's a superwash DK weight wool that was in my stash. The label is long gone, but I do know I made the Baby Albert jacket with the same yarn. It called for, and I used, 3.75 mm needles; I used the magic loop method as I couldn't find a 16" circular, as called for and, because I used the magic loop method, I didn't have to worry about switching to double-pointed needles for the top shaping.

A quick knit, and a satisfying one. And what can I say? The doll's happy with it; hopefully my new grandson (when he puts in an appearance) will, too.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Silken Smoke, that is.

Silken Smoke1

The pattern can be found here. I used Regia Silk 4-ply sock yarn, 2 balls, 3.5 mm (US4) circular needle. I followed the pattern as written... sort of. Basically, this is a 16" tube. I flared it instead. Once I reached about 8", I started increasing every 2" or so. I find that it sits better on the shoulders that way, instead of bunching up at the base of the neck. Other than that, it's knitted as written. It's an easy knit; it only took me three days to knit. All in all, once you're past the lacy section, it's mindless knitting, perfect for working on while watching tv.

Silken Smoke 2

Saturday, November 01, 2008


At least, in some areas progress is being made. With the colour copier down this week, and me being pretty much caught up with my work, I got home early on Thursday. That gave me time to work on the Butterfly dress. I managed to knit up about 12", so it is coming along nicely. I was planning on working on it today, too, but woke up with a nasty headache from a pulled muscle in my neck. (yes, ouch!)

So, instead of knitting, I've been told to relax and do whatever I have to to make myself feel better. I really want to sit and knit, but it will have to be mindless knitting, not the Butterfly dress, I'm afraid.

There has been other progress as well.

Western Seas #1

This is the Western Seas sweater from Alice & Jade Starmore's book "The Children's Collection". As you can see, front and back have been joined and I'm working on the collar. This is an enjoyable sweater to knit. I'm really pleased with how it's turning out and I hope that whichever of my grandsons it finally goes to will get plenty of wear out of it. This is the smallest size (2-3).

I like the pattern so much that I've also started the 4-5 year size.

Western Seas #2

I'm not sure how visible it is, but I've changed the patterning a little. The original pattern has a zigzag design just above the ribbing, and also on the sleeves. This time, I altered the zigzag slightly. Now, it's seed stitch triangles. Not a huge change, but it does vary the knitting. This one is being knitted with Lana Grossa's Meilenweit Mega Boots Stretch Softcolor, in colour #510. The yarn is soft and quite cushy. And, again, because it's a sock yarn, it's eminently machine washable and should be quite durable.

I hope this one, as well, will be well worn and well loved. This pattern looks to me like a very practical, yet classy-looking boy's sweater. I'm not into picture sweaters; they can be very dated. I'd rather make something that can be handed down and still look good after the third or fourth kid has outgrown it. It almost has a sweatshirt kind of feel to it, just a lot nicer looking, yanno?

And that's it from me for today. I'm off to relax some more. Hopefully, the meds kick in soon.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Exercise in Frustration!

I've had a couple of readers tell me that in recent months, they've not been able to see pictures on my blog anymore. The test earlier this week showed that the Photobucket pictures are visible, but not the Flickr pictures (to these specific readers). I had every intention of going back to the frustration of Photobucket. Had.

When I went there to upload a picture about half an hour ago, I was unable to bring up the upload window. I have a feeling that Photobucket is now beyond the capabilities of my humble, and aging, computer. I apologize, but I'm not going to fight with Photobucket. After half an hour of struggling to get a single picture uploaded, I'm going back to Flickr. It works for me; uploading's simple and it works with my nearly 10 years old system (Windows 98). At this stage in it's life, there's little or no support for this system. Again, I apologize to those of you who can't see the pictures. However, if you're on Ravelry, you will see most of the pictures there. You can find me there as MissChief. ;)

On to knitting. I wanted to spend some time with the Butterfly dress today, and did. I have now finished the front (or back, as the case may be). The second half of the dress (about 1/3 done) is back on the needles and I can now concentrate on it. I'm sure that you, and Stacey, would love to see a picture, so without further ado...


By the time the underarm shaping begins, there are only 45 stitches on the needle. I thought for sure that it would be far too narrow; however, the pattern being lace, it stretches nicely and should fit well. Once the second side is finished, it becomes a matter of sewing the pieces together, picking up for the top bands and making the shoulder straps. Then, a final blocking and the dress will be transferred to it's owner's waiting hands.

This week, I finally received a notice from Canada Post that there was a package waiting for me at the local post office (across the street). My Knitpicks order finally arrived! I've been eagerly awaiting the order. I am so looking forward to knitting with my new KP Harmony needles set! Along with the needles, I also picked up three skeins of KP Gloss Lace (70% merino, 30% silk) in Celery (a lovely light green) that will become Elann's Luna Moth shawl. I googled luna moth and found out that it is a lovely shade of light green and decided that it was the colour I would knit the shawl named for the moth.

Now, back to knitting...

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Few Things

1. Yes, Kristen, you caught a typo... an honest one. It's very hard to edit your own work; that's why newspapers have............ editors! ;)

2. Maria, the Citrus Punch sweater is my own design, one I've never written up. I will be re-creating it in the near future, but at this time, it is unavailable... anywhere.

3. Sharon, how long has it been since you've not been able to see the pics on the blog?. I did switch over to Flickr a while ago as Photobucket was being really slow for me. Might that be why?

Perhaps a test is in order.


Citrus Punch 06_2

One picture or two? The first picture is stored in Photobucket, the second in Flickr.

4. I'll keep you posted as to what happens with the truck and the investigation, as we hear about it.

Now, time to get ready for work.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

It Was a Night!

Wow! Where to start?

We were awakened this morning, at about 3:30 a.m., to the sound of shouting and sirens. When I looked out the bedroom window, I saw a truck on fire and the fire truck getting into position to put out the fire. I was instantly awake when I realized the truck was John's work truck!

Truck fire

He had a load of leaves and pine needles in the bed of the truck that needed to go to the dump. It turns out that a couple of teens were seen setting the load on fire. Someone in a vehicle saw the teens, turned around and, realizing what was happening, called the fire department. (I may not be getting all the details straight, as I stayed in the apartment, but am passing on what I was told.) Someone else got out a fire extinguisher, but by the time the tire truck arrived, the fire had already gone down to the bottom of the pile and through the truck bed. The truck (owned by the company John works for) is a total write-off.

Truck fire 2

Shortly after 4:00 a.m., the truck was towed away and we went back to bed. We've had a spate of arson fires in Kelowna over the last couple of weeks; I can't say that this one was related, but we certainly never expected that we would be the victims of arson. It's more than a little upsetting.

On to other things... (deep cleansing breath)...

I mentioned in my last post that I'll be re-knitting the Citrus Punch sweater for Trinity and that I couldn't find the pictures. Well, I found them. As well, that same week, Kristen took a couple of pictures of Trinity in that sweater.

Citrus Punch 06_2

Citrus Punch06_1

These two pictures were taken two years ago. At the time, Trinity didn't want to take the sweater off for anything! It is still her favorite sweater, apparently. It seems that the yarn has grown with her and she's still wearing it. I did notice, though, when I was there earlier this year that the yarn has "relaxed" (for lack of a better word) and the sweater has stretched out. (It really should have been knit on smaller needles; lesson learned.)

Trin CP

This picture was taken earlier this week. I love it!

Other knitting has been happening as well around here (surprise, surprise!). One of my bosses commented that she was having a difficult time finding mittens for her 3 year old daughter, especially mittens with a cord. Well, that did it. I found out that one of Sam's favourite colours is pink and I just happened to have some pink in my stash, so...

mittens for Sam

I've almost done the first mitten now; just the thumb needs finishing. All in all, they're a really simple knit. Over the years, I've knitted a lot of these for my own kids. They're fun to make. The pattern is an old Paton's pattern, long since discontinued. The yarn is a superwash wool with a strand of mohair and silk (like Rowan KidSilk Haze, but a different, less costly, brand), worked on 3.25 mm dpns.

When I found out that Kristen's upcoming arrival will be of the male persuasion (meet Ethan, to be born sometime around the end of January)...


...I started thinking about little boy knits. I started thinking about little boy designs and came up with nothing that I was happy with so I started going through my collection of patterns and came across a book I pick up now and then, drool over, but have never knit anything from.

This time, two patterns struck me. One is a girl's pattern, which I'll do eventually. The other is a boy's pattern. The book? Alice and Jade Starmore's "The Children's Collection". I decided to knit "Western Seas", a gansey inspired boy's sweater that is predominantly stocking stitch, making it great tv knitting.

Western Seas

The yarn for this one is Sandnesgarn "Strompegarn", a superwash sock yarn. The sweater is worked on 3.0 mm needles and I'm knitting the smallest size (2-3 years). I figure that with soon-to-be five grandsons, it will fit one of them and can be passed on to others. I'm enjoying the knitting so much that I've even bought more yarn for another one.

I love the detailing in the ribbing and just above it. Generally, gansey's have a lot of patterning, but this one is simple, yet classy. The ribbing and zigzag detailing are repeated on the sleeve, for just that little touch of interest. The brown of the yarn, which you might think would be boring to knit with, is practical and yet, really nice. It's knitting up kind of tweedy, again, very classy. I think, and I hope, it will see a lot of wear.

Whew! This has turned into a long post; my apologies for that. There was just so much to tell you!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Miscellaneous Stuff

It feels like forever since I've done any updating on the Butterfly dress. I have been working on it. Truly I have. And yesterday, I made good progress on it. The back (or front... they're both the same) is almost to the underarm shaping.

Butterfly Dress

In this picture, I had just finished the decreases to the narrowest point, the waist. It's even longer now. I'm at the point of working the final increase; then it's work straight until the dress measures 31", then start the underarm shaping. Once that's done, there are just a few rows of neck shaping. It finally feels like I'm getting there!

While I was procrastinating with the dress (yes, I really was procrastinating), I finished the Waves of Grain scarf. As a matter of fact, it's around my neck at this very moment. Wanna see?

Waves of Grain

I love the look and feel of this scarf. The hemp really did soften up with washing, and I'm sure it will soften up even more with subsequent washing. I can definitely recommend hemp. There's only one thing I'm not completely happy with and that's the grafting. I probably should have dug out my grafting instructions before even starting, but I didn't and the first bit of the grafting got turned around a bit and it looks like I purled part of the row rather than knit it. Oh well.... I'm not perfect and neither is the scarf. What can I say? Next time, I'll be more careful.

This past week, I found out that my daughter Kristen (she who is mother to Trinity) will be having a little boy in January. Now, I'll have to dig out my baby patterns and start knitting for Ethan (that's the name she's chosen). I'm already looking forward to that. As well, I now have all the yarn I need to make another Citrus Punch cardigan for Trinity, thanks to 5 balls of Paton's Astra in the perfect lemon yellow that I found at the thrift store. She requested another one, so who am I to argue? Earlier today, I went to Michael's and found the orange and lime green Astra that I needed for the ruffles. I'd repost a picture of Trinity wearing the sweater, but at the moment, I can't find one. If I do come across it, I'll post it. In the interim, I'm re-working the pattern, figuring out the numbers for the ruffles (579 stitches, if my math is correct).

In the meantime, though, there's a dress to finish and various and sundry shawls to complete. I'll be busy for who knows how long! You know me, though... I've never let anything stop me from casting on for another project. :)

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Decision Made

For some time now, there's been something on my mind, something I've been trying to decide. This morning, I've made a decision.

Those of you who follow my blog will know that, for a while, I was writing patterns, designing a few things. I've made most of those patterns available for free on my free pattern site. You'll also know that there have been a few patterns I felt were worthy of being offered for sale, and I did sell a few of them through the yarn store I was working in. Well, it's been over a year now since I've been working in the "industry" and those patterns are not really moving (at least, I've received no new orders). For the past few months, I've been debating with myself whether or not I still want to sell the patterns. This morning, I decided I will no longer be offering patterns for sale. Over the next while, as I have time, I will be posting those patterns on the free site.

I could put them there all at once, but where's the fun in that?

One of the patterns that has been quite popular has been the Baby Cable Wrist Warmers. Today, I'll make that pattern available. For the moment, it does not appear on the freebies website, but will in the next day or so (I'll let you know). Right now, you can download it here on the blog.


The link (it's a pdf, incidentally... if your machine, like mine, doesn't like opening pdfs online, right click to save it to your system before opening it) is here.

So, on to other things... what's on Ev's needles these days? Well, the dress is still slowly making progress. I'll be working on it some more this afternoon. Having been under the weather this week, I didn't trust myself to work on anything that demanded that kind of concentration.

I did knit this...


The pattern (found here) is from Drops, #86-10. I used the ubiquitous Malabrigo in a gorgeous variegated purple. The yarn is so cushy and soft with not a rough fibre to be found. I used 4.5 mm needles and followed the pattern as written. I think it would be fair to say that this headband will get lots of use this winter.

I've also been working on the project I teased you with last time. It is the Waves of Grain scarf from Knitty.



I'm using a fingering weight hemp yarn from Lanaknits Hemp for Knitting, on 4.0 mm needles. The pattern on Knitty is ranked as "tangy". I'm finding it a very easy knit, at this point almost mindless. It's been my tv knitting this week. The two halves of the scarf are knit from the bottom up and then grafted together in the middle. I'm making each section about 30" long (before blocking), so the finished scarf will be 5' pre-blocking. The hemp is nice to knit with and, from what I've been told and read, will soften up nicely with washing.

Right now, I'm not sure whether I'll keep this scarf for myself or whether it will become a gift for someone in my family. Just not sure.

Now, it's time for me to get some quality knitting time happening. There's a dress waiting for progress, and I've rambled on long enough.