Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Book Review

Before the beginning of the holidays, John and I went to the library. Now, my tendency, when we get there, is to go straight to the knitting/craft section and then to the cookbook section. I'm usually disappointed at the books with the knitting section, but not this time.

I want this book! "Poetry In Stitches" by Solveig Hisdal is a gorgeous book! She's researched old Norwegian clothing and traditional folk art and incorporated the designs into new knitwear. The resulting pieces are truly works of art. Below are a few pictures from the book.

A christening bonnet...

Toddler's sweater and hat...

The pictures are beautiful; the colours are glorious; the knits are appealing and classic, without being 'dowdy'. I really love this book and I think it would make a great and inspiring addition to my (or anyone's) knitting library. Just going through it is inspiring. I may never make any of the sweaters, but I can definitely see using some of the motifs in other things. Truly, this is a book worthy of being a coffee book table and more!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Stick A Fork In It!

Well, I'm about as close to being done as I can get without being done. The pieces for the Ropes & Picots cardigan are knitted, have been blocked and sewn together. The stitches for the neck and button bands are on the needles and three rows have been worked. That's where it's at right now.

Unfortunately, by 3:00 yesterday, I had to stop working on it. My wrists and arms were really feeling the weight of the cardigan and, after a couple of days of frantic knitting, needed a bit of a break. So what did I do?

Picked up the Scarf with No. 20 Edging from Victorian Lace Today. Apparently, I started this scarf in July and it's been sitting in my project basket since then. Of the 22 repeats required for the first edging, I had 16 completed. Yesterday, I finished the remaining 6 repeats and picked up the stitches for the center. That center is now more than half done as well.

In case you don't remember (I didn't; I had to look it up on Ravelry), the yarn is Fleece Artist Suri Blue, a wool/alpaca blend and is wonderful to work with! It's so soft! The pattern, as I said earlier, is from Victorian Lace Today. I've knit one other scarf in a similar manner and it's a fun way to do it.

First, the edging is knitted, the entire length of the scarf. Then, all but one of the stitches is cast off and stitches are picked up along the length and the center piece is worked on those stitches. After that, stitches are cast on for the second edging and it is knitted on to the center, like you would knit the border onto a circular shawl. The advantage of doing it this way is that there are no cast on/off sides to prohibit stretch; the cast on/off edges are at the short ends of the scarf and will be "hidden" with a crochet picot edge.

There's a chance I could have this done by New Year's Eve, but I have a feeling this will be the first finished object of 2010, even though the majority of the knitting will have been done in 2009. That's fine; I'm concentrating on the cardigan, which should be done today.

As for the title of this post, well.... it seems there are three things right now that are at about the same point... the cardigan, the scarf and the year. Just about time to stick a fork in it and call it done!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh, It Feels So Good!

The second sleeve is off the needles and on the floor, blocking! What a wonderful feeling it is, knowing that my final FO for 2009 will be this cardigan and not something little. There are times I feel that "little" things don't really qualify as "real" knitting. Silly, I know. Knitting is knitting.

By tomorrow, I'll be able to put it all together and work the button and neck bands, which are all knit at the same time. I'll consider the cardigan finished at that point; it will still need snaps, but I don't have them yet. It will mean a trip to the fabric store, something I really don't feel like facing yet. Maybe one day next week, I will, but nonetheless, I'll consider the project finished as long as I get the bands done.

Today, however, there will be no more knitting. Talk of knitting, certainly, but no knitting. My sister and brother-in-law, from Lethbridge (she of Capricious Cogitation*) will be visiting this afternoon. I'm looking forward to seeing them. If you read her blog at all (if not, why not??), you'll know she's a pretty decent photographer, crafter and sometime knitter. We always have plenty to talk about.

Friday, December 25, 2009

A Quiet Christmas

I'm making terrific progress on the Ropes & Picots cardi this week! Because space is at a premium here in the apartment, I decided I may as well block the finished pieces. The second sleeve is over half finished now, and it will be blocked separately when it's done, but this way, I'll be able to start putting the cardigan together while waiting for the second sleeve to dry.

In this case, because the yarn is alpaca and merino, I'm not wet blocking it. I've pinned it out to measurement and laid a wet towel over it. It will take a day or so to dry, I'm thinking. I'm really getting excited now; I'll finally have a new cardigan to wear! Believe me, it's much needed.

In other things, it's a very quiet Christmas day here chez Skae. It's just John and myself; he's in the living room right now, reading a murder mystery and listening to Christmas music on cable (right now, it's Jingle Bell Rock). We'll be having a roasted chicken with dressing on the side later. If I can, I'll drag him out for a walk later, just for some air. It is, after all, a gloriously sunny, crisp day out there. It's definitely a green Christmas this year; the only snow we're seeing is on the mountain tops in the distance.

Back to my knitting now. I hope that you're all having just the kind of Christmas you want to have. Enjoy it, however you celebrate it!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No Pics, But...

Just a quick, brief post to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Fast I Am Not

There are knitters out there who can whip up a cardigan in a week or so. There are knitters out there who can knit a pair of socks within two days. Me? I'm not one of them. I think I can finally say that I'm a process knitter, not a production knitter. I like the knitting. To me, a project is just that... a project and a project, in my mind, implies something done over time.

The Ropes & Picots cardigan is just that. Because of having input this project into Ravelry, I know that I started it in January of this year. A few months ago, I finished the right front panel; the left front and the back were both at the same point, ready to start the armhole shaping. Well, as of this morning, the back is finished!


I could post pictures, but it is, for all intents and purposes, nothing more than a denimy blue blob at this point and where's the thrill in showing you a picture of a blue blob? I'll save that for the finished object. I'm aiming for the end of this year; I'm hoping that the Ropes & Picots cardigan will be the final finished object of 2009 (if my wrist holds up; it's been a little achy this past week). That's the goal, at any rate.

In other knitting... there has been other knitting, but again, there's really not much to take pictures of. I've been working on the christening dress; there are now 7 completed points on the second edging and the first skirt is a little longer. I've been working on the second of the Lilac mittens, but progress is slow. Other knitting has been waiting for my interest to be revived.

Instead of knitting this past week, much time has been spent baking. Yesterday, we had a Christmas lunch at work and I made some goodies for that. We also had a work girl's night out; again, I made sweets for that. That has meant lots of time in the kitchen this week. I've been trying out new recipes and hunting down recipes for things I remember from my past. Everything I tried was a hit!

Unfortunately, I didn't take pictures of anything I made; I do plan, however, to make some of the recipes again, and I will take pictures then, and perhaps (if you're really good!) share the recipes. Some of the sweets I made, like Bitterkoekjes (literally translates as Bitter Cookies, but they're not bitter at all) and Bokke Pootjes (Deer Legs... trust me, they taste better than they sound) are old Dutch recipes and are absolutely delicious! Both are a macaroon type cookie made with ground almonds and one of them involves chocolate.

What about you? Do you have a favourite recipe that you pull out at this time of the year? Are there recipes that you go back to year after year, that are always on your Christmas (or whatever holiday you celebrate at this time of year) table, perhaps even handed down from generation to generation? Care to share?

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Love FOs

It's so nice having another finished object to add to the list of FOs for this year! This one will definitely see some use in the next little while. The weather's been pretty cold (for here!) the last week or so and it looks like it could start snowing any time.

This is the Willow Cowl, a free pattern I found on Ravelry. The yarn is Marks & Kattens Fame Trends, a lovely soft singles sock yarn (kind of like Noro sock, but a lot softer, nicer, more even), 75% superwash wool, 25% polyamide, with nice long colour changes. The pattern calls for 4.0 mm needles, knit in the round.

I love the colours in the yarn; I love the texture of the yarn. What I did not like was the tangle this yarn made; at one point, more than half the ball was on the floor, waiting to be untangled and rewound into smaller balls. Not fun!

All in all, though, I'm very happy with the finished product.

Of late, I've been looking at my pile of unfinished objects (UFOs) and have decided that I really should try to finish one or two of them... or frog them completely and use the yarn for something else. One thing that should have been finished long ago, that I really could use right now, is the Ropes & Picots cardigan, so it was resurrected from the bottom of the pile last night.

There really isn't all that much more to do on it; one of the front panels is complete, the second is up to the armhole shaping and the back is up to the armhole shaping. Then, it's just the sleeves that need to be done. Today is Sit & Stitch, so I think I'll be working on the cardi this afternoon.

I've been consciously trying to avoid looking at patterns in the hopes that it will encourage me to finish what I've started rather than itch to start something new. Hopefully, that will work; I really could used another cardigan!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

It Smells Good Here!!

I've been baking. I'm having fun! Have I mentioned how much I love baking? I find it soothing, comfortable. And it makes the apartment, if not the entire floor, smell good.

We now have two kinds of cookies to choose from, both from Dutch recipes. The first cookies, in the tin, are called Bitterkoekjes (bitter cookies). They're, basically, a macaroon-type cookie made with ground almonds. When I explained them to John, he was a little skeptical, but after he tasted them, they got a seal of approval.

The second cookies are from a Dutch cookbook my mother passed on to me. Translated, they're called Cinnamon Crunchies. They're not really all that crunchy (I probably rolled the dough too thick... oh well), but they do taste good. They're not overly sweet and there's a lot of good stuff in them, including ground almonds and finely chopped dried fruit. The recipe called for finely chopped candied peel, but I can't stand that stuff, so I used the dried fruit mix instead.

Again, they got John's seal of approval. And mine. :)

There were a couple of ingredients for the cookies that I didn't have on hand, but I was pretty sure that the German delicatessen down the street would have what I needed, so I walked over there this morning. On the way home, I stopped in at the thrift store, just to look around. I don't usually find much there, but occasionally I come out with something. This time, it was a vintage knitting book that caught my interest.

I'm not sure how old this book is, but judging by the models, I'd say it's from the 1950's. There's a wide variety of items in this book (more of a magazine, really), ranging from bed jackets, cardigans for everyone in the family to egg cozies and hot water bottle covers and everything in between. Here's a sampling of some of the patterns in the book...

These "parka, scarf & glove sets" are hilarious! I found it interesting that the hats (hoods?) are called parkas; I thought a parka was a winter coat with a hood.

This was the main reason I HAD to have this book. Check out the "Ladies Panties"! Panties!!

I don't think I'll be making myself any of those; just thinking about that makes me twitchy!

What a Difference a Needle Makes

Early this week, a Knit Picks order arrived for me; in it were a couple of 2.0 mm circular needles. You might think that the last thing I need is more needles and you might be right. However, while working on the Christening dress, I found that the Addi Turbo needles I was using were just not sharp enough for the task. I needed to knit back two rows and it was becoming extremely frustrating because the points on the Addis were just too blunt. Hence the Knit Picks order (and no, I did not order yarn.. a book, yes, but yarn? nope). In this picture, you can see the difference between the points on the needles.

Changing the needles really has made a huge difference. I managed to tink back the rows I needed to tink (knit backwards) and have made progress.

That's where the milestone part of this post comes in. I've finished the lacework on the first of the two skirts. From here up, it's just knit, knit, knit!

Because this skirt has now reached the point of being (almost) TV knitting, I've cast on for the second skirt. I think I've mentioned, haven't I, that I'm making a couple of modifications? In the original there is a zigzag pattern that comes next. I've decided I really don't like the zigzag and that it really doesn't "fit" with the rest of the patterning, so I'm leaving it out. Secondly, I'll be making the dress longer than the pattern calls for. To that end, I did pick up a second skein of the Skacel Merino Lace, which I'm using for the second skirt.

I'm happy!

(There's been other knitting, but I'll leave that for another post.)

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Today Is All About Experimentation

I could be working on the other Lilac mitten. I could be working on John's work socks; well, I did, actually. The first sock is into the gusset shaping now. I could, and probably should, be working on any number of projects.

Today, however, is about experimenting.

While I was sitting in the computer room (the light's better in here), I started thinking about socks. My mind meandered through all the socks I've made and designed and seen and read about and finally settled on Cat Bordhi's book, "New Pathways for Sock Knitters".

I found some sock yarn in the stash, dug out the book, perused it, and settled on one pattern, the Upstream Socks. They're toe up construction, with a slip stitch heel flap, but the shaping is all on the top of the foot. I decided they looked interesting enough to keep me involved for now, so I've cast on. At this point, they're just barely there, but, as I said, it's all about the experiment today.

Hmm.. maybe I'd best weigh the yarn I have so I'll know when to end one sock and start the other??

(Pictures when there's something to show)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Half a Pair of Mittens

Yay!! One of the Lilac Mittens is finished!

I really like this combination of colours (2 of my faves, of course!) and the mitten is really nice and warm. It still needs blocking, but that will happen once the other mitten is finished, too. It is on the needles, but I haven't been making good progress on it. For some reason, I keep messing up; I've probably started it three times and had to undo rows more times than that. It's been sent to the corner for a while.

So has the christening dress. I'm into the Zigzag Madeira section now (2 rows in) and I've messed up somewhere. I intend to tink back 2 full rows (204 sts/row), but not until my KnitPicks needles arrive. The points on the Addi Turbos are just too dull for that kind of work.

In the meantime, today is Sit & Stitch so I had to have something to take along, right? Ever since I made John a pair of 6-ply work socks, he's been telling me how much he loves them, except for the cast on edge; it's just a little too tight. Seeing as I still have a few balls of that same yarn left (I'd purchased a full bag of it shortly before leaving Art of Yarn), I decided to cast on another pair for him.

Because the cast on was too tight for him, I did a little online research and decided to use a tubular cast on for this pair. I ended up on Ysolde Teague's website, where she has a tutorial for the tubular cast on. You can find it by clicking here.

Both socks have been started, so that they're the same, but this one is seeing some progress today. I'll probably knit it to the heel flap, then work on the second sock. Hopefully, the cast on edge will be loose enough so that John won't have any problems getting the sock on and off, especially after washing.

Because I don't really use a pattern per se for socks anymore, I had to guess at what I did last time. I did have some written notes, but I couldn't for the life of me remember what size needles I'd used. I searched my blog, because I was pretty sure I'd blogged about the 6 ply socks when I made them; I couldn't find anything. Eventually, as a last resort, I checked one of my finger drives, hoping that the directory with all my patterns was on it; thankfully, it was! If you're interested, I'll post it another day, as I'm getting short on time right now.

Incidentally, the details... yarn is Regia 6-fadig (ply) in dark gray, worked on 2.75 mm needles.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And He Bakes, Too!

A while back, I discovered that John had never made bread and really had no idea what's involved in the making of it. I resolved to teach him the art of bread baking, something I really enjoy (if I have the time, that is).

Yesterday I decided that today would be the day. It was fun! I showed him how to knead the dough and explained the entire process to him. Here's what we ended up with... three loaves of 9-grain bread. There should have been four loaves, as the recipe makes 4, but I could only find 3 loaf pans and the oven wouldn't accommodate 4 pans. We turned the 4th loaf into buns and froze them, to be enjoyed another day.

You know we had to sample, right? We had a hard time waiting till the loaf was cool but it was definitely worth the wait. There is nothing like fresh, home baked, home made bread!

Unless it's apple pie, that is.

This is John's creation, using one jar of the apple pie filling we made a few weeks ago. As of right now, we haven't sampled it but there's ice cream in the freezer and you can be sure that, by bedtime, at least some of this pie will have been consumed!

You've just got to love a man who bakes!

FO Of Another Sort

I think I mentioned that I was working on a recipe book, didn't I? Well, if I haven't mentioned it before, I'm talking about it now... it's finished.

I've wanted to put together a book of our family's favourite recipes for some time now; over the last few years, I've sent recipes to each of my kids, but this book has all their faves (I hope) in one place. As well, you know that both John and I enjoy cooking; in the time we've been together, we've come across recipes that have become favourites of ours; I've included some of those, too. For me, it's nice to have all of these recipes in one place and not on scraps of paper or computer printouts tossed on a shelf. (Does this mean I'll have to tidy up that shelf now???)

Some of the recipes have been in my repertoire since high school; there's one recipe that I've been making since I was about 10 years old! There are recipes from their Oma and other family members. There are recipes that were specifically requested to be included.

The book comes in at 165 pages, and includes a table of contents and an index (with cross references, even!). When printed, it will have coil binding and plastic front and back covers. I've put a single recipe per page, for ease of reading while cooking. All in all, I'm really happy with how this book has turned out and I hope my kids will use the book and that it will bring back some memories and make new ones.

I know there are recipes that John would have liked to have been included, but we both agree that there may well be a Book 2 in the future and some of his recipes will be included in that edition. Hmm.. perhaps I should encourage my entire family to send me some of their faves for the next book?

Feels good!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Quick Knits, Instant Gratification

This week has been all about instant gratification. Yes, I'm still working on the christening dress, but I wanted a quick knit. This, the Philly Cowl (available on Ravelry) fit the bill perfectly.

The yarn is Malabrigo (can we say yummmmmm?) on 5.5 mm needles, in other words, a quick knit and a warm, cozy neck warmer.

In an attempt to knit from the stash, I've also cast on for another cowl, the Willow Cowl (also a free download on Ravelry). I know, the colours are rather bright. It's cheerful, though, and goodness knows we could all use a little colour in the dead of winter, right?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Christening Dress Update

I can't believe how this little dress has consumed me. I am really enjoying the process of knitting this project! I have finished the first edging and have picked up the 200+ stitches for the body.

The skirt of the dress is comprised of six sections: the edging, lace holes, half madeiras, lace holes, zigzag of madeiras and waves. As of this morning, the edging and the first of the lace holes are finished and I'm working on the half madeiras.

I think I mentioned that, for the edging, I went up from the called-for 2.0 mm needle to a 2.25 mm needle. Well, now that the edging is finished, I've gone to the 2.0 mm needle for the body. I'm hoping that that will give the edging a little bit of "ruffling" when the dress is finished. I'm also thinking of making one minor modification to the pattern. As I wrote above, the patterning finishes with a wave pattern (more of a zigzag, really, but it's called "waves"). I'm thinking that, on the first skirt I'll eliminate the waves. I'm not sure I really like it, and if I decide it should be part of the dress anyway, I can leave it in the second skirt, which is layered over the first, but shorter. Did/does that make sense?

In the picture below, I've included my original pattern swatch, just for the sake of comparison. The swatch was knit on 4.0 mm needles, the edging on 2.25 mm.

As you know, I knit a lot of lace. Or, more correctly, I do a lot of knitted lace. This christening dress qualifies as lace knitting.

What's the difference, you ask? Well, in knitted lace, only one side of the work is patterned. The wrong side (usually) is worked in either a knit stitch (garter stitch lace) or a purl stitch (stocking stitch lace). With lace knitting, there is patterning on every row. This little dress is lace knitting.

Once I have this panel finished, I'll have to repeat the entire process for the second skirt.

Unfortunately, there hasn't been a lot of other knitting this week. As I said at the beginning of this post, this little dress has consumed most of my knitting time this week. It's one of those projects where you want to see how the next section knits up.

I have a feeling there won't be a lot of knitting time today, though. We're going to be helping a friend/co-worker move this morning. I don't think it will be a long process as she's very organized and another co-worker found some young guys to help with the grunt work. This afternoon is Sit & Stitch, but the dress isn't really take-along knitting.

Speaking of Sit & Stitch, if you're in the Kelowna area and would like to meet up with other knitters, please feel free to join us. We've had to move our location (the mall put in a passport office where we like to sit and knit) to the Starbuck's at the corner of Gordon & Guisachan. We'll be there from about 2-4 p.m. today (and every other Saturday). We'd love to have more knitters join us!

Now, it's time for another cup of coffee and another row on the dress. Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Celebrate the Little Victories

I am immensely pleased with myself! It is, indeed, a small step but it's a step in the right direction. I have finished one half of the first edging. See? There are 10 points! Ten more to go.

Now that I'm comfortable with the pattern, yarn and needles, it's flowing quite smoothly, if slowly. That's fine. It's the process at this point. The product will come. In the meantime, I'm celebrating the small victories.

My Knit Picks order came this week and in it was this book, "Selbuvotter" by Terri Shea. Selbu is a town in Norway where much of what we recognize as Norwegian-style knitting originated. This book goes into some of the history of the mittens (votter) and gloves of that region.

Ms. Shea has also re-created some of the original mittens and gloves from museum pieces. It's an interesting book to read and filled with inspiration. I can see this book being an important part of my knitting library. Already, there are patterns I'd like to try and bits and pieces I'd like to try to incorporate into other knitting.

Off to work another repeat or two.....

Sunday, November 08, 2009


This weekend, so far, has been (almost) all about the Christening dress. I've finally gotten past a single repeat of the pattern! I'm so excited about that!

Here, you can see that I've got three repeats done. After the first two repeats, I put in a lifeline just to be on the safe side. It has since come out and I've completed seven repeats. My goal for the weekend is to finish 10 repeats, or half of the first edging.

I've discovered that the secret to knitting it with this yarn on these needles is to knit loosely, to relax. Once I did that, the knitting has been going very smoothly. This may well be doable now. I'm pleased.

Because this is a piece that could become an heirloom, I've decided to do what I did with Stacey's Butterfly Dress. I'm writing about the process of knitting the christening dress in book form, it's provenance, so to speak. Whatever I decide to do with the finished dress, the book(let) will be included with it. I think it's a wonderful way of connecting with whomever might end up with the finished piece, making it much more personal.

Now, knowing me as I'm sure you do, would you be surprised to find out that I've cast on for yet another project? Didn't think so. Should I be feeling guilty?

This is another piece of lacy goodness from Nancy Bush's "Knitted Lace of Estonia", the Lily of the Valley Scarf. I think the yarn is Skacel's Merino Lace, but I'm not sure. It was in my stash without a label or tag of any kind. I know I bought a skein of red a long time ago, started something, then frogged it, so I'm pretty sure that's what this is. At any rate, it's knitting up nicely on 3.5 mm needles.

There will be nupps... lots of them!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Busy, Busy, Busy!

Even though it's been really busy at work, I have been doing a fair bit of knitting this week. Mittens and gloves make great lunchtime knitting projects, small and portable. Because of that, it's what I've been knitting.

These are Lilac Mittens (free download on Ravelry), designed by Heather Desserud, who also designed the Rubai'yat Mittens I made last winter. They're fun! I'm really enjoying working with these two yarns, and the design is fun, too. The picture above is the palm side of the hand and the picture below is the back of the hand. This is not your typical fair isle design! There are long floats where the non-working yarn has to be anchored and I'm finding that I have to tell myself to loosen up. The yarns, incidentally, are both Sisu sock yarns and the mittens are being worked on 2.75 mm needles.

It's not readily visible in the pictures, but I've changed the cuff a little bit from the pattern. Heather calls for 4 rows of rib before starting the scroll-y band; I decided I really like the look of the picot edge I did on the Rubai'yat mittens, so I've done that again on this pair. Having said that I've been working on these at lunch time, I'm at the point now where the pattern demands a little more concentration than I can give it in the half hour I have for lunch, so they're now "at home" knitting. Still... they're fun to knit and will be just as much fun to wear, I'm sure!

A few weeks ago, I finished the Knotty gloves. I think I mentioned that, didn't I? I hadn't woven in all the ends, though, so I finally did that this morning. Then I imposed upon John to take some pictures of the gloves. Here they are...

I think these have just become my favourite gloves! I love the length of the cuffs (no chilly wrists!); I love the alpaca yarn; I love the fit. I also came to the realization this morning that all the gloves I've knitted (or am knitting) for myself - all 2 1/2 pairs - are all knitted with alpaca. Yumm! I deserve the best, dontcha think?

Below is another little project I've been working on. I know, I said I wasn't going to post pictures until the intended victim had them in hand, but I just couldn't resist.

This is the first of the Bluebell Wristwarmers. Again, these are being knit out of alpaca, dk weight (Sandnes Alpakka) this time. All that's left to do on this one (the second one is well under way) is to stitch up the bottom picot edge and finish the thumb. As mentioned, the pattern is a freebie, available through Ravelry. I'm hoping to have these, and the rest of the package, out to Kristen very soon.

In other knitting, the Christening Dress is making very slow progress. I've managed, after much frustration, to finish a second repeat of the edging pattern, and I've managed to put in a lifeline. I'll be honest with you, if I keep getting as frustrated as I have been, I'll be very tempted to used the yarn for something else, perhaps another project out of "Knitted Lace of Estonia". John keeps reminding me that there really isn't a good reason for me to be knitting this dress. I keep telling him it's just for the challenge, but sometimes I wonder if it's worth it, really. We'll see.

Now, I just happen to have the apartment all to myself and I've been told to relax and enjoy myself. Does that sound like an invitation to sit and knit, or what?

Monday, November 02, 2009

The Adventure Begins

Saturday was Sit & Stitch. Saturday was the day I started the christening dress. Saturday was the day I frogged the christening dress... at least 3 times

Sunday was the day I started it again. And again. And again. And once more.

I got to row 6 and no further. After what felt like about 30 times, I compared my chart with the pattern in the book and discovered that row 6 was charted backwards. And I'd inserted an extra knit2together. No wonder it didn't work.

Sunday I finished one repeat of the edging pattern and started the second repeat. Sunday I dropped a stitch. Have you ever tried picking up a dropped stitch on 2.25 mm needles, laceweight yarn? With yarn overs and knit2togethers? After all that work to get past row 6?

I frogged it.


Saturday, October 31, 2009

It's Saturday Already??

This week has absolutely flown by! I wanted to blog mid-week, but time and opportunity escaped me. Besides, I've been busy knitting!

The Selbu Modern hat is finished, blocked and has been worn. This was a fun project. The top, final decreasing was a little fiddly, but it turned out really well. I'm happy with this little hat, even if John says it looks like an ice cream cone with candy sprinkles.

Above, the hat is just off the needles, unblocked. Like lace, colourwork definitely benefits from a good blocking. It makes all the difference!

Here, the hat is blocking. The pattern calls for a 10" plate to be used as a blocking board, but when I last made a beret, I had cut a 10" circle out of a good heavy cardboard box. After covering it with plastic wrap, it makes a perfect hat-blocking board and tucks away nicely in my sock drawer. That way, I always know where it is. Below is my favourite picture of this hat, the closeup.

Yup, I'm really happy with how it turned out.

I've slowly been putting together a box of things to send to my daughter. You've seen the three little pairs of mittens. I've blogged about the Armstrong Fair sweater and the little pair of shoes I found at the thrift store. There are one or two more things that need to be made before I send the package out to the coast. The first of those things is the Aviatrix Hat.

Above is NOT the greatest picture, but I have nothing around here that even remotely resembles a child's head. When I told Kristen that I'd made this hat for Ethan, she asked if he'd be able to pull it off his head; I told her it had a chin strap. It seems that, as a baby that has really own experienced summer, he doesn't like socks and he doesn't like hats; that makes sense as he really hasn't needed to wear them to this point in his young life.

The pattern is one I found on Ravelry (such an amazing resource!), by Justine Turner. In this case, the hat has become an Aviator Hat, as aviatrix is a female pilot and this hat is for a little boy. If you're on Ravelry, you can find a link to the pattern page here.

There are two more things I want to knit before the package goes out. First is another little teddy bear, Carolus #2, identical to the one I've already made for Trinity. The second one will be for Oceanna and, as I said, will be identical in all but colour. Trinity's was done in a variegated red/pink combination; Oceanna's will be knit in variegated greens, out of the stash.

The second thing I want to knit is a little surprise for Kristen; I think she deserves something a little special. I won't say yet just what it is I'm making for her, but I will say that I have the yarn in mind, something from the stash that was left over from another project. I found a pattern. I started the knitting and I frogged the knitting; the yarn and pattern weren't compatible. So I found another yarn and started over. Again, I wasn't happy with the combination of yarn and pattern, so attempt #2 was also frogged. Now, I've decided that I'll design a pattern just for her. It will be something of a combination of patterns that I've done in the past, but this little project will be unique to her... at least until I write up the pattern.

As I said at the beginning of this post, this week has flown by. Work has, once again, been very busy this week, with numerous large projects coming my way. Things are under control now, thankfully and yesterday, while the copier was churning out my last big job, I had some time to play around on Word, something I like to do to keep myself familiar with the program. Well, I've come up with a project, something that I've wanted to do for some time now.

As you know, both John and I enjoy cooking and we've collected quite a few favourite recipes over the years. I've decided to put our favourite recipes into a full on cookbook. Quite a few of our recipes are now on one of my finger drives, which I usually have with me at work, so I started putting the cookbook together yesterday afternoon. When I got home, I worked on it a little more. Right now, I'm up to 60 pages and it includes a table of contents and an index. Now, I'll have to go through the hard copies of recipes I've downloaded and recipes I've collected over a lot of years. Once done, I have every intention of making one copy for each of my children. And, right now, I'm having a lot of fun putting it together... as long as I remember to save often!

It's the weekend! I have every intention of relaxing and enjoying myself after a couple of very busy weeks at work. I hope that you, too, enjoy your weekend. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Weekend Woes

This week at work has been insanely busy for me. That entails copying, lifting, moving, drilling, punching (sounds violent, doesn't it?) and stress. It caught up with me yesterday. I woke up with a neck that decided to go out without me, resulting in a LOT of pain. Most of the day was spent lying down, drugged up with muscle relaxants and the application of my Magic Bag (aka "the beanbag"). John spent the day at work, so I had the freedom to do nothing.

That said, I did go out for a walk. Well, a walk with a purpose. I had to pick up the yarn I'd ordered from my local yarn store. It didn't help the neck any, but at least I got up and out the door for a while.

Stephen, at the yarn store, graciously offered to wind the yarn for me, but I told him I wouldn't subject him to that torture. As a matter of fact, I've even refused to wind it for customers when I worked at the yarn shop because the yarn is so fine that I've had it break and tangle easily. I didn't want that. And apart from those challenges, this is 1200+ yards; that takes a long time to wind!

By mid-afternoon, I decided to see if the skein would fit on my "swift"; it did, so I wound it up myself. It took almost an hour!

My swift? A standing lamp. All I did was loosen the screw at the top, so the lamp shade moved freely, then positioned the yarn on the shade and wound away. The ball winder, incidentally, was me. It works. It's cheap. Doesn't get much better than that, unless John had been willing to wind it for me, but he wasn't home.

This yarn is fine! It's a little difficult to tell in the picture below, but it's probably half as thin as the Knit Picks lace weight yarn that's beside it. The yarn, by the way, is Skacel's Merino Lace; it's what I ordered to knit the Christening Dress from Sarah Don's "The Art of Shetland Lace". I've also picked up a pair of 2.0 mm straight needles (the whole dress is knit on straights), but I don't think they'll be the best for the yarn; the point is too rounded to easily work the knit 2 togethers. I'm still swatching, but I think I might end up knitting it on a Knit Picks circular needles. The points are much sharper on the KP needles.

In other things, I started another project (surprised?). This one, though, is one of those things that I can pick up whenever I feel the need for some plain, almost unthinking knitting. I have no intention of working on this for any length of time at a time (does that make sense? If not, I apologize; I'm still a little dopey from the pain meds.) This is the "Ten Stitch Twist" by Frankie Brown. It's a great project for using up bits and pieces of leftover yarn. In this case, I'm using leftover sock yarn, something I have plenty of.

The beginning (center) was a little fiddly to start with, but the row-by-row directions are well written and easy to follow. Once past the beginning, the knitting is simple, something I'll be able to put down and pick up easily.

In other knitting, I plan on finishing the Selbu Modern hat today. I'm into the top shaping and only have about 24 rounds left, so it should be very possible to finish it and block it today. I'll post pictures when it's done.

Oh, while I think of it, Robbyn mentioned that the linen stitch could result in a fairly firm fabric. She's right. Working fingering weight yarn in linen stitch on 4.0 mm needles made a nice, drapey fabric. Anything smaller than 4.0 mm, though, would have been too tight for a scarf. I might have cast on for a scarf for John, but in doing the math, I figured I'd have to cast on well over 400 stitches. I just didn't have the energy for that. Maybe one day. At the very least, I've written it down in my trusty notebook, for later reference.

Now, though, it's time for a shower, if only to wash some of the cobwebs out of my head. Then, back to my knitting! It's time for another FO!