Saturday, August 28, 2010

FO’s Feel Good!

Pernilla’s socks are finished! I didn’t have a lot of knitting time (or desire) this week, but today I sat down and finished the foot. All in all, they’re a quick and easy knit. I hope she’ll be happy with them.



Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Sock Down

I really do like knitting socks with worsted weight yarn; they knit up REAL fast! By Sunday, one sock was finished and the second cast on. I’m just about to the heel of the second sock and intend to work on it some tonight.

011 For anyone interested, I’ve uploaded the file to Google Docs and you should be able to download it from here: Pernilla’s Socks. Please, let me know if the link doesn’t work.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

In The Pink

One of the girls I work with is a young lady from Sweden. She was telling me about a pair of slipper socks her grandmother had knit for her and how much she loved them. Unfortunately, they were beginning to wear out and she wondered if I could make her a replacement pair.

I told her to bring the socks in to work one day and I’d see what I could do. I was really looking forward to seeing what a Swedish grandmother had knitted for her granddaughter and had visions of some stranded works of art, something traditional. Imagine my surprise when she brought in the socks, a pair of 2x2 ribbed, very basic socks. It was all I could do to keep from laughing. As well, P had been “darning” the socks… with thread, basically just sewing the sides of the holes together, just so she could get a little more wear out of them. We DID laugh at that!

The socks were easy to replicate, and so I took notes, counted stitches, asked what colour she wanted and went to the LYS. She wanted pink socks, not baby pink, but more of a magenta pink. That’s what she’s getting (it was very difficult to photograph the colour; they really are a magenta pink, quite a strong colour).


The socks are worked on 46 stitches, not a multiple of 4, so there’s a row of four knit stitches at the back of the leg. She wanted her grandmother’s socks replicated, that’s what grandma did so that’s what I’m doing. After the gusset shaping, though, I’ve gone down to 44 stitches for the foot, which will make the toe easier to work.

The yarn I’m using is Pingouin Le Yarn 3, 80% acrylic, 20% wool and I’m working the socks on 3.5 mm needles. Originally, I bought two balls of the yarn, thinking one ball would suffice for one sock. It doesn’t look like that will be the case and I bought the last two balls of this colour, so I picked up a ball of off white as well, and I’ll work the toes in the contrasting colour. She’s okay with that.

She’s excited about getting a new pair of slipper socks for the coming winter and knowing that she’s excited makes the knitting so much more pleasurable. Incidentally, I am writing out the pattern and will make it available through Ravelry for anyone who wants it.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Around the Yard

 003 It seems we have fairies in our yard. This is only the second fairy circle I’ve ever seen. I love fairy circles. If you’ve never seen one before, it’s a ring of mushrooms in a field. They can grow anywhere mushrooms grow and for some unexplained reason, the grow in a circular pattern.

According to Wikipedia: “Fairy rings also occupy a prominent place in European folklore as the location of gateways into elfin kingdoms, or places where elves (and fairies or pixies, I assume) gather and dance. According to the folklore, a fairy ring appears when a fairy, pixie, or elf appears. It will disappear without trace in less than five days, but if an observer waits for the elf to return to the ring, he may be able to capture it.”

What one would do with an elf, fairy or pixie, I wouldn’t know but I do love the thought of fairies, pixies or elves cavorting in our yard.

In the same garden walkabout, I also came across this little gem. 006

I’ve eaten my share of watermelon, but this is the first time I’ve ever seen one on the vine. There’s at least one more that I saw, but this is the bigger one of the two. We certainly do live in a wonderful place, with no shortage of delicious and abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. I love it!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

What’s A Girl To Do?

Work has been very slow over the last couple of weeks, what with it being the height of summer and all, so I’ve had some time at home by myself (it’s back to work tomorrow… yay!). This week, I’ve been getting ready for our housewarming party, coming up on Saturday. The cooking’s done (2 pork shoulders have been slow roasted and frozen… pulled pork sandwiches on the menu), the baking is done (5-6 dozen mini spanakopita are ready for popping into the oven), the house is about as clean as it’s going to get (except for the corner that the ants keep invading…new hatches of pavement ants! Yuck!) and all that really needs doing now is the final touches. John will be hanging some pictures tonight. On Saturday morning, the house will get a final once over with the duster, some last minute shopping to do and then it’s all hands on deck to get everything set up.

Of course, being at home by oneself means that you have the entire day to do with as you will. And all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy… or in this case, makes Evelyn cranky. Even though the knitting will be put away for the bulk of the weekend, I’ve pulled it out now and then to knit a row or two. Because of that, the Haruni shawl is making progress, albeit slow progress. I’ve just finished six repeats of the pattern and I must say that I’m really liking how it’s knitting up. To be honest, in “person” it’s a little difficult to see the pattern, but having pinned it out as I did, and taking it’s picture, it’s much easier to really see how it’s working up.

 haruni 002I have a feeling that this is going to be one lovely shawl. To date, I still haven’t decided how big I’d like it to be. I guess I’ll just have to wait until it’s bigger. Already I can see and feel the drape in the fabric; if this is what it’s like working with silk, I can see more of it in my future. Over the last couple of days, I’ve also been researching (not actively, but as I have time) how to properly block silk shawls. The sources I’ve found so far are conflicting; some say wet block, some say dry block. They do, however, agree that steam blocking isn’t suitable for lace. I’ll keep researching.

In answer to a couple of comments now:

Shirley, I have no idea who thought to block lace but I certainly am happy about it. Perhaps it was a happy accident, a shawl getting wet accidentally and it’s owner realizing how much prettier the wet, stretched fabric looked? It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? Who was the first person brave enough to dare eat an egg, I wonder? ;)

Sandi, thank you so much for your very kind words. The shawl was grafted exactly as you surmised, using the Kitchener stitch, but loosely. I didn’t want to tug too hard on it as there would likely have been an obvious line. As for teaching, I’ve done some of that and, as much as I enjoy it, unless I can do it my way, I won’t do it. If you’re learning from my blog entries, I’ve accomplished something. And I thank you for letting me know that.

Monday, August 09, 2010

I Went Ahead and Did It!

I think I mentioned once that I was considering a recipe blog. Well, I’ve just set it up. There’s not much there yet, nothing but an introduction page and a few links, but you’re more than welcome to check it out.

Do check it regularly because, as time permits, I’ll be posting recipes, reviews and links. You can find the new blog, “In Ev’s Kitchen”, by clicking the title.

See you there!

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Back to Lace

Not too long ago, if you recall, I cast on for the Haruni shawl (pattern available through Ravelry) using some 100% silk yarn that had been in my stash for a number of years. You may also recall that I dropped a stitch and couldn’t retrieve it, so it was frogged. I did cast on for it immediately and managed to finish one repeat of the pattern before putting it aside.

Yesterday, it was taken out of “time-out” and I’ve managed to finish three repeats. Already the pattern, an 8-row repeat, is becoming familiar, comfortable. It’s a little early for a lifeline but I think that after 10 repeats, inserting a lifeline would be a wise thing to do.


To refresh your memory, the yarn is Handmaiden Fine Yarn’s Silk Floss, 100% silk, hand dyed in the Moss Garden colourway.  The pattern is Haruni, by Emily Ross, a free Ravelry download and I’m using a 2.5 mm circular Addi Lace needle.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The Saga Concludes


The Lilac Leaf shawl, I can now definitively say, is finished. I’m very happy with the final product and can see it being used often. The yarn (100% alpaca lace weight) feels a bit “stringy” to work with, but after blocking, it really is nice. The stitch definition is great and the scarf/shawl (it IS big enough to drape over my shoulders) is as light as a feather.

I didn’t block this scarf the way I normally do woolen shawls and scarves. Normally, they get a good soak in a wool wash and are then pinned out on the floor to dry. Because this is alpaca and it has no memory, I decided to dry block this one.


I ran the blocking wires down the side stitches, ran wires through the points at either end, then pinned it out.

019Once I had it pinned out to my satisfaction, I filled a tub with warm water, soaked two towels, wrung them out lightly so that they were still quite wet, then laid the towels over the pinned out scarf. I left the towels in place until the scarf and the sheet it was pinned on were both moist, after which the towels were hung up outside and the scarf was allowed to dry.


By the time John got home (almost 5:00), the scarf was dry, unpinned and draped over the couch for him to oooooh and ahhhh over the minute he walked in the door. Sure. Not. He did admire it, though, but not until I showed it to him.

Final details: Lilac Leaf Shawl from “Knitted Lace of Estonia” by Nancy Bush. The yarn is 100% Alpaca lace weight, purchased at the Oyama Lake Alpaca Farm and was worked on 3.5 mm needles. There’s probably enough yarn left to make two more of these scarves or a small triangular shawl. At some point.

Now, to finish a few more projects. I’m determined to get some unfinished projects done and am trying very hard to resist the temptation to cast on something new.

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Saga Continues

After yesterday’s post about the Lilac Leaf Scarf, I set about to fix my mistake. The first task was to pick up stitches where I knew there were no mistakes; in this case, the garter stitch transition, 5 rows of nothing but knit stitches. The best tool for the job was a 2.0 mm Addi circular needle which I carefully picked up the right leg of each stitch, trying to stay on a single row. I think I was cross-eyed by the time I had that accomplished.


Once all the stitches had been picked up, I unravelled the yarn until I got to the live stitches, all safely held on the circular needle. After that, it was a breeze to get them back on to the right needles, with a few minor fixes to stitches that had been missed or dropped… no biggie.


After that, it was just a matter of reknitting that section, which only took an hour or so. The picture below shows both completed sections, ready for grafting. I wasn’t about to tackle that until I had good light and a cleared off table.


Once the grafting and blocking’s been done, I’ll post pictures of the completed shawl. It should be finished today so, hopefully, I can show you pictures tomorrow.

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Oh Dear!

I’m home again today; it’s a combination of not feeling well (nothing major… a bit of a bug or feeling the heat) and not much happening at work. Because of that, I decided to graft the Lilac Leaf shawl from Nancy Bush’s book, “Knitted Lace of Estonia”. You may recall that this was the “moving” project, started shortly before we moved. The knitting was finished shortly after we moved in, but the two pieces hadn’t yet been grafted together.

As I was laying the two pieces out to graft them, I noticed something.

the right wayThis is a detail of the beginning edge of the scarf/shawl. See all those lovely knit stitches? Now, have a look at the other end, the end that I’m supposed to graft to the opposite edging.

uhohCan you see what I did? Obviously, I wasn’t paying attention and should have had one more (or less) knit row in the transition between the leaf section and the diamond/nupp section.  That final section is backwards. That means, I’ll have to re-knit that section, which means frogging it back to the garter stitch rows. And that means that this project is not finished yet. *sigh*

Even experienced knitters make stupid mistakes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

One Down, One to Go

Apparently, the Twilight series is very popular with younger women. I learned that from my daughter, and step-granddaughter. Apparently, the step-granddaughter has read the whole series and has all the movies. She will be turning 13 later this month, just before my oldest grandson turns 13, too.

Ravelry has been abuzz with the pattern for Bella’s Mittens (Bella is the heroine of the series, I’ve been told) and I thought it might be appropriate to make a pair of the mittens for J. I don’t think she reads the blog so I feel pretty safe in posting the following pictures.



The pattern for these mittens can be found through Ravelry (Bella’s Mittens) or on the designer’s website, here. I started the first mitten after work yesterday and finished it today (I’m having a sick day). It’s a quick, fun knit; the pattern is very well written and easy to follow. The pattern calls for a discontinued yarn, a bulky weight yarn; I used Berroco’s Vintage Chunky, a machine washable blend of 50% acrylic, 40% wool and 10% nylon on 5.0 mm needles. It’s lovely yarn, nice and soft and knits up, as you can imagine, very quickly.

I’m not used to working with yarn this thick anymore. All I’ve been using lately has been fingering or lace weight yarn, so working with chunky is a little hard on the hand and wrist, but I’m liking that it knits up quickly. The second mitten will likely be cast on later today  and hopefully finished by the weekend. Then I’ll mail it out to it’s intended recipient.

Just as an aside, I know I printed up the pattern before we moved, but do you think I can find it anywhere? I was going to print it again yesterday, but I forgot. When I got home, I decided that I could just follow the pattern on the laptop. It worked very well! I even had a sticky note (the virtual kind) open to make note of which row I’d just completed. For simple projects, I may just use this method again; it certainly saves on paper!

Monday, August 02, 2010

Don’t Take No Wooden Nickels

Many, many years ago, when I was the same age my granddaughter is right now (6), my family lived in Manitoba. Transcona, to be precise. In 1961, Transcona had been in existence for 50 years and was finally incorporated into a city.

There was a big celebration that included a parade down the main streets of the town. I remember it being a pretty big deal. Two of the local businesses decided on a clever marketing ploy to celebrate and, of course, to drive business their way.

Wooden Nickel_no text

This “coin”, a wooden nickel, was in my mother’s button box for many years; a few years ago, while she was cleaning up and de-cluttering, she gave it to me and it has been in my button box since then.

The City of Transcona no longer exists as a city; it became part of the Greater Winnipeg area about 12 years after we left. The Dairy Queen and the Bull Ring Drive-In (now called the Whistle Pig) still exist at the same spot (I know that thanks to Google Maps street view; it still looks just the way I remember it and we left there in 1966).


I wonder if I can still get the 5 cents off.