Saturday, November 27, 2010

Double, Double

No, this post isn’t about coffee*. Nor is it about gum**. Honestly, it’s about knitting. Double knitting to be precise.

Some of you may be asking, “What IS double knitting?” Double knitting can be a yarn weight, but it can also be a knitting technique that results in a double thick piece of knitting that’s also completely reversible. It can be knit flat or in the round.

I’ve known about this technique for a long time; every few years I try it just to see if I can remember how it’s done. It wasn’t until I saw the work of a specific designer on Ravelry that I became even more interested in trying it again… seriously this time. If you’re a member of Ravelry, check out tina13’s project and pattern page. She has some amazing scarves!

003This is just the beginning of a project, a toddler’s scarf, but already you can see that the two sides are reversed. I’m looking forward to seeing how this comes out. There’s another advantage to playing with this technique. I’m working with both yarns on one finger, knitting continental-style. The thing is, every second stitch is purled. I’ve never quite gotten the knack of continental purling, but that’s quickly changing. Even after four rows, it’s already becoming much more comfortable.

As far as learning this technique, I’ve been hunting for books on the subject; I found one at KnitPicks (it’s made it to my wish list), Double Knitting by M’Lou Baber. However, I don’t want to spend $30 on a book if I’m not going to enjoy the technique. I’ve taken another tack. I’ve ordered a mitten pattern through Ravelry. I figure that if I enjoy making a single pair of mittens and the scarf, I’ll get more out of the book. The first mitten is already underway, but temporarily on hold. At the moment, I’m working it on two 2.0 mm circulars, one an Addi turbo, the other a Knit Picks Harmony. Last night, while getting it all set up and on to the needles, the Harmony (laminated wood… very pretty) splintered. A splinter almost 2” long peeled off the needle, making it pretty much useless. Today, on the way to Sit & Stitch, I’ll be stopping by the yarn store to pick up a longer (36” minimum) 2.0 mm Addi turbo. (It’s being knit with the Magic Loop method.)

It sounds from the above that I’m not making any progress on other projects. I am. My cardigan is moving along, albeit slowly. I try to do a couple of rows on it every day. I must admit that I’m getting really bored with the seemingly endless ribbing. It will get done!

* Tim Horton’s Double Double is coffee with double sugar, double cream or milk.

** Double Mint gum used to use lyrics in their ads that had “double, double, double mint gum” in it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Winter (mostly) Photo Post




…my toes (you don’t need to see that picture) and ankles stay chilly… no, cold!




Saturday, November 20, 2010

First Snow!

Our gorgeous autumn has suddenly given way to the chill of winter. The leaves that were so glorious in their shades of yellow, red and green are now remnants of the year gone by, some clinging tenaciously to the branches, most, nothing more than memories. being trampled underfoot or under tire.

009It’s not a pretty snow picture, I know. This is right outside our back door and was only taken to give you an idea of what our first snow fall looks like. The snow started Thursday night and has continued on and off since then. Even now, it’s snowing… a very fine, light snow. There’s nothing fluffy about this snow. The forecast is for more of the same for at least the next week. Winter has finally arrived.

Of course, being winter, and cold, and snowy, it’s the perfect time for cuddling up indoors with a mug of something hot and some knitting. I’ve been doing just that.

The mug of something hot, earlier this week, was John’s infamous NeoCitran toddy (NeoCitran, lemon juice, honey and a generous dose of dark rum); I was feeling a cold coming on and John has absolutely no patience for colds so he medicated me. I must admit, it seems to have stopped the cold in it’s tracks, but I’ve also been fighting some kind of stomach bug and migraine. I was home for a total of two days this week (1 full day and 2 half days). By Friday evening, I was able to eat again without feeling nauseous.

In the meantime, though, I rested in my recliner with my knitting. I have to say, I’m making good progress on the cardigan. I think it helps that one of the girls at work is knitting the same pattern and is further along than I am… can’t have that!


Little Monkey is monitoring my progress very closely. As you can see, I’m past the first buttonhole. What is a little more difficult to see is that I’m up to the point of putting in the pleat/cable, which means I’m nearly to the waist shaping.

Even though there are what seem to be miles of k3, p3 ribbing, so far, because I’ve taken out two of the three pleats, it’s almost an hypnotic knit. As long as I remember to check the length every now and then (for buttonhole placement), I can work on this project almost in the dark. Not that I would. John wouldn’t allow that… not good for the eyes, and all.

Last weekend was our Sit & Stitch weekend and I decided not to work on the cardigan. That meant that I had to find something else to work on and there was nothing around here that I really, really wanted to take along. So, I went hunting. And shopping.

There is a pattern on Ravelry that I’ve kept coming back to over the past months and I decided to finally just buy it. The pattern is Harmonia’s Rings by Sivia Harding. Of course, once I had the pattern downloaded, I needed yarn for it. Believe it or not, I couldn’t find anything in the stash that I wanted to use for this pattern. So, it was off to the yarn store before heading to Sit & Stitch. I ended up with Berroco Ultra Alpaca in a gorgeous deep orange. The yarn is 50% alpaca, 50% wool and is so soft and luscious!

Again, this isn’t a great picture, but it does do justice to the colour.

013Lampshades simply don’t make the best models, you know? What you can’t see is just how cushy and stretchy and yummy this cowl is. Being a moebius, it’s also a really fun knit! The only complaint I had, and it’s a very minor one, is that the needle I used was a little too long to be comfortable to work with. The pattern calls for a 47” circular; I’m not sure what length I had (the longest KnitPicks cable I had in my needle stash), but it could have been a little shorter. That’s it. Minor.The pattern is very well written and I had this finished within three days.

I’ve worn the cowl a couple of times now and I love it. Now, with the extra skein I have (I bought 3, the cowl required 2), I’m thinking of making fingerless mitts, or maybe a pair of mittens. That’s for another day, though. Today, I’m working on the cardi. And staying indoors with a hot cup of something and watching the snow fall.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Oh My!!

I love almonds! At work, I regularly fill a small canister with hickory-smoked almonds that I pick up at the bulk store next door. They make a great little snack. Before anyone says anything, I only eat a handful a day;  the usual amount I buy lasts me a couple weeks at least. And almonds are good for you.

I will admit, however, that I prefer almonds that are flavoured. I’m also continually on the look out for yummy nut recipes; I have collected a few.

So, how do you turn this…

Almonds 001

… into this…

Almonds 002

Well, all it takes is water, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and almonds.

Let me tell you, these are YUMMM!! They are Burnt Sugar Almonds and they’re easy to make and a real treat to eat. Having said they’re easy to make needs a small proviso. Don’t even attempt to make these when there are small children or distractions around. You will be standing at the stove, concentrating.

I could have posted this on the food blog (In Ev’s Kitchen), but I’m not going to post the recipe. I’m going to point you to the recipe. You can find it over at the Tasty Kitchen blog, this particular post.

This recipe would make a great hostess gift (put them into a pretty bowl or a clear gift bag), a yummy treat for your co-workers (if you really want to spoil them), or anyone you want to impress. Heck, they’re best when you make them just for yourself. Just make sure you hide them.

Oh, make these and your house will smell heavenly, too!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

In My Knitting Basket

With the Willow Cowl on it’s way to Minneapolis, I’ve been working on my cardigan. I’d almost forgotten how nice this yarn (KnitPicks Gloss, 70% wool, 30% silk) is to knit with. The knit 3, purl 3 rib is almost hypnotic to knit at this point, and I still have inches of ribbing to go.


All of that ribbing is great for TV knitting; too bad we don’t have cable anymore. It’s just not the same watching shows and movies over the internet.

Today is Remembrance Day in Canada, Veteran’s Day in the US. John will be going to work for a while, then heading over to the cenotaph for the Remembrance Day ceremonies. I’ll be staying here, but I’ll be listening to the CBC coverage while I’m knitting.

It’s good to be reminded now and then that the freedom we enjoy today cost the lives of many people, men, women and children, who went before us. Last night, John and I watched “Defiance”, starring Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber.  If you’ve not seen it, it’s about a family of four brothers who fight the Nazis in Poland. They, and over 1200 Jewish refugees, make a home for themselves in the forest and fight to preserve their freedom. It’s based on a true story; the brothers, in the end, saved the lived of 1200+ people.

As much as I dislike war movies (I walked out on “Saving Private Ryan”) that do nothing more than glorify violence, this one made me think. What would I do to protect my own freedom and the lives of others whose freedom was being threatened? These were ordinary people, not soldiers. They were farmers, students, teachers, carpenters, philosophers, children, country folk and city folk. They did what they had to do in order to survive, in order to stay alive. Many of those who lived in the forest didn’t survive, but they never stopped fighting for their freedom.

Would I do the same? Would you?

Please, take some time today to remember those who paid with their lives so that we can enjoy what we have today. Remember the soldier who died, but remember as well the civilians who died fighting a battle they didn’t ask for but were forced to fight.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Again, an FO

The Willow Cowl for Wendy is finished, washed and will be mailed out this week! I think I’ve said it already, but I have to say it again – I love these shades of green!

046 I was, however, very disappointed in this particular ball of yarn. There were three knots and one complete break. The ball was, essentially, two balls of yarn. Two of the knots were knotted in sequence, but one knot was completely out of sequence and I had to unwind a ball of approximately 2” before I got back to where it should have been knotted.

When you’re paying $16 for a 100 gram ball, that shouldn’t happen, in my opinion at any rate.

Now, I’ve started working on my cardigan again. You remember, right? It’s a Drops pattern. I had started it already, but when the order for the Willow Cowl came up, it was put on hold.


In the interim, I frogged what I’d already worked. Between John and myself, we decided that the ruffled lower edge would simply put too much of an accent on a part of my body I’d like to minimize. I’m modifying the pattern a little to make it a little more hip-friendly.

The cardigan starts out with three cable pleats, which create the ruffled lower “skirt”. I’ve reduced the stitch count to what it would have been after the second cable pleat and will work the ribbing up to where the third pleat will be. I will work that pleat, which is close to the waist shaping. That will give a little more hip to waist shaping and, I think, will look alright in the overall design.

Now, it’s turning out to be a lovely day here in the Okanagan and I think I should get out and enjoy it while we have it.