Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A 'Done Before Dinner Dame'

I often refer to myself as a 'done before dinner' type of person. My style preference is for quick knits, quick decorating, quick sewing, quick anything that can be 'done before dinner'.

It's a cutesy phrase that makes it sound as if I accomplish lots - and all before dinner. Though, any grade school teacher or Mom knows better. It's a euphemism for, in my case, ' knitterly attention deficit disorder'. (My BIL calls it Adult deficit disorder. That seems so funny to me. As if the sufferer has a deficit of 'adult-ness')

This morning I was typing an email to my friend Ruby - purveyor of fine yarns at the
Napa Auto Parts Store in Hearst - and used the 'done before dinner' phrase to describe myself. It made me think. How does someone with 'Knitterly ADD' cope with such a slow knit as Loden Mist?

I have come to realize that I resist knitting until late at night and then, when I finally do sit down to knit, I work on other projects. This is in order to trick myself into believing that the reason for my slow progress on Loden is simply because I don't give it much time. In my knitterly ADD mind, I am convinced that if I only had the time to go at it full force, I could knit miles of Loden. HA!

Here is what an entire night of the 'no bailout-bailout' talk shows did for the left front of Loden.
And you can't get much less distracting TV than that!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Weekend Knitting

Remember this yarn I purchased for my Sister In Law while at the KW Knitters Fair?

S-I-L and her hubby came to visit for the weekend and she loved the yarn. Whew! I suggested she start knitting with it right away to make sure it was suitable. But she said " I didn't bring any needles." As if that would stop a knitter in my house! Here she is just rolling right along.

The yarn is Cascade 220Superwash and is it ever soft! I wish I could remember from which vendor I purchased it. At only $4 a ball, it would be great to get some more. I am pretty certain it was either Cabin Fever or Good Buy. It will be perfect for S-I-L's intended projects -toques for her grand kids.

Of course, I had to keep her and her needles company. Look what I accomplished.
Sleeve number two of Diagonal. Yes, I did finish the back of Loden first, in case you were wondering.

A little family love.
Fred and his sister.
A great weekend. Family and knitting.

Friday, September 26, 2008

What's The Difference?

What is the difference between this sleeve

and this sleeve?
Besides the obvious -one brown, one green; one lace, one mostly stockinet. Well, the difference, you can't see is about a 'b-zillion' hours of knitting.

A true 'process knitter' would be thrilled, I suppose with knitting for ever hours on the the green, Loden sleeve. I too, like the process. But, I am of the generation of instant gratification. So a little product now and then ranks pretty high on my scale. The Diagonal Rib sleeve was knit in a little more than the 'Two Hour Opening Special' of Survivor. A perfect antidote to the 'forever' Loden.

Discipline is now required. I will finish the back of Loden before I do any more on Diagonal. I will finish the back of Loden before I do any more on Diagonal. I will finish ....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group - And Survivor!!!!

Yes, I'm told that Survivor starts tonight. I can't wait. Although the first show always has so many participants I have trouble keeping them straight. I am not sure if tonight's show will be 'Loden Mist' time or if that will be too difficult to concentrate on while trying to figure out the who's who of Survivor. Dishcloth time, perhaps.

And at Knit Group today, here is what the knitters were up to.

Ingrid is sporting a lovely Alpaca scarf given to her by a spinning friend. That's right. Given to her! What a lucky girl you are, Ingrid. We had her put a piece of tissue paper under the scarf in order to show off the stitch work, then told her she looked like a nursing-home resident waiting for lunch. Hee Hee. Poor Ingrid.

This is Pat. She is new to our group - in fact today was her first time with us. She was working on her doll, a Jean Greenhowes pattern. Isn't he cute? And Pat is just as cute. I have known her to do a great 'Knees Up, Mother Brown'. For those of you too young to know, that is a war time song, where the knees go W A A A Y up.

And Doreen is working on another toque. She makes hers' flat and sews them up the back. Quite a look of concentration, Doreen.

After Knit Group, Fred and I went to the local community centre to renew our passports. One advantage of being in a community far away from government services, is that the office comes to you. Our local MP arranges a passport clinic twice a year. On our way in the door, there was our MP! A Cabinet Minister no less. And a woman to boot. She smiled, introduced herself and was entirely gracious to us. Not every day you get to meet a cabinet minister. Or minister-ette?? Quite a day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Good Enough Is Good Enough

Last night, with my four mystery hats complete, I started The Diagonal Rib Cardigan. Such fun to start a new project, but the first few inches of this design are tough slugging.

The gauge swatch sleeves and bottom of the cardigan have about 4 inches of 'diagonal rib'. That means those pesky left and right twists. You know the kind. You reach into the second stitch on the needle - from behind, just to make it more fun - knit it and then knit the first stitch. Your fingers appear to be playing Twister. But look how much I have done. Done after 10pm, I might add, when I couldn't face another lace repeat.
I know it doesn't show too well in the photo, but the rib really is diagonal. Really.

And how much lace did I do? Take a look.
See those inward leaning curves? Those are armholes. I kid you not. Armholes. A few more inches and the back is done. On to the fronts by next week, I should think.

But what is that orange yarn tied into the piece, you ask. This orange yarn.

That my fellow knitters is a dropped stitch. Waaaaaahhhh! But at least I found it before too much damage was done. Am I ripping back the sweater to fix it? Not on your life. Am I dropping down the stitch to fix it? Not on your life. I will tie it off with the sweater yarn and work in the ends. Factor in the fine yarn, the fact that the yarn is mohair, and the pattern is lace and I doubt anyone will ever see it. But if they do, I will be happy for them that they have such great eyesight. My theory is that "Sometimes, good enough, is good enough." For sure that's true in the case of cobweb-weight mohair knit in a lace pattern.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

How Far Is It?

How far is it from Montreal to the Port Hope exit on the 401? One child-size toque, that's how far. I knit mystery hat number three on the way to Montreal and number four coming home. They are all done. Yippee!!

Our trip to Montreal was fun. We rode down with Peter. Since he has been in Spain for the last five weeks, it was a great catch-up time.

Here he is ready to go into the opening.
And here is the artist with the proud parents, in front of one of the paintings at the show.
The opening of his show was only so-so. Two paintings sold, pre-show and two the day of the opening. Should the banker be worried? I'm told, "Not yet."

Now that the four mystery hats are done, (and will be revealed at Thanksgiving) I am ready to move on . Knitting for the "I can't possibly knit another row of cobweb-weight, lace" times.
And it will be this pattern.
The Diagonal Rib Cardigan. On my list since last year. And with this yarn purchased at the Knitters fair a couple of weeks ago.
Chunky weight yarn has never looked so inviting.

Monday, September 22, 2008

My New Book

Look what I bought! Wendy Bernard's 'Custom Knits'.
I read about the book on the 'net' and the review was so lavish in it's praise, that I immediately sent off to Amazon.ca for my copy.

It is a wonderful book. Here are a couple of my favourite patterns.

Each pattern in the book comes with a section on modifications. The modifications are extensive and mean the knitter could really make the sweater her own. At the back of the book there is a great 'how-to' section on design. Great value for the $18. I paid.

The photography is fun. Wendy lives in California and you can see that west coast influence in the pictures. They are fun and a little risque. Not so much as to make them distasteful, just enough to bring hand knit sweaters into this century.
Like this one.
My list of 'what I will knit next' is now longer than ever.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I Have Been Knitting

Lest you think I spend all my time going to Knitters Fairs and kids' events, I want you to know that I have been knitting.

Look at Loden Mist.

Here are the two sleeves. Done. Or at least I think, done. I was very proud until I looked at this photo. They both have the same number - exactly the same number, I tell you - of repeats. Why is the sleeve on the left so much longer? Arrrgh! Guess, I better check that out.

And here is a start on the back.
I have a bit more done since I took the photo. In all about 10 inches. Each repeat is about an inch and a quarter and I have taken to keeping a running total - like an accountant keeps books - to keep me motivated.

When the motivation lags, I work on my mystery hats. Two down, two to go.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group - Normally. Today An Ad

Normally, on Thursdays, I keep you posted about the Knit Group knitters' latest projects. But today, instead of going to Knit Group, I am on my way to Montreal.

Peter, our youngest son is an artist. One of the galleries that show his work is The Shayne Gallery in Montreal. Proud parents, Fred and I, are on our way to Montreal to attend the gala opening of Peter's one-man show at The Shayne.

Here is a photo of our - and now your - invitation.
Over the years, we have been to many show openings. They are what I call '180' affairs. At one end of the spectrum are the goodies: A good opening will have little hors d' oeuvres - cheese, crackers, green grapes - and a glass of wine or Perrier. At the other end of the 180 is the stomach- churning time of waiting to see if ANYONE will show up. And if they do, will they buy a painting?

A couple of years ago, Peter had a one man show at his Toronto gallery -
The Mira Godard Gallery. He had 13 paintings in the show. 10 were sold before the show opened and the other three were sold the day of the show. A sold-out show. Let me tell you, you don't know how relieved that makes the banker parents of a full time artist.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Copyright, Schmopyright

E sent me wonderful, wonderful photos of 'Little People' 'Comfort Dolls'.

The group shot is of dolls her Mom made for her in the 1970s. The two dolls in the lower photo are dolls her Mom made recently for her boys. And apparently, her Mom has a pattern from a 1980s Family Circle magazine that refers to the dolls as 'Little People'.

Thanks ever so much for the photos, E. It is lovely knitting your Mom did. It's easy to see why some call these dolls 'Comfort Dolls'. To own one is to know that someone loves you. It's evident in the knitting. That's comfort.

And if you have no pattern, you can use mine. Here - Comfort Dolls Use it. Share it. Copy it. Give it away. Have fun with it. There is no copyright on mine. So sayeth the 'copyright queen'.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Day Two At About The Knitters Fair

Like a fresh spring day when people breath deeply and say " Aaah. Isn't it a great day?" the Knitters Fair is a wonderful place to breathe yarn fumes and knitting ambiance and to see yarns that you don't see everyday at your local yarn store.

It's also a great place to see people that you don't see everyday - a 'Knitters Reunion' so to speak I spoke with Barbara, from my old knitters group in London; Kathy a customer at London Yarns when I worked there; Isa of 'Vegemite, Violets & Knitting' and Patrick, a former co-worker, now working at Village Yarns in Toronto. Patrick is the youngest of ten children and his Mother was a Knitter with a capital K. Being the youngest, he spent a lot of time with his Mom and can out-knit anyone I know, either by hand or on the machine. Not to mention he is witty, charming and funny. Go see Patrick if you are ever in the area of Village Yarns.

None of these people did I take a picture of. Smart blogger, eh? But, by the time I met up with Sharon - a fabulous knitter and also a co-worker from London Yarns, the camera was ready.
She's wearing Sally Melville's 'Lots Of Choices' vest from 'The Knitting Experience, Book One - The knit Stitch'. Only Sharon, with her knitting genius, added sleeves, and used a different colour for each part of the vest. Looks great, Sharon.

I spent the afternoon with my dear friend Patti-Ann, also a co-worker from London Yarns and also picture-less. (Bet you're happy about that, Patti-Ann.) Patti-Ann and I had decided we would meet just inside the main doors. But this year, as I mentioned yesterday, there were two halls, so two main doors. Would we find each other? It concerned me.

I saw Patti-Ann enter the hall just as I sat down to eat lunch with my friends from Meaford, Without a word, I jumped out of my seat, leapt over bags of yarn, pushed behind Ingrid as she tried to eat her soup and ran into the hall. The Meaford group must have thought I was possessed.

But the day was not without controversy. I had a run in with a little doll.
Remember my Comfort Dolls? I think this little fellow looks just like them. And I made the mistake of telling that to the lady at the Canadian Guild of Knitters Booth. Being known as 'Miss-Talk-A-Lot' in some circles (my husband's) I told the lady the whole story of how I noticed the dolls at a Church bazaar, how I figured out the pattern and wrote it up to share, first with my knit group and then with the blog. She gasped throughout the story. The gasps kept getting louder and louder. She finally told me, in no uncertain terms, that I should NOT have done that. She opened a copy of the guild's newsletter to show me a story of the 'Izzy' doll and the copyright logo.

Well, she struck a nerve there. I am known in my knit circles as the 'copyright queen' Nazi. No one I know is more diligent nasty about enforcing copyright than me. I believe strongly that designers (like any worker) deserve to get paid for their work. Every time a pattern is copied, money is taken from a designer's pocket. But it isn't possible to copy something you have neither seen or heard of. I might have definitely told her that. I didn't want to join her guild anyway. So there.

Other than that one little nasty encounter it was a great day. Oh and did you notice the bag of yarn in the photo yesterday that I didn't describe to you?
This one?
That was a gift from Patti-Ann. 11 balls of Valentino. A Cotton, Viscose, Linen blend from Italy.

Great day.

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair

What fun! Knitters Fairs feed the knitterly soul in me and I am grateful to the folks who originally dreamed up the idea for such great events. In the case of the Kitchener Waterloo fair, that would be, I am sure, Sally Melville.

With our two-hour drive, we always plan to arrive about 10 am. In time to shop before the best has been sold, but not so early that we have to waken before dawn and or stand in that long queue that always precedes the opening of the doors.

This year, the format had expanded to include two rooms. At first, I wasn't sure I liked the set-up. With the extra space, I missed the high-energy, carnival-like atmosphere provided by a crush of shoppers. But by the end of the day, I was a convert. The extra space made shopping so much easier. And shop I did. I didn't buy as much as I have done at some past fairs, but my purchases were better thought out. And that was probably due to the set-up. With extra space came the sense of extra time to make the decision.

So here's the haul.

Quite a bit of restraint, don't you think? What's in that haul?

Here are three more balls of Briggs & Little for my Waterloo sweater . That is Waterloo as in the pattern in Knits From The North Country, not as in Napoleon's Waterloo.

Then for my Diagonal Rib Cardigan - long on my list - I bought this Alafoss Lopi at $3.95 per ball from Camilla Valley Farm.
There were only two colours at that price. Both discontinued. Lucky for me, I love the brown.

I came across some Cascade 220Superwash. Just what I had been telling my sister-in-law she needed for children's winter toques. I picked up two balls for her - hope you like the colours, Joan. $4 per ball. Good sale price.

Then, my impulse buy! From the Montreal Alpaca man. I bought a kit for a pullover for - guess who? Me. It's all about me, folks, when it comes to knitting.
We had such fun talking to this vendor. He tried to explain to us - in his lovely French accent - why Peruvian Alpaca is the softest. According to him, Canadian Alpaca farmers feed their animals too well and keep them too healthy. He stressed "That means the hair" (at this point in the lesson, he grabbed a lock of his hair and held it straight up for us to see)
"is too 'Robb Ust' ". (Put a strong emphasis on the first syllable when you say that) It took us a moment, but we figured out that he was saying 'robust'. In Peru, he said, the grass is poor and limited and therefore the 'hair' - again a lock was grabbed and held up - is not so 'Robb Ust'. Therefore softer. Poor nutrition, softer fibre. It was quite funny. He was so earnest and we were trying so hard to understand the lesson.

Another great thing about this vendor - I thought I didn't have enough cash left to pay for the kit and asked if he took MasterCard. He didn't. But he did take cheques. However, I hadn't brought any cheques with me. At that point he said, "Take the kit. Mail me the cheque on Monday. " Trustworthy fellow n'est-ce pas? Good for the knitterly soul.

More 'fair' activities tomorrow.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Driving into Meaford yesterday for knit group, I was greeted by these fun fellows.

It's scarecrow time in Meaford. Every fall, Meaford has a scarecrow festival when the merchants and the town decorate the main business streets with scarecrows. Such fun.

There are scarecrows everywhere! These photos were all taken within about 25 feet of my parked car and this scene repeats itself all over downtown Meaford. There are hundreds of scarecrows.

You can't help but smile when you drive through Meaford and it is the one time of the year, when you hope for red lights.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Thursday are for Knit Group and today we had some beautiful pieces of work to look at and some funny things too.

Beautiful like Nicki's 'Pi Are Squared' (a la Elizabeth Zimmermann) shawl.

Laid out flat so you can see the shape. Circular at the back and square at the front.
And here, being modelled so you can see the beauty of it. Nicki knit it with fingering -weight Alpaca, so the shawl weighs nothing! yet will be nice and warm. Seeing this work of art, made me keep quiet about my struggles with Loden Mist.

Sharon with the lovely baby sweater she was working on last week.

Elsie is making a special little girl a hat with pigtails. Quite the expression, Elsie.

And funny like Nicki's newest knitting tool. She is making her son a Cowichan sweater and was finding it hard to read the chart. She purchased a knitters magnifying tool, but the store was out of the boards that go with the magnifiers. Ever inventive, Nicki came up with her own cookie sheet board. A little awkward to carry around in the knitting bag, don't you think?

Only two more big sleeps until the KW Knitters Fair. Be sure to say 'Hi' if you see me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Woman Ahead Of Her Time

It is not often that the phrase 'ahead of her time' is used to describe me. More likely, I think would be the expression 'slow to adapt to change'.

But when I clicked on Stash & Burn yesterday, there it was . Proof that at least in this instance, I was ahead of my time. A September idea for something I did all summer.

September apparently, is 'Single Skein September' - at least according to Stash & Burn. I spent my summer doing single skein stuff. Remember my One Skein Wonders? My 6 hats? My mittens? My tea Cozy?

The euphoria lasted only a couple of seconds though. Stash & Burn mentions several projects. Not one of them was available to an ordinary 'net' user like me. They all were 'ravelry' items. So - at last - - as I said -- 'slow to adapt to change ' -- I signed up for ravelry. Only a four day wait, apparently and I will be on ravelry. A woman almost up with the times.

By the way. only three more big sleeps until the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair. Yippee! If you see me there, please come up and say hello.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Scientific Research = The September Strawberry

We have a new fruit & veggie stand just around the corner. Or more correctly, the fruit and veggie stand that has been there for years, has new owners. When Fred and I popped in on Saturday, look what we saw.
(The box was much fuller, but I was nibbling before I got home to take the picture.)

Ontario Strawberries in September! This is a new variety - an ever bearing variety from down near Simcoe Ontario. Near my hometown. There is an agricultural research station near there and I can only imagine that the scientists who work there have developed this ever bearing Strawberry.

How wonderful. Ontario Strawberries until November!!! the fruit stand owner told us. Who would ever have imagined it!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Fall Fair

As I mentioned on Friday, this weekend was the local fall fair. Not a large fair by any standards, but big on community participation. Look at all this knitting!
Here we have some splendid work in the knitted hat category.

And then we have the men's socks category. Sadly, there was no category for women's' socks. Come on fair-board people. Get with the program. Women's hand knit socks are hot!!
The socks on the left - the second prize winner - were knit by my friend Alice. And between Alice and I, we thought they were the better socks. Alice did say though, that she thinks she doesn't graft her toes well. They looked pretty darned good to me, Alice.

And here is Alice with her first prize cardigan. Isn't that gorgeous? With it's lace and curved front, it is a beauty.

Then there was the category of 'door-draft stopper'. Probably not a category you city slickers often see at your urban expositions, but in the Beaver Valley, a highly-contended category. First prize went to this bright and cheerful fellow. I mean really. If you are stuck in the house in the cold months and chilly because of a draft from under your doors, wouldn't you like to have this fellow around to block that draft and keep you warm?

Now, with all this knitting and the fair being local - that is two blocks from my house - and all, you are probably asking yourselves - "Did you enter anything, Brenda?" Well, not this year. Last year I entered seven items and won prizes for them all. Here's my rack from /07.

But this year, when I received the fair program, I noticed the phrase 'new items only' across the top of the page. Oops! Didn't notice that last year. New requires much more planning on a knitters calendar. Maybe next year.