Wednesday, March 31, 2010

In My Spare Time

Working at the yarn store, offers all sorts of opportunities.

Like a couple of weeks ago when a customer came in with the un-assembled strips of a 6-years-in-the-making, lap-sized afghan. The sewing up had her baffled and so the afghan had been sitting in the closet for 6 years. That is one serious finishing issue.

We talked about the best way to put it together, but since I am not an afghan-girl I am not sure my advise was all that 'expert'. In the end, it was decided to crochet the strips together with a contrasting yarn. An interest-adding feature in blue to match the decor.
The only problem being, the customer didn't crochet. My choices were to try to teach an unwilling ("I just want the darn thing finished and out of my closet") student or to do it for her. I chose the latter.

I often say that I am not an afghan kind of girl and I would further clarify that by saying that I am especially not this kind of an afghan, afghan-girl. By that I mean, the type of afghan I see as 'My Grandma's Afghan'.

However, having finished it, I must admit, it has a special kind of heart-warming appeal.
The knitting is flawless, the design interesting and it will warm a lap for years to come, I'm sure.

I hope she likes it.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two Sleeves!!

What do you see here? (From this end I do see it. Apparently 'blogger' fixed the image -download problem.)
A sleeve, you might say.

But really a sleeve atop a sleeve. There are two!!! Both sleeves done!!!
Poor Waterloo really suffered from the break I took to 'perform' in the Olympics. My motivation waned and despite believing (you know - 'I Believe') that the Olympics had ramped up my goal setting/achieving skills, I found it a struggle to stay focused on finishing that second sleeve. But, at last, they are both done.

Sleeve number one is slightly wider at the top than sleeve number two. Having finished the first I decided on a narrower sleeve. The plan is to sew up a bit of a width-reducing seam at the top of sleeve number one. Hope that idea works.

Now it's off to the state of steeking, although that journey might not happen until after Easter. Between now and our family get together on Good Friday, I have a pedicure appointment, a hair cut appointment, one day of work at the yarn shop, and knit group. The house should -but probably won't - be cleaned. Then there is my contribution to the pot luck meal at my sister's house - scalloped potatoes and sweet potatoes to feed 16.

Thankfully, sleeves don't unravel through waiting.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Something's Wrong

Is it my computer, or is it blogger? I had trouble getting pictures into today's post - Tut Tut. Now I see large blank spots in some of my previous blog posts where pictures should have been. And blank spots in posts from others blogs. Are any other 'blogger' users experiencing this problem?

Tut Tut

Fred says, being products of media overkill, that we are difficult to please. We were not impressed with the King Tut exhibit. Later, while wandering the art gallery we had a lovely time. We visited the Group of Seven works and then saw a wonderful comparison exhibit of sketches done by Rembrandt and Freud. Not that Freud but his grand son.

All the time asking ourselves what had disappointed us about the Tut exhibit. Perhaps the crowds of people. Even though tickets are timed, so - supposedly - crowds are controlled, we found it too packed with people for our liking. Perhaps too 'lessony' in it's desire to teach about the burial practises of Egyptian Pharaohs. In the end though, I said "I think I expected to see Tut." Naive perhaps, but you know, we went to see the King Tut exhibit. I thought I'd see Tut. The closest one comes to seeing Tut is the coffin for his stomach. Not the grandeur I expected.

Car knitting, however, was super. 'Thochie' number one is done. Shown here, with the bottom of the foot knit but not 'kitchenered' together.

Now, 'kitchenered' and ready to wear.
Lastly, on the foot.
It fits a bit differently than a normal 'thock'. It could be word suggestion, but it feels more like a moccasin than a sock. I used Briggs & Little Tuffy, a worsted weight, sock yarn. With that weight of yarn, the pulling together of the heel and toe stitches (thread yarn through stitches and pull together tightly - as you might do at the top of a hat) is a little bulky. With regular weight sock yarn, they might fit more like a sock.

Back to normal programming - Waterloo. At least one more evening of colour work. Two at the most. Then on to steeking.

Friday, March 26, 2010

King Tut

A quick and early-morning post today as Fred and I are off to Toronto. We are meeting up with Peter and the three of us are going to see the King Tut exhibit. The exhibit was in Toronto in the 70s, but today will be our first time seeing it. In the 70s, we were at the stage of little children and big mortgage payments - no King Tut exhibits for us.

The drive is about two hours, and my car knitting will be my Moccasin Socks ( Marie of Sel&Poivre commented that the correct pronunciation in the manner of young kids who can't say 'S' might be Moccathin Thockies.)
Elizabeth says to knit for 8 inches from the 6 stitches put on hold for the heel. I'm close.

Waterloo is moving along as well. Sleeve number two.
Compared to finished, sleeve number one.
Almost at the cutting stage. After my Green Sweater experience, I am filled with confidence and ready to steek. Let's hope that confidence doesn't translate into an over confident disaster.

Off now to be awestruck by lots and lots of gold.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Who doesn't love a fashion show? A knitting fashion show?

That's what happened at knit group today. It started with this.
A 'what is it?' piece of knitting for sure. I needed help to try it on - the straight jacket look wasn't all that fashionable. But Ingrid got it right the first time,

as did Sharon.
Doreen knit the shrug, starting with an invisible cast on, then knitting the centre rectangle of ribbing. Once the rectangle was done, she picked up stitches from the live cast on, increased so as to double the number of stitches then ribbed the exterior circle. It makes a weird 'doily' but a wonderful shrug. I'm smitten. I wonder if Elizabeth would approve.

I modelled Ingrid's fabulous piece.
Never would I knit - or buy - a 'peplum' piece. Who wants to highlight the belly? But this looks as good on me as it did on Ingrid. Well, as good as taking a piece worn by a tall, thin lady and putting it on a short, not-thin lady can look.

Those that didn't 'dress up' knit. Pat finished another Octopus.
One she says she will keep for herself.

Bonnie finished a child's cabled sweater. I insisted she hold the sweater so I could get both knitter and knitting in the picture. Bonnie, on the other hand, decided on an impression of Tim Taylor's neighbour, Wilson.
We know she's there, but we can't see her.

As for Survivor. It was shown last night, Wednesday. What a terrible thing to do to a person whose life revolves around wonderful Thursdays of knitting and Survivor. Last night we were at a Gord Bamford concert and since neither Fred no I have any idea how to use the 'tape' program on the VCR - I will have to wait until Tuesday when Rogers On Demand updates their listings. Reading online, though I see that James is gone. Hmm. Guess his bad knee did him in.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The dining and dancing has come to a halt and it's back to knitting for this Grandma. Knowing that while the Grand Kids were here for March Break, it might would be impossible to work on Waterloo, I started a pair of socks.

Not just any socks, but 'thockies', from Elizabeth Zimmermann's book Knitting Around.

Elizabeth said that one (or perhaps all) of her children had trouble prouncing the letter S when small, and therefore "anything between the shoe and the foot was called a 'thockie'." Of course, Elizabeth being Elizabeth, she couldn't just knit a simple 'thockie'. Instead, she 'unvented' a Moccasin sock. One in which the complete sole is replaceable. She calls them RETREADS.

To quote - "the entire sole of the foot is knitted in one piece, it can be replaced when necessary without disturbing the instep, which never seems to wear out. Also the sock itself can be knitted in a pale or pastel color, and the sole can be worked in a more practical navy or black."

My Moccasin sock is being knit in Briggs & Little Tuffy in a pale beige/grey colour on 3.25mm needles. The leg is finished and the heel stitches are now on hold.
I have decreased away the 'gusset' stitches and am knitting the top of the foot or in 'sock talk', the instep.

Eventually, stitches will be picked up around the instep and knit down, while decreasing, until they meet in the centre of the bottom of the foot. The stitches are then 'Kitchenered' together. A unique way to make socks, that is just one of the enlightening aspects of my year with Elizabeth.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Little Energy Left

Entertaining two of the Grand Kids for a few days of March break, has left this Grandma with little energy.

Our visits, because of the 11 hour drive that separates us, are always pretty intense. We don't see each other often, so it naturally falls to try and cram as much love and fun as possible into our infrequent visits.

The kids hot tubbed, and made special desserts. Uncle Peter arrived with his DS, so the three of them 'DSed' together. (It's the new-age rendition of 'the family that plays together stays together) Uncle Peter is the one wearing the stuffed turtle atop his head.

There was hiking on the Trout Hollow Trail and lunch at the 'Village at Blue' pizzeria followed by an afternoon of swimming at the Plunge.

By Saturday night, after a dessert of chocolate cupcakes and ice cream with home made chocolate sauce, there was some energy to burn. We danced.

I may have started it,

but soon James joined in,
then Abi.
Finally, Uncle Peter felt the call.

It was all great fun, but Grandma is a little tired. Regular blogging resumes tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Recipe Day

No knitting content today. Instead, I give you a fantastic new recipe. Fantastic especially if you are under ten, or hosting anyone under ten.

Abi, my 8 year old grand daughter told me about this recipe and we HAD to make it right now.

Fresh Strawberries
White Chocolate Chips - melted
Sprinkles - in rainbow colours

Wash and dry berries (The chocolate won't stick if berries are wet. Did you know that Grandma?)
Roll each berry in melted white chocolate
Roll each berry in sprinkles

Perfect presentation.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

Finally finished, Ingrid wore her Koigu mitred square dress to knit group today. With the months of work it involved, Ingrid calls it her 'dream dress turned nightmare.

The centre portion is knit of squares, mitred. Stitches are picked up along the edge of a finished square to knit the next square. Then the triangular pieces were knit and crocheted to the squares. According to Ingrid, there were k-zillions of ends to sew in. It is a one of a kind piece - a work of art.

Gloria - our newest member - well, I'm not sure about her. She is knitting an upside- down doll.
When you lift her skirt, you get another doll. I wonder just what kind of child is going to play with this doll who has a face under her skirt!!

Pat knit herself a new sweater. Looks lovely, Pat. And a change from stuffed toys.

Sharon's top down sweater is nearing the 'great divide' as Deb Gemmell refers to it. The point in the sweater where the sleeves are separated from the body. It looks great so far. The yarn is Knit Picks tweed in a lovely shade of purple.
Sharon turned 29 again today. She had a luncheon date, then came to knit group bearing a box of chocolates.
Lunch, then yarn and chocolate. What better birthday could a knitter have?

I didn't linger too long at knit group today, as there was something special waiting for me at home.

Grand kids from Hearst in the hot tub. Gotta love March Break.

Now for Survivor. The poor Heroes. James injured and another challenge lost. The merge better come soon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Picture's Worth ??

The Chinese have known a lot of stuff about a lot of things for a lot of time. But I'm not sure that in this case a picture is worth much.

Laurie and Marie both commented on my newly-refinished Green Sweater with it's applied I-Cord. Marie asked if the sweater 'looked' any different and Laurie asked for pictures.

To answer Marie, the sweater looks much the same to me.
The I-Cord being knit with the same yarn as the sweater, doesn't stand out. When I did the first buttonhole 'loop' as the instruction page pictured it - like a little circle - it seemed bulky to me. So I made a design decision and created buttonhole 'openings' not loops.

The I-Cord was applied until arriving at the location for a buttonhole, then worked unattached for the distance of the buttonhole, then re-applied until the next buttonhole. It creates a very unobtrusive little opening. Lovely, I think.
Not being able to markedly see what was changed, many knitters might ask if it was worth the effort. Maybe this is where the picture is worth a thousand words, because, for me, the word is 'yes'.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Off The island - Almost

If not off the island, at least moving closer to the mainland.

One sleeve done,

the second one started.

After the Olympics, when I returned to the Waterloo Fair Isle, I picked up the called-for, 5 mm needles and started in where I had left off. After an inch or so of knitting, I took a good look at the stitches and it seemed to me that the post-Olympic stitches were bigger than the pre-Olympic stitches. With my memory, I will never know for sure but it appears that I might have forgotten to switch up to the larger needle size after completing the ribbing.

That would mean that the pre-Olympic portion of the sleeve is knit on a 4 mm and the post-Olympic portion is knit on a 5mm.

And I am here to tell you that it is going to stay that way. Sleeve number two will have to be done the same way. Today, I will begin the fair isle portion of the second sleeve on the 4 mm and see if it resembles sleeve number one. If not, then I have no idea what I did and Waterloo will have sleeves with disparate DNA. And I will love it all the more for it's uniqueness.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Gold Medals Are No Guarantee

Despite having won a gold medal in the Meaford Knitting Olympics, this weekend, I learned that my medal is no guarantee that I perform as coached.

Tidying up the yarn room, I picked up the pattern for my Olympic Knitting project - Elizabeth Zimmermann's Green Sweater. Ready to file it away until next time, I saw this. Number 6.
"What the heck?"I thought. Why would there be information about I-Cord button loops in a pattern that has no I-Cord?

But there it was - in both picture and word.
Well, perhaps I should re-read the pattern. Sure enough, Elizabeth meant for the fronts to be bordered by applied I-Cord with built-in button loops.

Where the heck I ever got the idea that the buttonholes were to be crocheted, I do not know.
Normally my prevailing knitting philosophy is 'sometimes good enough is good enough', but something about recreating this historic sweater made me want to knit it exactly as directed.

So, this weekend, two weeks after the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Olympics, I cut off the crocheted buttonholes and worked the applied I-Cord. I must say the I-Cord gives the sweater fronts and the button loops some substance. In this loosely knit sweater, substance at those edges is a good thing. My Olympic project is now done.

I'm keeping my medal, though.

Friday, March 12, 2010


Sel&Poivre kindly rewarded me with another blog award nomination this year.

Before I pass on this award to deserving bloggers, I, like Marie, want to explain, the background behind my 'favourites list' and my award choices.

I have been changing my blog-reading list in 2009. Why do that?
Well, blogs aren't what they used to be. Blogs have changed. Bogs have evolved.

When I first started reading blogs - how long ago would that be? -how long have knitting blogs existed? Five years? Seven years? - I was fascinated. So many generously-spirited knitters willing to spend time each day to share their knitting knowledge, experiences and, even at times, free patterns with others. At no charge to the reader. Asking nothing of the reader except to read and enjoy. How great was that?

Then blogs changed. More correctly, some blogs changed. Some blogs that had captured me since their inception, became nothing more than forums for self promotion. Bloggers, who had previously been simply knitters who blogged, became knitters who blogged and wrote books. Or knitters who blogged and designed patterns. A marvellous evolution in itself, but, with a captive audience in blogland, some of these bloggers began to used their blogs to promote their books, announce their book tours and/or sell their patterns. Annoying enough to a purist like myself looking for the 'pure laine' of the blog world. But when some of those same bloggers stopped writing about knitting altogether and posted only when announcing a new pattern or book for sale, I knew it was time to hit the delete button. It is time I think, to create another category of blogs. Sellers' blogs. Bloggers' shops. Whatever the title might be, it is a plea to those blogs that have become commercials to please stop trying to lure us to your pocketbook through blogging. That's my rant.

Having hit the delete button often in 2009, I spent the year, like Marie, searching for new blogs to read that are satisfying in their knitting content without trying to sell me something. I like to read blogs that tell me a lot about the knitting adventures of other knitters as well as tell me somethings about the adventures of the knitters' lives aside from knitting. (Yes, some knitters have lives apart from knitting.) Even better if those blogs can make me laugh or admire some fantastic photographs.

So - I give you my choice. Not for top three blogs, but for top three blog posts in 2009. They come, by the way, from three of my 'must read daily' blogs.

Marie of Sel& Poivre is an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful blogger and knitter. Any post of hers will educate and entertain. But this post , in particular, elevated the theory of knitting to that of a PHD thesis. I wish I could write like that. Thank you Marie.

Ruth of Knitting On Impulse is an amazingly creative knitter, dyer, spinner, jewellery maker and photographer who lives in Whistler, British Columbia. This post describes her Olympics 2010 Tribute Sweater which she designed and knit in the days leading up to the Olympics. These posts stunning photos of Olympic athletes are award winners for sure. I wish I could design sweaters and take photos like that. Thank you Ruth.

Laurie M of Issues With Knitting is a strong, focused, inventive knitter that life has tossed around in 2009. Her posts often show her great knitting and sometimes, her great knitting fans. Like this post where her husband models a no-fit sweater. I wish I could remain so strong when life throws curves. Thank you Laurie.

Then of course there are other great blogs that are special to me.
Freshisle Fibers A Really Good Yarn Curlerchick Stashqueen Du Tissue de la Laine and the list goes on ...

This awards thing is supposed to conclude with seven things about me. When I thought abut what to include in that list, I can't think of a darn thing that you don't already know about me. Except perhaps that I am short. 5 feet one inch. And I have two sisters. They don't knit. More's the pity.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And Survivor

It seems I am not the only knitter struggling to get up to speed after the marathon that was the Olympic challenge.

Today, not one knitter showed up with finished knitting. Most unusual for the prodigious Meaford knitters.

There were lots of 'starts' though. So I give you 'in progress' shots of ribbing.

Lois has mittens in progress to match her Olympic hat.
Sharon has started a top down cardigan from Button Up Your Top Down.

Wilma intends to knit a scarf to wear with her spring coat. Good start, Wilma.

Gloria has started a baby cardigan.
Not even Pat had finished a toy. Just the pants to show for her week's knitting.

Survivor tonight. Finally, people caught on to Cirie. Last time she played, it seemed so obvious to this home viewer that she should go, but no amount of couch coaching could induce them to vote her off. This time around they figured her out. It takes one to know one and Cirie proved that with her "Good for you." as she left for home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waterloo Returns

For the first time since February 26th, yesterday, I picked up Waterloo. The yarn, the body and the sleeve-in-progress, were all neatly waiting on my craft table where they had been set aside during the Olympic knitting challenge. I retrieved my note book with the written, row-by-row instructions for the colour-work pattern and was ready to knit. With just one, little, but, oh-so-important, missing detail . What row was I on?

Yesterday, I gave you the 2009 date when I had hung out laundry for the first time that spring. And if you were to ask, I could tell you the date for each year back to - well, actually, I am embarrassed to tell you how many years back I could go. All of it due to my 'anally-retentive' record keeping.

But did I write down what row I had just finished when I set Waterloo down for three weeks? Nope! So the counting began. Remember, it is a 32 row repeat. Thank goodness for that one bright orange row. It made a great marker. Once I thought I had the right row, I checked off coloured stitches in that row, comparing them to the chart. Knitting was only delayed by 30 minutes or so. And once I started, it did feel good to have Waterloo back in my hands. With the first sleeve two-thirds finished and my goal-setting skills revved to new heights from the Olympic challenge, I am setting a goal to have this warm, heavy sweater finished before the weather heats up enough to encourage small-project knitting.

As a post script - I think the true definition of 'early spring' is "A day warm and sunny enough to enjoy sitting on our south-facing deck, but having to wade through two feet of snow to retrieve the lawn chairs from the shed."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

A First For 2010

Look what I did yesterday.

Compare this to last year, when the first time I hung out laundry, was April 7th. Unless the weatherman is teasing us, it seems as if it will be an early spring.

Some of what you see there on the clothesline is ski garb. Ski socks and long johns. It is not often in this neck of the woods that it is cold enough to ski, but warm enough to hang out your laundry. The housewifely equivalent of sports lovers skiing and golfing on the same weekend.

Bring it on. It feels great.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Little FOs

Finally. Some finished knitting. Except for my Olympic knitting, there have been no FOs to date, in 2010. Waterloo waits still, but this weekend, I finished the Prime Rib hat from EZ's Opinionated Knitter. While on the roll (Ha! One FO a roll? Ha!) I finished up a pair of socks that I was knitting for Fred.

They are the brown 'Very Warm Mohair Socks' started long ago. My standard pattern of one strand lace weight mohair held together with one strand sock yarn. 3mm needles, with, for Fred, 54 stitches cast on. Never before have I run out of yarn when knitting socks for either Fred or myself. But here's what happened with the brown VWMSocks.

Discouraged, I let them sit for awhile, but this weekend, feeling the knitting energy return, I scrounged through my bag of sock yarn and came up with an almost match. Now named the Unique, One Of A Kind VWMSocks they are my third FO of 2010. Yippee!

The Prime Rib hat was FO #2 and a prime challenge. I couldn't figure out that stitch to save my life. Probably confused because I think of EZ as never knitting flat and with no reference to purl stitches, I presumed that the hat was knit in the round. But I think not. In the end, I knit it flat and only had to make one little adjustment to the instructions to make the stitch work out. Completed, it is a great hat. Cute. Warm. Cozy. And FINISHED!!!