Friday, October 29, 2010

My New Fall Fashion

I have a very wise friend who says that the most important fashion item for cold-climate people is the coat. In fact her philosophy is that every woman should have several coats. Forget what's underneath them as come cold weather, we seldom take the coat off when we go out.

Until I was introduced to her philosophy, I had one dress, winter coat. When I went out, I wore my coat. At the grocery store, the mall, the post office, the bank, the coat stayed on. All people ever saw was the coat. My same, same coat. Her philosophy is right.

Now, I have three coats. The latest being a purchase from Berry Ellen. I saw the Berry Ellen designs at the Meaford Craft Show the weekend before Thanksgiving and loved her coats. Unfortunately, her smallest size was too big for me. Read again. Her smallest size was too big for me. How great did that make me feel?

I asked about a custom size and she said "Of Course". Now I have my latest coat - teal canvas with dark, charcoal grey, velveteen trim. I love it. But of course it needed a scarf. Knowing my colour wheel (A girl can learn much from watching Colour Confidential) I decided the best colour for the teal coat scarf would be orange-ish.

Off to the stash I went and pulled out my bag of orange yarns. Having seen, on shop shelves, some very expensive yarns that were simply many different novelty yarns tied together, I decided to create my own.

One of my yarns, was plentiful, the others were just bits and pieces. Using the 'Old King Cole' measuring method of nose to finger tip, I created my designer yarn by alternating twice the amount of my plentiful yarn, with half amounts of the various bit and pieces. Then I simply tied them together - no special knot - and started to knit. When I came to the knot I knit one stitch with yarn, tails and knot, then let the rest of the tails hang out. Very hate-couture, don't you think?

The pattern is Sally Melville's Shape It Scarf, from her first book The Knit Stitch. I'm feeling very 'runway' with this.

Have a great weekend everyone. I'm off to the grocery store, the bank, the post office - wherever I can think, to show off my coat and scarf. Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

My picture taking habits took a lazy approach to knit group today. Only three pictures.

Sharon finished the lovely, light-but-warm, Fleece Artist shawl for her cousin out west.
A gorgeous piece with simple garter stitch knitting but absolutely stunning yarn. It's beautiful, Sharon. I am glad it got detoured today for some show and tell, before getting shipped off to Alberta.

Sharon's had a busy knitting week (Her hubby's out of town. Can you tell?) with two FOs. This is a little chemo cap for her sister in law.
Sharon says her SIL looks fabulous in this colour. Hope it brightens her day, Sharon.

Pat is back in full swing, with her first complete knitted doll. This one ready for the upcoming Christmas season. Another cutie, Pat.

This seems a brief and uninspiring post - I think my flu shot has kicked in and made me dopey dopier.

And My Survivor Review.
I still say it's Survivor Bonkers this time round. Fabio using the pool for the bathroom and Naonka 'eeking out' over touching the cows n..........(rhymes with ripples). How would you like Naonka to be your child's PE teacher? Scary!

I won't say who got voted off because Lyn S commented last week to say that 'down under' they are 6 episodes behind. I don't want to spoil your evening of TV viewing, Lyn.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tissues Versus Hankerchiefs

My father always used cotton handkerchiefs. My Mother washed them weekly. Yuck. Not for me. We use tissues at my house. Always have. Always - - - well, maybe not.

Christmas is coming and thoughts of sugar plums hand-knit gifts dance in my head. First on my list was felted slippers for my Grand daughters. This fall, I purchased some very special trim - rabbit fur yarn from Paula Lishman. My vision was to knit something to show off the fur. Felted slippers with fur trim seemed a good idea. The grey fur looked best against black, so black slippers it was. Late last night I finished the first pair. Silly, I know, to felt just one pair, but what knitter can resist seeing the results? Not me, obviously.

Felters know that things felt best when paired with something else in the machine. I chose Fred's jeans. Felters know that it is best for the machine to place the knitting in a bag - a pillowcase, perhaps.

But it was late. I was in a hurry. And I couldn't readily find an old pillowcase. Big mistake.
Fred had a tissue in his back pocket. Of course, the late hour and my haste meant I didn't check.

Take it from me. There is no mess quite like the mess of black wool slippers felted with a tissue.
I think Fred will get some cotton hankies for Christmas.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Can You See A 'But' Coming?

Bloggers who use their bog for self-promotion are not my type of blogger. Using the blog mainly to advertise the latest for-sale pattern, or promote the most recent book tour is not my idea of good blogging.

Blogging about knitting, to me, means sharing ideas, sharing successes and sharing trials about knitting experiences. In this way, bloggers further the art/craft of knitting and that benefits all knitters.

Knowing that self-promotion is not something that I do often, here comes my 'but'.

But, readers are aware that over the last several months, I was working on a book. Deb Gemmell from Cabin Fever and I worked together to produce a book on how to knit socks. Titled
Need A Sock? it was released in mid-September.

The book is a tutorial, a recipe, a formula on how to knit socks. It encourages the knitter to become intuitive about sock knitting. Our hope is that once the sock knitting formula is mastered, sock knitting will be second nature to the knitter. No patterns will ever be required to knit socks.

With that in mind, Deb and I are organizing a KAL. For knitters wanting to knit a first sock - or - for knitters wanting to learn to knit socks using the percentage formula, the KAL will run on ravelry starting in early November.

If you are interested, you can check in with the Cabin Fever ravelry group here.

I now return to my regular programming blogging.

Friday, October 22, 2010

My New Favourite Sweater

I handed Fred the camera in between his morning and afternoon fishing jaunts and give you modeled shots of my 50th Anniversary Sweater. This is my new favourite sweater.

It fits nicely.

It's passed the wearing test - twice this week.

Like any good natural fibre, it keeps me warm and snuggly, but doesn't make me hot.

The two tone I-Cord edges do not roll! Yippee!

I'm happy, happy, happy with it.

Thanks for your interest in this knit - and as Marie would say - eh!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

Great glorious colours were what we saw today at knit group. Sandy B has finished her Koigu, mitred-square, buggy blanket. Just in time to let us see it before she leaves for Florida next week.
Look at the obvious planning that went into that colour placement before she even picked up the needles! It is gorgeous, Sandy.

Pat was back for the first time since her surgery.
She is now officially a member of the Lopsided Top Club. Glad to have you back, Pat - and we love your socks.

Bonnie showed up with yet another sweater for herself. Once that woman got started, she hasn't stopped treating herself to hand knit sweaters. This one is my colour.

Time for buttons, don't you think, Bonnie?

Doreen finished the baby outfit that gave her grief and I even managed to get a smile from her when I snapped this picture.
The little sweater is off to the Meaford Hospital Gift shop. So many places in Meaford benefit from Doreen's generosity.

Our stylish, hat-wearing Nicki arrived today with one of her stress-busting, sock-yarn, log-cabin squares. She is using up leftover sock yarn and has 4 squares done now.

And Wilma is well on her way to completing two little sweaters in mirror-image colouring for her Western Canadian Grand daughters. Little girls will love those colours, Wilma.
I, of course, wore my 50th anniversary Cardigan and it got rave reviews. Modeled shots of it tomorrow.

Now - my Survivor Review - Two ladies gone. Poor Kelly B - gone just because of her leg. Isn't that discrimination? And then Eve. I was certain it would be Marty.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Great Great Grandma's Gift

Last week, I was introduced to Carol - a lively, 80 year old Grandma. When Carol came to see me, she was very excited about the recent news that her Grand daughter is expecting her first baby - Carol's first great grand child - in March.

With her, Carol had a plastic bag filled with her Mother's knitting things. Yarn, needles and the un-joined pieces of a small, white, hand-knit, baby outfit.

Since her Mom passed away in 1995 and for several years before that was too unwell to knit, Carol struggles to imagine when -and for which baby- her Mother might have knit the little outfit. But, with the next generation on the way, Carol really wants to see the baby wear her Mother's handiwork. "After all', she emphatically told me, in case my genealogical math was poor, "that would be the baby's Great Great Grandma!"

Carol asked if I might be able to sew the pieces together, knit a picot edge around the neck and affix some type of closure. "'Not ribbons - my Grand daughter hates ribbons".

Once my 50th Anniversary Sweater was finished, I gathered up the little pieces and spent a lovely couple of evenings sewing them together, thinking of babies and the wonder of knitting that crosses generations to bring love from a Great Great Grandma known to the baby only through stories.

There are, as requested, no ribbons, but rather three little pearl buttons for closure and a picot edge around the neck. The bonnet, - since I am now so good at it - has an I-Cord tie.

May the baby wear it in good health, Carol.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Details Details Details

My 50th Anniversary Sweater got interrupted many times and seemed to take ages to knit. But as I look back at my blog posts, I see it was August 12th I was knitting the sleeves. Two months in the grand scheme of knitting, only seems long.

But done and almost dry from blocking, I love it. Here are the details.

Elizabeth Zimmermann's 50th Anniversary Cardigan.

Yarn - Alpaquita. Peruvian Alpaca purchased at the KW Knitters Fair, Sept 2008. Only two years on the shelf! Although, all the garments this vendor had on display were beautifully knit with no snagged, split stitches I found the yarn to be ornery. It split easily and shows every messy stitch. I am counting on blocking and gravity to fix my sloppy knitting.

Needles- After much trial and disappointment of sleeve beginnings I settled on 4mm.
The ball band gave no suggested needle size, but to me the yarn looked best at about a DK gauge. With the 4mm needles, I achieved about 24 stitches over 4 inches.

Method - This sweater is knit in the round and later steeked. I knit the sleeves first , then started the body. Once the body and sleeves were joined, I knit for about 4 inches before starting the yoke pattern. Being short, I prefer patterned yokes that start higher up the chest. Following EZ's guiding light, I learned that the yoke depth is about 1/4 of the sweater circumference. For me that meant 10 inches.

Relating that 10 inch bit of information to my gauge and then to the yoke chart, I realized I could remove some of the chart rows and fit the yoke into a shorter space, thus starting it further up the chest for the look I wanted. Thank you Elizabeth.

The most pleasing part of this yoke pattern - for me - was the reverse nature of the colouring. Most often, it seems, in yoke-patterned sweaters, the main colour remains the same as you near the neck, while the pattern colours change. This chart does the opposite. The pattern remains the same, while the background colour changes.
I chose the off white - the lightest of my colours - for the pattern work and you can see the background colour change from the darker body colour through a mid brown, and finally to a lighter beige. Bordered by my choice of red for the 'optional' colour row at the beginning of the chart. We're talking art here, people!

The bottom of the sweater and the sleeves are 2 x 2 ribbing for about 2 1/2 inches, but that is the only ribbing. The front edges and neck are bordered with two rows of I-Cord. The first row is the same colour as the body while the second row was done in a lighter tone. I am not sure that was the right choice. Being afraid of my efforts to achieve neat I-Cord trim, I chose the body colour for the first row. Less likely to show blips, but definitely, it turns out, less likely to be seen at all. It shows up nicely around the neck though.

The button holes are invisible. They sit between the two rows of I-Cord and are done by simply not attaching the I-Cord for the distance of two stitches.

Steeking was easy - just one steek running up the centre front. I allowed for the steek by knitting an extra 5 stitches at centre front. At some point in my knitting life, I had heard that seed stitch was a good steek stitch, so seed stitch it was. At cutting time, however, I decided to try a crocheted steek. I REALLY like the crocheted steek - it becomes it's own cut-ends hider -
but would have been much easier to work on stockinet stitch. Next time.

The underarms were grafted. And if you know a knitter that can do this type of sleeve join without a tiny hole at each end I'd like to meet her/him. Not really. I'd rather not. But I followed Deb Gemmell's tip to close those pesky holes with what she calls a 'purse-string' closure. Simply skim the yarn in a circle around the hole and pull tightly. Like closing those little cloth purses some of us had as kids. Dead easy and it looks good.

Lastly, a poor, self-portrait shot. The photographer is fishing. When will that run end? Perhaps better pictures another time.

Monday, October 18, 2010


Fifth no, perhaps the sixth - no, probably the seventh - heck, I can't remember how many times I tackled the I-Cord on Elizabeth Zimmermann's 50th Anniversary Sweater. But success at last. Two layered attached I-Cord.

Somewhere I read that once the stitches have been picked up for the first layer of attached I-Cord, in the correct ratio - huh! like that was easy to figure out - the second layer just falls into place. Another Huh! Like that was true.

I have one wiggly front edge.
That left side is about an inch longer than the right side. Hoping I can shrink the heck out of this Alpaca with blocking, at this time, I have no plans to re-do that front.

Otherwise the sweater fits nicely, looks lovely and is one to be worn with pride. All the details tomorrow.

Friday, October 15, 2010


Thanks to all my readers that offered support and encouragement through my mis-adventures with the *&%^$* non-performing I-Cord. It was great to know my entire knitting audience was cheering me on.

And special thanks to my knitting buddy Patti-Ann. PA and I worked together at London Yarns for many years and she knows my knitting weak spots well. PA sent me a hand-out sheet she has worked up for store customers who - like me (Hah! I'm not alone.) - have difficulty with attached I-Cord. Detail by tiny detail, it told me exactly what to do to achieve success.

Three quarters of the way around the edge, I have an I-Cord I like.
Unfortunately, PA was not able to give me any advice on attaching the second layer. Hmmm. My decision now is trial and error on layer two - or be happy with one layer. A couple more nights of frustrating knitting will give me my answer.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

Today was a day for turkey tales around the table at knitting. We all had stories to tell of Thanksgiving weekend visitors. Sharon as always had the biggest crowd. Every year, she hosts her entire family for Thanksgiving Day and this year served 27.

Some sent word that they were too tired after the long weekend to come to knitting today. But others, myself included, think where else would I go when tired? And some of us had even found time to knit since last Thursday.

Gail finished her little hoodie in Cotton Tweed pink.
Cotton Tweed is such a gorgeous yarn. We at Thursday knit group are all fans. Moderately priced with good yardage. Part cotton, part acrylic. It knits nicely, it washes nicely - in the machine!

The buttons are gorgeous. And well they should be -they cost as much as the yarn. But they make the sweater, Gail. Good choice.

Doreen was sporting a lovely scarf.
Bright cheerful colours. The yarn was given to her and Doreen is certain it is dishcloth cotton. She invited me to feel it and I'd have to say, she's probably right. Obviously, dishcloth cotton isn't just for dishcloths, Doreen. It made one great scarf.

And welcome back, Marlene. Marlene is an 'on-the-go' girl. With summer finished and a new part time job in town, she says she will be sticking closer to home these next few months. We hope to see you more often, Marlene. While away, she knit these gorgeous spiral socks with Patons Stretch. Neat!

My Survivor Review. WOW! What a challenge that was. Being rotated into water which needed to be swallowed and then spit out - while moving - into a tube! Yikes! How hard was that! And poor little sock-thieving, artificial-leg-kicking Naonka is tired, hungry and wants to go home. Not so cocky now, is she? It was not a surprise that they got rid of Tyrone. Anyone who speaks their mind is at risk of being booted out. Who's next? Marty?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I (Don't-Know-About-This) Cord

With Thanksgiving, Sis' socks and a house full of people now behind me, I fully expected to be able to finish my 50th Anniversary cardigan 'toute suite' as we say here in bilingual land. Tuesday night I expected completion.

Tuesdays are my night to howl knit as Fred plays darts on Tuesday nights. He leaves at 6:45 which gives me tons of uninterrupted knitting time. Finished pictures Wednesday morning, I so foolishly thought. After all, it is down to two little bands of I-Cord. How hard can it be? Well, hard enough that third time wasn't so charming.

Initially, I began with one of the contrast colours. 'Not a very wise move', I thought. Blips will glare in the contrast colour. Tuesday night's knitting began with ripping out the contrast and starting the second attempt with the main colour.

Now, you might remember that I did I-Cord trim on my Elizabeth Zimmermann Green Sweater during the 2010 Olympics. So it's not that I don't know 'how' to do it, it is just that I can't remember how to do it well.

The second attempt went poorly, but in true knitterly-denial fashion, I kept going until about half way around the neck. By that time - quick learner, me - I knew I had a poor I-Cord on my hands. Rip.

Third time - close to bed time - and I am about half-way up the front of the sweater. One might talk about the charm at this point, but I'm not thrilled with the results. You be the judge. Which picture is a picture of I-Cord? Without the needles in the photo, it's hard to tell. Which to my knitterly mind means - not worth the effort.
My options are to trim in something other than I-Cord, or carry on until the second layer is complete, then decide. Wanting to stay true to the original pattern, I have decided in the bright light of morning, to carry on. It will either work or it won't. The next few days will tell. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sis' Sock Details

With the socks and the big dinner both finished, there is a bit of breathing time. Enough time for me to give you details. On the socks that is. I'm sure the dinner was much like other Thanksgiving turkey feasts.

Sis' Socks
Yarn - Austermann Step. This yarn contains both Aloe and Jojoba Oil. Although myself, not a fan of Aloe - rubbing a cut Aloe plant on my skin gives me a rash - this yarn is lovely. It is soft and felt good in the hand while knitting and good on the foot when I tried on the sock. I've been told that the Aloe disappears after about 40 washings, but at the moment, the socks are rich with Aloe and feel great.

Needles - My favourite sock size - 2.25mm

Stitches- I cast on 68 stitches for the cuff, using 34 for the heel flap.

Cuff & Leg.
The cuff was knit in a 2x2 rib - a favourite of mine - and the leg in plain old stockinet. When knitting for someone other than myself, I often knit the leg in a rib pattern. Rib doesn't slouch as easily - a good thing when knitting for unknown leg shapes. But I was in a hurry with theses socks and took the easy/lazy way out and knit the sock in stockinet for about 7 inches before starting the heel flap.

The heel flap was done in another favourite - Slip one, Knit one on the right side rows and Slip the first stitch then purl across on the wrong side rows.

I used the round heel style for the heel turn, knitting to two stitches past centre before working the first short row.

The foot, meant to fit Sis's 7 1/2 shoe size was knit for about 7 1/2 inches - measured from the back of the heel.

The toes too were worked in the 'round style', working a decrease round every other round until 50% of stitches remain, then decreasing every round until only 25% of stitches remained.

The matching of patterns was easy with this yarn
and so I have identical twin socks - a proud Mama I am. Sis loved them and they fit like a glove good sock should.

A grateful PS - Last week, a very special first happened. There were in excess of 300 visits to my blog. Thank you all so much for visiting and reading. I am very appreciative.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


9:59 pm Friday night.

Happy Happy Thanksgiving.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Behind Schedule

Behind schedule - the story of my life.

With a visitor from Hearst with us this week, it was much more fun last night to go out to dinner - especially since our guest was treating - than it was to stay home and knit.

That meant that this morning, being the first up, I was playing knitting-catch-up. By Thursday, the goal was to be finished the foot on Sis' Sock. Instead the foot was about half finished.

Now, after my pre-breakfast marathon of knitting, I am almost finished. The foot that is.
Close enough that I am sure to be able to finish the toe by bed-time tonight. Unless of course we are again invited out to eat.

All of this, as Thanksgiving approaches, makes me grateful. Grateful for needles and yarn. Grateful for eyes and fingers that still work. Grateful for a sister that appreciates my knitting.
Grateful for friends that treat us to dinner. Just plain grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers. And to non-Canadians readers, why not cook a turkey? Just for the sheer pleasure of the smell and taste.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Thursdays Are For Knit Group And My Survivor Review

Knit group was the place to be this afternoon.
There was cider and maple cookies and lots of knitters. Most of us, hosting thanksgiving events at our homes this weekend, needed a break from the veggie chopping. What better place to go than knit group.

Ingrid brought her friend from Germany.
She speaks little English - but knitting requires no special language skills. Welcome to Canada, Heide. Ingrid has introduced her to Koigu - but I see Heide has not tackled the mitred squares. Smart lady.

Gloria has taken the lead on stuffed toys.
Pat, at home recuperating from surgery, will be glad to see someone is keeping up the supply of knitted toys. By the size of the ball of yarn still in your bag, Gloria, you have lots of work ahead of you.

Gail finished a hat - with Pom Pom - and Newfie mitts. I love the colours.

Sandy B, who said - "just the knitting, not me" - has the front section of her mitred square vest now finished.

Sandy is thinking of a half square - I think they are called triangles, Sandy - around the edge. Sounds like a lot of work wonderful.

Sandy was also showing off her 'stilettos'. Needles, not shoes.
She says she's too old for stilettos in shoe form.

And this lovely, mouth-agape photo of me comes courtesy of Nicki.
I knew there was a reason I shouldn't let others use my camera, Nicki.

On to My Survivor Review. Jimmy T gone. Players with the first name of 'Jimmy' are dropping weekly. He was quite annoying. It would have been my vote too. And now we get to see how annoying Marty might be.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


Deadlines require goals. At least, considering my self-diagnosed ADD and propensity for being easily sidetracked, I know I need goals to achieve my deadlines.

Despite my kind and generous sister emailing me yesterday saying not to panic over the socks. She says she can wait. She doesn't want to be the cause of any undue stress in my life.

Of course she is right. Undoubtedly she does own other socks. But if her socks are finished, then I can finish my 50th Anniversary Cardigan. And once my cardigan is finished, then I can get on to the next project - which BTW - I'm thinking might be the 'Must Have Cardi' done EZ style. So, the goal is to give the socks to my sister this weekend.

What dawned on me last night as I picked up my needles is that goals, of course, need to be broken down into manageable, bite-size pieces. Working backwards I came up with a plan. Tuesday, Knit to the beginning of the heel flap. Wednesday work the heel flap, heel and gusset. Thursday, knit the foot. Friday the toe. Saturday gift wrap - well that might not happen. But at least I will have a day to spare in case the daily goals don't get met.

And so far - one night into the daily-goal, focused deadline, I'm on track.
Sock # 2 - ready for the heel flap as I was ready for bed.

Monday, October 4, 2010


Being a working woman all my adult life, I am accustomed to deadlines. Now retired, I secretly think I miss those deadlines.

While working, busy, stressed, short of time, I was often exposed to motivational speakers who would say inane things like "All dead lines are self-imposed." " All stress is self-induced."

HAH! They obviously didn't know my manager.

But now, there is no one to impose deadlines on me, for me. No work schedule that requires a certain accomplishment by a certain date. All my deadlines, now, are, indeed, self-imposed. But impose them I do.

That is why, I am frantically knitting these.

Socks for my sister.

As you maybe know, I don't often knit for anyone but myself. But while visiting my sister in Peterborough last spring - yes - months ago - I dragged her to the new yarn store in town - Needles In the Hay. While there I suggested she pick out some yarn and I would make her something. Whatever she wanted. She chose Austermann Step with Aloe for a pair of socks.

Number one was finished on the weekend. Number two - I have a self-imposed deadline of Thanksgiving Sunday. It's hard to teach an old dog knitter new tricks. But it's good stress. Really.