Thursday, March 31, 2011

At Knit Group This thursday

They missed me.   Or at least that's the impression they kindly gave me.  And I missed them, having been in Ottawa last week.  Wow!  Lots of projects get started and finished  in two weeks.

Remember Nicki's Noro Entrelac Scarf

It's finished and gorgeous it is.  
What a great job Nicki does on these small, fiddly (my word, not hers) projects. 

Sharon has started a scarf with Fushia, Baby Bamboo.

A scarf is the perfect  project for that yarn.  Baby bamboo has lots of drape that can easily stretch an adult-sized  garment into the next dimension.  Ask Gail.  She will tell you all about it.  But it's the perfect yarn for a scarf.

Wilma finished a purple peaked cap and started a pink one. Her grand daughters are going to love these.

This one is cool construction.  Simply cast on the required stitches, knit 2x2 ribbing for 2 inches, then knit the  cast on row together with  the current row.  Insert a plastic visor then carry on and knit a hat.   The curved shape of the visor stretches the knitting and speaks to the adaptable nature of hand knits.  In the back of the hat, it's  normal  ribbing.  In the front it's a peak.  Simply because the plastic visor stretches  it that way. 

Doreen tells me while out shopping she was approached by a person she didn't know but who called her by name.  Doreen asked " Do I know you?"  The person replied, "No, but I know you because I see you on the blog."   Knitters, come to Meaford's Thursday Knit Group and you too could be famous.  Or at least recognized on the main street of Meaford. 

Doreen followed that story with another.  She tells me her family thinks she has quit  knit group because they hadn't seen her picture recently. So,  for Doreen's family , flung far and wide, I do believe, h-e-r-e-'s Mom,  Grandma and Great Grandma.  She fussed with her hair while I adjusted the camera.  Looks good doesn't she?
And below, she struggles still with that darn curly scarf.  Nothing was going well for Doreen today.  She started and stopped four projects by my count.

Gloria is knitting her husband a sweater.  I've met her husband and tiny he is not.  This project is love and devotion through knitting, I'd say. 

Pat has the beginnings of her latest project.  Since the last I heard, she was about to re-create  Willam and Kate's wedding party through yarn, I asked her which member of the Royal Family this was?


Gloria, a Brit herself, thought Charles. Nasty Knitter.  

Ottawa was great and a nice post-winter get-away, but you can't beat a Thursday afternoon in Meaford with this group of knitters.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What Shall I Wear Today?

Wednesdays, I work.  With a morning rush quite unlike the other mornings in my retired week,  I often get my work clothes ready Tuesday night.  Yesterday, however,  I was not yet finished knitting what I wanted to wear to work today.  My Noro vest was almost, but not quite, complete.  At 7:30pm Tuesday evening, it looked like this.

 Obviously there was knitting to be done.

By bedtime, it looked like this.

There's a story behind this vest pattern that deserves telling.  Years ago, when I knit this vest for the first time, I did so because I had been inspired by the one being knit by the leader of our  knit group.  This was a really old pattern even then, and  I felt no copyright infringement would ensue if I asked for a copy.   The  pattern is written for three sizes -small, medium and large.  But on my copy there were no corresponding  measurements to describe those sizes. The leader was knitting her vest as a gift for a friend and I asked  what size she was knitting.
"Medium", she said.  I then asked her how her friend compared in size to me.    

You should know, that I am petite.  Five feet tall and not too big.   In response to my question, our group leader - a retired high school English teacher with a bit of a haughty air - looked me up and down as if appraising horse flesh and said
"Well", my friend isn't very chesty.  If I were you, I'd make a large."

HUH?  Chesty?  Me?  That is something I am so not.  My stubborn streak showed up and I thought  "No one is going to tell me to make a large"  Instead,  I knit a small.  And - it was tight.  Wearable, but tight.  I always referred to that vest as   my   'pride-goeth-before-a-poor-fit'  vest.

Remembering that fit, this time around,  I did some gauge swatches.  I liked the Noro Kureyon best on a 5mm needle.  But that resulted in  a  larger gauge than the pattern called for.  Throwing misgivings to the wind, once again I knit size small. 

And at 9AM this morning, the vest looks like this.  

Ready for work and wearing my new Noro vest.  Pride only in the finished product this time 'round.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Knitting Content Resumes Tomorrow

In the mean time, I'm still hyped about our weekend in Ottawa.

Un-beknownst to us when we planned our trip,  the government was to fall on the very day we were sitting in the public gallery.  Although we didn't stay for the actual vote as it seemed to be a foregone conclusion, we nonetheless saw the parliamentarians in fine form in the  hours just prior to the vote.  There were many a desk thumping "Hear Hear"  and several spontaneous, standing ovations when a favourite opinion was stated.  The members are not allowed to boo or to call each other names or even to speak directly to each other.   All comments, are directed to the moderator - named The Speaker Of The House - and thus  things are kept quite civil despite the noisy, enthusiastic 'carrying ons'. 

Most of our following activities  paled in comparison to the excitement of  the fist-pumping, pontificating speeches we heard and saw in  Parliament.  But that afternoon, we did spend several hours at the National Art Gallery.  With Peter as our personal art historian/expert we got a lot more out of the exhibits than we might have on our own.  In the boutique, I bought my usual art show purchase- coffee mugs.  This is a set of absolutely gorgeous, bone china mugs, displaying  images of Tom Thompson paintings.

The box in itself is a work of art.

Hours were also spent at the Aviation Museum where by luck of a quiet day we had a personal guided tour.  Then we were off to the mint, where I held a gold bar.   In the movies you see them being tossed back and forth between robbers,  but let me tell you, those suckers are heavy.  28 pounds to be exact.  Tossing it would be a hernia-inducing experience, I'm sure. 

On the last day, after five hours, full heads and tired feet,  we had to leave the remainder of the National War Museum for another visit.   This museum is worth the time and money if all one does is  gape at the architecture.  It is  beyond outstanding.

Add into the weekend,  great  Italian Food, lunch in the same French Cafe that refused to take  President Obama's money when he asked for  cookies to take home to his girls, a breakfast of bagels baked over an open, wood-burning fire, Irish Draft, and dinner in the dark during Earth Hour and you have a pretty - excuse the pun- capital experience.

And knitting content returns tomorrow.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

This Thursday Is Not For Knit Group

This Thursday, there is no knit group for me.   Fred, Peter and I are off on a little, post-winter jaunt to Ottawa.  While most Canadians seek warmer climes for their travelling pleasure this time of year, we have decided to see what we can do to help the politicians run the country.  Such a difference you will notice  after our visit! :-) 

 Friday morning, we have seats reserved  for Question Period.  I've read the protocol and see that we can't even applaud!  I guess that means booing is out too.  I hope the politicians are in fine fettle.  What fun to  see them attacking, yelling, shaking fists at each other.  Democracy in action.

Over  the weekend, we'll take in the National Art Gallery,   The National War Museum,   National Aviation Museum and Fred's favourite - The Royal Canadian Mint!  (I see there is a boutique at the Mint.  Wonder what they sell?)  Add in lots of fine food, a hotel with a pool, a chamber maid to make my bed and tidy my room, wandering the ByWard Market and I see a wonderful antidote to a long winter and a bad cold.

Any messages you would like conveyed to the Prime Minister?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bowling Or Knitting?

My next 'boiling potatoes' project is a afghan for our new chesterfield & chair combo in the TV room.  Unlike my regular knitting which I keep beside my favourite TV-watching chair, my 'boiling potatoes' knitting, I keep in the living room.  Closer to the kitchen.  While I wait for the potatoes to boil, or the bread to rise, I run in and kit a row or two. 

The afghan I plan to knit is  based on a Patons pattern.  Stockinet stitch, knit holding together four strands of chunky yarn  and using big needles.  A simple pattern whose 'wow' factor depends  on colour selection.

I have chosen Cascade Eco Yarn in four different colours.
Eco comes in  'honkin' big 400 + meter skeins.  Skeins so big that I decided there was no way I could wind this on my ball winder without cutting the yarn in more than a few places.  Hating the though of  those cuts and their resulting  knots, I chose to hand wind.

It took me and my chair 20 minutes per skein.  The balls are as big as bowling balls.  Not those wimpy Canadian 5 pin balls either, but the BIG 10 pin-ners more common to the  USA.

 For reference,  that's a grapefruit  beside the ball of yarn.   I think I've just discovered a new training tool for junior bowlers.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011


Hats are always my go-to, easy, quick, take-a-break-from-the -big- project knitting.  To date, in 2011, I think I've knit six of them.

This weekend, I knit two Peaked Caps from Sally Meleville's latest book Warm Knits, Cool Gifts.
This is one quick knit.  Perhaps not a One Hour Hat but darn close. Knit with bulky yarn - I used Indie by Sirdar, and on large needles - I used 10 mm, this hat is  a 'done before dinner' project.

A few tips regarding this pattern.  When starting the decreases for the crown, the pattern DOES say "work 8 (9) stitches"  but my brain  read knit 8 (9) stitches.  It took a few rounds for the needle to drop before  I realized,  " Hey this doesn't look like the picture".   A short 'rip' and I was back on track.

The hat is knit first, then stitches picked up for the peak which means the cast off row is the outer edge of the peak.    This requires a very loose cast off  to allow the peak to achieve maximum peak-ness.  The peak on my first hat  under achieves.  Knitting the second hat, while working the cast off row, I inserted three extra stitches spread evenly across the row.  A much perkier peak.
 And lastly, I always, always, make increases or decreases one stitch in from the edge.   Even though the pattern called for the decreases on the peak to be worked at the edge, I used my superior knitting knowledge (Superior to Sally Melville? Really, what was I thinking?)  and worked the decreases one stitch in from the edge.  It didn't look that good.  With hat number two I followed the pattern as written.  Much better!  Hmmm.  I guess Sally's been doing this for a while.

A great little hat.  Perhaps not warm enough for dead of winter, but for sure, warm enough for spring.

Monday, March 21, 2011


For four months now, our front lawn has been covered in snow. Not an inch or two either.  For most of those winter months, there have been several feet of snow out front.

During March Break, we could see the snow start to disappear and Friday morning woke to see grass in places.  Not the entire yard, mind you, put in places.  A second look revealed vegetation.  I couldn't believe it!  Having not seen the sun for four months, how could these flowers be up within minutes of being free of the snow? 

But up they are.  I was awed.  What word could describe that?  Hope?  Faith?  Perseverance?  Resilience?    Strength?     Or simiply, SPRING!

Friday, March 18, 2011


Have you noticed how nicely I've managed to avoid discussing my Noro vest this week?  Unfortunately, distracted as I was by the Brier, working the right front, I forgot to add in the increases above the waist.  More unfortunately, I didn't notice the mistake until I started decreasing for the neck.  It struck me as odd that on the right front side, the neck shaping ate  away the cable and that hadn't been the case on the left side.  Hmmm.  Were there more stitches on the left side?  Dang!

A big rip was in order and it was only last night that I re-reached the shoulder. 

There was a comment on yesterday's blog that I didn't get the universal cold remedy  right.  It wasn't sugar that was required it was honey.  Yesterday's drink worked well, I thought, but   guess I'll never know for sure unless I try the correct formula.  Today too, then, I'll add a little Appleton's Amber to my tea.  It sure makes tea time something to look forward to.  Any other versions I should try?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Thanks goodness everyone else at knit group today was lively and well.  I'm still battling a two-week- old cold and now have a severe case of Laryngitis.

Sharon is knitting two monkeys for two little guys.
Using Briggs & Little yarn and a pattern from a 365 Days of Knitting calendar, she is knitting both monkeys at once.
That should prevent the dreaded second monkey syndrome.

Mona's cabled mittens found favour with, first, Sharon then Ingrid.

Knit flat and then seamed, claimed Mona.  But her seaming is so expert that we had trouble finding it.

Doreen's curly scarf is giving her grief.  Both Bonnie and Nicki have made these scarves and Bonnie  tried to help.
But apparently this pattern is a bit different and it wasn't long before she handed it to Nicki.  That attracted quite a crowd.

Pat, seen here with a  just-finished toy, has the project to take all projects. 

 She intends to knit the Royal Wedding.  You've go to be English, I think.

  A universal remedy for my cold was suggested at knit group and I decided to come straight home and try it.  Doreen from Guyana, Ingrid from Germany and Gloria from the UK all suggested rum in a hot liquid with lemon and sugar.  Tea was mentioned.  Woo Hoo!  I sure do feel better now.  Or maybe I just don't remember that I'm sick. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Going The Extra Mile

Monday, I posted about my new Chevron Lace socks.  Marie from Sel & Poivre commented to say she liked them but encouraged me to post a picture of them on my feet.   Marie said that on my feet, with the lace 'spread out' to foot width, it would be much easier to get the 'idea' of the lace.  She's right, of course. 

But. the problem  is,  it isn't spring yet.    I mean, how can I take a photo of my feet without getting a portion  of my legs in the picture?    Taking a snap of my legs at any time of year wouldn't win any photographic awards.    But more so in winter when  my legs  are not the clean-shaven beauties they are in summer.

I mean really,  winter legs are always covered, right?  Slacks, long-johns, knee socks,  ski pants.  Think of the winter knitting time you gain by not worrying about stubble!

Today though, for you, Marie and any others that  are interested in foot-width lace,  I've gone the extra mile.  It took a bit of prep time but here are the lovely Chevron lace socks on stubble-free legs.  Let's see if Fred notices!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weekend Hat

Matching hat and  mittens are a great combo  - especially when there is leftover yarn.

Christie's mittens received a rave review from her and a grinning, nodding head when  asked if she would like a hat to match.   Not a Felted Bucket Hat (scroll way down) like her sister's but something all her own.  I had thought of letting her peruse my patterns the next time she visited but knowing how confusing that can be for non-knitters, I decided to take up needles and wool this weekend and knit her a hat while watching the Brier.

This Basic Pillbox pattern is from Cabin Fever's Need A Hat? book.
I used the same yarn  - Rejuvenation -  and colour combo  - blue and black - as in Christie's mittens.  

Being the smart, insightful knitter that I am,  too smart for my own good,  I decided that the adult 'small' would be too small, the adult 'medium' too big.  Knowing that all the patterns in this book are based on stitch counts that are a multiple of eight, I added eight stitches to the adult 'small' size, to give a size between adult small and medium.  And of course, it's too big.  About eight stitches too big.   A nice felting is now in order.

This is a quick knit.  Great pattern.  Fun results.  Perfect weekend knitting. I'm hoping for a big smile when this is delivered. 

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Win And A Loss

After watching w-a-y too much TV last week, trying to push Team Ontario to victory, my socks are done.  Sadly, Ontario  lost the championship game to Manitoba.  No Brier title for Glenn Howard, yet again.  Big loss.

The socks, nonetheless, are a win.
They are a 60 stitch sock knit on 2.25 mm  needles.   Proof positive that lace expands. 2.25mm needles are my preferred needles for socks.  They knit a nice tight fabric to make a great fitting sock.  

Normally though, with only 60 stitches, I would use a larger needle.  Most often  2.75mm.  Conversely, if knitting on the 2.25 mm needles, the socks would have 64 or  even 68 stitches.  But due to lace's holey, stretchy nature, I have a sock that fits me with only 60 stitches and a 2.25 needle. 

Knit with Kroy sock yarn purchased for me  by a  friend at the Listowel Tent Sale and costing me all of $2, I like these socks.  The pattern is Chevron Lace. One of the 'Variations On Fancy Socks' found on page 39 of my book, Need A Sock?.  Because Chevron Lace is a six-stitch pattern, I wanted a six-stitch ribbing which would flow nicely into the lace pattern and chose  example number two of the three given in the book.  That is P1, K4, P1

Conversely - or perversely - these lace patterns which would seem to be a more time-consuming knit, actually knit up more quickly than plain old stockinet.  It happens like that  for me because of the grouping of rows.  Four rows to a repeat and I don't allow myself to  stop knitting until a repeat is finished.  When ready to abandon knitting for those mandatory tasks like dinner prep or laundry, one more row becomes one more repeat.  Four rows.  And the sock is done faster than you might imagine.

Sorry about your luck,  Glenn, but I've got a pair of winner socks.    

Friday, March 11, 2011

Brier Knitting

With the Brier on this week, I've placed knitting projects in both TV rooms. Socks in the living room and my Noro vest in the 'wrecked' room.

Both are knitting up quickly.  This second sock was started last Saturday and is ready for toes tonight - the first Brier playoff game.
Hopefully I can split my attention between curling and knitting and keep those toes heading straight.

This sock pattern knits up so quickly.  One would think stockinet would be faster but anytime there is row counting involved, the knitting seems to fly.  This pattern,  Chevron Lace,   from Need A Sock? is a four-row pattern but rows two and four are simply knit rows.   In order to always know what row I'm on when I pick up my knitting,  I discipline myself to not put the sock down until I've completed the four row pattern.   Hmmm.  Maybe a little discipline would speed up my other projects. 

The Noro vest has similar attributes.
A ten-row pattern with cabling on three of the ten.  The plain rows are boring so I rush through them to get to the interesting ones.  The colours in this vest are wonderful.  Brilliant one might say.  So brilliant that it will be best to  stay out of the sun unless I want to blind those around me.  It should brighten some dark winter days.
Now, should I knit on them over the weekend, or start something new?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Fog surrounded us, today, on Georgian Bay.  But there was nothing foggy about the knitters at knit group.  Only bright, creative knitters and knitting.

Sharon, while working on her own pair of socks, admired Gail's. 
The sock admiration duo. 

Donna's daughter is expecting and Donna  has a pair of baby booties ready for the baby.  Ready after Donna sews them up that is. 

Baby knitting has been occupying Bonnie's time too.  Isn't this beautiful?
No new grand kids expected in her family, but, as with many knitters, Bonnie likes to knit baby things.  She's always ready for the next baby shower. 

Besides her baby knitting, Bonnie has been crocheting some of the brightest slippers ever! 

Three granny squares and a sole.  Such fun slippers.  The next pair are on the way and just as bright.

Who but a knitter would  allow me to take a picture of their chest?  And smile while I do it?  Knitters are fun people!  Nicki was wearing her fun, Frill-Seeker scarf while knitting an entrelac scarf from Noro sock yarn. 

 Both lovely, Nicki.

Wilma's project today was a sweater for her son-in-law.
A sweater with quite a  story behind it.  Started years before she retired, it's been around a long time  Round one saw a  yarn shortage, round two  a disappointing fit. Wilma can only hope that third time's the charm.

Has anyone been following Survivor?  Russell's gone!  Finally a tribe had the  '*&^%'   to vote him out.   He thinks they don't know how to play. Sorry, Russell, the winners  outwit - and that's what  they did.