Friday, December 23, 2011

A Special Day

Today is our 45th Anniversary. 

Married young - a child bride has always been my story and  I stick to it - to a good man
and being the fortunate recipients of  many blessings





gives   us the opportunity to celebrate this wedded longevity.    Even more extraordinary is that we still speak  to each other - even when dining out -  and still enjoy each other's company.


While I am off tarting myself up for a special night on the town, I thank you all for your attention to my blog in 2011 and wish you all many, many hours of happy knitting in 2012.

I'll be back blog writing in the new year.  Merry Christmas, everyone.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

From Our Knit Group To Yours

Merry Christmas from the Meaford Knitters.

Wishing you  'happy knitting' from our knit group to yours.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

I'm No Mathemetician

It is a good thing that I can knit, because I sure can't do math.   Here's the  problem. 

 If two sleeves equal one-third of the knitting and the  body equals two-thirds of the knitting, how much knitting has been completed when two sleeves are fully complete,


but only  one third of the body (that is one-third of the two-thirds) is complete?

See what I mean?  Who can figure that out?  I am no Einstein, but I think  that I might be about half-way to the finish line.  Before blocking and buttons that is. 

What I do know is that there is more to be done. And five days to go. 

Monday, December 19, 2011

This Time Of Year

This time of year, it is not unusual to have delivery men ring the doorbell.  Couriers delivering  my online purchases or neighbours bringing Christmas cookies and wishes.

Friday, when the doorbell rang, I was excited, thinking  it might be the delivery of Number 2 son's 'promised-but-still-not-here-yet' gift. 

The delivery was of another sort.
Fred, with a five pound Rainbow Trout.   This delivery man had his picture taken, received a kiss and was invited to dinner.Not every delivery person is treated so well - even at this time of year.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The One Third Mark

Still in a math mode,  I am one third done the Christmas sweater.  I think.  I hope.    In my math world, two sleeves equals one third of the sweater.   With the  first third taking one week, I'm looking at a three-week sweater - which makes a late Christmas gift.  Unless of course I look to January 6th. 

Lyn S tells me that January 6th is the feast of the Three Kings - Tres Reyes - in the Spanish world while   Denise of Needles & Pins says it is the Ukrainian Christmas.  Both occasions for gift giving, I'm sure,  so my options are still open.   Commenter Nan said it is called Epiphany and it surely will be an eye opener for me if I can finish a sweater in two weeks.  Laurie M cautioned me that if not finished on time, Fred will get bit by the Yule Cat.     Marie,   however,    tells me that January 6th is Knitters Christmas and that's the story I have decided to stick to.

As proof positive, here they are. 
Unblocked and looking small to me.  But they have been tried on numerous times and  'Mikey likes them'.  If he likes them,  I like them.

On now to the body, knit in the round, with none of those pesky purls to slow me down.   Will I 'get my groove' or slow down?  Only a knitter has wrist and shoulder issues to affect her math.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

The only thing better than an afternoon of knitting  is   an afternoon of knitting  preceded by lunch in Meaford's newest restuarant.   A great way to celebrate the season.  Can you see who joined us, fresh from Florida?

That would be Sandy B.  With lots of  knitting to show off. 
You are looking at little poncho/capelet items (I thought  they were mini skirts.  Another option.  Just sayin')  with matching ruffled scarves -  and as if that wasn't enough, matching  'Coach'  bags.  One for each daughter and DIL.  Great gifts Sandy.  Would you be my Mom?

Gail looks quite studious here,  

showing off the cutest-ever baby hat.  Knit bottom up and finished with two colour I cord.  

Speaking of baby outfits, Doreen is almost finished the top-down baby sweater started at Knitfest.   That was October but Big Red delayed her for weeks. 

Nell has been busy making more gifts for her lucky, lucky friends.   venge

Wilma feels better this week having finished  the blue, silk shawlette.  The larger needles worked,  giving  the piece perfect  size and drape.  The red one - just barely seen here on her lap -  is almost off the needles.  With  ten days to spare, who wouldn't feel good about that?

Equal opportunity or revenge, I'm not sure, but Wilma asked to use my camera.  Next thing I knew,  I was being told there are never any pictures of me so today was my day.  Tanya is home from the NWT and here you see me explaining  the knitted cast on.

followed by some bit of hilarity

and finally, the teacher doing the  work while the student watches. 

 She's a smooth talker, that Tanya.

Good food.  Good fun.  Great afternoon.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Math For Knitters

Having set myself the goal of knitting Fred a sweater before December 25th,  I thought it a good idea to consult  an expert to see whether or not my goal was at all possible.

My favourite expert is Elizabeth Zimmermann.  In her Knitter's Almanac she knits an entire adult sweater between December 1 and December 16.

Presuming she counted both the first and the 16th,  she knit for  16 days.  Exactly the number of days available to  knit Fred's sweater.  No extra math calculation needed there.

But Elizabeth's sweater was knit at a gauge of 10 stitches over 4 inches.  Mine is 20.  By my knitters math, that will double my time.  32 days.  Hmmm - not good.

Reading further, Elizabeth states she knit on the sweater for 30 minutes per day.  If I double the time not the days and  knit for  60 minutes per day,  I should be back on track for the 16 day sweater.

However!!  Elizabeth knit a 46 inch sweater.  I am knitting a 48 inch sweater.  Using my calculator here because this is a high level of math for this knitter, I ask my self  "How much extra knitting time does that two inches require.?"

The two inches - again by Brenda's math which is often not perfect - amounts to 4.347% more knitting.  If I calculate that in terms of days I would need to knit for 16 . 695 days.  In real terms I think that means knit all night Christmas Eve.  Not going to happen.

Recalculate.  Multiply that 4.347%  times the minutes per day, to find out if I will be able to eat or sleep.  BUT - do I multiply by Elizabeth's 30 minutes or my 60 minutes.  I think the 30 might be wishful thinking - a pre-Christmas prerogative,  but still.  Better to multiply  4.347%  times 60.    62 . 608 minutes per day.

And to that I say HAH!!!

I started Thursday evening  and by Sunday evening had this finished.

By my calculations - one sixth of the sweater.  Four evenings equals  one sixth.  That is,  by my count, 24 evenings.  What do they call that Christmas that comes on January 6th?

Friday, December 9, 2011

While Visions Of Sugarplums . . .

It is not sugarplums that I am envisioning, but this.
A few days ago, pestering Fred yet again to give me some idea - any idea  - of what he might like for Christmas, he said
"Well, I wouldn't mind a hand-knit sweater.  A really warm one to wear around the house."

He went on to explain more, but I didn't hear, because I was out the door and on my way to the LYS.  Not quite, but close.  What  he said was music to this knitters ears and I knew exactly what yarn to buy.

" I want a wool one.  I do have that blue one, but it isn't very warm.  It must be acrylic."    And you think they don't listen!

Alpaca, reportedly seven times warmer than wool,  was my first choice but someone beat me to the Alpaca bin.  There was not enough of any one (or two) colours to make the sweater of my vision.  So wool it was.  Ella Rae Classic in maroon and white. 

The vision is raglan sleeves, deep 'V' neck,  buttons and a bit of an all-over  rib design.  Perhaps, 9 X 1.  Enough to give it some interest but not enough to slow me down. 

15 days of knitting time.  Perhaps the wiser vision would be a wrapped bag of yarn under the tree.  Never the wise one,  the Christmas Day headlines will probably read  'Crazed Knitter Refuses To Put Down Needles To Cook Turkey.'

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

How much red yarn can one group use? How much mad-rush knitting can one group do?  If you know for sure when  the needles absolutely must stop clicking  before the 'big day' then you will have the answers.  In the mean time, these knitters will keep on knitting.

Nell just happened to have   yarn in her stash the exact same colour as her new coat.    Who could resist knitting a hat to match when the yarn is already in the stash?    Ruth said a friend knit her hat.  But don't they make a cute pair  in their hand-knit hats?

What is that in front of Sharon? 

The cutest ever baby slippers.
Cuffs,  knitted onto purchased soles.  Re-defining cute!

Having finished those, Sharon is knitting a pair of 'Newfie' mitts.
With lovely, variegated yarn for inside the honeycomb, they are soft and warm.

Bonnie is knitting socks.
Thick, warm socks knit with heavy yarn on 44 stitches. A sock a days she says.  How many pairs is that before your needles take a Christmas break, Bonnie?  They are so close in colour to Sharon's mittens as to be a 'set'.  Maybe one of you will share.  Christmas spirit and all.

Wilma had the good news, bad news of the day.  The red shawl, one of the two   silk shawls  she planned to knit for her daughters for Christmas is finished. 
And too small.  Using a larger needle she has started shawl number two  - the blue shawl
and plans to re-knit the red one.    That  probably means that you will be working the same shift as Santa, Wilma.

By the industrious group around our table today and with 17 days of knitting time still available, it  would seem there will be some very lucky recipients of hand-knit gifts this Christmas.  

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Ladies Afternoon

-Not every day, but every once in a while,  I love to host a ladies social event more reminiscent of another era than of today's casual entertaining style.

Yesterday was my chance.  I had offered my home to host the December meeting of the horribly-named Stitch & Bitch group.

I decorated my table,

baked some Christmas goodies,

washed the delicate tea cups and unearthed my Santa tea pot. 

With only five ladies coming, it was a very manageable number.  No extra chairs to set out and everyone  able to gather round the table.   With this group,   I know exactly when the guests will arrive and  there is never the need to  stifle a yawn or surreptitiously glance at a watch, because I know within ten minutes when they will  depart.  That's my kind of party.

Entertainment was, of course, knitting.

There was laughter, food and fibre-y inspiration.    All to the background of Christmas music.  A perfect ladies afternoon.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cowichan Corrected

This warm,  'Oh-so-Canadian'  Cowichan sweater arrived at the store a couple of weeks ago.  
Much cherished by it's owner, it nonetheless has  had   a couple of flaws she hoped I could correct.

By it's slightly matted, fuzzy appearance, it would appear the sweater was improperly laundered at one time in it's past.  Lucky for the current owner,  as that  probably explains why she was able to purchase it cheaply at a second-hand store  in Nanaimo B.C  - the heart of Cowichan country.   For this  owner, the sleeves were a bit short  and she wanted pockets.    Could I do that?    I thought I could. 

It was decided  to insert storm cuffs rather than lengthen the actual sleeve.   To lengthen the sleeve itself,  would require cutting   above the cuff and knitting the sleeve  down. Not that difficult, but throw   matching three different colours plus matching gauge into the repair  and I thought it a process more likely to look 'corrected'  than  original.  A  storm cuff seemed a better idea.  They were easily accomplished by picking up stitches on the inside of the sleeve and ribbing down for a few inches.
Looks great.  The yarn used here was a double strand of Eco Wool.  Not a perfect match but darn close. 

The pocket was a little more complicated.  So as not to disturb the front pattern and because I could match the white yarn perfectly with Briggs & Little Roving,  I  cut the sweater just below a white band, picked up those stitches and ribbed up for an inch to create  pocket trim directly in line with the white band of the sweater. 

On the inside I picked up the upper  stitches and knit down, again using a double strand of the Eco Wool,   to create a pocket lining which I tacked to the  inside of the sweater. 

Barely noticeable which pleases me immensely. 
 One would think they were part of the original design.

My arm has been sorely stretched by my own   'atta boy'   'atta knitter'  pats on the back.  I am happy with the results.  I feel certain the customer will be too. The only decision left is what to charge her for the repairs.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Too Busy Baking To Blog

Life in a small town is all about the food.

See here  my  contribution to a few upcoming community events.  This week's after Church snack, a funeral lunch, veteran's Christmas boxes,  the ladies group I'm hosting next week,  and hopefully a bit left over for my own Christmas.

The kitchen still has 'mega mess' written in flour on the counter top and as is all too often my custom, I'm ending my marathon day in the kitchen by cleaning the oven.  If it isn't my cup, it's my pie.

Fred, bless his heart, took one look at the kitchen and suggested we eat out.  He read my mind. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

 It would seem to me that once burned, twice shy.  But  not Doreen.  She has agreed to knit another project for another friend and this one too is  driving her crazy. 
Pom pom yarn - that's what I'm calling it, I don't know the official name  - that is beyond difficult to work with.
Pulling each pom pom through is a chore in itself, but ripping out?  Impossible.  Ask me how I know.  Ask Nicki how she knows.  Better yet, ask Doreen. We have decided that a little therapy would go a long way to solving your 'S'  word issues, Doreen.

Nicki has finished baby sweater #2, from  Knitfest.
Top Down, no sew from Need A Baby Cardigan?   Is there 'Gramma-wanna-be'  thinking behind these baby sweaters, Nicki? 

Past the baby stage, Wilma's little grand daughters love barbie dolls.  So what would a good Grandma knit for Christmas gifts?  Barbie fashions of course.
Is it just me, or is Barbie more  sophisticated than she used to be?  Look at that hair!

Our Koigu queen was wearing a Koigu sweater. 

Normally her style leans towards wraps and shawls. We don't often see Ingrid in a sweater.   This one is beautiful  - of course  - and in particular the edging caught my eye. 
Crocheted, fast and easy said Ingrid with built-in buttonholes.  I think I'd like a lesson on that one.

Another great Thursday afternoon. A keenly-anticipated, weekly time-out as we enter the hectic season.