Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Best Before Date

With Moose Eh! almost done, I have been thinking about what to knit next.  Since I dragged it all the way to Hearst and didn't get it started there, for sure, it will be my long-queued Must Have Cardigan.
I have had this sweater queued for at least 5 years.  How much of a  'must-have' can it be, you might ask, when I've waited so long to start it?  A better name might be my  Kinda' Wann'a Have It Cardigan. 

Even the yarn I have had for almost two years. 
Galway, knitting worsted, purchased at Romni Wools in the fall of 2009!  Yikes!!  It's a good thing yarn doesn't have a best-before date. 

This is a pattern knit in pieces.
So not me!  I am wondering if I might knit the entire thing in the Elizabeth Zimmermann mode.  Totally in the round, with both neck and sleeve steeks.  Or perhaps at least in the round until the armhole then back and forth to the shoulders.  Or maybe, I should just trust the designer and knit as instructed.   HAH!  I'd need to close off my memory to all the times designers have led me astray for that to work.

Finishing touches on Moose Eh! will take a couple of days, then visitors for the long weekend and I'll probably be starting my Must Have early next week.  In the meantime, I'll do my prep work.  No, not a swatch.  Reading what other, 'quicker-off-the-mark' knitters on ravelry have to say about the pattern. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gall Darn Ribbing

Moose Eh!'s ribbing is giving me grief!  230  - or thereabouts - stitches for each row.  26 full and 12 short rows.  Lots of knitting.  Sunday night, I was a couple of rows  from casting off when I quit for the evening. 

At that point, only the shoulders were seamed, but I couldn't resist a quick try-on.  Horrors!  Two horrors, actually.  The buttonholes were on the wrong side.  Despite being a mild feminist,  a women of the seventies, I nonetheless  like my buttonholes on the right hand side.  Moose Eh!'s buttonholes were on the left.  I re-read the pattern.  Yep, I had done them as instructed.    Now why would they write a pattern like that?   A re-knit was in order.  Dang!

Once that shock  subsided,  I turned the wide ribbing back between the markers to form the shawl collar.  Double Dang!!  Of course!  There are three colours in the ribbing. Each  used more than once.  I had been careful, every time the  colour changed, to   work knit-only stitches in the first row of the colour change.  The trick of working knit-only stitches, on that first row, prevents the purl bumps of the different colour from showing on the right side of the work.  A much nicer look IMHO!   My work looked marvellous on the right side.  But when folded back between the markers, what showed of course, was the wrong side.

Now, there was never any mention in the pattern of switching from right-side knitting to wrong-side knitting between markers to keep the public side of the sweater neat and tidy.  But there should have been.  Again, I was reminded that when I knit from a pattern, my brain stops functioning.  Designers only have so much room on a one, or few-page, pattern. They do presume that the knitter knows something.  But this knitter presumes that the designer has worked out all the bugs and my brain turns off.

Ripped again.    Second - or is it third  - time through, I am knitting right-side rows on the right side before and after the markers and wrong-side rows between the markers.  Then on the wrong side,   wrong-side rows before and after the markers and right-side rows between the markers.  Get it?

 Disappointed, but rare the cloud though that doesn't sport a silver lining.   I am delightedly happy with the great job I did picking up the stitches for this gall-darn ribbing!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Weekend Hat

Wanting a break from the tedium of the 200  plus stitches of Moose Eh!'s ribbing, this weekend, I picked out some stash yarn and knit a  hat.

The pattern, Seaman's Hat by Brenda Zuk, called for 100 g of worsted weight yarn but my stash ball had only  86 g.  It  might  be enough,  but then again, maybe not.  Solving that issue before it became one, I chose  a coordinating variegated yarn for the turned up cuff.

But, probably because I knit the medium size,  there was still  lots left on   my 86g ball once the hat was finished.    However, the   contrast colour accomplished two goals:  an interesting touch to a plain hat, and the end of the left over Vienna yarn  from my Mondo Cabled Cardi.

Brenda's pattern has a great turned up cuff to give double coverage to the ears.  It is knit in K1, P2 ribbing which when turned over becomes a most attractive K2,P1 ribbed cuff.  Nice.

Really not an entire weekend's worth of knitting, the hat took me just part of each of Friday night and Saturday afternoon's pathetic Blue Jays games.   Thank goodness the hat turned out better than Toronto's scores!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

With only nine knitters  today, what we lacked in numbers we made up for in  wonderful, finished pieces.

Nell who hasn't been out for quite some time due to poor health, was back both last week and today.  She has assembled a gorgeous crocheted blanket.  32 squares of bright, lively colours. 
Sharon and Gail examine it closely to see how Nell stitched it together.  Then they gave it one last display.

And Sandy B has started another mitred-square baby blanket.  I suggested to Sandy that it is  amazingly quilt-like.  She replied "Yes.  I Know."  Apparently she studied a friend's quilting book before casting on.  The yellow square you see in the centre will be  the middle of the blanket.

Bonnie arrived today  with a gorgeous, green cardigan. Destined for her booth at the Meaford Craft Show, it is a close cousin to Central Park Hoodie.

If you think that arm on the right holding Bonnie's sweater  might be mine wearing my Featherweight Cardigan you are close - but wrong knitter.  That's Sharon.  She and I both chose to wear our Featherweights today.  

 Dang, those are good looking sweaters! 

See Sharon's  B - I - G smile?  That's the smile of a newly retired woman.  A woman with more time to knit! Woo Hoo!

Another great Thursday.  What fun nine knitters can have.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

It Pays To Read Ahead

Last night I began to  'finish' Moose Eh!  Beginning with sewing the shoulders together with a three-needle bind off

I then moved on to picking up the stitches for the collar.

The pattern said to 'pick up and knit 101 stitches along the right front edge, 32 across the back neck and and 102 down the left front edge'. 

101 stitches!!  That's a lot of counting.  Some serious math would need to be done to make sure they were evenly spaced.  Or - I could just do a three-for-four pick up.  After all, I'm not a new knitter, the three-for- four has worked for me in the past.  Elizabeth Zimmermann would recommend a similar strategy.  It would be much easier than marking equal sections to ensure that the 101 stitches get picked up evenly.  So what the heck, why not? 

Once that pick-up step was out of the way, I turned back to the pattern for my next bit of instruction.    It read  'place markers after stitches 61 and 163'.  Oops!    Those markers indicate the points in which the knitting wraps and turns to form the short rows that will in turn shape Moose Eh!'s  shawl collar.

Of course, with my three-for-four pick up ratio, I had no idea how many stitches were in my front edges. I just knew that the ribbing would neither  pull nor flop.  Not good enough, it turns out.   If the number was off from the pattern numbers by much, my shawl collar  would be hanging off to one side.  Hmmm!  What were my choices?

I could either count my stitches, and if out - which of course they most probably would be -  adjust the marker points to correspond with my stitches. All of which would be a  c- - - shoot.  Or  I could take out the pick-up row and do it according to pattern.   

Sighing with that  "I hate it when I realize that I'm not as smart as I think I am"  sigh, I did  neither.  I went to bed.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Rainy Day Sweaters

That rainy weekend came in handy for finishing.  At least, closing in on  finishing.  Not only did I move forward lots on Moose Eh!   but my bulky brown got a re-do.


The sloppy neck was amazingly tamed with it's minimal, three-row finish.  I'm happy with it now.   
Both sleeves, now  at three-quarters length,  look (to me) more perfectly suited to the sweater than the pattern's suggested wrist-length sleeves.  I'm happy with them too.

But mostly I am happy with my  bulky's new bottom.  (Mine is beyond replacing.)
Remember the  swing look that was happening when knit as the original pattern?   It was ripped back about three inches above the trim and knit straight down.   That means the waist decreases were not replaced with hip increases with the end result that the sweater, below the buttons,   stays open to reveal a bit of what I'm wearing underneath.  That look I can live with.  It is much better on me than the swing bottom. 

Ends to tie in, blocking to do and buttons to buy.  Then it's done.  Certainly not a sweater that I am ecstatic about but wearable now. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Weekend Moose

Weekend weather that saw one and a half days of rain, wind and severe thunder storms might have been discouraging to some.  But to this knitter it meant lots of time for Moose Eh!

Remember me, while at the trailer,  trying to decide whether to knit the fronts by hand or leave them until at home when they could be machine knit?  I hate knitting flat but doing so while on vacation would have meant being being able to claim another FO at the trailer.  I chose instead, to wait.

That's  where the stormy, rainy weather came in handy.  Both fronts were done Sunday afternoon.  I don't use my machine often and so struggle to begin anew each time I dig it out of the box.  Remembering one of my knitting friends, a machine knitting expert who helped me learn the basics,  always encourages me to keep trying.  One day, when first learning to machine knit, I exasperatedly  said  to him  "I could hand knit faster than this!"

"Any time you think that", he replied, "just  pick up your hand knitting, and knit a row.  You'll see."

So I persevere.  And Sunday afternoon, it didn't take long - an hour perhaps - to re-configure my brain and knit two fronts.  The ribbing was already complete, and I simply hung the stitches on the machine and knit 
up the two fronts.

All other pieces wait patently for the fronts and the sewing up. 

It shouldn't be long now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

There Are Issues

There are issues with my Asymmetrical Bulky Cardigan  for sure.   Sleeve number was knit down to the wrist - as per the pattern - and then ripped back to three quarter length.  The shorter length is the winner I think, as it will  maybe  allow me to wear this bulky sweater indoors without overheating.

But take a look at that neckline depth.  Lower than the V neck top I'm wearing.  With the pattern calling only for a  three-row trim I am not expecting much height to be added.  It should tidy it up a bit,  but that's all.
Despite my one-handed photo shoot, I tried to get the camera to capture the flaring bottom trim.  Can you see it?  That definitely needs to be ripped back.  To say there are issues with this sweater, is an understatement.  I only hope I can alter it enough to be wearable.  Otherwise, any  suggestions for ten balls of Naturally Tussock?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Vacations offer an escape from routine.  Some, back from vacation,  complain about being 'back to routine'.   But the routine of knit group on Thursdays, I look forward to.  No complaints from me. 

First time back today after my trip to Hearst, it was great to see everyone  and get caught up on their knitting projects.

Mona, looking spiffy with her new perm, is knitting a  sock weight hat.  Light-weight yarn favoured by her sore shoulder.

Sandy B has completed her mitred square Koigu baby blanket.  Words like  - Outstanding!  Fabulous!   Wow!  Well done!  come to mind.

There are hats to match. One boyish, one girlish.  The baby is apparently a boy so I guess Sandy expects him to channel his inner female side.

Sharon  - one of our multi-talented  crafters  artists has been weaving.  This is a fingering weight, caramel and ivory, hounds-tooth checked scarf.  Again,   Fabulous!   comes to mind.  The weaving is so absolutely perfectly executed it hard to believe it is hand done. 
It will be for sale at the Pottawatmi Spinner and Weavers Guild Sale at the Owen Sound public library in November if you are interested. 

A new-to me knitter, Carol has Gail helping her untangle some Koigu yarn.  (Knitting with Koigu seems to be infectious in our group.  Maybe we can negotiate a discount ???)  Carol intends to make a mitred square jacket for her daughter.

Mind you, Gail has knitting of her own.  An almost-completed baby blanket.  The shower is tomorrow night, so keep working, Gail. 

The date and time might be routine, but never the conversation or the knitting.    Glad to be back.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Bulky Means Bulky

It was the Bulky Asymmetrical Cardigan by Knitting Pure and Simple that I chose for car knitting on the drive home.  Being bulky - well, chunky really -  it knits up very quickly.  One and a bit sleeve to go and it's done.

But there are issues.  The front neck is Very Low.    Not that I didn't see that in the picture, but sadly, seeing and registering are often two different things.  It has occurred to me that bulky being bulky, Asymmetrical  probably won't be an indoor sweater.  But with that very low neckline, it won't be the best outdoor sweater either.  That  openness could be  stuffed with a scarf I suppose, but I'm not sure I want to mar the simplicity of the design by stuffing the top with a scarf.  I  can't quite envision it. 

Then there is the issue of button/hole placement.  In the picture I've put markers where the buttons will go.  Looks fine, lying flat.  But  on me and my short frame, the 'buttons' seem to end too low on the sweater to truly replicate the beauty of the  'three-buttons-at-the-top' design.   Shortening the sweater from the suggested 25 1/2"   to my standard 'long-sweater' length of 23 inches  obviously shortened the distance between buttons and bottom. No such luck that I might have realized the  shorter length would require shortening the distance between buttonholes.    Dang!  Ripping back to above the sleeve join to redo the buttonholes doesn't appeal to me.  I am considering stitching  the button holes closed and using a pin.  Could work.

Then - point three - there is the flaring/swinging bottom.  The sweater has normal, waist shaping - decreases above the waistline, increases below it.   Those increased hip stitches, done in chunky yarn,  in seed stitch,  falling exactly at my widest point?  Not pretty.  After all  - bulky means bulky. 

There will be ripping.  And a note to my knitting file - no more sweaters in thick yarn.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Once I Get There, I'm FIne.

In my old age, I seem to have developed a resistance to change.  (I guess it's really true what they say about becoming like your spouse over the years.)  Before leaving for Hearst and the trailer each summer, I think of  many reasons to resist going.  I whine and complain. I stare longingly at my Clematis, knowing it will flower in my absence.  I think fondly of all the fun, home activities I'll miss:  Knit group.  Hiking the Bruce Trail.  Swimming at the harbour here in town.

Once there, I'm fine. It's the transition I don't like.  Now that I'm home, I suffer the same resistance in reverse.  I know - there's no pleasing me.  I think Fred has said that a time or two.  But today, I'm melancholy about the summer being over - MY summer being over.  It started when I downloaded  a summer's worth of photos to the computer. 

Take a look.  From hair cuts to Root Beer floats to friends and knitting, it was a great summer.

Monday, August 15, 2011

There's A Calendar In Their Future!!

Home from Hearst and catching up on blog reading, ravelry - oh yea - and the laundry too. 

But I can't resist showing you what the Meaford Knitters - well, some of them thought this too riske (Where's that French keyboard when I need it?)  a way to spend the afternoon and  chose to stay away  - were doing while I was on vacation.

Here they are, knitting babes,  enjoying yarn and summer  on  the shores of Georgian Bay. 

Don't you think there is a calendar in their future?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pure And Simple

Pure and Simple - that's the knitting I need for the 10 hour car ride home.

Although Laurie M commented that the  back and forth knitting of the  36 stitch fronts might be considered mindless enough for the car, I have put Moose Eh! away.  The back, sleeves and two pockets are done.  Once home I shall speed through the two fronts on the machine and move along to the interesting ribbing.

For the car, I have begun Knitting Pure & Simple`s Bulky Asymmetrical Cardigan.

The pattern  I`ve had for some time, but just purchased the yarn - Naturally`s Tussock Chunky -  last winter.  Elann had a special, selling this yarn at about 20% of normal retail.  I mean, who could resistÉ

This is a top down knit.  A cardigan which would suggest back and forth knitting but I am thinking - trouble brews, when I think -   Elizabeth Zimmermann would do that in the round.  Then steek.  Why not.

The decision will be made in the car, but that`s the way I'm leaning at the moment.  Pure and Simple it will be.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

For Danny And His Mom

Often, I am surprised to learn who reads my blog.    Take Danny's Mom for instance.    Who you ask?  Danny's mom.

 Danny, a Hearst 'boy' works at Ruby's Wool/Tool store.  

 I met Danny the first time I went in search of a fellow knitter in Hearst.    I had been told that 'Ruby' loved to knit and had confiscated a corner of the Tool Store for yarn.  My kind of woman. I had to search her out.    That particular  day, Ruby wasn't in, but this friendly, helpful guy - Danny - spoke to me and helped me out.  I left my card, and along the way, Danny must have mentioned my blog to his Mom.

Now, each summer when I go into the store, Danny mentions to me that his Mom reads my blog.  Religiously is the word Danny  uses. Danny tells me his Mom is NOT a knitter (a situation that is not too late to change, Danny's Mom) but that she reads the blog because she enjoys my writing style.  Quite a compliment.  Thanks,  Danny's Mom.

So today's post is for Danny and his Mom.

You raised a great boy, Danny's Mom.  He is always polite and helpful - and not to embarrass you Danny,  but single too -  I do imagine that when he began his career at the tool store, he never expected to be selling yarn.  But he has made the transition gracefully and is unfailingly helpful and patient.

Of course he is a man of many talents.  Not only is he great  with yarn sales but it was Danny who  introduced me to the absolute best cleaner in the world.

 Oops!  Did I just give a commercial endorsement on this blog?  Only for you Danny.

Danny's Mom, I am sure you know  what a treasure you have in Danny, but now, the rest of the blog world knows too.  As always, thanks for reading.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Just Cant Do It

Speeding along as I was with Moose Eh! I have come to an abrupt halt.  The back went quickly.  The Intarsia kept my mind off the fact that I was knitting flat.  Back and forth.  Dreaded purl rows.  The sleeves I started flat until past the maple leaf  motif just above the cuff, then  I joined them in the round - being careful not to twist the stitches - and bim, bam -  they were done. 

But now I've started the left front. 

It is knit flat.  No way around it.  I hate knitting flat.  Mind you,  because  the bands are wide, it is a narrow front.  There are only 36 stitches.    One would think I could handle knitting 36 stitches flat.  That it would in fact, make it quite easy.  But no. It means I spend more time turning than knitting.  I just can't do it.  Now, if at home, I could put those fronts on the machine and zip, zip, they would be done.

 So I ask myself  (I always wondered if I should have gone into time management) what is the best use of my time.  And I weigh that against having a finished sweater.  Is it worth knititng flat, knitting bored,  just to get a finished sweater.  No, I just can't do it.  When I ask myself if I should put aside the Moose and start another sweater, the other sweater wins the day.    Which one shall I choose.  One covered in cables or one of mindless knitting which will be good car knititng if I don't finish it before driving home.  Which one.  I will let that settle a bit before deciding.

Hurrah!  I just discovered that the É which pops up when I want to do an apostrophe shows up in spell check and I can correct it there.  Hurrah!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Moose Eh!

My, as usual, over- enthusiastic knitting goal for my five weeks at the trailer was three sweaters.  For me!  Hah!   With only a couple more weeks here, sweater number one has been started but number two and three remain a faint gleam in this knitters eye.

First up, is Moose Eh!  Designed by Kate Atherly, the pattern caught my eye a couple of years back when The Purple Purl offered it as a kit.  If knitting can be compared to literature, this sweater is a spoof.  A spoof on the traditional, bulky, Canadian sweaters with moose  or fish or bears on them. 

Not normally a sweater I would knit - or wear-  this one caught my eye because it is fun.  It has something about it that makes me smile to see it.  It is almost as if the moose is laughing. 

The yarn is lovely as the  Purple Purl staff said it would be.  A two ply wool from Peru.  It knits at a chunky gauge so the work is going quickly.  So far the back and a sleeve and a half are finished. 

 The more I look at it, the more I think I might wear it.  What Canadian knitter could resist a sweater named Moose Eh!