Monday, October 31, 2011

Knitfest 2011

Saturday was a great knitterly day in my little neck of the woods.  Grey Heron hosted a day-long workshop with Deb Gemmell.  Knitfest 2011 we called it.

The idea came about when Karen began talking of retreats, workshops and other off-site activities:  She wanted to further the art of knitting by bringing legendary talent to a local venue for our faithful customers to learn from and enjoy.  Hey - I think I just wrote a 'mission statement.

Grey Heron is  a small LYS in a small town, making some event ideas  just to grandiose to be manageable and/or successful given those   parameters.

And so - we rented the just-right-sized,  historic Ravenna Hall in the heart of the picturesque Beaver Valley, asked Deb Gemmell to teach a day-long workshop, planned food, goodie bags and door prizes - and called it Knitfest 2011. 

19 knitters signed up.  Given that Deb did this same workshop in Ottawa in the spring to 15 knitters, we were thrilled with that number of registrants.     Some,  like my Meaford friends came from close by,  others drove for over an hour to attend. 

There was food and fun.  Laughter and tears some frustration at slow hands and tired, mixed up, knitterly brains.  Frustration, though, was no match for  the fun or learning that happened all day long.

It was a great day.  Hmmm. Is it too early to start thinking about  Knitfest 2012?

 Sweaters Deb brought with her.  All from her latest book Need A Baby Cardigan?

 Morning snacks.

 Deb speaking with the Meaford gang.

 Busy knitters.

More busy knitters with Karen in the corner.

Just a great day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Knitting Stars

 Take a look at this lovely living room.
Is it mine, you ask?  I wish!  It is most definitely not mine, but I was privileged to spend some time in this room on Wednesday morning.

I'll give you a couple of clues as to where we were.

Rogers, Ontario's media giant, has, in many towns,  a community television station.  It promotes and showcases local events, businesses and stories.  Wednesday morning Grey Heron Yarns, where I spend my Wednesdays, was the feature segment on the hour long show. 

We were asked to bring in LOTS of knitting related things and Karen didn't disappoint. 

She  looks pretty happy with our TV debut.

Rogers staff caught wind of the store because of tomorrow's KNITFEST.    A day long event Karen has planned for local knitters featuring Deb Gemmell from Cabin Fever.  Karen thought it only fair to ask Deb to join us for the show and I managed to capture Deb capturing the set before the recording began.

I hope you don't mind me telling tales out of school, Deb, but take a look at her sweater.  Knit from Cabin Fever's  Cotton Tweed about five years ago and worn often.  Deb tells me she has other sweaters, but I am hard pressed to believe it as  I  rarely see Deb in anything but this great little sweater.   All of which is my way of pointing out that Cotton Tweed is one heck of a long-lasting yarn.

Fortunately for me, all I had to do during the taping was sit and knit.  Silently.  Karen and Deb had the nervous -producing job of  talking  and demonstrating.  It was great fun and if I was 24 not 64, tall not short and  blond  not  brunette, I would sure jump at the chance to be the hostess on a local TV show.  In that living room.  Can I at least get the name of the stager?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

 A week ago today, I was eating fine French food in the dining room of a charming old hotel and listening to jazz music.  But today!!!  I was at knit group.  Thursdays don't get much better.

Again, purple shoes.  And again they belong to Ingrid.  Before I met Ingrid, I knew no one  with purple shoes - and Ingrid has two pairs!!    Ingrid is off to the western provinces next week.  I bet she takes both pair of purple shoes.
 The shoes match the next purple knit she is creating.

 Carol too is working on purple.  In her case, the purple is for a grand daughter.
Part of this ensemble I mentioned a few weeks back.  Is it the colour purple that makes you look so happy, Carol?
Gail's colour, this week,  isn't purple  but blue.  In this case, blue Koigu.    She is knitting another of her little ruffled scarves that starts with a cast on of 648 stitches.
An all day project just to cast on, according to Gail.

Wilma, also leaving next week for a western trip,  is working on the first of two shawls for her two daughters.    Both kits, purchased at the KW Knitters Fair,  are from Sweaterkits .  The shawls are completed with beaded fringe,  added as a finishing, haute-couture touch. 
Gloria has a new man pattern in her life.   If you husband looks like the model on the pattern once your sweater is finished, Gloria, I'm going to borrow that pattern.

Lots of colour, lots of fibre, knitting, lots of fun.  That's why I love Thursdays.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


Occasionally, on TV there is an info bite that ends with the speaker saying   HUH !   in an 'I- can't-believe-that's-true' voice.

HUH !   was my thought exactly, when yet again today, I reached  for this sweater when leaving the house.
That's right.  The sweater I thought  I'd never wear.  Neckline too low.  Yarn too chunky.  A sweater of such opposites that I couldn't imagine a day when it would be the perfect sweater to wear.  If it was cool enough for the heavy yarn, the low neckline would be too cool.  If it was warm enough for the low neckline, the chunky yarn would be too warm.  Then along came Autumn.  

The sweater  is perfect for a chilly fall day.  The kind of day  - like today - when the weather doesn't call for a coat but requires a little something.  Not only has it seen wear, but compliments have come my way each time I have worn it.  Not that I depend on the opinion of others to tell me what to think, but dang it feels good to find out I'm  wrong about a knit. 

The almost-discarded is now in my favourites pile.  HUH !

Monday, October 24, 2011

Home Again

It was lovely, lovely, lovely.  Those are my all-too-inadequate words to describe our little vacation to Quebec City. 

The weather was great.  Sunny and mild enough most days to make me wonder if my felted hat would get worn at all.

Having knit so furiously fast to get it finished,  I did want to wear it.   Sel& Poivre had even suggested I would look quite chic in it.  Just because  'chic' is an adjective rarely before  applied to my style   doesn't mean it couldn't happen.  And dang if she wasn't right!

Shown here once back home, I think you can get the effect.  Just imagine me wearing it at the Chateau Frontenac,

the Citadelle, 

the Hotel Du Parlement

  viewing the city with the St. Lawrence in the background

or at any number of the neat little bars suffused with French ambiance
 and you get the idea.   Une vacance manifique!  With weather so good I only wore the hat one day.  Best possible scenario.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Last Minute Knitting

Entire books have been written on the topic of last minute knitting.  But I am the Queen of such stressful -and I might add, self-imposed - activities. 

My latest endeavour in the Last Minute  Hall Of Fame knitting  is another of Chic Knits Felted Bucket Hats.   
This one, knit with Briggs & Little Sport - left over from my Elizabeth Zimmermann Green Sweater.

Recently, some of that left-over green found it's way into a  Shape-It Scarf  (rav link) to match my new-ish coat. 

Now, Fred and I are off to Quebec City for an early 45th anniversary celebration and it occurred to me that travelling that far north on the cusp of winter, it might be a good idea to have a hat.  And wouldn't it be nice to have a hat that matches my coat?  And couldn't I do that at the last minute? 

And one can.  It's not the knitting that takes time with this pattern.  Knit at a chunky gauge - which was my sport weight doubled - it knits up quickly.  But it felts and dries  s-l-o-w-l-y.  That is why you see it here still on the register, and not yet de-fuzzed.

Since this is Felted Bucket hat number six  for me, you think I might have learned that as stylish and easy to knit as this hat IS, one thing it ISN'T is last minute.  Mine will finish drying in the hotel room.

We'll be back on the weekend.  Have a great week everyone.


Friday, October 14, 2011

Ireland From My Easy Chair

Earlier this week, reading The Rainey Sisters,  I learned of a new book by Carol Feller.  Contemporary Irish Knits.
Susan Rainey kindly provided the Amazon link and in a flash, my credit card  had purchased me a copy.  Without leaving home, fighting shopping crowds or struggling to find a parking spot, two days later, the book arrived.  I love Internet shopping!!!

This is a lovely, lovely  book.  The photography, done by Carol's husband Joseph,  is stunning.    Each section of the book features a different Irish Woollen Mill: Keery Woollen Mills, Cushendale Woollen Mills, Donegal  Yarns,  Dublin Dye Company and Hedgehog Fibres. 

The patterns within each section have delightful Irish names and each are knit with yarn from the  mill featured in that part of the book.

Killybegs, in the Donegal Yarns section,
mentioned on Susan Rainey's blog post, captured my attention and is definitely a favourite in the book.    But there are lots of great patterns for ladies, men and  children.  Hats, mittens, shawls and sweaters. 

With an eye to practicality, the book has  flaps.  Both front and back flaps to keep my place without hunting down a bookmark.

With pictures and a  built in bookmark, it will double as a pattern book and a good bedtime read. 

Have a great weekend, everyone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

My time at knit group, today, started with giving Sandy B a hug.  Today was her last day with us until she is home from the south, for a quick  taste of winter, at Christmas time.  She brought us cake and goodies and served us coffee and tea.  A going away party so to speak.  I couldn't resist a last picture of her in her half- completed, perfect- for- Florida sweater. 
Have fun, Sandy.  We'll miss you. 

Joanne has her daughter visiting.  Two generations of knitters - isn't she a lucky Mom? 

And what a lot of  'show & tell' she brought for us to see.  This is Elizabeth Zimmermann's Rib Warmer Vest. 
Knit in Briggs & Little Soft Spun, Karen thinks it's a little short.  And it is.  Blocking might help or as I suggested, just call it a 'shest'  or a 'vrug'.  (That's a combo of a shrug and vest for those that don't think as I do)

A terrific fit though is her 'Mothed'   - without the holes - knit in Americo wool. 
As so often happens, this is not a sweater that appealed to me when I saw it on the model in Knitty.  But now, having seen yours, Karen, it's a must -add to my queue.  Thanks for sharing.

It is  great to have Gloria back with us after her summer of poor health. I was so captured by her smile I completely forgot to  ask what was on the needles. 

Bonnie says this will be a slipper boot. 
Ruth looks quite dubious  - I can understand why.   Show me the boot, Bonnie!
Ruth, a woman after my own heart,  knits mostly for herself. Here she has a pink sweater, just started. 
The pattern is lovely.  A raglan-sleeved cardigan,  with seed stitch panels either side of the cable.  Where do you shop for yarn, Ruth,  that you can buy it to match your lipstick?

Some coming, some going,  all of us knitting.  It's a great place to be on a Thursday afternoon.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

In A Turkey Fog

I'm in a turkey fog.   There was lots of company, lots of food, lots to be grateful for.

But not much knitting.  Something had to give.  Last night after everyone had left, I could have knit.  Maybe even, should have knit.  But instead I fell asleep in my chair.

Nonetheless, my Transitions sweater is coming along nicely.  I am into the third and last colour grouping.   It is another light-weight  sweater that I think I will love  and wear  lots.
The pattern calls for several inches of ribbing on the lower edge.  I'm thinking maybe not.  Instead,  perhaps an inch or so of seed stitch to match the other borders.  Tiny, little Tanis, the pattern designer,  wears her Transitions buttoned.  Top to bottom.  Mine, I can tell already,  will probably be a  sweater  that doesn't meet in the middle.  So glad that's fashionable.

By tonight, hopefully, the turkey fog will have cleared and I can pick up the needles again.  Heading to the bottom.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

What with catching the movie Barney's Version  (which I loved, BTW)  at Meaford Hall after knitting, then home to  dinner/overnight guests and Ontario election results to watch,  means Thursday's post is being written on   Friday morning.  Nonetheless,  Thursdays are still for knit group.

Carol arrived back from a long vacation to show all the knitting she had done.  She just kept piling it on.  A purple 'sparkly' sweater for her seven year old Grand daughter.
Then a 'ruffly' skirt to match.
Sparkly and ruffly begin specific seven year old demands requests. Then of course, the outfit must have buttons sewn on at various locations!

A cute pink sweater for yet another Grand daughter.
And a blue sweater for the boy.
That's one 'honkin' big 'show & tell, Carol.  Fun knitting.

Pat arrived with her latest creation.  This time a sweater for herself.  A 'guess-what-kind-of-pet-I-have'  sweater.  The view of the front,
the view of the back
and the best view of all- on Pat.

Doreen, bless her heart, agreed to finish her friend's sweater.  A big job that has given Doreen much knitting grief.  Finished are the body and  one sleeve - that's Doreen, knitting so desperately she can't look up
But -  Doreen has started to whine about not being able to knit on her own projects.  It'll soon be over Doreen.  Two pieces of advice. One  - focus on  how grateful your friend will be.  Two - next time,  say NO!!

Sandy B, her sister Sue and a few friends did a Koigu field trip this week. Sandy exercised great restraint.  Yarn for two Ruffled Scarves in two different colourways for two different daughters.
Probably travelling knitting as Sandy leaves for Florida next week.  Don't you think she looks sad to be leaving us?  How will we manage without you, Sandy?

 The weather is to be beautiful all weekend.  A great Ontario, fall weekend with lots of coloured leaves to view.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone.