Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Boring Blogging

Some time ago,  I read a blog that chastised other bloggers for their boring posts.  Something was said like - "All we ever see are progress shots of their half-finished socks."

Indeed!  We're knitters.  Duh!

Thumbing my nose at such criticism, while taking a chance that you might indeed feel that way, today, I show you a  progress shot of my  Creative Top-Down. 

Almost at the waist now,  I started decreasing about two inches after the 'great divide' of sleeves from body.  So far, I have decreased away 16 stitches - eight per side.  At my gauge of 20 stitches over four inches,  - well, you can do the math - there are about three fewer inches.   Considering my non-movie-star and no-longer-young figure, three inches isn't far off the diffference between my waist and bust measurements.  Time to knit straight for a while.  

Starting just below the waist and continuing to the  bottom of the sweater, I intend to knit  in a patch of  triangular-shaped contrast yarn.  This will help to widen the sweater for my hips and add a bit of zing.  Will one triangle be enough for all those decreases?  I am thinking no.  I imagine there will have to be some increases in addition to my little triangle.  Maybe the triangle on one side of the sweater and normal increases on the other side?  I shall play with it and see. 

My CTD is proof postivie that  boring can be fun.  I.M.H.O.

Monday, February 27, 2012

You Can Teach An Old Knitter A New Trick

Sunday night, my intention was to  try on my Creative Top-Down.  The Oscars however, kept me glued to my chair.  Instead,  I decided to  do some knitting that didn't require leaving the chair to put on a bra or get the tape measure.   I chose to repair the curling neckline.

My normal approach to a repair like that would be to snip a stitch at the bottom of the neckline and  unpick the work to unravel it back (in this case upwards) to the beginning.    Then I would pick up the newly-freed stitches and re-knit a new neck trim.

But last night,  because I didn't want to leave my chair to get the scissors,  I simply wove the needle in and out  (or over and under, depending on how you see it)  the legs of the stitches at the base of the neckline.    I could  get the scissors and cut out the old trim during a commercial break. 

My plan was  to knit three rows of  K1,  P1  ribbing then a row or two of stockinet in the contrast colour. This would give me an unobtrusive neck trim that finished with  a small rolled edge.  The commercial break came after one row of ribbing and I laid down the knitting to grab the scissors.  When I next looked at the neckline, it wasn't rolling.  Flat as a  pancake.
Was it the pickup at the base that did it?  The one row of ribbing?  I don't know but  enjoying this new trick. I cast  off and laid it out for the night.  

Still flat today, this old knitter has learned a new trick.  I wonder if the fix of picking up at the base and working one row of ribbing  would work for vertical edges too. I have a couple of those curlers
that need taming. 

Is it the neckline I envisioned?  No.  Is it a neckline I can live with?  I'm not sure.  With the original cast on and  row of ribbing in the contrast colour, followed by three rows of ribbing in the main colour, and now completed by  a base of picked up stitches and row of ribbing also in the contrst colour, it is a bit more heavy-duty that my vision.  I might yet  take it out and re-do it to match my vision.

 But whether it stays or whether it goes, I have learned a new trick.  I am now envisioning where else I might use this trick.  This knitter is happy.

Friday, February 24, 2012

My Purple Problem

This little black and purple skirt has created the perfect, purple, fashion  storm.
 The skirt was on a sale rack,  right inside the door of a high-end designer store.  (Not my normal shopping venue. I was tagging along  with my sister.) Normally those racks contain sizes that are not mine, styles that are not mine, or even on sale, prices that are not mine.  But this skirt I loved.   It fit and I could afford it.  Bingo.  It was mine.  Ever since, I have searched for the perfect purple to accompany the skirt.  Finally, with a new shipment of Lamb's Pride Worsted at the store,
 there it was. 

In the mean time, I had purchased the Stiletto Vest pattern.
 With it's mimicking, bottom  triangles I thought it would be a perfect accompaniment to the  skirt.  But the more I think about it, the skirt doesn't seem to me to be a vest kind of skirt. I changed my mind and decided to knit a scarf  - one I planned to decorate with black beads - and purchased  only enough yarn to do that. 

Now though,  my mind has changed again.  I am now thinking a smallish cardi - open fronted to show off a black top - and one with  three-quarter sleeves might be the best partner for this little skirt. 

My vision is muddled.  I have a  purple problem.  But I'm leaning towards the cardi.  Votes anyone?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

For 'show & tell' today, I took my two pairs of felted slippers to knit group.   Ingrid said her significant other needed slippers - who  needs more motivation that a statement like that - so one pair found a new home.    Here Ingrid shows them off as earrings.
She wanted to show them off by hanging them on other body parts, but I reminded her that this is a family blog.  You'd be  great fun at a party, Ingrid.
Sharon treated us to a yarn give-away - a bag of cotton yarn she no longer needed.   It was good to see Ruth out today and I am sure she was glad she came. Take a look at her firm grip on that green variegated Paton's Grace from Sharon's stash. 

I snatched some pink, while Sheila was happy with the red.

Sharon had knit a baby hat
 - with silk and merino, no less -  for the latest little family member.  It is s-o-o small.
 Here it covers a coffee cup.

Nell knit a baby hat too.    Hers in pink, is just as small as Sharon's. 

Nell also showed us  a 'lazy knitter's' scarf.
 Having never heard that term before, I asked Nell to explain.
 "The dropped stitch rows   lengthen  the scarf faster than normal knitting", said Nell.  Hence the name -   Lazy Knitter's Scarf.  With the self-proclaimed  title of world's laziest knitter, I'm surprised I haven't knit a few of those myself.  

All this knitting, and thanks to Nicki,  Banana Muffins too. I bet that Florida crowd misses us.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mere Inches

I cannot be a creative knitter  and a social, chatting knitter  at the same time.  At knit group,  I do not knit on my creative top-down sweater.  On the weekend, with visitors, I did not knit on my CTP sweater.  So it is mere inches for where it was last week.
 But those inches have put me very close to the 'great divide' where sleeves and sweater separate.  Just an inch or so to go. 

Not only is the pace turtle-like, but there are  problems.  There is a dropped stitch.  That's my ifnger you see showing through to the right side.
Noticed about twenty rows too late.  Too late to hook up into place without the repair glaring with the resulting tightness.  Instead, I will have to loop a piece of matching yarn through the un-attached stitch and weave those ends into the back of the sweater. Fixable, without too much trouble.  Not like the second problem -  the turning neckline. 


The neckline was created with a cast on, followed by one row of knit, then three rows of K1 P1 ribbing.  And it turns.  It doesn't so much roll as simply turns flat.  That repair I will do once the sweater is finished.  If I cannot block it into submission, I will have to cut into the first row of stockinet and rip back to re-do the trim.  Perhaps on a smaller needle?  Or maybe knit more ribbing? Not the look I want  so I am hoping the blocking will make the neckline behave.

My creative, centre front and back panels please me. 
Changed up every four rows, some sections are stockinet, some reverse stockinet and some in the contrast yarn  for a eye-catching pop of colour.  I like it so far and with the major creative thinking done,  the inches should fly by.  Soon.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Weekend Knitting, Weekend Fun

Over the last few years, Ontarians have been given the gift of a mid-February, long weekend.  I retired too soon.  Designated as Family Day, today is a holiday. 

In keeping with that idea, Fred and I  invited  my two  sisters and their husbands for the weekend.  To great eye-rolling  on the part of the guys, we 'girls' started   each morning  with our coffee in the hot tub.
 My felted hats were a great way to keep the head warm and dry. 

Starting the day like that, you can imagine how the rest of the day might go.  Lots of  fun,  lots of laughter,  little knitting.   I did manage, though,  to finish another pair of slippers.   Non-Felted Slippers ( a free ravelry pattern by Yuko Nakamura)  that I decided to knit with chunky yarn doubled - the same  made-in-China wool from Wal Mart that I used for the Duffers -  and  an 8mm needle so I could felt them.

This pattern is similar to the 19 Row Felted Duffers but with a higher instep.  Remembering my issue with a too-small, foot opening on a previous pair of 'ripped' slippers, I added an extra stitch for every four stitches all around the slipper top, as I cast off.

 Knitted, felted and now drying, they will go either  in the slipper box for visitors to wear or into the give-away box.  Unless my feet get them first. 

Another fun, quick, weekend knit.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

It is hard to determine if the eight knitters who were out to knit group today are the fortunates or the unfortunates.  We have knitters in Florida,  Texas,  Toronto and even Beeton.  Those of us without winter get-away homes or plans come to knit group.   No  southern climate or  sunshine, no bright city lights.  Just  bright and cheerful yarn, great knitting companions and  lots of laughs. 

Ruth is looking for an 'easy' baby sweater pattern that is knit bottom up. (Top down confuses her, she says)  Any suggestions to pass along?   To put in time until she comes across that 'easy' pattern, shehas started to knit the  booties. 

Do you remember the beautiful lap quilt  (scroll down)  the ladies presented her with last week?  I asked her if  she puts  it on her lap while she knits.  "Under me," she said.    "That way I won't lose my needles down between the cushions.  I'm tired of moving that chesterfield to find my needles."    Ruth is tiny and elderly and I cannot imagine her moving a chesterfield.  Apparently,  there is no stopping a knitter who has lost her needles.

Pat is still knitting toys.  This cute little Valentine doll was on her needles today.

Sharon has a hat for hubby on her needles.  The leftover yarn from some felted clogs and her favourite hat pattern from the Need A Hat? book.

Bonnie started the multi-coloured bands of this baby sweater at knit group  today.  Lots of ends to weave in but a very cute sweater, Bonnie.

Gail is a lucky knitter.  She has a friend that loves and is appreciative of the hand knit socks Gail makes for her.  This is pair number two.  Now those colours will brighten a winter's day, Gail.

And Gail is not the only knitter on sock duty this week.  Wilma is knitting socks at the request of her Chiropractor.  He wants them for his patients to wear during treatments.  Only natural fibres and natural colours. No synthetics, no dyes.     This is pair number two she has knit for him.  I hope he doesn't have a big patient load, Wilma or you might never get any personal knitting done.

It might not be the sunny south or the big city, but fun happens wherever knitters gather.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of yarny goodness.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Inching Along

Once one stops  ripping, one does  move forward.  My Creative Top Down is headed for the shoulders.  But at the pace I'm going, it is inching, rather than  racing, there.

Being top down, what you see here is
the cast on plus one knit row in the  contrast colour followed by three rows of knit one, purl one ribbing then the sweater itself.  Creative, or what? 

Down the centre front you will notice a four stitch panel   containing copius quantities of creativity.
Some reverse stockinet, some stockinet and some stockinet  in the contrast colour.  Creative, or what?

As well as not moving very quickly, it is also not very creative.  Instead,  it is a blatant copy of a sweater I  saw on ravelry.  Sweater r r r .  Oh - I changed colours.

But for a top-down stockinet sweater,  it is interesting to knit  as there is always something going on.  I hope to reach the 'great divide' soon, then it will be on to creative waist shaping.      If you doubt that waist shaping can be creative, you haven't seen my waist.  Stay tuned.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Nineteen Over Two

Feeling the need for speed, this weekend, I set aside my creative top-down and knit a pair of slippers.  Quick and easy and done in two days.

Always on the look-out for the newest in slipper patterns, I had started a pair of Bulky Yarn Booties but they did not work out.  The top was so small that my foot wouldn't go into them.  Rip.  (There's a lot of that going around here  these days.)   Back to my favourite slipper pattern -  19 Row Duffers.   Two days and 38 rows later, a pair of felted slippers.

The yarn used  and held double throughout,  was wool I snatched from Gloria's great yarn give-away.  A variegated brown wool, made in China! Sold at Wal Mart.  Who knew?  Since I  have two balls more,  I think another pair of slippers might happen soon.  This time I might try the  
Non Felted Slippers     knitting them on larger needles and  felting them.  

With two exceptions, the Non Felted Slippers  are identical to the  19 Row Duffers.  The Non-Felted Slippers pattern is free while there is a small charge for the 19 Row Duffers pattern.  The Non Felted slippers  cover more of the instep, which might be more cozy.  Oh - and a  third exception is that they have 42 rows.    Can I handle that?  '84 over 2'  does sound more impressive than '19 over 2'.  If it happens that is.

Friday, February 10, 2012

If Practice Makes Perfect

If practice makes perfect,  if repetition leads to learning,   if slow and steady wins the race,  then I'm onto something big with my creative top-down. 

After a week of knitting, here I am.

Just out of the gate, just past the start line, just barely underway.

And if bragging is not something one should do, then I am being punished.  Yesterday at knit group, Wilma asked how my CTD was coming.  I 'bragged' -  bragged I tell you  -  that my research and multiple starts had paid off.  I was away to the races.  I was on my way.  Things were going well.  I had it under control.

Of course I spoke to soon.  I am, today, just  barely underway because last night, yet again, I ripped it out.  The first few rips involved getting the neck size and shape just right.  The vision is for a  neck that is a bit more open than a crew neck but still high enough to be warm on a chilly winter's day. Rip.  Rip.   Once that was settled, I questioned  whether on an open neck  the back neck should be raised.  Rip.

Then came the issue of a bit of contrasting colour at the edge of the neck trim.  One row?  Two rows?  Rolled edge?  Ribbed?  Rip.  Rip.  Rip.  Rip.

In listing my 2012 goals, I said that I wanted to knit enough top-down sweaters to make that type of construction intuitive.  Into my first sweater, I have already learned an important lesson. When knitting top-down, the creative bits come at the beginning.  No time to envision them, no time to  think about how to do them through round after round of plain stockinet as would happen in a bottom up.  In top-down, I have to think  before I start.  Not something that comes naturally to me, for sure.

I always claim that the ripping and re-doing on my own designs doesn't bother me as it would on a pattern knit.  On a pattern, I presume that the designer has been through this process and I resent having to repeat it.  But when knitting pattern-free, it is part of the design process.  However - there is a limit.  I have had enough practice now, thank you very much.  Let's get this sweater started.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Sometimes a knitter needs a sense of fashion and sometimes, like today, simply a sense of fun.  Ingrid brought three knitted hats with her today.   Although you would not be mistaken if you thought this piece was a bag, because folded this way, it is.

Folded the 'other' way, it is a hat.  Who but Ingrid would be able to create such a  piece?

Then she showed us a felted hat - two shades of Lilac.  Very dashing wouldn't you say?

Hat number three is also felted - one shade of Lilac only.

But most fun is wearing one inside the other, Dr Suess style.   

Back on the fashion side of the coin, we saw Ingrid's delicate scarf.  She knit it to match a recently-purchased, Linen skirt.  Can't wait for the weather to warm up, Ingrid so we can see the outfit.

 Nell, hiding behind her work here,  has a brightly coloured afghan almost finished. 

So heavy, she says, it hurts her shoulder.

Ruth, who almost didn't come today, was sure glad she did.  Two ladies, members of the local quilting group,  appeared at the door.  Standing beside Ruth they said
" You mentioned that you would like a lap quilt, so we made you one." 
With that they placed a beautiful quilt in her lap, said  "Enjoy"  then left.    

Speechless for a nano-second, the entire room was quiet.  Then everyone at once exclaiming over the beauty of the quilt and the beauty of the gesture.

Lastly, we have the 'face-less' modelling of Citron.  Made with sock yarn and declared by it's owner to be a 'useless' piece.  Ingrid and I thought  not.  What if we try it this way...

or this way...

or this way...

or - hey it's you, Nicki - this way.
The word is versatile, not useless.  And lovely on your blank, black canvas.

Wool is warm.  Wool is fun.  Wool is versatile.  Or is that knitters?  Or both?