Thursday, May 31, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Designer Linda Benne needs to put the Meaford Knitters on commission.  Gail and Sandy both worked on their 'Whisper' cardigan's today.
 Gail with Fleece Artist and Sandy with Zen. 

Carol, with three skeins of Fleece Artist Zambezi is anxious to start her Whispers but had to wind her yarn first.

Doreen is nothing if not determined.  She is well on her way to a beautiful,  mitred-square scarf.
You've come a long way from your initial, mitred morass,  Doreen.  

Ingrid is back from Victoria and a visit with her 'special' guy.  We're glad you are back, Ingrid.  We missed your lilac.
Did you not get much sleep out there, Ingrid?

Wilma.  Hang onto your Gemini.  It's lilac.  Ingrid has her eye on it.  She even has the shoes to match, remember?  Gemini, from the latest issue of Knitty,  is a very cute summer tee. Just enough lace to make it an interesting but not overly complicated knit.

Bonnie is busy with something.

Another cutest-ever, and destined for the Meaford Craft Festival,  baby sweater. 

Speaking of cutest-ever, Sandy finished the multi-ruffled dress.
That is a very creative, asymmetrical, shoulder strap treatment.  A great finishing detail, Sandy.

 Dianna works yet on her 30 - or was that 40  - year old project.
In fact, today she went backwards.  We all know what that feels like, Dianna.

Lots of 'lots of' at knitting.  Lots of colour.  Lots of knitting.  Lots of laughs.  Lots of yarn.  Lots of different patterns.  Lots of fun!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Fully Finished

A few weeks ago I knit  an orange vest  on my knitting machine.  The first machine knitting for me  in quite some time.  Knit with a vision rather than a pattern there were more than a few false starts.  When you saw it here, the knitting was complete, but not the sewing up or the trim.

Even at that mostly complete stage, I encountered 'issues'.  It was too long.  Bamboo, being a yarn with drape, caused the vest to  grow in length.  I put it in  a 'time out' until I could decide how to treat the length issue.   In the end, I decided to sew and cut.  I  sewed a line of tiny zig zag  stitches about two inches from the bottom, then cut off the excess.  That was an obvious fix for length, but then I struggled with how to finish off that cut edge. 

Yesterday I worked two rows of single crochet down the fronts and around the arm holes

 all the while thinking about how to finish the bottom.  Good old fashioned hemming seemed to be the best solution and in the end that is what I did.  A half inch hem.  Sewn in place with the yarn itself.

 It worked and blocked out beautifully.

The vest is bright!  A sort of 'in-your-face',  'here comes Brenda'  bright.  But, it matches my shoes!
How cool is that?

Monday, May 28, 2012

Still In Love

Just an update on how the Stephen West romance progresses. 

The colours are glorious, the texture soft and cuddly, the fit just right and the knitting addictive.  A knitter's perfect combo.

Somehow in his genius he has incorporated just the right amount of short rows.  This scarfy, neckie thing sits at the base of the neck, reaches the exact edge of the shoulders and  becomes a mantle of softness that will beautify any coat.

The pattern calls for 86 wedges but at about 10 wedges, I realized I had the beginnings of a hat.  Seam the  wedges into a circle,  decrease for the  top and voila -a hat.  If I'm lucky, there might be enough left-over yarn to do just that.

At about 25 wedges, you have a once-around-the-neck mantle-like scarf that lies exactly where warmth is needed under a winter coat. But perhaps a bit too 'little-old-lady-like' for me.  (Denial, I know)

At the recommended 86 wedges, I think I will have a fashion-smart, twice-around warp that hangs gracefully down the front of whatever I might be wearing.  Here I have exactly half.  43 wedges and you can see that fashion-smart hang taking shape.

Still in love here.  

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Thursdays Are for Knit Group

Star status  again today.  Without even a  star-like tantrum,  we were given the actors prep room once again.  Such a lovely room.  I think I could memorize lines.  Instead we knit.

Sharon  had modelled her alpaca Mothed for the group before I arrived.  With today's temperature  hovering around 30', it was much too hot to wear  Alpaca  for any length of time.    But bless her heart, Sharon re-modelled the seven-times-warmer-than-wool sweater for late-comer me.
 I love it!  Similar in construction, style and weight to the Featherweight, I think I might have to put that one in my queue. Doesn't that smile say it all?  A knitter happy with her knitting.

Sandy has a bright, cheerful, summer dress for a three year old on her needles. 
The Pink ruffle is shorter than the others, Sandy noticed.  Will the three year old care?

Gail finished what must be the stash buster of all stash busters. 

Lovely afghan, Gail.  Surely you must be able to go yarn shopping soon.

Wilma, with her Featherweight finished, is on to summer sweater number two. 

She's a factory, I tell you.  This one, knit with  Patons Grace, a discontinued yarn from her stash, is a great choice for a summer 'tee'.  Stash-busting all around the table.

Knitters knitting summer tees and little summer dresses.  Then there was talk of knitting at the beach.  A sure sign that summer is here.  Good thing the needles don't ask for vacation time.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Goal Getting, Stash Busting, Gift Giving.

My May 2-4 knitting project (Yes, I know.  Most Canadians spend Victoria Day drinking beer in a campground somewhere. Me,  I knit.) met many  goals.  In keeping with my 2012 quest to improve my machine knitting skills, this latest FO was indeed knit on the machine.   A day and a half.  Hip Hip!  It used up three and a bit balls of stash yarn and will be gifted to my youngest  grand daughter, Abi. 

The only goal not met was the timing.  I started the vest Saturday morning hoping to finish it that evening in order to send it with Fred when he left Sunday morning for Hearst and the trailer.  About two-thirds of the way towards completion I realized that finishing  'on time'  would mean working the work of those with deadlines.  Would I enjoy that?  Not likely.  Instead, with Sunday to myself, I finished the vest at a leisurely  pace and will mail it off tomorrow.

The bottom features a picot hem.
A first for me.  Thank you google and Youtube.

The pattern featured on the front of this  Patons Next Steps book, written for hand knitting,  worked well on the machine - once I took the time to type out my translation.  Most hand knit patterns are written using measurements.
Knit until back is 12 inches from cast on,  for example.  Knitting machines, however, have a little gizmo that counts rows and all  things knit on the machine require a row count.
Knit  the back to Row 78, for exampleIt is one of the things that gives machine knitting it's precision look. 

I have always thought I was talented enough to do that 'measurement-to-rows' translation on the fly.  While knitting.  Not so. Or not so, anymore.   Once I realized my inadequacy and took the time to sit at the computer and  'translate'  all measurements in the pattern to row counts, I was away to the races.

Finished off  with two rows of hand-knit, reverse stockinet around the arms and,  at the neck, 2x2 ribbing followed by the same two rows of reverse stockinet, it looks good.

 As is, a cute summer top, but over a turtleneck, a colourful, winter layering piece.

Being ten and a half, Abi is just passing from  the 'everything Grandma makes is wonderful' stage and coming into her own style. Perhaps the vest will never be worn.  But no matter,  my machine knitting skills were enhanced,  the stash  reduced

 and I enjoyed the process.  Wearing is just a bonus.

Friday, May 18, 2012

My New Romance

Stephen West is the new man in my life.  Yes, he is way too young for me.  Way too handsome, way too creative.    But as a man to love  in a knitterly fashion,  you can't beat Stephen West.

His designs,  to date accessories only and mostly scarfy,  shawly,  neck thingies,  are creative and lovely.  He uses luxury yarns  for wraps that surrounds your neck in ethereal softness. 

Last fall at the Kitchener Waterloo Knitters Fair, I succumbed.  One of the booths had several of Stephen's Spectra scarf/shawls made up and on display along with several 'kits' containing yarns and pattern.  It was an eye-catching, crowd-stopping display.  Despite the 'ouch' price tag, I couldn't resist.

But my ill-informed, un-informed opinion, based on appearance only,  that the pattern would be difficult to knit caused my kit to sit on a shelf until  a day when I could devote the time to knit with concentration.  How wrong I was.  Stephen, my new man, has written a pattern of the best kind.  Easily memorized and easily knit.  The pattern  defies  it's true simplicity  with an appearance of complexity that would impress even the narrowest of knitters. Thank you Stephen.

Although mine is barely started, it's beauty is already apparent.

Worked over a mere 40 stitches, with colour progression to keep me motivated,  it is a fast and fun knit.    Have I said "Thank You, Stephen"?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

A private function today, in our normal knitting room at Meaford Hall  meant our group was re-located to a space usually  hidden from the public.  They put us in the room used by the performers.  We liked it there!

Well lit by big windows, comfy sofas to relax on, tables to set our needles and bags on, a kitchen,  laundry facilities, dressing rooms, showers, and those surrounded-by-lights mirrors one usually only sees in the movies.  How the other half lives!  Saturday evening, Fred and I have tickets to see
Susan Aglukark at the Hall.  When she walks on stage, I'll know what room she just left. 

I suspect it is a space that normally doesn't see too much knitting.   But there was knitting today.

Wilma arrived wearing her finally-finished Featherweight. 
It gave her lots of grief because the yarn un-plied itself as she knit.  She thought she had discovered the cause of the problem when the  yarn behaved beautifully while knitting the sleeves.  Unlike the cardi body, which is knit back and forth and therefore has purl rows,  the sleeves are knit in the round.  'Must be my purling method', thought Wilma. With the sweater body taking her a month to knit due to the un-plying, she dreaded the thought of  the wide ribbing.   With the purling involved, another month is what she thought she was facing. But it went well. No more un-plying.  Perhaps it was simply a bum ball of yarn.  It sure didn't prevent you from knitting a beautiful sweater, Wilma.  And such a gorgeous colour.

Sandy  got a hand with her yarn winding today. 
With a thousand metres of lace weight Zen destined for another Whisper cardigan,  it would have been hours of hand-rolling a ball.  Sharon kindly brought her swift and winder and

Bonnie has a funky purple and white baby blanket almost finished.
 Less finished when she left for homebecause she had to rip back a few rows.   Hate it when that happens.

 Gail is knitting a pair of bright yellow socks for a nine year old.
Sharon and Wilma are both interested in the ribbing.  The type of ribbing - 3x1,  I overheard -  and the length of the ribbing.  And who is that hanging around in the background?  Why if it isn't my Duct Tape Dress Form.  Wouldn't you know it? Now they all want one!    I sense a rollicking good workshop coming up.

Lots of fun and the space made us feel  like the stars that we are.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Seeing Is Believing

Cinne had it's test wear on Mothers' Day. The  good news is that it is very light weight, easy to wear, not too hot, just a great summer cover up.
 The bad news is,  I think it needs bust darts.
Make that astonishing news.  When did it happen that little-old, tissue-stuffing me arrived at this stage in life where bust darts would make my sweater hang better?  I must tell Fred. 

I have examined the  modelled shot on the pattern cover with a magnifying glass and I see no evidence of the sweater riding up across her bust.  But it does on mine.  Originally I thought my 3for4 ratio of picking up stitches for the ribbing was the issue.  The pattern suggested 4for5.  But my pulling up seems more severe than that extra 5%.  I truly think it needs bust darts.  Something I have never done, in a sweater of mine, ever before.

To me, it also seems, despite my having shortened it about one inch, a bit long. 

 If it were about one inche shorter still, it would not 'pleat' across the hips.  To fix that,  the sweater either needs to be wider at the hips or shorter so it rests at a not-so-wide section of my body.
Having said all that.  It is not bad. After all, one doesn't stand in that modellig pose too often in real life.  Garments pleat, hike, fold and do all sorts of things in a real wear situation.  

But still, I am torn.  Is it worth ripping back for a re-do when exciting new projects await?  My advise to others is often 'sometimes good enough is good enough.'  Can I/should I  take my own advice?   Feel free to weigh in.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Duct Tape And Dress Forms

The great thing about going to Sis' house for the weekend - apart from her great hospitality, of course - is the great LYS.  Greater still, this weekend  Needles In The Hay was offering a Saturday morning workshop.  Glenna C - she of Knitfest fame - was doing a workshop on creating a duct-tape dress form.

Long have I lusted after a dress form. Imagine not having to deal with  a top-body only  image in the over-the-dresser mirror.  Or being distracted by jeans that no longer fit  or the pile of dirty laundry in the corner when using the full length mirror.  Dress forms, however,  are atrociously expensive. 

But for the price of Glenna's workshop - which included all the duct tape any body size might use - I  could have a dress form.   Better and easier fitting now within my  reach. 

Duct-Tape Dress Forms is  not a workshop for the shy.  Perfect strangers smooth tape on your body in places that   aren't often 'smoothed' in public. 
Once the taping is complete
 and Glenna has had her way with body paint, 

the taped and the entire class of tapers  troop off to the  washroom together  - not your normal knitting workshop- so the form can be cut off.  There stands  a partially,  naked knitter   until someone thinks to hand over the street clothes.

My new friend Jan, with whom I've shared so much,  was a very good sport about allowing me to take her picture during this process.   And she returned the favour when it was my turn. Thanks, Jan.

To remove the knitter from the form, it  - the form, but hopefully, not the knitter - is cut straight up the back. Here, Glenna re-tapes my form for it's final incarnation.

Two happy knitters   and their duct-tape dress forms. 

All that remains to be done is to stuff my form with  a pillow and a bit of extra poly-fill for the bump-outs  and hang it in the yarn room.     Easier fitting from now on.  Thanks Glenna.  It was lots of fun!

Friday, May 11, 2012

My Mothers Day Gift To me

Cinne is complete and ready to make her fashion debut on this family weekend, hosted by  Sis.
 A finished sweater is a great Mothers' Day gift.  Especially for a knitterly Mother like me. And doubly great since it involved ripping and re-knitting a lesser garment  for better results.

Cinne is the latest  Chic Knits pattern.  Another uniquely constructed, but easy-to-understand piece of knitting brilliance by Bonne Marie Burns.

Yarn - Calico by Sirdar.

 DK weight yarn  in a light shade of what I call mint green.  Yesterday at knit group, Sandy B commented that it was an unusual colour for me.  I wear a lot of green but this is - for me - an unusual shade of green. I am more an 'olive'  than   'mint'  girl.  With  only five 50 g  balls in my stash I was surprised to have 30 grams left over. 

That means the sweater weighs only  220 grams - just under half a pound for those of us who talk more Imperial than Metric.   In either language, that is light weight.  A perfect piece for summer, should we ever get any hot weather here.

Needles - The body was knit with 4mm  circulars and the ribbed edges with 3.75mm.

I shortened the sweater a bit.  When I tried on the pre-ribbed Cinne I knew that adding another inch or so to the bottom of the sweater  would make it too long for   me.  So I ripped back a inch or so, added the ribbing and have a 22 inch CInne.  Perfect for me.

I also didn't pick up  for the ribbing  stitches in the ratio advised in the pattern.  Bonne suggests the ratio of four to five.  That ratio in percentage speak is 80%.  Definitely more ribbing stitches than the three for four or 75% ratio I favour.  So --- I ignored the pattern suggestion and ribbed at the ratio of three for four.   And ??  It is a bit tight and pulls the sweater fronts up.  Proved wrong once again.  I have blocked it as  much as possible and will give it the wear test over the weekend.  I really don't want to rip out that neck band. Two and a half inches  up one side, across the back and down the other.  Here's hoping the blocking will work.  Maybe  I could hang a couple of weights on the bottom front corners.

The only other modification I made was to short row the neck band.  Even without the neck trim the back neck was high.  I couldn't imagine another two & a half inches climbing up the back of my head.  If the ribbing was to be that deep, for comfortable wearing, the back neck trim would have to be folded over.  Folding the back neck trim might,  it seemed to me,  alter the way the front bands behaved.  Instead, I  chose to  short-row the neck band.  Three times, I knit from bottom up, but stopped at the  shoulder line, wrapped and turned to  knit back down to the bottom.  That gave me six less rows in the back and it seems to be just fine.

Two little quirks that hopefully will iron themselves out with wearing.  Either way,  I will let you know.   I'll wear it on Mothers' Day, try to  remember to get someone to snap my picture and   Monday, I'll let you be he judge.  In the mean time - Happy Mothers Day to all Mothers.  May your day involve knitting.


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

The mother of all UFOs was at knit group today.  Newby, Deanna, encouraged by the knitting chit chat she overheard at the gym, came to knit group today with her UFO project.
Unbelievably striking, with colours of another era, her crocheted afghan was started in - get this - 1967!!!   There should be a prize.

Gail,  worked on her Fleece Artist Kid Silk sweater, the drapey-fronted Whisper cardigan. 
Same colour as I purchased at the Knitters Frolic so another 'twinning' episode coming up.

Whisper is not the only project Gail has on the go. 
Another chemo cap finished and a pair of bright, sunny  yellow socks.

Determined Doreen has plans to be a 'square' knitter.
 That would be a knitter of squares,  not an uncool knitter.  Sandy B gives her a few tips and Doreen gets a bit more inspiration.

Sharon has 'Mothed' well underway.
Knit top down, at larger than expected gauge, with fingering weight,  Americo Alpaca, Mothed is a   soft, light-weight sweater.  Perfect layering piece, Sharon.

And Wilma's Featherweight,  is almost finished. 
 Another Americo yarn - this time Cotton Flamme and it has given Wilma untold hours of frustration.  She now knows that there is some weired twist of the wrist in the way she purls.  This being a cardigan, the de-plying of the yarn drove her crazy while knitting the  body back and forth, but disappeared once she started the 'knit-in-the-round' sleeves.  There are worse things that finding patterns where you don't have to purl, Wilma.  And the colour  is fabulous!

Carol, another  of our Florida-wintering knitters is crocheting a poncho for her grand daughter. 
Crocheted ponchos.  Apparently they're back!

Great variety, great colours and great fun.  No better place to be on a Thursday afternoon.