Friday, September 28, 2012

Meaford's Big Weekend

This weekend is a big weekend for all Meaford people.  It is the 16th annual  Scarecrow Invasion.

The town decorated everywhere with Scarecrows,

a Friday night parade and weekend-long One Of A Kind   er, um,  it's not called a OOAK but should be - Craft Show.

It is a home-coming of sorts for all ex-Meafordites and the traffic line-ups to  get into town are are almost  Toronto-esque in size.  All the  businesses in town gear up for the weekend and are beyond busy.  Local legends like Grandma Lambe with her pies  and orchards such as Vail's,   Barbetta's   and Almond's with their apples are places that attract mega- crowds of visitors  this weekend.

So if you are looking for a fun time this weekend, come to Meaford.  You'll see me at the craft show.  Or at Grandma Lambe's.  Or at one of the orchards.  Or at the parade.    

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursdays Are For knit Group

 Sunshine, blue skies and  warm weather outside.  Bright colours, laughter and knitting inside.  Of course - that seems to happen regardless of the weather.

 It was good to see Nell back.  Her shoulder has been bothering her but it hasnt' stopped her from crocheting it seems.
That is beautiful, Nell.  A work of  fun, colourful, art.  Oh and it's a blanket too.

Right beside Nell, Wilma had her own  colourful knitting on the go.
  A scarf in apple green that had another 5 1/2 iches in length by the end of knit group.

Difficult decisions.  Work on the scarf or on the beautiful cowl.
Knit with Cabin Fever's Sterling, a Merino, Silk and Sterling Silver combo.
 It is gorgeous, Wilma.

Gail seems quite pleased with her silk knitting too.
 Sweaterkits silk yarn that she is knitting into a 'long-tailed' shawly, wrappy, necky thing.  Wonderful colours.

Sandy B finished a hat at group today.
Knit with some of her sister Sue's give-away yarn.  Thick, chunky yarn, 72 stitches, 7 inches of knitting before decreasing for the top and all  on a 5.5 mm needle.  Easy, quick, fun.  Not something you will wear in Florida though, I'm sure, Sandy.

Sharon took  the Spinners & Weavers Guild cause  of  hand-spun, tree-decorating, mini mittens very seriously.  7 mittens this  week.

Beyond cute, though, aren't they?

Doreen looks a bit less than pleased at not having finished her summer 'tee'.

Next summer, Doreen.

And lastly, what was Ingrid wearing today?

'This old thing' she claimed.  Old maybe, but another lovely Koigu knit.

The colours inside surely matched,  maybe even  outshone,  the fall colours outside and there was much more fun where we were.  At knit group.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Blogging With Danny Marks

While I post today, I am listening to my latest Danny Marks CD, purchased  pilferred from a kind gentleman in the audience last Saturday while at the Rex.  I do love his Johnny Cash-esque voice.

But being of the  "If you are supposed to be studying, turn off that radio"   generation  can I think, type and listen at the same time?   We'll see.

Getting back to the knitting, today, I am telling you about my modified Vignette sleeve.

Vignette has sleeves that end just below the elbow with a distinctive  flare.  They begin with more stitches than required which are decreased away as you knit up the sleeve.  That gives the sleeve bottom a definite flare.  I don't like that look.

So I modified.  I knit a very conventional sleeve, 3/4 length, that gradually increases in circumference as it approaches the upper arm.   (It is obvious that this knit will really benefit from blocking.)
 I fell back on my Elizabeth Zimmermann knowledge and cast on 25% of the total body stitches for my 3/4 sleeve,  worked 12 rows in K1, P1 ribbing, then in the first row of stockinet, placed the 12 stitch, lace pattern in the centre and knit up.

It fits and looks just the way I wanted it too.  But I am not off sleeve island yet.  I do need two of them and they always seem to take longer than I feel they should.  I shall as Elizabeth used to say - 'Knit on'.

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Short Cruise

This weekend I was on a cruise.  Of sorts.

Last spring, Dad had said that he wanted to go on a cruise.  One that he had been on in the past and wanted to do again. An East Coast cruise that docks in cities such as Quebec City, Boston, Halifax and ports in between.  Being 92 years old, it was thought that he needed a travelling companion and I was chosen.  Fine by me.

A deposit was paid in early spring with  the rest of the  money due mid July.  As summer approached, Dad talked less and less about the cruise and  I began to suspect that he was having second thoughts.  And so he was.  While in Hearst I received an email from him, in his typical staccato style,  that read something like this.  "Not feeling well.  Nothing serious.  Just feel  more like 93 than 92.  Have cancelled cruise."

I responded with the suggestion that we substitute the week-long cruise -  complete  with the hassle of major airports and crowds -   for a weekend in Toronto to hear some jazz. 

And so Saturday morning saw me driving south, while Dad trained it in from the west for a noon meet-up in Toronto.  Dad stepped out of  the cab wearing the jazz-lovers vest I knit for  him several years ago.
Our first music stop was to hear Danny Marks at the Rex.  Danny  never fails to entertain and even, this time, gave me my 15 seconds of fame.  I approached the stage thinking to buy a CD but they were all sold.  Apparently  I looked so disappointed that Danny invited me to join him on stage and cajoled the audience  into feeling sorry for me until one gentleman offered to sell me his CD.  Lucky me.

Following the Rex we were off to Grossman's Tavern.  The first time I ever went to Grossman's, Dad suggested   " If you have to p - -,   go now.  They named the tavern after the condition of the washrooms."

Lucky for me, they have renovated and  the ladies loo now boasts granite counter tops.  The rest of the tavern still has that no-frills feel which provides a great venue for their Saturday afternoon show featuring The Happy Pals.  A lively, fun, raucous band playing Dixie Land Jazz favourites. 

Niece Katie   - she of the red felted hat -
joined us for an hour on her study break.  And son Peter arrived to join us for a dinner at a Thai restaurant.  Spicy Thai food.  Dad's favourite.

Sunday, we were back at the Rex to hear the Excelsior Jazz Band.  Same instruments and  same songs as The Happy Pals but a smoother, less raw sound.

 Shortly before the band started to play,  an elderly lady entered, pushing her husband in a wheel chair.  They sat at the end of our table.  She gently removed his jacket and the foot rests from the wheel chair - the better to feel the vibrations of the music.  Periodically she would get up from her chair and hold a glass of water to his lips so he could have a drink.  She ordered him a grilled cheese sandwich, then cut it into small pieces, so he could feed himself. When all that was done, she took him to the men's washroom.

The couple were  known to the band and  part way through the  afternoon, the band leader introduced them.   It was her birthday which was the reason for the outing.  The band leader went on to say that  the husband was in his 90s and a World War Two veteran so they played   It's A Long Way  To Tipperary.  All of which brought tears to me eyes.  My Dad is in his 90s and a WW2 veteran.  He came a 100 Kilometres by train, then cab  to join me for our 'cruise'.  Saying  good bye to him Sunday afternoon I watched  him toddle across Queen Street in downtown Toronto, waving his cane at an approaching cab to get a ride to the train station for his trip home.  He had booked first class - a sale on tickets he said - which offered him a choice of meals. He chose Hindu.  He had never eaten Hindu and wanted to try it.  I am very lucky.

But when I 'travel' there isn't much time for knitting.   I managed to finish the last few rows of sleeve #1 for Vignette before dozing off in my chair last night.
 Details tomorrow.

Friday, September 21, 2012

News At 6

My little News At 6  Knit is coming along nicely.  I did have more knitting time than just the evening news yesterday as I  worked on the vest at  knit group.  It is that easy a knit that it makes a good 'take & talk'  project.

The lower portion is done and one front complete. 

My only concern now is - will I have enough yarn.  I could weigh it and know for sure - but why take the stress out of my knitting life?  I will knit on with hope and held breath.

  Happy knitting this weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Fall weather brings out the knitters.  Needles and yarn everywhere today.  I arrived to see Sharon, who was on vacation last week, showing off her Knitters Fair purchases.  Glorious yarn - especially the Madelinetosh in the auburn shades.  My colour, Sharon.

Sharon had other yarn she is proud of.  'Still on the sheep in August,' she said.

 She did some Kool Aid dyeing to get these  glorious colours  and Jean spun it for her.    Jean and Sharon belong to the same Spinners & Weavers Guild and have been told to knit  little things from hand-spun yarn for the Christmas Tree.  Things that will be  sold  at their annual November show.  Little things like these cute-as-can-be mittens. 

Shown here modelled by Jean to show their size.

Sandy B is back from the cottage with lots of show&tell. The lovely Mexquita Shawl in a gorgeous hand-dyed silk in graduated shades of purple.  This is enough to convert a non-shawl-wearing-knitter like me.  And the pattern is free on ravelry - here.
Sandy's dilemma is how to wear it.  Like this?

Like this? 
Definitely over black, Sandy as Carol proves.

Her next piece isn't nearly as delicate - but it looks like lots of fun.  Is is a shawl?

A skirt?
Or a cowl  shroud?

Ingrid was working on a skirt.  Not the same skirt she was knitting two weeks ago - that one was at home drying after  blocking.  I know,  I hate her too.  This one is in Americo Cotton Flamme and has a bottom border of basket weave stitch. 

With this much knitting, I expect the first frost soon.  Gotta' love this 'knitters' season.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

News Knitting

Realizing, as I did last weekend, that at times I have trouble seeing right from left,  led me to start a new project.  A simple little project.  One I can do while watching the 6 o'clock news and still get it right.  Or is that left?

This one is a baby vest.  At the KW Knitters Fair, one of the items we had on display, at the Cabin Fever Clearance Booth,  was this little piece.
Deb raved about the pattern.  convincing me with arguments like   -   quick to knit - aran weight yarn after all.  Easy to knit - stockinet stitch bordered in garter stitch.  And lastly,   only 84 metres of yarn.

Once home I purchased the pattern from Patternfish and yesterday cast on.  Of course, I didn't have any suitable aran weight yarn, so I chose some leftover sock yarn. The pattern sizes range from new born size to two-years.  Adhering to the old adage - 'Finer yarn?  Knit a larger size.'  I cast on for the one-year size hoping to get a vest that will fit a new born.  My very mathematical, formulatic  reasoning for choosing to knit the  one-year size  rather than the two-year size was because the cast on for the one-year size was less than 100 stitches. I was feeling lazy.  

And here I am after just one newscast.
Deb is right.  The pattern is easy.  In aran weight it would be a very quick, last-minute knit.  The sock yarn will take a bit longer but hey - they have news every night at 6.  Details at 11.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekends Are Getting Shorter

Two-day weekends just don't seem to have as many hours in them as they used to.  Could be that I move slower.  Or could be this weekend, that fatigue, following a  canning marathon,  found me too tired to knit.  Or at least knit well.  I ripped out  more than I knit.

After a day of baking four loaves of bread, a batch of  cookies as well as canning beets and pears, I sat down to knit.  And I couldn't see my lace pattern.  Lace demands to be seen.  It is one thing to read the instructions, even follow the instructions, but what is really required is being able to 'see' the pattern.

And I just couldn't see it.  I looked and looked and simply could not differentiate the left slant from the right slant.  You see, - well hopefully, you will, I sure didn't - Vignette has two panels of lace 'holes' running up either side of the centre-front, button bands.  In those two panels, the lace holes alternate between slanting to the right, then the left.   Normally I can see right from left.  But not after my day of canning.  So I ripped.

Aof  marathon canning followed by a marathon of ripping meant that I didn't get as far along as I had thought I would by Sunday night.  I am still a few rows short of having the left front completed.

 I'd rather blame it on the weekends getting shorter  than my own fallibility.   You know fewer hours, like fewer tissues in the box, fewer potato chips in the bag, fewer sheets on the toilet paper roll.   Could be true! 

Friday, September 14, 2012

I Modify Still

Lyn S commented on my recent post where I spoke of  modifying my Vignette.  She said she  thought me very creative.  LOL!  What I am is a person who resents being told what to do.  'Knit 10 rows'  says the pattern.  Huh!  Who are you Ms. Designer to tell me I want 10 rows.  I am short.   I only want eight rows.  So there.

And that is about where I am on Vignette.  The right front is done.  I modified the bottom to eliminate the cross-bum band.   I modified the length - the pattern called for a 24 inch length in my size and dang! if that isn't bathrobe length on me.  And lastly on this piece, I modified the shoulder shaping. 

The pattern called for the traditional, few rows of cast off stitches to slope the shoulder.  That of course leaves not only a thick edge/ridge of cast off stitches to be sewn together with the corresponding back shoulder, but it also leaves gap-producing, stair steps.  Short-row, shoulder shaping is my favourite.  I do take my clue from the pattern.  If the pattern says to cast off 6 stitches over the next three rows, I work to six stitches short of the end, then wrap and turn and repeat. 

 A very nicely sloped shoulder don't you think?

The ribbing for the back piece is done. 
I have planned a major modification for that piece.  But for the moment I have set it aside to work on the left front. 

Seriously lacking in the admin department,  I made no notes on the modifications  done on the right side, so I must knit the  left before my memory deficiency prevents two identical front pieces. 
That is the goal for the weekend.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Thursdays are For Knit Group

The looks on their faces say it all.  Several knitters today seemed bemused by their efforts.  Gail has a new silk shawl started and despite the less than gleeful look,  is pleased with it so far.

She has three hats for her hat bin, knit with yarn from Bag Lady Sue's great giveaway.  Pleased with them too.

But her Whisper Cardigan knit with Fleece Artist Mohair doesnt' please  so much.  "B-o-r-i-n-g"   to knit,  she said and "way too hot " for a woman of a certain age.  It is headed for her "I'll never wear it.' pile.  Oh dear.

Doreen too, seems unsure of a good outcome with her latest project - a tank top in this summery aqua blue.

But the face that said it best is Nicki's.  Working on a gift knit - a non-Christening, Christening Shawl  - and using  a pattern   not chosen by a knitter, Nicki is not having much fun.  The shawl has been ripped out once but is  'back on track' she thinks.  You'd never know that by the look on your  face, Nicki.
Great ambivalence in that look, I'd say.  

Wilma on the other hand was wearing one of her latest summer knits.  A delightful,  summer sweater atop her great, summer dress.  A Laura Chau pattern, the Bellevue Cardigan, it is perfect, Wilma.

Like most knitting, I guess. You win some you lose some.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

I Modify

Reading today's title, you might think  I am  about to conjugate a verb. I modify, You modify, He modifies - Remember those days?  But no.  I have started a sweater.  A modified sweater.

For a few years now, I have owned the 'sharpest' winter skirt.  Black, boiled wool with purple trim.  Since purchasing  the skirt, I have searched for the perfectly-colour-matched, purple yarn to knit a coordinating sweater.  Last spring I found it.  Lion Brand Lamb's Pride.

Since purchasing the yarn, I have roamed ravelry searching for the perfect pattern.  I narrowed it down to three, Miette, this Drops pattern and the winner, Vignette  by Amy Herzog, found on

Before even starting though I knew I would modify.  Vignette has a 10 stitch-wide panel of K1, P1 ribbing running horizontally around the bottom of the sweater.  There isn't anything I like running horizontally around my bottom.  Modification #1- change the trim.  My first try was a hem.  Whenever I knit a cable or lace pattern I prefer the vertical line of the cable/lace to flow all the way to the bottom of the sweater without interruption by ribbing or trim.  That thinking lead to my first modification attempt.  A hem.  Choosing sock weight yarn - finer than the Heavy Worsted  sweater yarn so the hem wouldn't be too thick - I started the left front.  Only an inch or so into the sweater I realized that a hem wouldn't work.  The first few lace 'holes' were blocked opaque by  the interior hem - in my case a hem of  contrasting colour. Rip.

Then, it occurred to me, that at least over the 16 lace-panel stitches,  perhaps I could omit a bottom trim altogether.   After all the panel was  already a combo of knits and purls, so no curling should occur.  The first nine stitches of the front piece is a built in button band of K1, P1 - no extra ribbing required there. All that would remain would be to knit the same K1, P1 ribbing  under the stockinet section of the front.    So that is how I have started the sweater. 

Modified.  Past tense.    Future tense to occur before completion, I'm sure.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Knitters Fair 2012

Another KW Knitters Fair has come and gone  and  Mr. Mastercard will be pleased.  It was my least expensive, most exhausting, most fun,  fair-day ever!  Working at the fair leaves no time for shopping at the fair.

Set up was Friday night and it took seven of us four hours to set up two booths.

There was  one heck of a lot of yarn and patterns to put out for display! 

But it was worth it because both booths were busy, busy, busy all day Saturday.

 Oh, Look!  That lady is buying my sock book. 

With the yarnharlot speaking twice during the day we expected great lulls in traffic during speech time.  But the flood of shoppers didn't slow at all until just before closing time.

Although, there was no shopping for me, there were gifts.  One of my blog readers,  who hails from New Mexico, U.S.A.,   intrigued by my past posts about the fair,  made the trek to Canada to take in this year's event.  She stopped in Rochester NY to pick up a couple of friends and the three of them joined me for lunch.  Meet Julia,
shown here during the cross-border gift exchange.  I gave her a copy of my Need A Sock book  and she gave me the most beautiful knitting bag.  Julia has featured her hand-sewn bags on her blog  (Scroll down and you sill see my bag there) and I couldn't be happier - or feel more special - to own one.  Look at the detail! 
The colours of New Mexico

 Inside pockets,

Outside pockets 

and a great label.
Thanks, Julia.  ETA - I was amazed, when looking at the picture of Julia and I, how much we look alike.  Same age bracket, same glasses, similar hair styles.  Wow!

Later in the afternoon,  Patti-Ann, my friend and co-worker from London Yarns,  came by the booth bearing a gift too.  This wonderful book. 
P.A. knows that I dabble in design and thought Debbie Bliss might offer some insight to help me grow that part of my yarn life.  She is right. It is a great book.  Back home, I  started devouring it  as soon as the tea was poured. Thanks, P.A.

A very different, but very satisfying and fun day again this year.  Next year, the fair is moving to bigger digs with more parking.  Can't wait!