Friday, June 29, 2012

Twelve, Not Ten

 If blocking doesn't count, my hoped-for, 'ten-day' sweater turned out to be, instead,  my 'Twelve Day Sweater'.  Still not bad.  Timing a knit is not something normally done here, chez Brenda - counting those  high numbers can be a strain.  But for some reason speed appealed this time.  Started June 16, finished June 28.
If you don't count blocking.  Or weaving in of ends.  Today for sure but who wants a 'Thirteen Day Sweater'?

The vision was for a neutral-toned, summer cover-up and this fits the bill perfectly.   Knit with Cabin Fever Cotton Tweed on a larger-than-called-for needle to give a light-weight and hopefully, airy sweater. The ball band on Cotton Tweed calls for a 3.75mm needle to produce a DK gauge of 22 stitches over four inches.  However, it always takes me a 4mm to get that gauge and this time I used a 4.5mm for 20sts/4in.  The object was a lighter-weight garment to wear in hotter weather. 

Cotton Tweed is a cotton/acrylic, 45/55 blend.  Since past experience has taught me that I sweat  overheat when wearing acrylic - I liken it to wearing a plastic bag -  I  normally avoid it at all costs.   But Cotton Tweed is such a great yarn.  Featuring machine wash & dry, a price of  $7.50 for 230 metres and the  large cotton content, it is hard to resist. Here's hoping the looser gauge will compensate for the 55%    plastic    acrylic component. 

The Twelve Day Sweater is a pattern of my own design.  Knit top down, with yarn overs along the raglan lines and beside  the seed-stitch, front bands to make a hopefully,  heat-resistant, holey design.  I added a bit of waist shaping and a 'K1, Yarn over, K2tog' panel down the centre back.  More holes.  More air conditioning, I hope.

I'm pleased so far, but as always, the proof is in the wearing. Maybe over a red tee on Canada Day.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

 A real treat for us today.  Sandy brought her sister Sue's (feltedwoolies on ravelry)  Ishbel to knit group.
 Ishbel, a beautiful, Ysolda Teaque design made even more beautiful with the Twisted Fiber Arts  50/50 Merino and Silk 'Muse' that Sue used.  Sandy brought along a bit of a skein in my colours -down in the  lower right of the picture -  trying to convince me that I should knit this shawl.    Not much of a shawl wearer, I resisted.  But once home and gawking at the shawl  on ravelry, I wonder if maybe Ishbel is a shawl I might wear.

Poor Carol.  Her Whisper Cardigan was giving her grief today.
She was just at the point of the 'afterthought' sleeves where she learned how difficult mohair can be to rip back. 

Gloria has started another 'doll' - Emily  - by Jean Greenhowe.
I love the colour, Gloria and my vote is that  your yarn is green.  Just like the picture.  Ever so cute.

Nicki is on  her last, gorgeous,  sock yarn square.

 Now comes the task of laying them out so as to offer the greatest appeal, then sewing them all together.  A couple of years back, someone asked Nicki if the squares took a long time to knit considering that the yarn is so fine.  Her answer still makes me chuckle.
 "Well, yea.  I have to knit the socks first."

Speaking of squares, Sandy loves her mitred square projects.

Take some sock yarn and some Koigu - leftovers all - add in one patient knitter and you get a beautiful baby blanket. Someday.

Today was my last knit group until late summer.  We are on our way to the trailer in Hearst early next week, where Thursdays will be for swimming or fishing or boating or hangin' out with grand kids.   Fun, but not the same.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

A Diversion

Since my ten-day sweater isn't, I intend to divert your attention today with pictures of my re-structured green Cinnie.

The yarn, Sirdar Calico,  was originally knit into a garter stitch, top-down, short-sleeved, summer sweater that I intended to wear to my niece's New Orleans wedding.  But the sweater, while OK on it's own, just didn't measure up when in combo with the dress.  Ripped and re-knit as Cinnie, it looked much better.

Except for the pulling at the bust suggesting a bigger bust line than I've ever been known to have.  Ripped and re-knit  - again.  The second rip-back involved just the   edgings along the fronts and  bottom.  Thank goodness for top-down construction.  Shortened one inch or so and with more loosely knit edges, Cinnie is a clear winner. 

It looks great with my Aunt of the Bride dress.
 And should I ever entertain in my garden,

on a day of dappled sunshine, I have the perfect outfit for the occasion.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Closing In On Ten Days

On Friday's blog post, I publicly declared that my  cream-coloured, summer sweater would be a ten day sweater.  Ten days from the start date of June 16 is June 26.  Tomorrow.   Perhaps not.

Closer to cast off than the last picture I posted,
but not close enough to finish it tomorrow I'm afraid.  At least not without  serious injury to the knitting arm.

 Some of my weekend knitting time was diverted to this project.
 The machine-knit, Zambezi piece.  A  long-sleeved sweater with a waterfall front in Fleece Artist, Zambezi, a lace-weight mohair.  Here are the four - so-far - completed pieces.  One more front to go.  Zambezi and the ten-day sweater will probably finish at the same time. 

The Ten Day sweater, being a top-down, has been tried on many times and fits well.  The Zambezi waterfall, of course, has not.  The one downfall of machine knitting is that one must knit in pieces and that eliminates the opportunity to try on the garment before finishing.  So fingers crossed on Zambezi.
 In the meantime, I'm off to pick up the needles.  No time to waste.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Thursday Lacked A Charge

The Thursday evening blog readers that like to keep abreast of what  the knit group has been up to were surely disappointed last night.  Me too.  My camera batteries died before the first picture could be snapped.

Having had that happen to me in the past,  often now,  I carry charged batteries in my purse.  But not yesterday.  Just the day I needed them they weren't there. The  afternoon began with a few off-colour words and remained photo-free.

The up-side is -  it gave me much more knitting time.  I am about half way to the bottom cast-off on my little cream coloured summer cardi.  The panel of centre-back lace   My attention span is co-operating now and I haven't missed a row since that mega rip at the beginning of the week.  So far, two short rows have been worked across the back and there might be two more to come as I get closer to the bottom.

Other than doing some pattern research for the correct number of stitches to cast on, the rest of the sweater is pattern-free.  Happily, I can report  that it fits.  I am also happy to report that all this knitting that you see here
has been done since last Saturday night.  Including all the ripping back.  I am now aiming for a ten day sweater.  Seems a stretch,  but goals are a good thing.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Rippin Or Droppin

My creamy white, summer sweater had an OOPS! when I showed it to you yesterday. 
While I am normally of the  'if you can't see it from a galloping horse it doesn't require fixing' school of thought, this was definitely an oops! that needed repair.

My  choice was to rip back all the knitting   to get to the problem area, or drop only the stitches in the lace area down to the problem row.  Dropping down 15 stitches seemed a much faster, a much easier, a much smarter idea to me and that is what I did  - the first time. Shown here, I have the 15 stitches dropped down  to the problem row and ready to be worked.

But, what I discovered was that the error occurred not because I was tired after a long day at the ball park, but because the lace pattern and I were not getting along.  I should have picked a lace pattern  with a 'purl- back' row.  Instead, my  lace panel requires lace work on every row.  When I start the purl rows, I often say/think to myself  " Ah the nothing-special-to-do-purl row.  Which for every stitch in the sweater  except those 15,  is right.  Nothing special to do.  The 15 however require the same lace pattern as on the knit rows.  Not to do so is an easy-to-spot mistake.

Normally I would strongly recommend a drop-down repair for mistakes of this nature:  Cable mis-cross, lace repair or twisted stitches. It makes much more sense to drop down  15 stitches and ladder or knit  them back up correctly than to rip back inches of knitting.

And it should have worked.  If it weren't for my short attention span.  After the first drop down repair, I knit merrily along only to forget the lace work in the centre 15 stitches yet again.  And again.
 My attention obviously drifts on the purl rows.    My second drop-down repair didn't go as well as the first.  Time to rip back.

Ripping back  is a set back.  So much so, that my goal last night morphed into getting  back to where I started.  I think I did.  There is a bit more completed today than yesterday. 
And I now have double markers at each end of the lace pattern.  My memory can use the extra help.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Summer Time, Summer Wear

One of the wonderful things about having knit for as many years as I have, is that I knit much faster now that I once did.  There was a time that summer sweaters had to be started mid-winter in order to be worn 'this' summer.  No longer.  I can be wearing a sweater a few weeks after inspiration strikes.

The inspiration that struck recently was in the form of this  crocheted summer cover up.  Just me   isn't it?   I used to crochet and figured I could resurrect those skills in order to have this bolero on my back before summer.  It took only one evening of struggling to master the stitches involved - I am calling them  'second generation' crochet stitches  - such as Foundation Single Crochet Chain and Extended Double Crochet to make me remember why I took up knitting.  A crocheted garment is heavier and stiffer than it's knitted counterpart.  One of the stitches involved in increasing at the Bolero's  raglan lines involved 8 double crochets.  That's a lot of yarn and a lot of weight.  A heavier, warmer sweater than what I wanted.

Cute as it was  is, the Lacey Crocheted Bolero just wasn't going to be as great for me, in real life,  as the picture suggested.  Instead, I reverted to what  I know best.  Knitting.  A top-down, quick-to-knit, summer sweater.  In this case with short sleeves and lots of holes for air conditioning.

I started with a few rows of seed stitch for a non-curling trim.  Followed by  one row of YO, k2tog for a row of holes just below the trim that echoes the yarn-over, raglan increases. 

As well, running down the front, beside the  seed stitch bands, there is a yarn over for a vertical row of holes.

Down the centre back, there are more holes. 

A patch of K1, YO, K2tog lace, worked over 15 stitches  adds some holey interest there.  (Taking this picture, I see  an oops.   A result, probably, of knitting on the drive home after a long day  of  Fathers' Day family-ness at a Blue Jays game.)

Even with this and other  rip-backs that might crop up, I think I will be able to wear this by early July.  Definitely summer wear.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Another Man

There is another man  in my knitting life of late.  First there was Stephen West designer of my Spectra.   And now there is Franklin Habit. 

He of the  It Itches  knitting cartoon fame.  Franklin created a lace sampler project for the  Knitty  Summer 2009 issue

 and it has been my 'on the side' project for the last few weeks.  Franklin speaks, in the introduction to his sampler pattern, about being fascinated with lace knitting.  He imagines,  spending months, perhaps a year, on a lace piece that is so fine it slips through a wedding ring.  He goes on to say if the thought of that kind of knititng commitment causes you to break out in a cold sweat, try the lace sampler.  Certainly I know my cold-sweat, breaking point and the sampler seemed to me, a much saner approach to lace knitting. 

Franklin gives five different lace patterns in his sampler  and I have knit them 21 stitches wide with three garter stitches on each edge.  27 stitches.  Even I, infrequent and not-so-good lace knitter that I am can manage that!  Mine will be a scarf.    Certainly, doubling or tripling the width would make a gorgeous shawl. 

Or using thicker yarn.  My  sampler is knit with Fingering Weight yarn

 with a cotton component for use as a summer scarf.  But worsted weight wool and triple or quadruple the stitches  - still not many - would give a great cozy winter wrap.

There is lots to recommend in this project.  The narrow width means it is pretty hard to get lost on your way across the row - although not impossible, I am here to tell you.    Each pattern is separated by a few rows of garter - a built in life line.  Clever, Franklin.   The charts are large enough that even this knitter who  could use a new pair of glasses, can read them.

There is no rule on how many repeats of the lace you do before beginning a different pattern.  I made each section about seven inches long before switching patterns.  My piece, with  all five patterns knit once, is now  about half my desired, finished length.

 Since I worked the five in the order given, now, at mid-scarf, I intend  to reverse the order so both ends of the scarf will have the same pattern.  I can  feel the creative knitters cringing.

 Stephen, now Franklin.  I wonder who will pop into my knititng life next?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

There were knitters and there was food.  With picutres worth thousands of words, I give you a pictorial of the the Meaford Knitters' version of  World Wide Knit In Public Day.  On Mearord's  main street, right beside the Big Apple. 

 Sunshine, friends, food, knitting.  What could be better?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

This Looks Better

What is my Cinnie doing here, draped over the back of my favourite knitting chair?

Previously it was hiding in my dresser. 

Cinnie was not being worn much because of the  riding-up issue.  You know - the issue where I was sure my bust size had miraculously increased causing the sweater to lift and separate as it approached the bust line.  Wearing it,  I liked it's light and summery feel  but was  conscious of that unsightly, upward swing of  fabric.  Most of those who commented on the blog said  'Get over  it'.  'It looks fine.'  Or even  'Relax.  Have a glass of wine." Still, it bothered me.

 My options, I decided were to either let it sit in the drawer for the summer, or tackle the issue.  If I removed the front-band edges I would at least know if that was the problem.  If not, well then, some additional thinking - and maybe bust darts -  would be required.  But if the sweater hung nicely after removal of the edges, it was truly a simple fix. 

Rationalizing?  Perhaps. But it worked.  Last night, I ripped back the front edges and voila!!!

  My bust has not increased in size after all.  The sweater hangs nicely.

 This time, chagrined, I shall pick up for the ribbing at the rate the pattern suggests - four for five.  Maybe even five for five near and through the bust area and hopefully will have a perfectly-sitting, non-riding-up, wearable sweater in a day or so.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Success Times Three

Success feels good.  It was a weekend of knitting  and other successes. 

First up is the completion of a pair of socks. 
Socks suffering from Supreme Second Sock Syndrome.  Sock number one was knit in 2010 for the Need A Sock? book.  Sock number two was finished Saturday.  Knit with  Briggs & Little Tuffy, my favourite 'big sock' yarn.  At 44 stitches on a 3.25 needle, they will fit a largish lady's or smallish man's foot.  Not destined for any person in particular, they will go in my gift-to-be basket.

Much more  beautiful than the practical socks is Stephen West's   my   Spectra.

 Finished and awaiting blocking, it is gorgeous.  I managed 82 wedges before burn out.  There was a shortage of the brown Malabrigo but still I probably could have squeezed one more wedge.  The fingers are itching to start something new, so 82 it is.  Laurie M of Issues with Knitting  told me a while back that the first yarn to end would be the Malabrigo. To compensate for this, Laurie has knit the pattern with ten instead of twelve edge stitches.  Saving two stitches on each wedge, should give enough plain yarn to do all 86 wedges.  Smart knitter that Laurie. That's a tip I will remember should I ever decided to knit another. 

Success number three is my strawberry cake.  Fred suggested we try the jiggle cake - cakello  - of Friday's blog post  before we served it to our guests.  Bleh!  Yuk!  Eight point five times too much  gelatin powder does indeed make a difference.  Into the garbage it went and off to the grocery store I went.  Cake number two.


Think so.

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Trouble With Foreign Languages and Poor Eyesight.

My youngest sister is famous for her Strawberry Cake.  In the spring of the year,  we are often treated to this wonderful dessert when at her house.

This Sunday, I have dinner guests coming and this being strawberry season, I emailed 'Sis' to get her recipe.  It is this one.

Recipe in hand I headed to the grocery store.  Cake mix - only a bit of a language problem.  Does  520grams equal 18 1/4 ounces?  Close enough I thought.

The second ingredient gave me more of an issue.  The recipe calls for  - or I thought it did - a 3 oz package of sugar-free strawberry gelatin.

At my small, rural, grocery store, there was one variety only of sugar-free gelatin.  It came in a  10 gram package.  Rural folks are not big on sugar-free.

I dug deep to find my grade school math and came up with
        3 ounces is almost 4 ounces. 
        4 ounces is 1/4 of 16 ounces. 
       16 ounces is one pound. 
       One pound equals 454 grams -one of the few bilingual measurements I know.

So the recipe is looking for a sugar-free gelatin mix of about 112 grams.  That's a far cry from the 10g package on the shelf.

The closest I could get was regular gelatin in an   85gram package,  sugar and all.  85 is closer to 112 and so it would  have to do.  Home I came to bake the cake.  Cake baked and cooling, it occurred to me that it was a bit of a funny story and might make an interesting blog post.

 Recipe in hand I sat down to type.  What did I see?  A dot.  A decimal.  A period.  Call it what you will, it was sitting  smartly in front of the three.  The recipe calls not for  a three ounce package, but a 'point' three ounce package.  What would you like to bet that is close to  ten grams?

Sunday dinner will tell the tale.    It looks like  cake,
but it jiggles like jello.    'Cakello' most likely. 

I intend to smother it in fresh berries.  That should cover my foreign language, poor eyesight cake issues.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Thursdays are For Knit Group

Kicked out of the actors lounge because it was being used by performers preparing for tonight's show, the knitters were placed in the art gallery.  Perfect place if you ask me, for a fabulous group of fibre artists.

Carol has started her Whisper.
Such a brilliant turquoise.  Carol anticipates wearing it over white capris and top.  Won't that be stunning?

Wilma looks pretty stunning too in her finished, lilac Gemini.
 A great advertisement for that pattern, Wilma.  I bet she wears it  to the baby shower she is attending this weekend.  It  matches this baby blanket she crocheted as her gift for the Mother-To-Be.

Beautiful work  - and - all yarns from stash. 

Doreen  has mastered those mitred squares. 
She has set aside this practise piece and  is well on her way to finishing the mitred square scarf. 
Looks great, Doreen.

Gloria is back.  Away all winter and then she had the nerve to take off for a week in Vegas.  I teased her about still working on the same blanket as before her trip.
See where she has placed her hand. She was quick to inform me she was only that far before Vegas.  All the rest is 'new' knitting.  OK, Gloria.  My mistake.

Nicki and Wilma are fiercely focused on socks.  Nicki's sock.  I bet there will be more log-cabin, sock- yarn squares in Nicki's life, soon.

Next week, June 9 - 17, is World Wide Knit In Public week.  If you are in downtown Meaford next Thursday between 2 and 3:30, stop by the Big Apple on the main street next to Meaford Hall.  We will all be sitting out there with our knitting.  If that isn't enticing enough, there will probably be food.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Piece That Pleases

Unlike the fabled tale, my 'hare' knitting project, the modified Whisper, finished ahead of my 'tortoise'.

And Fred, finished fishing and finally home, did the photo shoot.  No more self portraits.

Zambezi by Fleece Artist.  One  125 gram skein of which I have 68 grams remaining.    Maybe "Sis' will get a vest too.
Whisper by Linda Benne, heavily modified.  The sides are knit horizontal and the back vertically.
Cast on 85 stitches on each piece.  Knit for a total of 20 inches on each piece.  Shaped armholes on each piece.

Knit on the LK 150 at stitch dial 4 and tension Dial 5.  This gave a gauge of 1816, final take - 18 stitches over 4 inches.  My gauge swatch - machine gauge swatches are huge - said 18.  But after blocking it read 16.  Today, after knitting, blocking and sewing up, it has reverted to 18.  I'm stickin' with that.

Not really fond of the wide, loose, lower back that tends to ride up on these 'waterfall' garments, I ended with an inch of 2x2 ribbing, that seems to draw it in nicely.

 The armholes were finished with two rows of purl and then a cast off row.    Across the back, I divided the distance into three equal parts.  One for each shoulder and one for the back neck.  The back neck, I turned under for one half inch and hemmed down.  I have a bit of a dowager's hump and back necks that come up too high, emphasize it a bit too much for my liking.  The half inch hem works well.

An interesting thing happened on the way to completion.  Some knitters talk about hand-dyed yarns pooling.  But am I the first to have a hand-dyed yarn mark the spot with an 'X'?

A very light-weight, colourful, trendy piece.  I think it will get lots of wear come next fall.
 I have Patti-Ann to blame thank for forcing   encouraging me to buy not one, but two of these kits.  And Nicki who thinks my green/beige/brown wardrobe colour palette is a bit of a yawn, will be thrilled to see the red. Not bad.   One piece that pleases three knitters.