Friday, June 21, 2013


It pays to have friends who think outside the box.  Friends one step removed from the maelstrom of a disaster knitting project.  Friends who can, from their un-involved, vantage point,  see the forest through the trees.

When I last posted about my un-giftable,  'holey' baby blanket, it looked like this.
Some kind readers offered a few suggestions for repair and rescue.  Laurie M suggested - I thought -  a ribbon woven through the holes.   Laurie later corrected my interpretation to say she meant to sew a ribbon over the holes.  Great idea.  Marie H suggested I crochet a chain along the holes to close them.  Great idea.  Since I had no ribbon in the house but did have a crochet hook, that is what I did. 

Baby blanket rescued. 
Good enough to gift - and dang if it doesn't look as if that was the original idea. 

Now it is back on the machine for the trim.  6 stitches over 8 are picked up and 16 rows knit.  A few stitches are skipped and the process repeated. It gives a loopy kind of I-Cord-ish trim.
Trim that will probably drive both baby and Mom crazy but it does add a bit of design flare.

My goal was to finish it before my grand kids come for their 'Gramma-cation' as machine knitting and kids are not my thing.  But that will not happen as they arrive today.  Hopefully there will be some stolen moments over the next two weeks so blankee doesn't have to remain hung up for the entire summer.   

As always, when the grand kids arrive, Grandma cannot get to blogging on a regular basis.  So I wish you all a wonderful summer.  Thanks for reading and I will check in as time  and Internet access in Hearst allows.  See you on my regular beat in late August.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Those of you who missed our WWKIP day last Thursday, check out this week's edition of the local paper.  The library ladies took our picture and wrote a lovely little article/advertisement about us.

This week, we were minus the goodies, and back in our normal digs, but having just as much fun.

Ingrid arrived wearing a very ethnic dress sent to her by her son in Germany.
My gosh, Ingrid.  If one of my sons ever gave me a dress, I'd faint.  After last Thursday's post, an anonymous commenter asked what yarn Ingrid favours.  Koigu is her go-to brand but the piece she was working on last Thursday was a section of a skirt and she was using sock yarn.  Four, 100 gram balls for her skirt.

Wilma is heading towards the finish line on her crocheted, knitted sweater.  What would one call that?  Cro-knitting?  The top portion is knit and the bottom is crocheted.  It is a lovely way to edge a garment.  Wilma's piece with the bottom half in the open crochet, will be perfect for layering.

Nan had lots of show & tell today.  First up the socks.
 All knit with leftover Koigu.  Didn't she do a great job in co-ordinating the colours?  Then her real works of art  -  two Stonnington Shawls.
 The pinkish one was knit with Madeleinetosh, and the blue one with Koigu. (ETA - Nan emailed to say the blue  shawl is knit with Tanis Fibre Arts yarn, not Koigu. Thanks, Nan.)  She said after mastering EZ's instructions, the second one took half as long as the first one.  Gorgeous, Nan.

Jean was wearing yet another, great, summer top.
 Knit a long time ago, Jean said, with pink - ish cotton,  it will be another great layering piece for her Yukon camping trip.  She leaves next week  and will be gone most of the summer.  Have fun, Jean.

There were so many sock knitters at knit group today, the uninitiated might have thought it was a convention.  Bonnie, Gail, Nicki - all knitting socks.  There will be warm feet in Meaford next winter.

We missed Sharon today. She went down to the big smoke to hear Hillary Clinton speak. I am sure Sharon  enjoyed the speech, but really all most of us want to know is - 'Has she done anything with her hair?'  Come on Hillary - it's not your best look.

Another great afternoon of knitting.   Shawls, socks and sweaters. Productivity abounds.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

An Ineffective Match

What happens when you pair  a knitter with mediocre, machine knitting skills together with inexpensive, acrylic yarn?  Not something that can be gifted, that's for sure.

Bare with me on the details here.  This blanket is knit by casting on  enough stitches to give the desired, blanket dimension.  After knitting two, edge rows, every following  row is short rowed, then 'long' rowed back.   ' Bring one needle out of work, knit two rows.  Repeat until all needles are out of work.  Then repeat the process in reverse until all needles are back in work.'  This knits one quarter of the blanket.   

The problem is -   well, take a look. 

From  a distance,   it looks acceptable.  But up close ? 
Either the knitter or the yarn has issues. Or both. Either way, the rows of holes  are not nice enough for a gift.  Laurie M suggested I thread a ribbon through them.  While a good idea, I am not sure they are even good enough for that decorative solution.

Now, the question is, do I re-knit?  Having already knit it one and a half times, am I still interested?  Or  should I as  son #2 often advises,  "Cut your losses, Mom." 

The thing about 'cheap' yarn is  -   it often isn't.  While not a fortune, enough was spent to make this fixed-income senior seek forgiveness for the idea  of throwing it in the garbage. But seeing how poorly it knits and feels to the hand, do I want to spend more time with it?  Probably not.    Do I want to knit a gazillion baby sweaters, hats and booties with el-cheapo yarn just to satisfy  my banker?  Probably not. 

Think I'll think on it for another day.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

What Didn't Get Done In An Afternoon

Yesterday I posted about knitting a baby blanket on the machine and left you hanging with the thought I  might get it done in an afternoon.

Well, might have  -   if -  the day had not gone from rainy to sunny and warm. And might have  -   if   -  Sis hadn't called for a chat which Fred says (although I am sure he is mistaken) lasted an hour.

The 'blankee' is almost, but not quite done.  It rests here still on the machine.
 I do think, though, that  it might have problems.  It is not the straggly looking yarn at the top - that is waste yarn that will be removed.  It is the series of holes that join the green to the blue.  They look a bit ragged and inconsistent to me.  Once I get it off the machine, I will know for sure, but in the meantime, I am in denial.  Early panic benefits  no one. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Baby Knitting

With my skirt finished - and worn comfortably  twice I might add - I am doing some baby knitting.  My niece's baby is due at the end of October and I have a few things knit, but many more on my list.  This mitred blanket is one of them.

The blanket is knit on the machine.  Simply knit, it is nonetheless an exercise in short rowing.  There is a bit of easy math involved to determine the number of  stitches to cast on.  One less stitch is knit every two rows until all stitches are short-rowed away.  Then the reverse happens.  Every two rows, there is an increase of one stitch until the cast on number is reached again.  Good practise for me with machine short rows.

Although the pattern shows the entire blanket knit in one colour, I have chosen 4 bright colours that hopefully will keep baby amused.
 I had thought to make each quarter a different colour but Fred suggested dividing the blanket into 8 wedges having the colours repeat themselves twice.  Good idea.  A busier look might keep baby amused just that much longer.

With another rainy day here, I have the motivation to stay indoors and machine knit.  Let's see what I can accomplish in one rainy afternoon.

Friday, June 14, 2013

My Big Fun Twirly Skirt.

Absolutely correctly named, this skirt twirls delightfully.  Other things I might call it are - flirty, sexy and most accurately, fun. 

It was fun to knit and it is fun - and very comfortable - to wear.  The three-tiered, twirly style especially suits summer time.  Think bare feet in sandals, bare legs, warm breezes, sunshine.  Twirly says it all.

 PatternTink's Twirly Skirt - a ravelry purchase

 Yarn:  5 main yarns used and other small amount of stash yarns.
All cottons.
The beige & white ragg - Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
The turquoise and white variegated - Bernat Handicrafter Cotton
The caramel - Super 10 Butterfly Cotton
The darker caramel -Country Cotton Cabled  by Elmore Pisgah Inc.
The off white - America's Best 100% Cotton Cabled by Elmore Pisgah Inc.
I changed from one colour to another randomly as the mood struck.

 Needles:  Tier one - at the waist - 3.75mm
Tier 2 - in the middle - 4mm
Tier 3 - at the bottom - 4.5mm

Modifications: None.  Well - none on purpose.  The yarns I chose, were selected for their colour and fibre content.  It turns out they were a bit heavier than the pattern suggested.  Mine run from Aran at 18 stitches over 4 inches to DK at 22 sts.  The pattern  suggests sport weight yarn knit to a gauge of 20sts.   Twirly though, is the type of garment where fit is much more important than gauge.  Yes it is possible to have one without the other.  I made an educated guess as to how many stitches to cast on to fit my waist comfortably, then knit according to pattern.   It worked out wonderfully - as you can see.

I did sew elastic at the waist instead of knitting an I Cord as the pattern suggested.  The look of a bow hanging over my belly does not please me plus I was not sure it would do the job of keeping the skirt where I wanted it throughout the day.  The elastic worked well as yesterday's trial wear proved.   

A great fun project.  Fun to knit (read - easy knitting and not too much time  from start to finish) and fun to wear.  I can envision an entire summer's wardrobe of Twirlys in various colours.  Nicki will be proud.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thursdays Are for Knit Group

World Wide Knit In Public Day, Meaford style.

There were visitors.

Gail's newest Grand Baby delights Sandy and Doreen.

 Nan, who for a long time I called 'New Nan', back in the land of clean air and blue waters for some summer fun.

There were regulars.

And a knitter from our past.
Mona who no longer knits due to a bad shoulder.  Pity.

I wore Tink's Twirly Skirt and it got many compliments.  Nothing like a group of knitters to give the best/most compliments on the latest knitting project.  Nicki took my picture.
WWKIPDay.   2013.  It was a great  afternoon.    Good weather.  Good food.   Good fun. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Ready To Wear - Tomorrow

Tink's Twirly Skirt is finished! 
I had said earlier that there were many many stitches in the final tier.  But just how many I didn't  realize until cast-off time.  Wow!  Lots of stitches at the hem.

But they are cast off now, and Twirly is on the blocking board.  Both top and bottom have limited ribbing - the bottom only one row, the top a couple more.  On the needles, they both curl like crazy so I am hoping the severe steaming will stop that.

The pattern calls for an I Cord tie.  Instead - and in a hurry to have it ready for tomorrow - I  have some twill tape that I will substitute.  A flatter cord across my belly seems a better idea anyway. I also intend to sew in some elastic - just to make sure the waist stays at the waist.

Modelled pictures  from WWKIP day by Friday. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Skirt Knitting

For many knitting moons,  I have thought about knitting a skirt.  Days and days   of pattern searching have occupied my knitting hours from time to time.  My ravelry favourites is full of pictures of skirts other knitters have made and my ravelry library is full of potential patterns.

Then I saw this one - Tink's Twirly Skirt  (scroll down)  - and immediately purchased the pattern.  Part way to commitment, I thought.  A summer skirt, knit in some summery fibre such as cotton or linen would be a good first skirt.  It is not a straight, or as they call it today,  pencil,  skirt that I worried might stretch out of shape when spending time covering my  lumps, bumps  and rolls. Instead, this  pattern fits loosely, less likely to reveal or stretch as it covers the hills and dales of the over-the-hill figure. 

A road trip with some knitting friends to Spinrite Factory Outlet in Listowel for their May sale put yarn in my hands that I couldn't resist.  Price, fibre and colours were all perfect.  Various cottons in shades of ivory, caramel and darker caramel, highlighted by some turquoise for that summer punch of colour.  My fibre-shopping friends that day commented that it would take me 'forever' to knit a skirt.

"I don't think it will," I said.  "I want it about 22 inches long - for me, that 's  the same as a sweater."

"But much fuller around." they said.   Yes, that is true - but there are no sleeves -  a balancing factor I  think  thought.

And indeed, it hasn't taken  long to knit it.
As you can see,  I am almost at the 22 inch mark.  The yarn was purchased May 6 and here we are, just over  are a month later, with Cinnie complete and the skirt almost so.

There are three tiers in this top-down skirt.  Each tier, sees the   number of stitches increased by 75%.  That means  the bottom tier contains way more stitches than the top tier.  Which gives a sense  means those bottom tier rounds are  very slow going.  Now that I have knit it once and know the  stitch count for a skirt that fits (or hopefully,  will fit) me, I think next time I might knit it bottom up. That way the finish line, in the last few days of knitting when finish lines grow in importance but seem ever improbable to achieve, would  approach more quickly.  It's a theory that could  work.

On the needles, I love this skirt.  Will it wear well?  T.B.D.  Cotton - will it stretch?  T.B.D.  Will it be, as cotton tends to be,  too heavy?  T.B.D.  Will it look hippy-like and homemade? T.B.D.   Will the colours remain bright and summery through washings?  T.B.D.  The only thing that is sure at this moment, is what I told Doreen, when she laughed and said " I want to see you wearing that."
You will, I said.  The goal is to wear it on Thursday, June 13 - World Wide Knit In Public Day in Meaford.  If you didn't previously have a reason to come - you do now.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Cinnie 2013

 Cinnie 2013 is finished.  With hubby out of town and me anxious to blog about Cinnie  I relied on self-portrait shots.  Sorry.

Pattern:  Cinnie by Bonne Marie Burns
Yarn:  Raffaella by Sirdar  5 balls minus a few yards.
Needles:  4mm
Modifications:  About 2 inches shorter than pattern recommends
Lots more stitches picked up for front bands.
Back neck turned down to create facing.

Obviously this view should be called the broad beam view.

In 2012, my first Cinnie needed a bit of a re-do.  After completion, I ripped back the front bands, and  shortened the entire sweater a couple of inches.  The  pattern-suggested length meant  it fell to a wider part of my hips.  Without shaping for that increased width, it pulled.  For me, being short, a slighltly shorter sweater was a better option. 

I also re-did the front bands of Cinnie 2012, increasing the number of stitches picked up, especially in the bust area.  This curbed the tendency of Cinnie to ride up  over those hills. Horizontal lace panels crossing the bust area made that 'ride up' very noticeable. With that experience still fresh, Cinnie 2013 was knit with those modifications  first time around.

The only other modification I did was to turn under a crescent  shaped piece at the centre back neck.  The nature of the zig zag lace pattern leaves quite a large point in the centre back neck area and for me, makes the back neck just too darn high.  Turning under and tacking down the excess, works beautifully. 

Cinnie 2013 was less fun to knit than last year's version.  The yarn, Raffaella, has a bit of a boucle-like kink in it and it caught  - often - on the needles.  It made the knitting more of a struggle than Cinnie 2012 which was knit with  smooth, Sirdar Click yarn.

But finished now, I will forgive it for the bumpy ride through the knitting process, as it is lovely.  A perfect little summer cardi.  Now we just need some summer weather. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

If uncertain, unseasonable weather is a sign of  dire, global, weather issues, then we've got issues in spades here on Central Ontario.  Last week, too hot and humid for Sandy B to keep her new linen top on for any length of time, this week, perfect weather for Ruth's mohair knitting.

We've learned that while we might not be able to count on  historically, predictable weather, we can count on knitting and knit group to brighten our Thursdays.

Jean arrived today, wearing her 'Yukon'  over blouse.

Called Yukon because she knit it for her upcoming, summer trip to the Yukon.  Jean calls it a 'junk jazzer'.  A lacey, summer top (the jazz piece) to  layer over a plain 'tee' (the junk piece) when you need to fancy yourself up a bit.  It's lovey Jean - the perfect piece to take a 'tee' from kayak to clubbing  while on a camping trip to the Yukon.

Jean also brought in her 'completed-for-sure-now',  Baby Surprise Jacket. 

Trimmed  out with   fuzzy yarn and  colour-coordinated, truck buttons, it has become a one of a kind piece.  E.Z.  would like it.

This yarn, looks to be normal, ordinary yarn. 

To call it normal or ordinary is a great compliment.  The yarn is the result of  Sharon's very first, spinning effort.  Her teacher had her spin with black and white to more easily see the  effects of the spinning.  Sharon was quick to point out to me  that it is not perfectly, evenly spun.  My comment was that people pay big bucks for that thick and thin look. Great first attempt, Sharon. 

Wilma is nearing the bottom of the first piece of her knit/crochet combo summer top.

The knit portion of the back is finished and she is on to the lower crochet part.  Knit with unknown fibre that Wilma scooped in a yarn grab a few years ago, it has the perfect drape for this summer tank.

Next week, June 13, we do hope for good weather.  We are celebrating World Wide Knit In Public Day -  Meaford style.  Lawn chairs and goodies in front of the library.  We'll be there at 2pm.  If you knit, want to knit, used to knit, know a knitter,  come join us.  You'll know us by our needles.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Almost Finished

Cinnie is speeding towards the finish line.  With Cinnie, once the lace pattern is complete, it is just a matter of ribbing for the bands - in my case both the sleeves and the fronts.  The sleeves, usually completed earlier on, I left untrimmed.  Just in case I wanted longer sleeves - and had yarn left to do that with.

Turns out there was enough yarn.  Last night, after finishing the front trim, I lengthened one sleeve by a four-row pattern repeat then trimmed it with 2x2 ribbing.  That gives the sleeve approximately another inch in length.  Perfect. 

The front trim, I knit  more 'full bodied'  and loose.  Last year, with my first Cinnie - my green version -  I had to re-knit the front bands, because the lace panel pulled 'up' so drastically over the bust. Scroll through  some of the Cinnie projects on ravelry and you will see what I mean.  This year, with my white version, I purposely picked up way more stitches than recommended as I passed through the lace section.  As I cast off, through that same lace portion,  I threw in an extra stitch in every K2 section of the K2, P2 ribbing.  That gave one extra stitch to cast off for every 4 stitches!  Laid flat, here on the bed you can see that through the lace portion, it looks a bit 'frilly'.

 But when worn, it is perfect.  Since I am not yet dressed this morning,  I will save you that photo, but by week's end, with both sleeves completed and ends woven in, I will show you a modelled shot.

Also, you can see the back neck is turned under.

 In both versions of Cinnie that I have knit, I have found the back neck, in it's natural state,  to be very high.  My easy peasy solution is to fold it under, creating a back-neck facing so to speak.  Works well.

Nearing the fnish line with Cinnie has me excited.  A lovely, white, lace sweater.  What says summer more than that?

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Look Who I Met While Shopping

On a weekend trip to the mall, I came across an old friend.  In that stupor that often seems to accompany me on mall trips, I was surprised to look up and see this.
A new store, filled with trinkets and 'home dec' items.  The staff,  I'm sure, knew not who they referenced  when they hung those initials.

And me, my first thought - "Oh, I wish I had my camera."   Then, I remembered that I had recently de-fossilized myself and purchased a cell phone so indeed, did have a camera. 

It made my day to see Elizabeth Zimmermann's initials on that shop wall.  

Monday, June 3, 2013

Progress Report

If a progress report must only show progress, then this post will disappoint.  There is some progess - but not on all  fronts.

Cinnie is nearing completion.
All sections are complete.  Yet to be done are the front bands and sleeve trim.  The pattern would have had me knit the sleeve trim earlier but I decided to leave it until the end when I could have  a proper trying on.  I am thinking that I might want the sleeves a bit longer and the best way to know that for sure is to try on  the sweater once it is done and blocked.

And speaking of blocking, I have decided to do that at this stage and knit the front bands post blocking.  The yarn , Raffaella by Sirdar, has a bit of a boucle-like bump to it and really needs a blocking to get a true picture of the finished garment.  So onto the blocking board for Cinnie.

Tink's Twirly skirt is moving along.
 In this last tier, there are so many stitches that the rounds grow slowly. Needing nine inches to finish this final tier, I have about three shown here. Easy, mindless knitting, but it will still take awhile, with all those stitches.

And Contrasts.  Well, what can I say - it is still where I left it a few days ago.
 Not something that I can pick up and work on in stolen minutes, I need blocks of time to get started on  the machine.  Maybe this week.

With progress, there should be a FO in a few days.  That is my goal for the week.  Get something finished.