Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Not Your Grandma's Christmas Sweater

Remember the Christmas sweaters of yesteryear?  The ones in bright red, white and green?  The ones with Santas or bells or reindeer prominently displayed front and centre?  Well, that's not what mine  looks like.

Check out  my Christmas sweater.  Not your Grandma's sweater!
Knit in my colour palette with just enough bling in both the yarn and the buttons  to make it 'seasonal'.

Pattern:  Snowflake by Tincanknits.  Based in British Columbia, Tincanknits produces all their patterns in a great range of sizes.  From 2 to 52.  So you can make Father/son, Mother/daughter look-alike garments.  Many of their patterns are free and on their blog they feature great tutorials.  Check them out.

Needles:  Trim 3.75mm  Body 4.mm

Yarn:   Yoke and trim was knit with Nashua Grand Opera in 'warm brown' with a strand of sparkle woven in.
             Body was knit with Debbie Bliss Cashmerino DK in a shade of gold that compliments the warm brown.
The pattern for my size called for 360 yards of trim yarn so I purchased 3 balls of the Nashua at 128 yards per ball.  I used almost, but not quite, two.  The body called for 860 yards. At 110 metres per ball, I purchased 9 of the Cashmerino and had one plus 95% of a second left over. Accessories to come it seems.

Mods:  As you know from a previous post, I knit the body below the divide of sleeves from body on my machine.  Time is of the essence after all.  I have another sweater to knit before our family get- together on December 12.  By hand, I knit as far as the  completion of the bust darts  then hung the sweater on the machine.
Bust darts were not part of the pattern but since coming across Deb Gemmell's easy peasy bust darts in her Need A Circular Yoke? book I now put them in most of my sweaters.
Waist shaping was an option in the pattern but I didn't do it.  I  forgot.   I chose to start with a  size  smaller than my norm because of the stretchiness of the lace work in the yoke.  The design is fairly  open at the neck and I didn't want it falling off my shoulders.  As with many, top-down sweaters that I knit, I start with the size that gives me the neck opening I want, then just keep increasing until it fits.

My sleeves are a couple of inches longer than suggested in the pattern.
On me, the pattern-length sleeve came only to my elbow.  Since I intend this to be a winter sweater, I thought a  longer sleeve might keep me from having to throw  a sweater on  over my sweater.

I am very pleased with this sweater.   My colours, yet  a bit blingy for  a great seasonal piece.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Not Quite

I had hoped to have Snowflake finished by Sunday night of this past weekend.  Substitute the name of a work-in-progress and you can hear knitters around the globe uttering those same words - I had hoped....

Having leaped closer to the finish line last week by knitting the body of the sweater on the machine, then getting a further nudge to speed things up because the yarn ordered for my niece's sweater arrived, I , nonetheless, fell a few rows short of the finish line by bed time last night. 

I have one cuff to finish,

plus the button/hole band on the yoke. 

 My new goal - it pays to be flexible - is tonight. I'll let you know tomorrow how that works.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Some knits were finished and on display and other knits were barely started today at knit group.

Deana showed off her lovely, finished  cowl. 

Knit from a kit she purchased at the KW Knitters Fair.  Several colours  with an easy formula.  Knit until colour #1 is finished.  Then with colour #2, purl until you run out of that colour. Repeat until all colours are used.  Lovely and cheerful for the grey days ahead, Deana.

Gail is still busy outfitting Miss Barbie.
Besides these little sweaters, she plans to knit Barbie a Bikini.  She read us the pattern for the  Bikini Top - Cast on 12 stitches.  Work 2 rows of K,  P1, cast off. Now, that's funny.

In between Barbie Doll items, Gail also knit a hat, with yarn gifted from Sandy's sister Sue.

Can you tell Gail has Grand Daughters?

Both Sharons had sweaters on their needles today.  Sharon R started her winter project,
 with bright red Berrocco Dk.   A  colour that will look great on you, Sharon.

Sharon also told us she feels like a 'real' knitter now.  She has a row counter around her neck. 
Yep, that's a sign for sure.

The other Sharon has a sweater started too.
 A Knit Picks design
she is  knitting with Knit Picks Gloss - a wool silk combo.

Lots of knitters, lots of laughter, lots of knitting.  A great Thursday.  And just a reminder - in the Owen Sound area this weekend?  Stop by the main library to visit the Spinners and Weavers Guild sale.  Sharon and Jean and all their fellow spinners and weavers will be there with their wares.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Goal Met

Goal Met.  Doesn't it feel good to be  able to say that?  Remember last week when I said  'with a quiet weekend in store, I  hoped to  knit as far as  the waist of my Snowflake sweater'?  Well, the waist has come and gone and on to the bottom border, I went.

You see, it came to me in my dreams.  Friday night.  Why don't I hang that sweater on the machine to do the miles of boring stockinet  that forms the body?  Sure it was being  knit in the round.  If,  however, I were to  divide the stitches in half to create two pieces  - a front and a back   - then I could hang them one by one  on the machine. 

Of course there were a couple of issues.  There would be a seam required and I would need a stitch from each side of each piece to do that. Casting on two extra stitches for each  piece  would solve that issue.    Then, of course there was the matter of matching gauge.  I needed to  find the carriage setting on the machine that would achieve the identical gauge to my hand knitting. 

I think I did it.  Take a look. 

The machine knitting starts about an inch below the dark brown, lace yoke.  No noticeable difference there.  When I finished machine knitting the front and the back I picked up the stitches across the bottom and knit,  by hand, the seed stitch border.  A good afternoon's work.

Now on to the sleeves.

Friday, November 13, 2015


Whew!.  It appears that fourth time's the charm - or was that fifth or sixth? - when it came to the lace yoke on Snowflake.  My head finally cleared and I could 'see' the pattern. 

After that it was an easy knit.  The Yoke is finished, the body and sleeves separated, the bust darts complete and I am heading for the waist.

With a quite weekend  on the home front, I expect to see that waist before Monday.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Three TImes The Charm? Ha!

Whatever  Irishman said  'three times the charm' certainly has never knit Snowflake.  Thinking I  was going to be lucky enough to finish the 32 rows of lace in the yoke of Snowflake  with only one rip back, was way short of the truth. There have now been multiple rip backs.  Sadly too,  I learned after the first one that the rip backs have to be done stitch by stitch. 

For my troubles and multiple rips, I'm not sure whether  I should blame the Irishman, the pattern, my sinuses which drip  and ache each time I bend my head or Father Brown.  I thought the Father Brown mystery series on Netflix was benign enough - and that I was clever enough -  to allow for lace knitting while watching.  I'm here to tell you it isn't so.

But today I see no mistakes in this re-knit work.

Hurray!  If anyone out there notices errors in these close up shots, please keep it to yourself.  

More importantly,  concerning the pattern, I seem finally to 'get it'.  There are only 2 more lace rows to work - surely I can keep my mind focused and not get too cocky.   Here's hoping.

Friday, November 6, 2015

The Plan

The plan is to knit two more sweaters before Christmas.  One for me and one for my niece,
 the recipient of Hippe Blue, last year. 

This year, my niece has requested a Glenora.  Knowing that it only takes 10 days to knit, I had hoped to run out to my LYS last Tuesday,  buy the yarn and return home to start the sweater. Once finished I would have plenty of time to knit a long-planned, Christmas sweater for myself.  But 'alas'  as they say, the requested colour was not in stock.  Back at home, I called other stores withing driving distance and no one had her colour choice. 

With a trip to Toronto in our plans for last weekend (Fred and I had tickets to see the  Magna Carta before it left town)  I supposed I could pick up the yarn for Glenora at one of the megacity's many yarn stores.  But after calling and searching web sites, I learned that any stores  withing easy travel distance of son Peter's condo, our hotel for the weekend,   either didn't have the colour in stock or didn't carry the yarn at all.

Before leaving for the big smoke I called my LYS and ordered the yarn knowing I would wait two weeks for it to arrive.  Then we headed down to the city.  My first stop was Romni Wools.  Their website (which I now know,  lied) had shown that they don't carry the yarn needed for Glenora, so my goal was to buy the yarn for my special Christmas sweater.  While waiting for Glenora's yarn to arrive, I would start my own sweater.

But of course, there in front of me was a large selection of Glenora's yarn.  And with enough stock in the requested colour to  have been able to start immediately.    Dang!  Keep  web sites updated, people.

Instead, I purchased this yarn

for this sweater.  It is top down and I am half finished the lace work.  With only one rip out.  Not bad.

My new plan is to have Snowflake finished by the time Glenora's yarn arrives.  A hopeful plan.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Thursdays Are For Knit Group

Today the car thermometer read 23' as I drove to knit group.  The same temperature as  Florida, Sharon,  who has family there, told us.  It is amazing that there was any wool to be seen.  But heat doesn't stop our knitters!

With three cowls finished and a scarf in the works Wilma must have  necks on her mind  in this pre Christmas season.  This one -  String of Pearls  -  

is a free ravelry download. With some Madeleinetosh for the main colour, it will be beautiful - and warm.

Then there are the other three cowls she brought to knit group today. An orange one, a pink one, and the grey one she is wearing.

See that gorgeous button on the grey one?
Her husband made that.   I just might have to commission some of those.

Gail is busy knitting things for her Church Bazaar.  Today she brought two hats slated for the Bazaar to show us.  Patons Classic in blue and black with a rolled hem.  

Gail has the movie star look with her dark glasses.  She had just come in from across the street where she had run to buy more yarn.  Hard to knit when you forget your yarn at home.

Sharon finished the Yarnharlot's An Unoriginal Hat. Another free pattern on ravelry.

Unfortunately,  Sharon's is too small.  A second attempt next week, she says.

Ingrid arrived today wearing a gorgeous vest.  Pieces like this, I cannot wear.  They  swamp me.  At 5 feet, I'm too short to carry them off.  But Ingrid does it easily and well.  It is beautiful, Ingrid.

Ingrid and Wilma today proved that it is important to use spectacular buttons.  These are metal and heavy enough that Ingrid adapted her edging to support them.  

Lots of wooly lovelies today. Just imagine when the cooler temperatures arrive!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Christmas Cowl

Having finished my Need A Yoke? sweater, I grabbed a ball of James Brett Chunky Marble and started a cowl. An easy, simple, fast-to-finish knit to fill the gap between major projects.

Last year, my great Christmas give-away was a pile of H20 Hats but this year it will be a stack of cowls.  The pattern for this one was a freebie, given to  me at Shelburne's Wool & Silk  LYS where I purchased the yarn.  It is a very clever design of spiralling ribs.

Spiralling ribs I have done before but never as easily as in this cowl.  In the past, when I knit spiralling rib socks, the beginning of the round had to be marked and noted so that the  rib pattern could be offset by one stitch each time a new round was started. That required - at least for me - an excercise of  stop & think  at the start of each round. The clever folks at Estelle, the designers of this knit-in-the-round, spiral ribbed cowl, used a bit of simple math to make the spiral happen automatically.

The ribbing is a multiple of six stitches - K3, P3.  The cast on was 'one stitch short of a full repeat' as knitters like to say.  A multiple of six plus five stitches. In this case 143 stitches.  Being one stitch short of a full pattern repeat means that,  automatically, the ribbing moves one stitch over and therefore it spirals. Easy peasy.  Thanks, Estelle.

The 143 stitches, knit on a 6 .5 mm needle - a bit bigger than normal  for this yarn - gave me a cowl than when held against my five foot frame reaches from neck to thigh.  Large enough to wind twice comfortably around the neck.   

The basket now holds three cowls.  Not full yet, but on its way.  Afterall,  Santa's arrival is still serveral knitting weeks  away.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Enough Already

November.   Although the next few days are reported to be warmer than usual, I know it soon will be time to wear my winter duds.  That means removing the summer tees, sandals and sundresses from the closet and installing the heavier skirts, closed toe shoes  and of course - my wool sweaters.

In transferring the sweaters from their summer storage boxes to the closet, it occurred to me that maybe I have enough.  Six cardigans.  Four pullovers.  One vest.  An eleven day wardrobe right there.

Then I realized I had forgotten to include these latest additions to my fall closet.

I can look at each one and  fondly recall the knitting.  Even when there were struggles - poorly written patterns,  getting the finished to replicate the vision, lace charts that baffled,  limping to the finish line in the Olympic challenge  -  the  memories are fond.  The feel of quality yarn in the hand, the finished product that fits and flatters and the many, many hours of time  well spent.

But I do have to ask myself - is this enough already?