Pictured above are the two "netting" sections from each of the body panels of Bonbon arranged for comparison. I made a mistake in one of them along the top line of stranded stitches. I misread the pattern for that line and omitted the strands only to discover the error two rows later.

Rather than rip back I decided to try to fake the netting effect by weaving a single line of white yarn through the work in a way that would mimic the correct version. Can you tell which one is which?

How about across the back of the work?

I really can't tell the difference!

I'm not usually one for cheating. It always bothers me to know I've cut a corner and I tend to fixate on the error I know is there even if no one else notices.

Grumperina has a great post today with a video showing how she minimizes ladders when crossing between dpn's on socks and in it she shows some very minor ladders in her helical socks which she says are essentially inevitable. They don't bother her. It's time I stopped letting minor imperfections bother me and I'm going to start with my invisible cheat across the netting section.

I'm past the dotted section on the first sleeve with no problems in the netting after finishing both body panels...

Hopefully I'll finish that sleeve this weekend and cast on for the second. My little travel pack is ready to go wherever I do so a precious knitting minute is never wasted...

But where are the other colours? Clearly only a couple are fitting into that little sac of goodies...

No problem - check out one of the great features of the new summer bag My Beloved picked out for me! You don't even know they are they 'till you need 'em!


Overdue FO's Report

Pattern: My Own Basic Stockinette Top Down Sock
Colour: Aquamarine Blue #71
Started: April 10, Finished: May 8, 2008

These were done a couple of weeks ago. I wore them even before they had their Soak!

The colour is the thing I love the most. It reminds me of rippling water at the lake and what better to be reminded of while wearing woolly socks in winter than the lakeside in summer! This is quite close to the actual colour...

I like the Trekking yarn. This is my second pair in it and I will use it again. I have a goal to have my sock drawer and some of my Beloved's drawer filled with hand knit socks and this yarn is going to be a big player in getting me there. Its soft yet wears very well and it has a nice woolly halo after washing. In my opinion it makes a plain stockinette sock really shine. Like so many others, much of what appeals to me about knitting socks is the ease of knitting them anywhere and basic stockinette is just about as easy to knit on the go as anything I could imagine. Besides that, I like wearing 'em!

I also love looking at the miracle of the turned heel. I must admit the mystery and magic of the heel turn has gone for me now that I've got several pairs under my belt but I still love the neat, tidy and practical look of it.

Another pair of socks that crossed the finish line a while ago are the black ones I call the "Copycat" socks because they are based on a pair of hand knit socks an elderly relative made for my Beloved many years ago. I knew her version fit him and he liked them - just the qualities I was hoping the pair I made would have!

I've never tried to "read" another hand knit to decipher its pattern but using stitch markers to keep track of where I was it was surprisingly easy to figure out what she had done . Then I adapted things to suit my gauge making sure to keep the ribs running straight down from the cuff through to framing the heel flap ('just call me "Eunny"! ;))
The pattern is a series of ribbed sections breaking up blocks of moss stitch. The old socks had the pattern stopping well short of the toe. I don't much care for the look of stopping so early with the pattern but My Beloved tells me they are more comfortable to wear that way with less bulk being in the shoe and so less irritation on the foot. (I must admit it was also thrilling to be done with the pattern and cruise down to the toe in stockinette!)

I've already posted about the nasty business of knitting with black yarn in Canada in the dark days of the late fall and early winter. Hence the first sock, started during the World Series last autumn did not have a mate until recently.

Pattern: My Own "Copycat" Top Down Men's 3/4 Socks

Yarn: 3 Balls Regia

Colour: Charcoal

Needles: 2mm dpn's

Started: October 2007, Finished, April 23, 2008

So they are done, he likes them and he is wearing them. In fact he recently pulled up his pant leg to show them to another guy! The other fellow was amazed they stayed up and how, for hand knit socks they were so much like dress socks rather than work socks. All in all they're a success I guess!

That concludes the tour of unreported FO's for the moment. Bonbon is moving forward nicely (the lamp has been repaired) and a couple of sporting events and practices on the calendar for Number One Son makes the prospect of further progress quite promising in what remains of the week!


Blame it on the Lamp?

The call of the garden just couldn't be ignored with the great weather we enjoyed over the weekend so the only knitting time was after dark. Multiple hours of gardening during the day means knitting after dark must be done in bed to ensure sudden bouts of sleepiness are managed most effectively.

My bedside lamp, suddenly stopped working over the weekend (the bulb isn't the problem).
No lamp, no knitting, almost no progress on the Bonbon.

Clearly its the Lamp's fault!


Bonbon Status

One of the body pieces is done - second one is started.

In the end the dots section had to be ripped back and done a third time due to utterly stupid row counting errors.

I love how often the colours and patterns change - its like eating peanuts - you just want to keep going. Then you have the expanse of straight knitting for a bit of a break before you start with the colours at the bottom of the next piece!

Knitting in public yesterday prompted two spontaneous interactions with strangers. One was with a knitter interested for knitterly reasons and the other a non knitter who naturally expressed the fact that she hadn't the patience to knit. She did ask if I would consider selling the sweater when it was done so I think my colour choices are not just appealing to me as I feared they might.

I'm very glad to be knitting in pieces rather than in the round as I've seen some on Ravelry are doing. The difference between the colour work and the straight knitting is quite significant in weight and I can see how, as the pattern states, the side seams will give needed structure to the piece.

So Bonbon will be my knitting focus for the weekend. No drive north to the cottage is planned so I'll actually have to steal time from the garden and seasonal house chores. I'm secretly hoping to have the second body panel done by the start of the next week!


The reason the tabloids sell?

Twice in the last couple of weeks, during visits to see my garden, the first comment my guests have made has been about the weeds they could just spy over the fence in my neighbours' yard.

Though the garden they were walking through was heaving with the scent of lilac and lily-of-the-valley and visually brimming with...


And a bunch more stuff (knitting isn't my only obsession!)

The first thing they focused on was a perceived negative even though it was one they had to work at seeing!
In the company of all those flowers, all they focused on was the weeds!

A Little Knitting, a Bit of Ripping...

There was knitting this weekend, although much less than was planned.

Cooking and baking took more time than necessary. After seven months away from the cottage I had to keep stopping to wonder where the spatulas were or whether I had remembered to bring vanilla extract and if so where the heck it was... and so on. I prefer to cook and bake on automatic pilot. Get it done so the eating can commence and the knitting resume!

Knitting on Bonbon did happen but it was followed by a bit of ripping back.

The section with all the small dots wouldn't "read" as dots on the right side when I left floats long enough to maintain the proper width. Instead the dots kind of sank back into the fabric and disappeared. When I tightened up the floats so the dots looked good, my width measurement shrank.

Having finished playing with the tension variable I'm going to try cutting and starting colours from both sides for this section. Less floating = more sewing in of ends but hopefully will solve the problems.

The section ahead of the dots is fine though and I am very happy with the colour combination and the yarn.

The Mission Falls (white) is much thicker than the Sheldridge Farm but I don't mind given where and how the white is being used in the pattern.

Helix socks were started, the knitting with Cashmerino being very much enjoyed and then the poor thing was ripped right back to nothin'. Too big, too slouchy. Ease can be such a killer! Time to start again. They did fill the car time en route to the cottage very nicely though!


Long Weekend Knitting or How I Plan to Pay Tribute to Queen Victoria's Birth

Well the first long weekend of the Canadian summer is upon us - the one dedicated to the birth of Queen Victoria. We are cottage bound and as is sometimes the case here in Ontario this very early "summer weekend" forecast sounds perfect for spending hours by the fire with yarn and needles in hand. Its time for the Bonbon Pullover knitting to commence.

The charts are done with revised colour choices having been made. Necessary needles are assembled and all skeins of Sheldridge Farm W4 Worsted have been hand wound into centre pull balls. I've already had three weeks of intermittent enjoyment out of this project and I haven't cast on a stitch. I love everything about knitting!

For my car knitting I will be starting the helix striped socks in Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino (colour 202 which is light blue and the basic white). I hope to get them cast on and ready for striping tonight so I don't need to look too much while driving and so avoid car sickness.
I love the feel of this yarn and just find the soft blue colourway to be utterly charming. My plan for these is to make them a bit on the big side with no cuffs. I want them kind of slouchy as I only plan to wear them as comfort socks in bed or fireside - that kind of thing. Many thanks to the incomparable Grumperina for the inspiration on these and the one and only Montse Stanley for the how to!

I know that the plans for many "May 24" weekends will be stymied, sullied or hampered by the weather and cold. How lucky I am to have an activity to look forward to that defies weather!(Plus we did the grunt work of opening up our little place in the woods for the season last weekend!) So come what may, the Bonbon and I will no doubt have a satisfying and utterly relaxing weekend together with my family at our precious little lakeside retreat.
Pardon us Your Majesty if we are too busy lying around knitting to stand up when we sing Happy Birthday to Your Royal Highness!


Better Late Than Never

Pattern: My Own Basic Top Down
Yarn: Socks that Rock Lightweight
Colour: Metamorphic
Needles: 2.25mm dpns
Started: May 5 Finished: May 15, 2008

Well they weren't done in time for Mother's Day but I was close! I made it to the heel on the second sock over last weekend but I didn't get them across the finish line until yesterday.

As I mentioned last post I am not thrilled with this yarn although wearing the socks under black pants I must admit made me more impressed with the colourway than I was the whole time I was knitting them.

This pooling after the heel is quite disturbing - its worst on this sock but evident on both. At least when your foot is flexed when standing the pool is slightly less noticeable. This would not be the case were the pool on a flat section of the sock.

I have to say I didn't even enjoy the tactile experience of knitting with this yarn which is a bit of a relief. Having too many favourites can be exhausting and so far out of the half dozen different types of sock yarn I've used to date, this is the first I haven't fallen for.

The socks themselves do feel nice though, both when being squished in the hand or worn on the foot. I think my mother will love them. They are totally her colours and she will be pleased I made them so quickly just for her Mother's Day tribute (even if I did miss by a couple of days!)


Mother's Day

The annual Mother and Daughter Mother's Day Tea was held at my daughter's school last evening. My contribution was jam squares. (Things with jam in the middle are very "tea"-ish I think!)

The squares that remained at home prompted me to get out some of my collected china cups and saucers. The only bridal shower I requested as a bride-to-be was a cup and saucer shower - the kind where each female guest brings a single china cup and saucer that appeals to them and which will remind the bride of them throughout her life whenever she uses it. I am amazed that to this day, this holds true for me - I can match each delicate gift with the woman or girl who gave it to me. I have about three dozen in my collection.
From the time I was a child I loved the order and expectation and symbolism in the ritual of a bona fide Tea Party. I remember recognizing that the niceties of traditional female society had real value and merit. I loved that with cup and saucer in hand women stood or sat and chatted differently than at a dinner or a picnic or over cocktails on the beach at the cottage etc. and in particular that men would adopt a different stance as well when they were, on occasion invited into such a circle.Women who know me are generally stunned at my views on this. (My keen interest in knitting of course also elicits a similar response.)

I've never felt the need to assert myself as equal, valuable or accomplished by eschewing the feminine social traditions. Rather I've always unashamedly held them up as worthy of continuation and celebration. (Again, knitting is a major element of this!)

In society of course traditional Motherhood has undergone significant transformation. I followed an intensely career-centred direction prior to becoming a mother for the first time but since have chosen a life that in day to day content closely mirrors that of my grandmothers.

Through all of the physical, intellectual and social challenges full time motherhood has presented, the grace, artistry and pride with which previous generations of women undertook this role has been a consistent inspiration.

So last night I went to the Tea where I was proud to note that my jam squares were well received. This morning I hand rolled three skeins of yarn into deliciously soft centre pull balls after serving and cleaning up breakfast for one and all and ironing my Beloved a shirt. With the completion of this post I will put on my heels and head out to do the errands that will allow my family to enjoy a weekend together opening our little cottage for the season. Up in the wild woods (we have no road - we have to boat everything in after launching and getting the motor to run for the first time in months) I will work much of the weekend dressing and working like a man. Bugs, dirt, firewood, hauling stuff into and out of the place. It's going to be great! I have no limits! I honour and learn from the past. I use the freedom of the present to live a life such that I am proud of it all!

As for Mother's Day, whatever the acknowledgements or lack thereof I will spend it so as to be the best mother I can to my children, a worthy and full partner to my Beloved, a major contributor to the quality of our life together. For my mother I will try to finish, by Sunday evening, the STR socks she asked me to make for her in yarn she picked out last week. I really can't say I'm in love with the colourway but I'm going to knit to her specifications on nothing else this weekend until they are done.

The colours in this yarn, especially the red reminds me of rubber bands. It doesn't translate at all into the knitted fabric though! That yellowy brown and dirty green seems to dominate instead. I hope she still likes her choice once the socks are done!


Knitting=Patience=Happy Mom

I went to the Yarn Harlot's reading last night at the local library's Uptown Author Series. It was more of a discussion than the program she usually delivers though the topic was centred on the theme of her latest book; how knitting affects the brain.

The discussion of patience was paticularly apt given my day today...

... the majority of which I spent in the car at the City Cross Country Finals (third week in a row). What do you think I was doing? I was being patient aka knitting.

My second born ran in the first race so the excitement was over early after a mere two hours of waiting. Then I spent three hours blissfully finishing socks that distinctly remind me of the colour of water. That's them in the foreground (backup projects and knitting reading just in case of sock completion in the background)

The point Ms. Pearl McPhee made was that to people who say they haven't the patience to knit, knitters don't have the patience to wait without something to do. Further once we have our fibery diversion we have patience aplenty and are generally all round happier people.

I had a happy day! I hope you did too!


Reducing, Reusuing, Recycling and Enjoying

Pattern: Elisa's Nest Tote from the Purl Bee
Yarn: Cotton String Leftovers from Several Balls
Colour: White and Cream
Needles: 'Can't remember
Started: January 20th, Finished: January 26th, 2008

Its been a while since this became an FO but I wanted to hold off posting until I could report on the functionality of this pattern. (Oh and I didn't have a blog back when I knit this!)

I couldn't believe as I was knitting it that the structure would really be strong enough to support weight but it turns out the bag is just as tough as I have needed it to be. Its very stretchy and will hold a lot of bulk but it is also quite capable of managing as much weight as I want to carry. The i-cord handle is very easy on the hands. When empty the bag takes up very little room and importantly, I think, it feels very nice.

It was fun to knit and since I made it out of remnants of cotton string I inherited from my mom when I adopted her little stash it was free. The photo doesn't show the wide stripes I incorporated into the bag to make up for the various shades of cream and white I had to work with from the ends of several balls.

There are two drawbacks to the finished bag - the opening at the top is narrow enough that loading the bag, especially in a hurry at the check out, can be a little tricky and somewhat slow and when not in use the bag's mesh gets caught on things in my purse (like sock needles and the arms on my sunglasses). Nonetheless, from my recommendation my aunt has already made one - again using leftover cotton string she had on hand and my mother bought cotton yarn to make a cream and blue version.

I am keen to make another out of hemp. I might also try one with a solid bottom and mesh sides just for variety. I also think this bag, made up in great colours such as chocolate brown or apple green or striped in those two colours would make fabulous gifts. The time and fun factor in them and the fact the yarn is cool and the item small would make for great late summer knitting to get ahead of that annual Christmas crunch.

The whole idea of using leftovers, and scrounged ones at that to make a functional item that makes taking bags at the store unnecessary is very appealing to me! (I must admit I have been carrying my own bags around for years but they are all sewn and don't make me as happy as a knit one!) I may knit another bag with yarn that may be more posh and I may well knit at least a couple more of these but it'll be a stretch to beat the way this bag is working for me on all fronts of the 3R's!



This photo is currently my computer wallpaper. Look at the tones and shades of yellow and brown and cream in this yarn! (Regia Nordic Colour 5517) It will soon be cast on to become Monkey Socks . I think the colour is perfect for the stitch featured in the Monkeys! There are two pairs on the needles that have to get done ahead of casting on for these so until then, wallpaper it is but its wallpaper I love!


Weekend FO

How cute are these?

Yarn: Mirasol T'ika 100% Pima Cotton

Colour: Sun Yellow and Orange Sunset

Needles: 4mm

Pattern: "Grrr" from Knitty Summer 2007

Started: April 29th Finished: May 3rd, 2008

Pattern Modifications: Turned the i-cord loop into a tail by adding a contrasting tassel at the end

I saw these guys on the "anny purls" blog a few weeks ago and immediately printed off the pattern from Knitty. When I needed a mail-friendly gift for a 3 year old boy (the recipient of "Sheldon" back in March) I knew they would be perfect. Anny's review of the pattern and the knitting - fast and fun - mirrors my feelings about this quick knit exactly.

Thanks Knitty and Anny!

I also really like the T'ika - especially since it's a fair trade yarn! With the remnants I'm trying out a grown up wash cloth version. Instead of "Grrr" maybe I'll call it "Ahhh".

I plan to check out the other colours available at my LYS on my next visit!


Happiness Is...

Prepping to cast on for a new sweater project!

Its the Bonbon Pullover from Winter 2007 Interweave Knits and as you can see I am playing with the colours. I bought the yarn from the Knitter's Frolic last weekend. Its Sheldridge Farm W4 100% wool...

Clockwise from the top the colours are Lemonlime, Bottle Green, Silver (main colour), Green Apple, Corn Silk and Misty Blue. I am also using a white which is Mission Falls 1824 Wool. The Sheldridge Farm White is a natural, unbleached white and I wanted something closer to a clear white than a creamy one.

I haven't worked with multiple colours in a sweater for a long time so I'm looking forward to it. I'm also looking forward to working with worsted weight yarn on size 5 needles! The majority of my projects since last September have been fingering weight with a couple of quick items knit in DK. Making big pieces of knitted fabric fast from big yarn and big needles is very appealing right about now!

The last two sweaters I made for myself had what could be called "sizing issues". These issues were such that one was hard pressed to believe an intelligent person could have imagined they were intended for me to wear.

I like knitting and wearing sweaters I've made though so I need to get on top of what I keep doing wrong and fix it because it is more than heartbreaking to put all that effort into something that is then totally impossible to wear.

I've been following the series on Ease on the Interweave Knits blog. I also noticed in the latest IK Spring issue the patterns actually feature information on how much ease is in the modelled garment. So I've become increasingly emboldened to give sweaters another try.

A couple of weeks ago I gathered pictures of all the sweater patterns in my cue, laid them all out at once and took a look at what they all had in common. It turns out the knitter in me was loving sweaters with lots of yoke detail - just the area I've been having problems with. Then I looked at the store bought sweaters in my closet and noted that all my favourites have little or no detail in that area. I went back to the pattern books and magazines looking for sweaters that were similar to the favourites from my closet. That's when I came up with Bonbon. It does have a yoke but it will be easy enough to just knit that area plain rather than with colour.

Next I put on the closest sweater I have in style and size to Bonbon and took pictures of myself in it from back, front and side.

It happens that the sweater had no ease - both hips and bust are exactly the same as my measurements. I want Bonbon to fit a bit more loosely so I am going to make the size that offers me about two inches of ease.

With the colours charted I just need to roll a few balls from the skeins and swatch away! I am nothing if not optimistic!