Happy Halloween! (Jackyll & Hide FO)

Pattern: 2 Jackyll & Hide Hats by Sas Knits it Again - Knitty Fall 2007
Yarn: 2 balls Patons Canadiana White #00001 Lot#005
Needles: Aero 5mm circular & 5mm dpns
Start: September 30 Finish: October 30, 2008
Modifications: Second Hat made smaller to fit young child.

The large size knit as written uses almost all of a single ball of the Canadiana. Isn't it clever how they just look like sailor hats when rolled up?
Who would expect when a kid is wearing them like that that what is hiding underneath is this...
This is number one son modeling for me - he wasn't interested in having one of his own when I showed him the pattern (after I'd already bought the yarn) so I made the two for my nephew whose birthday is today. He will only be able to wear the small size at the moment so I'm giving him the second one to have as he grows.

Having seen the finished product number one son now thinks he would in fact like one for himself. What a shock ;)
The actual knitting time on each of these is little more than an evening - especially the smaller one. For the small version I cast on and knit everything at 75% of the size of the pattern up to the eye holes. That section I knit as written then above it knit 3" of stockinette as directed dividing the crown into four using my smaller number of stitches.
Oh and since its Halloween...

This is the transome window over our front door - I made this out of a huge piece of black felt and it hangs on the window frame with orange ties. At night when the kids are shelling out for treats the letters glow with the light from inside


My 100th Post!

Yesterday I saw bloggers enjoying easy projects while coping with nuclear powered cold viruses similar to the one that I've been "enjoying"...

  • Knitting on Impulse on the west coast of Canada has been focused on the beauty of knit and purl stitches from the confines of her couch.

  • Ysolda in Edinburgh with their sniffles has been doing garter stitch with soothingly red yarn in the midst of a cold, rainy Scottish autumn.

  • Yarn Harlot here in T.O. knit a k2p2 scarf while she was under the weather late last week.
Then Sunshine Soapbox commented I should cast on stockinette socks rather than tax my virus addled brain with the cable patterned bag that had me ready to quit knitting Monday night.

Sunshine Soapbox is a smart woman - the other three, clearly brilliant as well so I took her advice, followed the example of the others...

Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason - "CO172, knit in loose stockinette in the round for 9 inches" - essentially a giant sock. (I'm hopeful by the time I get to dividing for the back and front my cold and brain will have cleared enough to cope with the "challenge" of counting). And its red - my lifelong favourite colour!

Speaking of which - a couple of other red images that caught my eye this morning...yes, along with snow, I have flames on the sides of my car...
And along the side of our driveway, also with snow a "Burning" Bush (Euonamus alata) ...

Thanks ladies of knitblogland for the great inspiration. Next up its time to make pink applesauce with these beauties...


Starting Something New!

CO 64 stitches - Check

K 6 rows rev st st - Check

Work set up row to establish base of cables - Fine

Work row 2 right to left rather than left to right - Rip back row

Highlight even numbered rows on left side of chart as reminder to work left to right - Check

Try again to work second row of pattern - Okay

Work row 3 - find 2 stitches magically missing in section between cables. Decide to cheat, adding two stitches mid row - Not ideal but acceptable.

Begin row 4 at right side of chart, catch stupid error - rip back. Restart from left side - finish row - check work - develop stomach pain upon noting that base of cables strongly resemble knotted shoelaces surrounded with gaping holes.

Tear out needles, rip back to first six rows of rev st st

Reinsert needles, throw the whole works into basket, stomp off to bed to get a good start at another night of endless coughing and blowing of nose.

In times of cold induced wakefulness during night practice positive imaging - visualize being a knitter who is sufficiently competent to start a project without making a dozen breathtakingly stupid errors before gaining a foothold on a project. That would really be something new!


Guess What I did this weekend...

Hint...Tissues + Homemade Chicken Soup.

You're right! I "enjoyed" a delightful common cold! This one, however, was uncommonly nasty. I chose to ignore its appearance early last week hoping that it would feel unappreciated and go away. No such luck. By Saturday morning it was evident that nothing less than bed rest would induce it to leave me alone or at least demand less than my full attention. My family kindly gave me lots of their attention. They felt badly for me when they noticed I "wasn't even knitting"!

Two solid days in front of the "idiot box" as my father used to call it and despite being surrounded with numerous projects just waiting to be started I barely knit a stitch. I've finally learned that starting things the right way requires thought and energy. Just diving in and casting on generally leads to extreme irritation when inevitably my shortcuts lead to less than stellar results or worse, stupid errors. I managed a bit of swatching but assessing the resulting gauge, running to get another set of needles to make necessary adjustments, managing the accompanying math - it was more than I was up for. I colour coded a couple of charts. Whoopee!

I watched equal parts of CNN election coverage (I'm utterly addicted!), home decorating/renovating shows and PBS - much of it with the sound off or almost inaudible in deference to my sinus headache. On PBS I did turn the sound on to watch Bill Moyers. He did a segment that starts out quite sobering but ends on a note that is utterly uplifting . Its a bit on the longish side but definitely worth a viewing...check it out.


Eye Candy Friday

I don't know how this photo actually rates as pure eye candy but its my current wallpaper and I find it very inspiring.

I love the cyclist in the left foreground headed toward the green light and everyone moving towards the huge windmill in the distance. It visually expresses what I feel society is starting to do - finally move towards living life in a more earth friendly fashion. It also makes me proud as a Torontonian that we have a wind generated power source as a prominent part of our skyline.

The windmill is 91 meters high and its been generating electricity for 6 years. Its right by the waterfront in downtown Toronto on the site of our fairgrounds or as Torontonians call it the CNE (Canadian National Exhibition). It provides a huge amount of totally clean power to the city. The sky in the photo looks bleak (it was a bitter cold late afternoon last week when I took the shot) but there is sun peaking through the clouds. So too things may seem bleak on so many fronts these days but I really think we're headed for a brighter and more responsible future.

Have a great weekend everyone!


Wawa Hat FO

This little hat sized for a toddler was kind of a request knit. It was super fast - three or four hours total.

I can't really believe I knit it. Its not my taste and it was really mindless to work on. 'Largely knit in the car to and from the cottage last weekend I rarely looked at it while knitting so now it seems surreal that it came off my needles.
Pattern: Wawa Hat by Jane Ellison from Mirasol Book 3
Yarn: Mirasol Tupa 50% Silk 50% Merino
Colours: Amber 802, Turquoise 803, Ruby Red 808, Gold 801, Jade 805, Dark Auburn 810
Needles: 4mm Aero straights
Start: October 14 Finish October 21, 2008
Modifications: None

The hat is knit flat with the colourwork done by slipping stitches. The ear flaps are made first then the stitches for the brim of the hat are picked up and cast on after that.

The yarn is beautiful to work with. The colours are gorgeous - especially Ruby Red and Deep Auburn.

Done. Gone. 'Nuff said.


Finishing the week with shopping on Queen

Last week was a knitting extravaganza chez Sel and Poivre. The workshop on Tuesday, the Guild meeting with men throwing yarn Wednesday then on Friday - a sunny but cool autumn day in a city full of trees in a riot of fall colour I hit both ends of Queen Street to stock up on "necessities" for knitting post "Honeycomb".

First stop was The Naked Sheep (I love that name!) in the "The Beach" neighbourhood on Queen East. 'Under new ownership since August, I wanted to see how the store had changed. It was more spacious, organized around a big worktable where a jumble of yarn displays used to take up the back of the store. This made it easier to browse and to get a handle on what was on offer. There was the best selection of Debbie Bliss Pure Cashmere and Pure Silk than I've seen anywhere else and the well arranged and fairly extensive book section featured what looked like a complete collection of Elizabeth Zimmerman titles which is not easy to find. These, along with the warm smiling welcome as I walked in the door set the store apart for me. I sat and flipped through books ultimately buying a bottle of Aqua Soak, Interweave Scarf Style - I'm surely the last knitter in North America to own it and the new Holiday Vogue Knitting.
I started on Queen east as I was hoping to catch number one son's cross country race along the Boardwalk but I couldn't find him or his team. I did enjoy the lovely view and crisp autumn breeze off the lake before heading Westward to Romni Wools, Toronto's superstore of yarns in the neighbourhood of West Queen West.
"Spaciousness", pure cashmere and silk or a clear surface of any kind, are not what you find at Romni. What is always there though is an utterly vast selection of workhorse yarns in every possible colour and weight. I put two hours worth of time into my parking meter thinking that was a little silly but nonetheless safe and in the end only had two minutes to spare when I got back to the car.

I bought Cascade 220 for a pair of hiking socks , Drops Design Eskimo and Sisu Sport Weight for two sweaters and Ella Rae Classic Wool for a felted bag. I also got a 10% discount with my DKC membership!My next planned stop was back downtown at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre where the Creative Show had opened earlier in the day - the show features a section on knitting and yarns. As I worked my little five speed through the Friday afternoon traffic towards the core though, my feet and the new Vogue Knitting on the seat beside me - kept nagging about just heading home. In the end that's what I did. A glass of wine, new yarn to pat and new patterns to flip through was a great way to end my fibery week.


Phew! & TaDa! (Honeycomb FO)

Well its done and I love it . Fit - colour - style - 'love it all.

Pattern: Honecomb by Sarah Castor from Knitty Spring 2008

Yarn: Fibranatura Mermaid

Colour: "Red Hot" #40602 Lot #6269

Needles: 3.5mm Aero Circular

Start: September 12, 2008 Finish: October 20, 2008

Modifications: Added two rows ribbing to neckline

This pattern is very thorough - probably the most thorough I've ever used. There are specific directions, for example, on how to increase/decrease along with edge shaping so as to maintain the pattern rather than just saying "while maintaining pattern..."The one minor modification I made was to add two rounds to the neck ribbing to beef it up in comparison with the ribbing around the armholes. Its a lovely neckline and I wanted to make a bit more of it.

The shaping feels relentless (and it is) but the end result reflects the added effort.

It also yielded something that exactly fit me without any modifications!

With a Knitty difficulty rating of "Piquant" it was a "fiddly" knit for my skill level going into it. The all over patten and patterning on the wrong side along with all the shaping meant frequent referencing of the the pattern. 'Not all the way to difficult to be entertaining just sufficiently past easy to be tedious. Hopefully my skill level went up a bit with this project so as to put future patterns with the same demands closer to my comfortable knitting range.
So despite resenting the process of knitting this vest I think I learned a lot from the process, I love the end result, I'll be wearing it a lot and for years to come - the title of this post says it all "Ta Da!" and "Phew!".


Men Throwing Yarn

That was the highlight of last night's Downtown Knit Collective meeting. (It may well be the highlight of the DKC program year!) Two men, 160 or so knitters, I don't know exactly how much yarn was tossed - there were lots of single skeins but also clusters of 3, 4 and what looked like bunches of 5 skeins flying high and far as well.

The principles of Diamond Yarn were the "tossers" and they were throwing the good stuff - Cashmere and Silk blends, Merino and Silk blends, Mirasol Wools among others (my note taking during this period of the presentation kind of "tapered off"!)
Other suppliers had passed samples around for fondling - at first it seemed this was Diamond's fun way of doing the same thing. The other suppliers, however, wanted the samples returned to the front. I'm sure I was not alone in thinking the Diamond Yarn Samples were also just for looking. But after a few Diamond samples were circulating they asked if anyone would like to take home some samples. Of course wild applause followed and they started tossing. Slow at first soon the bundles started flying fast and furious! At one point I was struck by the visual of so many hands reaching up and so many beautiful skeins in the air. If you could have snapped a photo it would have looked like eager children reaching to catch a sky full of lovely butterflies. These are my new "butterflies"...

Diamond Luxury Collection Mulberry Silk and Merino Blend. Its extremely soft with both a slight halo and a near metallurgic sheen. It actually reminds me of plumber's flux or pewter. I have 270 meters. I'm thinking scarf. I'll be touring my stitch dictionary for inspiration before the day is out!

The guys from Diamond, it should be noted, are also behind the Mirasol Project which is doing great and responsible work to support traditional but impoverished Peruvian communities. I've used Mirasol T'ika cotton as well as their Cotton and Silk Blend Tupa. Their colours are amazing and the hand of these yarns once knit up is nothing short of lovely.

There were of course other distributors presenting to the guild meeting - albeit in a slightly less spectacular fashion.

Southwest Trading Company presented samples of work done in their remarkable yarns, many of which incorporate byproducts of other manufacturing processes saving landfill space and the environment. He talked about Safira, Jezebel, Vespera, Yin and Yang (Matching yarns with Yang featuring crystals so when both are worked in one garment only the Yang areas sparkle), Tofutsies, Amaizing (100 Corn Fiber) and a yarn called Therapy that contains real Jade! He explained that Jade has a honeycomb structure that actually makes wool/jade garments cooler to wear than those made with pure wool.

Old Mill Knitting Company who represent, among others, Classic Elite, Naturally, Tahki and Trendsetter Yarns presented beautiful swatches for upcoming yarns planned to be launched in the spring featuring the designs of Fiona Ellis (DKC member and in attendance last night). The rep noted that with a week to go before last night's meeting she wanted more than just a single swatch so she asked the famous Wanietta - fastest knitter in Canada to whip up some more. You can't believe; I can't describe the beauty of her work. It had everyone gasping as the samples were passed around. These swatches weren't little squares - they were 18-24 inches long and 4 or 5 inches across! Old Mill also had significant giveaways - none were airborne but the multiple baskets of single skeins and balls set out at the front near their display did cause a full on stampede at the end of the meeting.

I'm a bit ashamed to say I didn't note anything about the fellow who immediately followed the yarn tossing guys from Diamond Yarns. Unfortunately for him, I doubt I was alone in spending the time he was talking recovering from the "Men Throwing Yarn" event.
Last to present were the husband and wife team behind Americo Originals. It started as a store in downtown Toronto but has quickly expanded to distributing their unique original patterns and Peruvian yarns to other retailers. Their yarns are typically natural colours and fibers, huge skeins and bulky weights. They also sell large wooden needles and amazing hand made buttons and toggles of wood, ceramic and I believe bone and horn.
All in all it was a fun night topped off with a walk to the subway afterwards with another DKC member. A lovely way to end the evening.


"If you can't say anything nice...

...don't say anything at all." That line by the little bunny Thumper in "Bambi" was one my grandfather used to quote when as kids, we began to complain or be negative. I can still hear him say it and I don't quibble with the sentiment. But...

I went to a workshop last night at my LYS. I went in support of the shop's proprietor. It featured a fairly prominent knitwear designer, it was well attended, it was not inexpensive and it was an utter waste of time.

After cryptically explaining how the technique we would be working on was different from other approaches but without explaining the technique itself the workshop started with the designer telling us to "dive right into" the project we were given to work on. She said "there's no better way to learn than by doing". I already knew the technique (I was only there to support the LYS) but the others had no idea what they were doing. Most were utterly lost.
She did go around the group asking if anyone was having any problems. If they were she took their work, fixed it herself and handed it back to them. (What happened to learning by doing?)

The designer had a bad cold and was having trouble talking - perhaps she was trying not to overuse her voice? Well she did manage 20 minutes straight on her three day trip to see the location where they're made. She didn't cover and couldn't answer questions about how they're made (organic & free trade) or why they are great to work with or even about the various fibres in the line. She didn't refer to the wall of product right beside her or encourage purchase thereof but she did include a few minutes on how she designed the logo (snore!).

The huge pile of samples from her various books stacked in the middle might have been a saving grace but they were whisked away 15 minutes into the workshop to make room for a cheese tray.

So to recap, no instruction, no information, no inspiration. No point in attending the workshop!

I should be honest with the store owner if she asks me about it (she wasn't in attendance) but I'll likely avoid the store for a while because I'm just so annoyed.

Waste must have been a theme yesterday. Our $300 million Federal Election generated a minority government just like we had 38 days ago when the PM called for a vote because he said he couldn't make a minority government work. He's probably annoyed this morning too because now he's going to have to hold his nose, make it work and actually do his job.

Tonight is the Downtown Knit Collective Meeting when yarn companies showcase new yarns and trends. After yesterday I'm only cautiously hopeful they'll actually bring yarn with them and maybe even be prepared to talk about it!

I hope Thumper and my grandfather skipped this post and I hope you're in a better mood than I am! I'm off to see if Honeycomb is dry after blocking. I need to organize something to knit at the meeting tonight. Maybe a little knitting will improve my outlook!



Hey Canadian knitters - don't forget to vote today!


For which this knitter is truly thankful...

...Honeycomb front done and blocking...

...a flawless long weekend forecast...
...a beautiful drive.........gorgeous fall colour...
...the utter beauty of a beaver pond...
Cozy fireside knitting before sun up with hot coffee in the company of My Beloved...
Pancake Breakfast with pure Canadian maple syrup...
...the view just after sunrise...
Another occasion to haul out a hand knit - ('sick of seeing this one? I'm sure not sick of wearing it!)

...24 hours in "heaven"...
At the end of a spectacular Thanksgiving Dinner...Brandied Pumpkin Pie with sour cream swirl...

(I'm not so thankful for the cracks following baking but then they didn't affect the taste - yum!)

And finally...'thankful for the fact that the weekend isn't even over yet!


How did it get to be Thursday?

What have I been doing ??? The week is almost over yet my last post was also my first post of the week and it was a summary of last weekend!

I have been knitting - quite a lot actually. (Aren't televised Presidential debates, stock market crash analysis, emergency room visits*, children's athletic events and coffee with friends just made for quantity knitting?) Unfortunately with Honeycomb, apparently knitting "quite a lot" doesn't produce very much. I am finally, after all those knitting marathon events still an inch and a half - only 18 rows - from the major bind offs for the scooped front neckline and sleeves but it feels like that may as well be a mile and a half.
At coffee this morning a friend who is also a knitter was looking at the work and commented on its fairly significant weight when compared with its size. So there must be a lot of knitting in it but enough already - I want to move on!

The pattern recommends blocking prior to assembly and the back is already blocked so I can't skip the step for the front but its going to mean it'll be too wet for knitting on collar and arm hole ribbing this weekend. :( Immature knitting tantrum aside I do think I am going to love love love the final product and with blocking done I'll be able to wear it immediately following completion !
My mindless little travelling Halloween project is flying off the needles. My plan is to make two so I'll likely work on numero deux on the cottage drive.
I've assembled yarn from my stash for the Leftovers Vest from Knitty and its sitting in the basket ready to go once Honeycomb's wet blocking is done and drying time begins. Knit in the round in plain stockinette it should go like greased lightening! (Shouldn't it?)
I've finally organized a Flickr account and I've been working on uploading knitting pics. Its been as time consuming as I feared but gratifying to watch the growing slide show of my FO's . I'm probably about 3/4 done. I'll then be able to include it in the blog and put pics in my Ravelry notebook.
This weekend is Canadian Thanksgiving - when we pull the water intake from the lake and drain the system in the cottage to avoid freezing pipes bursting and turning pine panelled walls into spouting fountains. Many people close their cottages for the season after this point but we will continue to go up, hauling water from the lake by the bucket full for a few weeks yet. At least that's the plan.
One of the other things I've been doing is cooking. Like crazy. My son is an utterly bottomless pit and for good reason. We discovered yesterday morning that he has grown almost a half an inch since we last measured him about three weeks ago. If his appetite is any indication though I think the growth actually occurred over the past week. I strongly believe in the importance of fuelling growth with healthy food and of course that needs to be prepared and ready to go when hunger strikes and its been striking often!
His daily running workouts of course also contribute to the hunger. Yesterday he had another race...
It was at a beautiful conservation area north west of us. His race had just over 400 boys in it.
It was a wild and hilly 5k (3 mile) course the day after some significant rainfall. This is just one of the hills on the course...He took a nasty fall in a huge muddy puddle at the bottom of a hill somewhere mid course and suffered cuts and scratches, probably finishing the race wearing a pound or two of fresh mud and well behind his preferred finishing position. As I waited near the first aid station where his wounds were being cleaned and bandaged I heard a passing coach comment "I love muddy races - that's real cross country! Interestingly that was pretty much my son's comment later at the dinner table. Boys!

Next week for me is chock full of knitting activities and yarn buying opportunities that I'm very much looking forward to! If you're Canadian - have a good long weekend. If not, have a good standard one!
*Trip to emergency room was for severely twisted University aged ankle. Nothing broken and her first time having to communicate with medical professionals without parental intervention - it was a great experience for her on every front! Who ever said growing up is finished by the time you're 18?!


Weekend Fab & Foul

Garage Sale
Fab: I helped a dear friend run her garage sale from the early morning hours of our very chilly Saturday morning through the blustery afternoon and it allowed me to wear Bonbon for the first time. It was wonderful to at last have occasion to wear it but even more exciting to enjoy warmth as only wool can provide! (I also wore hand knit wool socks - double fab!)
Foul: During the sale, a woman saw I was knitting away on a little mindless and portable Halloween project and had to express disdain for the fact that I was knitting, then scoffed at what I was knitting.

Uber Foul: Two groups that attended the sale left their cars idling while they browsed. How can people can still be so insensitive to global warming that they let their motors run for no reason?! Besides that I can't believe the price of gas doesn't prompt them to turn the things off!

Fab: I had some friends over Saturday night for our semi regular Scrabble game.

Fab: I managed to squeeze in making fresh chocolate scones between the garage sale and Scrabble night for munching during our game. They had just the right amount of sweetness and weren't too rich - perfect accompaniment for steaming hot tea!
Foul: Due to an extreme overabundance of "A"s among my letters in the latter part of the game I was over 100 points behind the woman who came in second!
Bridal Shower
Fab: Held in honour of my youngest sister, my mother and second sister did a spectacular and I think quite professional job on the flower arrangements...

Fab: 40 women attended, many of whom I've never met - I love the potential to meet someone interesting and/or entertaining.in a room of strangers!

Foul: I met an avid knitter there who, despite seeking me out when my aunt told her I liked to knit, would not talk yarn or knitting or knit blogs or Ravelry or stash or patterns or really anything about knitting other than that she lives 3 blocks from Romni Wools - Toronto's biggest LYS. I'm still scratching my head over that one.
Foul: My daughter and I were put in charge of making the bow hat (you know...paper plate, adorned with all the bows and ribbons from the gifts - to be worn by the bride while the shower guests snap pictures and generally squeal with delight)
Fab: As these things go it turned out very well. Its not falling off - that juanty angle is on purpose and it was quite sturdy.
Foul: I had precious little knitting time this weekend and when I tried to make time, I was really too tired to concentrate and made a bunch of errors on Honeycomb. The next time I pick it up I'm going to have to start with ripping back to error free territory.
(Soon to be)Fab: 'Getting close to the end on this one. Could Honeycomb be an FO next week?