Pink Breast Cancer Scarf* FO

*A bit of background for anyone unfamiliar with these kinds of programs...yarn is donated to a local knitting guild, members take it free of charge and return it knit into scarves (aka knitted "hugs") that are then distributed by the local cancer society to women starting breast cancer treatment. This is my first time participating in this program.
Pattern: Fancy Garter Ridges Scarf (9 1/2"x 58")
Yarn: Patons Divine (2 balls)
Colour: Chantilly Rose #06406 Lot#A3105
Needles: 7mm Aero Straights
Start: September 23 Finished: September 28, 2008
On the one hand...

  • A fun, quick, gratifying and motivating knit - the scarf flew off the needles in a way that reminded me of that old cartoon from You Tube called "The Last Knit"
  • No false starts - I was happy with the first stitch I swatched(Fancy Garter Ridges #213 Vogue Stitchionary vol. 1)
  • The total quantity of yarn (2 complete balls) yielded what I think is a perfect scarf in terms of dimensions.
  • Its also wide enough and long enough to wrap around the shoulders like a shawl.
  • Wet blocking defined the stitches despite the haze created by the mohair content (10.5%) and the uneven texture of the yarn.

On the other hand...

  • I couldn't help but think of the ultimate recipient of this scarf - likely a woman from this very city, who while I'm happily knitting is probably being newly diagnosed or discovering she is out of remission and is facing another round of treatment.
  • Thinking of her made me mindful of my own responsibility to myself and my family and how lucky I am to have my health.
  • Women in Ontario have access to a free Breast Screening Program that affords us the opportunity to be regularly tested for this terrible disease - I was aware of how privileged we are to have such a service and resolute to attend to my annual testing.

Regarding the yarn. Admittedly scratchy on the neck its soft in the hand and very warm. It would make a wonderful throw or lap blanket and as such would be a quick and reasonably priced but lovely gift. The soft pink of this colourway isn't so pink as to be intrusive or jarring but it also comes in a wide range of colours to suit any taste or decor. Best of all its very affordable. At 76.5% acrylic it is kind of "squeaky" to knit on plastic needles but larger needles (7mm) than called for by the yarn (6mm) helped to minimize that and to create a drapier fabric than when knit up at the specified gauge.

Finally, a little story that goes along with this project. On the subway late last week an older woman entered the car I was on and as she walked toward me I thought she looked very much like the women on my father's side of the family. She sat next to me and with a wonderful Scottish accent immediately asked what I was knitting. Here on holiday from Scotland, she too was a knitter and in one of those small world revelations we discovered that she was not only visiting family that live right in my neighbourhood but that she is from the same Scottish Clan as my father - she and her family still living in the same area of Scotland my father's family left to come to Ontario in the 1800's.
Its a small world in which this project has me feeling happy to be a healthy and enthusiastic knitter.


It worked!

The quick and gratifying scarf project jump started my knitting mojo and pushed me across the finish line with the back of Honeycomb. The back represents the majority of the knitting on this project - over half the yarn called for went into this one piece. I'm almost done with the ribbing on the front and mentally I feel the end of this project is in sight now whereas last week this vest just felt like a life sentence.

The scarf if blocked and dry. FO post tomorrow.A couple of other ready to travel project packs even seem to have made their way into the knitting basket where the boring blue socks used to be!

All in all a great knitting weekend to report!


Eye Candy Friday

I took this shot in April of last year. Its the view I enjoyed while sitting on the wall alongside Lake Geneva, Switzerland, eating a paninni and knitting on my Hedera socks.

Its a lovely knitting memory - I hope you have a lovely knitting weekend!


Just a Beautiful Day

First Cross Country race of the season for our Number One Son and it couldn't have been nicer weather! Maybe it was a bit warm for the runners (About 1200 or so) but as an observer watching from the shade with my knitting it was perfect!

This scarf project has me using larger needles (7mm) than I've ever used before. I can't believe how the work just swallows the yarn and how quickly the work grows with these big boys. How satisfying!

On a visit to Acorn to Oak this morning I was impressed to see how she manufactured herself some knitting mojo by whipping up a couple of quick projects. She reports that the new FO's have given her enthusiasm to move on with her slower moving pieces. Hopefully the pink scarf will give me a similar boost with Honeycomb.


Knitting on the Cheap?!

This post is actually about entertaining knits I've enjoyed from the past year and a half or so - about successful projects I found satisfying to knit, often using used good quality yarns and all very affordable.

Socks are a no brainer here but sock yarns can be pricey. My favourite affordable sock yarns are Meilenweit and Trekking. A $15.00 ball easily makes a pair of women's socks - the colourways make basic stockinette look grand or easily accomodate more complex patterns. The socks are soft, wearable, warm and with 25% nylon mixed with the superwash wool, durable and easy to clean.
While hats require little but give back a lot they don't get any better than Shedir. Unisex, one size fits all, fashionable, free pattern on Knitty and made with one measly ball of Rowan Calmer that cost me $11.00 here in Toronto. On top of all that - what an entertaining knit! I learned a new cast on (Italian Tubular) which I used to great advantage and then went on to enjoy a resoundingly challenging process of following the chart and undertaking the cleverly designed decreases. In the end I had a very fancy looking knit and about a yard of yarn left over - enough for mending but not a drop of waste!

Heart Sachet. 5 sachets from one ball of Koigu with this pattern by Vickey Sever. That could be 5 very nice gifts and as I detailed in my FO post on it last month you could easily substitute other yarns for different effects or make them from something in your stash. Meanwhile mini mitered squares knitted onto each other requires minimal assembly while giving a grand old knitting time - I worked on these over three weeks. Great value all around.
My stash has a huge collection of leftovers and lots of the scrounged bits are acrylics from the 70's. These bits, used together make great stuffed toys that young kids just love. I use the book Knit a Square Make A Toy as a great source of patterns and inspiration here...

Garter (Stitch) Snakes - best ever TV knitting project and very well received by my young nephews.
Pink Doll - many yarns I held double or even triple to maintain gauge and plow through even more of those leftovers - a gift for a little girl that cost me nothing to make.

Bunny - The shaping on this is ingenious so very entertaining to knit and used much less than a ball (note to self - why do I have so much leftover pink yarn?)

Debbie Bliss Teddy Bear from Debbie Bliss Simply Baby - an old ball of baby wool, probably from the 60's - it was in a bag of mixed yarn from a second hand store and cost me pennies to make.
I had a bunch of little balls of miss matched cotton string so I turned these into Elisa's Nest Tote. (FO post here) Without enough of any one colour of white to make the whole bag I used random width stripes to make up the body. There are bag patterns out there that require a lot more in terms of yarn and that might not lend themselves as readily to striping - this one is perfect to use up ends and how much better does it get than making a reusable shopping bag with leftovers?

In terms of frugal knitting ahead for me? I'm working on things I really need to make up a winter wardrobe for myself. This has me using money from my clothing budget at the LYS and getting rid of the "line item" in the budget formerly dedicated to yarn for its own sake.

I'm also exploring the great value in making vests - less yarn required but still adding warmth without second sleeve syndrome to worry about! How about these two patterns that won't even have me needing to buy much if any yarn...(to make them of course - I'm not going to stop buying yarn altogether for goodness sakes!)


A Bit 'O Swatching

I've decide to go with "Fancy Garter Ridges" (#213 from Vogue Stitchionary vol. 1) in the Breast Cancer Scarf for the Downtown Knit Collective program.

Honeycomb is moving along faster - I'm impressed with the attention to detail provided in this pattern. Watching the shaping develop is very gratifying - there's no rolling of the edges with this stitch so unlike with stockinette, its easy to see. Every so often I do make a bit of a mistake and transfer stitches the wrong way but I'm getting pretty good at picking back to them for correction.

My current car socks have gone to a place called "boring". There is a good chance the DKC scarf will become a "car" scarf until they again return to land of "sufficiently interesting to be entertaining to me". The knitting basket can be such a fickle place!


Welcome to Fall!

The calendar says Autumn has officially arrived and the signs were also everywhere you looked this past weekend as we moved north of the city. Just north of Toronto and bisected by the major highway that runs to one area of cottage country there is an extremely fertile vegetable farming area called the Holland Marsh. Right off the road is a farmer's market that offers produce grown in the fields that surround it. I generally stop there weekly during cottage season. This allows me to forgo super market produce for four months or so and eat completely local fruits and vegetables. In the fall the market is also the place I can stock up on storage vegetables like garlic, onions, carrots, potatoes and even apples.

This week the market was visually much different than even last week. The mums were on display and starting to bloom...

The columns supporting the covered shopping area were bedecked with gorgeous corn stalks complete with ripened corn...
And the first of the pie pumpkins were for sale...

A little further north in Barrie the parking lot plantings were showing off the benefits of the abundant rain we received this past summer. Can you believe those rose hips? They look more like little apples - each one is over an inch across!
Still further north the forest is beginning to change to its autumn colours although this pic taken at 110km or so - probably has a bit more colour than the majority of what we saw but it gives you an idea of what's going on and clearly shows what's ahead in the coming weeks.Once at the cottage it was evident our resident humming birds were not around to enjoy the gorgeous weather and sparkling water. They consumed almost no nectar from the full feeder I left behind last weekend so I'd say they're winging their way back to South America as they do every fall about this time.

This is how the beginning of autumn found the little maple just to one side of our screened porch. Just started to show colour but what great colour it is!

I made progress on Honeycomb and on the current car socks over the weekend. I'd love to post about them today but I have to confess I'm just back from dental and eye exam appointments with a lovely headache from having my mouth jacked open for an hour and a half and blurry vision from the eye drops so I can neither see to select pics or concentrate to draft a knitting post. I hope the above shots are essentially in focus, that there aren't too many typos in this post and that the first day of autumn - however it finds you and your neighbourhood is a good one for you!


In a Slooooooow Hurry

Its pretty - I like the yarn - I'm very happy with the fabric - the colour is great - I'm impressed with the shaping but the progress is sooooo slooooow I feel like there's a wall of yarn still in balls that's standing between me and my next project!
  • I've switched from straights to circulars to better accommodate the frequent shifting from knit to purl (less long needle to flop around as I throw the yarn/move from front to back).

I've come to terms with the splitty nature of the yarn.

I'm into the rhythm of the pattern so when I do make a mistake I'm able to see it quickly and fix it on the fly rather than having to rip back.

But I can't believe in two weeks I've only managed to knit 8 inches of length on one side!

I'll have some car knitting time tomorrow en route to the cottage but that'll have to be dedicated to the blue men's socks I posted about a bit yesterday - I can't look at knitting while the car is moving without feeling quite sick. The forecast for the weekend is sunny and I'm going to have to get some of the outside work done that the rain has been preventing the last couple of weeks so I don't know whether its wise to even imagine I'll finish the side this weekend.

One could argue there's no real hurry but I'm in a mental hurry nonetheless. Cool nights and mornings are starting to verge on cold and the urge and need to knit an upper body wardrobe is a weather induced imperative that won't be ignored. I feel like a frantic squirrel madly searching for acorns to stash away!I hope you other knitters enjoy a more mellow and enjoyable time with your project of choice this weekend than I fear I will!


A Knit Filled Day?!

From the Day timer's point of view yesterday it appeared my day held nothing but some fairly nasty stuff...
  • a medical appointment (who likes medical appointments?)
  • a shopping trip with my female family members in preparation for the wedding of my youngest sister. (Truth be told although I do enjoy my family I don't enjoy shopping - especially in a group but we do these things for brides don't we?)
  • a bunch of travel around the city on transit (I know its green but given the choice don't most people favour driving?)
  • an evening meeting - the dozen years I spent in volunteer work has me developing hives at just the thought of evening meetings any more these days I'd rather stay home and knit!

Knit? Knit! Contrary to what the calendar indicated my day was utterly crammed with knitting!

Waiting room at medical appointment? Perfect place to knit!

Shopping trip started with my mom handing me a Patons Cables Pattern Book that to quote my sister "made me more excited than any gift she's ever seen me receive". Visions of new cable knitting projects danced in my head during the rest of our trip through the mall.

Transit travel - I love it because as in a medical appointment waiting room - knit knit knit. 'Can't do that if you're driving!

Evening meeting - DKC talk on spinning wheels and looms actually put my weaving fantasies pretty much to rest. A conversation with one of my seat mates, Jennifer from the Purple Purl, convinced me a course on drop spindle spinning might be all I need in that area. Of course I was also surrounded by knitters knitting or crocheting. I of course knit throughout the entire presentation as well.

DKC has a program whereby donated pink yarn is distributed at meetings and guild members take it home to knit scarves for breast cancer patients. Of course I took some to do my part so I even came home at the end of the day with more yarn and another knitting project.

So I went to sleep a happy and satisfied knitter - with visions of cable knitting drifting through my brain and with my current and recently very neglected stockinette socks much further ahead than when I awoke yesterday morning. The only disturbing bit is that sock #2 is being knit in quite a different manner than sock #1. This is by choice though - the subject of another post no doubt! (Can you guess which one I'm going to frog?)


Tempting Fate

Tonight is the first meeting of the season for the Downtown (Toronto) Knit Collective. An intermittent visitor the past couple of years, I thought I might buy a full membership this year and try to make the meeting each month.

Their meetings are held at the Downtown YMCA. The first time I went (to hear Fiona Elllis speak about her book "Inspired Cable Knits") I honestly expected to find a dozen or so knitters sitting in a circle chatting about yarn in some small meeting room. I couldn't have been more wrong. If you've ever seen one of the Yarn Harlot's sock shots of a huge banked auditorium filled with knitters - maybe 200 or so - that's what DKC meetings look like every month from September to June! (I wonder if the reason the Harlot is never featured on their list of speakers is the room won't hold the DKC regulars AND the crowd the Yarn Harlot would bring in!?)

The scheduled speaker tonight is Richard Ashford of Ashford Handicrafts from New Zealand. They make and sell spinning wheels and looms. This could be extremely dangerous - the last thing I need is another fibery activity but I'm going to be downtown early this evening anyway so I'm going to throw caution to the wind and go - after all they aren't selling his products there tonight (I hope!).

If you're a knitter from Toronto the DKC is a great starting place for getting out into the knitting community. I found it introduced me to a bunch of other knitting resources and activities. You can just pay as you go for each meeting ($5.00 at the door) so there isn't much invested if you don't find its for you.

Hopefully Mr. Ashford's presentation tonight convinces me that spinning and weaving aren't for me! ;)


Getting Organized

A) Summer at the cottage means September in the domestic trenches with tons of sorting out to be done.

B) The change of season (there were frost warnings east and north of us last night!) and all it entails grows the the list even more.

C) New knitting publications, patterns and yarns come out as the frost warnings heighten my sense that cooler, then colder and eventually dark, freezing and snowy months (aka prime knitting season) are just ahead. This knitter's mind can spin out of control.

When things start to spin I start to get organized. (Being organized ahead of time is ideal but apparently I'm in a "reactionary" rather than "anticipatory" phase of life.) Anyway with dozens of ideas in my head I'm trying to focus on my current knit - Honeycomb and cleaning up after my last few FO's (C)) in the stolen moments when the domestic drudge of A) and B) become so boring I want to weep.

Sooooo yesterday I
  • filed this summer's FO patterns, receipts, swatches and needles
  • separated craft yarn from knitting yarn
  • collected like weights and brands of remnant yarn for bagging together (do I smell intarsia coming on?)
  • worked on inputting more of my 2008 knitting data into my Ravelry notebook
  • sorted FO photos in my desktop to prep for uploading.

This morning I awoke feeling much more in control - especially as I did all that work in stolen moments through a thoroughly productive domestic day on many other fronts. In fact much of that work helped tidy the laundry room where my knitting stuff is stored so that now the only pile left unattended down there is the mending. Getting down to the mending always makes me feel like a domestic whiz. (Too bad I only make it there two or three times a year!)

Someone else who probably feels like a "whiz" this morning is the Yarn Harlot - her latest book is out. This is the one she finished in the snowy woods last winter. Go read her account of how it feels to have another published "FO". Putting our creations out there for public consumption is something anyone who wears their own knitting in public can relate to. Even if you're not a writer or a Harlot fan (is there such a thing?) its worth a read.


Debbie Bliss Magazine

The weekend at the cottage was rainy and dark and awash with incandescent light. Without screens (TV/computer/cell phones/pagers) to distract, everyone tends to sit together reading the paper, plucking out tunes on the guitar, chatting about the events of the past week and plans for the one ahead. With the sound of the rain on the roof there can also be the odd nap as well! Its a great atmosphere in which to knit with enough distraction to keep me going when I might otherwise get up and do something else. (I find this a problem when I'm trying to get into a project or a pattern, as I was in this instance, with Honeycomb.)

I also had the Premier Issue of the new Debbie Bliss knitting magazine with me and I finally had a chance to look through it in some depth. I always think premier issues offer the purest expression of the editor's intended look and feel before its affected by sales trends and advertising so I was keen to see what Ms Bliss would include.

This is the first magazine dedicated to the work of a single designer and her yarns I've seen. Its like a book of designs at a vastly reduced price. I like this because I only buy books that I think I will make numerous things from and I rarely find this to be the case with books filled with 15 patterns for sweaters for adult females following the fashion trends of a given year.

The look of the mag is very evocative of early Martha Stewart; clean, pure and brilliantly photographed. For me,professional models facilitate considering the pattern (I know my body type is nothing like theirs and their shape and size neutralizes their impact on the garment. They don't distract. I find the models in Vogue Knitting to be so high fashion they overpower the sweaters - I often put sticky notes over their faces when trying to judge the merits of a pattern! Interweave doesn't seem to be consistently able to find models the same size as the knitted samples. As in other mags I long for shots of the back of the piece and as in other mags they are sorely absent here. I want to see how the thing fits/drapes across the back without having to flip back to the pattern schematics and guess.*

The patterns are all quite beautiful and seem to be designed to look good without the addition of belts (what is up with that in the current VK?). None of the designs are named but this link features a slide show of the design contents. I am personally in love with many of the patterns but the cabled peplum jacket in Rialto - nice shot of the back of that one - is the clear winner. A close second is the Fair Isle purse that uses an extra long zipper for the handle as well as to allow for making the sides of the bag wider or more narrow. Frankly though I'm most likely to actually make the Green Rialto DK wrap style vest. The baby knits in the book are stunning as always with DB.

My teen aged daughter cannot abide the contents of virtually any collection of knitted patterns I've ever showed her. (I think I may have pushed hand knits onto her a bit too hard in her pre school years.) But she actually expressed interest in the moss stitch jacket/cardigan in Donegal Chunky Tweed!

My bottom line on this magazine is I'm glad to have it in my collection and I'll be looking forward to the second edition next spring.

*Afterthought Note...
I just found this link - now this is what's I'm talking about when I say I want to see how the piece works and fits!


My nominees - Brilliant Blog Award.

As I posted yesterday, Crazy Crocheter passed this very kind distinction to me so now I need to pass on the award to my choice of 7 deserving bloggers.

The variety of knit blogs out there allows me to experience lots of different approaches to knitting which I find both inspiring and energizing. While Crazy Crocheter already named a couple of my favourites ( Ysolda, Knitting on Impulse) Here are a few she didn't name that I also really enjoy...
  • annie purls - A young mom with fun, practical ideas, a fledgling on line design business, a demonstrated social conscience and a great eye. Her emphasis is on knits for kids and babies.
  • Knitting to Stay Sane - Inspired knitting of current patterns, she seems to have absolutely mastered creating a good fit in her FO's. She also offers thorough book reviews and updates on the busy Toronto knitting world from her first hand participation.
  • Girl Who Knits - Go back into the archives of this one - see her first knit - a simple scarf, done only a couple of years ago and follow along as she arrives at her system for altering patterns to give herself a great fit every time. This knitter doesn't shy away from challenge either.
  • Stash, Knit, Repeat - another new mom she knits fearlessly and frequently. Her blog features the best pictorial record of FO's I've seen and somehow she replies to every comment! She had her second son just a couple of weeks ago so things might be slow there for a while but her archives are well worth a tour.
  • The Runcible Bin - a blog of ideas rather than stories - visits to this one always give me fabulous, quick inspiration.
  • Sunbeam Soapbox - The name says it all -pure energy captured and funnelled into an almost daily post. (Her post from last night says the blog is moving - what did I say about energy!)

These bloggers make knit blog reading better than ever for me. I think they are all worthy of the distinction of Brilliant and being added to your blog roll if they are not there already!


Four Nice Things

  1. Yesterday the Fall Issue of Knitty went live.
  2. Last evening I got the last available issue of the new Debbie Bliss Magazine on the rack
  3. I've discovered that back in July some kind people on Ravelry tagged me as their "friend"!
  4. I've received a "Brilliant Blog" award from a reader and fellow blogger!!!

Re Fall 08 Knitty...

I was near the computer when the email came in with the link to Fall Knitty. I saw it right away and quickly went to see what was there. I guess it was only me and another bajillion other knitters were doing the same thing because the site was dead slow. I quickly decided to try again later after the keeners has come and gone. I don't know what's worse, waiting for it to go live or knowing its live but not being able to see anything on it!

Re Debbie Bliss Magazine...

Regular readers here will know I'm a frequent user of Debbie Bliss yarns and patterns so I was keen to see what the mag would contain. I fought the urge to peek until all was quiet, herbal tea was at the ready. I opened to the inside front cover and the house suddenly shuddered to life - people arrived home with tales to tell and questions to ask and things that needed to urgently be found. Kids who had been silently watching TV appeared to share great and lengthy observations from their day at school. The next hour was pandalerium and then just as quickly as the melee had begun, it ended. My tea was gone as was my last bit of energy for the day. All I can say about the magazine thus far then is that it has a very nice cover!

Re Friends

To date I really haven't visited Ravelry often and when I do I pretty much only look at other people's stuff - I already know about my own and as far as Ravelry goes, my own is woefully out of date so its a bit stressful to go look at it. I didn't know "friends" were a part of Ravelry then I saw that I had messages?! I clicked to find the friend requests. I reciprocated their kind gesture and tentatively included a little message. I hope that 's what all the "cool" kids do!;)

Re: My first Award!

Finally and frankly most exciting was Crazy Crocheter noting my blog, among 7 or 8 of her other favourites as being worthy of a "Brilliant" award! I'm utterly flattered and pleased to say the least - especially given the others on her list. Now I need to post the Avatar for the award on my blog and pass on the names of my 7 favourites. I can name the seven but how do I get the avatar? I've downloaded it into my machine but I can't seem to get it into Blogger. I'm going to keep trying though. If I can't do it, I'll still post my nominees tomorrow perhaps avatar-less but I'll post them for sure! In the meantime, go see Crazy Crocheter - she is actually a keen new knitter and her enthusiasm is infectious! (You can also see the elusive avatar there). I follow most of her nominees already - they are all great and the ones on her list that were new to me I've now bookmarked for future visits.


Baby Boat Sweaters FO

Pattern: "Boat Sweater" from Debbie Bliss "Special Family Knits"
Colours: Cream (#300101) and Navy (#300004)
Started: August 16 Finished: September 10, 2008
Mods: Substituted Cashmerino Aran for Cotton DK/Added 30% length to body

I think the horizontal ribbing, boat neck and little sail boat taken together are adorable and very French n'est ce pas? The pattern is written for cotton but I switched to cashmerino of the same weight to be more seasonal with both fiber and colour. The lighter, more springy wool let the horizontal ribs run away with the length making the thing, if knit as written, into more of a pop top than a sweater . To counter this I knit the fronts and backs 30% longer. I was knitting the 2 year old size for relatively new babies (both big babies as I understand it) and I thought it would look cute kind of big and slouchy through the body. The sleeves are knit as written.

I knit the first sweater without paying much attention to some of the finer details around the neck bind offs. To be honest this is because I've never really learned how to count rows of reverse stocking stitch. So I made more work for myself when it came to finishing the collar. I learned my lesson both on the collar and how to count the rows by sweater two.

As for the yarn, I've used it several times before in several colours as well as the Cashmerino Baby but this time as I worked with the navy yarn I found it turned my hands blue. I've never had this happen before - have you? I thought I'd better wet block it to make sure I wasn't giving something to a new mom that was going to stain everything it touched and it took 6 rinsings to get the water essentially clear. This is a shot of the second rinse...I know to expect some bleeding on that first soak but look what it did to the towel I rolled it in after that first bath!
This project was an interesting exercise in blocking. Look at the spaces between the raised rows - they are about twice the size on the wet blocked navy version of the spaces on the steam blocked cream sweater. I can also tell you the "sproinginess" of the cream one is quite absent in the flatter navy one that had the bath.
And look what I was able to do with the size once it was wet!...
Both these sweaters are knit to identical measurements. Its really showed me what a change in look, feel and size wet blocking wool can make compared to the more gentle steam blocking! (Wouldn't a pair of these make a great gift for a set of fraternal boy/girl twins?)

So they're done. My Beloved can have them shipped to the recipients this week.
I can get back to some selfish knitting now. Next on my list is to start swatching for Honeycomb!


Knitting (K)night

Yesterday was a very busy day, much of it dedicated to exterior painting made necessary by the ongoing (seemingly forever) porch reno.

Last night however, was the perfect knitter's night. Dinner was done and cleaned up early as well as the few loose ends I didn't get to during the day. Kids were quietly working away on homework, my Beloved was sitting with me but catching up on email. My herbal tea was hot and steaming, the first Boat Sweater was blocking and the second just needed a bit of sewing up. A soft rain was even audible on the roof for an extra hit of coziness. I was sure by the end of the second episode of Project Runway I'd be done with the Boat Sweaters at last!

Apparently too far into my state of blissful household and family perfection I mindlessly sewed up one seam and wove in the end without coming close to properly lining up the two seams. Picking out the end did two things...

1. Convinced me that my weaving in technique is extremely reliable and durable - it took forever pick it apart.

2. Gave rise to a tension headache that probably came from the day of painting but only emerged when I started to relax. It worked its way up my neck and wouldn't be ignored. I threw the knitting aside.

Unwilling to give up my whole knitting (k)night I reached down beside me to my wonderful pile of knitting reading and came up with my latest book borrowed from the library. "Knitter's Stash" by Interweave Press 2001. The book was started when letters were sent to every LYS in the US asking for contributions of the most popular original patterns the shops offered their patrons. As my headache moved into my eye sockets forcing me to even stop reading I wondered whether such an exercise would even be attempted today since it seems to me the majority of original design work is now found on line and so many designers have their own public profiles separate and distinct from those who might sell their work. I was most intrigued though by a quote from the editor's introduction describing the traits one LYS owner had observed among the knitters in her shop..."Knitters...delight in colour and form and have heightened tactile senses. They love containers and tools and have an almost endless amount of patience and ability for self-entertainment." The first sentence is pretty obvious but the second one is quite insightful. Of course knitter's love affair with bags has been all over blog land for years but lately I've also been seeing a bunch of blog posts about stash management and storage and even that new magazine "Studio" that Interweave is offering that certainly speaks to knitters' love of containers and tools. Also amazing is that new line of custom needles by Signature Needle Arts or how about the new Harmony Straights? I also have to say every element in that description - especially the last one is present in my personality and has been as long as I can remember. Can you relate to that description?
I'll have to muster up some of my "endless patience" tonight to take another run at finishing Boat Sweater #2. With the sun now shining again and my job site drying up I'd better head out for more painting. Tonight I'll be sure to do some stretching and to have a hot shower and to get the knots out before a(k)nother knitting (k)night) gets wrecked!


Friday Already?

I'm down to the last sleeve on the second Boat Sweater. Assembly and collars to follow. Snore!

We're having more heat right now than we had all summer which yesterday gave me another opportunity to wear Imprint so I grabbed it. While I was working my way through the grocery store I passed the magazine section. As I turned into the next aisle I noticed a woman there was staring right at me. As I glanced her way she called out "did you make that sweater?" Insecurity that she thought I appeared to be wearing a grade school home economics project gone wrong made me call back " Does it look like I made it?" She said "No! I was just looking at that pattern in this magazine and suddenly saw you walk by wearing it!" Freaky eh?

In the "spirit" of "Eye Candy Friday" - here's what I found inspiring in my week of domestic drudge. This is the four sides of my whirligig clothesline (loaded right out of the washer hence the colour family groupings). With the sun coming through them I thought them quite entertaining to look at and imagine as colour combinations for sweaters or socks or maybe scarves with matching mitts.

Two solid days of landry that filled the line three times over were just part of this wild and very short week of shovelling out the house while starting to get our life back on track here in the city. I'm slowly making headway so it must be time to pack up and go back to the cottage tonight. (I actually think it would be more fun to be on a train from Edinburgh to London for the weekend like Ysolda and Laura are doing don't you?)

Have a great weekend everyone - wherever you are!


Check this Out...

In the past couple of years we knitters have been treated to so many new fiber choices in our yarns. Silk, soy, hemp, milk protein(?), seaweed(!). I think we've also been in a collective love affair with extreme softness - who hasn't been knitting with Alpaca? Even Mission Falls is now offering a new wool yarn with next to the skin softness.

But now I'm seeing a fair number of references to being drawn back to pure unadulterated wool. I must admit to being of a similar mind as I plan my fall knitting and I've been blown away by one FO in particular that demonstrates the benefits of just such an approach

Its a knit that features no fancy colours or variegation's. Its a demonstration of what can happen when a sheep, a spinner and a knitter pool their resources. Undyed, admittedly scratchy wool with a traditional pattern in the hands of a skilled and determined knitter. Check it out and be inspired. I sure was when I saw it!


Back to Reality

Our summer at the lake is done. The final two weeks when everyone is relaxed are always the best and this year didn't disappoint. We had lots of fun adventures...

Our friends with the float plane came for their annual visit.

They treated us to another wonderful air born tour of our "neighbourhood".

Their dog wears ear protection in the plane!

We enjoyed peach (pie) season - four pies in two weeks! Thank goodness the season's short!

We marvelled at the dense morning fog that happens occasionally in August at the cottage.There was wonderful entertainment both inside...
and out...

It was great but I think we're all ready for all the exciting new things September can bring. (Hopefully it won't bring blisters after the new school shoes were broken in - so funny to see dress shoes on a boy on the dock!)
Following the graduations of last June of course there are new schools to explore. Dinner conversation this evening should be full of great stories of today's adventures.

Knitting did happen over the last two weeks. I worked on the two baby boat sweaters but didn't get them all the way across the finish line as I'd hoped. The shapeless knitting with minimal pattern was just the thing to do when I did have time but the total volume seems to have exceeded my knitting capacity by about two little sleeves.

The sweaters have utterly ceased to entertain me. Some past recipients of my baby hand knits didn't appreciate my little creations and felt they needed to share that with me. I had determined never to knit baby gifts again as a result and its a long story why I am nonetheless doing so but its tainting my enjoyment of finishing them. I want them done and gone ASAP. Besides they're also in the way of other knitting! My mind has been chewing away on possibilities for autumn projects as I've crawled through VK and IK as well as the latest bunch of pattern books I borrowed from the Library. I can't imagine what I'll be desperate to make once I catch up with what's on line!
That will have to wait though - I can't ignore the mountains of laundry that are calling to me any longer! Hopefully I'll get some good knitting time in tonight after dinner!