Happy American Thanksgiving!

To my readers from the U.S. - 'I hope you are having a wonderful Thanksgiving Day today!


Progress on Big Cabled Pullover

I spent the day yesterday from the wee early hours of the morning through to mid afternoon in a hospital waiting room with my mom and sisters while my brother underwent surgery. Although the Big Cabled Pullover (emphasis here on the "BIG") isn't exactly a portable knit, I knew we would be "camped" in one spot for some time so I decided to take it anyway. Besides everything else I'm working on requires some concentration which I knew I probably couldn't rely on being able to apply in that setting.

After the hospital we had things to prepare for brother's homecoming which took up the rest of the day and much of the evening so I didn't look at BGP again until this morning. Predictably, I omitted some patterning right at the start of knitting yesterday so I've just ripped back to that spot, erasing all progress. I can't complain too bitterly about it though - knitting - even if in error did make for a much better day than if I'd had to just sit and wait and more importantly the surgery went extremely well.

We must have made quite the picture though in that waiting room with three of the five of us working away with needles and crochet hooks a-flying!


New Life for an Old Knit

I knit this vest for My Beloved 20 years ago. Fortunately I strayed from the usual acrylic blends of the day to a pure wool in order to get the oatmeal colour I thought the style deserved. I say fortunately because I think the natural colour and fiber is the reason the vest has survived as an oft worn item in his winter wardrobe while every other (acrylic) knit from that era has long since been donated to charity. Its a lovely and classic pattern from a Pingouin Magazine in which they featured a whole collection of vests.
As you can see the pattern features masses of seed stitch - the back being all seed stitch all the time Knitting the back was a memorable experience - worked up while bare boat sailing through the British Virgin Islands; pure wool + pure heat - 'can't look at this piece without thinking of that trip! The thing that excited me from the outset of the project was the prospect of using leather buttons. I love the contrast of wool and leather and I thought classic leather buttons were the perfect touch down the front of this vest. As it turns out though, after suffering silently for 20 years, My Beloved finally let me know that he wasn't quite so excited with the contrasty quality of the leather/wool pairing as I was. He requested new buttons - something that "blended in a bit more" and to his credit, he also pointed out that making the buttons less prominent would allow the "beautiful knitting" to really show off to its best advantage! (That man is pure salesman!) These are the buttons I came up with and recently substituted for the leather ones...
They definitely "blend" more...
My Beloved is very pleased with the result and while wearing the vest yesterday suggested the whole button switcharoo story should be blogged.

So now he has the buttons of his choice and a post to match. He's in danger of becoming spoiled!;)


The Snow Clearly Shows I AM "Canadian" Eh!

On Ravelry I'm "Canadian Eh!" but its true of my outlook on life in general - as demonstrated by my Pavlovian response to that uber Canadian phenomenon - SNOW.

For example while I was joking in my Monday post about getting fluff in my teeth at the Knitty "Yarn Tasting" I didn't share that I have actually"tasted" yarn many times in the past. The hand knit wool mittens of my childhood, studded with little balls of snow formed on the fluff of the wool were often nibbled from the backs of my hands. That sensation of eating those cold fluff laced little snow balls crossed my mind more than once yesterday as our first big dump of snow also prompted a sudden and powerful weather induced sense of ...


Had I persevered over the glare ice the storm brought Wednesday night and made it to the DKC meeting featuring a talk on felting I might have had visions of possible felted projects to ponder yesterday instead of pre-holiday panic. But I bailed on my attempt to slip and slide my way to the subway and headed back to my knitting basket for the evening prompting my Darling Daughter to accuse me of being "un-Canadian".

Tomorrow we'll demonstrate Canadian toughness though when we travel to get the snow tires put on my my little five speed in My Beloved's home town. Its in the snow belt in an area set to receive a couple of feet of snow tonight. As with many other things on the to do list this trip is overdue - they hardly had any snow up there a week ago! Its worth the trip though because we're able to store the summer tires there over the winter until we need them again next spring. Its a two and a half hour drive each way and I plan to knit the sleeves of my Big Cabled Pullover and probably panic a bit more about what's ahead on the domestic front in the next few weeks as the increasingly snowy countryside we'll drive through no doubt prompts even more weather induced realizations of the season.

I am "Canadian Eh!"


No Gift Knitting Here?

This year, I've planned no knitted gifts so I have no pressure on my knitting time these days beyond plain old genuine interest and amusement. I'm knitting whatever I feel like knitting.

For a day of errands with My Beloved and our Number One Son last Saturday I grabbed some needles, cotton yarn and the Ball Band dish cloth pattern. I arrived home late that afternoon with one done and a second cast on. (I now see why people crank these out - they're pretty addictive!)

My stay at home project of choice is the "Big Cabled Pullover" by Vladimir Teriokhin -VK Winter '05/'06. Its "Big" alright - big needles, big yarn, big gratification borne of almost immediate big progress. Bottom line - big knitting fun.
I am in full flight preparing for the craziness of the holidays but the quality knitting time I do have each evening is pleasant and relaxed. This is miraculous for me. Anyone who knows me will confirm I'm unencumbered by "reasonable" expectations. I live so far beyond my capacity I don't think I'd recognize it if I fell over it. I know and I've accepted that's who I am but I know its driven further by my omnipresent sense that a skeptical world wants me to prove the value of my domestic dedication (is there such a thing as a cure for post career guilt?). Knitting this season though seems to be giving me reason to be calm and restful among my family at the end of the day over chasing impossible goals into the wee hours of the night.

Hey maybe there is "gift" knitting going on around here after all but its the act of knitting that's the gift and I'm giving it to myself!
I hope you can take time to give yourself a "knitting gift" today!


Ysolda's Cable Perfection

Sometime back in August I started dreaming about and looking for a perfect cabled cardigan pattern to knit this winter.

I found it last Friday and I knew it was the one as soon as I laid eyes on it.

It is "Vivian" by Ysolda Teague just released in the second issue of the online knit magazine "Twist". (Ysolda blogs about the uncompromising design work that brought this knit to life here.)

Its the first cabled sweater I've ever seen that truly compliments rather than just adorns the female form. It's non stop, all over cabling but somehow it doesn't add bulk! Instead it actually seems to add shapeliness.

"Vivian" is going to be my January project. After the frenzy of the autumn and Christmas seasons January has a mellow coziness that is ideally suited to knitting and in '09 I'm going to fill it with knitting "Vivian".

That being said, this issue of Twist seems crammed with outstanding designs I want to knit. (Just like IK Winter '07) - most notably "Silvi" by Mari Muinonen and "Rebecca" by Fiona Ellis! There is so much more in the latest "Twist" but for the moment I'm just going to enjoy the thrill of having found "Vivian". I'm going to surf around to research the yarn I'll use, watch Ravelry for FO's and enjoy working what's currently on my needles and in my various knitting baskets. There was a hole in my queue that now seems filled to perfection and it makes this knitter happy indeed!


Knitty Round Table

Last Thursday evening I participated in a Knitty "Yarn Tasting" at the Purple Purl. Boy is it hard to get the fluff out of your teeth! ;)

Seriously though it was a capacity crowd of about 30 (and one very well behaved 6 month old baby boy) in attendance . Typical female cliquishness was palpable from the doorway but then there were only three of us for whom this was a first "yarn tasting" - most people already knew each other. Happily a woman I know from DKC called me as I walked in and offered me a seat beside her! It was such a surprise to find someone I knew and get to sit with her! The instructions for the evening say to bring a wide selection of needles to accommodate whatever yarn is being tested. I had to smile as I took out my needles - among the Binders of Knit Picks and sparkling Turbos glinting in the light - I hauled out my 3 inch thick bundle of old grey Aeros smartly held together with a purple elastic off a bunch of broccoli.

The evening is structured so each knitter spends 20 minutes at each of 5 tables sampling one yarn per table. There's 15 minutes for knitting, 5 minutes for recording opinions while not chatting about the yarn to avoid influencing each other's recorded views.

Its quite a whirlwind - introducing yourself around the table - choosing a needle size -thoughtfully knitting and considering the yarn while remembering not to speak of it - completing your form - then picking up coat, bag, needles, scissors, sample and moving so as to start again.

I gained two valuable observations through the process...
  • how vastly knitted samples can differ from yarn in the ball

  • how needle size affects the appearance but also the feel of the work.
After the reviewing is done there's a draw. When the number on your survey sheet is called you can choose a "prize". Most were single skeins of the test yarn but there were also some pattern books and small project bags. I chose the above ball - not being one I would buy if left to my own devices, I'm pleased to have an opportunity now to try it out.

Then it was shopping time with our kind hosts at the Purple Purl offering 10% off all regularly priced yarn while chairs and tables were folded up and people headed off into the night. I drove my DKC pal to the subway - the most relaxed and pleasant part of the whole evening!
Many thanks to the folks at Knitty for organizing all the samples and of course a big "thank you" and "Happy First Anniversary" to the women of Purple Purl!


Gathered Pullover FO

Pattern: Gathered Pullover by Hana Jason - Interweave Knits Winter 2007
Yarn: "Sisu" by Sadnes Garn 80% Wool 20% Nylon
Colour: Red # 4228 Lot #703150
Needles: Aero 5.5 Circulars & ChiaoGoo 5.5mm 8" Bamboo dpns
Start: October 29 Finish: November 13, 2008
Mods: Added 1" length to sleeves
This was one fast and super easy knit. The whole story is the gathered motif on the front - otherwise its just fairly fine yarn knit on fairly large needles in the round - three tubes (body + two sleeves) no shaping with a rolled edge knitted around the collar. Its quite brilliant in its simplicity.

As to whether its brilliant on me, I'm not so sure. I choose a size that gave me almost 2 inches of negative ease at the bust but I have shaping at my waist where GP has none at all and this will will take me some time to get used to. I love the colour, I love the fact I was able to maintain the loose gauge called for without relying on larger needles and I LOVE the fact that there were no errata!!

I did make the sleeves long enough to reach my wrists rather than being slightly cropped. I would like the sweater itself to have more length but I think if it did I'd look even more shapeless so in the end I'm glad I didn't modify to add more.

I chose the yarn for its colour over its content and I'm happy with the finished fabric. It does have the "drape and fluidity" the pattern notes stipulate.

The pattern also calls for blocking lightly which I did but I am keen to see what will happen with a good Soak. I suspect and I guess hope that the whole thing will shrink inwards a bit and give me the shaping I crave.

As I noted in an earlier post I used about 70% of the yardage they call for in the pattern. I don't understand why that is but I'm not going to spend time worrying about it at this point.

If you are at all inclined to make this sweater I'd highly recommend you just do it - particularly after finishing a taxing or lengthy project. This sweater took me less time to knit than a pair of socks!


Today's forcast - dark and rainy with sunshine throughout?

Its overcast and raining here in T.O. but in this knitter's heart its a sunshiny day. I finished the knitting on Gathered Pullover last night - 'just have to sew in the sleeves and do a light blocking and its ready to wear!

And I'm going to the Purple Purl tonight to participate in Knitty's November "Yarn Round Table" for an evening of "yarn tasting". I signed up for this back in August but the date feels like its raced up on me.

This Knitty "inknitiative" is an evening of test knitting and reporting on a variety of new yarns. Yarns are submitted for consideration and review by the companies that produce and/or distribute them and a different group of volunteers does the reviewing each time. In the true spirit of knitters Knitty publicizes only positive opinions and observations so yarns that aren't well received by the group are left out of the report entirely. There can be a wide variety of yarns tested in an evening so participants are asked to bring an array of needles to be ready for whatever "kneeds" knitting.

So I'm sure you understand how my rainy day is looking bright indeed! 'Hope whatever your weather, wherever you are finds you in an equally happy frame of mind!


Monochromatic Closing

Last Saturday we went up and back to the cottage in one day to pull out and winterize the boat and "wrap" the cottage in its protective shutters. On our previous trip a couple of weeks prior there was still colour - muted yellow, burnt orange, deep purple and burgundy still clung to many branches. Some years its necessary to close up while the fall "show" of colours is still on but it never feels right to do so.

This year, we were able to see the colours through to their conclusion as the views last weekend clearly demonstrated. Once I downloaded the photos I saw just how monochromatic the scene really was...

Silver black water (every bit as cold as it looks)...

Grey trees...
Floating docks at the marina out of the water, stacked and stored until next spring...

Even a shot of sun couldn't coax anything but a bit of grey blue out of the view and again, its just as chilly as it looks...

"Colour" in such conditions becomes a relative thing (inspiration for a knitted tam anyone?)...

Finally, this shot sums up the trip. Its the last hook on the last plywood shutter that covers the front door...

And so the 20th season at our simple little place in the woods is done. As the scene around the place demonstrates - its time.


Good, Better, Better Still, Bad and Beyond

Friday - Added rolled collar detail to Gathered Pullover - Good...
Saturday en route to and from cottage - knit sleeve #1 - Better...

Sunday finished sleeve one and started sleeve two - Better Still...

This morning tallied yarn used and yarn remaining - BAD!

This knit will ultimately require about 960 yards or 78% of the yarn required by the pattern! That drives me nuts! I will have to distract myself from this irritation by fact that this piece is a) Red - always something that soothes me and b)is on the verge of completion despite being on the project list for less than two weeks! I'm looking forward to working on this tonight but probably only after I whip up one of these in preparation for tomorrow - thank you Laura! (At least I have lots of red yarn available!)

BTW here is a satisfying post to both read and see - Scotch and Steeking - Curlerchick knows and shows how to do it right!


Eye Candy Friday

I was struck by the beauty of my own back yard this week, flooded with fall sunshine, ablaze with autumnal colour, heavy with the scent of late blooming roses and sweet alyssum and even the odd hint of moth balls as the winter woolens received their autumn airing after 6 months storage in the cedar chests.

I hope wherever you find yourself knitting this weekend, you and your needles are happy and productive!


Next Door to a Giant

In Canada we live next door to a Giant who for years has seemed unhappy.

Last night the Giant did something unimaginably wonderful. On TV we watched the Giant dancing and singing, celebrating and even crying tears of joy over the new and wonderful accomplishment.

I just have to say how amazing the Giant's accomplishment looks even from next door and how great it is to see the Giant smiling again!
(BTW "watching the Giant smile" doubled as very productive knitting time...)


No Complaints Here!

Work on Gathered Pullover went along well last night - right side of front is done.

Of course tonight's election coverage should provide more fertile knitting ground.

Speaking of ground ours is covered in leaves. Our towering Silver maple's been raining golden yellow for a couple of weeks now. Its still holding about 30% of its canopy so a sunny morning like this bathes the rooms across the back of the house with a quality and colour of light unique to this time of year. Experiencing natural light throughout the seasons is one of the best things about my post corporate life. I'm greedy about enjoying every seasonal nuance so I've been putting off raking to prolong this autumnal treat. Soon the lawn is going to start to suffer though so I need to attend to that this morning. I don't bag leaves, I just rake them onto the gardens where they protect the soil and plants over winter and then disappear into the soil by late next spring.
I'm also going to haul in the window screens for winter storage and fill the clothes line with woolen blankets and afghans and throw cushions that have been in the cedar chests since last spring. The time change over the weekend has started my internal "Countdown to Christmas" clock in a big way. Can you tell?


Boo! I Do! Happy Birthday to You! Whew!

It was a jam packed family weekend with me flying solo as My Beloved is off on another globe trotting business trip. Nonetheless it featured a decent amount of knitting time!
The break in Halloween festivities between trick or treaters at the door and driving to pick up after Halloween Dances et. al. yielded a couple of hours Friday night. My youngest sister's wedding with nuptials at 11:00 am and an uber elegant luncheon reception meant we were home before 5:00. Even after a post analysis of the wedding with my middle sister over a glass of wine and the annual Halloween Pumpkin Roll Dessert with my kids I had an entire evening to the needles!

Sunday I deconstructed the Halloween decor and attended my little nephew's birthday party as official photographer (he and his brother loved the Jackyll and Hide masks - my sister found older brother asleep in bed with his still on!) but still the evening was wide open - knit knit knit!

Even better Gathered Pullover is a fast knit - cabling at the centre front each round keeps it feeling like eating a bowl of peanuts... just one more row then just one more after that and then maybe one or two more...

Its my first sweater knit in the round. I can see why people gravitate to this method. I can't believe, with knitting front and back all at once how quickly it seems its time for the sleeves! This was definitely a good project to pick up after the slow and plodding Honeycomb.

The tension for GP is very loose, the yarn fairly fine and the needles pretty big. Since I need to buy dpn's in the right size for this I might get wooden needles or maybe Bryspuns because I can tell its going to be hard to keep slippy heavy Aeros in place while knitting the sleeves in the round to the sleeve cap.

Looking ahead, the week looks much like the weekend - on my own at the tiller around here and pretty full but with definite opportunities for knitting.