"Transitional Scarf" by Veronique Avery FO

Pattern: "Transitional Scarf" by Veronique Avery
Source: "Knitting 24/7"
Yarn: 3 Balls Debbie Bliss Amalfi (70% Cotton, 15% Viscose, 10% Linen, 5% Silk)
Colour: 32008 Lot: 7179
Needles: 4mm Aero Straights
Size: 5 1/4" wide x 65" long
Start: June 18 Finish: June 26, 2010
Modifications: None

First of all, I admit, I didn't swatch. Its a scarf - I indulged myself and dove right into casting on...what a naughty knitter! 

The book states this design is intended to produce something to wear "between seasons".

The finished product (a birthday gift for my Aunt) feels very appropriate to this idea both in the hand and around the neck.  My Aunt's summers are spent on Georgian Bay where there is always a cool breeze - especially in the evening so I think she'll get lots of wear out of it not only spring and fall but during the summer as well. I suspect the fact the colour looks fabulous next to her skin (very much like Darling Daughter's colouring in these shots) will also prompt her to often grab it on her way out the door.

This is my first FO from "Knitting 24/7".  It was, indeed the kind of knit that as a project was
"portable and simple enough to make use of those nooks and crannies in life when things are busy but hands are free".
Working this piece in a week to a deadline was too forced to rely on "nooks and crannies" of time but I can see how it would lend itself to that kind of knitting.
The yarn is similar to but different from the one stipulated by the pattern but of all the cotton and cotton blend yarns we looked at the Amalfi had an unparalleled depth of colour and a soft, casual sophistication that really appealed to my Aunt.

I saw this yarn knit up as a sleeveless stockinette top at Passionknit. Fortunately I was already well into knitting this scarf because the texture of that fabric was kind of course - especially on the purl side. The yarn didn't celebrate the knit side of the stockinette terribly well either and I might have been put off using the yarn if I'd seen that sample first. It doesn't even feel like the same yarn in this lacier application where it reminds me of cotton chenille.
The colourway seems almost luminescent with a crisp freshness reminiscent of adding a squirt of citrus to a vegetable dish or salad. (I had the same impression when knitting with the DB Donegal Luxury Tweed this past winter  so I assume this must be something purposeful on the part of Ms. Bliss and her design team.)

Apparently this yarn is described by DB as a "summertime tweed". There are no tweedy flecks but it does indeed give that very impression. BTW the shot above and the one below is of the "wrong side" of the work. 
I like the softness of this side without the strong vertical element of the lines of double slipped and passed over stitches as you can see in this next picture...
I skipped my usual wet blocking and instead steam blocked it on the ironing board after heavily misting both sides.  This flattened things out to create a nice fabric and drape and smartened up the stitch work without squashing everything to death.

The pattern notes encourage a very loose cast on to allow for the scalloping of the ends and it seems I managed to accomplish that. (Big excitement for this generally "tight" knitter!)
The three needle bind off joining the two halves knit from the bottom edges up seems successful in that the pattern from each half lined up nicely.  (Is that line of garter supposed to be there in the middle? As you can see I decided that it was intentional - or at least not too objectionable because I left it that way but seriously, did I do it wrong?)

However correct or incorrect the bind off, I think she is going to love it and wear it and its finished on time so I'm happy with it too!

I'm also happy to have all of you to share it with! Thanks again for taking the time to drop by!
New Dawn Climbing Rose


This Canadian Taxpayer's View

Contrary to what the media have been reporting many Canadians think...I am happy about hosting the G8 and G20 meetings.

Yes its insanely expensive but...

...I want our city protected from paint tossing, window breaking, explosives hoarding gun toting hooligans - the so called "protesters" as distinct from "actual protesters". This latter group would be the ones with signs and chants and bull horns expressing opinions of protest. Expression of a contrary point of view does not necessitate throwing things, damaging property or hurting anyone. Anyone who can stand up to publicly state an opinion doesn't need a face mask to do it!

...I don't see the difference between "stimulus" spending like we have going on fixing roads and the like and paying police from across the country to work together on Summit security while the leaders are visiting. What is the difference? Construction workers or cops, they will all presumably spend their earnings back in their local communities and in so doing, "stimulate" their local economies.

And talk about an initiative supporting national unity! I heard one officer from the far north comment that she had no idea Toronto was a multicultural city!! The members of the security forces will go home with more than just stimulus spending in their pockets. They'll have a better understanding of their country and their countrymen and bring a more experienced and worldly approach to the work they do in their own communities after working together to protect this national endeavour on the world stage.

Then there's the suggestion that the downtown core of the biggest and busiest city in the country isn't the place to host a Summit. I think it is! Across the world, many think of Canada as nothing more than a collection of mountainous, snowy expanses - the imagery we saw during the Olympics.  We are a whole lot more than that folks and this exercise demonstrates it!

  • Do I wish the price tag for all this was lower? Yup.
  • Do I suspect its easier for reporters to chase the above mentioned hooligans around than to cover the substantive issues being considered at a Summit and so in the world of 24/7 news, that's what they do? Yup.
  • Do I think attention starved petty criminals see the opportunity for a moment of fame in that media coverage and so feed the need for all this security? Yup.
  • Do I recognize that by assembling the world's most powerful leaders in one place incredible things can happen to the benefit of the planet? And that this kind of powerful assembly also brings out those who would be most destructive? Yup.
So this Canadian taxpayer is wincing at the cost but I'm nonetheless proud and hopeful important things will happen here in Canada over the next few days. Maybe people around the world will ultimately reference a "Toronto Protocol" as the beginning of a new and wonderful force in the world.

And I've got an idea...I think any" news" outlet that gives attention and so profile to Summit hooligans should pay a fee to contribute to the cost of security that the media, in part creates a need for in the first place. Think about it, what would be the fun in being a lawless troublemaker if you couldn't rush home and see if you made it the 11:00 news!

Anyway, that's my view on the Summit.

A knit free, opinionated post - I hope you're not sorry you dropped by today!


Not much to post about a scarf!

Great progress is being made on this little project.  I've finished the first half, its off the needles on a holder and I'm onto the next side.

I'm having pretty good luck with avoiding stupid errors - aided immensely by incessant counting, a mantra of the stitches and several stitch markers against which to check the veracity of each row. 'Talk about training wheels!

The yarn is splitty in the extreme. There's no looking away for even a stitch but then given all I'm having to do to knit error free its not like I'm likely to do that anyway.

I'm aiming for completion in the next couple of days and at this rate it seems doable.

That's about it - there's really not much to post about a scarf is there?

In other "news" this is the last day of exams for Number One Son. "Our" summer starts tonight with a belated cast party for the school play in which he had a role. I feel like I'm fighting the cold My Beloved kindly brought back from his most recent trip and I'm in a bit of denial about just how much I need to get done before our holiday at the cottage starts next week. As Winnie the Pooh would say "Oh Bother!"

Thanks for dropping by!


Early Sunday Morning on the Porch

Our resident "Father" is on a plane this Father's Day morning on his way home to be celebrated and spoiled this afternoon and over dinner by his "wee babies". Dinner will be arranged by the resident "Mother" ;).

After another late Saturday night waiting up for our socializing teen I nonetheless was up with the birds to enjoy hot coffee, sunshine, a delicious fresh breeze laden with honeysuckle, rose, peony and lavender perfumes and this basket of cottony goodness...
 And some (this time) green cotton knitting that was "happy" beyond just the colour.
In the hot muggy storminess that dominated our weather yesterday, Number One Son was studying for exams, Darling Daughter was out for the day and of course My Beloved was away so I stayed inside and started on the Transitional Scarf from "Knitting 24/7". Despite my dismal struggles with the Mesh Bag this week I'm encouraged to see that I am capable of progress when working without interruptions!

Thanks for dropping by!


Guernsey Style Bag by Debbie Bliss FO

Pattern: Guernsey Style Bag by Debbie Bliss
Source: Debbie Bliss Knitting Magazine Spring/Summer 2010
Start: May 22 Finish:June 16, 2010
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Eco Aran Cotton
Needles: 4.5 mm
Modifications: None

The yarn, evokes the summery sight of tomatoes ripening in the garden. (The photo above is dead on from my monitor at least) The cool yet substantial Aran weight cotton is set off nicely by bright shiny grommets threaded with rope like handles which bring a bit of nautical whimsey to the piece.
Its knit in horizontal stripes of Aran style patterning which keeps the knitting entertaining yet quite straightforward.
The twisted handles were quick and fun to make and will no doubt be comfortable on the hands. (I have sprayed the whole bag inside and out with Scotchguard to keep it from getting grimy)
Rue was asking about the grommets.  You buy the grommets and a little two piece tool (above) that's used to affix them. The tool kit consists of a "stud end tool"(in my hand) and a "base tool" (on the table). The circle at the centre of the base acts as a cutting edge which you place under the fabric right at the marked spot where you want the grommet to go. Setting the base on a solid surface with the fabric over it you place the stud end tool on the fabric so that the base holds it in place then you tap, tap, tap the top of that little stumpy thing I'm holding and very shortly, a perfect hole has been cut, right where you want it! (Don't try this on a wooden table or floor - the base can leave marks!)
There is a perforated barrel portion of the grommet which you then pass from the right side of the fabric up through the newly cut circle
... and then through a toothed washer at the back - the two pieces creating a sandwich around the hole in the fabric. (I can't photograph it with fabric in place because the fabric blocks the view of all the business going on below it but I'm sure you get the idea.)
 Again, the whole works is seated on the base tool, again a few hammer taps are applied via the stud end tool but this time the force causes the barrel to split and then wrap down over the washer, fastening the grommet in place....
Its really a fool proof system. I did eight for this bag and the whole exercise took less than half an hour. I've used them in a range of sizes over the years when sewing and never had a problem with them and now I see they can also be a great addition to a knitted piece as well!
As for the lining, (I used a remnant cotton print from another cottage project) I affixed interfacing to stiffen it a bit and give the bag a bit more structural integrity.
 Interestingly, the lining is smaller than the bag (as stipulated by the pattern) and takes the full weight of the bag's contents preventing stretching or pulling the bag out of shape.
While not called for by the pattern I hand stitched the lining around the top to the knitted fabric to keep things tidy and prevent anything from slipping between the bag and lining. 
It was a nice change of pace working with the cotton after months of wool and right in keeping with the change of season. So look at that..I knit something in the specified yarn and colour with no modifications! (And I admit, no swatching - I just blocked the pieces to size prior to assembly.) Its was a great little project to do and I'm looking forward to getting lots of use of it now that its finished! 

Hey thanks for dropping by today!


A Bit of Follow Up

First of all, the green was not happy enough for me last night.  I ripped it back to nothing and 'will revisit when things are less distracting around here.
Besides, as Lisa RR pointed out, I also have the red bag in progress (looking rather pink in the photo but believe me, its tomato red!) I'll put some effort into finishing that up rather than struggling more with the bag at the moment.  I picked up the grommet tool I was missing this morning.  The grommets are in, handles are on - all that remains are a few little stitches to keep the lining from dancing around and I'll be ready for an FO report!

As for my issue with the mesh bag pattern, I so appreciate that people have thought it was perhaps a truly challenging problem.  Sadly it is just this simple...

Its a two row repeat, (Row two being a resting (knit all stitches) row when you reach the marker for the start of the next round, you remove the marker, knit one stitch, replace the marker and then start on row one from a new place.  This move is what creates a spiraling effect in the finished mesh.

Row one has a four stitch repeating pattern. A knit and a slip, k2, psso.  Each of these is followed by a yarn over.

What I do every few rounds is forget either a yarn over or to pass the slipped stitch over. Maybe I look up at the wrong moment or answer someone's question as to the whereabouts of any and all items in the house for which I am the resident data base and I may forget just a single yo which will only be recognizable at the end of the next row 1 - two rows later! This of course puts the spiral off by one which of course looks terrible.

The fine, mercerized cotton yarn has no hold whatsoever so frogging doesn't work unless its right back to the beginning. Tinking back through those sk2psso's every other stitch for over 100 stitches is, well, you're knitters, I'm sure you can imagine how fun that is.

So that's it - the full extent of my mesh bag issues. Pathetic.

Its the final DKC meeting of the year tonight but, as last year, tonight is My Beloved's birthday dinner and the only evening he'll be in Toronto this week so I won't be able to attend the meeting :(
On a happier note, I got a long overdue hair cut this morning. Its super, duper short  and makes me another step closer to being summer and cottage ready!

Well I'm off to cook a birthday dinner! Thanks for dropping by!


A "happy" green but is it happy enough?

First of all, thank you for all the kind words on the Garter Sweater!  No, the garter part didn't bother me at all because it was so mindless I really didn't have to think about the fact I was doing it.  My hands worked on it as independent contractors - something I find very easy...unlike the process outlined below where my wandering mind has to pay just a bit of attention...

I'm referring to a mesh bag pattern by Veronique Avery from "Knitting 24/7". (A book I find is most aptly named as I seem to carry it around 24/7 and contemplate the patterns in it, scheming on what to make next with similar frequency.)

This pattern is unique in its long narrow shape that allows for carrying, fully loaded, over the shoulder rather than at arms's length banging on your knee at every step.
The green is so happy isn't it? Good thing too because despite the "very easy" 2 row/4 stitch repeat I cannot report error free progress. Or really much progress at all.

"Wandering mind" syndrome has me forgetting a yarn over every four rounds or so and having to rip back but then not being able to find a sound row and so going right back to the garter stitch base of the bag. I've only done it four times. My total row count to date equals the length of the mesh section of the bag.

Must I face the fact I need a lifeline to work such a basic pattern?
As I said, good thing the colour is "happy"!

'Hope you have a "happy" knitting day! Thanks for dropping by!


Simple Swingy Garter Stitch Cardigan FO

Better late than never. This crossed the finish line a couple of weeks ago now and the cool weather has meant I have worn it almsot daily!.
Started: April 17 Finished: June 2, 2010
Colour: 148 "Gypsy" 
Needles: 5mm Circular (Body) & 5mm dpn's (sleeves)
Modifications: Custom Pattern based on Jenn's formula (details below)
This pattern is more of a formula than a pattern. You decide on gauge (I went with the second version I tried - no matching someone else's gauge requirement!) you measure across the back of your shoulders to determine how far apart you want your collar turns to land - again just pick whatever distance you want! Next its the same for the distance across your shoulder from back to front. Multiply the sum of those inches by your gauge and cast on,  placing markers at the four points at which you want your collar to turn...
Oh and you also need to decide where you want the front closure to land. I chose to put it just left of centre.

Start knitting in stockinette, adding a single stitch either side of the four corners every other row. After 4 rows change to Garter stitch and keep going like that until you reach your underarms when you put the arm stitches on waste yarn, stop with the increases and knit straight to wherever you want the hem to be which you figure out by just trying the thing on. Mine ended up just south of my "southern end" (26.5" from the shoulder).  Finish with 4 rows stockinette. 
The sleeves are knit on dpn's straight down to a stockinette finish, again, wherever you want it to be - mine are a couple of inches past the elbow. If you're careful starting the sleeves you don't even have to go back and sew up under the arms!
The only fiddly part was the buttons.  My first plan to use a single large button fixed with a knitted bobble failed to keep the long fronts hanging straight.
In trying to make it work though I got the idea of using some remnant STR for the i-cord loops fastening the buttons rather than the heavier yarn from the sweater. I also used it to sew the buttons to the sweater.
I think the result softens the overall effect and helps blend the stark redness of the buttons with the deep blue of the sweater. The finer sock yarn also yields loops that are easier to use than ones made of  worsted.
This sweater goes over anything and doesn't get in the way. I think its one of those patterns that could be done in any yarn and gauge and would also work in stockinette with garter hems and edges.
So too I think with careful placement of the front closures and consideration of length for sleeves and body (so easily done by just repeatedly trying it on) this pattern would work for any figure - especially in garter which I now see really will discretely skim over a myriad of "sins".
While the intense blue of the yarn always engaged me, the texture pre blocking was a little course. (I imagine the silk content to be responsible for both these things)  The wet bocking in SOAK made the yarn bloom to a lovely and soft hand. So much so the 400 yards left over has gone back into the stash from the "Return to Romni" bin where I immediately tossed it after casting off.

(Hey I just noticed - the Silkroad colour chart features an asymmetrical a-line jacket in this yarn - very similar to this pattern - the yarn must be well suited to the task)

So that's that! If you're struggling for a fool proof sweater pattern where you can be the boss and expect a good result check out this free little gem and be sure to look at all the great variations of it on Ravelry! In fact I think so much of it I may make another one myself - I'm thinking big needles and a light coloured mohair blend knit in stockinette!

Thanks for the fabulous pattern Jenn and thank you for dropping by today!



Last Thursday I spent the day in an Anne Hansen workshop. The topic was knitting well fitting sweaters.

It was my third workshop on this general topic in recent months. It reinforced learning from those earlier sessions and provided important "aha" moments of understanding. (These things are so obvious they are probably better described as "Duh" moments but honestly I hadn't really considered them like this before) For example...

  • Aha! I need to invest money to buy patterns with thoroughly detailed schematics or to invest time and effort developing one myself from a bare bones pattern.

Duh! I expect detail in sewing patterns and understand the necessity of altering them for fit. I would never cut fabric for a garment based on unaltered pattern pieces or choose a pattern without considering my measurements but I create knit fabric all the time with little idea of how the pieces will come together to fit me.
  • Aha! Do three swatches* on three different needle sizes to be sure of stitch and row gauge.
Duh! . Row gauge is critical, among other things, to spacing increases and decreases for shaping. Since I do prefer, for example, the waist shaping of my sweaters to fall at the waist of my body, why not try to achieve both stitch and row gauge.

  • Aha! Wash and dry swatches.

Duh! Why use unwashed swatches to give me information about fabric for a garment that will be washed?

  • Aha! I have been a lazy knitter!
  • Aha! Rather than admit to my laziness I've blamed...patterns, my figure, my knitting skills, the math (really the simplest of elementary school arithmetic is all that's required - what have I been so afraid of?). 

Duh! The magic of new yarn and casting on has grabbed me and I've indulged in it without a plan as to what to do after that yarn crazed moment has passed.

Duh! I try to "fix" things the next time with more of the same clueless casting on.

  • Aha! This knitter needs to drop the excuses, do a little math. knit a few swatches, wash and dry them and then get on with actually enjoying the process of knitting sweaters again.
  • Aha! My fond memories of sweater knitting in the 80's was on the then fashionable shapeless sweaters with drop sleeves - no fitting required so my laziness didn't show ! The fabulous yarns and patterns available today necessitate that I bring my best game in order to fully enjoy knitting and wearing them!

Duh! When I just can't be bothered, I can always indulge in socks, scarves, bags, mitts, afghans, even top down, try as you go sweaters with yoke construction forgiving of knitting without much consideration of details until you're into the thick of things.

(BTW) A top down try as you go yoke sweater is just what I'll post about tomorrow with my long overdue simple Swingy Garter Sweater FO!

'Hope to "see" you then! Thanks for dropping by today!

*What's my problem with swatching anyway?  It is just knitting, after all and isn't that supposed to be something I enjoy?



The absence of my computer over the past couple of weeks has also meant the absence in my life of all of you on line. I look forward to our regular "connections" both "here" at my place and also at so many of your blogs so I'll be glad to get back into the swing of things next week and catch everything up.

I've been busy knitting (FO posts on the way!), I've had lots of activity and time with many fantastic people.

Some of these people I'm related to, some I knew and worked with for years, some are relatively new in my life and some I encountered more or less in passing. Whatever the case, the collective engagement, intellect and creative energy to which I was exposed in their company has left me inspired and energized. 

We're headed north to the cottage tonight - a quick 24 hour turnaround. (My Beloved flies out Saturday evening :(  )Despite the rainy forecast on top of our trip's brevity I'm looking forward to it as(among other things) an opportunity to process all the "treasures" these remarkable people have left me to mentally toss around and consider. 

Fantastic people are the stuff of a fantastic life - I feel fantastically fortunate today!

I hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Thanks for dropping by!


We Are Experiencing Technical Difficulties

'Just about to unplug and take this "beast of a newly renovated, but apparently, about to have a hard drive melt down", computer in...I have knitting, in fact I have posts to put up about my knitting but Blogger won't accept my photos.


I have spent all the time (and honestly a bit more) than I usually "budget" for computer time each day on trying to sort out these various problems...I'm sure you can imagine the rest.

Knitting with cotton and cotton/linen in the cool of the evenings is so lovely and its driving me mad that I cannot share the details.

I feel confident this last repair to my computer will sort out the issues at home but the one with blogger...well I'll tackle that again as the "Geek" I called in yesterday suggested...fingers crossed!

Have a great day!