Men's Stockinette Vest FO

Pattern: Gauge-based for 24sts/inch (252 sts around yielding 42" chest - 1" negative ease)
Yarn: Sheldridge Farm Soft Touch DK - Approx. 1000 yards
Colour: Navy 
Needles: Tubular Cast On: 3.25mm, Ribbing: 3.75mm, Body: 4mm, Bind Off: 3.75mm
Start: January 30, Finish: February 21, 2011

Years ago I used to knit things for My Beloved that I liked and that entertained me to knit.  They were worn on occasion and generally at my request.  The things I've knit for him in recent years are worn all the time because I've started knitting what he wants to wear. Like most men's clothes they have few, if any decorative detail and are muted colours. This vest is very much in keeping with that  The resulting expanse of stockinette was variously tedious or relaxing - 'depending on my mood I guess.  So I tried to entertain myself by making the small details the best they could be and the fit exactly as he wanted.

Knitting flat and seaming blocked pieces allowed me to ensure the sizing was dead accurate. (42" around - 1" negative ease)

I used a Long Tail Tubular Cast On with two tubular rows as a foundation. 'Love the result...stretchy and soft. Switching to a needle 2 sizes smaller than for the body of the knit kept the edge tidy with no biggish loops hanging down.

This piece has no shaping...on the back I knit straight up from the hem for 17 3/4" then a few rows of armhole shaping before knitting straight to the shoulder which I bound off at the edge over 3 right side rows. For the front I started shaping for the V neck the row after I finished the armhole shaping.

I did try a Tubular Bind Off. I didn't like the result...too fussy looking. (the photo above shows a section of completed tubular bind off above what is supposed to be the matching cast on...I think I had tension issues with the bind off) I picked it back (that was a hateful procedure!) and opted instead for a Ribbed Knitted Bind Off. Much better!

The subtle variations in the yarn yield the impression of denim...

 Its springy but soft yarn (does the superwash contribute to the softness?) so I hand wound centre pull balls from the skeins just as I needed them to protect every bit of spring and the integrity of the yarn`s twist. The ultimate hand of this fabric feels soft, light and a bit bouncy. Quite satisfying!

The best thing about this knit though is that the recipient loves it. Last night while I made dinner he sat wearing it even before I had sewn in the ends. Then he carefully removed it before sitting down to eat - `didn`t want to get anything on it!

So that leaves me free to move on to something that ticks all the boxes the vest left unaddressed...

Its got colour and knitted detail aplenty and as I`ve already rounded the heel on sock one, getting this WIP into the FO  colomn should be nothing but fun!

Thanks for dropping by today!


Hats Off to the DKC Board of Directors!

Last night was the monthly DKC Meeting.  There were draws for great door prizes, inspiring "show and tell", two great and engaging speakers sharing knitting tips and tricks and news about new yarns.  The room was full of happy knitters clicking away...what more could a knitter ask for?

Well there was more! There was an invitation to contribute ideas and energy to making the DKC as useful, inclusive, enjoyable and relevant as possible.

I've been involved in numerous community based groups since way back when I was still a brunette! Almost all of these really needed to step up and undertake the kinds of initiatives the DKC President spoke of last night.. I can't remember a single one that unless by government directive to do so or because continued funding or facilities hung in the balance, ever did. In fact even the ones that were "forced" into updating and changing things for the better generally did so kicking and screaming all the way. Change. Is. Hard.

That's why I was so impressed and encouraged by the invitation we heard last night to get engaged with the business of the DKC...to make sure it is everything knitters want it to be and to make sure all knitters feel welcome. (This was also balanced by the assurance that those who just want to keep showing up to enjoy DKC meetings, workshops etc. are more than welcome to just keep right on doing that alone.)

I'm going to put on my thinking cap and share any little gems I come up with.

If you are from the Greater Toronto Area...what do you think about the DKC? Is it relevant to you? If you aren't a member and don't attend...is it because there is something lacking? What would make it better? What do you think?


What's that I "see" in my tea cup?

You might only see a tea ball steeping some lovely organic green and Moroccan mint tea but every afternoon this tea gives me visions like this...

I purchased this loose tea on the upper east side of Manhattan when Darling Daughter and I visited there last autumn. (Its become a little habit of mine to buy tea when I''m away because when I enjoy it back at home each cup makes me relive a little of the magic of the place I visited.)

While there is nothing negative to be said about this delicious tea or the majority of that wee vacation, the knitterly aspects of the trip were sadly lacking.

First of all our flights were quick and right on time, our taxis were readily available traffic was light!? Our days and evenings were so full I didn't knit a stitch in 5 days.

Secondly, the Lion Brand Flagship store is closed on Saturdays and is only open in the morning on Fridays. This meant we couldn't work a trip there into our busy schedule.

We did make it to Purl in Soho on our first afternoon. I was looking very much forward to seeing their new combined knitting and quilting storefront and picking up a yarn treat (or two or three) while I was there. I was resolved that one of those treats would be a sweater's worth of Brooklyn Tweed's new yarn "Shelter".

The store is sweet but the contents of its yarn inventory was utterly sparse! I don't think they had as much yarn on display as any one LYS does here in Toronto and none of it was the type that I couldn't buy here at home. Then to add insult to injury I found the "Shelter" selection was about 11 skeins of yarn in a few drab colourways.

Good thing there was an entire fabulous city there to be explored and enjoyed with my entirely fabulous daughter to take my mind off it!

Today I'm stiff all over with a few particularly sore spots from my sidewalk face plant Monday night so I think right now I'll enjoy the rest of this"Memories of New York" tea and knit a few rows on My Beloved's vest. My wrist is still sore but the movement involved in knitting is somehow quite pain free!

P.S.  To curlerchick Sandra's comment on my Valentine's post, my shiner has creeped out my Beloved to the point where I've been given a pass on the business function we were to attend together tomorrow night! It must be a "guy" thing! 


Valentine's Day Redux

I love Valentine's Day. I always have.

'Ever a red fan I've always loved the "look" of the day. I'm not really into chocolate but I've always indulged in it on Valentines'...such a treat. When I was in school receiving male attention and tributes on Valentines was always the topic of great anticipation and My Beloved has always been very good with Valentine acknowledgements of varying sorts.

Then came Elementary School for our kids and the hateful practice of having to produce a Valentine for every child in the class . At first I looked forward to it...assembling all manner of materials for making home made, charming cards en masse. Darling Daughter was having none of it. She wanted regular old buy them at the drugstore commercialized  cards.  "Just like the ones everyone else was giving out!". Once Number One Son was having to produce cards too (nothing like a list from the teacher with every student's name on it to really apply the social pressure!) I began to dread and despise the day.

With all of that now behind us I find myself in recent years coming back to enjoying February 14th again.

Yesterday's celebrations were particularly fun. For dinner I made Lasagna (its red and everybody LOVES it) and a very decadent Devil's Food chocolate cake with a fruit and nut filling and tons of glossy, chocolate icing.

A rich red wine topped the whole thing off nicely as did the kid's happily cleaning up after dinner.

My Beloved brought home flowers that Darling Daughter artfully arranged...

We even enjoyed the whole thing in front of the television watching the Westminster Dog Show. (I'm a big stickler for nightly Dining Room dinners so moving to the TV always sets a meal apart around here.)

For the kids, My Beloved and I had bought a red rain coat of sorts for Hudson in which he closely resembles a white, fluffy version of the Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood's outfit and of course also a Giant Bouncy Living Valentine. We had arranged little packets of Valentine's chocolate and floral scented, red, "Stoop and Scoop" bags for delivery to each of them by the Giant Valentine himself.

It was great good fun. Even though, right before dinner, while out walking the dog, I slipped on the flash frozen sidewalk and tried to "save myselfe" by slamming my left brow into the pavement. You'd almost think it was on purpose because the event yielded a thematically consistent Valentine's Day shiner!

I also did some damage to my right wrist. Not good for knitting! It seems better today though and to get it moving I even did a couple of rows of slow stockinette this morning.

I had been hoping to have the vest for My Beloved done in time to make it a Valentine's Day present but I didn't make it.

I'm close - the back is complete and I'm only a few inches from decreasing for the armholes on the front.  An assembled, blocked vest ready for him to wear was a couple of days away before I hurt myself. Now, who knows. As long as I can knit a bit I'm not going to become despondent about it

I hope your Valentine's Day was a good one (shiner free!)

Thanks for dropping by today!

P.S. I should note - Darling Daughter has come around from her anti-homemade card stance. This year she made lovely valentines using the same method as I did last spring on note cards for my Mom.


Daring to Dream

As I fly along the stockinette rows of the vest for My Beloved I'm getting close enough to cleaning up the WIP's around here. Soon I'll feel free to cast on for something new and novel.

Moving projects out of the knitting basket also compels me to treat my wee little stash the same way.

The 13 colour cardigan from autumn 2009 and the multicoloured Bon Bon Pullover have left a significant legacy of part balls of worsted in my possession that now I feel keen to clear out.

The just completed mittens helped with this.

A while ago I also amassed a little pile to dedicate to a linen stitch scarf like this.

Then late last week I saw a many coloured striped pullover in the window at Passionknit... a tunic length yoke style sweater knit in the round with bottom edges rolling and even the semi cowl-like collar turning over at the top to show off its "wrong sidedness" as a design feature. Perfect!

It was knit on a generous needle for the yarn. I'm sure this gives the piece with its extra long length the necessary drape to cope with bending at the waist.

I noted the colours were arranged alternating dark and bright two row stripes so that's what I've been toying with as the navy blue knitting and purling continues along.

And I'm keenly following along with blogger and Sel and Poivre Commenter Siga. She is posting about selecting a new LYS for herself in Zurich. The store fronts of these shops are gorgeous and her musings on just what might make her ideal LYS are interesting questions to consider.

I got a whole bunch of inspiration from visiting my LYS the other day...the thoughts about a striped sweater of my own being certain testament to that!

I hope you're having an inspired knitting day today - thanks for dropping by!


Links Worth a Look

I managed to get a fair amount of knitting time in over the weekend so that by the end of the Super Bowl I was nearing the top of the vest's back panel....good progress but 20 inches of stockinette is not so enthralling to post about.

I have been struck by a number of engaging posts out there in knitblogland over the past few days and  thought they might be worth sharing.

Brenda's reflective post about her Dad and his contemporaries,

How about this one - a very young woman's personal experience of something generally associated with older people.

Here's a  series of delicious posts - I plan to try every one!

Finally, a very satisfying FO post from knitter extraordinaire Rue over at Tinks and Frogs.  The cardigan she writes about today in her aptly titled post "Just What I Wanted" summarizes what I consider to be knitting is when its at its best...fully customized to the tastes and desires and body of the knitter.

All of these really are links worth a look - enjoy!

Thanks for dropping by today!


For My Beloved

Its been a while since I made anything for my "boyfriend". Time to fix that.

I bought this yarn at the DKC Knitter's Frolic last spring in my annual visit to the Sheldridge Farm booth.

Its double knitting weight and its on its way to becoming a wardrobe staple - a basic, tailored v-neck vest.

Its a simple enough premise (no shaping) so I'm just making it up.

I used a long tail tubular cast on (no contrasting yarn required!). As recommended I worked it on a needle 2 sizes smaller than the one I used for the 1x1 ribbing to avoid getting a sloppy edge. Mission accomplished with help from this You Tube tutorial by Ysolda!

The ribbing is 2" deep and now its just row after row of rhythmic stockinette. So lovely after knitting madly in small circles for the past month!

So lovely too to work on something fresh that hasn't been languishing in the knitting basket or knitting brain since what seems the dawn of time!

(We must not speak of the Lace Saddle Tee...virtual moments from completion...I don't want to spoil the fun of the vest and My Beloved's satisfaction in having something on the needles just for him!)

Thanks for dropping by today. Have a great weekend!


Toe Up Traditional Socks by Veronique Avery - FO

Pattern: Toe Up Traditional Socks
Designer: Veronique Avery
Yarn: Donegal Sock Yarn
Needles: 2.75 mm dpn's
Start: October 9, 2010  Finished January 30, 2011
Modifications: None

This pattern caught me eye because it offers a gusset and reinforced heel but worked from the toe up. I already had a skein divided in half by weight waiting for the right toe up opportunity so I put the two together, cast on with a provisional crochet edge, knit 15 rows and set the thing aside for three months or so.

Two weeks ago I was felled by a wicked cold that featured a low grade fever lasting 3 days. While fevers feel awful they are the body's way of killing unwanted viral and bacterial "guests" so I let it run its course rather than quelling it with acetaminophen hoping to earn a speedy recovery.

That plan did not work out - I'm still feeling the effects of the thing but while I was feverish I was also bored. My eyes were burning and my head pounding.  I didn't want to listen to anything or read or watch TV. I had the bright idea though that maybe I could knit on those socks with my eyes closed . That's what I did and that's how they got done.

My tension was loose - probably similar to my grip on consciousness at the time - so they are a bit big. I also created a great double ladder right up the centre of one of the feet ( I should have had the knitting arranged so that spot fell underneath but whatever).

They are not the greatest socks I have ever knit (probably they are the worst). Nonetheless they are wool and so they are warm and have already been worn and enjoyed.

I also like them in that the yarn was a gift from My Beloved after he ventured all on his own into an LYS while away in the Maritimes on business.

Bottom line, they warm my heart and my feet and they made a couple of lousy days a little bit easier to tolerate. All that should be enough to put this project in the "successful knit" category.

Despite that, I doubt I will use this approach again. As Veronique herself writes in the book her primary motivation for knitting toe up is to accommodate big feet and limited yarn. The feet I knit for are all a bit below average in size so that isn't an issue for me. Furthermore I really don't enjoy picking up stitches from a provisional cast on edge.

BTW I didn't choose to pose with these in front of "Mr. Helpful"...he just inserted himself into the shots. He found the three days  and nights of fever very disturbing. He spent most of that time sitting right beside me whining and often staring right at me. I must have been giving off some kind of vibe he was picking up on. Maybe the reappearance of the socks drew him into being engaged as I took the photos. I do wish he could talk so I could ask him! I'd love to know what goes on under that cap of fluff!
BTW thank you for the kind comments on my Hairy Hudson. Poodle grooming is an involved affair. I am taking a run at doing it all myself. Right now at 10 months he is "in" a "Puppy Clip" where the still soft and silky coat is lightly scissored, brushed daily and his face, feet, tail and belly are shaved every couple of weeks. His adult hair is coming in fast and furiously and the Puppy Clip will no longer be appropriate by mid March when he will be a year old so his appearance is kind of like a 60 pound WIP and only when his coat is at its full one year length I'll see just what I've managed to accomplish.

Thank you for dropping by to see "us" today!


Emma's Mittens by Mihn Hoang FO

Pattern: Emma's Mittens (Rav Link)
Designer: Mihn Hoang
Source: Free Pattern on Ravelry
Yarn: Lion Brand Fisherman's Wool
Colour: Nature's Brown Lot:#090401
Needles: 3.75mm and 4mm dpn's
Start: January 17, Finished: January 29, 2011

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, the mittens I made Darling Daughter in the weeks immediately preceding casting on for these turned out to be a bit too drafty for winter around here but there is no such problem with these!

(As a bit of background, including the mittens I posted yesterday these are my 5th attempt at getting something that fits and keeps my girl's hands warm in a style she favours so the phrase "...no problem with these" are truly thrilling to finally be able to write!?

I learned my lesson from yesterday's FO and used 4mm needles for yarn that calls for 5.5mm but knit the pattern as written to yield a more dense result that DD tells me effectively locks out the wind.

The seed stitch palms and thumbs are cozier than stocking stitch palms in the just-finished pair.

The cuffs are long on these mitts - not as long as the Patterned Mittens but those are particularly generous...to give you an idea the fingertips of the mitts are lined up in the this shot...

The bobbles and cables on the backs of the hands are warm and, in this rich brown, are very handsome.

I added the accent rows of blue around the cast on edge at the cuff to add a bit of playfulness and keep them from being too serious.

Boy did the texture ever pop after I tweaked the features post SOAKing...
The bobbles really sank down into the fabric. They needed to be pinched and twisted to bring them to attention.

The generosity of knitters who make free patterns available is amazing. In this instance all the details were carefully considered - like having the main centre cable grow neatly out of the ribbing and then twist in opposite directions for each hand. I can't thank Mihn Hoang enough for facilitating my efforts to finally get Darling Daughter's hands warm and fashionable!

And of course thank YOU for dropping by today!

Tomorrow....how about another FO! (Nothing too exciting - its only socks - still it's evidence of more knitting progress around here!)


"Patterned Mittens" by Veronique Avery FO

Wow, I haven't done this in a while...

Pattern: "Patterned Mittens"
Designer": Veronique Avery
Source: Knitting 24/7
Yarn: Ella Rae (Blues), Galway Heather (Brown),Sheldridge Farms W4 Soft Touch (Green)
Needles: 4mm dpn's
Start: November 2010 Finish: January 8, 2011
Modifications: Reworked pattern to accommodate Worsted yarn rather than the finer Shetland of the pattern

Darling Daughter has small, slender hands so custom mittens are great for her. I made her a pair a couple of year's ago but she now realizes her" custom" specs were too wide and too short.

As you can see these, knit on stitches picked up from a long garter stitch cuff knit as a panel and then grafted into the round are more than generous in length.
I played around with a couple of different colour combinations but decided the super bright green was better featured as an accent on the thumb than as the too bossy second colour on the lonng cuff.

The colourwork across the back of the hand is a slip stitch pattern cleverly combined with purl stitches.  The colours carry on straight across the palms in solid stockinette stripes.
The only disappointment with these is that in switching to worsted I didn't take into account I should use a smaller than called for needle size to ensure a nice firm, wind proof fabric. With these a bit too drafty for these bitter January days I immediately cast on for something a bit cozier...and that will be stuff of tomorrow's FO post! Here's a sneak peek of that second pair lying atop the first...

Thanks for dropping by!